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Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

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Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

Postby Mariner Aus » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:03 am

Good morning everyone,

I am trying to find the birth certificate of my 3x great grandmother Catherine Milligan (nee McDonnell). She was born around 1841-1843 in Liverpool according to Census information. She married age 18 to Michael Milligan aged 20 on the 16th October 1859 to St Vincent de Paul church in Liverpool. Michael was a son of Matthew Milligan (Porter) and Catherine was a daughter of James McDonnell (Porter). Witnesses of the marriage were John McDonnell and Catherine Carr.

Michael died in 1879 and Catherine lived in Liverpool till age 72 (listed on her death cert) when she passed away in Litherland on the 15th Sept 1915. She was buried at Ford cemetery.

If anyone could help with any leads on Catherine's birth cert or further family info on the McDonnell's I would be extremely grateful!

Regards

Pieter
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Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

Postby brunes08 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:59 am

Although registration of births started in 1837, it wasn’t until 1874 that failure to do so resulted in a penalty. Many births early on were not registered because families may have thought a baptism or similar was sufficient. It may be that looking for a baptism might help in this case.
It could also be that if the family was illiterate, as many were at that time, that the details on a certificate may have a very different spelling from the one you expect as the person writing may have put down what they thought they heard. Local dialects make a big difference. I have seen Lancashire mistaken for Lincolnshire, for example. So really you need to widen your search. Hope that helps a little.

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Re: Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

Postby sdup26 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:44 pm

Researchers nightmare....
1851 Liverpool census, Batchelor Street:
Household of Bernard Cunningham - Catherine McDonnell, aged 8, born Ireland
next door: Household of Patrick Murphy - Catherine McDonnell, aged 12, born Ireland
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Re: Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:49 am

sdup26 wrote:Researchers nightmare....


Indeed. Being either pessimistic or realistic, "Mariner" may be on a loser here.

One possibility is that she was actually born in Ireland but either through ignorance or trying to fit in, claimed to be born in Liverpool for the censuses. If you can identify any relatives and look at those, it might shed some light. If you can identify....

Another possibility is that her birth was, as suggested above, never registered. I have seen claims that in the early years of registration, massive numbers of births in Liverpool were never registered. I distrust those analysises that quote percentages because how can you know how many births there were if they weren't registered? Are people cross checking with censuses? In which case, see my previous point. I think that the way it worked, the Registrar of Births surely had to have a support network of midwives etc to inform him of the births because it was HIS responsibility to register the birth then, not the parents. But in a place like Liverpool it must have been hugely difficult to keep track - hiding in plain sight, as they say.

Assuming that all the censuses have been checked for her, then about the only thing that I can suggest is to follow up on any relatives, friends, neighbours, associates, etc, just to see if there are any clues there. I presume that you've tried to find her in the 1851 with her father? Are there other family members there to follow?


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Re: Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

Postby Mariner Aus » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:20 am

Thank you for your tips everyone. It does seem like Catherine's past will be extremely difficult to research.

Kind regards

Pieter
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Re: Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

Postby Robbie J N » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:21 pm

Hello.
I too am a descendant of Catherine McDonnell, who married a Michael Milligan in 1859. Unfortunately as she was born after 1841, so far as I know, and married before 1861, that only leaves the 1851 census. The only possibilities seem to be a Catherine McDonnell living as a lodger somewhere in Liverpool, or possibly visiting an uncle, with her parents and siblings, in London. At least the London link has her father's name correct (James), but lists her as having been born in Ireland rather than Liverpool, also born a bit before than she would later be on subsequent census data.
Just to point out for anyone looking it up, the Catherine McDonnell born in Q2 1843 Liverpool is not the right one as it lists her mother as Rose McDonnell (spinster) and her father as George Clark. From her marriage record to M Milligan, the correct Catherine's father was named James McDonnell and was a porter.
If anyone has some other clues as to where she may have been in the 1851 census, I'm sure that would help.
Thanks for any input.
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Re: Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

Postby sdup26 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:46 pm

I'm beginning to think that if Catherine came from Ireland, it was either with just her widowed mother, or with both parents but her father then died, and if this was just after 1841, he wouldn't be on a census. For instance, there's a death for a James McDonnell, Dec Q 1848, Liverpool 20 408, aged 53 (b about 1795), who doesn't seem to be on the 1841 census. And as you know, the fact that Catherine named her father as James when she married in 1859 doesn't mean he was alive.

As a long shot, did Catherine come to England with extended family? This was the Famine period, and it's possible both her parents had died. In Batchelor Street, Liverpool, in 1851, household of Patrick Murphy, there's a Catherine McDonnell aged 12 (born Ireland about 1839) and she's described as a 'nurse girl' which suggests she was being looked after in the absence of parents.

Robbie JN - sorry, I posted this before seeing your post, but am leaving it, as it may still be relevant.
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Re: Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

Postby Mariner Aus » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:04 am

Good morning everyone,

Thank you for your replies to date.

I have a related question that I need help with. Overnight a relative of mine found the baptism information for Catherine McDonnell's husband Michael Milligan. Michael was born on the 26th September 1839 and baptised on the 29th September 1839 at St Peter's priory in Liverpool. His parents are listed as Michael and Mary which ties in with info on the 1841 census.
However, Michael's surname is listed as Mullaghan on his baptism record. I have tried searching through the GRO index to order his birth certificate but I have had no luck to date. Perhaps one of the more experienced researchers on this website will have more success?

Kind regards

Pieter
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Re: Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

Postby sdup26 » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:45 pm

As you say, the baptism of Michael 'Mullaghan' was 29/9/1839 at Liverpool St Peter's Priory, father Matthew, mother Mary. Maybe the spelling varies because Milligan was heard as such in 1841 by an English census taker, but Mullaghan by an Irish priest. Like you, I can't find a birth for Michael, but I have several Irish family members who were baptised, but had no birth registered for them. The popular theory that they thought baptism made registration unnecessary could hold, and maybe you're similarly unfortunate!

The godparents for Michael were Thomas and ?Rose (can't read it properly) Fitzsimmons, and in 1841, a Thomas Fitzsimmons was living in Henderson St, Toxteth Park, West Derby. Does the Fitzsimmons surname ring any bells?
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Re: Catherine McDonnell of Liverpool

Postby MayHam » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:26 pm

In 1851 in Liverpool on New Bird Street, there is a James McDonald age 36, Ireland who was a Warehouse Porter. His wife was Bridget (35) and children John (16), Margaret (13), and Mary A. (2) with lodger Mary McDonald (36).

Also noticed, the GRO doesn't list the June quarter 1843 birth of a Catherine McDonnell in Liverpool. FreeBMD does, though.
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