Sunday 28 March 2021

A Wedding Story

Foryd Harbour Bridge, Rhyl, built 1932

My grandparents, Kevin Wynne and Annie Byrne, married at six o'clock in the morning, on 10th August 1936, at O'Toole's Church, just around the corner from Granny's house. Mass was said by Fr Daniel Delaney CC. We don't know who their guests were and there are no photographs of the event.

Granny's mother probably didn't attend the wedding. Legend has it, she didn't go to any of their weddings. Why? I don't know. Maybe she was just a bit odd. It's also doubtful Granda's parents came back from England for the occasion. So, it was likely a small, 'intimate' affair.

We do know Granda's brother Brendan Patrick Wynne came over from England. He was Granda's best man and one of the named witnesses. He probably represented the family. Kathleen Byrne, Granny's older and only sister, was bridesmaid. She also signed the register as a witness. And I'd say Granny's father and siblings were there, and Granda's Aunt Mary, who raised him.

It's probably unlikely many of their friends attended at that hour of a Monday morning, although maybe they popped in on their way to work. Certainly, there was no time afterwards for a celebratory breakfast with the bride and groom. Granny and Granda left on the early-morning sailing to Wales, where they had planned to honeymoon. It must have all been a rush of excitement.

On her wedding day, Granny wore a lovely pale pink dress, in heavy satin. I'd say she looked smashing and probably didn't even notice the light morning drizzle. Their eldest daughter subsequently wore the dress in her First-Year school play. Granny was always petite, so it probably didn't need much adjustment. Nina played the part of the fairy princess. Granda made her wings.

The bridal couple spent a week in Rhyl, on honeymoon. 'Sunny Rhyl' had a reputation as an elegant seaside resort then. Advertisements for the town featured prominently in the holidays section of Irish newspapers, including this boarding house that advertised in the Irish Press, daily, in the months before their wedding. What are the chances they maybe stayed here?

Irish Press, 8 August 1936, p. 18

I'm sure the newly-weds had great fun together in Rhyl, taking in all the sights. Perhaps they walked hand-in-hand along the long sandy beach. Maybe they visited the fairground rides and the zoo at Marine Lake. Perhaps they even took in a show at the Pavilion Theatre.

Sadly, there may be no one left to fill in the gaps in their wedding story. Anyone?

  • Marriage of Anne Byrne and Kevin Wynne on 10 August 1936, Dublin, Group Registration ID 1434533, Civil records,

Sunday 14 March 2021

Blogging A to Z April Challenge: Theme Reveal

Ok, so there’s this Blogging A to Z Challenge in April each year. Bloggers are challenged to write 26 posts on 26 days in April, i.e., a post every day except Sundays. Each day, the subject of the post is dedicated to a letter of the alphabet, starting with A on 1st April, B on 2nd April, etc. This will be my first year participating, so wish me luck.

Today is my Theme Reveal day. I already mentioned my chosen theme a few weeks ago, here, but I didn’t know the rules then. Oops! So, I’m revealing it again now, to get back on track. 😊

You know (or maybe you didn’t) I’m creating a 'Virtual Graveyard', with a memorial page for each of my ancestors. Genealogists go above and beyond trying to locate all their ancestors' burial places. Not everyone feels like this, I know. My husband thinks it's ‘morbid’. But I’ve spent many countless hours seeking out my ancestors’ final resting places and I don’t want them forgotten again.

So, my 'challenge' is to create a memorial for one ancestor each day in April, and include it in my virtual graveyard.

I'll have to employ some poetic licence to use all the letters. There's a distinct lack of Xenas and Zorros in my Irish family. But we'll worry about that when the time comes.

Oh, and I'm going to turn off email delivery for these posts, so I don't spam your mailbox. If you want to receive them each day, let me know and I'll switch yours back on -

Sunday 7 March 2021

Two newly discovered granduncles - two little dotes

It always gives me great pleasure to rediscover the long-forgotten infants of the family, the ones who died way too young. This was a good week for that. In preparation for my A-Z Challenge in April, while searching for my great-grandfather’s funeral notice, I instead came across these previously unseen birth announcements for two of his children.

