Sunday, 26 April 2020

On the far side of a brick Wall #4 ~ Death of Thomas and Mary Slattery

Mary Leonard, potentially my third great-grandmother, was living with the Slattery family, in Liverpool, England, in 1841, probably with her mother Mary (Riley) Slattery, but the Slattery family were not found in the 1851 census.

The question this week remains the same - was Mary the same Mary Leonard who married John Radcliffe in Liverpool in 1848?

I do believe she was, as examined last week here. She was certainly the only woman found with that name who married in Liverpool in the decade prior to 1851, though further evidence supporting my theory could only be welcome.

So, this week I set out to ascertain what became of the Slattery family (Thomas, Mary and daughters Rosanna and Ellen) after 1846, when the infant Francis Slattery was buried. In particular, I hoped to discover what happened to my would-be fourth great-grandmother, Mary (Riley) Slattery.

And, death records in Liverpool support the possible deaths of both Thomas and Mary in 1847. There was no mention of Rosanna or Ellen, at least not during the decade in question.

Excerpts from deaths index, GRO for England & Wales online ordering service

Thomas Slattery
The death of Thomas Slattery, aged forty-nine years, was registered in the second quarter of 1847 in Liverpool. Given 'our' Thomas was thirty five years old in 1841, and based on the age rounding rules of that year's census, he would have been between forty-one and forty-five years old in 1847 - not forty-nine. But, the ages quoted by my Irish ancestors in census returns were often completely unreliable, though they were more usually understated.

A man named Thomas Slattery, aged forty-five years, was buried in St Anthony's parish on 19 March 1847. He may have been the same man that died aged forty-nine above, as only one potential death was reported in Liverpool in the year. In any case, this one was probably the Thomas we are seeking. His home address was in Sawney Pope Street, Liverpool, the same address 'our' Slattery family lived. And notably, it was where Mary Leonard lived when she married John Radcliffe ten months later. St Anthony's was also the parish where the Slatterys had buried their infant sons, Thomas and Francis.

The copy death register for Thomas Slattery likely does not contain any further family information - not unless the informant was a known or stated relative. And, at £7 a pop, a somewhat selective approach to purchasing English 'certificates' is required. So moving on...

Mary Slattery
Two women named Mary Slattery died in Liverpool in 1847, both deaths were recorded in the second quarter, and both women were forty years old. Our Mary would have been between about thirty-six and forty years of age in 1847, based on being thirty years old in the 1841 census, though probably at the upper age. So, either one of these death records, or both, may have been for Mary (Riley) Slattery. Which one should I check first?  Neither deaths were found in the records of St Anthony's parish, Liverpool, surprising perhaps, given her would-be husband was buried there around the same time. But a line by line search of its burial register revealed nothing.

The only thing I can think to do now is to pick one, order the copy death register and see what gives. It may have to wait until the Covid 19 restrictions are lifted, but I can follow up on Rosanna and Ellen Slattery, in the meantime.

Continued, here.

  1. Slattery household, Ellen Place, Liverpool city, Lancashire, Enumerators' Book, 1841 England Census, accessed $
  2. Church of England marriage register, Radcliffe-Leonard marriage, 1848, St Nicholas Church, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, accessed $
  3. Death of Thomas Slattery, 1847, J Quarter, Liverpool, GRO Online Index, accessed HM Passport Office
  4. Burial of Thomas Slattery, 19 March 1847, St Anthony's, 'Liverpool, England, Catholic Burials, 1813-1985', accessed $
  5. Death of Mary Slattery, 1847, J Quarter, Liverpool, GRO Online Index, accessed HM Passport Office.


  1. That's so maddening, when an ancestor with a common name dies at the same time as a non-ancestor with the same age and name. When you throw the Leonard surname into the mix however, it seems to me you're on the right track.

    1. Thanks Ellie, I'm actually wondering if both records might, for some reason, relate to the same woman. thinking of ordering both copy registers anyway.

  2. It definitely reads like you're on the right path. Good luck with your roll of the dice ordering the "right" Mary Slattery's death record. I'm looking forward to hearing how that unfolds.

    1. Thanks Sleuther, it's good to hear I'm not completely barking up the wrong tree.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!