George Phillips(es) through the centuries; from shit shoveling to slaves in the Danish West Indies

The Book of Phillips

Anthony George Phillips – you come from a long line of George Phillipses, each the son of the previous one. Including you there are at least six.

Gordon Declan Phillips – you are unique, as I have found no-one with either forename in your Phillips ancestry (or your Smalldridge ancestry for that matter).

The story begins with your great-great-great grandfather, George Phillips. I have found only two documents referring to him directly, which are the register entries for the two marriages of his son George Alexander Phillips. The first (1874) describes George senior as a farmer. The second reveals he was already dead by 1887 and says – fascinatingly – that he was a sugar planter.

There are other documents that indirectly reference the earliest George Phillips. The 1901 Irish census says his son was born in St. Croix in 1853 or 1854. St. Croix is the largest of four islands that then formed the Danish West Indies but are today the US Virgin Islands (Denmark sold them to the USA in 1917). It is therefore reasonable to conclude that George Phillips was a sugar planter in St. Croix around 1853/4. Unfortunately this could mean he had been a slave owner.

In 1792 the Danes were the first to abolish the transatlantic slave trade, although the ban was not enforced until 1803. However they allowed plantation owners in the West Indies colony to continue to own slaves until 1847, despite slavery being abolished in the neighbouring British Virgin Islands in 1833. Even then slavery was merely to be phased out over the next 12 years but in 1848 the slaves revolted, forcing the Governor to free all slaves immediately in order to prevent further insurrection.

I would love to know what brought George Phillips to St. Croix. Did he marry a Danish sugar heiress? Did he move operations from the British Virgin Islands to keep his workforce enslaved? Did the economic crash that followed the abolition of slavery force him to leave the Danish West Indies and go/return to Ireland? Was his father a sugar planter too? Was his father yet another George Phillips? All this is, as yet, lost in the mists of time…

The next significant event is an announcement in the Marriages column on page 1 of the Belfast Newsletter, 6th January 1874:

PHILLIPS-MOLES-Jan. 2, at Beaulieu Church, Drogheda, by the Rev. James Silcock, George A.  Phillips, Killnebber Cottage, Cavan, to Charlotte, youngest daughter of the late George Moles, Esq., Castle Lands, Ferns, co. Wexford.

This is confirmed by the official copy of the marriage register entry:

George Alexander Phillips and his bride Charlotte Moles were your great-great grandparents. Beaulieu Church is in the grounds of Beaulieu House, which belonged to the Plunkett family. Nevertheless it was in the Church of Ireland, so it seems George or Charlotte (probably both) was a member of the Protestant Ascendancy.

There are some differences in the two documents. The register spells the surname of Charlotte and her father as Mowles, but this is the only document with that spelling while there are several where it is spelt Moles. The newspaper announcement would have been placed by her family while the copy of the register was made by a clergyman or a clerk, so Moles is almost certainly the correct spelling. The register gives her address at the time of her marriage as “Newtown near Drogheda”, while her late father lived in Ferns. Newtown is a small area near the railway station in the southeast of Drogheda, part of a tiny bit of co. Louth that lies south of the Boyne. The church in which they married is a mile or so away on the other side of the river.

The Belfast Newsletter announcement gives the groom’s address as Killnebber Cottage, Cavan. Killnebber (now Killynebber) is a couple of miles east of Cavan. The register states that at the time of his marriage he was a grocer living in Belturbet, about 9 miles north of Cavan. How, when or why he and/or his family moved to county Cavan from the West Indies is unknown. I would suggest that Killnebber Cottage was his family’s address and he personally had moved to Belturbet to work.

How a grocer from Belturbet met a farmer’s daughter from Ferns in the 1870s is a matter of speculation – the only obvious connection is the fact that both fathers were farmers. In addition George Alexander’s occupation suggests he may have been a younger son with an older brother earmarked for succeeding to their father’s business, but I have no evidence to support this.

 In January 1874 George Alexander Phillips was a young man of 19 or 20. It seems highly likely he lived near Cavan because he had family there. lists 22 births, marriages and deaths of people named Phillips registered in Cavan between 1850 and 1880 – the first of which, intriguingly, is a George Phillips who married there on 19th Mar 1850. Unfortunately there is nothing which indicates this might be the sugar planter before he left for the Danish West Indies, so I include the link only as a tantalising possibility…

George Phillips senior may still have been alive and farming in Cavan in 1874 as the register entry does not state that he was deceased. However it does not state that George Moles was deceased either, but the Belfast Newsletter explicitly says that he was. Marriage registers sometimes recorded that the father of the groom and/or bride was deceased but there was no obligation to do this.

 It is very likely that George Alexander and Charlotte were the first Phillipses in your ancestry to live in Dublin. They moved to Dublin after their marriage, possibly for George to take up a position in the Court of Bankruptcy, and are recorded in Thom’s Directory of Ireland as living at 109 Lr Gloucester St from 1876 to 1881. They must have lived there in 1875 as Thom’s Directory required changes to be notified to them before the end of October for inclusion in the following year’s edition. This part of Lr Gloucester St is nowadays Killarney St, a stone’s throw from the Amiens St end of Seville Place. Their first three children were all born at 109 Lr Gloucester St, the first being your great-grandfather George Valentine Phillips, born 1st Jan 1876. His birth registration tells us George Alexander was an official in the Court of Bankruptcy at that time.

Their second son Samuel Alexander Phillips arrived 18 months later on 13th Jun 1878. George Alexander was then a Clerk in the Court of Bankruptcy.

Their daughter Frances Charlotte Phillips was born on 2nd Jan 1881, her parents’ seventh wedding anniversary and the day after her eldest brother’s fifth birthday. George Alexander was then a Government Official.

109 Lr Gloucester St was vacant in the 1882 edition of Thom’s Directory so the Phillips family had moved out by October 1881. They are next recorded in Warren Lodge, Sutton, where their fourth child Edward Hawkins Phillips was born on 23rd Nov 1883. George Alexander was described as a Clerk. Warren Lodge still exists but has since been totally rebuilt. I would guess that Edward’s unusual middle name was the maiden name of one of his grandmothers (as was often the case in those days), but have no evidence to support this.

The birth register entry for Edward was the only one of the four where the informant was Charlotte, not George Alexander. The entry says “Charlotte Phillips X Her Mark Mother Warren Lodge Sutton” indicating that Charlotte was illiterate – or possibly that she was unable to write due to some injury. It does seem highly unlikely that a middle-class woman of the late 19th century would be unable to write her own name. Her name (rather than X) is written on her marriage register entry (see above) but this is a copy rather than the actual document, all written in the same handwriting, probably that of the officiating clergyman.

I have found no baptism records for any of these children, which may support my suggestion that their parents were Protestants. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the churches were told to send their records to the Public Records Office. Many of the Protestant churches did so, but for various reasons the Catholic dioceses refused or delayed their transfer. When the Public Records Office was burned down during the Civil War most of the Protestant church records were lost but the Catholic records were still safe in the churches and many are online now.

The Phillipses moved again in or before 1885, this time back into the city at 32 Lr Gardiner St. It was in this house that a series of devastating blows fell on the family. In the space of 19 days George lost his wife and two youngest children. Charlotte died there on 16th Sep 1885, aged 33, after a 6-month illness. I cannot decipher the cause of death but it affected her liver and brain. Eleven days later on 27th Sep their daughter Frances died of scarlatina (scarlet fever), three months short of her fifth birthday. On 4th Oct, one week after the death of Frances, their youngest son Edward also died of scarlatina, ten weeks before his second birthday.

I cannot imagine the emotional turmoil in the mind of George Alexander Phillips when, on 21st Nov 1885, he went to the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths to inform them of all three deaths in his family. They appear consecutively in the public record.

The death register shows George Alexander had moved again to 108 Amiens St, very probably in fear for the lives of his remaining sons, who were then 9 and 7. Thom’s Directories for 1885-7 list Mrs Catherine O’Curry as residing at 108 Amiens St, so it is likely he rented rooms from Mrs O’Curry and possibly paid her for childminding.  

He was still living there on 22nd Feb 1887 when he was married again, aged 33 or 34, at the Catholic church of St Laurence O’Toole, Seville Place, to Margaret Josephine Russell, also aged 33 or 34, a telegraph clerk of 130 North Strand, daughter of Augustine Russell (deceased).

 If George Alexander Phillips had been raised as a Protestant he must have converted to Catholicism at this time, as all subsequent records indicate that the family were Catholics. This marriage register entry contains the other reference I have found to his father, the earliest George Phillips.

Margaret Russell’s father Augustine was a newspaper writer who had died on 1st Feb 1885 at 121 North Strand. His death record indicates that Margaret had a brother, G. A. Russell.

George Alexander Phillips next appears in Thom’s Directory of 1893 and 1894, residing at 15 Clonliffe Rd, Drumcondra. As explained above he must have moved there in or before October 1892. It was in this house that Margaret gave birth to their only child, Frederick Augustine Phillips, on 9th Jun 1893 when both parents were 39 or 40. Frederick later acquired the middle name Joseph, presumably a confirmation name. George Alexander was working as a Law Agent.

