Saturday, 4 March 2017

Leahy family research ~ Homing in on Alicia

My great-great-granny on Dad’s side was Alicia Leahy. I discovered her name only last year, when the genealogy brick wall around Michael Byrne finally crumbled. Alicia married Michael's father, John Byrne, in St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin city, on 27 January 1867.  And although I’ve barely started to research the Leahy family, I know quite a bit about them already.

Alicia had a sister, Mary. Mary, coincidentally, is already well-documented in my family tree. You remember, Ma Power, the lady who not only raised Dad’s mother, but was also once married Mam’s great-great-granduncle? It turned out Ma Power, aka Mary (Leahy, Radcliffe) Power, was a blood-relation too – She was Alicia’s sister, my great-grandfather’s aunt

In addition, Alicia’s parents were consistently named as Michael and Bridget Leahy, not only at the time of her marriage to John Byrne, but also in the record of Mary’s marriage to Christopher Radcliffe in 1866, and again when Mary married Michael Power in 1873.  Plus, one record - Mary’s 1866 church marriage register - revealed Bridget’s maiden name was Lynch.

So far, I’ve only found a single estimate of when Alicia was born and that was in the register of her death. She died on 9 January 1869, supposedly aged twenty-nine years, suggesting her birth occurred in or around 1839. Elizabeth Cullen was the informant, but it is not known how well Elizabeth knew Alicia or how accurately she could estimate her age - they may have been merely sharing a house while Alicia’s husband, a servant, resided with his employer.

Mary Power, on the other hand, survived the two extant Irish census returns. In 1901, she claimed she was fifty-four years old and born in Co. Dublin (in about 1847) and in 1911, she said she was sixty-nine years old and narrowed her birthplace down to Dublin city (in about 1842).

So, that’s four people in my Leahy family we can be sure of – my third-great-grandparents, Michael and Bridget Leahy, and their two daughters, Alicia and Mary. Couple that with the indication Alicia and Mary were born in the 1830s and 1840s, perhaps in Dublin city – it makes for a good start.

Especially as there was a Leahy family living in Dublin city around that time who look particularly promising…
  1. Alicia Lehey, the daughter of Michael and Bridget Lehey, was baptised in St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral on 9 January 1833, sponsored by Patrick Hatigan and Honor McAllister.
  2. Michael Lahey, the son of Michael and Bridget Lahey, was baptised in St Andrew’s on 12 January 1835, sponsored by Margaret Reddy.
  3. Timothy Lahy, the son of Michael and Bridget Lahy, was baptised in St Andrew’s on 13 January 1840, sponsored by Patrick Askens and Anne Hyland.
  4. Mary Leahy, the daughter of Michael and Bridget Leahy, was baptised in St Andrew’s on 28 March 1842, sponsored by Anne Levy.
Alicia Lehey, Baptism register, Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, 9 January 1833

Was this the baptism record of my great-great-grandmother Alicia, in 1833? – It would make her six years older than estimated when she died, and eight years older than her husband. She would have been nearly thirty-five when her son Michael was born and thirty-six when baby Thomas came along.  It’s not an unreasonable proposition.

Given Bridget’s maiden name was not provided in the baptism registers, there is a chance these records relate to two (or maybe more) separate families, especially as the Pro-Cathedral and St Andrew's are on opposite sides of the River Liffey.

Still, let’s see what else I can find out.

Continued at More Leahy family research

© Black Raven Genealogy


  1. You are building a family, one little bit at a time.

  2. Yes, thanks Colleen, Irish genealogy is often a slow process, especially pre-about 1850, but I do love bringing the long-forgotten back into the fold.


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