Friday, 12 February 2010

A search for John Flynn

Further to my post below relating to a possible connection between my Flynn and Finn ancestors, a branch of whom it is known went to live in Cleveland, Ohio and the Flynn or Finn ancestors of Jamie Evans who were also known to have gone to Cleveland from Birmingham, I have tracked back through the material previously posted on this website to explore the connections further.

Starting with the Flynn family.

Firstly though, it is worth rehighlighting the two additional pieces of information which are common to both stories, firstly the Flynn/Finn family in both instances appear to originate from the Newtown area of Birmingham near St Chads RC Cathedral (a tradional gun making area on the border of the jewellery quarter). We do know that the Flynn and Finn family settled in this area when they first arrived in Birmingham from Galway in the late 1860s.

Secondly, the year 1922 is specifically significant to both stories, being the year that someone visited my great grandmother's family in Ladywood and left a photo of a nun, referred to as aunt Nell, a member of the Flynn family from Cleveland, Ohio, which has been passed down through the family. 1922 is also the year in which Jamie's grandmother went to America, heading it would seem for her Flynn / Finn relations in Cleveland, Ohio.

Back to my previous research on this website, there was a John Flynn born in 1877, whose father Patrick Flynn was the brother of my great great grandmother Bridget Flynn. Patrick and Bridget were both born in Galway along with their siblings which included the lady named Maria Flynn who never married, may have had a mental health condition and lived all of her life with my great grandmother's family in Garbet Street, Ladywood. The fact that Maria Flynn lived in the home of her niece for all these years makes the case stronger that someone from the Flynn family returning from the States would have made a priority to visit them in 1922. Was this visitor Jamie's grandmother temporarily returning to England with the intention of taking her daughters back with her to Ohio?

In my research I have found 4 Census records between 1871 and 1911 which appear to appertain to the family of Patrick Flynn. Interestingly the only census where there does not appear to be a record of this family is 1891. I wonder if this has any significance in terms the Ohio story? I may be completely wrong here but bearing in mind there would be a twenty year gap between the census of 1881 and the census of 1901, that gives us a fairly decent window of opportunity for a family to move to the States and return.

These are the four census records for Patrick Flynn's family:

Living at Cheapside, Deritend, Aston in 1871 were:

Patrick Flynn aged 30 born in Ireland
Bridget aged 28 born in Ireland
Mary Ann aged 5 born in Birmingham
Helen aged 4
David aged 1
Selina aged 0

No occupations given in this Census record

Living at No 5 Court, Cheapside, Aston in 1881 were:

Patrick Flynn aged 42, born Galway, Stamper (Artz)
Bridget Flynn (wife) aged 39 born Ireland (Polisher - Artz)
Mary A Flynn (daughter) aged 15 born in Ireland (Ruler)
Selina Flynn aged 14 born in England (pipe mounter (tobacco)
David Flynn aged 11 scholar
Ellen Flynn aged 10 scholar
Rose Flynn aged 6
John U Flynn aged 4
Edward Flynn aged 3

The same family is recorded in the 1901 census:

Patrick Flynn, 64 year old brass stamper, born in Ireland.
Bridget his wife, aged 56, born in Ireland.
Nellie aged 30, an India rubber saleswoman (daughter).
David aged 28, brass worker.
Rose aged 25 (at home).
Joseph aged 24, a wire maker
Edward aged 22, a gun barrel forger
Arthur aged 15, a tin plate worker.

All of the children were born in Birmingham.

The same family are recorded in the 1911 Census, though at this stage the oldest son David is recorded as the head of the family. It is noticeable that there are 4 single adult sons living in this home plus a widowed sister and a total absence of children:

1911 Census
Address: 14 Hollier Street, Deritend

David Flynn, Head, Single, M, aged 39, born 1872, Clerk Brass Foundry, born Birmingham
Patrick Flynn, Father, Married, M, aged 74, born 1837, Retired, b. Ireland
Bridget, Mother, Married, 48 years, F, aged 70, born 1841, Retired, b.Ireland
Joseph, Brother, Single, M, aged 33, born 1878, Wire Mattress Work, b. Birmingham
Edward, Brother, Single, M, aged 30, born 1881, Brass Burnisher, b. Birmingham
Arthur, Brother, Single, M, aged 34, born 1877, Tin Plate Worker, b.Birmingham
Mary Ann Brome, Sister, Widow, F, aged 44, b.1867, House Keeper, b.Birmingham
There are one or two slight discrepancies in these four records, such as the order of children's ages changing slightly between records, but on the whole we can safely say it is the same family in all four records. There are two potentially significant children in the records, firstly the child name John U who first appears in the 1881 census, aged 4. In the subsequent census records his name changes to Joseph though his reported age remains consistent. I have come across the name John being changeable with both Jack and Joseph in other parts of my research. Joseph is aged 33, single and living at home in 1911.
However, this does mean that in 1922 he would have been 43 and if he wasn't married by the age of 33 it seems unlikely he would have become a grandfather to someone who was an adult by 1922 (i.e. Jamie's grandmother).
The other child in Patrick Flynn's family with a significant name in terms of this line of research connected to Cleveland Ohio, was Ellen who was aged 10 in 1881, aged 30 in 1901 but was not registered in the family in 1911. Could Ellen have been Aunt Nell the nun? By 1922 this lady would have been 50 years old.

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