Sunday, 28 March 2010

Carpenter family tree from Aston Cantlow to Lee Bank

Click on the image to enlarge the view

Pulling together the information in the posts below concerning the Carpenter family who originated in the South Warwickshire village of Aston Cantlow near Wilmote in the late 1700s, the family tree above shows four generations of the Carpenter family from William and Elizabeth, born in the late 1700s to Phoebe Adderley (my g-grandmother) who married Terence Millington.

What is quite interesting here are the large families including the 13 children of Hannah Keasey (the oldest and 14th child George was her step son). There are gaps in this tree, I don't know if there were marriages and children for some siblings at the 2nd generation level and have not shown the off-shoots from the siblings at the third generation (which are available from Freda's tree on the Genes Reuinted site).

So potentially this tree could be much bigger than the illustration above, but I have restricted it to a direct genetic line after the third generation. There is a lot of research to do around the Adderley family alone, with nine children growing up in the Lee Bank area there is obviously enormous potential to connect with living descendants. So far I have been in contact with descendants of Harriet Adderley, who seems to have been a close sister to my g-granny Phoebe and also with descendants of the oldest child Sarah Jane who married a man named Hudson.

More census records for Carpenter family

Further searches of the 1891 and 1901 census have not located Henry and Elizabeth Carpenter but do contain some interesting households which could be two of the brothers from the family.

Firstly in the 1891 census there is a household transcription for a Thomas Carpenter and his family at:

Address: 4, 2 Court, Milton Street, Birmingham

CARPENTER, Thomas Head Married M 37 1854 French Polisher Birmingham

CARPENTER, Fanny Wife Married F 37 1854 French Polisher Birmingham

CARPENTER, Lily Daughter F 11 1880 Scholar Birmingham

CARPENTER, Thomas Son M 6 1885 Scholar Birmingham

CARPENTER, Freddy Son M 3 1888 Scholar Birmingham

CARPENTER, Harry Son M 0 (8M) 1891 Birmingham

In the 1901 census there is a widow named Elzabeth Carpenter of the right age profile at Sheepcote Street with the Hankinson family:

Address: 25, 4, Back Sheepcote Lane, Birmingham

HANKINSON, John Head Married M 24 1877 Tube Polisher Birmingham

HANKINSON, Blanche Wife Married F 21 1880 Birmingham

CARPENTER, Elizth Boarder Widow F 76 1825 Birmingham

Back to the 1891 census there is a household transcription for William Carpenter in William Street. What is really interesting about this address (6,7 Court) is that in the same census John and Alice Millington's family (parents of g-grandfather Terence) are living at 6 Court 1 House, William Street.

Courts in William Street, Lee Bank

Address: 6, 7 Court, William Street, Birmingham

CARPENTER, William H Head Married M 28 1863 Stone Breaker Birmingham

CARPENTER, Ada Wife Married F 22 1869 Birmingham

BARNSLEY, William H Visitor M 1 1890 Birmingham

In the 1901 census the same family have moved just around the corner to Communication Row in Lee Bank.

Address: 3, Court, Communication Row, Birmingham

CARPENTER, William H Head Married M 39 1862 Corporation Labourer Birmingham

CARPENTER, Ada Wife Married F 35 1866 Birmingham 

CARPENTER, William H B Son M 11 1890 Birmingham 

CARPENTER, Amos Son M 7 1894 Birmingham 

CARPENTER, Lizzie E Daughter F 3 1898 Birmingham 

CARPENTER, James Son M 1 1900 Birmingham

HUNN, William G Lodger M 13 1888 Tin Smith Birmingham

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Carpenter family in Census Records

The canal area in Birmingham (picture by David Fletcher)

.Further to the new information about the origins of g-g-grandmother Emily Carpenter (the mother of my great grandmother Phoebe Adderley - wife of Terence Millington) who was born in Aston Cantlow in the parish in Wilmcote near Stratford on Avon, I have conducted additional research in the online census records in an attempt to trace her family in the 19th century.

1841 census

Emily's father Henry is to be found in the 1841 census living with his family in Aston Cantlow. The exciting thing about this record is the discovery of an ancestor who was born in the late 1700s - Henry's father William Carpenter.

Williams wife is not listed in 1841 and in the 1851 census he is described as a widower, so we can perhaps guess she may have died by 1841. William and two of his sons (including Henry) are living with the Keasey family - Hannah Keasey is William Carpenters oldest daughter, she is aged 20 in the census whereas her husband George is aged 30 and has 3 children including one aged 11 which may indicate that he was married before he married Hannah. I do know from Freda's tree that the two youngest children listed here were Hannah's own children. The two oldest Carpenter boys, William and Samuel, identified in Freda's research on Genes Reuinted, are absent from this household.

The 1841 census does not list occupations.

Address: Aston Road, Aston Cantlow, Wilmcott

KEASEY, George
M 30
Born 1811 Warwickshire

KEASEY, Hannah
F 20
Born 1821 in Warwickshire

KEASEY, George
M 11
Born 1830 Warwickshire

KEASEY, Joshua
M 2
Born 1839 Warwickshire

M 0 (8 months)
Born 1841 Warwickshire

M 50
Born 1791 Warwickshire

M 14
Born 1827 Warwickshire

M 4
1837 Warwickshire

Registration District: Alcester
Sub District: Alcester

Next, the family is recorded in Aston Cantlow in the 1851 census, the same year that Emily was born. Now Henry is head of the household and is married to Elizabeth.

1851 census
Address: 16, Aston Road, Aston Cantlow

M 25
Born 1826
Labourer in a Stone Quarry
Born in Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire

CARPENTER, Elizabeth
F 25
Born 1826
Agricultural Labourer
Born Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire

Son, Unmarried
M 2
Born 1849 in Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire

Daughter Unmarried
F 1
Born 1850 in Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire

M 63
Born 1788
Agricultural Labourer
Born at Wootton Wawen

Registration District: Stratford-On-Avon
Sub District: Alcester
Enumeration District:3C
Ecclesiastical Parish: Saint Andrew
Civil Parish: Aston Cantlow

Address: 16, Aston Road, Aston Cantlow
County: Warwickshire

1861 census

A decade later we find that the Carpenter family of rural Warwickshire have moved into the expanding industrial town of Birmingham and are living at 3 Holliday Street which is in the centre of Birmingham close to the canals at Gas Stret basin. This location fits in with the fact that Emily married Alfred Adderley at St Thomas's church and they lived in the Lee Bank area for many decades.

1861 census
Address: 3, Holliday Street, Birmingham

Married M 36
Born 1825
Born Warwickshire

CARPENTER, Elizabeth
Wife Married
F 35
Born1826 in Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire

M 13
Born 1848
Gun Polisher
Born Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire

F 12
Born 1849 Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire

Daughter Unmarried
F 10
Born Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire 

Daughter Unmarried
F 8
Born 1853 Stratford on Avon

M 4
Born 1857 Harbury

M 2
Born 1859 Birmingham

Birmingham Sub District: 2
St Thomas
Enumeration District: 24
Ecclesiastical Parish: St Thomas

1871 Census.

In both the 1871 and 1881 census the Carpenter family are living in Bow Street in the centre of Birmingham. The 1871 census contains a couple of potential errors such as a son named Amos who was previously listed as Thomas and the mother is named Mary instead of Elizabeth, but otherwise I think we can safely say that this is the correct family, especially as they remain in Bow Street 10 years later and the mother's name is back to Elizabeth.

There is also a 1 year old child named Sophia who does not appear in the next census of 1881, so we might guess she died during the intervening decade.

Address: Bow Street Court House, Birmingham

Tube drawer
M 44
Born 1827 Warwickshire

F 48
Born 1823 Warwickshire

CARPENTER, Elizabeth
F 17 1854 Warwickshire

Errand boy
Son M 14
Born 1857 Warwickshire

M 13
Born 1858 Warwickshire

Son M 8
Born 1863 Warwickshire

Daughter F 1
Born 1870 Warwickshire

Registration District: Birmingham
Sub District: St Thomas
Enumeration District: 11

1881 census

Address: 7, Ct, Hoe 5 Bow St, Birmingham

M 55
Born 1836 Wilmcote
Engine Driver Loco

CARPENTER, Elizabeth
F 54
Born 1837 Wilmcote

Single M 21
Born 1860 Birmingham
Stone Breaker (Ro Lab)

Son Single M 18
Born 1863 Birmingham
Builders Labourer Birmingham

Read my book online

A short aside from my family history studies, I am about to have my first book published, Forward - a history of Birmingham Disability Resource Centre. The book is the result of an 18 month oral history project I have been carrying which has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The book records the history of the disabled people's rights movement in the 20th century culminating in the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 and the establishment of user led organisations such as Birmingham Disability Resource Centre.

