Sunday 30 June 2019

Robert O'Carroll (1860-1942)

This post continues the series tracing the children of my great-great-grandfather, Maurice Carroll. He had five children with his first wife, Mary Anne Frazer, and ten children with my great-great-grandmother, Anne Radcliffe, but many of them seemingly vanished after migrating to North East England. Robert Carroll, who in later years changed his name Robert O'Carroll, remained in Dublin.

He was the second child born to Maurice Carroll and his first wife and was baptised in Donabate, Co. Dublin, on 25 July 1860. It's likely Robert was raised as Maurice's eldest son. No trace of his older brother David has been found, not since his baptism in St James’ Church in Dublin city, in December 1857, fourteen months before his parent's marriage.

Robert Carroll was raised as a country boy in Balheary, near Swords, in north Co. Dublin. His father worked as a coachman for a wealthy family in the area. Robert's mother died of phthisis (tuberculosis) when he only seven years old, and seventeen months later his father married my great-great-grandmother. It's not clear who minded him, or his younger siblings, during the intervening period. When their mother died, James, the youngest, was only two years old.

As a young man, Robert moved to Dublin city, perhaps following his father who lived in the city since before about 1888. Also like his father, Robert worked with horses. At various times during his lifetime, he was described as a coachman, a groom, and a livery man. Maybe he inherited that 'horse mad' gene, still prominent across some branches of Maurice Carroll's descendants today.

On 16 September 1893, aged 33 years, Robert Carroll married Mary Dunne, a woman from Courtnacuddy, near Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. They had their wedding ceremony in St Andrew's church, Westland Row, Dublin. Robert's brother James was his best man, while Mary's bridesmaid was an Agnes Lynch.

Source: Catholic parish registers at the NLI, St. Andrew's, Microfilm 09500-02, p. 62

Robert and Mary had nine children:-

Mary Anne Carroll was born on 5 April 1894. At the time of the 1901 census she was staying with her uncle Michael Dunne in Courtnacuddy. In 1911 she was back living with her parents and siblings in Dublin. Then 16 years old, Mary Anne, or Marian G. as she was named, was working as a monitress, assisting the teacher in a primary school - a position reserved for the very best of students.

Kathleen (a.k.a. Katie and Catherine) Carroll was born around 4 July 1895. Before the age of 15 years, she left school and worked as a biscuit packer in a factory, maybe Jacobs Biscuit factory. She married Joseph Prendergast, a soldier in the British Army, when she was 23 years old. After Joseph left the army, he worked as a shoe repairer, and they lived in Dublin city. Kathleen died of Hodgkin's disease on 16 February 1939, aged 43 years.

Maurice Joseph Carroll was born on 14 September 1896. Sadly, on 1 September 1900, this little toddler died in a tragic accident at home. He fractured his skull in a fall from the top-floor window.

Death Maurice Joseph Carroll, 4 years, son of Robert and Mary Carroll
Source: Freeman's Journal, 4 Sep. 1900

Robert Andrew Carroll was born 29 November 1898. He was found living with his uncle Michael Dunne in Co. Wexford when the 1911 census was taken. He became a bootmaker when he left school. Robert also died young. He caught tuberculosis and passed away, aged 18 years, on 31 March 1917.

James Carroll was born on 19 January 1902. He became a shoemaker when he left school. James never married. He was the only one of Robert and Mary's four sons to outlive them. He was with them both when they died and registered their deaths. Poor James died in Portrane Mental Hospital, Co. Dublin, on 23 September 1957, aged 55 years. He suffered from emphysema for some years and died of chronic bronchitis. He was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.

Eileen Margaret Carroll was born on 20 September 1904. She married Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, a baker, on 14 February 1931 in the Church of St Nicholas, Dublin.

Theresa Christina Carroll was born on 16 December 1906. She went by the name Rita. On 17 July 1940, she married Michael O'Grady, the librarian in the science library at U.C.D.

Source: Irish Press, 18 Jul. 1940, p. 9

Beatrice (Betty) Carroll was Robert and Mary's youngest daughter, born on 12 September 1909. Unmarried, she was bridesmaid for her sister Rita in 1940, but no record of her has been found since then.

