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 her baptism 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. 

Update: a new hypothesis regarding their need for a marriage licence - See  Mummery and Trumpery ~ John Crosbie, Lucan, 1834.

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