Edward MacLysaght’s note on the surname Costigan is:
“Ir. Mac Oistigín. Though a branch of the FitzPatricks, Mac Giolla Phádraig, the name derives from Hodgkin, a dimin. of Roger. In the spoken language it is now Mac Costagáin.”
He notes that Costigan is an especially popular surname in County Tipperary. My Costigan ancestors originate in County Tipperary, but I don’t know anything about them until they reach Newfoundland in the early 1800s. They eventually emigrated to the United States, mostly to East Boston, Massachusetts.
1st & 2nd generations: me and my mother (1931-2008)
3rd generation: my grandfather:
Bernard Costigan was born 16 August 1890 in Harbour Main, Newfoundland. His parents were John and Elizabeth (Cleary) Costigan.  John Costigan died in 1902, and twelve-year-old Bernard left school and went to work as a fisherman. I was told the story of how the other fishermen would pin his wages to his undershirt and tell him to run home to his mother with the money. In 1914, Bernard emigrated to the United States. He traveled around the country working for a few years, but settled in East Boston, Massachusetts. He entered the army just as World War I was about to end and was naturalized in 1918 as a result of his honorable discharge from the army. On New Year’s Eve in 1922 in East Boston, Bernard married Mary Coombs of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. They had seven children. Bernard lost an eye in a welding accident while employed as an ironworker. By 1941 he was working as a longshoreman, and continued until his retirement. The family moved to Winthrop, Massachusetts in the early 1960s. Bernard died at home in February 1989; he was 98 years old. He is buried in Winthrop Cemetery.
4th generation: my great-grandfather:
John Costigan was born in 1845 in Harbour Main, Newfoundland.  His parents were Thomas Costigan and Mary Furey. The Newfoundland Directory for 1871 lists John as a planter, that is, someone who owns a fishing operation. (Elliot vol. 1, p. 703). In June 1882, John married Elizabeth Cleary in St. Peter and St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Harbour Main. Over a century later, people living in Harbour Main told me that Elizabeth was already pregnant from a previous relationship when she married John, and that her eldest son Cornelius was not biologically a Costigan. It is difficult to know at this distance what the story was, but some details of Cornelius’s later life and death would seem to support this story. Certainly Cornelius, called Con, was a close member of the family and I am including him here as one of John’s children. John died in May 1902 of pneumonia. He is buried in Avondale, Newfoundland.
Children of John Costigan (3rd generation):
- Cornelius Costigan b. 1882, d. 1976 Harbour Main, Nfld. (1921 Nfld. census; headstone)
- Edward Costigan b. 1884 Harbour Main, Nfld., d. 1934, Massachusetts. 
- John Costigan b. 1886 Harbour Main, Nfld., d. probably before 1942 (St. Peter and St. Paul parish records)
- Hanora Mary Costigan b. 1888 Harbour Main, Nfld.; m. Michael Conway and moved to the Bronx, NY (St. Peter and St. Paul parish records, 1920 US census)
- Bernard Costigan, see above
- Simon Costigan b. 1892 Harbour Main, Nfld., d. 1967 Seattle, Washington (St. Peter and St. Paul parish records, SSDI)
- Mary Joseph Costigan b. 1894 Harbour Main, Nfld. (St. Peter and St. Paul parish records)
- Patrick Costigan b. 1897 Harbour Main, Nfld., m. 1921 East Boston, MA Nora O’Brian (St. Peter and St. Paul parish records, 1930 US census)
- Thomas Costigan b. 1897 Harbour Main, Nfld., m. probably to Margaret Gushue, d. 1991 Melrose, MA (St. Peter and St. Paul parish records, MDI)
Thomas Costigan was born in June 1813 in Harbour Main, Newfoundland. His parents were Vincent Costigan and Johanna Kennedy. Thomas inherited property in Gallows Cove from his maternal grandmother. Thomas worked as an agent for the fishery. He eventually built a house in Gallows Cove and married Mary Furey around 1840.  Thomas died in 1882. (headstone)
Children of Thomas Costigan (4th generation):
- Thomas J. Costigan b. 1842, m. Sarah Whelan, d. 1906 Harbour Main, Nfld. (headstone)
- Johanna Costigan b. 1843 Harbour Main, Nfld., m. 1875 Patrick Corbett Chapels Cove, Nfld., d. 1929 Chapels Cove, Nfld. (1921 Nfld. census)
- John Costigan, see above
- Vincent Costigan b. 1847, m. Mary Myers, d. 1924 Harbour Main, Nfld. (1921 Nfld. census, headstone, donor plaque in St. Peter and St. Paul Church)
- James Costigan, b. 1848, m. Mary Doyle, d. 1911 Harbour Main, Nfld. (headstone)
- Edward Costigan, b. 1850, m. Anne Kennedy, d. 1916 Harbour Main, Nfld.
- Mary Anne Costigan, b. 1853 Harbour Main, m. 1878 in Chapels Cove, Nfld. to Patrick Sullivan, d. 1921 Chapels Cove, Nfld. (1921 Nfld. census)
- Elizabeth Costigan, b. 1857, d. 1883 Harbour Main, Nfld.