Raymond Vincent Carroll was their youngest son, born on 2 July 1912, though Robert and Mary had to bury this little tot too. He died of tuberculosis meningitis on 12 June 1917, the month before his fifth birthday, and two months after the death of his brother Robert.

The end of the ninetheenth century saw a Gaelic revival in Ireland, where many families began reinstating either the O or Mc prefixes in their surnames. The Carrolls were no different. The first instance noted of the 'O' in their surname was in the 1911 Census of Ireland. However, the additon of the 'O' was sporadic after that, at least until the 1940s, when the change became permanent.

Robert O'Carroll died at his home - 54 Larkfied Gardens, Dublin - on 9 November 1942. He'd had cancer of the mouth for eight months and succumbed to cardiac failure in the end. His wife Mary survived him by eight years and died on 24 November 1950. They were buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.

Source: Irish Press, 10 Nov. 1942, p. 3

If you are related to the O'Carroll family, I'd love to hear from you. blackraven.genealogy(at)gmail(dot)com.

Sunday 16 June 2019

Great-granduncle John Carroll ~ a Black Sheep?

My current genealogy challenge is finding out what happened to the children of my great-great-grandfather, Maurice Carroll. He had five children with his first wife, Mary Anne Frazer, and ten with my great-great-grandmother, Anne Radcliffe. Some of his children seemed to vanish into the abyss after migrating from Dublin to North East England and my goal is to trace them all.

John Carroll was likely Maurice and Anne's eldest surviving boy. According to his father, he was born at Shanganagh Grove, Ballybrack, Co. Dublin, on 27 October 1878. In 1901, aged 22 years and single, he worked as a solicitors' general clerk, and lived with his parents and four of his siblings at 20 North Gloucester Place, Dublin city. 

John wasn't found in the 1911 census, but a note added to his baptism register advised he married Selina Asher in St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle on Tyne, on 27 February 1914. The marriage was witnessed by his sister, my great-grandmother, Teresa Wynne and a woman called Mary Briggs. The civil index of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales confirmed the marriage, and indicated the couple had three children - Monica Carroll born in 1914, Eileen Carroll in 1916 and Desmond Carroll in 1917. Eileen died within six months of her birth.

John Carroll, Dublin and Newcastle upon Tyne

And, that's where I previously lost track of my great-granduncle, John Carroll. 

Since then, many more record sets have been published online and I've managed to pick up his trail, again. And, it transpires, Uncle John was a bit of a black sheep.

John Carroll's service in World War I
First though, his World War I service record shows he enlisted at Sunderland, England and gave his home address, in September 1918, as 136 Frederick Street, South Shields. He was of slight build, 5 foot, 7 inches tall, with a chest measurement of 36.5 inches. He was working as a clerk in a shipbuilders when he was called up for service. 

John Carroll served as a Pioneer with the London Electrical Engineers, but was honourably discharged after only a few months. His army medical records reveal he suffered from both tachycardia (a rapid heart beat) and pyorrhoea (gum disease, according to Google) and was accordingly declared physically unfit for war service. John was awarded the Silver War Badge in 1919. 

The Swindle!
Shields Daily News, 22 Oct 1924, p. 1
Then, I came across a court case in the Shields Daily News concerning a John R. Carroll and his wife Selina, from 16 Bowman Terrace, Newcastle. John worked as a printer. All other accounts show our John was a clerk, and there's no other record he had a middle initial. The name John Carroll was not uncommon, even in England, BUT the combination John and Selina Carroll was probably quite unique. 

John, Selina and two other men were involved in a scam whereby they presented fictitious invoices to the Waverly Hotel, Newcastle, for adverts supposedly placed in Carter's Directory and Hotel Guide. Time and time again, the hotel paid these invoices - to the tune of £278 - in 1924.

However, it was all a con. No advertisiments were placed in any directory. 