It is a fairly unique and innovative piece of work as it takes an oral history approach to disability history, which in the past has been the domain of academics and sociologists. The front cover image was commissioned from Crippen, a well known disabled cartoonist and the foreword is by Professor Carl Chinn who also supported me with training for our oral history participants during the project.

The launch event takes place at the centre on 9th April 2010 and Sir Albert Bore who is the leader of the Labour group on Birmingham City Council will be in attendance along with Bob Williams-Findlay who was the founder of Birmingham Disability Rights Group in 1985.

I have posted the text from the book onto a new website at this link. Please feel free to have an exclusive peak before the book is launched. Images from the book will be added in a week or two. Here's the link:

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Into the vale of years - discovering ancestors in Shakespeare's Warwickshire

Wilmcote, Warwickshire

As if my Brummie family tree hasn't expanded quite enough throughout the posts of this website, with ancestors arriving into 19th century Birmingham by the cart load from the rural villages of Shropshire, the smokey furnaces of the Black Country, the bustling bridges of the Liffey and the ravaged fields of Galway, be prepared for a whole new branch of the tree which takes us back in time to the hedgerows, lanes and timbered hamlets of Shakespeare's very own country around Stratford-upon-Avon in South Warwickshire.

A common occurance for family tree researchers is the invariable cul-de-sac when one reaches an ancestor with no obvious links to anyone else in their immediate family. This often happens with female ancestors if you don't have a maiden name to help you make the next generational step backwards. No maiden name means no surname to search for. When this happens, the initial impulse is to keep following the paternal line as far back as possible in order to expand the tree, but it does mean that you leave behind a trail of great great grandmothers who appear to have been brought into the world by an anonymous stork.

However, the beauty of the internet and the emergence of sites such as Genes Reunited in the past 5 or so years is that suddenly there is a new potential to make contact with people who can not only link into some of these lonesome ancestors (perpetually waiting for someone to rediscover their siblings and parents), but to actually double the size of one's own family tree via a couple of emails and the viewing of the persons tree.

This is exactly what happened when I made contact with a lady on Genes Reunited named Freda whose  ancestor, Emily Carpenter, is my g-g-grandmother. When Freda and I subsequently opened our trees to one another, it transpired that the wealth of her family tree research in Warwickshire equaled if not surpassed my own in other locations and, between us, if we were to join our trees through this single link, our joint tree starts to run into hundreds of individuals.

Obviously the majority of Fredas ancestors are so distantly related to my own, and largely through marriage as opposed to genes, that it would be non-sensical to transfer them all into my own tree (and vice versa). However, there are relevant genetic lines which it would be worth making note of.

The point at which my own family tree takes a branch off into the research published by Freda on Genes Reunited begins at the marriage of my paternal great grandfather Terence Millington to Pheobe Adderley at St Judes Church in Birmingham city centre. Phoebe's father was Alfred Adderley, a stationary engine driver born in Birmingham in 1849 and her mother was Emily Carpenter, who was born in Wilmcote in Warwickshire in 1851. Alfred and Emily Adderley lived in Lee Bank in Birmingham and had 9 children.

I knew from census records that Emily Carpenter originated from Wilmcote, a small village near Stratford and that her father's name was Henry. The register office for the area was actually over the border in Worcestershire at Alcester and the birth of an Emily Carpenter was registered at Alcester in the December quarter of 1851. Beyond this, I knew nothing further about the origins or family of g-g-grandmother Emily Carpenter.

See my post here for information about the Adderley family in Lee Bank:

According to Freda's research, Emily Carpenter was 3rd of 6 children born to Henry Carpenter (b.1826) and Elizabeth Bradley (b.circa. 1826). Emily's brothers and sisters were:

George born in Stratford c. 1848
Jane born in Aston Cantlow 1850
Emily born Aston Cantlow 1851
Eliza born in Aston Cantlow c.1854
Thomas born in Harbury c.1857
Charles born in Birmingham c.1859

Emily's father (my g-g-g-grandfather), Henry Carpenter was a labourer in a stone quarry. He was born in Aston Cantlow in 1826 and married Elizabeth Bradley in Alcester in 1845.

Henry was one of five children of William Carpenter and Elizabeth Green (both born early 1800s).

The five children were:

Joseph born in Bearley and married Francis Oliver
Hannah born in Aston Cantlow and married George Keasley
William b 1820
Samuel b. 1823
Henry b. 1826

Aston Cantlow

(From Wikipedia )

Aston Cantlow is a village and civil parish in the Stratford district of Warwickshire, England, on the River Alne. It lies 5 miles north-west of Stratford, and 2 miles north-east of Wilmcote, the parish stretching across the valley of the Alne. The main village, consisting of a single street, lies on the east bank of the stream; and behind the hamlet of Little Alne on the opposite bank, about ¼ mile north-west, the Alne Hills rise to rather over 400 ft. round the scattered hamlet of Shelfield. The valley is bounded on the east and south by a line of low hills, partly wooded, which divide it from the Avon. On this ridge are two more hamlets-Newnham and, about a mile to the south of it, Wilmcote, which has been a separate ecclesiastical parish since 1863. The eastern extremity of the parish touches Bearley and Snitterfield and includes the hamlet of Pathlow on the Birmingham-Stratford road.[1] It was the home of Mary Arden, Shakespeare's mother.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Welcome to my Brummie Family Tree


Thanks for looking in on my family history website. Every week seems to turn up something new and I still have plenty of unpublished stories and photos. So whether you're a long lost relation or a curious stranger, please keep popping in to see us every now and again.

There's always a warm welcome to everyone in this online parlour!

John McDonnell - a basket making dynasty?

Having focussed the past few blog posts (below) around a branch of my dad's ancestors, the Finns who came to Birmingham from Galway in the 1850s/60s, I need to make a jump to my mother's side of the family tree to report on an interesting email received this weekend from a gentleman name John McDonnell, who lives in Dublin. Having found this website through an online search, John emailed me in connection to my g-g-grandfather, also named John McDonnell who was a blind entrepreneur in Victorian Dublin. His grandfather was named Thomas McDonnell and great grandfather was James McDonnell.

John emailed:

My name is John McDonnell, I have been researching my family history. I believe I may be connected to John McDonnell - "a remarkable man".

Members of my family were in the basket making trade in North Dublin. Yesterday while in the library going through old street directories, of East Arran Street and Pill Street. I found a reference to John McDonnell of the North City Basket Factory.

I came home and looked up James McDonnell basket maker Dublin. This is how I found your site. I wish to thank yourself and Sean Whelan for all the very interesting information. I wonder can either of you help me with my quest to find out more about my family.

I have attached all the information I have about that part of my family. I would dearly like to find out more.

Congratulations to you both, and thanks again. If either of you can advise me that would be a big help as I am at a stop.

Yours sincerely, in hope and anticipation,

John McDonnell.
Thomas McDonnell
From John McDonnell Dublin Mar. 2010-03-19

My Grandfather’s name was Thomas McDonnell. My family were connected to the Basketmaking Trade in Dublin City North.

I am most interested in tracing my family prior to 1903. I have a lot of information after this period and will share it with anyone interested. After 1903 Thomas remarried and had 3 children.

Thomas McDonnell’s father was James McDonnell of 15 East Arran Street a Basket Maker.

Of James’s family I only know the following,

He had son Thomas (above) a clerk and bookkeeper in Downes Bakery for 50 years until retirement.

Thomas had a daughter Mary born circa 1895 he also had a son who died young.
James also had a daughter Catherine or Kate. Catherine married a James Ormsby in 1886 and had no children.

James had a least one other daughter Bridget. Bridget was a basket maker and married Hugh Lockhart in 1885. Hugh of 15 East Arran Street was also a basket maker.

Bridget’s father James (above) was a basket maker as was Hugh’s father James. Both families lived at 15 East Arran Street.

Bridget had at least one daughter Eliza 7th. April 1899 at 23 Pill Lane.