15 Clonliffe Rd had new occupants in Thom’s 1895 edition. I have found no trace of George Alexander until 1899, when he reappears in Thom’s Directory living at Eldon Lodge, Fairview Strand (house no. 16B). He remained there until his death, which was sadly not long in coming. The 1901 Irish census (31st Mar) lists him as a 48-year old Law Messenger living there together with wife Margaret (47), their son Frederick (7), his older son Samuel (23) and two spinster sisters of Margaret, Marion Josephine Russell (boarder, 48) and Marcella Mary Russell (Post Office official, 56 – also a witness to her sister’s marriage in 1887). All gave their religion as Catholic and the six of them shared 7 rooms. All were born in Dublin except George Alexander, who was born in St Croix.

George Alexander Phillips’ eldest son George Valentine had recently married and was living just around the corner in Philipsburgh Avenue, Clontarf. His story is told later. However the census reveals his brother, Samuel Alexander, had what are today termed special needs. He could neither read nor write despite being 22 (not quite 23, as stated on the census). The 1901 census had a column headed IRISH LANGUAGE, with the following instructions:

   Write the word “IRISH” in this column opposite the name of each person who speaks IRISH only, and the words “IRISH & ENGLISH” opposite the names of those who can speak both languages. In other cases no entry should be made in this column.

The column contains ENGLISH for everyone except Samuel, where it is struck out. This could indicate he was also incapable of speech and was probably unable to look after himself. He may have been born with these disabilities but they could also have been caused by accident or illness – perhaps from contracting but surviving the scarlatina that killed his younger siblings over fifteen years previously.

The next column in the census has the explanatory instructions:

   If Deaf and Dumb; Dumb only; Blind; Imbecile or Idiot; or Lunatic. Write the respective infirmities opposite the name of the afflicted person.

Here, the column is struck out for everyone at Eldon Lodge – twice for Samuel. The image of the actual census page looks as if, in Samuel’s case, a written entry has been rubbed out before the column was struck out. Does this indicate his disabilities were physical but his mental faculties were unimpaired, or just a reluctance on his father’s part to explicitly acknowledge mental illness? Again, we can only speculate.

The family took a final downward turn after the 1901 census. On 20th Apr 1902 Margaret Josephine Phillips, Law Messenger’s wife, died of hepatitis at Eldon Lodge, Fairview after a 2-month illness, aged 45.

Her sister Marion also died at Eldon Lodge, on 25th Nov 1903.

Less than three weeks later on 12th Dec 1903 George Alexander Phillips, Law Messenger of Eldon Lodge, Fairview, died at the Mater Misericordiae hospital of hypertrophia, cirrhosis of the liver, debility and coma aged 49. With the troubles his life had thrown at him it is quite understandable if he drank himself to death.

Note the discrepancies in their ages as recorded in the death records and the 1901 census.

What of his dependent children? Frederick was 10 and Samuel needed lifetime care. His eldest son George Valentine already had his own family, with two infant children and a third (your grandfather) well on the way. He was in no position to take in his brothers, particularly Samuel. A clue is found in the probate record (20th Apr 1904), which reads:

 PHILLIPS George A. 20 April Administration (with the Will) of the estate of George A. Phillips late of Eldon Lodge Fairview Dublin Law Messenger who died 12 December 1903 at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital Dublin granted at Dublin to Marcella M. Russell Spinster   Effects £125 2s. 1d.

£125 does seem a paltry estate for the son of a sugar planter and reveals he must have rented Eldon Lodge, not owned it. However, the important point is why does his late wife’s sister Marcella become executrix of the will rather than his adult son George Valentine?  The answer is found in the 1911 census:

Aunt Marcella came to the rescue and took over the rearing of her nephew, Frederick Augustine Joseph Phillips. Thom’s Directory shows her living at 11 Ballybough Road, Northside, about a mile from Eldon Lodge, from about 1910 until her death on 26th Apr 1916 aged 76 (or 71, or 66, depending on which source you believe). Frederick lived there at the 1911 census, aged 17, occupation scholar. He gave the same address when, aged 22, he notified the registrar of her death.

The next mention of Frederick comes in Marcella Russell’s probate record of 31st May 1916, in which she seems to have left what little she had to him:

RUSSELL Marcella Mary 31 May Administration (with the Will) of the estate of Marcella Mary Russell late of 11 Ballybough Road Dublin Spinster who died 26 April 1916 granted at Dublin to Frank A. J. Phillips Clerk  Effects £48 0s. 3d.

11 Ballybough Road had new occupants in Thom’s Directory 1917 so Frederick had moved on. I have found no further record of him.

Samuel Alexander Phillips died of cardiac failure at Portrane Mental Hospital, Donabate, co Dublin (St. Ita’s) on 16th Aug 1926, aged 48.

Samuel’s death registration gave his address as Eldon Lodge, Fairview, presumably his address when he was first taken into State care. His father’s address was Eldon Lodge when he died in Dec 1903. Thom’s Directory lists it as vacant in 1904 and as having new occupants in 1906, so it is likely Samuel was institutionalised as early as 1904. It seems his brother George and step-aunt Marcella were unwilling or unable to look after him. I hope they visited him occasionally. The 1911 census has returns from St Ita’s but they only identify patients by their initials. There is an “S P” of about the right age but the information is organised by ward, not alphabetically by patient, and I have not found the actual page image – there are 68 pages to go through. In any case St Ita’s regularly admitted batches of patients from elsewhere, so he could well have been in a completely different institution in 1911.

Although not from Samuel’s time, this link gives a flavour of life at St. Ita’s:

We now turn to your great-grandparents. In contrast to his father, who went from the West Indies to Cavan and then Dublin, George Valentine Phillips lived almost his entire life within a mile of Fairview Park, the exception being a year or so spent in Sutton when he was about 9. He was still living with his father at Eldon Lodge, Fairview Strand when he married Mary Catherine Owens on 21st Feb 1900 at St. Agatha’s, William St North, itself within easy walking distance of both Eldon Lodge and the bride’s family home at 81 North Strand Rd. One of the witnesses was the bride’s sister (and your great-great aunt) Teresa Owens, of whom more later. This was the Owens family’s parish church – Catherine’s youngest sister was baptised there in 1888, shortly after the family had moved to 81 North Strand Rd.

Thom’s Directory 1901 has “Phillips, Mr. George” occupying 3 St Helen’s Terrace, Philipsburgh Avenue, Clontarf (now 3 Philipsburgh Avenue). He must therefore have moved in by October 1900. The previous page of Thom’s Directory shows 16B Fairview Strand occupied by “Phillips, Mr. Geo. A. Eldon Lodge”. The start of Philipsburgh Avenue lies between nos. 7 and 8 Fairview Strand, so George Valentine Phillips and his new bride moved in – literally – around the corner from his parental home.

They were at 3 St Helen’s Terrace for the 31st March 1901 Irish census, as was another of Catherine Phillips’ sisters, Margaret Owens, then aged 19 (not 16 as stated on the census form).

George Valentine Phillips was a foreman for a manure works. He was only 25 on census day and must already have worked for several years to have reached that level in the pecking order.  Curiously Margaret is also recorded in the census at the Owens family home, 81 North Strand Rd. Two days later the reason why she was there becomes clear. On 2nd April 1901 Catherine gave birth to her first child, William Frederick Phillips, at 3 St Helen’s Terrace. Margaret must have been there to run for and/or assist the midwife when the time came.

William Frederick may well have been named for two of his uncles, William Owens and Frederick Phillips. Three more children soon followed, all born at 3 St Helen’s Terrace. Their second child, Mary Josephine, was born on 22nd May 1902, a month after the death of George’s stepmother Margaret Josephine. His father George Alexander died six months before the birth of their third child, your grandfather George Aloysius, born on 21st Jun 1904. These two children seem to have been named for their recently deceased relatives. Their fourth child Vincent Peter was born on 28th Jun 1906. I have found no other family members with his forenames.

Not long after the birth of Vincent the Phillipses moved up the road to 5 Melrose Avenue, which branches off Philipsburgh Avenue about 300 yards from their previous home. This was the house George and Catherine Phillips lived in for the rest of their lives. Exactly when they moved is unclear but was probably in 1906. Thom’s Directories for 1907 and 1908 show “Phillips, Mr. George” occupying both 3 St Helen’s Terrace and 5 Melrose Avenue – both entries appear in the same column of the same page. Why (or indeed whether) he kept both properties is unknown. Did his half-brother Frederick and step-aunt Marcella briefly live at 3 St Helen’s Terrace after leaving Eldon Lodge but with George as the official tenant? Did he simply fail to notify Thom’s that he had vacated no 3? We will probably never know. All we know for certain is that their fifth child, Christina Frances, was born at 5 Melrose Avenue on 19th Apr 1909 – perhaps named for her aunts, Christina Owens and the long-dead Frances Phillips.

The Phillipses next appear in the 2nd Apr 1911 census. George was still a foreman for a manure company. He, Catherine and their five children lived in a 7-roomed house with (judging by GoogleMaps) a small front garden and rear yard.  Unlike many families of that time, all the children Catherine had given birth to were still alive. The first four children were at school and the eldest, William, could speak Irish.