According to the newspaper article, the defendants each pleaded guilty to the charges in court. John Carroll also pleaded guilty to eleven similar offences against a ship chandler at Tynemouth. Plus, he had a record! In 1911, he was convicted of similar crimes in West Hartlepool and sentenced to two years hard labour, and in 1919, he served six months jail-time in Newcastle. Selina Carroll, on the other hand, had an unblemished record and said she didn't know she was doing wrong. She also claimed her husband used force to make her do it. Anyway, John was locked up, again, for twelve months with hard labour, while Selina (luckily, for the children) got off with a twelve-month suspended sentence. The two other lads got six months hard labour, each.

So, was this poor fraudster my great-granduncle?

It's difficult to prove there was only one couple named John and Selina Carroll living in England at the time, but the electoral registers do confirm there was only one registered to vote. Also, the electoral registers place John and Selina Carroll at that Bowman Terrace address from 1923 to 1933. In 1934, they seemingly moved to Royston Terrace, Newcastle and lived there for three years, and in the third year Monica Carroll was added to their electoral register. Our John and Selina had a daughter Monica, who'd just turned 21 years old. 

Coincidence? I don't think so. It seems, these master criminals (not!) really were family. This story was swept well under the carpet. Not a rumour if it survived today, at least not back home, in Dublin.

The death of John Carroll, aged 62 years, was registered in Newcastle upon Tyne, during the first quarter of 1941. The civil deaths index doesn't 'prove' he was definitely my great-granduncle. But, after the war, in 1945 and 1946, the resuming electoral registers do not reflect him living with his wife and family, so it probably was. 

Sunday 2 June 2019

Peopling New Zealand, 1947 Scheme ~ Terence Wynne

In July 1947, with a view to solving its labour shortage, the government rolled out a new assisted immigration scheme, aimed at attracting young, single and skilled workers to New Zealand. The scheme was widely advertised in the classified sections of British newspapers. My granduncle Terence McSwiney Wynne didn't have to be asked twice! He passed his interview, then his medical, and immediately packed his bags, ready to set sail.

The first batch of 118 assisted immigrants departed from Tilbury, in the Port of London, on 18 July 1947. Terry Wynne was among them. He sailed aboard the Rangitata, arriving in Auckland, five weeks later, on 23 August 1947. According to Captain G. Kinnell, the ship’s commander, they enjoyed a good trip out, with only about 24 hours’ rough weather.[2]

Their arrival in Auckland was met with a certain amount of ceremony. They had a sound truck on the wharf playing ‘specially selected music’, to provide a ‘suitable atmosphere’ for their disembarkation, and the Mayor, John Allum, welcomed them to the country.[3]

Terence McSwiney Wynne (1922 - 1993)
New Zealand’s assisted immigrants from Britain, 1947
(Terry Wynne, centre of the back row)

In return for the price of his passage, Terry was bonded for two years, to work whatever job the government gave him. Family lore says, he worked on three public projects in the Central North Island, during his two years:-

‘He purportedly mined the open-cast coal mine at Huntly, much to the horror of his mother back in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. She was adamant none of her sons would become miners. Supposedly, Terry was also a bushman in the Kaingaroa forest (which would subsequently become the largest man-made forest in the Southern Hemisphere). And, he's said to have helped rebuild the luxury hotel, the Chateau, at NZ’s first North Island ski-field.’

The story that Terry worked in the mines certainly turned out to be true. First, a report from the Minister of Mines to NZ's House of Representatives in 1948 confirmed assisted immigrants from Britain were employed in the mines.[4] And secondly, NZ’s electoral registers show Terence McSwiney Wynne, miner, residing at 3 Onslow Street, Huntly, in 1949.[5] So, his mother’s worst fears were realised, but only for a short time. Terry adapted well to his adopted home in New Zealand, on the other side of the world from all he knew, and he went on to create a good life for himself and his future family.

[1] 'New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973' (accessed FamilySearch, 18 May 2019).
[2] Gisbourne Herald, 25 August 1947, p. 4.
[3] New Zealand History (accessed 18 May 2019).
[4] Mines Statement by The Hon. A. McLagan, Minister of Mines, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1948 Session I, C-02, p.7 (accessed AtoJsOnline, 18 May 2019).
[5] 'New Zealand, Electoral Rolls, 1853-1981', accessed $