In 1903 Thomas McDonnell married Bridget Mooney this was his second marriage, this was on Feb 22nd. 1903 his address was 103 Lower Grange Gorman his father James was deceased at that time.They had 3 children. My mother Annie was one.If you look at the Irish Census 1911 they lived at 8.4 Canal Bank Dolphins Barn Dublin:

Residents of house number 8.4 in Canal Bank (Usher's Quay, Dublin)

McDonnell Thomas 45 Male Head of Family Catholic Dublin Office Cleark Read and write - Married - 8 3 3

McDonnell Bridget 41 Female Wife Catholic Co Wicklow - Read and write - Married - 8 3 3

McDonnell Ellen 4 Female Daughter Catholic Dublin - - - Single - - - -

McDonnell Annie 3 Female Daughter Catholic Dublin - - - Single - - - -

McDonnell Margaret 2 Female Daughter Catholic Dublin - - - Single - - - -

I feel sure they are connected to John McDonnell of The North City Basket Factory.

I would greatly appreciate any help or advice in collecting any other information on my family.

Pete's commentary: Can anyone out there share any more light on this enquiry? Could James McDonnell have been a brother or cousin to my own John and if so, was basket making a family business?

Extended Finn family tree

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Piecing together the information that Jamie Evans has uncovered in the past few weeks, pinpointing local families who appear to be connected to the Finn family of 19th century Newtown, Duddeston, Hockley and Ladywood, and putting this information together with data I already know about my direct ancestors and those of another researcher named Gerald Payne, we can start to develop a speculative tree along the basis of the chart above.

All of these people apparently descending from just two brothers that we know about at the moment, Patrick and Martin Finn. Martin Finn was my g-g-g-grandfather, we know he had two sons, James (g-grandfather of Gerald Payne) and Thomas (my g-g-grandfather). My guess, and one I think Jamie concurs with is that the various families he has uncovered such as the McKiernans who went to Cleveland, were the children of Patrick Finn, so we begin to look at cousins and then second cousins emerging from this tightly knit Irish / Catholic quarter of late 19th century Birmingham and an extended family who maintained close links at least up until the 1920s even when 2 or 3 families moved permanently to Ohio.

Below is a similar tree, this time for the Flynn family (Bridget Flynn is married to Thomas Finn in the above chart). All of these families lived in the same close knit Irish quarter of Newtown in 19th century Birmingham as the extended Finn family above. There are still big gaps in this research and I don't know who most of these descendants married, so one can imagine how much larger the interconnected Finn and Flynn family trees might yet become.

Developing the extended Finn family tree

Thanks to Jamie Evans for this latest up-date of his research into the extended Finn family of Newtown, Birmingham, UK in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Regular visitors to my website will know that Jamie and I have been looking into the connections between our respective ancestors and also their connections with Cleveland, Ohio in America.

Because of the nature of the blog format, it is sometimes difficult to present information in a logical or sequential historical order, as one might do in a book. I am however keen to post up this new and exciting data as and when Jamie, or indeed other researchers send it to me, as I think there is a value in demonstrating the process of family history research itself. A lot of this information is found from painstaking detective work which invariably involves a high degree of speculation as we piece together various jigsaw pieces, some of which fit immediately into place whilst others may turn out to be red herrings, or may have to wait for other missing pieces to appear before we can fit them in.

What generally starts to happen after consistantly digging away at a range of sources, as Jamie has been doing here, is that a critical mass of facts starts to form from which the bigger picture becomes almost indisputable. So certain surnames re-occur on different types of records and individuals from one family show up in a record appertaining to another family (e.g. a witness on a marriage certifcate, an additional family member on a census record, a traveling companion going through a migration office, etc) all of which hopefully corroborates our initial theories and helps to develop a factually based family tree.

Here then are some more fascinating jigsaw pieces from Jamie's most recent research:

Marriage of Thomas McKiernan and Annie Finn

The marriage certificate of Thomas McKiernan(25) to Annie FINN (24) both living at 5 Court, Lancaster Street, Birmingham, they married at St Chads RC Cathedral, Birmingham on 3rd April 1893.

Thomas McKiernan was a bachelor, states he is a Wire Worker and his father is Thomas McKiernan a Painter.

Annie FINN states she is a spinster, no job description and that her father is PATRICK FINN a Labourer.

On the Marriage certificate there are 2 witnesses one is named as Lizzie McKiernan, obviously a relative of the groom, but I have not been able to trace any record of her.

The second witness is Thomas GOODWIN

Jamie says:

"I have never heard of him before, however a quick check on Free Cen, 1891 Census, I found a family named GOODWIN living at 52, Bartholomew Street, which is off Bordesley Street, in the old 'Italian' Quarter of the City living there are the following people..."

Goodwin family of Bartholomew Street

Piece: RG12/2384 Place: Birmingham -Warwickshire Enumeration District: 24

Civil Parish: Birmingham Ecclesiastical Parish: St Bartholomew

Folio: 105 Page: 21 Schedule: 118

Address: 52 Bartholomew St.

GOODWIN Winifred Head W F 36 Clothesdealer(Notem) Lancashire - Manchester

GOODWIN Thomas Son S M 17 Solicitor's Clerk(Em'ee) Warwickshire - Birmingham

GOODWIN Jane Sislaw S F 29 Clothesdealer(Notem) Worcestershire - Dudley

GOODWIN Ada Niece S F 4 Scholar Yorkshire - Sheffield

FINES John Brothr M M 34 Bricklayer's Labourer(Em'ee) Warwickshire - Birmingham

FINES Catherine Sislaw M F 29 Brass Worker(Em'ee) Warwickshire - Birmingham

FELLOWS Jane Servnt S F 26 Domestic Servant(Em'ee) Worcestershire - Dudley

RUANE Peter Boardr W M 35 Artisan(Em'ee) Staffordshire - Wolverhampton

Jamie's commentary:

Thomas GOODWIN would have been 19 at the time of the marriage and appears to be well educated to be a Solicitors Clerk, he must have been well thought of in the family to be asked to be a witness, but what was his connection? Could the BRIDE be his mother's SISTER? If so which Patrick Finn Family did they come from?

His mother is Winifred GOODWIN (36) now a widow, another quick search showed that Winifred FINN married James GOODWIN on 20th July 1873 at St Bartholomew's Church, Duddeston Row, Birmingham. (Not RC, but a very local Church to where they were living).

Catherine Finn/Goodwin gives her place of birth as Manchester, does this show up in any of the previous Census's. Which Patrick Finn was her father? He would also be the father of this John and possibly ANNIE!!

Also living there were a John and Catherine FINES, this I would say is a spelling mistake, it should be FINN, Johns year of birth is 1857, the same as the other John Finn, but this one is the brother of Winifred and therefore linked to her parents whichever Patrick and Catherine Finn family they are?

Goodwins in the 1861 Census

A further check of the 1861 Census on Free Cen showed that James Goodwin, is recorded as living with his family in Old Mill Street, Dudley, his mother and father were both from Ireland. His sister Jane is also there.

John's commentary:

"I feel sure that these are the John and Catherine FINN who lived next door to my Grandmother Martha Lily Walton at 75, Coventry Street, Digbeth, Birmingham at the time she went to Cleveland, Ohio in April 1922 and that she named as her next of kin and John as her 'Grandfather' on the US Immigration Forms.

This would be the same John (now 44 a Bricklayers Labourer) and Catherine(40) who were in the 1901 Census living at 1 Court 2 house Weaman Street, City, with 2 boarders. They both give their jobs as the same in both Census's, there is no mention of children.

There is no doubt that Sister Marie Nativa is the daughter of Thomas and Annie McKiernan, but WHICH Patrick is the father of Annie Finn/McKiernan? "

Catherine Finn marries Patrick Duffey (Duffy)

Whilst looking at the family of Patrick and Catherine Finn of 8/1 Lench Street, Birmingham, Jamie found the following regarding their daughter Catherine in the 1891 Census.

Piece: RG12/2420 Place: Aston -Warwickshire Enumeration District: 30

Civil Parish: Aston Ecclesiastical Parish: St Matthew

Folio: 31 Page: 1 Schedule: 1

Address: 1 Coleman Street

DUFFEY Patrick Head M M 29 Slater(Notem) Warwickshire - Birmingham

DUFFEY Catherine Wife M F 29 Warwickshire - Birmingham

DUFFEY Thomas Son S M 7 Scholar Warwickshire - Birmingham

DUFFEY James Son - M 4m Warwickshire - Birmingham

On FreeBMD there is a record of the marriage of Patrick Duffey to Catherine Finn in Birmingham Sept Q, 1885. 6d 36.

Patricks parents lived in Slaney Street, off Weaman Street, a predominately Irish and very poor part of the City at that time. But within yards of the Catholic Cathedral, St Chads.