The final addition to the Phillips family came with the birth of their sixth child and third daughter, Frances Kathleen Phillips, who was born at 5 Melrose Avenue on 16th Apr 1914.

George Valentine Phillips is recorded in Thom’s Directory as living at 5 Melrose Avenue until he died there of myocardial degeneration on 13th Aug 1936 at the age of 60 (not 59, as stated on the death registration). By then he had become a Works Manager. The informant was his son, Vincent, then 30, who also lived there.

Thom’s Directory records Mrs. Phillips as living at 5 Melrose Avenue from 1937 right up to the last digitised edition in 1946, even though Catherine Phillips died there on 5th Dec 1942 of post-operative cholelithiasis (8 months) and myocardial failure, which means she died 8 months after an operation for gallstones. She was 66, not 65 as stated on the death registration.

I have not found out who lived at 5 Melrose Avenue after Catherine died but it may have been Vincent, who was definitely living there in 1936. Alternatively the Phillipses had left but no-one had told Thom’s Directory of a change of occupant.

The informant of Catherine Phillips’ death was Mrs. Frances Lavery, daughter of the deceased, of 68 Dollymount Avenue, Clontarf. This information led me to the register entry for the marriage of Frances Phillips to Patrick Joseph Lavery, a departmental manager from Howth, on 1st Jun 1939 at St Vincent de Paul, Marino:

This was George and Catherine’s youngest daughter. Thom’s Directory indicates the Laverys were still at 68 Dollymount Avenue in 1946.

At some time in the early 20th century the Civil Registrations Births Index for Ireland began recording the maiden name of the mother. The Index shows three children named Lavery born to a mother whose maiden name was Phillips: Ellen (3rd quarter of 1940), William (Q2 1954) and Gerard (Q4 1955) – but they were all born in co. Limerick, so are more likely to be coincidences than cousins.

A trawl through the marriages from 1920 onwards revealed that Vincent Phillips of 5 Melrose Avenue, Fairview married Gertrude Ryder of 35 Seville Place, Dublin on 22nd Jan 1935 at no less a venue than St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Marlborough St, Dublin. His brother William was one of the witnesses and his father George was by this time an industrial manager. Her father Edmond Ernest Ryder seems to have worked his way up the corporate ladder in a similar way to George – he was a labourer when Gertrude was born in 1904, an engine driver at the 1911 census and a civil engineer when she married.

Since 5 Melrose Avenue was still Vincent’s address when his father died in 1936 it seems the new bride moved in with her in-laws. The marriage register also says Vincent Phillips was an insurance manager in 1935. I wonder if Uncle Vincent opened the door into the exciting world of insurance when your dad was looking for his first job?

Vincent and Gertrude didn’t hang about. The Civil Registrations Births Index for Ireland shows five children named Phillips, all girls, born in Dublin to a mother whose maiden name was Ryder: Yvonne M J (Q1 1936), Noeleen M ( Q4 1936), Vivienne G (Q4 1937), Hilary M (Q1 1939) and Pamela M (Q3 1940). Yvonne’s birth was registered in North Dublin and the others in South Dublin, which in my opinion tips the balance in favour of them being cousins rather than coincidence. It is highly likely Vincent and Gertrude moved in with his parents in Fairview after they married in 1935, which is why their firstborn’s birth was registered in North Dublin early in 1936. However Vincent’s father George Valentine died in Aug 1936, which may have prompted Vincent to move his growing family to avoid unnecessary stress on his elderly mother. They must have moved south of the Liffey between the births of Yvonne at the start of 1936 and Noeleen at its end. It seems unlikely that none of the five sisters produced a child so you must have second cousins from this branch of your family tree but I have no idea what their surnames might be.

Another trawl through the marriages from 1930 onwards revealed that Christine Phillips of Melrose Avenue, Fairview married Edward Kenneth Bohane (known as Kenneth), a departmental manager from Donnybrook on 7th Jun 1938 at the church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Tinure, co Louth. Her sister Frances Phillips (soon to be Lavery) was one of the witnesses and her deceased father George was described as a works manager. His father Edward Bohane CBE, LL.B was a director of the RDS, no less – it seems Christina married further up the social scale than any of her siblings.

The Bohanes set up house at 8 Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge shortly after their marriage and lived there at least until Kenneth died on 22nd Nov 1978. The Civil Registrations Births Index for Ireland shows only one child named Bohane born to a mother whose maiden name was Phillips: George E (Q3 1945), born in the South Dublin registration district. He may well be your father’s first cousin.

Kenneth Bohane was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1905. His father joined the RDS in 1919, so we can assume he moved his family to Dublin around then. Kenneth was well off – I have found a record of him sailing from New York to Southampton aboard the Queen Elizabeth in December 1949 and another where Kenneth and Christina sailed first class aboard the Parthia from Liverpool to New York between 27th Aug and 3rd Sep 1960, returning on the Empress of England between 10th and 17th Oct 1960. An 8-week trip to New York in 1960 wasn’t cheap.

I found the inscription on the Bohane family grave in Deansgrange here:

This says Christine Bohane died on 30th Sep 1989. If George E Bohane is still alive he will be 75 now, so get moving if you want to talk to him! 

From 1911 records become sparser. The next Irish census was in 1926 so will not be released until 2026. Most birth records less than 100 years old that were not already in the public domain have not been digitised as there is a chance they represent living people. The same applies to marriage records less than 75 years old. Recent death records have not been digitised, maybe because funding is not yet available. The above is all the information I have found out about Vincent, Christina and Frances. I have found nothing about their eldest siblings, William and Mary. The only other Phillips record I have found relates to your grandfather.

George Aloysius Phillips, a chemist of 5 Melrose Avenue, Fairview married Bridget Kavanagh, a shop assistant of Ravensdale Road, North Dock on 24th Sep 1929 at the church of St Laurence O’Toole in Seville Place, Dublin. The marriage was witnessed by his brother William F Phillips and her sister Mary Kavanagh. His father George Phillips was still a foreman in 1929 and her father Edward Kavanagh was a labourer.

Note that the registrar who laboriously copied out the St Laurence O’Toole church register has made a mistake – George A Phillips and Bridget Kavanagh seem to have been married twice…

Finally, the Index to birth registrations in Ireland shows that the birth of George V Phillips was registered in Galway in the fourth quarter of 1930 and the birth of Edward C Phillips was also registered in Galway in the second quarter of 1933, both to a mother whose maiden name was Kavanagh. These are the names of George and Bridget’s fathers, so barring a huge coincidence these records are for your father and his brother. The rest you already know!

Phillips Family Tree

George Phillips (b ?  d bef. 1887)   m ?

        George Alexander Phillips (c.1853-12/12/1901) m (1) Charlotte Moles (c.1852-16/9/1885) 

              George Valentine Phillips (1/1/1876-13/8/1936) m Mary Catherine Owens (12/10/1876-5/12/1942)

                     William Frederick Phillips (2/4/1901-?)

                     Mary Josephine Phillips (22/5/1902-?)

                     George Aloysius Phillips (21/6/1904-?) m Bridget Kavanagh (20/10/1904-?)

                            George Vincent Phillips (15/11/1930-21/11/2000) m Edna Zoë Smalldridge (16/7/1936-16/4/2020)

                                   Anthony George Phillips (19/9/1963)

                                   Gordon Declan Phillips (21/5/1965)

                            Edward C Phillips(1933-?)

                     Vincent Peter Phillips (28/6/1906-?) m Gertrude Ryder(16/9/1904-?)

                            Possibly 5 daughters: Yvonne MJ (1936), Noeleen M (1936), Vivienne G (1937), Hilary M (1939), Pamela M (1940)

                     Christina Frances Phillips (19/4/1909-30/9/1989) m Edward Kenneth Bohane (2/6/1905-22/11/1978)

                            Possibly George E Bohane (1945)

                     Frances Kathleen Phillips (16/4/1914-?) m Patrick Joseph Lavery (?-?)

              Samuel Alexander Phillips (13/6/1878-16/8/1926)

              Frances Charlotte Phillips (2/1/1881-27/9/1885)

              Edward Hawkins Phillips (23/11/1883-4/10/1885)

                                      M (2) Margaret Josephine Russell (c. 1854-20/4/1902)

              Frederick Augustine Joseph Phillips (9 Jun 1893-?)

Notes on the Moles family:

The marriage register entry for George Alexander Phillips and Charlotte Moles says that, like the groom’s father, your great-great-great grandfather George Moles was a farmer – probably a gentleman farmer if the “Esq.” in the Belfast Newsletter announcement is anything to go by. We must assume that Charlotte, who was about 22 when she married, had left Ferns with her mother after the death of her father and moved to – or at least ended up in – Drogheda. There is a record in Griffith’s Valuation 1854 which states that George Moules rented from Richard Donovan a house, yard and garden in Main St, Ferns co Wexford with a total area of 1 rood and 6 perches (just over 1163 square metres) and a rateable value of £2 5s. 0d. per annum. There are five further records which state that Valentine Moules rented from Richard Donovan a house, offices and three parcels of land in Castleland, Ferns co Wexford, plus two further parcels in nearby Coolbaun and Crory totalling 149 acres, 1 rood and 6 perches (just over 600,000 square metres) at a total rateable value of £162 per annum – a tidy sum in 1854. There was also an Edward Moules who rented from Richard Donovan a house, offices and 3 parcels of land totalling 68 acres and 30 perches in Lower Ferns at a total rateable value of £77 per annum. A pity you aren’t related to the Donovans – that’s where the money was.

