Thursday, August 13, 2009

John Driscoll (comedian) in 1911

My great-grandmother was Mary Driscoll who was born on Curzon Street, Birmingham on 23rd October 1883. Her parents were John Driscoll and Mary Lines who were both born in Birmingham also. According to their certificate of marriage which took place on 25th December 1882 they were born in 1859 and 1860 respectively and were both living on Great Lister Street, Duddeston. At this point John Driscoll is described as a goods porter. However, in the 1881 and 1901 censuses he was described as a negro comedian or simply comedian. He obviously did other jobs as in 1891 he was a brass turner and at the birth of Mary Driscoll in 1883 he was a gas fitter. I'm not 100% positive about his birth date as in the 1881 and 1891 censuses his birth date would be 1862ish whereas according to the 1901 census it would be 1865ish.

According to the 1911 census, John Driscoll and his wife Mary are living at 28 Tennant Street, Birmingham in a house with 3 rooms that is also described as a 'shop'. John is described as a comedian working in the 'stage' industry, whilst Mary is involved in 'domestic work'. Interestingly they have been married for 28 years which agrees more or less with their marriage date of December 1882. However, they both claim to be 45 meaning that they were born in 1866 although as pointed out above their marriage certificate puts their dates of birth 6-7 years earlier.

They are living with two children Ada (aged 13) and Agnes (aged 8), but it also states that they have had 13 children in total but only 4 are living. That means that in addition to Ada and Agnes and my great-grandmother Mary there must be one other living child whom i do not yet know the name of. I don't know where this child is living or why he or she does not appear in the 1891 or 1901 censuses. The only child of the 9 who died that I know the name of is Clement John who was born around 1900 and appears in the 1901 census, but whose death record I've found in the register of deaths for 1902. I know from family information that Ada Driscoll did not marry and went on to run a boarding house for people involved in the theatre in the centre of Birmingham. I have found a marriage record for an Agnes Driscoll to a Sidney Jones in Birmingham in 1924.

There is lots of work still to do on the Driscoll family including filling in details about the children of John and Mary Driscoll. Church records and further birth certificates will help this. Also, I know that John Driscoll was the son of Dennis and Susan Driscoll from census records (click on the Driscoll tab on the right to find out more), but I need to see more church records and birth certificate work to find out further details of this family.

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