Saturday, 11 January 2014

The girl next door

James Byrne, son of Francis Byrne and Margaret McGrane, was my great-grandfather. From the time he was a small child, he lived in Lower Jane Place, Seville Place, north of the river Liffey in Dublin.  My great-grandmother was Christina Devine, the daughter of John Devine and Maryanne Keogh. She was born on 19 December 1867, more than six years before James, who was born on 18 May 1874. The age gap did not keep them apart and their marriage took place in their local St Lawrence O’Toole’s church, Seville Place, on 29 August 1897. In the late 1890s, the Devines lived at number 31 Lower Jane Place and the Byrnes at number 30. James had fallen for the girl next door.

General Register Office, Byrne-Devine marriage register, 1897 

The witnesses to the marriage were Michael McGrane, James’s maternal uncle, and Mary Anne Keegan. Mary Anne Keegan was also bridesmaid for Catherine Devine, Christina’s elder sister, the following year.   Thinking she could be a close relation of the Devines, I did a little digging into Mary Anne’s origins.  While her relationship to the family, if any, has not yet been established, interestingly, it seems that Mary Anne also married the fella next door.

At the time of the 1901 census, Mary Anne Keegan, age 24, was living with her parents at 9 Storeys Cottages, Mayor Street, not too far from the Devines. Patrick Gain’s family were living next door, at number 10. Findmypast’s ‘MarriageFinder’ tool allowed me to identify their potential marriage in Dublin North in the final quarter of 1903 and the 1911 census showed Patrick and Mary Anne Gain, living at 9 Storeys Cottages, with their seven year old son, John.

So the genealogical moral of this story is, if you do not know who someone married, check out the neighbours!

Sources available on request.

© 2014 Black Raven Genealogy

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