|Curley and Patrick family in Spring Hill, Ladywood 1955|
My mother's brother, Brian Lawlor, married a Birmingham woman named Christine Curley from the Quinton area. Brian and Christine had three children, Sarah, Ruth and James, who grew up in Droitwich in Worcestershire.
After Brian died in 1989, Chris brought up the children as a single parent and met a new partner from the Droitwich area, Graham Earp. Graham's family originated in Rubery on the outskirts of Birmingham.
Chris told me that her father's family, the Curleys, lived in Ladywood in the mid-20th century and also her mother's family, the Moulsdales.
Chris also explained that her Great Grandmother married a Mr Curley but he died, leaving her a relatively young widow, and she later married a Mr Patrick.
Christine's grandmother (her father's mother) then married Mr Patrick's son Christopher (her step-brother). But before she married Christopher Patrick, she already had a child named Thomas (Christine's father). Chris told me that it was not known who Thomas's father was in the family, so he kept his mother's maiden name Curley.
Chris told me:
"Great Grandmother lived at 104 Springhill in Ladywood (first it was a laundrette then when she re-married the shop became a Greengrocers).
I have found evidence that a Thomas Curley and Annie Sutton married in Aston in the 1890s. This Thomas was alive in the 1901 census but Annie Curley was a widow by the time of the 1911 census. In 1915 it seems she married Thomas Patrick and in 1920 her daughter Elizabeth married his son Christopher Patrick.
Older census records seem to indicate that Thomas Curley was born in Walsall and that his father Michael Curley, Christine's g-g-grandfather, came from Ireland. His wife was Ann Cahill, also an Irish surname but she was born in Walsall.
There is evidence on the internet that the name Curley originated in Connaught (Galway & Roscommon) which makes sense if Christine's g-g-grandfather, Michael Curley came to England in the 1840s or 1850s to escape the famine.
The name Curley could be derived from the Irish clan name of McCurley/McKerley. There is also a theory that the surname Curley may be French in origin, having a common root with the word curlew (a wading bird common in Europe).