Moderator Control Panel ]

Where did Irish Great-Grandfather go after 1934?

A problem shared is a problem halved. Post your brick walls here and see whether you can offer advice to others

Where did Irish Great-Grandfather go after 1934?

Postby Hezza1506 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:30 am

We've spent years stuck in trying to trace my Irish Great-Grandfather's life after 1934.

My Grandpa spent his early years being moved between relatives and eventually settled with his uncle and some cousins. As a child, he was told that his mother had died in childbirth, when he was two, and that his Dad ran off and never looked back. As a result, when my Great-Grandfather visited Grandpa's house when my Mum was still living at home (she thinks she was in her teens, which would make this attempted meeting sometime in the 1970s), Grandpa wouldn't see him and the family didn't hear from him again.

My Great-Grandpa's name was Thomas John Wilson and we know that he was born on the 22nd of April 1908, in Ballyshannon, Donegal, to David Wilson, Railway Worker and Mary Armstrong.
We know that at the time of the 1911 census (held on the 2nd of April so his age was given as 2), he was living in Camlin, Donegal, with his parents, two older brothers and three older sisters. His second-eldest brother, David George, was killed in Flanders in 1917.

My Grandpa's mum, Henrietta Mackey Moore, was the daughter of a family of well-off landowners. When Grandpa was born, in December 1931, Thomas was only 23, whereas Henrietta was 37. From speaking to relatives, we believe that Thomas was working as a chauffeur for Henrietta's family when they met. Although family 'legend' suggests that they were married, we have been unable to find any record of this. Henrietta had been told not to become pregnant because of a heart condition, but she obviously gave birth to Grandpa successfully. Unfortunately, a second pregnancy wasn't so successful, though she didn't die in childbirth as Grandpa had been told; her baby died in 1933 and she followed in August 1934. She is buried in the Tubrid Church graveyard in Co. Fermanagh (we found her grave there a couple of years ago).

Our suspicion is that Thomas was probably sent away by Henrietta's family at that point, being of 'lower social standing', though it is possible that the original abandonment story is true, since it would have been very difficult for a young man to raise a child alone at that time.

We have no further record of Thomas after then, though he obviously must have still been alive by the time of his visit to Grandpa's house (1970 or later?) and we know that he re-married, because my mum remembers that he had his second wife with him when he tried to visit Grandpa. She also believes that there was mention of children at that stage.

I'd appreciate any advice anyone can give on how we can go about finding out where Thomas lived after 1934, where he re-married and to whom, whether he did indeed have any children in his second marriage and where and when he died. We'd also love to find a marriage record for Thomas and Henrietta, if such a thing exists.

Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:35 am

Re: Where did Irish Great-Grandfather go after 1934?

Postby Hezza1506 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:45 pm

Does anyone have any suggestions of what I can try?
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:35 am

Re: Where did Irish Great-Grandfather go after 1934?

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Jul 23, 2016 12:13 am

In terms of whether Henrietta was actually married - what name is she buried under? Have you got her death certificate? Same question re the name. What about a birth certificate for your Grandpa? Does that indicate that they are married?

People can, of course, fib on these things but my feeling is that they tend to be slightly more truthful with certificates than other forms.

Sent from my MotoG3 using WDYTYA Forum mobile app
Posts: 2515
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:07 pm

Where did Irish Great-Grandfather go after 1934?

Postby SoozOne » Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:02 am

You've done some tracking so far, don't say which avenues you've explored to find your GGrandfather ... Ancestry ... Find My Past ... 1939 Register etc. Or whether you have death certificate for your GGrandmother, or birth certificate for your Grandad which would give proof of marriage, or not. Have you been searching both Ireland and England?
Regarding abandonment or otherwise, you may never find out the exact truth, though I can imagine your GGrandfather was not flavour of the year after your GGrandmother died. Even though the child died in a previous year there may well have been extreme complications arising from the pregnancy which subsequently led to her death. As she had been warned against pregnancy but still went ahead with a second one he would very likely have been blamed.
Family histories can be very interesting but at the same time extraordinarily shape-shifting depending on who you talk to and what they've been told, not told or or dimly remember. I had somewhat of a surprise on receiving my GGrandmother, Maria's, marriage certificate to see she was a widow, and her family tree which I had been exploring was based on her previously married name (which I knew), not her maiden name. She too died shortly after the birth of my Grandmother Hannah who was then raised by her paternal grandparents after my GGrandfather remarried and moved away. I was curious as virtually nothing about Maria was passed down apart from her name, then I found what I knew was wrong anyway. When I started again and traced Maria's first marriage I found she'd already had four children two of whom had then gone to live with her elderly parents either before her second marriage or after she died, the other two disappeared, then they all vanished after the death of Maria's parents. I haven't yet managed to find any of them yet.

Sent from my iPad using WDYTYA Forum
User avatar
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:01 am

Re: Where did Irish Great-Grandfather go after 1934?

Postby Hezza1506 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:21 pm

Sorry it's taken me so long to reply; I didn't realise anyone had given a response and I gave up checking after a couple of weeks.

Henrietta is buried as Henrietta Mackay Wilson and her death certification lists her as married. It gives the cause of death as something that looks like 'Congested Cardiac disease' and says something about pregnancy but I can't read what it is.

I will check my grandfather's birth certificate (we've just obtained a copy in order to apply for an Irish, i.e. EU, passport). We haven't got a marriage certificate for my Henrietta and Thomas but family lore certainly says that they were married. We were told that they got married in 1930 but it seems unlikely that they would have been allowed to be married unless it was to protect her reputation, so it may have been after she was pregnant, in 1931.

We've used every database we can find - our family tree is held on Ancestry and we have a subscription there so have searched all of their records; I've searched Find My Past and we've also looked through hundreds of parish records etc. from different parts of northern Ireland. Thing is, it's entirely possible that he didn't even stay in Ireland - he may well have come over to Scotland or England.

Any idea what else I can try?
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:35 am

Return to General research queries

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests