Saturday, 31 December 2016

Genealogy Highlights of 2016

As 2016 ends, it’s time for a recap of the year’s genealogy achievements. And, quite a few proverbial brick-walls, once considered insurmountable, have come crumbling down this year. It’s easy to visualise the progress via numbers. 

In short, I can now prove 50% of my direct ancestors from the last seven generations. That’s up 5%, or seven people, from when I last quantified the position back in 2015. There’s still a lot of work to do, obviously, but it’s progress none-the-less.

Ancestor Scorecard*

The year started off spectacularly well - I uncovered the origins of my elusive great-grandfather, Michael Byrne. He had been a slippery quarry, and it was only by discovering and tracing his little brother Tom that I finally made any headway. Not only did Tom lead me to the boys’ birthplace in Dun Laoghaire, but from there I found the names of their four grandparents (my third great-grandparents), and traced our Byrne lineage back as far as Athgarvan, Co. Kildare, in the 1830s. 

The other two probable third great-grandparents discovered in 2016 were also on Dad’s side. Laurence Coyle and Bridget Corcoran lived in Dublin city from at least the 1820s. These were Granny Lena’s ancestors. 

But, my mother’s family were not to be outdone. Just this month I located the long-sought marriage of my third great-grandparents, John and Mary Radcliffe, in Liverpool, England, in 1848.  This provided Mary’s maiden name, and the name of my fourth great-grandfather, John Leonard, a labourer. 

Rita and Moira (probably)
Still, it’s not just about discovering their names. I also want to learn about their lives. And, in 2016, blogging proved to be one of the best ways of accomplishing this. When I share stories about my ancestors, their other descendants sometimes find my blog. These long-lost cousins then frequently help fill in the gaps in my story and occasionally even send me pictures of our relatives.

This year I ‘met’ Carli from the U.S. She is the granddaughter of Moira Mapes. Moira, born Mary Pauline, was the daughter of James Percival Wynne, granda’s first cousin. Moira was probably once better known by her stage name, Moira Martell. She was part of a famous juggling act, the Martell Sisters. I wrote about them last year, here.  

From the same branch of our family tree, I also ‘met’ Kerry. Kerry’s grandmother, Nora (Wynne) Fogarty was James Percival’s sister, making her Moira’s aunt. Nora emigrated to Australia in the 1920s and raised her family there. I shared her story, here, and wrote about her father, my great-granduncle, James Wynne, here.

Probably, Nora and John Fogarty (standing) with
 John’s brother Thomas and Nora’s sister Moira (seated), 
Wedding photo, 1920

And, on Mam’s maternal line, I ‘met’ Margaret. Although born in Dublin, she has made her home in Canada. It was with Margaret’s help that I finally discovered what happened to my granduncle, John Byrne. 

Can you imagine if we all had a crazy big family reunion! What stories we'd have to share! 

Roll on 2017! If it’s even half as good as this year, it will be great. Will you be coming along for the ride? 

'Family History All Done? What’s Your Number?', Ancestry blog, 16 August 2012.

……………… 
© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 17 December 2016

More about Mary

Here’s my mother’s pedigree chart. See the blanks to the right where the names of her great-great-grandparents should appear. Well this week, I filled in one of those blanks!!! I even added the name of another of her great-great-great-grandfathers!  


Before the Wynnes get too excited, John Wynne’s parents have still not introduced themselves - they’re proving to be a shy and retiring bunch, quite unlike their living descendants. On the other hand, the names of John Devine’s parents are within my grasp and 2017 should see them brought back to the fold - I’m nearly sure of it. As for Margaret, the wife of John Hynes, there’s a strong chance her maiden name was Hayes, which just leaves Mary, the wife of John Radcliffe.

And, this week, I finally found a record of John and Mary’s marriage.

So, what did we already know about Mary?

Well, when her daughter Anne Radcliffe married Maurice Carroll in 1869, her parents were named as John and Mary Radcliffe from Yellow Walls (in Malahide, Co. Dublin). They didn’t give Mary’s maiden name but did record John’s occupation – he was a plasterer. We also knew Anne, who was born about 1849, grew up in Yellow Walls and married in the neighbouring town of Swords, her parish church.

We can surmise John was only about twenty-two years old when Anne was born. His baptism took place in Swords, in June 1827.  So, he was presumably not long married. His and Mary’s wedding ceremony probably took place about 1848.

In the 1901 and 1911 Irish census returns, Anne claimed she was born in Co. Dublin. But, there is no mention of her baptism in the Swords parish registers. There is no record of John and Mary’s marriage there either.

We also knew that by the mid-1850s, John Radcliffe was a widower. He left Anne with his parents in Yellow Walls for a new life in Australia. When he remarried in Melbourne in 1861, he claimed his first wife had died in April 1853, leaving only one child – presumably my great-great-grandmother. 

The only potential sighting of Anne as an infant with her parents was in Rainhill, in Liverpool, in the English census of 1851. There, I found a family meeting all the known criteria. John Ratcliffe, a plasterer (tick), aged twenty-four years (tick), born in Ireland (tick), lived with his wife Mary (tick), and their two-year-old daughter, Ann (tick, tick). Additionally, John’s sister-in-law, Ellen Slanety, aged ten years, lived with them. If this was my family, and I still suspect it was, the Slanety surname remains more a mystery than a clue.

Because, if I really have found John and Mary’s marriage, it took place in Liverpool and Mary’s maiden name was Leonard.

John Radcliffe and Mary Leonard were married in the Church of St Nicholas, Liverpool, on 25 January 1848, according to the rites and ceremonies of the Established Church. The marriage date is as expected, though it’s a surprise to find it taking place in a Protestant church. John’s family were Catholic. It makes me wonder if Mary was Protestant, and if perhaps they eloped.

Radcliffe-Leonard marriage, 1848, Liverpool, England

John’s claim to be ‘of full age’ was five months premature. But, as a minor, he needed his parent’s permission to get married. And, his parents were back in Ireland. So, perhaps he fibbed. That’s if he knew how old he was in the first place.

Everything else in this marriage document is consistent with the known facts. John was a plasterer. His father was named as Peter Ratcliffe, a painter. John was literate and, like Mary, he could sign the register. Both their witnesses only made their mark.

The birth index for England and Wales confirms a baby girl named Ann Radcliffe was born in Liverpool, in the last quarter of 1849. Her mother’s maiden name was ‘Lennard’. She may have been my great-great-grandmother. I’ve ordered her birth certificate to be sure.

Granda’s path to John and Mary Radcliffe

At the time of her marriage, Mary Leonard named her father as John Leonard, a labourer. Now, I wonder how we’ll ever find out more about him. There’s not much to go on.

……………………
© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Mummery and Trumpery ~ John Crosbie, Lucan, 1834

Further to last week’s post, I came up with another possible reason why my ancestors, Darby Keogh and Jane Crosbie, may have obtained a marriage licence in 1833. Perhaps, Jane was Protestant or 'known' within the Protestant community. Perhaps, a marriage licence, issued by a Church of Ireland bishop, was deemed the best insurance policy to ensure the validity of a potential 'mixed' marriage, scheduled to take place in the Roman Catholic parish of Lucan, Co. Dublin. 

You see, prior to 1870, marriages between Catholics and Protestants were invalid under Irish civil law, unless celebrated by a Church of Ireland minister. So, if Darby or Jane was a practising Protestant, a second ceremony probably took place in the Church of Ireland. Unfortunately, though, as far as testing my theory goes, we’re at a loss – Church of Ireland records for Lucan seemingly only survive post-1845.

There is little basis for this theory, it must be said. The priest made no such notation beside their marriage in the register and there was no hint of it in subsequent records relating to their lives. Still, it makes for interesting speculation when you hear the story of John Crosbie, a man who posthumously created pandemonium in Lucan, the following year.

First, bear in mind, Crosbie was an uncommon surname in Ireland and, at the time, as few as seventeen hundred people lived in Lucan.[1] There’s a good chance everyone in the town bearing the Crosbie name was related. And, remember also, a John Crosbie witnessed Darby and Jane’s marriage. He could have been Jane’s father. 

Anyway, according to this story, John Crosbie, a practising Protestant, married a Catholic woman. And, on his deathbed, much to the chagrin of his Protestant minister, he 'converted' to Catholicism. The minister delivered a mighty sermon in Lucan Church afterwards. The intolerance he expressed towards his Catholic neighbours may border on paranoia, but, don’t forget, it occurred just five years after Catholic Emancipation, an alarming time for any Protestant minister in Ireland. 

The question that may never be answered is, was Rev. Ould talking about my GGGG-grandfather?

Death of John Crosbie, Lucan, 1834
Cork Constitution19 February 1835, p. 3

The full text of Rev. Ould’s sermon:-[2] 

The True Nature of the Church of Rome and the Duty of Protestants towards her
'There is no parish minister but must expect, there is no faithful one that will not be prepared against, such conversions as have given risen to this Sermon. The truly useful, pious and devoted clergyman who now comes before the public, has never been afraid, and never, under God’s blessing, will be ashamed to show himself watchful in his great Master’s cause; and however liberals and latitudinarians may sneer and say, he need not have thrown away voice or type in making such a pother about an old besotted pensioner, whose soul might have gone to purgatory, and his carcase might have been bandied about by the Papists, with all their mummery and trumpery, without a minister troubling himself about the matter; 
yet we deem that Mr Ould was called on to make this exposure of the mean arts – the stern bigotry – the untired persecution with which such a poor Protestant, stupified by illness, was besieged, when married to a Popish wife, and when surrounded by none but those who think that all who do not confess to a priest must inevitably go to hell – that these poor ignorant creatures that surround a dying Protestant’s bed, should thus unite in giving him no rest until he consents to surrender to their good intentions, is most natural, and we would be almost inclined to place it to the account of their good nature, were we not assured that it is more to gain a triumph for their cause, more to confound their Protestant neighbours with the sight of a living Protestant being turned into a dead Papist, than any concern whatsoever for the state of the departing soul. 
But that a priest, an educated man, should be found lending himself to all this bigotry and delusion that he should administer to this malignant triumph of his flock, and dare to bolster up the hope of the dying man, by putting him through the exercise of a momentary confession, and the anointing with a bit of grease. We say this is monstrous, and we announce that the man who practiced such delusions must, indeed, be part and parcel of that mystical Babylon and mother of abomination, which, for all her harlotry with which she has deceived the nations, the Lord will destroy with the breath of his mouth in the brightness of his coming, - Mr. Ould, in this discourse, in a very animated and feeling way warns his young Protestant hearers, of the ruinous consequences of marriages with Roman Catholics.' 
Rev. Fielding Ould, A.B. Perpetual Curate of Lucan. 
  

[1] Comparative Extract of the population of Ireland, 1821 and 1831, p. 4, HC, 1833, accessed on EPPI
[2]The true Nature of the Church of Rome...', a sermon by Rev. Fielding Ould, A.B. Perpetual Curate of Lucan, published in The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine for 1834, v.iii, p. 938, by William Curry, Jun. and Co., Dublin, 1834, accessed on Google Books.

 ……………………
© Black Raven Genealogy

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

……………
© 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.

………………
© 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?

………………
© Black Raven Genealogy


Saturday, 12 November 2016

Hickey cousins in New York

Like generations of Irish before them, Mary Anne Byrne, my great-grandfather’s half-sister, was tempted by the promise of a better life in America. She married Michael Hickey at home in Co. Kildare in July 1886 and in August 1887 gave birth to her son John in Manhattan. Sadly, the Hickey family did not find the streets of New York paved with gold after all. Their lives, at least the ones I’ve been able to trace, mostly ended early, and some in the most unfortunate circumstances. 

On the face of it, their American dream started off well enough and appeared quite typical of an Irish emigrant’s experience in New York. After John, sons Michael and William were born, followed by a daughter Theresa in 1893, another son Andrew in 1896, and finally, twins James and Paul in 1898.

Within twelve years of their arrival in the U.S., Michael applied for citizenship. The family lived at 356 10th Avenue in Manhattan and Michael worked as a paver. A clerk at the Supreme Court, George Sweeney, provided a character reference, describing Michael as ‘a good, honest, steady, working-man’. Michael, and by proxy his wife, became U.S. citizens shortly thereafter.


And then, everything started to go wrong for the family. 

One of the twins, baby Paul, died on 10 August 1899. He was just eight months old. His mother, Mary Anne, my half-great-grandaunt, followed him on 8 December 1904. She was only thirty-nine years old. Michael never remarried.

The three eldest boys, John, Michael and William, may well have married and started a family, but so far everything indicates they too died young. John’s death, at the age of thirty-one years, occurred on 25 October 1918, and a 1939 newspaper account of Andrew’s death indicates he left behind his father, his sister, and only one brother, James.

When Andrew Hickey signed up to serve his country during World War I, he was twenty-two years of age, five foot, five inches tall and of slender build. He had blue eyes and red hair. Andrew was a corporal in the 52nd Pioneer Infantry and saw combat in France. He was honourably discharged at the end of the war and returned home, supposedly unwounded.

Headstone of Andrew Joseph Hickey (1896-1939),  Long Island National Cemetery
Headstone of Andrew Joseph Hickey,
Long Island National Cemetery

But, Andrew Hickey died just twenty years later. His father and sister came home and found his body on the floor in the bathroom, near an open gas jet. The local newspaper said Andrew was unemployed for a considerable time. The police had not at that stage ruled his death as either accidental or suicide.

What compounds this tragedy though is that, a few years later, his sister Theresa followed his example. She married William Sharkey in 1919, but it was not a happy match. They seemingly had no children. And, at the time of her death, they were separated – Theresa lived in Astoria, while William lived in Brooklyn. On 10 April 1943, neighbours smelled gas coming from her apartment and called the police. Déjà vu for her father and brother James!

The police knocked down her door and found Theresa’s body on the couch, with a man named Edward Feely lying dead on the floor nearby. There were four open gas jets on the range in the next room. Although they did not leave a note, the police immediately listed the case as a suicide pact. It was not Theresa’s first attempt at killing herself. The previous month, she was found semi-conscious in her apartment with two gas jets open. When revived, she refused to go to the hospital.

Isn’t that so sad? What could have gone so terribly wrong for this family in New York? These were my grandfather’s first cousins – well, half first cousins – sharing their grandfather, John Byrne.  

Their father, Michael Hickey, reached a good age. He was well into his eighties when he passed away in July 1946, leaving his youngest son James alone in the city of his birth. It is James I feel sorry for, most. At some stage, he moved to Chester, in Orange Co., New York, where he died in 1970. 


Sources: ‘New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909’,  ‘New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795­1949’, New York, ‘New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940’, FamilySearch; ‘New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1929’, ‘New York, Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919’, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 ‘, Ancestry (subscription); Long Island Star–Journal, 4 Nov. 1939, p. 1, and 10 Apr. 1943, p.1, Old Fulton New York Post CardsImage: Headstone of Andrew Joseph Hickey, added by XCHIEF, Findagrave.

……………… 
© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Reading between the lines

My great-grandfather, Michael Byrne, lost his mother, in January 1869, when he was barely a year old. Michael and his little brother Thomas were reared by their maternal aunt, in Malahide, Co. Dublin. John Byrne, the boys’ father, worked as a servant in Monkstown, on the other side of Dublin. It is not known if he kept in contact with his sons, following their mother's death. 

Did John Byrne ever visit his boys in Malahide? Did he send money towards their keep? Did Michael and Thomas spend holidays at the Byrne family home, situated in Athgarvan, in Co. Kildare? These are not the type of questions normally answered by standard genealogy documents – unless, perhaps, you can read between the lines.

As mentioned previously on this blog, John Byrne was married before he met Michael’s mother. His first wife was Mary Markey. Mary moved to Athgarvan, shortly after their marriage, presumably taking their infant daughter with her. We know John, who worked and lived in Monkstown, visited her often, as further children were born there at regular intervals. 

Andrew was baptised in August 1862, followed by John in August 1863, James in August 1864 and Mary Anne in November 1865. These were my great-grandfather’s half-siblings. I wondered what happened to them after their mother died in December 1865, and if any of them survived her passing.

And this week, I found out Mary Anne, the youngest girl, born only two months before her mother died, did survive. She married Michael Hickey in the parish church, in Newbridge, on 12 July 1886. Perhaps she was raised by her Granny Byrne, or maybe by her aunts and uncles, in Athgarvan, while her father worked in Dublin.

Marriage 1886, Michael Hickey, Rathilla and Mary Anne Byrne, Athgarvan
Hickey-Byrne, 1886, Naas, Copy marriage register, General Register Office

Anyway, by the time of Mary Anne’s marriage, John Byrne was working as a butler. He was only a mere servant when she was born, so this represented quite a promotion. It’s interesting - he was also down as a servant when Michael and Thomas were born, and when their mother died in 1869. But, when Michael married Elizabeth Mahon in August 1892, they also claimed John was a butler. 

So, reading between the lines, Michael knew of his father’s subsequent career advancement, suggesting they obviously did keep in touch over the years.  Now, isn’t that good to know!

…………………
© Black Raven Genealogy


Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Hayes Theory

Many people researching their genealogy trace their ancestors with relative ease, backing up their findings with reams of supporting ‘proof’. Our family history, on the other hand, is an ever-broken jigsaw. First, every piece must be painstakingly found and, even then, there’s little certainty it truly belongs in our ancestral puzzle.

Take my great-great-grandmother, Bridget Hynes, for example. When I first started researching her family, I knew nothing about her. She married John Wynne on 16 September 1849, in Dublin, but their marriage document contained no information about her family. Tracing her life forward revealed little else. One major clue - her granddaughter’s claim she was from Co. Limerick - was verified by the Irish prison registers. And, when she died in December 1895, she was said to have been 64 years old, so born about 1831. That’s everything I could find out about her origins.

And, Limerick was a big place. It was far too big to start looking for a Bridget Hynes - any Bridget Hynes - baptised there, probably in or around 1831. How would I know if I came upon the right child?  ‘Bridget Hynes’ seemed like an insurmountable dead-end!

Now, after years of research, I’ve gradually pieced together a picture of her family. She had a sister Catherine (Hynes) Tucker and a brother Edward Hynes. They proved to be the key to unlocking some of the secrets of Bridget’s past – including her parent’s names.

We know for sure Bridget and Catherine were sisters. The Tuckers and the Wynnes often acted as Godparents for each other’s children, providing evidence of a close relationship. Plus, a letter to Bridget’s daughter Mary, in Colorado, was signed ‘your fond aunt, Kate Tucker’. 

When Catherine married James Tucker on 1 June 1857 in Dublin, her father, John Hynes, had an address in Limerick city. And, Margaret Hynes, of about the right age and presumably her mother, shares Catherine’s grave at Glasnevin Cemetery.

There’s also little doubt Edward Hynes was Bridget and Catherine’s brother. When he married Bridget Rodgers in February 1868, in Dublin, his parents were said to have been John and Margaret Hynes. At the time, Edward lived at 104 Thomas Street, the same address where Bridget’s son Patrick Wynne was born just one month earlier. And, Catherine’s husband, James Tucker, witnessed their marriage. Frustratingly, no record was kept of his mother’s maiden name. 

