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.


  1. Great post, but I'm having trouble getting past the 15 children, LOL

  2. It's a lot all right, Ellie, though many of them didn't make it through infancy.


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