Saturday, 28 November 2015

Genealogy Saturday: The story of Mark Radcliffe

From before his marriage in 1825, my fourth great-grandfather, Peter Radcliffe, lived in Malahide, Co. Dublin, where he plied his trade as a painter-cum-plasterer.  I suspect his parents were Thomas Ratty and Mary Cullen from the nearby parish of Baldoyle.

Thomas and Mary had a son Peter born in November 1798, around the same time as our Peter, so, to help ‘prove’ their son and my ancestor was one and the same man, I’m investigating their other children.  And this week, I’m on the trail of Mark Radcliffe (nickname Ratty), my would-be fourth great-granduncle, born in Baldoyle in January 1797.

No further record of Mark was found in Baldoyle, apart from in 1838, when he sponsored the baptism of his niece, Mary Harford.  

But he turned up in St Michan's parish in Dublin city in February 1825, when he married Anne Broderick. The names of their children followed a similar naming pattern to those chosen in our Radcliffe family, though in Mark's branch, Thomas and Christopher both died as infants. They also had a son John, born in 1835, the same name as my third great-grandfather. 

Mark's first wife Anne died, at the age of thirty-six years, in 1837. It was many years before he remarried, but in May 1850, he married Mary Anne Callaghan. Mary Anne was seemingly of the Protestant faith, for the couple married in St Thomas, Church of Ireland parish. This turned out to be a truly lucky break for us!

Church of St Thomas, Marlborough Street, Dublin, c. 1890

From 1845 onward, non-Catholic marriages were required to be registered in Ireland. So, additional details, not normally kept for Catholic marriages, are now available – i.e. the names and occupations of the couple's fathers.

Mark's father was confirmed as being Thomas Radcliffe. Thomas was said to have been a painter by trade – just like our Peter Radcliffe. Trades were often passed down from father to son, so this is certainly yet another point in favour of the proposition that Thomas was Peter's father. 

Mark and his new wife moved to 9 Little Strand Street, a tenement home on the north shores of the River Liffey, and there they began their family. Their son Mark was born in 1853, and daughters Catherine, Elizabeth and Margaret followed in 1856, 1858 and 1860. The children were baptised in the Roman Catholic faith, at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral.

In 1862, Mark, suffering from bronchitis, was admitted to the infirmary in the North Dublin Union Workhouse. His appearance at the time was described as being ‘tolerably good and clean’. He spent six months in the infirmary before being deemed fit for release.

Sadly, this was not Mark's sole stay at the workhouse. On his second visit, his appearance had deteriorated somewhat and he was said to have had ‘scanty and bad clothes’. This time, Mark was not released from the workhouse. Nearly five months later, on 12 November 1865, Mark died. 

Mark's story, while not overlapping with our Peter Radcliffe's, does not rule out his relationship to our family. On balance, it tends to increase the probability Thomas Ratty, the painter, was my fifth great-grandfather.

Sources: Church Records, IrishGenelaogy.ieNorth Dublin Union Workhouse, Dublin Workhouses Admission & Discharge Registers 1840-1919, (subscription required).

Image Credit: St Thomas Church, Dublin, Wikimedia Commons.  

© 2015 Black Raven Genealogy  


  1. Sounds like you're closing in on the Radcliffe's. Good work!