Saturday, 18 March 2017

More Leahy family research

This month I was hoping to prove our family connection to the Michael and Bridget Leahy living in Dublin city in the 1830s and 1840s. They christened a daughter Alicia Lehey in the Pro-Cathedral in January 1833, before moving to St Andrew’s parish, where Michael Lahey was christened in January 1835, followed by Timothy Lahy in January 1840 and Mary Leahy in March 1842.

Alicia Leahy was my great-great-granny’s name and she had a known sister, Mary. Their parents were Michael and Bridget Leahy. Mary claimed she was born in Dublin city about 1842.[1] So, on the surface at least, this family looks like a shoo-in.

And, on the plus side, there was only one marriage of an Alicia Leahy found in the online church records for Dublin city, and that was my great-great-grandmother’s marriage to John Byrne in 1867. And, when paired with parents Michael and Bridget, the only marriage of a Mary Leahy found was that of my great-great-grandaunt to Christopher Radcliffe in 1866. Sometimes, what you don’t find is as informative as what you do, and I didn’t find another potential Leahy family in the city.

There was no sign of a subsequent marriage for Timothy christened in 1840, but a one-year-old infant with the same name, and an address in Leeson Lane in St Andrew’s parish, was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in 1841.[2] Which leaves only Michael to trace forward…

And, a Michael Leahy of 26 Cuffe Street, Dublin, married Ellen Hyland on 6 December 1854, in St Peter’s Church of Ireland. His father was also Michael Leahy. They both worked as servants.  

However, Michael claimed he was ‘of full age’ when he married Ellen, i.e. over twenty-one years old, and the Michael christened in 1835 would have been barely twenty. Still, he could have overstated his age. Minors required parental consent to marry and it might not have been forthcoming. Perhaps his parents were already dead, or maybe they objected to him marrying a Protestant.

It wasn’t uncommon in mixed marriages then for some of the children to be baptised Protestant and others Catholic, and this was the case here. I’m not sure yet quite what to make of the delayed baptism dates.

Birth date
Home Address
23 Mar 1857
27 Mar 1857
27 Cuffe St
St Nicholas, RC
27 Aug 1860
26 Sep 1862
19 Albert Pl
St Andrew, RC
Mary Bridget
1 Feb 1863
16 Feb 1863
35 Erne St
St Andrew, RC
Mary Anne
15 Mar 1862
6 Dec 1863
35 Upper Erne St
St Mark, COI
24 Nov 1865
6 Dec 1865
35 Upper Erne St
St Mark, COI

Nonetheless, their Godparents’ names suggest Michael belonged to my target Leahy family - Maria Leahy sponsored Elisha’s baptism, while Alice Leahy sponsored Mary Bridget’s. If these children were baptised later, after my Alicia and Mary had taken their husband’s surnames, they’d have been easier to claim as my family – or not.

More tellingly, perhaps, my great-great-grandmother was generally called Alicia, pronounced a-LEE-sha – not usually Alice - and not just in church records known to favour a Latinised form. Perhaps Michael and Ellen chose this name for their eldest daughter too, and the priest wrote it as Elisha. Both names sound similar. Plus, it’s doubtful the priest meant it as a Latinised form of Elizabeth, given the next child in that register was named Elizabetha. Maybe this is indicative of a familial relationship.  

Fathers’ occupations are normally recorded in civil marriage registers. But, when Mary married Christopher the information was omitted entirely. He was expressly described as having ‘no trade’ when Alicia married John. And on Mary’s marriage to Michael Power, in Co. Dublin in 1873, he was listed as a clerk. He was never described as a servant, like in Michael’s marriage. Yet, you must admit, my third great-grandfather’s occupation is uncertain. And, my Leahy family worked in domestic service – Alicia’s husband was a butler, and before her marriage, Mary was a servant.[3]

Finally, for now, Michael’s address in Cuffe Street at the time of his marriage creates another ‘coincidence’. The address given for my third-great-grandparents in 1867 was also Cuffe Street, though by 1873, they were supposedly in ‘Co. Meath’.

There are still too many question marks hanging over my Leahy family to offer a conclusion, but I do know, it’s the absence of these ‘little coincidences’ that usually signals the death-knell for my genealogy theories. So, I’ll keep on trucking…

Main source: Church records on IrishGenealogy.ieIreland Roman Catholic Parish Marriages', Findmypast.
[1] 1911 Census of Ireland, National Archives.
[2] Genealogy index, Glasnevin Trust.
[3] Copy marriage registers, General Register Office.

See previous post: Homing in on Alicia

© Black Raven Genealogy


  1. I admire your restraint. I'd be tempted to say, "Case closed."

    1. If only I had something linking this family to Alicia or Mary after their marriages - then, I might be happy, and it might also help if I had not completely lost their trail after Michael was christened in Nov. 1865.

  2. Well, there are just enough open questions not to close the case quite yet...but it looks like you're hot on the trail! Good luck.

    1. Thanks Marian, it's good to hear others agree it's a good hypothesis - when I struggle to find 'the proof', I sometimes imagine I might suffer from wishful thinking.

  3. Definitely seems you're on the right track! Good Luck getting that final piece to lock it in.

    Love reading your blog!

  4. I also think you are on the right track, hopefully you'll find some other proof that links it all together.

    1. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment, Svetlana, I appreciate it.

  5. Dara, your research is amazing. I hope you can answer all your questions and say, "This is my family!"

    1. That is such a lovely compliment from you Colleen, I do enjoy following your research too. and it would be great to definitively claim them as mine.