Their marriage register showed the bride’s parents were ‘dead’, while Edward’s lived at 104 Thomas Street. So, at least one of Edward’s parents left Limerick for Dublin and was alive in 1868. And, we know Margaret Hynes, the widow of a carpenter, died in Dublin in 1884, but we do not yet know when or where John Hynes died. He was not found in the burial register for Glasnevin Cemetery, suggesting he may have died back in Limerick.

Still, as the names of five people in Bridget’s immediate family are now known, it makes her a tad more recognisable, should her baptism be found. And, a search of the main online church registers across Ireland yielded only one child named Bridget, daughter of John and Margaret Hynes, baptised within ten years of 1831. Plus, her baptism took place in St Mary’s Parish - in Limerick city - on 6 July 1830. Her mother’s maiden name was Margaret HAYES.

Were these my ancestors? It is certainly a close match – right names, right time, right place and nothing to rule it out.

John Hynes and Margaret Hayes baptised two other children in St Mary’s Limerick - their son John on 13 June 1833, followed by their son Edmond on 25 August 1835. There was no sign of a daughter named Catherine, our Bridget’s known sister, but, the name Edmond was a common variant of Edward, her brother.  Another match!

John Hynes and Margaret Hayes married in St Mary’s in Limerick on 5 February 1826, leaving a gap where other children may have been born. Although nothing links them definitively to our known Hynes family in Dublin, they remain the couple deemed most likely to have been my ancestors. I’m still waiting to find that one crucial piece of the jigsaw that proves they belong in this picture.  

………..........
© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 8 October 2016

James Wynne – a man of music

Blogging about your ancestors hugely increases the chances of connecting with their other descendants, and this year has been no exception. I love meeting new cousins and swapping ancestor stories with them. Plus, they usually have far more surviving family photos than my direct line.

And, so it was when I ‘met’ my third cousin from Australia. She’d gathered together quite a few tales about her great-grandfather, James Wynne. Like all family lore, these stories may have become a little distorted in the retelling, and they were likely prone to some exaggeration here and there, but undoubtedly they contained a kernel of truth, nonetheless.

James Wynne was my great-granduncle, born on 25 November 1857, in Thomas Street, Dublin city. He worked as a brush-maker, probably at the Varian Brush Factory in Talbot Street, just like most of his brothers. In 1892, he married Christina Kavanagh and together they had five children - John Augustin, Nora Isabel, James Percival, Moira J, and Edward Patrick.

Supposedly, James Wynne (1857-1935)

The above picture, thought to be of James Wynne, was found among his grandson’s possessions. Do you see a resemblance to either his brother Patrick or to his sister Mary, below? I’ve only found pictures of two of his siblings, so far. 

Patrick Wynne (1868 – 1937) & Mary (Wynne) Finley (1860 – 1934)
Patrick Wynne (1868-1937) & Mary (Wynne) Finley (1860-1934)

According to the information passed down via James Wynne’s grandson, James was ‘a very fine singer’.  Supposedly, he even became choirmaster for the Palestrina Choir of St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. There’s no doubt we should take this claim with a pinch of salt, but another account makes him choirmaster of a Dominican choir in Dublin. Somewhere within this family lore lies the truth, and it’s fairly certain James was a man of music, with associations to a church choir. 

A third story, also originally told by James Wynne’s grandson, again refers to his musical talents. James died of bronchitis on 15 March 1935, twelve years after the death of his wife, Christina.  His grandson recollected, immediately after his funeral, ‘Lily [the wife of James Percival] put all his music, including his own compositions, under the copper and burnt it, which particularly upset Nora [his mother, and James Wynne’s daughter] and the whole family’.

That is the type of calamity that would probably have happened in our branch of the Wynnes too.

Image credits: James Wynne, courtesy of his great-granddaughter Kerry in Australia; Mary Wynne, courtesy of her great-granddaughter Phyllis in California; Patrick Wynne, author’s own collection.

……………….
© Black Raven Genealogy