Piece: RG12/2391 Place: Birmingham -Warwickshire Enumeration District: 36

Civil Parish: Birmingham Ecclesiastical Parish: St Mary's

Folio: 26 Page: 48 Schedule: 277

Address: 22 Ct Hse 2 Slaney St

KENNY Frank Head M M 24 Bicycle Maker(Em'ee) Warwickshire - Birmingham

KENNY Mary A Wife M F 24 Warwickshire - Birmingham

KENNY Elizabeth Dau S F 2 Warwickshire - Birmingham

KENNY Frank Son S M 1 Warwickshire - Birmingham

DUFFEY Patrick Ftrlaw M M 63 Slater(Em'ee) Warwickshire - Birmingham

DUFFEY Bridget Ma-Law M F 67 Warwickshire - Birmingham

Pete's commentary:

" What is interesting about the Jamie's discovery of the census address of 1 Coleman Street in Duddeston is that this is exactly the same address that my great grandparents, William Clayton and Mary Helen Finn gave on their own marriage certificate in 1892."

The tale of John Thomas Ratchford

Jamie's research in the past week has uncovered this interesting story about John Thomas Ratchford:

" Whilst trawling Ancestry I came across this information:

1. I have previously mentioned that a John Thomas RATCHFORD aged 18, sailed from Liverpool to the USA on 30th October 1901, aboard the SS Oceanic. On the US Immigration Forms he states that he is a Brass Polisher from Birmingham, England, travelling to Cleveland, Ohio, to visit his Aunt, Julia Robinson at 25, Dalloff Street, Cleveland.

2. If we look at a copy of the 1891Census for Ratchford's we find the following:

Piece: RG12/2393 Place: Birmingham -Warwickshire Enumeration District: 52

Civil Parish: Birmingham Ecclesiastical Parish: Bishop Ryder

Folio: 32 Page: 20 Schedule: 106

Address: Ct 5, 5h, 19 Lancaster Street

FINN Patrick Head M M 56 Bricklayer's Labourer(Em'ee) Ireland - -

FINN Catherine Wife M F 52 Ireland - -

Page: 33/21 FINN Mary Dau S F 37 Spoon Tinner(Em'ee) Warwickshire - Birmingham

FINN Annie Dau S F 23 Press Worker(Em'ee) Warwickshire - Birmingham

RATCHFORD Ellen Dau M F 30 Spoon Polisher(Em'ee) Warwickshire - Birmingham

RATCHFORD John Grnson - M 8 Warwickshire - Birmingham

RATCHFORD James Grnson - M 3 Warwickshire - Birmingham

RATCHFORD Thomas Grnson - M 1 Warwickshire - Birmingham

Given that John Ratchford gives his age as 18 in 1901, it appears that he is the above named person aged 8 in 1891 and the son of Mrs Ellen Ratchford(Finn). Although confusing that he gives his second name as Thomas, as he has a brother also named Thomas?

3. Looking on Ancestry at the British Army Service Records of Soldiers who fought in the First World War, I found the record of a JOHN THOMAS RATCHFORD, I immediately knew he was connected to the family because the first page had written on it in large letter's: CLEVELAND, OHIO.

This service record is also unique in another way, where service records are usually about 5 to 10 pages long, this record is 57 pages long!!! Why?

4. Having apparently lived in Cleveland, Ohio since 1901 apparently without taking US Citizenship, on the out break of the First World War in 1914, John Ratchford immediately leaves his nice safe abode in the US to return to war torn England to fight for King and Country, he leaves his job and home and pays for his own return passage arriving in Liverpool on 22nd January 1915 on board the SS Majestic. Lucky in itself considering the submarine U-boat threat when crossing the Atlantic.

5. He immediately volunteers himself for Army service and enlists as Driver T/055562 RASC ( Royal Army Service Corp). On his application he has to give the names of 2 people who would give him a reference, No1, he gives as Mrs Blakemore, Back 45, Howe Street, Birmingham. No2, Mr Joseph Gaughtey, 144, Lupin Street, Birmingham.

6. Due to constrictions of time I was unable to take full details of all his service record, however he appeared to have survived the war without serious injury and in 1919 he informed the Army that he wished to be provided with passage back to the USA at their expense, which was apparently available at that time in thanks for coming to the aid of the mother country.

7. That's when his problems really started, because when he came to England in 1915 he was a single man but whilst over here, at the end of the war, he married a widow with one child, her name was Mrs Kate Varley , the marriage is recorded at Aston in 1919.

8. Apparently the Army didn't mind paying for one passage but for an extra 2 they didn't like it!!! Numerous letters and notes were exchanged trying to get the passage's booked, the Army wanted to see the marriage certificate, the US authorities wanted medical certificates for the new wife and child, they also wanted to know where John and his family were going to live when they got to the US?

9. In a Memorandum dated 19th August 1919 from the RASC Record Office, Woolwich Dockyard, 'J' Section, it states that John's next of kin is his mother Mrs E (Ellen) Ratchford, 5509, Morris Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, so fortunately he had someone to go to where he could stay to restart his life with his new wife and child having survived the First World War.

10. I will endeavour to find out what happened to John Ratchford on his return to Cleveland, Ohio in 1919, hopefully to find that the story has a happy ending.

Jamie Evans "

Sunday, 14 March 2010

1901 Census Record for the McKiernan family

Head of household MCKIERNAN, Thomas

Address: 10, 3, Court, Legge Street, Birmingham

M 33
Warehouseman Nut & Bolt Works
Born Ireland

F 33

Son Single
M 7

Son Single
M 6

Son Single
M 4

Son Single
M 2

Daughter Single
F 0 (2 MOS)

It is looking very likely that the wife of this family, Annie McKiernan, was the daughter of Patrick and Catherine Finn who have been identified as the family who appear in the 1871, 1881 and 1891 Census records. It has been suggested that Patrick Finn was the brother of Martin Finn who was the father of my g-g-grandfather Thomas Finn and his brother James Finn.

The McKiernan family had at least one more daughter probably named Annie, born in 1906, who became Sister Marie Nativa in Cleveland, Ohio.

Jamie’s research - the Cleveland, Ohio connection.

I must give a huge thanks to fellow family history researcher Jamie Evans for sharing with us the extensive amount of research he has carried out in just a very short amount of time during the past 2-3 weeks.

Regular readers of my blog will recall that Jamie contacted me a few weeks back having found this website and realising the strong possibility of my paternal ancestors, the Finn family of late 19th century Newtown in Birmingham, being connected to his own ancestors.

The most significant similarity being that we both have ancestors named Finn who came to the tiny streets around St Chads RC Cathedral in Birmingham from Ireland in the 19th century and that some members of these families subsequently left Birmingham in the late 1800s and early 1900s to live in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Jamie’s thorough and dogged detective work has led not only to the discovery of a wealth of new information which it seems will ultimately link our mutual ancestry, but reveals fascinating information about these Irish Brummie families who settled in Cleveland. It is perhaps fitting then that I sit down this afternoon, on both Mothers Day in the UK and the occasion of the St Patricks Day festival in Birmingham City Centre, to summarise Jamie’s most recent emails.

Jamie’s Grandmother

To recap, Jamie’s mother, Martha Lilly Walton, was born in Weaman Street in 1913. His grandfather John Walter Walton died after service in WW1 in August 1918. Prior to his death John Walton had been a very close friend of a man name John Finn and his wife Catherine. The two families not only lived very close to each other in Weaman Street (Newtown) but both moved to Coventry Street in Digbeth in about 1917 where they remained close neighbours, the Finns at number 75 and the Waltons at number 74. Jamie’s mother referred to Catherine Finn as “our nan”.

In 1922, Jamie’s grandmother, now a widow, sailed from Liverpool on the SS Olympic (sister ship of the Titanic) apparently to visit ‘the Finns’ in Cleveland, Ohio. She left her 4 daughters behind in Birmingham but returned 6 months later with the intention of taking them back to Cleveland with her. However, the grandmother of the children (mother of John Walton) clearly did not want her grandchildren to be taken away to the States and took out a court injunction which led to the children being removed from the ship before it sailed from Liverpool.

Jamie’s mother often told him about the Finns, who kept in touch with his grandmother until her death in 1935.

Identifying John and Catherine Finn

Initially Jamie and I discussed the possibility of John and Catherine Finn being connected to both of our lines of ancestry. The aim being to find out more about John Finn and where he fits in to the wider picture. For starters, it seems way too much of a coincidence to have two families named Finn living in the tightly knit neighbourhood around St Chads Cathedral in late 19th century Birmingham who both have these very precise references to family members who migrated to Cleveland, Ohio.