It seems Valentine Moules was also a gentleman farmer and it is entirely possible that he was George Moules/Moles’ father, passing the (rented) estate on to his son when he died. In 1854 George lived in Main St, Ferns with his own family – including infant Charlotte, who was (according to the Belfast Newsletter) his youngest daughter, indicating she had at least two sisters. Twenty two years later Charlotte gave her firstborn the middle name Valentine, presumably in honour of her grandfather.

Notes on the Owens family:

Your great grandmother Catherine Owens came from a large family of Dublin shoemakers. The earliest Owens ancestors I have identified are your great-great-great grandparents, Thomas Owens and his wife Mary, who were living in Manchester when their son James (your great-great grandfather) was born in 1844. They moved soon afterwards, as their daughter Mary Anne was born in Dublin in 1846 or early 1847. The years and places of their children’s births come from James Owens’ household record in the 1901 Irish census – his spinster sister was there on census night. The only direct references to Thomas and Mary Owens come from the civil and church registrations of their son’s marriage in 1866. The same records identify two more of your great-great-great grandparents – James and Mary McBride, the parents of the bride.

Civil register:

Church register:

The civil register shows that James Owens, a shoemaker of 68 Thomas St married Mary Anne McBride of 99 Bride St at St Nicholas, Francis St, Dublin on 11th Jun 1866. The groom’s father Thomas Owens and the bride’s father James McBride were also shoemakers. The marriage was witnessed by John Rossiter and Ellen Montague.

In the church register the names are translated into Latin but it also provides some additional information. It tells us that Jacobus Owens, 68 Thomas St, filius Thomas et Maria Owens, 68 Thomas St, & Marianna McBride, 99 Bride St, filia Jacobus et Maria McBride, 99 Bride St were married on  11th Nov 1866 by Father J. Hickey in the presence of Johannes Rossiter, 35 Golden Lane and Ellena Montague, 106 Bride St.

Mary Anne McBride was born in Dublin in 1843 or 1844, according to the 1901 Irish census. I have also found a baptism record for Patrick McBride, son of James and Mary McBride, who was baptised at ss. Michael and John, Lr Exchange St, Dublin on 22nd Aug 1850. I believe he must have been Mary Anne’s brother – they had the same parents’ names, Mary Anne’s first four children were baptised in the same church and the fourth had Patrick McBride as one of his sponsors.

The church register states James and Mary Anne’s marriage was on 11th Nov, not 11th Jun 1866 as stated in the civil register, even though they undoubtedly refer to the same event. I believe the church register is correct as its records are both numbered and in strict chronological order. The civil register is merely a copy, possibly made months after the event.

James and Mary Anne Owens set up home at 3 Castle St, just around the corner from both sets of parents and perhaps dangerously close to the centre of power in Ireland for someone of James’ rebel inclinations. He undoubtedly had the most Nationalist credentials of anyone I have found in your ancestry. To quote from the interview with his grandson Desmond MacNamara that you sent me:

“My grandfather was a bespoke-shoemaker. He had a small shoe factory which made riding boots, livery boots and things like that. He was a Fenian. He was out at the rising at Tallaght in 1867. He came home in a cab. Buried his gun and came home in a cab. When the redcoats appeared.”

Their first four children were all born at 3 Castle St and baptised at St Michael and John, Lr Exchange St, a short walk away and presumably the family’s parish church. The church, irreverently known as Mick and Jacks, was previously Dublin’s earliest theatre and is today the Smock Alley Theatre.

At some time between the birth of their fourth child in Jun 1873 and their fifth in Jul 1874  the Owens family moved to 23 Winetavern St, a few hundred yards away and very close to the Liffey – probably not a good thing in the 1870s. The next six Owens children were born in this house, the last appearing in Jun 1885. All six were baptised at St Audoen’s (RC, not the COI one next door) just around the corner in High St. It is now the church of Dublin’s Polish Catholics.

Thom’s Directory of Ireland shows “Owens, James, Bootmaker” occupying 80 North Strand Rd in 1888, so he must have moved there by Oct 1887. It records him occupying no. 80 every year until the 1890 edition, then occupying nos. 80 and 81 from 1891 to 1900, after which it records him occupying only no. 81. This continued until the last digitised edition in 1946 which was long after James Owens died, so the business was probably taken over by his youngest son.

Their 11th and last child was born at 80 North Strand rd in Dec 1888 and baptised at St Agatha’s, North William St. The 1901 Irish census shows James (shoe maker, 56) and Mary Anne Owens (57)  living at 81 North Strand Rd with four daughters and their youngest son, plus James’ spinster sister, confusingly also called Mary Anne Owens, aged 54. All were born in the City of Dublin except James, who was born in Manchester. The two eldest daughters were machinists, the son and youngest daughter were scholars.

The 1911 census saw the Owens family down to four – James (66, shoemaker), Mary Anne (68), daughter Margaret (27) and son Henry (25, also a shoemaker).

James Owens, shoemaker, died of senility and myocarditis at 81 North Strand rd on 12th Feb 1924 aged 80.  The informant was his son, Henry, of the same address. He lived to see Irish independence, although which side he supported in the Civil War is not known.

Mary Anne Owens, widow, died of old age at 81 North Strand rd on 6th Nov 1937, officially aged 82 although she was actually 93 or 94. Had she really been 82 when she died she would have been 12 when her first child was born. The informant was her son, Henry Owens, of the same address.

We now turn to James and Mary Anne Owens’ children. According to the 1911 census, Mary Anne had given birth to 11 live children, 9 of whom were still living. I have managed to trace them all to a greater or lesser degree. However it seems the Owens family were far from meticulous at record keeping as there are many discrepancies in the records.

Their firstborn, William James Owens, was born at 3 Castle St on 2nd Sep 1867, six months after the abortive Fenian rising. He was baptised on 19th Sep 1867 at Mick and Jacks where one of his sponsors was John Rossiter, who had witnessed the Owens’ marriage the previous year. The only item I have found for William is his baptism record.  I have found no other information that can be definitely attached to him, so he may be one of the two children Mary Anne lost before 1911.

Their second child, Mary Theresa Owens, was born at 3 Castle St on 6th Jul 1869 and baptised at Mick and Jacks on 15th Jul 1869. One of her sponsors was Mary Anne Owens, who must have been the aunt, not the mother. I have found her baptism record but not her birth registry entry.

On 4th Sep 1899 at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough St, Mary Owens, spinster of 88 Talbot St, daughter of James Owens married William Bolger, book-keeper of 4 Windsor Place (near St Stephen’s Green), son of James Bolger (occupation illegible). The marriage was witnessed by John Edward Bolger (his brother) and Teresa Owens (her sister).

The church register page is also available for this marriage and gives further insights.

This tells us that William Bolger of 4 Windsor Place, son of James (Bolger) and Ellen Browne of 4 Windsor Place was married to Mary Owens of 88 Talbot St, daughter of James (Owens) and Maryanne McBride of 81 North Strand at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral by Fr. John O’Reilly. The marriage was witnessed by John Bolger of 4 Windsor Place and Teresa Owens of 88 Talbot St.

It seems William Bolger and his brother John were living with their parents when he married, but his bride and her sister had moved out of the family home and were sharing accommodation bang in the centre of town – very liberated for Dublin in 1899. Perhaps even more surprising is the 1901 census:

William Bolger moved in with his new bride (and her sister) rather than the other way round – highly unusual for Dublin in those days. The 1901 census shows 88 Talbot St occupied by William Bolger (32), a commercial clerk for a fishmonger, his wife Mary (27) and two of her sisters, Teresa Owens (19), a dressmaker, and Christina Owens (11), a scholar. Note that Mary shaved four years from her age as she was actually 31 on census day. Teresa did similarly as she was 22, not 19. This is common practise with the Owens women as we shall see. Note also that Christina appears twice in the 1901 census as she is also recorded at the Owens family home, 81 North Strand Rd.

The Bolgers had moved by 1905 as their first child, Gwendoline Josephine Bolger, was born at the family’s new home at 52 Upper Baggot St on 22nd Feb 1905 and baptised at St Mary’s, Haddington Rd on 6th Mar 1905. The birth register entry reveals that William Bolger’s middle name was Patrick and he was still a book-keeper.

Birth record:

Baptism record:

Tragically, Gwendoline died of scarlatina at 52 Upper Baggot St on 9th Apr 1909, aged 4. The informant was her mother, who was present at death.

The Bolgers moved again, probably as soon as possible after their daughter’s death. The next record marks the much happier event of the birth of their son, George Frederick Bolger, on 22nd May 1910 at 2 Ashfield Park, Terenure. William Bolger is recorded as a clerk.

