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I’ve hit a brick wall in my research with my great great grandfather. Can you help me to identify his wife and his BMD records please?
QAccording to the census records of 1871 to 1891, my paternal great great grandfather, Timothy O’Connor, lived at 3 Little Pearl Street, Spitalfields, in London. This is also the address given on the marriage certificate of 1888 for his daughter, Johanna, and Thomas Mcelligott. Census records show Timothy, a bricklayer’s labourer, was born in County Kerry, Ireland, in 1831.
However, I can’t find his wife’s name, or any birth, marriage or death record for Timothy himself. Can you help please? Keith Styles, by email
AIn 1871, Timothy is described as married but there is no wife listed. In 1881 and 1891, he is described as a widower.
It’s possible that he was in fact widowed by 1871. These three censuses list several children: Timothy, born in 1858-60, Aldgate or City; Mary A, born in 1861-62, Spitalfields; Anna, born in 1863-64, Whitechapel; Catherine or Kate, born in 1863-66, Spitalfields. Johanna could be the same child as Mary A or Anna.
The census of 1871 is the only example when ‘born Kerry’ is recorded for Timothy. In 1881, the family is recorded as Connor. You need to consider both O’Connor and Connor, as well as other possible variants of the surname.
The 1861 census entry for 16 Amelia Place, St Botolph Aldgate, includes: Timothy Connor, aged 32, a labourer, born Ireland; his wife, possibly Betty or Bridget, but difficult to be certain; and two sons, Timothy and Thomas, aged three years and 10 months, both born in London. The fact that Timothy, in the 1871 census, was born in Aldgate makes it very likely this is the correct family.
The indexes to General Register Office births and deaths include several possible entries for this family, under O’Connor and Connor.
Have you investigated these fully? If you can identify any of the births, then this will give you the mother’s name. Timothy may have married in Ireland before migrating to London.
I’m assuming the family was Catholic, therefore tracking down the baptism registers for the children may not be straightforward. Catholic baptism registers would often include the mother’s full name. You will know in which church Johanna O’Connor married, so this may be a start.
Whitechapel was in the Catholic Diocese of Westminster. Many registers are held at the Diocese of Westminster Archives at rcdow.org.uk/diocese/archives – for example, the church of St Anne, Underwood Road, Spitalfields, situated in the Tower Hamlets Deanery and founded in 1850.
Michael Gandy’s Catholic Missions and Registers 1700-1880, Vol 1, London & the Home Counties, could give you guidance.
The 1861 census for ‘ Timothy Connor’ shows him living at 16 Amelia Place, St Botolph Aldgate