My earlier blog posts show two possible candidates for John Finn, both of whom by another coincidence were the sons of couples named Patrick and Catherine Finn. However, these are clearly two different families as one is to be found living at Brickiln Street in the 1861 and 1871, whilst the other family is also in the 1871 census and is repeated in the census of 1881 and 1891. Both of these John Finns were born in 1857. It therefore becomes difficult on this evidence alone to pick which, if either of these John Finns was the man we are looking for.

However, in evidence given to me a number of years ago by another researcher named Ian Payne, it was suggested that the family of Finns listed in the 1881 Census were related to my ancestors. Ian Payne told me that the head of this family, Patrick Finn was the brother of my g-g-grandfather Martin Finn. Martin Finn was father of my g-g-grandfather Thomas Finn and his older brother James, who was Ian Payne’s g-grandfather.

The interesting further point here is that Ian’s grandmother, Mary Jane Payne (nee. Finn) went to America in the late 19th century and Ian’s father was born on a ship returning to England in the late 1800s. Ian also told me that John Finn remained close to the Payne family and was buried in St Joseph’s church yard in Nechells.

Various questions arise from this enquiry:

Was Jamie’s great (or perhaps g-g) grandfather, John Finn, the same man who was related to the Payne family (who incidentally ran a coach company, Paynes Coaches, in Aston) and/or one of these two John Finns in the Census records?

What became of the Finn family of Brickiln Street from the 1861 and 1871 census? Were they related to us and where did they move on to after 1871?

Bound for America – back and forth across the pond

Ellis Island, gateway to the U.S. as it looked in New York harbor in the early 1900's .
Jamie’s research now led him to an examination of both ship and US Immigration records and then to other sources of US records. I will attempt to list his findings sequentially, my apologies for any repetition from previous posts but I feel it is of value to review Jamie’s research in historical date order:


William Robison (or Robinson?), born England 1857, arrives in USA

Looking at the Census records for FINNs in Birmingham it can be seen that in the 1881 Census, at 10 House/ 9 Court Weaman Street, Birmingham there is a Thomas FINN (36) his wife Bridget (34) both born in Galway, Ireland and their children, Mary (9), ANNIE (6) Born 1874, Margaret,(4), Ellen (2), Mary Flynn (60) Mother, Margaret Flynn (26) Sister, Maria Flynn (24) Sister in law and Mary BALICAN, Boarder aged 40 from Galway, Ireland.

In the 1891 Census the family are living at 6 back 101, Hospital Street, Birmingham but at this time Thomas is now a widower.


My Grandfather's (John Walter WALTON) mother Mary WALTON (nee HOGAN), lived at 2 house 10 Court St George Street (page from 1925 B'ham Voters List) from about 1890 until 1933. As she came from Galway I am sure that she would have known the FINN family very well and that they were close, which is clear from the fact that John Walter WALTON and later his widow lived next door to a member of the FINN family at various addresses for years. Also that Martha Walton, John's widow stated John FINN was her grandfather when she travelled to the US in 1922.


Census of 1891

Address: Court 5 House 5, Lancaster Street, Birmingham

FINN, Patrick Head Married M 56 1835 Bricklayers Labourer Ireland
FINN, Cathorine Wife Married F 52 1839 Ireland
FINN, Mary Daughter Single F 37 1854 Spoon Tinner Birmingham
FINN, Annie Daughter Single F 23 1868 Press Worker Birmingham
RATCHFORD, Ellen Daughter Married F 30 1861 Spoon Polisher Birmingham
RATCHFORD, John Grandson M 8 1883 Birmingham
RATCHFORD, James Grandson M 3 1888 Birmingham
RATCHFORD, Thomas Grandson M 1 1890 Birmingham


On the FreeBMD there is a record of an ANNIE FINN marrying a THOMAS McKeirnan in Birmingham in the June Quarter of 1893, 6d, 313.


A check of US Naturalisation records show that a William ROBISON of 68, Jewett Street, Cleveland, Ohio, became a US Citizen on 24/3/1899, his record shows he was born in England on 9/3/1857 and arrived in the USA on 27/7/1881.


Catherine FINN, aged 60, a widow, Charwoman, last residence, Birmingham, was going to the US to visit her daughter, Mrs Robinson at 25, Dalloff Street, Cleveland, Ohio, who she stated paid for her passage and gave her $8 dollars to enter the US with. She travelled on the White Star liner SS Cymric from Liverpool on 6th October 1899 to New York.


Catherine FINN, aged 60 (now listed as married) Last residence Birmingham, states she is going to visit her daughter, Mrs Robinson at 25, Dalloff Street, Cleveland, Ohio again. However this time she is travelling with Agnes McNamara aged 31, a Domestic, married, last residence Birmingham, she is visiting her sister Mrs O'Neil of 815, St Clair Street, Cleveland, Ohio, who also paid for her passage. They travelled on the White Star liner SS Teutanic from Liverpool on 15th December 1899 to New York. Could Mrs O'Neil and Mrs Robinson be sisters? (Jamie adds: is Agnes McMamara also Catherine Finns daughter?)


Catherine FINN, aged 60, a widow again, housekeeper, last residence, Birmingham, travelling to visit her daughter in Cleveland, Ohio, no address given this time, she states her daughter paid for the passage. Her health is described as 'Senility'. She travelled on the White Star Liner, SS Germanic from Liverpool on 8th August 1900 to New York. In all cases she stated she could not read or write in all the 3 ship's manifests.


When James FINN went to Cleveland in 1904 he stated he was visiting his son-in-law William Robinson 68, Jewett Street, Cleveland, Ohio. In the 1900 US Census there is a William Robinson born Dudley 9/3/1857, who died in Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga, on 6/6/1927 aged 70 years and was buried at the Woodlands Cemetery on 9/6/1927. His wife's name was Elizabeth (might have been a second wife?). His fathers name was Joseph, mother Elizabeth Robinson (nee Cadman) he was a widower and worked as a Water Engineer for Standard Oil. He lived at 11714 Lenacrave Street, Cleveland.


James FINN, aged 66, stated to be single and Irish, travelling to Cleveland,Ohio, to visit his son-in-law William Robinson, 68, Jewett Street, Cleveland, Ohio, last residence Liverpool, he states that his son-in-law paid for the passage. He travelled on the liner, SS Majestic from Liverpool on 9th November 1904 to New York. He was also unable to read or write.

Emigrants arriving at Ellis Island in the early 1900s


Sr. Marie Nativa was born November 4, 1906 in Birmingham, England to Thomas McKiernan [born in Ireland] and Anna Finn McKiernan [born in England]. Her baptism was at St. Chads Cathedral in Birmingham November 18, 1906.


Census of 1911

1, 3, Court House, Weaman Street, Birmingham

FINN, John
Head Married
M 44
born 1857
Bricklayers Labourer
Born St Peters Birmingham, Warwickshire

FINN, Catherine
Wife Married
F 40
Born 1861
Press Worker
Born in Bath St, Birmingham, Warwickshire


Sailing on the SS Celtic on 17th August 1911 from Liverpool to Philadelphia, USA, was a Miss ELLEN RATCHFORD aged 18 years, a Domestic, her next of kin was given as her mother, Mrs E. Ratchford of Court 1, 8 house St George Street, Birmingham, she was travelling to Cleveland, Ohio.

She also had a travelling companion, a John McKIERNAN aged 18 years, of 64, Hanley Street, Birmingham. On the 1901 census, he is 6 years old and living with his family at 10 Court 3, Legge Street, Birmingham.


Sailing on the SS Merion on 18th September 1912 from Liverpool to Philadelphia, USA, I found the following passengers, ELLEN RATCHFORD aged 43 yrs, a brass polisher, her next of kin is given as Mrs E. RATCHFORD of St Georges Street, Birmingham. With her are her 2 children, Alice Ratchford aged 13 years and Bernard Ratchford aged 11. The record states that they are going to visit a friend Mrs Julie ROBINSON in Cleveland, Ohio.

Jamie adds: Mrs Ellen Ratchford who sailed in 1912 must be the daughter of Patrick and Catherine FINN, who was living with them at 5 Court, 5 house 19, Lancaster Street Birmingham in the 1891 Census, she is even a Spoon Polisher!!

The Catherine FINN travelling to the US must be her mother?

So who is the 18 year old Ellen Ratchford travelling in 1911? Could she have been the Nun 'Aunt Nell'

The landing stage at Liverpool, 1912


US immigration records show that sailing on the SS Merion from Liverpool to Philadelphia on 30/9/1912, we have the following Birmingham family, Thomas McKeirnan aged 38 his wife ANNIE aged 38, Thomas aged 16, Katie aged 11, Julia aged 9, ANNIE aged 4 and Mary E. Aged 2.