According to the church register, George Fredrick Bolger, born 22nd May 1910, son of William Bolger and Mary T Ownes of 2 Ashfield Park was baptised at St Joseph’s, Terenure on 1st Jun 1910 by Laurence Shehan. His sponsors were Patrick Delaney and Christine Ownes (his mother’s youngest sister). If I was a slightly deaf priest and someone said Owens to me in a Dublin accent I would probably spell it that way too.

Intriguingly there is a note at the end of George’s baptism record which says:

“Married 24th July 1943 to Catherine Jewell at Donore Avenue”

The Civil Registration Marriages Index for Ireland does indeed have entries for George Frederick Bolger and Catherinii Jewell for Q3 of 1943. Recently the register entry for the marriage of George Frederick Bolger to Catherine Jewell at St Theresa’s church, Donore Avenue has been put online.

This shows that at the time of his marriage he was a clerk living at 81 North Strand Rd, the premises of his late grandfather James Owens and his uncle Henry Owens. Any children they had may still be alive and would be your second cousins once removed.

 The 1911 census found the Bolgers still at 2 Ashfield Park – William Bolger (43), a fish merchant, his wife Mary (38), their son George Frederick, (10 months), and his sister-in law Teresa Owens (27) – who had only aged 8 years in the decade since the previous census. Whether Teresa had lived with the Bolgers throughout the previous decade or was there in both censuses simply by coincidence is unknown.

Mary gave birth to their second son William Bolger at 2 Ashfield Park on 4th Oct 1911. His father was by then a manager.

According to the church register, William Gerrard Bolger, born 4th Oct 1911, son of William Bolger and Mary Owens of 2 Ashfield Park was baptised at St Joseph’s, Terenure on 12th Nov 1911 by Jno J Anderson. His sponsors were Wm Mulhall and Teresa Owens. This priest seems to have not been deaf but unfortunately there is no record of William’s future wife.

There were a fair number of Mary Bolgers in Ireland in those days, but I have found a death record which could be hers. Mary Bolger, wife of a traveller, died at 11 Dawson St of heart disease on 28th July 1924 aged 54. The informant was William Bolger, widower, of the same address. The names and age at death are exactly right, but William was a book-keeper who became a manager by 1911 so would be unlikely to be a travelling salesman 13 years later. I would say this is a definite maybe.

James and Mary Anne Owens’ third child Elizabeth was born at 3 Castle St on 29th Jul 1871 and baptised at Mick and Jacks on 7th Aug 1871. Her sponsor was Mary Anne Montague, presumably a relative of the Ellen Montague who witnessed Elizabeth’s parents’ marriage.

Elizabeth was still living with her parents at the 1901 Irish census, aged 29 and working as a machinist. She was married relatively late in life aged 37, on 23rd Sep 1908 at St Eustace’s Chapel, Newbridge, co Kildare to Ernest Arthur Barker, an engineer. One of the witnesses was her youngest sister, Christina Owens.

Ernest Barker gave his address at the time of marriage as 13 Castle St, Worcester. It seems the newlyweds moved to England, as the 1911 English census shows the occupants of 56 Bromyard Road, St John’s, Worcester as being Ernest Barker, a railway signal engineer’s draughtsman, aged 27, born Hindlip, Worcestershire, his wife Elizabeth Barker, aged 30, born Dublin, co Dublin and their 6-month old daughter Phyllis Barker, born St John’s, Worcester. The couple had been married for two complete years.

The 1939 England and Wales Register, taken just after the outbreak of World War II, lists the occupants of 2 New Walk Terrace, York as Ernest A Barker, a railway signal and telegraph engineer  born  14th Sep 1883, his wife Elizabeth Barker, born 17th Jun 1884 and their daughter Phyllis Barker, born 15th Sep 1910. Phyllis’ surname in the register has been crossed out and replaced by Dix and the date 10th Apr 1947, which led me to the England & Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index for 1947. This showed that Phyllis Barker married Walter Dix in York in the second quarter of that year. We can therefore infer the actual wedding day was 10th April. (The 1939 Register was used and amended by various public authorities for many years both during and after the war).

It is entirely possible these records refer to a completely different Ernest and Elizabeth Barker. In particular, Elizabeth’s date of birth doesn’t match at all – Elizabeth Owens was born on 29th Jul 1871, the 1911 census has Elizabeth Barker 9 years younger and the 1939 register gives her date of birth as 17th Jun 1884. It was not unusual for a wife older than her husband to conceal the fact – our grandmother Miriam did the same thing – but it seems odd to change the actual date of birth, rather than simply subtracting a few years. On the other hand the Barkers’ marriage register entry has Ernest living in Worcester when they married on 23rd Sep 1908, which ties in with the 1911 census stating they had been married for two complete years on census night. This, plus the census stating that Elizabeth Barker was born in Dublin and both documents indicating Ernest was an engineer, suggests that these records really are about your great-great aunt Elizabeth and her family. Via her daughter Phyllis you may well have some third cousins named Dix somewhere in Yorkshire.

James and Mary Anne Owens’ fourth child James was born on 17th Jun 1873 and baptised at Mick and Jacks on 30th Jun 1873. One of his sponsors was Patrick McBride, who I assume was Mary Anne’s brother (see above).

Birth record:

Baptism record:

Unfortunately, apart from his birth index record I have found nothing else that can definitely be attached to James Owens junior, with the exception of the baptism record of his sister Teresa in 1878. One of her sponsors was named James Owens, who could well have been her elder brother. James was not in the family home in either the 1901 or 1911 census. It is a surprisingly common name – there are 160 James Owenses in the 1901 Irish census, of whom only one is the right age (27) – but that one was a Presbyterian visitor in a house in Antrim, so is unlikely to be the right one. Similarly there are 167 men named James Owens in the 1911 census, none of whom are 37.

The only record I have found which might be the correct James Owens is a record in the 1911 census for the stables at Surrenden Park, a mansion near Ashford in Kent. One of the nine grooms employed there was James Owens, aged 38, unmarried, born in Dublin. Alternatively, James could be one of the two children that Mary Anne Owens lost early but his death register entry is missing.

James and Mary Anne Owens moved soon after the birth of James junior. Their next six children were born at 23 Winetavern St, beginning with the arrival of Rosanna Owens on 28th Jul 1874. She was baptised just around the corner at St Audoen’s on 11th Aug 1874. There is a minor discrepancy as the birth record gives her date of birth as 30th July while the baptism record states 28th July 1874.

Birth record:

Baptism record:

Like her elder sister Elizabeth, Rosanna was still living with her parents at the 1901 Irish census, aged 26 and working as a machinist. She was married, aged 36, just before the next census on 28th Mar 1911 at the City of Dublin Registrar’s office to John Bernard Pearson, an insurance agent of 8 Shamrock St, Phibsborough, about a mile from the Owens family home.

John Pearson and his new bride moved into a new home, as five days later they appear in the 2nd Apr 1911 census at 3 Austin’s Cottages, off North Strand road, just around the corner from the Owenses.

The census record reveals that, like Elizabeth before her, Rosanna had shaved 6 years from her age to appear 2 years younger than her husband instead of 4 years older. It also reveals that John Pearson was a Protestant, which probably explains why they married in the registry office. Although they had their own home they only had 2 rooms to live in. contains no children named Pearson with mother’s maiden name Owens born between 1911 and 1919, the last year of full register entries currently online. The Civil Registrations Births Index for Ireland did not include the mother’s maiden name for several years after 1919 so each register entry had to be viewed individually. However there is one possible candidate for a child of Rosanna and John Pearson: Catherine Christina Pearson (Q3 1922). She has the names of two of Rosanna’s sisters but would have been born when Rosanna was 48.

There is a death record for Roseanna Pearson, widow, aged 73 of 12 Mountjoy Parade, who died of cardiac failure at St Kevin’s hospital (now St James’) on 22nd Dec 1952. This is probably the right person – Mountjoy Parade is less than a mile from North Strand road and she has knocked 5 years off her real age, consistent with the 1911 census.

James and Mary Anne Owens’ sixth child and the second born at 23 Winetavern St was your great-grandmother, Mary Catherine. Again there is a discrepancy in the public record, as her birth registration states she was born on 20th Nov 1876, but her baptism record from St Audoen’s says she was born on 12th Oct and baptised on 24th Oct 1876. One of her sponsors was her uncle, Patrick McBride. Since she couldn’t have been baptised before she was born the church record must be correct.

Birth record:

Baptism record:

Catherine was 23 and still living in the Owens family home at 81 North Strand Rd when she married your great grandfather George Valentine Phillips on 21st Feb 1900. The rest of her story is told above.

There is also a discrepancy in the public records for James and Mary Anne Owens’ seventh child, Teresa. Her birth register entry says she was born at 22 Winetavern St on 4th Nov 1878 but her baptism record from St Audoen’s says she was born on 25th Nov and baptised on 2nd Dec 1878. One of Teresa’s sponsors was James Owens, who may have been her brother, then aged 5.

