Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The family of John and Catherine McDonnell in the 1901 Census for Dublin

It has been a few months since I blogged a great deal of information about the family of my great-great grandfather John McDonnell of Dublin.

Thanks to my mom's Whelan cousins in Ireland I was able to write up a great deal of information about this distinguished gentleman who was a blind factory owner in Victorian and Ewardian Dublin, becoming successful through a basket weaving business and also active in his support of the national blind charity of Ireland and a Poor Law governer.

I have previously posted up information showing 70 year old John McDonnell with his wife Catherine, their daughter Catherine Barrett and son John McDonnell all living at 49 Bolton Street, Dublin in 1911.


Further research on the website of the National Archives of Ireland also show John and Catherine McDonnell in the 1901 Census, this time time living at 78 Chancery Street (Inns Quay, Dublin):



Mc Donnell Annie 18 Female Daughter R Catholic Dublin City Housekeeper Read and write - Not Married -


Mc Donnell John 60 Male Head of Family Roman Catholic Dublin City Basket Maker Cannot read - Married Blind


Mc Donnell John 13 Male Son R Catholic Dublin City Scholar Read and write - Not Married -


Mc Donnell Peter 12 Male Son R Catholic Dublin City Scholar Read and write - Not Married -


Mc Donnell Kate 49 Female Wife R Catholic Dublin City Housekeeper Read and write - Married

The 1901 Census included additional pages which recorded more features about each property, known as the house and building return. The McDonnell's property at 78 Chancery Street is listed on the following page:


Number 78 Chancery Street was a shop and house. It had no outhouses, the walls of the building were made of stone, brick or concrete, the roof was of slate, iron or tiles, the building had been 10 and 12 rooms and 7 windows at the front. When the scores for each of these features were added up the house had an overall score of 14, putting it in the category of being a 1st class house.

It was noted that only one family of 5 lived in the property and they occupied 10 rooms.


It is no big surprise that the 78 Chancery Street address in the 1901 census is the same adrdress which appears on the picture of John McDonnell's North City Basket Factory featured on the lovely sketch which survives in the Whelan family today.   

What we may note from this census record is that their 18 year old daughter Annie McDonnell is my great grand mother who married John Whelan in August 1904. The home address of the McDonnells on the marriage certificate is Cloghan Sands in County Dublin and John McDonnell senior's occupation is recorded as a farmer, not a basket weaver. So we can surmise that the McDonnells made their move to the country between 1901 and 1904 though were back in Dublin city by 1911.

It should also be noted that in the 1901 census there was a 12 year old son named Peter, who is not recorded in the 1911 census even though his odler brother John was recorded.

Was Peter McDonnell the son who is thought to have caused the fire which burnt down his father's Cloghan Sands farmstead in the countryside? If so, would this explain why the McDonnells were back in the city by 1911 with no sign of poor Peter?

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