On the second page of the record it clearly states that the family are visiting a SISTER named Julia ROBINSON at 2991 E 59 Street, Cleveland, Ohio. Thomas states he was born in Dublin, Ireland, ANNIE in Birmingham, England. Thomas also states that he and his son Thomas had visited Cleveland, Ohio before and stayed for 6 months.

The wife ANNIE gives her age as 38 years, which means she was born around 1874.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission website shows 2 potential relatives of the family, L/Cpl 11125 H.Ratchford, Worcestershire Regt died 25/7/1915 son of Mr J. Ratchford, 7, Pritchett Street, Birmingham and Pte Owen Finn, 7267 1st Bn Worcestershire Regt died 25/9/1915 son of the late Michael and Mary Finn, 22, Smith Street, Hockley, Birmingham.


US Army Draft cards for 1917, when the USA entered the First World War.

Registered on 6/5/1917, at the Local Board for District No3, Central Armory, Cleveland, Ohio is JAMES RATCHFORD, born on 2nd October 1887, (29yrs) of Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, an Alien, working as a Linesman for the Bell Telephone Company. He was living at 3030 West 44 Street, Cleveland with his WIFE and MOTHER (no names given)

On the 1917/18 US Draft cards there is a record of Thomas William McKeirnan aged 24, born 26/4/1893 in Birmingham, England, a Machinist, states he is a Alien.

Also of Bernard McKeirnan aged 19 years, born 28/12/1898, England, also a Machinist, both give thier address as 2659 East 67 Street, Cleveland, Ohio. I could not find any record that they were called up for war service. Bernard, who would have been 14 years old, was not with the family when they travelled in 1912.


Martha Lilly WALTON, (Jamie’s Grandmother) aged 33, a housekeeper, last residence Birmingham, travelling to Cleveland, Ohio, she states her next of kin to be her Grandfather John (spelt Trim) (sounded) Finn of 75, Coventry Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, she was living at 74, Coventry Street, Digbeth at that time. She travelled on the SS Olympic sailing from Southampton on 14th April 1922 to New York. She apparently stayed for 6 months and returned to Birmingham with the intention of returning to Cleveland with her 4 daughters, but the girls were removed from the ship at Liverpool, after their Grandmother, Mary WALTON (deceased fathers mother) took an injunction out to stop them being removed from the country. They all returned to Birmingham and never made it to Cleveland.


John FINN aged 19, a Clerk, states he is English, but race as Irish , last residence, Birmingham, his next of kin is given as his sister, Miss M.E. FINN, 75, Foley Road, Washwood Heath, Birmingham, he states he is travelling to New Jersey City. He travelled on the SS President Adams on 1st July 1922 from London to New York.


On the 9th August 1922, the White Star liner SS Celtic returned to Liverpool from New York, on that ship travelling in Third Class, was a typed record stating that one of the passengers was Martha WALTON aged 33 years living at 75, Coventry Street, Birmingham. Remember she had travelled to the US in April 1922.

Jamie added: Travelling with my grandmother and listed above her is ELLEN RATCHFORD, 62 years a wife, living at 74, Coventry Street, Birmingham. (John and Catherine FINN actually lived at 75 and Martha Walton at 74.)


Sister Marie Nativa did not enter the order until 1925, this photo could not have been in circulation until after that date so I suspect that this photo was given out by the proud parents of the Nun, Thomas and Annie McKeirnan when they came to England with Julia Robinson in 1932? Who lived at 18 Park Road in 1932 I wonder?

Sister Maria Nativa entered the religious congregation of the Sisters of Humility of Mary on January 23, 1925 from St. Edward Church in Cleveland, Ohio .

The convent do not have any of the details as to when the family left England nor when they came to Cleveland, Ohio .

There were Sisters of the Humility of Mary teaching grades 1 – 8 at St. Edward at that time.


On the 1930 US Census for Cleveland, Ohio, there is recorded Thomas McKeirnan aged 62, his wife ANNIE aged 62, children now, Julia aged 29, Nellie aged 30 and Bernard aged 31.

Cleveland, Ohio 1931


This time on UK immigration records we have returning to Liverpool on the SS Seythia, on 29/6/1932, 3 passengers travelling together, Julia Robinson aged 67, Thomas and ANNIE McKeirnan both aged 64, they gave the address they were staying at in England as 18, Park Road, Birmingham, (no district given, but it would be nice to see who lived at the address). So in 1932, the McKeirnans and the sister Julia Robinson made a return trip to Birmingham. By this time Julia Robinson was a proud US Citizen as on one of her trips across the Atlantic on the SS Oceanic sailing from Liverpool on 10/4/1901, in a list of all British passengers, she proudly states that she is a US Citizen on the page. Thomas McKeirnan became a US Citizen on 22/1/1921.


Birth of Well, 4 Star General David D McKeirnan born 9/7/1947 is from Cleveland, Ohio and was the last US Commander in Afghanistan (2009) before General McCrystal. Due to his position details are a bit lacking however I really believe he could be descended from the original family. Also there is a Father Vincent McKeirnan who is in Cleveland Ohio.

Is there anybody out there?

Continued from the blog post above.

During his online research into the Finn family connections in Cleveland, Ohio, Jamie Evans came across an enquiry posted onto a genealogy website 9 years ago. He is attempting to track down the person who made the following post:

Jamie tells us:

We must now bring the search forward 70 YEARS, found on the Ancestry web site was this appeal for information dated 11/4/2001 from a person using the name HMINSER.

McKiernan, Finn, Cregan+

HMINSER (View posts) Posted: 11 Apr 2001 6:41PM GMT

Classification:  Surnames.

I am seeking information on the family of Ann Finn who was married to Thomas McKiernan. Ann died abt 18 Sep 1945. Ann and Tom had the following children Thomas, John, Edward, Bernard, Kathryn (who married a Whalen) Julia (who married William D. Cregan) Sister Marie Nativa H.H.M. and Mary who married a Mr. Duncan. They were from the Cleveland Ohio area.

Jamie continues:

The person who wrote this request must have been very close to he family as they named all the children in the correct order and the one child that they do not name (ANNIE) they gave her, her new name and title, as SISTER MARIE NATIVA H.H.M, I feel sure that this must be 'Aunt Nell'. How many families have a Nun in it?

A second enquiry from the same person,

Ann FINN/Thomas McKIERNAN: OH, USA 1900s

Replies: 0

Ann FINN/Thomas McKIERNAN: OH, USA 1900s

HMINSER (View posts) Posted: 11 Apr 2001 6:25PM

Classification: Query

Surnames: Finn, McKiernan, Cregan

I am seeking information about the parents and family of an Ann Finn in Cleveland, OH who married a Thomas McKiernan.

Thomas died abt 9 Jan 1941 and Ann died abt 18 Sep 1945. One of their children was a daughter Julia who married William D. Cregan.

If memory serves me right William Cregan (1907-1966), was chief of police in Bratenhal, OH, back in the 60s. Any information would be a big help.

Jamie continues:

I have tried E mailing the person who put that information on Ancestry but it was 9 years ago, I will therefore place a similar request on Ancestry and a Genealogy site in Cleveland to see if it can generate some interest, also I will try and contact the Convent of the Good Shepherd in Cleveland as this seems the most likely order Sister Marie Nativa was a member of, they might be able to help!!

I have not positively identified who Julie Robinson is yet, but will continue trying and let you know.

Will the real Sister Marie Nativa McKiernan please stand up?

This post continued from previous one above.

Emails between Jamie Evans and Sister Joanne of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary in Cleveland, Ohio
March 2010

From: Jamie Evans

Dear Sister Joanne,

Could you help me with a search for the Nun in the picture attached. I am from Birmingham, England, the picture was given to a member of my family by an American Nun in the 1920s, she was believed to have been a relative. Yesterday found an entry on the Ancestry Web site, under the heading McKeirnan, Finn, Cregan+ which gives a name of a Nun as Sister Marie Nativa H.H.M. in Cleveland, Ohio.

Could the Nun in the picture be the same person?

Would anyone know who the Nun is or recoginse the Order of the habit she is wearing?

The photo and atached information is taken from a Birmingham, UK site called A Brummie Family Tree : The Finns, more information is on there.

The family were Irish Catholics who left for England during the Famine, most are still here.

I know it is a longshot but any help with this mystery would be much appreciated.

Jamie Evans

From: Sister Joanne of Sisters of the Humility of Mary
March, 2010
Subject: RE: Photo of a Nun?

Jamie -- Yes, the photo very much resembles Sr. Marie Nativa McKiernan whom I recall in her elder years. Since the habit is definitely that of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, I would be 99.9% certain that this is Sr. Marie Nativa.

Some information which I do have for Sr. Marie Nativa: she was born November 4, 1906 in Birmingham, England to Thomas McKiernan [born in Ireland ] and Anna Finn McKiernan [born in England ]. Her baptism was at St. Chad Cathedral in Birmingham on November 18, 1906. She entered this religious congregation January 23, 1925 from St. Edward Church in Cleveland , Ohio .

I do not have any of the details as to when the family left England nor when they came to Cleveland, Ohio .

There were Sisters of the Humility of Mary teaching grades 1 – 8 at St. Edward at that time.

Sr. Joanne

History of the Sisters of Humility
from website

In the village of Dommartin-sous-Amance, France, Marie-Antoinette Potier wanted to give her life to God, and saw in service to the poor children of her village an opportunity to share her love of God with them.

In 1854, she opened her home as a school, a workroom and an orphanage, and with Father John Joseph Begel, pastor of Dommartin and Laitre, she set about revitalizing Christian life in his two parishes through the care and education of girls. Marie-Antoinette and Father Begel believed that "to educate a woman is to educate a family." So in addition to religious instruction, the women of the area were trained in lace-making, which enabled them to gain economic independence.

As more women joined Marie-Antoinette in service, they sought to share a communal way of life and, with the guidance of Father Begel, petitioned the bishop of the diocese of Nancy for approval for their foundation as a religious community. In 1858, they received the name Sisters of the Humility of Mary, and Marie-Antoinette became Mother Madelaine.

In 1864, Bishop Amadeus Rappe of Cleveland invited the Community to the United States to serve French immigrants in his diocese. He provided a place in Pennsylvania for the Motherhouse, now called Villa Maria Community Center.

The entire community of eleven sisters, along with four orphans, emigrated to America, leaving behind their homeland, their families and their foundress, Mother Madelaine, who died in France three months before their voyage.

Through many hardships, the Community grew – building schools and hospitals, serving parishes and reaching out to meet the needs of people who were poor and neglected.

In the spirit of our founders, we respond to the changing needs of our day through a diversity of ministries. What does not change is our dedication to the Humility of Mary, in whose spirit we pray and work for the transformation of the world through justice and peace.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

My first Family History presentation

I had a trip up the M6 to Walsall yesterday to Walsall Indpendent Living Centre in Bridge Street on the invitation of a pal of mine, Roy Cadman who manages the centre. Roy invited me to give a presentation on family history to a group of 10 local people.

I very much enjoyed the experience, thankfully most of the people around the table were enthusiastic beginners and I hope I was able to impart some useful starters as well as some of my enthusiasm for family history. I'm no expert genealogist and everything on this website has been discovered through sheer perseverance and trial and error, both by me and by like minded relations, many of whom I never even knew existed before I started my research in about 1995.

But in case I'm planning a new career out of this, I got paid £20 and when I returned to my car I found I'd paid the Sunday parking rate by mistake and received a parking fine for £25! So I won't give up the day job(s) just yet.

But at the end of the day, there is no money in the world that can replace the value of family history. Indeed, one of the lessons that family history research does show us is... we come into this world with nothing and we sure as heck go back out of it on equal pegging too!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Other families living at Ballyoughna (Ballygarrett, Wexford) in 1911

Map of Wexford showing
Ballyoughna and Glascarrig as red dots

Other families recorded at Ballyoughna in 1911:

House Number   Surnames in House      Details

1 Clince View occupants

1 Doran View occupants

2 Fortune View occupants

3 Fortune View occupants

4 Dwyer View occupants

5 Weadick View occupants

5 White View occupants

6 Walker View occupants

7 Kavanagh View occupants

8 Jordan View occupants

9 Casey View occupants

9 Middleton View occupants

10 Carson View occupants

11 Fortune View occupants

12 Doyle View occupants

13 Fortune View occupants

14 Casey View occupants

15 Finn View occupants

Dwyers in the 1911 Census

Believed to be Bridget and Andrew Dwyer seated
Three of the Dwyer sons standing, one of whom could be Ned
Residents of house number 4 in Ballyoughna (Ballygarrett, Wexford)

Dwyer, Andrew
Aged 71
Head of Family
Roman Catholic
Born Co Wexford
Cannot read or write

Dwyer, Anne
Aged 73
Roman Catholic
Born Co Wexford
Farmers Wife
Can read and write
Married for 40 years
5 children born - 3 survived

Dwyer, Elizabeth
Aged 35
Roman Catholic
Born Co Wexford
Farmers Daughter
Can read and write

Dwyer, Edward
Aged 34
Roman Catholic
Born Co Wexford
Agricultural Labourer
Read and write

Dwyer, Andrew
Aged 32
Roman Catholic
Born Co Wexford
Road Contractor
Can read and write

The above record shows Andrew and Anne Dwyer with their three grown up children living at Ballyoughna. The presence of the two older children, Liz and Edward backs up the story (see post below) that Liz and Edward lived as bachelar and spinster all of their lives with Liz hiding Edward's shoes on his wedding day in order to prevent him from leaving the family home.

Andrew Dwyer junior is my wife, Theresa's grandfather. It is interesting to contemplate that from this small family unit, only Andrew married (Bridget Mellon) and they went on to parent 7 children who produced 29 grand children. A small family turning into a dynasty in just one two generations.

Bridget Mellon in 1911

Bridget Mellon is also to be found in the 1911 Census, though living alone at house number 11 in Glascarrig, South (Ballygarrett, Wexford)

Bridget Mellon is 27 years old.
Head of Family
Roman Catholic
Born in Wexford
A dressmaker
She can read and write

In supplementary pages of the Census, Bridget's landlady is Margaret Smyth of number house 12.


The Dwyer family of Wexford

More information on the Dwyer family of Wexford. Edward Dwyer was the father of my wife Theresa.

Bridget Dwyer nee. Melon on the farm at Ballyoughna

Name origins

The name Dwyer can be found in Ireland, Wales and England, although it does originate from the Irish O'Duibhir 'dun-coloured' ( dun means brownish-grey and was usually used to describe the colour of horses ). A Richard Dwyer was recorded as early as 1386 living in Dorset and there is also a place with this name. In Ireland there was an O'Dwyer clan who lived in the mountains of Tipperary ( Klanmanagh ) in the 1700s and are known for their resistance to English aggression . One of these insurgents was Michael O'Dwyer who led an uprising in 1798 , defying the English for five years before being caught and transported to Australia where he became a policeman .

The name Mellon may originate from Norman invaders of Ireland , it comes from the French place name Meulan , which is at Seine-et-Oise . A Norman named Robert de Melun is recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Henry the Third in Warwickshire , England in 1194 .

Edward Dwyer marries Catherine Stone in Dublin

The Dwyers of Wexford

The Dwyer family originated in County Wexford at the turn of the present century and lived in and around the town of Gorey on the south east coast of Ireland (halfway between Wicklow and Wexford ). Edward Dwyer's children recall holidaying at places like Courtown beach , Ballycanew and Cahore Point during the 1960s and 1970s whenever they went to visit their father's relatives in Wexford .

My wife's mother Kitty (nee Stone) believes that earlier Dwyers may have originated from Tipperary .

Edward Dwyer ( Ned ) was born in Wexford on 15th June 1915 and died at East Birmingham Hospital , Birmingham on 3rd June 1987 .

Edward's father was Andrew Dwyer , a farmer , and his mother was Bridget Mellon . They lived at Ballyoughna, Wexford . Andrew and Bridget married on 21st August 1911 at the Roman Catholic Chapel of Ballygarrett in the district of Killevagh Wella in Gorey , Wexford ( Reference Volume 2 Page 776 ). At the time of their marriage Andrew Dwyer was 34 years old and Bridget Mellon was 27 , both were single and Andrew was a farmer. Andrew's residence was given as Ballyoughna and his father is also recorded as an Andrew Dwyer , farmer. Bridget's residence is given as Glascarrig and her father was George Mellon , also a farmer . The witnesses at the marriage were Thomas Dempsey and Kate Mellon and the service was performed by Laurence Jones. The marriage was recorded in the Entry of Marriage as number 202 .

Kitty believes that Bridget Mellon was actually from Moneylawn not Glascarrig ( which was a seaside resort ) and suggests that she may have been working in Glascarrig at the time of her marriage to Andrew .

Andrew Dwyer (Ned's father ) was born at Moneylawn , Wexford on 11th July 1883 , his birth was entered onto the Birth Register in Gorey on 21st January 1834 ( Reference; Volume 2 Page 797 ) . Of interest is that only Andrew's mother's name is entered on the register and there is a dash through the space where the father's name could have been recorded . Andrew's mother was Margaret Dwyer and no maiden name is  recorded. It is interesting that no father was recorded on the birth certificate although he was recorded later on the marriage certificate as being Andrew Dwyer, farmer .

Kitty recalls that many years ago Ned used to visit a very elderly Protestant man named Mr Walker who lived just up the lane to the Dwyer family at Ballyoughna in Wexford . On one occassion, Kitty recalls Ned climbing over a locked gate in his enthusiasm to find Mr Walker. In June 1996 Kitty took us to visit Margaret Walker , the ninety seven year old widow of George Walker , who was living in St John's hospital in Eniscorthy . Whilst Mrs Walker had very warm memories of her neighbours , the Dwyers , her recall of Andrew Dwyer's parents was vague , "They were old people when I was just a young girl " she told us . However , Madge Walker did tell us that she believed his mother Margaret's maiden name to have been Malloy .

Mrs Walker also told us that at one time Andrew Dwyer had worked for the local Magistrate's office as a bailiff , serving summonses on local people . She told us ;

" It wasn't a popular job ... women would hide behind their curtains when they saw Andrew coming up the path with a summons ... people would set their dogs on him ! "

The name Andrew was very common in the Dwyer family . A tradition had been established, in fact , whereby the firstborn of each generation had to be an Andrew . However , Kitty put her foot down when it came to her own firstborn and made Ned agree to the name of Michael. She believes that a similar tradition was developing for the naming of female Dwyer babies , there was to be a Bridget in every generation and Theresa's cousin Moira is actually really a Bridget.

Andrew Dwyer ( Ned's father ) had one brother and one sister , Elizabeth ( Liza ) and Edward ( Ned ) , who lived together as bachelar and spinster . An incredible yet true story concerns the occasion when Andrew's brother Ned was planning to marry a local woman , but his sister and soul-mate , Liza , did not want him to marry the woman and hid Ned's shoes on the morning of his wedding so that he was unable to leave the house and the wedding did not therefore take place .

Dwyer family of Newton Road, Sparkhill
Back row: Terry, Mick, Ed, Kev
Front row: Imelda, Theresa, Kitty, Ned , Angela

The Melons and the Fortunes

Bridget Melon had a brother named Patrick who owned a women's drapery shop in Dun Laoire near Dublin. The shop was run by Patrick's wife and their two daughters. The couple also had two sons , George and Patrick . In this record we have a copy of an old photograph of an altar boy , taken before 1922 . This altar boy was either George or Patrick Melon ( Ned Dwyer's first cousin on his mother's side ) . It is believed that George may have moved to England .

Johnny Fortune was a first cousin of Bridget Melon . Johnny lived with his two sisters , Maggie (Margaret ) and Biddie ( Bridget ) in Wexford. By 1996 Johnny Fortune's sisters had long died and he was himself 96 years old . Kitty went to visit him once and found him living in very basic conditions in a run-down cottage which he shared with a younger man whom he had taken in as a child when this man's own father had died . Johnny has spent some time recently in a Gorey rest home. Johnny Fortune's own father would have been a brother to Bridget Melon's mother . This provides us with a maiden name then for Ned Dwyer's maternal grandmother, the wife of George Melon .

Another picture contained in this record , provided by Kitty Dwyer, is of Margaret Dooley , said to be another first cousin of Johnny Fortune and Bridget Melon . Margaret Dooley lived at Ballinoulant and is aged 5 on the photograph ( wearing a white frock and hat ) . She died at the age of 16 years . She may then have been the daughter of Bridget Melon's aunt on her mothers side , a Fortune who married and became Dooley. Margaret Dooley may have been an only child .

Edward Dwyer disambarking from an aeroplane

The children of Andrew and Bridget

Andrew Dwyer and Bridget Mellon had six children ; Edward , George , Sarah ( Siss ) , Patsy , Andy and Mat . Three of the children ( Edward , Patsy and Andy ) left Wexford to live in Birmingham , England . Between the six children they produced 29 grandchildren.

Edward Dwyer married Kitty Stone of Moate , they lived in Sparkhill , Birmingham and had seven children ; Michael ( born in Dublin ) , Terence , Edward , Angela , Kevin , Imelda and Theresa ( all born in Birmingham ) .

George Dwyer married Kitty and they remained living in the Wexford area . George died sometime after 1987 . They had 8 children ; Andrew ( or Ad ) , Ann lives in Waterford , Mary , Jim , George , Margaret , Breda and Chrissy .

Sarah Dwyer ( Sis ) married Jim Kenny and they lived on a strawberry farm in Wexford . They had 7 children ; 4 boys and 3 girls . The oldest Kenny child was Johnny, a salesman and keen long distance runner who was in the Irish Territorial Army , he lived in Mullingar and also had 7 children.; next came Andy Kenny who married Betty, third of the Kenny children was Seamus , a great Irish hurler who played for Wexford , he married Dorothy Welsh , a schoolteacher , also an excellent Kamogie player ; 4th of the Kenny children was Patrick , also an excellent hurler playing for Wexford , he is married to Cynthia ; 5th of the Kenny children is Moira (Moy), marrried to Tom Kavanagh and living in Boulavon, Wexford ; sixth child Brigitte Kenny is a nurse in Dublin , a great Daniel O'Donnel fan ;  the youngest Kenny child , Ann , like her sister Brigitte , is a big Daniel O'Donnel fan , they travel around Ireland to watch him regularly.

Patsy Dwyer married Mary Healey , also known as Dolly ( Theresa's godmother ) . They lived in Birmingham ; Patsy was care taker at St Edward's school , Selly Park . Patsy and Dolly had 5 children ; Ann, Mary, John, Andrew and Helen.

Andy Dwyer married Anne Connolly and they lived at 74 Newton Road , Sparkhill . Their house is now knocked down. Andy and Anne had two children ; Moira and Andrew, a fireman.
Mat Dwyer shared a farm with Din (another man and thought to be his gay partner ) in Wexford . Mat  inherited much of the Dwyer family land in Wexford , although he was the youngest child and gay he was thought to have had a very controlling influence over the others. He died in 1982.

The Grave of the Unknown Sailor

Andrew and Bridget Dwyer are buried in a tiny cemetary close to the sea near Cahore Point . In this very old cemetary are the ruins of a small chapel which was reputedly built by St Patrick on his arrival in Ireland many centuries ago . Some of the gravestones in the cemetary date back to the 1700s , many are difficult to read , there are over twenty gravestones belonging to one particular family called Redmund.

Andrew Dwyer died on 21st February 1951 whilst Bridget died a couple of years earlier on 19th July 1948 . Sharing the couple's grave is their youngest son Matthew ( Matt ) who died on 21st August 1982 aged 59 .

When his brothers and sisters came to bury Matt in their parents' grave in 1982 , to their shock some of them noticed that there was a well preserved corpse visible in the grave as Matt was being lowered in on top of it . The family guessed that this must be their father's body which was still in a remarkable condition following some thirty years in the grave . On further investigation the cemetary administrators explained that this was actually the body of an unknown sailor who had been washed up on the beach many months earlier. Believing that no further bodies were to be buried in the grave of Andrew and Bridget Dwyer , their grave had been opened up and the corpse of the unfortunate sailor had been lowered in.

The grave next to the Dwyers belongs to Daniel and Ealse Neal who were buried in 1754 .

Edward Dwyer in the army

Misc. References found in birth, marriage and death indexes

Patrick Dwyer ( spouse of Mary ) was born in Enniscorthy on 8th April 1812.

Mary Dwyer ( spouse of Patrick ) was born in Wexford in 1810.

Bridget Dwyer was born in Wexford in 1842 , her parents were Patrick and Mary Dwyer.

Margaret Dwyer was born in Wexford in December 1846 , her parents were Patrick and Mary Dwyer.

Eliza Dwyer was born in Wexford in July 1852, her parents were Patrick and Mary Dwyer.

Patrick Dwyer was born in Enniscorthy on 8th April 1864

Bridget Dwyer was born in Enniscorthy on 25th December 1865 , her parents were John Dwyer and Anne Murphy .

John Dwyer was born in Gorey on 20th June 1866 , his parents were Andrew Dwyer and Catherine Finn.

Thomas Dwyer was born in Eniscorthy in the September quarter of 1882

Catherine Mellon was born at Camolin , Wexford on 1st January 1866 . Her parents were John Mellon and Teresa Giddins.

John Mellon was born at Camolin , Wexford on 15th February 1867 . His parents were John Mellon and Teresa Gettings .