Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dennis Driscoll born c1806 Cork, Ireland

My great-grandmother was Mary Driscoll, born in Birmingham in 1883 to John and Mary Driscoll. John Driscoll in turn was the son of Dennis Driscoll and his second wife Susan. John was born also in Birmingham in approximately 1862 and lived a varied life doing various jobs including being a gas fitter, brass turner and comedian. Dennis Driscoll was born in Cork, Ireland in about 1806-9, though it is hard to be specific as his age varies in the records. I previously wrote about what I knew about him in this entry.

Dennis Driscoll

I am about to hire a local researcher to look through the Birmingham Catholic Archives to get more information about my Irish ancestors and in preparation for this I have been doing some extra work to try and put together dates and relationships amongst my Driscoll relatives. Since I last wrote about the Driscoll family the index to the registrations of births, marriages and deaths has improved vastly on and now appears to have extensive coverage.

Using this index I have managed to produce a much improved family tree. The biggest improvement is finding the potential maiden name for Dennis Driscoll’s first wife Julia (Connor). Secondly finding the death date of Julia and the marriage date of Dennis to his second wife Susan has allowed me to discern that John Driscoll’s sister Mary Ann Driscoll is likely to be the child of Dennis and Julia not Dennis and Susan. I am of course ordering many certificates to find out if the family tree and other information below is accurate – therefore don’t assume that this is all 100% accurate (though I think it is).

Additionally, I think that I have now found Dennis Driscoll in the 1841 census, something which I previously did not manage to do. I have located on Hill St, Green’s Village, Birmingham – which is a heavily Irish area at this time - a Dennis Driscoll aged 35 (born approx 1806) a labourer who was born in Ireland. All these details fit with my ancestor, as does the fact that a Julia Connor (the presumed name of his first wife) aged 20 who was also born in Ireland is living in the same house. This would mean Julia would have been born around 1821 which is close to my previous estimate of about 1817. There is also a Joseph Connor aged 25 living in this house who possibly could be a brother of Julia.

Congruent with this in the 1851 census Dennis & Julia Driscoll are still living in Green’s Village. Also living with them are Thomas Connor (b1830) and Mary Ann Connor (b1833) who are described as brother and sister of Dennis and Julia. Interestingly, they were born in Kidderminster – this suggests that the parents of Julia Connor (b1817 in Cork) had come over to England prior to 1830.

Children of Dennis Driscoll

Using the censuses and registration index, I have found out what I assume happened to Dennis’ children in addition to my own 2xgreat-grandfather John Driscoll. I am quite confident that what I have found is correct, though it shouldn’t be read as definitively true until I have accrued more sources to back it up. Interestingly, it was only after I widened my search to include all possible spellings of DRISCOLL – (DRISCOL, DRISCALL, DRISCAL, DRISKAL, etc.) that I found many of the individuals. I should note that it is always important to follow the siblings of relatives as they may give leads as to extra information about your own direct ancestors. This is especially true for Irish ancestry research if we wish to know more about where in Ireland our ancestors came from.

Chidren with Julia Connor:

1. Thomas Driscoll b.1846 - Thomas seems to have married Elizabeth Lane and gone on to have several children. I don’t know how many as I have not looked at the full 1911 image. Thomas lives with his family in 1871 at Howard’s Place Birmingham, the same place as Dennis Driscoll is living in 1871. By 1881 he has moved to Latimer St. where he is still living in 1911. Thomas worked as a marble mason, though by 1911 he was ‘out of work’. The 1911 census also tells us that his daughter Kate is married and now called Kate Warwick with a son Henry Warwick (b1906). This census also shows that Thomas’ only son (as far as I can tell) also called Thomas (b1876) was still unmarried at the age of 36 – he was a brass worker. Interestingly, one of Thomas and Elizabeth’s first daughters was called Julia – probably after Thomas’ mother Julia Driscoll (nee Connor). This Julia does not appear on any censuses after 1871 and there is a registration in 1876 that is likely to be her death. I also think I have found a match for the death of Thomas (b1846) in Apr 1914.

2. Cornelius Driscoll b. 1853– I cannot trace Cornelius beyond 1871 and I have found a death certificate in the index for 1872 which would appear to explain this.

3. Mary Ann Driscoll b. 1857 – Mary Ann only appears in the 1861 census. I do not know what happened to her after this time point.

Children with Susan:

4. John Driscoll b. 1862 – this is my great-great-grandfather.

5. Catherine Driscoll b. 1867 –Catherine appears to have married a Clement Wollaston in 1892 – I cannot find Catherine in the 1891 census. In 1901 the couple are living at number 185 Lightwood Road, Smethwick with Clement’s widowed mother Susan. Clement is employed as a gold and silver smith. The 1911 census reveals that they had had by this time 3 children during their marriage but only one, Ellen (b1906 in Smethwick), had survived. The jump in social class from her early life seems to be quite great for Catherine Driscoll – this made me concerned that I maybe had the wrong person, but I believe that this is the right Catherine. Especially as her sister Ellen Driscoll is living with her.

(Catherine & Ellen in 1901)

6. Ellen Driscoll b. 1871 – The 1891 census finds an Ellen Driscoll living as a lodger in the house of a John Hanbury on Albion Rd. Yardley. I believe this is the right Ellen – she is described as a ‘nut maker’. In 1901 she is living with her sister Catherine and Catherine’s husband Clement Wollaston. Also there is a Harold Driscoll (b1893) who is presumably Ellen’s illegitimate son. By 1911 Harold is still living with Catherine and Clement and is now working as a jeweler, presumably with his uncle Clement. I cannot find a death record of Ellen Driscoll, though there is a marriage entry in the indexes for 1910 in Aston which may be her.

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