Birth record:

Baptism record:

Once again I am inclined to believe the church record, primarily because all the other Owens children were baptised very soon after being born. The birth register gives the place of birth as 22 Winetavern St not 23. The “Name and Address of Informant” box reads “The mark X of Mary Jones, present at birth, 22 Winetavern St”. Perhaps Mary Anne’s waters broke while she was next door having a chat with her neighbour.

Teresa appears several times in the Owens family records, firstly as a sponsor on the baptism record of her brother Christopher at St Audoen’s on 18th Sep 1883, shortly before her 5th birthday. Teresa next appears in the civil marriages register and the church register of St Mary’s Pro Cathedral as a witness to the marriage of her eldest sister Mary to William Bolger on 4th Sep 1899 when Teresa was 20. The church register shows that both sisters were living at 88 Talbot St on that date. She was also a witness to the marriage of her sister Catherine to George Valentine Phillips on 21st Feb 1900 at St Agatha’s, William St North, which was then the Owens’ parish church.

In the 1901 census Teresa was still living at 88 Talbot St with her sister and brother-in-law Mary and William Bolger. Her youngest sister Christina was also recorded there. Teresa gave her age as 19 in the census (she was 22) and gave her occupation as dressmaker.

In the 1911 census Teresa Owens is also recorded as living with William and Mary Bolger and their infant son George at 2 Ashfield Park, Terenure. She was single, gave no occupation and was aged 27 (she was actually 32). The Bolgers had moved at least twice between the 1901 and 1911 censuses – Teresa Owens may have moved with them or may have just been visiting on census night 1911. Soon afterwards Teresa was a sponsor at the baptism of her new nephew William Gerrard Bolger at St Joseph’s, Terenure on 12th Nov 1911.

Teresa Owens, like several of her sisters, married very much later than the average Irishwoman of her era. She was a 35 year old secretary living at 11 Terenure Park, Terenure when she married Patrick MacNamara of 47 Bath Avenue, Sandymount, son of James MacNamara, a coach builder, at St Agnes, Crumlin on 18th Feb 1914. One of the witnesses was her sister, Catherine Phillips, who at the time was seven months pregnant with her sixth child.

I am fairly certain Patrick and Teresa MacNamara had only one child, the aforementioned Desmond Joseph MacNamara, born at 29 Upper Mount St on 10 May 1918. The birth record reveals Patrick Macnamara’s middle name was William, he was a secretary and the MacNamara family lived in Wicklow St, less than a mile from Teresa’s birthplace.

I have found no other records that definitely reference either Teresa or Patrick MacNamara, apart from their son’s marriage register entry which reveals Patrick MacNamara died before 1942. There is death record for a Teresa MacNamara, formerly of a drapery business, who died in a nursing home in Rathmines in 1969 aged 85. She is a possibility as Teresa Owens was a dressmaker in 1901, but she was six years too young. Another definite maybe.

Desmond MacNamara studied art at UCD and became a sculptor, a stage designer at the Abbey and Gate Theatres and a leading figure in Dublin’s cultural life in the 1940s, being a friend of Michael MacLiammoir, J.P. Donlevy, Flann O’Brien/Brian O’Nolan and Brendan Behan, to name but four.

Desmond MacNamara, sculptor, of 11 Woodstock Gardens, Ranelagh, son of the late Patrick Wm MacNamara married Rita Beverlie Hooberman, born 5th Jul 1916, of 128 Ranelagh (?), daughter of Barrett Hooberman, dairy importer at St Paul’s, Arran Quay, on 23rd Dec 1942.

Their daughter Panicilla was born in South Dublin (Q2 1944). I have found no other record of her. Desmond and Beverlie MacNamara must have divorced in the late 1940s or very early 1950s. Rita remarried and died in London on 21st Feb 1979.

Desmond’s obituary says he met his second wife, Priscilla Mary Lucy Feare (maiden name Novy), known as Skylla, in 1950 and they moved to London shortly after the Abbey Theatre burned down on 17th Jul 1951. The birth of their son, Oengus D P MacNamara (possibly Desmond Patrick?) was registered in Kensington (Q4 1951). They married in Kensington (Q2 1952) and the birth of their second son Oisin Ciaran MacNamara was registered in Kensington (Q3 1955). They eventually settled in a flat in West Hampstead in 1957, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Desmond MacNamara died on 8th January 2008 and Scylla on 2nd May 2012. The obituary says he spent a happy retirement with Scylla, their two sons and their grandchildren. His grandchildren would be your third cousins.

Oisín and Ciaran MacNamara are your second cousins once removed, and are the only living relatives on the Phillips side of your family I have so far identified. Oisin is a character actor with 39 credits on IMDB. He married Elizabeth A Tyson (Q4 1976) in Hampstead.

Dr. Oisin MacNamara is an academic. His LinkedIn profile says he is a special projects manager at Northumbria University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He married Heather J Townsend at Gateshead, Tyne and Wear (Q2 1980).

James and Mary Anne Owens’ eighth child, the fourth born at 23 Winetavern St was Margaret, born on 19th May 1881 and baptised at St Audoen’s on 31st May 1881.

Birth record:

Baptism record:

The only other records where Margaret can be identified are the 1901 and 1911 censuses. In 1901 she is recorded twice, at the Owens family home at 81 North Strand Rd aged 17, and at the house of your great-grandparents, George and Catherine Phillips at 3 St Helen’s Terrace, Philipsburgh Avenue, aged 16 (she was in fact 19). Two days later Catherine gave birth to her first child at that address. Margaret is the second Owens daughter to appear twice in the 1901 census, which reinforces my opinion that the Owens family was very poor at public record keeping.

Margaret is also recorded living with her parents aged 27 at the 1911 census. In none of the census records does she have an occupation.

James and Mary Anne Owens’ ninth child and the fifth born at 23 Winetavern St was Christopher.  Once again there is a discrepancy in the public record. His birth registration states he was born on 26th Oct 1883 but the baptism record, again from St Audoen’s, says he was born on 9th Sep and baptised on 18th Sep 1883. His sponsors were his uncle, Patrick McBride, and Teresa Owens, his sister. The church record must again be right otherwise he was baptised before he was born.

Birth record:

Baptism record:

Unfortunately, Christopher was one of the two children of James and Mary Anne Owens who did not survive childhood. He died of convulsions at 23 Winetavern St on 4th February 1884, aged 5 months. His father James was the informant and was also present at his death.

James and Mary Anne Owens’ tenth child, the last to be born at 23 Winetavern St, was their youngest son Henry.  There is another slight discrepancy in the public record. His birth registration states he was born on 10th Jun 1885 but the baptism record, again from St Audoen’s, says he was born on 11th Jun and baptised on 16th Jun 1885. The informant of his birth was Mary A Owens, present at birth, of 3 Patrick St, who was probably his father’s sister.

Birth record:

Baptism record:

Henry next appeared in the 1901 census at the Owens family home and business premises, 81 North Strand Rd, as a 15year old schoolboy. In the 1911 census he was a 25 year old bootmaker, unmarried and still living at 81 North Strand Rd with his parents James (66) and Mary Anne (68), plus sister Margaret (27). It looks as if Henry was on the brink of taking over the business of his elderly father.

Henry was the informant of the deaths of both his father in 1924 and mother in 1937, both at 81 North Strand Rd, which was also his address. Thom’s Directory lists 81 North Strand Rd as the premises of James Owens, bootmaker until the last digitised edition in 1946, so it is reasonable to assume Henry continued the business at least until 1946 when he would have been 61. I have found no marriage or death records for him, or even that might possibly be him.

The 11th and youngest child of James and Mary Anne Owens was Christina Mary, born at 80 North Strand Rd on 5th December 1888 and baptised at St Agatha, William St North on 11th Dec 1888. St Agatha’s became the Owens family’s parish church after they moved to North Strand Rd.

Like her sister Margaret, Christina Owens also appeared twice in the 1901 census. She was recorded as an 11 year old schoolgirl at both the Owens family home at 81 North Strand Rd and the address of her eldest sister Mary and brother-in-law William Bolger, 88 Talbot St.

Christina’s next appearance was as a witness to her sister Elizabeth’s marriage to Ernest Barker on 23rd Sep 1908. She was also a sponsor at the baptism of her nephew, George Frederick Bolger on 22 May 1910. This is the last record of her that I have found.

Owens Family Tree

Thomas Owens (? -?)   m Mary ?    James McBride (?-?) m Mary ?        James Owens (c. 1844-12/2/1924) m Mary Anne McBride (c 1843-6/11/1937)
              William James Owens (2/9/1867-?)
              Mary Theresa Owens (6/7/1869-?) m William Patrick Boler (c.1868-?)
                     Gwendoline Josephine Bolger (22/2/1905-9/4/1909)
                     George Frederick Bolger (22/5/1910-?) m Catherine Jewell (?-?)
                     William Gerrard Bolger (4/10/1911-?)
              Elizabeth Owens (29/7/1871-?) m Ernest Arthur Barker (14/8/1883-?)
                     Phyllis Barker (15/9/1910-?) m Walter Dix
              James Owens (17/5/1873-?)
              Rosanna Owens (28/7/1874-22/12/1952) m John Bernard Pearson (c. 1879-?)
              Mary Catherine Owens (12/10/1876-5/12/1942) m George Valentine Phillips (1/1/1876-13/8/1936)
                     6 children. See Phillips family tree above.
              Teresa Owens (25/11/1878-?) m Patrick William MacNamara (?-?)
                     Desmond Joseph MacNamara (10/5/1918-8/1/2008) m (1) Rita Beverlie Hooberman (5/7/1916-21/2/1979)
                            Panicilla MacNamara (1944)
                                                                                                      m (2) Priscilla Mary Lucy (Skylla) Feare (b Novak) (?/4/1918-2/5/2012)
                            Oengus D P MacNamara (1951) m Elizabeth A Tyson
                            Oisin Ciaran MacNamara (1955) m Heather J Townsend
              Margaret Owens (19/5/1881-?)
              Christopher Owens (9/9/1883-4/2/1884)
              Henry Owens (10/6/1885-?)
              Christina Mary Owens (5/12/1888-?)
        Mary Anne Owens (c. 1847-?)

Notes on the Kavanagh family:

Your grandmother Bridget’s family, the Kavanaghs, came from co. Kildare. They lived in and around Old Connell, a rural parish just north of Newbridge and were from the bottom rungs of the Irish social ladder, being mainly farm workers and manual labourers. Much of the information I have about the Kavanaghs and their relatives by marriage comes from several family trees compiled by people who are coming at this family from other start points. You may or may not be related to the authors of these trees, which have pointed me in the right direction many times when checking the public records.

 I found the birth registration of Bridget’s father Edward Kavanagh, which told me he was the son of John Kavanagh and his wife Kate, nee Kinsella, who were therefore your great-great-grandparents. John Kavanagh’s occupation was given as “herd” (possibly herdsman?), an occupation he gave in almost every document in which his name and occupation appears. According to his second son’s marriage register entry he was still alive in 1895.

There is a death register entry for a John Kavanagh, aged 65, who drowned in the River Liffey near Newbridge around 11th Jun 1896 aged 65, occupation “herd”. The Liffey forms the western boundary of the parish of Old Connell. It is highly likely this was your great-great grandfather given the location, age and occupation but we cannot be certain. If so, this means he was born about 1831.

I have no other information about John or his wife Kate and I have been unable to trace any further back in your Kavanagh ancestry.

Finding Edward’s birth record allowed me to search in the Naas registration area for other children of John Kavanagh and Catherine Kinsella. I searched from 1864-1890 and found two more – there may be other children who are older but the earliest online records for Naas date from 1864.

The eldest of the three children was Kate, born on 16th Apr 1865 at Old Connell, Newbridge, co Kildare.  Unfortunately I have found no other record that can definitely be assigned to Kate except the corresponding Civil Registrations Births Index for Ireland entry. There were a great many Kavanaghs in those days – quite a few of them in Kildare – and a good number were called Kate or Catherine, so deciding if a particular record applies to your great-great aunt is well-nigh impossible.

John and Kate Kavanagh’s second child was your great-grandfather Edward. There is a discrepancy between the birth record, which says Edward was born on 22nd Apr 1867 at Old Connell and the church baptism record, which says he was baptised on 24th Mar 1867 at Newbridge. However he was the only Edward Kavanagh, son of John and Kate, recorded in the church register in all of 1867 and the baptisms are recorded in chronological order, so we must assume the church record is correct and Edward was born before 24th March. The church record is only available online, via

John and Kate Kavanagh’s third child was John, born on 24th April 1869 at Faircross, which used to be the name of an area near the Liffey adjacent to Old Connell.  He was baptised at Newbridge on 2nd May 1869.

Edward’s next appearance is on his marriage register entry. This shows that Edward Kavanagh, labourer, son of John Kavanagh, herd, married Mary Kinsella, dressmaker, daughter of Michael Kinsella, labourer, at the Roman Catholic chapel of Newbridge on 5th Feb 1894, witnessed by John Kavanagh (groom’s brother) and Lizzie Kinsella (bride’s sister). Whether or not Edward’s bride was related to his mother, born Catherine Kinsella, is unknown.

Edward gave his residence at the time of his marriage as Dublin, while Mary lived in Faircross. I think we can safely assume that, since Faircross and Old Connell are adjacent parishes, Edward and Mary had known each other all their lives and he moved to Dublin in part to get a better-paid job to support a prospective wife and family. We can also assume Edward took his new bride to Dublin straight after their wedding. All of their children were Dublin born and they wasted no time in starting a family.

Their firstborn child was Catherine, born at 15 North Dock St, North Wall on 5th Nov 1894 – nine months to the day after her parents’ nuptials. There is no North Dock St on present-day Dublin maps and I have been unable to locate it, but it must have been somewhere in the North Dock area east of the Royal Canal and north of the Liffey.

Edward Kavanagh was a clerk at that time – a step up from the labourer he gave as his occupation when he married. My researches into Catherine suffer from the same problem as her namesake aunt – there were so many Catherine/Kate/Kathleen Kavanaghs in Dublin in those days it is very difficult to attribute a record to a particular person. She appears as Kathleen, a 6 year old scholar, in the 1901 census for 15 North Dock St and as Kate, aged 16 and still a scholar, at the same address in the 1911 census. I have found no other records that can definitely be attached to her.

The Kavanagh’s second child was Margaret, born at 15 North Dock St on 15th Nov 1896.

Edward was still a clerk when his second daughter was born. She is named Margaret on her birth record but appears as Margrett in both censuses, a scholar aged 4 in 1901 living with her family at 15 North Dock St and aged 14 and still a scholar at the same address in 1911. I have found no other records that can definitely be attached to her as she suffers from the same problem as her sister. There are 51 records of Margaret Kavanaghs who married between 1914 and 1940 in Dublin, three of which had a father named Edward. He was stated to be a farmer in the first and of private means in the second, therefore unlikely to be the right man. The third record is a possibility, as the bride’s father was a labourer, the same occupation given for Edward Kavanagh when your grandmother Bridget married in 1929.

In this record Margaret Anne Kavanagh married James Herbage at St Kevin’s church on 17th April 1938. If this is the right Margaret Kavanagh then she would have been 41 on her wedding day. I include the link as no more than a possibility.

The next two Kavanagh children died in infancy – sadly a common occurrence in late 19th century Ireland, particularly amongst the poor. Edward and Mary’s third child and first son John was born at 15 North Dock St on 26th Nov 1898. John lived for only a week, dying after 3 days of convulsions at 15 North Dock St on 3rd Dec 1898.

 Edward Kavanagh had changed jobs and was described as a railway porter on his son’s birth register entry and as a checker on the death register entry. He may well have worked at nearby Amiens St station.

Their fourth child and third daughter Elizabeth was born at 15 North Dock St on 27th Jun 1900. The informant of her birth was Kate Keelan of 16 North Dock St, present at birth, so the next door neighbour helped Mary with her confinement. Edward was still a checker.

Elizabeth’s life, though short, coincided with the 1901 Irish census.

This shows her, aged 9 months, living with parents Edward (railway checker, 34) and Mary (27), plus sisters Kathleen (scholar, 6) and Margrett (scholar, 4). The family had a lodger, Thomas Cosey, a 21-year old railway porter born in co Kildare – quite possibly from back home in Old Connell. The six of them shared three rooms so life was cramped to say the least.

Elizabeth did not quite make it to her first birthday as she died at 15 North Dock St on 6th June 1901 of a combination of 30 days of pertussis (whooping cough) and 16 days of bronchio-pneumonia. The short lives of John and Elizabeth and the fact that both died at home of serious conditions speaks volumes about the availability and affordability of medical care in those days.

Edward and Mary’s next child was yet another daughter, Mary, born at 15 North Dock St on 1st Feb 1902, less than eight months after the death of her sister.

Mary gives us the same problem as her sisters – there are about 200 records for Mary Kavanaghs who married in Dublin between 1920 and 1940. The only other documents that definitely reference her are the 1911 census for 15 North Dock St, where she appears as a 9 year old scholar who can speak both Irish and English and her younger sister Bridget’s marriage registration where she appears as a witness.

The sixth Kavanagh child and fifth daughter was your grandmother Bridget, born at 15 North Dock St on 20th Oct 1904.

The informant was Mary Ryan of 13 North Dock St who was present at the birth, so Bridget’s delivery was assisted by a different neighbour. Mrs Ryan may not have been a midwife but she knew a thing or two about childbirth. The previous entry in the register of births is that of Margaret, daughter of Michael and Mary Ryan of 13 North Dock St, born two weeks previously on 6th Oct 1904. Both registrations were recorded on 27th Oct 1904 and both had Mary Ryan as the informant. I can just imagine your great-grandmother Mary Kavanagh saying to her “Are you off to the Registrar’s, Mary? Would you ever do our Bridget as well and save me a journey?” Incidentally, both your great-grandfather Edward Kavanagh and his neighbour Michael Ryan were stated to be railway porters on their respective daughter’s birth records so they probably worked together.

