Sunday, 16 January 2022

1921 Census of England & Wales - Wynne household

There was huge excitement among many genealogists this week with the publication of the 1921 census for England & Wales. I didn't expect to find any direct ancestors living in England, apart from one set of great-grandparents. Patrick and Teresa Wynne had emigrated to Newcastle-upon-Tyne during the previous decade.

This census could show:
  • whether my grandad Kevin, born 1909, was still with the family, or if he had already been sent back to Dublin, to live with his Aunt Mary
  • An example of my great-grandfather's signature
  • the family's home address
  • the name and address of Patrick Wynne's employer in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • confirmation of the total number of children born to Patrick Wynne
  • confirmation of each person's age, in years and months

The family were easily found in the index. Well, Teresa and five of the children were. There was no sign of Patrick or Kevin anywhere in England and Wales. Déjà vu! Patrick was not at home on census night in 1911 either. He'd been in Cork, probably for work. Where was he this time?

The family were living at 136 Violet Street, Benwell, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.


This census was enumerated on 19 June in 1921, and probably missed numerous people away on their summer holidays. Patrick may have been home in Dublin during his break. It's unlikely we'll ever know for sure as no census was taken in Ireland that year. The War of Independence was in full swing.

On census night in England, the Wynne household included:
  • Teresa, wife, 33 yrs, 1 mt, married, b. Dublin, Home duties.
  • Maurice, son, 14 yrs, 6 mts, b. Dublin, Machine boy, Armstrong Whitworth.
  • Brendan, son, 13 yrs, 2 mts, b. Dublin, Wholetime school.
  • Eileen, daughter, 5 yrs, 1 mt, b. Benwell, N/C on Tyne, Wholetime School.
  • Brian, son, 3 yrs, 0 mts, b. Benwell, N/C on Tyne.
  • Norah, daughter, 8 mts, b. Benwell, N/C on Tyne.
No surprises there, except maybe that Maurice was already working at 14.

Granddad must have been given to the Aunt Mary by then. He was company for her. She'd been left on her own back home when they all emigrated to England.

But the next part is surprising, and sad!

Teresa said she had only 5 children 'residing as members of this household or elsewhere'. And clearly she had 6! What about her 11-year-old son, Kevin? What mother forgets a child? Did she misread the form? It was only supposed to have been completed by Patrick, had he been home, and other 'married men, widowers and widows'. Married women had answered an equivalent question in 1911. Another misinterpretation on her part? Maybe Teresa just had her hands full, on her own, with all the kids.

Did she forget Kevin, aged 11 years?

I missed out on seeing Patrick Wynne's signature, as Teresa signed the form - a lost opportunity, maybe the last opportunity. The 1931 census returns were destroyed by fire, and Patrick died in 1937.


It's the second example of Teresa's signature found. See her Signature Silhouette for comparison. Unusual for a married woman to leave more records than her husband in this day and age.

Source: $ FindMyPast, 1921 Census.

Sunday, 9 January 2022

2021 in Review – Accentuate the Positive

So, yet another year has passed. Looking back, using fellow blogger Jill Ball's annual meme and prompts, here are some of my 'positive' genealogy experiences in 2021.

My main focus was on DNA. I've been happily analysing my DNA matches, and those of my extended family too. It is a great way to discover forgotten branches on my family tree and locate those I couldn't trace with paper records alone. It hasn't led to any 'new' ancestors YET, but I'm sure that's only a matter of time.

For example, last year, with the help of genetic genealogy, I discovered and wrote about a great-great-granduncle Thomas Carroll in New Zealand, and a great-great-granduncle James Byrne, a bottle-maker, in Dublin.

A lovely genea-surprise I received was this picture of Grandda Wynne, with some of his children. Isn't it fab?
I remember it as a tiny snap, much the worse for wear. But Aunt Bernadette had it restored and generously got copies made for everyone she thought might like one. It's of Kevin Wynne, with his daughters Frankie and baby Dympna on his knee, and Bernadette holding their hands. Colm watches from his seat on the windowsill.

They are out in the yard at the back of their home, 3 Lower Jane Place, Dublin. It must have been the summer of 1957. They're wearing their summer clothes and Dympna, who was born in April 1956, looks about a year old. The twins look about four years old.

Thank you again Bernadette, I love it.

A Facebook Group that helped me during the year was Old Malahide History, where members share their old photos of Malahide, Co. Dublin. Here I came across many previously unseen pictures of my Dad as a child and of the townland where we grew up - see Amazing family history to be found on Facebook.

My 2021 social media post journal article that I was particularly proud of was about my maternal third cousin once removed, Frank Teeling, an Irish Volunteer. It was published in The Irish Genealogist, the well-regarded journal of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.
Frank Teeling participated in the Irish War of Independence and was captured by the British on Bloody Sunday in 1920. He was imprisoned and sentenced to death by hanging, but escaped from Kilmainham Gaol, in this country's most dramatic jail-break. My article uses Frank's story as a case study demonstrating how the descendants of key players in modern Irish history, as opposed to the State, keep their memories alive, and in so doing, write the public history of Ireland and define Irish national identity.

I finally found Margaret Parsons, née Carroll six feet under. Margaret was my great-grandaunt, who I tracked to Gateshead, England, where she married Christopher Penrose, in 1923. I lost all trace of her after that. Her great-granddaughter turned up in my DNA results during the year and solved the mystery.

Margaret married Martin Parsons in Romford, in 1943 and moved to Yorkshire, where she lived to be some 80 years of age. She was buried beside her husband Martin, at Driffield Cemetery, East Yorkshire, in July 1974. Her great-granddaughter sent me this picture of their grave. Thanks again, Maria.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my readers for their support, for reaching out to me, for helping me research our ancestors, for leaving comments on my blog, for liking and sharing my posts and generally for taking an interest in my family-history research.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

So excited to see what discoveries next year brings!

Happy New Year!