- Charles Costigan, b. 1857, m. 1884 Agnes LaCour, d. 1932 Harbour Main, Nfld. (1921 Nfld. census, gravestone)
Vincent Costigan was born in 1790 in Kilcash, Co. Tipperary, Ireland (headstone). I don’t know who his parents were. He emigrated to Harbour Main, Newfoundland to work as a bookkeeper. In 1811 he married Johanna Kennedy, his boss’s daughter. Vincent was widowed in 1816. He moved to St. Johns, where he had financial difficulties (Howard). In 1824, he married Ann Summers (Crosbie). When his son Thomas inherited land in Gallows Cove, Vincent and the rest of the family moved back to Harbour Main with him to live. Vincent died in 1844 and is buried in the old Irish cemetery in Harbour Main. Fusun Atalay has written a great article about this cemetery.
Vincent’s children with Johanna Kennedy: (5th generation)
- Thomas Costigan, see above
- Mary Costigan, born and died 1815
- Vincent Costigan, born and died 1816
Vincent’s children with Ann Summers: (5th generation)
- John Costigan, b. 1825, probably died as a child
- Vincent Costigan b. 1826 St. John’s, Nfld., died at sea 1861 (Crosbie)
- Johanna Costigan b. 1828, d. 1853 Harbour Main, Nfld.
- Mary Anne Costigan b. 1832, d. 1854 Harbour Main, Nfld.
I especially want to acknowledge the kindness of my third cousin Judy Barker, without whom I would know much less about the Costigans. She invited me to Newfoundland in 1997 to research with her, and we have shared information ever since. Her website has more information on her research.
1. Bernard Costigan’s birth is established by the following: his birth certificate which I saw but no longer possess, his World War I and World War II draft registration cards, and his entries in the US Naturalizations Index, the Massachusetts Death Index (MDI), and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).
2. John Costigan’s birth date of 1845 is deduced from his age at death.
3. Edward Costigan’s information is derived from the bill from his funeral which I saw in the possession of his sister-in-law and from his World War I draft registration card.
4. Although no record of the Costigan/Furey marriage has survived, they are listed as the parents of their legitimate children in the parish baptism register. The same is true for several of the marriages from this period. Many records were lost in a fire. Much information comes from the many Costigan gravestones in the Avondale cemetery. I am indebted to Judy Barker for sharing her research on Thomas Costigan and his father Vincent and their family.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Dept. of Health Services. Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003. Boston, MA, 2005. Ancestry.com. Web.
—. Division of Vital Statistics. Marriage record for Bernard Costigan and Mary Coombs. 1922.
Crosbie, Gert. Births, Deaths, Marriages in Newfoundland Newspapers. Maritime History Archives. St. John’s: Memorial University, Newfoundland. 1986. Vols. 3-5. Print.
Elliot, Noel Montgomery, ed. The Atlantic Canadians: 1600-1900. Vol. 1. Toronto: Genealogical Research Library, 1994. Print.
Headstones of many Costigans in the cemetery in Avondale, Nfld. and Vincent Costigan’s headstone in the “old Irish cemetery” in Harbour Main, Nfld.
Howard, Mildred. Royal Gazette and Newfoundland Advertiser. 3 vols. 1986. [newspaper extracts] Print.
MacLysaght, Edward. “Costigan.” Irish Ancestors. Irish Times. 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
Newfoundland. 1921 Newfoundland Census. Transcription available at Newfoundland Grand Banks site, but I have also examined the microfilm at NEHGS.
—. Register of Deaths. Harbour Main District. Book 3: 1901-1902. Entry for John Costigan, page 82. Transcribed by Mary Rawlinson. Newfoundland Grand Banks. 2010. Web.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church [Harbour Main, Conception Bay, Newfoundland].. Baptism Records 1857-1911. Transcribed Barbara McGrath. 2005. Newfoundland Grand Banks. Web.
—. Donor plaques on windows and pews in the church.
—. Marriage Records 1857-1906. Transcribed Barbara McGrath. 2004. Newfoundland Grand Banks. Web. I also examined some of these records at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland in St. John’s.
United States. Bureau of the Census. Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1920. Roll T625_1129. p. 3B. ED 18: Bronx Assembly District 1, Bronx, New York. Ancestry.com. 2010. Web.
—. —. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. Roll: 941; Page: 5B; Image: 908.0; FHL film: 2340676. Boston, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts. Ancestry.com. 2002. Web.
—. —. —, 1930. Roll: 942; Page: 2A; Image: 100.0; FHL film: 2340677. Boston, Suffolk Co., Massachusetts. Ancestry.com. 2002. Web.
—. National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995. Entry for Bernard Costigan, Certificate No. 113 743, Petition No. 40872. Ancestry.com. 2007. Web.
—. Selective Service System. U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. Ancestry.com. 2010. Web.
—. —. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Ancestry.com. 2005. Web.
—. Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Ancestry.com. 2011. Web.
United States Army. Honorable discharge papers for Bernard Costigan. 23 Jan. 1918. Photocopy.