Sunday 7 June 2020

On the far side of a brick wall #7 ~ Conclusions

After much searching, no further sign of Rosanna (Slattery) Corcoran / Cochrane's family has been uncovered, not since they were all together in Manchester, England, in 1881. You'd think some of her six children would have left a trail of breadcrumbs for me to follow. None of them did. Maybe someday one of their descendants will turn up among our DNA matches. 🙏

Circumstantial evidence suggests Rosanna was a half-sister to Mary Anne Leonard, and both were daughters of Mary (Riley, Leonard) Slattery. Chances are Mary Leonard was my third-great-grandmother, who married John Radcliffe in Liverpool in 1848. My goals have been 1) to find documentary evidence definitively stating Mary Leonard was a daughter of Mary [Riley] Slattery; 2) to confirm this Mary Leonard was the one who married John Radcliffe; and 3) to 'prove' John Radcliffe and Mary Leonard were my third-great-grandparents.

Confirming Mary Leonard as the daughter of Mary (Riley) Slattery
Prior to the COVID-19 lock-down, I ordered the copy death register for Mary Slattery, aged forty, who died in Liverpool, in the second quarter of 1847. The hope was it would show the informant as 'Mary Leonard, daughter.' But the record arrived in my in-box recently, with no such luck!

Copy death register, Mary Slattery, 1847, Liverpool, General Register Office

Mary Slattery died of phythisis (tuberculosis) at home in Sawney Pope Street. As a bonus, her occupation was shown as the 'widow of Thomas Slattery, labourer'. So the record is for the right woman. But the informant was 'Mary Slattery, present at death, Sawney Pope Street', not 'Mary Leonard, daughter'. Who was this other Mary Slattery? Was she Mary Leonard using her step-father's name - nothing unusual in that - but if so, it is unusual her relationship to the deceased was not stated (going by the practice in Ireland, anyway).

There was a death of a another Mary Slattery, aged forty, in Liverpool, in the same quarter of 1847 - too much of a coincidence to be ignored. This copy register will be obtained when the General Registry Office staff get back to normal after the lock-down. It may possibly throw further light on the situation.

Confirming it was this Mary Leonard that married John Radcliffe
It's now apparent, documentation likely never existed directly connecting the Slatterys to the Radcliffes (other than John and Mary's marriage record, that is). Mary and Thomas Slattery died in the Spring of 1847, while Mary Leonard and John Radcliffe did not marry until January 1848, and Mary [Leonard] Radcliffe supposedly died in April 1853, four years before Rosanna Slattery married James Corcoran.

The circumstantial evidence collected, including the census listing Mary Leonard among the children of Mary and Thomas Slattery, in Liverpool, in 1841, and the records confirming the Slatterys, Mary Leonard and John Radcliffe all lived in Sawney Pope Street, Liverpool in 1847/1848, will have to suffice.

'Proving' Mary (Leonard) Radcliffe was my third-great-grandmother
A final objective of this research has been to find further evidence confirming John and Mary (Leonard) Radcliffe were my John and Mary. Much available evidence suggests they were (discussed previously here and here), bar two minor conflicts.

First, their daughter, Anne Radcliffe, was born in Liverpool, in 1849. My great-great-grandmother, Anne Radcliffe, daughter of John and Mary (maiden name not documented) Radcliffe, was born about 1849, but both surviving Irish census returns say she was born in Co. Dublin, Ireland. Granted, she grew up with her father's family in Malahide, Co. Dublin. Her mother died when she was a toddler and her father emigrated to Australia in 1858. Probably, she didn't remember her time in Liverpool. Maybe she did not know she was born in England, or just felt no connection to the country.

Secondly, the marriage of John Radcliffe and Mary Radcliffe was held in the Church of St Nicholas, according to the rites of the Established Church in Liverpool, i.e. a Protestant church. My John Radcliffe was from a Catholic family. He was baptised in 1827 and his father in 1798. But the fact that Anne, daughter of John and Mary (Leonard) Radcliffe, was baptised in St Anthony's Roman Catholic church, in Liverpool, suggests theirs was a mixed marriage. If Mary Leonard was my third-great-grandmother, she was probably Protestant.

Thomas and Mary (Riley) Slattery's children (Ellen, Thomas and Francis) were baptised in St Anthony's RC Church. Infants, Thomas and Francis, were buried in St Anthony's RC graveyard, as was Thomas Slattery himself - all in paupers graves. But when Mary (Riley) Slattery died, within weeks of her husband death, she was not buried in the same graveyard as her family. Why not? Was she buried in a Protestant graveyard instead? Is this another hint to seek out Protestant records to further the research on this branch of the family?

But where?

Sources: Copy death register, Mary Slattery, Apr-Jun 1847, Liverpool, General Register Office. All other sources referred to have been cited in previous posts in the 'On the far side of a brick wall' series:

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