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The Irish family tree of P.L.Travers

Updated: Mar 15

Pamela Lyndon Travers (Helen Lyndon Goff,1899-1996) found success as an author with the publication of her Mary Poppins books in the 1930s and their adaptation into a musical in 1964 by Walt Disney, whose tricky relationship with the writer featured in the 2013 film, Saving Mr. Banks.


A look at the Irish branches of Traver’s family tree shows that she came from a long almost unbroken line of Church of Ireland ministers over several centuries. She was a direct descendant of an earlier writer, Samuel “Premium” Madden, (1686-1765) a pioneer of the science fiction and time travel genre with his book, Memoirs of the Twentieth Century, finished in 1733. Samuel Madden belonged to the Maddens associated with Hilton, Dunmore, and he was rector of Newtown Butler, Fermanagh.

Travers also turned out to be a relative of Elizabethan English poet, Edmund Spenser, through her direct descent from Sir Robert Travers, (1596-1647), Edmund Spenser’s nephew.

It seems she was destined to be a writer.