Saturday, 26 September 2015

Genealogy Saturday: The French Connection

My grandda's first cousins had a very unusual surname, for Ireland - Perrody. According to the 1901 Census of Ireland, only one so called family resided in Dublin city - ours. There was nothing else for a budding genealogist to do but find out where they came from and despite its numerous variants, the surname was so rare, it was ripe for investigation.

My great-grandaunt, Isabella Wynne, married Richard Perrody, in St Audeon's Church in Dublin, on 6 November 1892.[1] At the time of their marriage, Richard worked a carpenter and had an address in Camden Street in Dublin - there was nothing to suggest he wasn't Irish. He left no clues as to his ancestral roots in the 1901 census either. Here, he said he was thirty-seven years old and born in Dublin.[2] Finding he had aged only one year in the ten years to 1911 did little to establish his credibility, so, I turned my attention to his father.[3] 

In Richard's marriage record, his father was named as Stephen Perrody. Stephen was a merchant tailor by trade. In 1854, he leased a house at 8 College Street, across from Trinity College Dublin.[4] The city’s trade directories show him working as a ‘tailor, draper and shirt maker’ at this address in 1855 and 1856.[5] 

In 1856, for whatever reason, Stephen Perrody of College Street was declared bankrupt and, as was customary then, the resulting court case was played out in the newspapers of the day. During the proceedings, Stephen was described as a ‘French tailor’, the first documentary hint that he might have been French or, at least, of French descent.[6] 


In April 1858, Stephen went to work at the ‘City House’ on Mary Street, advertised as being the 'largest woollen warehouse in Dublin'. He was going to manage their newly established tailoring department. A newspaper announcement for this venture described him as:
‘the celebrated French cutter, inventor and professor of that peculiar method of cutting, by which every kind of figure is fitted with the greatest advantage. Mons. P. has been very much appreciated on the Continent, where he has practiced for ten years. He is the credented agent of Mons. Lassus Taileur, Place des Italians, Paris, from whom he reserves and forwards patterns of the newest styles.’[7]
An old advertisement for Stephen’s tailoring business in College Street revealed his alternative given name – Etienne – the French equivalent of Stephen.[8] Under this name, I found newspaper coverage of another court case, in 1854, where Mr. and Mrs. Perrody sued a George and Henry O’Brien for assault. It was an exceedingly nasty case arising out of a dispute with a tenant, one Signor Foroni, their lodger of seven months.

The court heard, on the day in question, Signor Foroni was moving out. He invited George and Henry O’Brien into his room before asking for his final bill. Mrs. Perrody added on a charge for damages to the carpet, which Foroni refused to pay. The O’Brien lads then started breaking bottles around the room and when Mrs. Perrody complained they laughed at her. 

They were in the hall on their way out when her husband arrived home. When he too asked for compensation for damages,
‘the defendants collared him, dragged him about and pushed him against his shop window, forcing his head and shoulders through a pane of glass and his neck was cut by the broken glass.’  
Even more bizarrely, it seems, a policeman was standing nearby but did not intervene. The case concluded with George and Henry O’Brien being fined ten shillings each, plus ten shillings costs.

Most interesting, for our immediate purpose though, was Mrs. Perrody’s testimony that her husband could speak no word of English.[9]  He was definitely a Frenchman!

Then, inserting the name ‘Etienne Perrody’ into Google helped place him back in Paris. Etienne Perrody, a merchant tailor, was residing in rue de Richelieu, in Paris, when, in February 1837, he established a tailoring business, operating from his home.[10]
1838, French Fashions

The first record of the Perrody family in Ireland was the baptism of John Joseph, the son of 'Stephen and Maria Perredi', on 1 August 1851.[11] It seems likely John Joseph was Richard's elder brother. His baptism was in St Andrew's church in Westland Row, not far from College Street, although there is no sign of Richard’s later baptism there. 

There is some evidence Stephen and Maria moved to County Cork after the bankruptcy debacle, and had family there, although I am not sure how this was compatible with Stephen taking the job in City House. I don't know about this Cork branch, but it seems our Dublin branch of the Perrody family died out with Richard and Isabella's children. None of whom seemingly had a family. 

[1] Copy marriage register, General Register Office.
[2] Richard Perrody, Ranelagh Road, Dublin, 1901 Census of Ireland.
[3] Richard Perrody, Brunswick Street, Dublin, 1911 Census of Ireland. 

[4] Stephen Perody, College Street, Griffiths Valuation, 1854, FindMyPast (subscription site).
[5] Stephen Perody, College Street,Thom's Irish Almanac & Official Directory, 1855 and 1856, FindMyPast.
[6] Saunders's Newsletter, 30 August 1856, p. 3, FindMyPast.
[7] The Advocate: or, Irish Industrial Journal, 24 April 1858, p. 1, FindMyPast.
[8] Saunders's Newsletter, 19 January 1856, p. 3. 
[9] Saunders's Newsletter, 24 May 1854, p. 3. 
[10] Gazette des Tribunaux, Paris, 5 March 1837, p. 4, accessed Google Books.

[11] John Joseph Peride, Baptism register, 1851, St Andrew's, Dublin, accessed IrishGenealogy.ie


Image Credit: Gazette des Salons, 49, 5 September 1838, p. 860. 

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© 2015 Black Raven Genealogy

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