Saturday 7 January 2017

Birth of Ann Radcliffe

Happy New Year, everybody!

There were no new genealogy discoveries made in this house over the past week - I’ve been spending my time with living family. But, Ann Radcliffe’s birth certificate arrived in the post. She was born at 40 Addison Street in Liverpool, England, on 19 October 1849.

Birth Ann Radcliffe, Liverpool, October 1849

She was baptised on 28 October 1849 in St Anthony's Roman Catholic Church on Scotland Road nearby, though this record gives her birthday as 20 October.  

I'm fairly certain both documents relate to my great-great-grandmother, Anne Ratcliffe, who grew up in Malahide, Co. Dublin, and married Maurice Carroll in 1869. So far, she’s the only one of my ancestors found born outside of Ireland.

Her parents were named as John and Mary Radcliffe, which is correct. And, although Radcliffe was a common name throughout Lancashire, her father worked as a plasterer, also correct, narrowing things down a bit more.

Plus, a matching family were found in Rainhill, just ten miles east of Liverpool, at the time of the 1851 census. John, a plasterer, Mary his wife, and their two-year-old daughter, Ann, lived at 127 Kendrick’s Cross in the village. True, the Ann born in October 1849 was only seventeen months old when this census was taken, not yet two years as shown, so it’s not a perfect match.

Also, it’s still unclear who Ellen Slanety was, the ten-year-old school-girl sharing the Ratcliffe family's home in Rainhill. She was listed as John’s sister-in-law, so presumably Mary’s sister.  But, as far as I can tell at this point, Mary’s surname was Leonard, or Lennard - another kink yet to be overcome. 

Nevertheless, the John Ratcliffe in Rainhill in 1851 was born in Ireland, where the Radcliffe/Ratcliffe surname was extremely rare. Our John was a widower and living in Australia by the end of the decade, and this family were not found in any subsequent census returns in England. So, with all the matching criteria, the family cannot be easily dismissed.

It's also interesting to find a Thomas Leonard heading up a household of Irish-born agricultural labourers at 125 Kendrick’s Cross in 1851, just two doors down from the Ratcliffe family. Perhaps, he was related to Mary and maybe he’ll open the door to her past.

© Black Raven Genealogy


  1. Happy New Year, Dara. This sounds promising. Good move checking out the neighbors! ~ Cathy

  2. Thanks Cathy, sometimes the neighbours are the only available clue!

  3. Dara, it is interesting how genealogy pops up [sometimes in the mail box] even when we are busy with our lives. A birth certificate is a great document to have, even if it raises questions. I've found birth & baptism records that seem reversed. These ancestors don't want to be too predictable. ha!

  4. Colleen, this family were anything but predictable! Normally, I place more reliance on an Irish baptism over a birth record - babies were christened soon after birth, whereas birth registrations could be delayed, and to avoid a late registration fee birth dates could be misreported - I'm not sure if this was also true abroad.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!