This week, I learnt something new about my great-great-grandmother, Anne (Radcliffe) Carroll. In the numerous records of her life, from the day she married until the day she was buried, she went by the name ‘Anne’. It now transpires her given name was actually Hannah Anne. I have to say, this new finding inspires renewed hope that one day I might also discover who her mother was.
Anne was born about 1849, but we don't know much about her early life. Her earliest confirmed record was dated August 1869, when she was said to have been twenty years old and marrying Maurice Carroll, in Swords, Co. Dublin. Her father was named as John Radcliffe and her mother as Mary. ‘Mary’ is not much to go on in a country so dedicated to the Virgin Mother!
When Anne was about eight years old, her father left Ireland for Melbourne, Australia and Anne probably never saw him again. He married Bridget Flanagan in Melbourne in 1861. Their marriage register confirmed his first wife had died in 1853 and he had but one surviving child.
Anne may well have spent her younger years in Yellow Walls, Malahide, where her father's family were from. She was living there at the time of her marriage and maintained close ties with her friends in Malahide, even after the Carrolls moved to Dublin city. She may have been raised by her paternal grandparents, Peter and Anne Radcliffe, though we may never know for sure. Her mother's family might also have lived nearby.
Anne's grandmother died the week before Christmas in 1866 when she was about seventeen years old, only two months after her father had passed away in Australia. She was close to her uncles Peter Radcliffe and Joseph Radcliffe, who also lived in Yellow Walls, for they each sponsored the baptism of one of her two eldest children.
Anne is a derivative variant of the name Hannah, so it strikes me as a little odd for both names to have been given to the same child. Perhaps it was a deliberate attempt to honour two separate women – both her grandmothers. Anne's paternal grandmother was called Anne so maybe Mary's mother was called Hannah.
This new piece of information came to light when I obtained a copy of Anne's last Will and Testament, written in December 1918, seven days before she died. It is the earliest dated Will so far obtained in respect of any of my direct ancestors; basically, those who went before her had no real property to worry about. The extent of Anne Carroll's estate, on the other hand, came as something of a surprise.
Anne (Radcliffe) Carroll’s Will
I, HANNAH ANNE CARROLL of 20 North Gloucester Place, Dublin, Widow, declare this to be my last will.
I hereby devise and bequeath to my daughter Mary Carroll absolutely all my real and personal estate including my house No. 21 Upper Rutland Street, Dublin and all furniture and effects in my residence No. 20 North Gloucester Place, and my interest in a policy on the life of my uncle [Joseph] who died recently. And I appoint the said Mary Carroll sole executrix of this my Will IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto signed my name this sixteenth day of December one thousand nine hundred and eighteen.
[signed]: Anne Carroll
Signed by the testatrix Hannah Anne Carroll as her last Will in our presence who in her presence at her request and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.
[witnessed]: George Wheeler
86 Merrion Square, Dublin
[witnessed]: R. J. Simpson
53 [maybe Fitzroy Avenue]
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