Saturday, 3 December 2016

Jeremiah Keogh & Jane Crosby - Married by Licence in 1833

My biggest genealogical discovery this week was the baptism record for Mary Anne Keogh, my great-great-grandmother. Her parents, Darby and Jane Keogh, organised the event on 9 February 1834, in the Roman Catholic Parish of Lucan, in Co. Dublin. Her christening took place six years earlier than might be expected based on her reported age at death, but that’s nothing unusual. 

Baptism of Mary Anne Keogh, 9 February 1834, Lucan, Co. Dublin.

When Mary Anne later married John Devine in Dublin in 1859, her parents were named as Darby Keogh and Jane Crosby, so this baptism fits nicely. Especially since Darby Keogh and Jane Crosbie married in the same church in Lucan on 26 April 1833, not ten months before Mary Anne's birth.

Curiously, Darby and Jane applied for a marriage licence prior to their wedding. The copy of the licence itself perished during the Irish civil war, but an index record survives and clearly shows Jeremiah (a common variant of Darby) Keogh and Jane Crosby applying for a licence in 1833.

To obtain a marriage licence a couple provided a sworn declaration confirming there was no legal obstacle to their marriage. The alternative was marriage Banns, where the proposed marriage was announced in advance at Mass on three consecutive Sundays. As a result, the licence was beneficial to those who wished to marry quickly or without public notice.

But, it was relatively expensive to get a marriage licence. Most people could not justify this cost without good reason. So, I did a bit of digging to see why Darby and Jane might have needed a licence, in 1833 and here's what I found out:-

  • Members of the gentry class were far more likely to obtain a marriage licence than the rest of the Irish population. And, for the most part, they were wealthier, but it even became a status symbol of sorts. This did not apply in the case of my ancestors.

  • Often, a couple applied for a licence if the intended groom was home on leave for a short period only, say like a soldier or a seaman. Such a couple might wish to marry in a hurry before he returned to work. However, all records indicate our Darby was a stone mason, equivalent to a modern-day bricklayer, so this did not apply either.

  • They may also have required privacy if Darby and Jane were from different social classes, though there is no evidence to support this scenario and it seems unlikely.

  • If their families opposed the marriage, they might not have wished to draw attention to their impending nuptials.  But, this was unlikely too. John Crosbie and Mary Anne Keogh, presumably representatives from both families, stood as witnesses to their marriage.

Marriage of Darby Keogh and Jane Crosbie, 1833, Lucan

So, after much researching, the most obvious reason for their prompt marriage was that Jane discovered she was pregnant. And now, while it appears Mary Anne was a honeymoon baby, she was born more than nine months after her parent’s marriage. 

And, I don’t know what to think.


Granny’s path to Darby and Jane Keogh

Source: Catholic Parish Registers, NLIAn index to the act or grant books and original wills of the diocese of Dublin from 1800 to 1858, H.C. 1900 (Cd. 4), xliv, 1, pp 238, 589, National Archives.

More about Mary Anne (Keogh) Devine: Child Mortality, the Devine family of Dublin

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© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Teresa Corless – Death from Misadventure

Last week, I discovered my grandmother’s Aunt Teresa in the 1911 census, in Manchester, England. She lived there with her husband William, a tailor, and their nine-year-old daughter, Mary Teresa. The curious thing is they were all listed under Teresa’s maiden name ‘Donovan’ and not under William’s surname ‘Corless’. 

The reason for their charade has not yet come to light. There’s a chance it never will. But, whatever the reason, it seems to have been a temporary gambit. When Teresa died on 10 February 1944, she was back using the Corless surname.

Teresa Corless spent the remainder of her days in Manchester. In fact, she lived at 8 Craig Street in Miles Platting right up until her admittance to the hospital. The ‘Donovan’ family had lived in this same house in 1911, eliminating any doubt they were my relatives.

Teresa was nearly eighty-two years old when she died, though her death certificate claims she was only seventy-six. Her husband William predeceased her.

A most unfortunate occurrence led to her death. In December 1943, something lodged under the thumbnail of her left hand. It doesn’t say what – presumably a splinter of some sort. Her finger became infected, leading to cellulitis in her left arm, which resulted in renal failure and caused her death.  How tragic is it that a minor wound could instigate the sudden death of an otherwise physically fit woman. The Manchester coroner held an inquest and ruled her death from misadventure.

Source: Copy death register for Teresa Corless, 1944, Manchester, General Register Office.

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© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A new cousin for Granny Lena and a surname puzzle

It has been over a year since I first found Teresa (Donovan) Corless and last tried to find out where she ended up. Teresa was my grandmother Lena’s maternal aunt, not that we'd ever heard of her. She married William Corless in Dublin in June 1900 and showed up in Manchester, England, in time for the 1901 census. William worked in Manchester as a ‘journeyman tailor’. After this, their trail went cold. There was no sign of them in the 1911 census, either in England or in Ireland.

But, new records are being released online all the time. This month, the General Register Office provided a new index to the historic birth and death registers for England and Wales. I wondered if they would shed any light on what happened to my great-grandaunt post-1901.

Teresa Anne Donovan was born on 18 May 1862. She was thirty-eight years old when she married William - not twenty-five like she told the census enumerators just six months later. Her child-bearing years were limited. She turned fifty in 1912. But, with the mother’s maiden name now included on births registered in the relevant period, if Teresa and William did have children, they should be easily identified.

The new index revealed only one potential child. Mary Teresa Corless was born in 1902, in Manchester. Her mother’s maiden name was Donovan. With both these unusual surnames - Corless and Donovan - showing on this one document, it certainly looked like a match. Was Mary Teresa my granny’s cousin? 

There was only one way to find out for sure – order her birth certificate. And, here it is:–

Birth of Mary Teresa Corless, 20 March 1902, Manchester
Copy Birth Register, Mary Teresa Corless, 1902, Manchester

So, Lena had a first cousin, Mary Teresa, born on 20 March 1902, at 25 Monsall Street, Manchester.

With that, I found the family in the 1911 census, in Manchester… I think. They were all listed under Teresa’s maiden name Donovan – not Corless. But, it has to have been them.

William Donovan was the head of the household, a tailor, born in Co. Galway. His wife, Teresa, was born in Dublin city, supposedly in about 1874 - she was never ‘good’ at estimating her age. William and Teresa were ten years married, with one child. Their daughter, Mary Teresa Donovan, aged nine, lived with them. And a fifty-six-year-old widow named Elizabeth Corless, maybe William’s older sister, was visiting with them on census night.

It was no mix-up. William signed the census schedule ‘William Donovan.’

Signature of William Corless, a.k.a. William Donovan, 1911 Census, Manchester
Signature of William Donovan, a.k.a. William Corless, 1911, Manchester

What do you make of that? Why would they have changed their name?

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© Black Raven Genealogy