Tuesday, 5 January 2010

John Millington marries Alice O’Hagan

The marriage certificate of John Millington and Alice O’Hagan who married at St Matthew’s church in Duddeston in June 1870. This certificate is a photocopy of the original, so it is interesting to see their handwriting and even a finger print made in the ink in the middle of the page.

Our direct ancestor, John Millington, the son of William Millington the shoemaker from Wellington, most probably came to Birmingham with his parents in the 1840s or 1850s. According to census records, John was 23 years old in 1861 and was working as a sword maker.

Even though John was born in Wellington, unlike his father he did not become a journeyman travelling back and forth between Birmingham and Shropshire. Instead he was to live in Birmingham for all of his life, much of it living in the Lee Bank area of the city and it was in this area that he brought up his own family.

On the 13th June 1870, John Millington married Alice O’Hagan at St Mathew’s church, Nechells in the Parish of Aston. At the time of their marriage John was 32 years old and working as an edge tool maker, whilst Alice was 23. Both were recorded as ‘living in the parish‘.

Both Alice and John were single at the time of their marriage. Alice’s father was listed as Patrick O’Hagan, a traveller, whilst the marriage certificate confirms that John’s father, William, was a shoemaker. The witnesses to the marriage were William and Margaret Nutt.

Alice O’Hagan was therefore my grandfather’s grandmother and it appears that her marriage to John Millington represented the first mixed marriage on the Millington side of the family between English born-and-bred Anglicans and Roman Catholics of Irish extraction.

The Anglican tradition was to be the dominant one in the Millington line for a couple more generations. It seems either that Alice O’Hagan was not a committed Catholic herself or that she gave in to her husband’s wishes to have their children baptised and brought up in the Protestant church. However, as we shall see, the Catholic tradition did ultimately have an impact on the Millingtons of Birmingham.

The family of John and Alice Millington

John and Alice Millington had six children, one of whom died as infant, and an older seventh child who was possibly the daughter of Alice and step-daughter of John.

John and Alice Millington are recorded in the Census of 1871, living at 1 house, 15 court Wharf Street with two children, Kate aged 7 and John who is an infant under 1. The details of the family are as follows:

John Millington, born Wellington, Shropshire in about 1842 (aged 29), sword mounter.

Alice Millington, born Bromsgrove in about 1847 (aged 24).

Kate Millington, born Birmingham in about 1864 (aged 7)

John Millington, born Birmingham in 1871.

Neither of these children is ever recorded again in subsequent Census records for this family. The oldest child Kate might have moved out of the family home by the time of the next Census in 1881, she would have been 17 years old. But the other child, John, should still have been there at the age of 10 in 1881. I therefore believe that John may have died as a young child.

The older child, Kate is mentioned again many years later in the Will of her aunt, Mary O’Hagan, who died in 1907. Mary O’Hagan lists the children of her sister Alice for whom we have fairly reliable records which I will detail shortly. However, she adds the name of Katy O’Hagan whom she refers to as being “her natural daughter”.

This interesting qualification of Kate or Katy’s place in the family with the additional evidence that she was born six years prior to the marriage of her listed parents, John Millington and Alice O’Hagan, leads me to speculate that she was the daughter of Alice O’Hagan but may not have been the natural daughter of John, unless she had been born to them outside of their marriage.

I believe that their next oldest child was Annie, who may have been born in the registration district of Aston in the June quarter of 1874. Second in line was William, who was born in Birmingham in 1876, next came Alice who was born in the last quarter of 1878, fourth came Terence John (my direct ancestor) born in 1881 and finally, Harry Millington was born eight years later, in the March quarter of 1889.

From the absence of records appertaining to the oldest child Annie in either the 1881 or 1891 census, one guess could be that she was brought up by someone else, possibly her aunt, Mary O’Hagan.

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