Cork Examiner, 4 November 1886, p. 1

O'NEILL - October 27th, at 60, Irishtown road, Dublin, the wife of Charles F. O'Neill, of a daughter.

The first relates to Teresa Annie O'Neill, my Dad's Aunt Tess, who we already know was born on 27 October 1886, in Irishtown Road. She married Richard Greer on 5 August 1928. They had no children together and Teresa died on 1 August 1951.

However, the second birth announcement was for an unidentified son.

Freeman's Journal, 15 January 1889, p. 1

O'NEILL - At 27 Bath avenue, Beggarsbush, Dublin, the wife of Charles F. O'Neill of a son.

His birth register shows Daniel Charles O'Neill was born on 9 January 1889, to Charles Francis O'Neill and Mary Anne Merrins. Charles worked as a clerk, like my great-grandfather, but my great-grandmother's name was Mary Agnes Donovan - not Mary Anne Merrins. It was presumably an error, right?

To confirm, I found his baptism register. And, when Daniel Carolus (Latin for Daniel Charles) was baptised on 21 January 1889, his mother's name was given as Mariae Donovan, which was more in line with my truth. Ellen Day, the mid-wife who registered his birth, similarly made a mistake registering the birth of my grandaunt Johanna O'Neill in 1892, then saying Mary Agnes' maiden name was Donaldson, not Donovan. Obviously, Ellen Day wasn't good with names.

Daniel Charles O'Neill, my newly discovered granduncle, the son of a solicitor's clerk, died of 'measles pneumonia' on 10 January 1890, aged one year and one day. His father registered his death. I'm delighted to now include him in our family tree, so he won't be forgotten again.

Then, I found a baptism dated 10 November 1890 for Franciscus P. (Latin for Francis P.) O'Neill of the same address, 27 Bath Avenue. He was said to have been born on 31 October 1890, to Caroli O'Neill and Mariae Donohoe - again not Donovan - and presumably yet another error. What is it about Mary Agnes's name that makes it so difficult to remember?

Francis's Godmother was Francesca Rice. I've no idea if she was related to my family, or just a neighbour bringing the child down to be baptised. Maybe she had forgotten Mary Agnes's maiden name by the time she got to the church.

But when Ellen Day registered Francis's birth, she agreed with all aspects of the baptism record, apart from his mother's maiden name. She named Francis Patrick O'Neill as the son of my great-grandparents, Charles Francis O'Neill, a clerk, and Mary Agnes Donovan, getting the name right on this occasion. So Francis Patrick O'Neill was also my granduncle.

Sadly, he died of bronchitis at home barely two months later, on 3 January 1891. His mother registered his death. He passed away one week before his brother Daniel Charles - not a great start to 1891 for my O'Neill family. Still, now we can honour little Francis's memory too.

On another note, my great-grandfather, Charles Francis O'Neill, is my biggest, longest-standing genealogy brick-wall. I wonder if Teresa Annie's birth announcement in a Co. Cork newspaper offers any hint as to his origins? 

  1. Newspapers online at $ Irish Newspaper Archives.
  2. Copy birth register, Daniel Charles O'Neill, 1889, Group Registration ID 10473018, Civil records,
  3. Baptism register, Daniel Carolus O'Neill, 1889, St Mary's Haddington Road, Church records,
  4. Copy death register, Daniel Charles O'Neill, 1891, Group Registration ID 6666307, Civil records,
  5. Copy birth register, Francis Patrick O'Neill, 1890, Group Registration ID 10380081, Civil records,
  6. Baptism register, Franciscus P. O'Neill, 1890, St Mary's Haddington Road, Church records,
  7. Copy death register, Francis Patrick O'Neill, 1891, Group Registration ID 3698883, Civil records,