Bridget was also recorded at 15 North Dock St in the 1911 census as a 6 year old scholar. She next appears in the register of marriages when she married your grandfather George Aloysius Phillips on 24th Sep 1929, as told in the Phillips chronicles above. Her father Edward was back to being a labourer – he was 62 in 1929. Bridget was a 24 year old shop assistant living at Ravensdale Road, North Dock, so maybe she had got a job and moved out of the crowded family home to a nearby street or perhaps the whole family had moved to Ravensdale Road. Thom’s Directory 1929 lists Ravensdale Road merely as 30 houses with a rateable value of £7 to £8 – none of the occupants are named.

 Bridget was the last Kavanagh daughter but Edward and Mary were by no means finished, despite the cramped conditions they lived in. Their next child was a son, whose birth marks the beginning of a radical social change in Ireland. Edward Gerrard Kavanagh was born on 11th Nov 1906 at the Rotunda Hospital – the first Kavanagh child not to be born at home. Although both public and private lying-in hospitals had been around since the 18th century they were only used by a small proportion of women. The switch from home births to hospital births began in earnest in the early 20th century. Unfortunately this can make genealogical research more difficult. The place of birth is recorded on the birth registration so a home birth at a known address can confirm the right record has been found while a hospital birth may not.

Edward appears in the 1911 census for 15 North Dock St as a 4 year old scholar but I have found no further records for him.

The eighth Kavanagh child was another son, Terence Michael, born on 20th Jul 1909 again at the Rotunda. He also appears in the 1911 census as a 1 year old infant, but again I have found no further record of him.

The 1911 census finds the Kavanagh family still living at 15 North Dock St.

The building had 13 rooms and housed a total of 32 people in 4 families. The 8 members of the Kavanagh family still occupied only 3 of these rooms. Michael Ryan’s family next door were even more cramped, with 11 people living in 4 rooms. The 8 Kavanaghs were Edward, a 44 year old railway checker, his wife Mary (39), daughters Kate(16), Margrett (14), Mary (9) and Bridget (6), all scholars, and sons Edward (4) and Terence (1). All except Terence could speak English but Margaret and Mary could also speak Irish, which must have been learned at school. Why Kate had not learned Irish is not recorded.  The census also tells us that Mary Kavanagh had given birth to 8 children of which 6 were still living, so all the Kavanaghs up to 1911 have been accounted for.

15 North Dock St was shortly to become even more crowded. The ninth and last Kavanagh child, William, was born at the Rotunda on 8th Oct 1911. His mother had recently turned 40.

I have found no further record of William either. It seems highly unlikely that Bridget was the only one of the 8 Kavanaghs of her generation to produce children, so you almost certainly have second cousins from this branch of your family tree. Perhaps the 1926 census will shed some light.

 We now turn to the family of your great-great uncle John Kavanagh who, unlike his older brother Edward, stayed in co Kildare. John got married in the same church as his brother but in the following year. On  17th Jul 1895 at the Roman Catholic Chapel of Newbridge John Kavanagh, son of John Kavanagh, labourer married Mary Lynch, daughter of the late Patrick Lynch, tradesman.

Like his brother, John and Mary wasted no time in starting a family and they started with a bang. On 10th Feb 1896, less than seven months after their wedding, Mary Kavanagh gave birth to twins, John and Patrick, born in Newbridge and undoubtedly named after both grandfathers. The births were not officially registered until a statutory declaration was made on 25th Jul 1896. Whether this was due to ignorance of the legal requirement or in an attempt to hide the fact that Mary was pregnant on her wedding day is a matter of conjecture. John Kavanagh’s occupation was given as Car Driver – almost certainly a horse-drawn “car” as I doubt there were many automobiles in Ireland (let alone Newbridge) in 1896.

Which twin came first is not recorded, although John was entered first in the births register which might be an indication.

John and Mary’s third son William was born on 3rd Dec 1897 at Newbridge. His birth register entry records him as Edward Kavanagh, but a note in the margin states:

   “… for Edward read William Edward, corrected on 30/1/46 … on production of statutory declaration made by Mary Kavanagh mother. Baptismal certificate produced.”

The entry records that John Kavanagh was still a car driver and lived in Francis St, Newbridge. The correction indicates William’s mother Mary was still alive in 1946 when she would have been 78.

The next Kavanagh was John and Mary’s first daughter, Catherine Esther, born on 17th April 1899 at Newbridge. Hers was the fifth of 13 births in and around Newbridge that occurred on separate dates but were all officially recorded on 9th May 1899 by the same informant, M Quinn, who was recorded as being present at every birth. I assume she was the local midwife, obviously a busy woman.

There is a discrepancy between my research and the other family trees that hold information about the Kavanaghs. Two trees name their first daughter Esther Kathleen, born in 1900 – one actually specifies 17th Apr 1900 – but the public record clearly states her name as Catherine Esther and date of birth as 17th Apr 1899. I am fairly sure Catherine Esther and Esther Kathleen are the same person but cannot be absolutely certain. From 1890 to 1910 there was only one other Esther Kavanagh whose birth was recorded in the Naas registration district but her father was named Patrick and her mother’s maiden name was Nolan. It is quite possible that M Quinn made a mistake with Esther’s name in her birth record – she had a lot of births to register that day.

The Kavanagh’s second daughter Mary Elizabeth was the one who arrived in 1900, being born in Newbridge on 16th Jun 1900. John Kavanagh was still a car driver and the birth was recorded by his wife on 30th Jun 1900. The redoubtable M Quinn was still around – she was the informant of the two births preceding Mary’s in the Naas district register of births.

The 1901 census found the Kavanaghs living at 10 James St, Newbridge, in the parish of Old Connell. The house was deemed a 3rd class dwelling with one front window and the 7 Kavanaghs lived in 2 rooms. They were the only occupants so two rooms were all the house had. It must have been a bit of a hovel to put it mildly and they were even more crowded than John’s brother Edward, who at least had 3 rooms in Dublin to house him, his wife, three children and a lodger. The landholder of the house and all 10 adjacent houses in James St was Charlotte Powell, who seems to have been the archetypal slum landlord – the 11 houses had 28 rooms between them and housed a total of 78 people in 17 families. These ranged from the relatively spacious accommodation at no. 11, where the 6 Forans shared 4 rooms, down to the Connollys at no. 4 and the Scanlans at no. 1 where each family had 10 people sharing 2 rooms.

 Present on census night (31st Mar) were John Kavanagh (age stated as 33 but actually 31), a general labourer, his wife Mary (34) and their five children – twins John and Patrick (5), William (3), Esther (2) and Mary (9 months). All were born in co Kildare except mother Mary, who was born in co Dublin.  The parents could read and write but none of the children yet could. Despite this the three boys were described as scholars. Perhaps they went to Sunday school at their local church – or was that more a Protestant thing?

On census night Mary Kavanagh was already pregnant with her sixth child and third daughter, Florence, born on 8th Nov 1901 at Newbridge. John Kavanagh was back to being a carman and the informant was his wife.

The Kavanagh’s seventh child and fourth daughter was born in Old Connell on 6th Oct 1903, but sadly lived for only 15 minutes. The death registration states that she probably died of asphyxia pallida and there was no medical attendant. The child was unnamed on both birth and death registrations.

Both birth and death registrations give John Kavanagh’s occupation as labourer. The informant was Bridget Ennis, present at birth, but was not registered until 30th Jan 1904. Mary Kavanagh was the informant of her daughter’s death but this was not registered until 10th Feb 1904, more than four months after the tragedy. On the day of the dead infant’s birth Mary Kavanagh had been married for almost 99 months and (allowing for the fact she was two months gone with twins on her wedding day) had been pregnant for 52 of those months – over half her married life. Such was the lot of a poor Irishman’s wife in those days.

After 1903 the rate of increase of Kavanaghs slowed considerably. The next arrival was Thomas, born on 9th Feb 1907 at Old Connell. John was still a labourer and he was also the informant, registering his fourth son’s birth on 4th May 1907.

 The final Kavanagh that I have found was Bridget Christina, born on 16th Dec 1910 at Old Connell. John Kavanagh was working as a van driver and the informant was his wife, who registered the birth on 22nd Feb 1911.

 The 1911 census saw the Kavanagh family living at 9 Oldconnell near Newbridge, close to the Liffey and presumably not far from where John Kavanagh’s father drowned in 1896. The house was deemed a 2nd class private dwelling with 4 rooms and 3 front windows. More significantly the landholder was John Kavanagh, which seems to imply he lived in his own house, a significant improvement in the family fortunes.

The household comprised John Kavanagh (40), a van driver, his wife Mary (age stated as 41 but actually 44) and six of their children, Patrick (15), William (13), Mary (10) and Florence (9), all scholars, plus Thomas (4) and Bridget (4 months). They also had a lodger, Thomas Lynch (46) a general labourer and possibly Mary’s brother. Thomas Lynch could not read or write, a sign that he was one of the last generation who grew up without access to free primary school education.

I have also found a record for Esther Kavanagh (12) who on census night was in nearby Walshestown at the house of her cousin, Thomas Morrissey (29), his wife Phoebe (24) and their infant son John (4 months).

This is the only Esther Kavanagh in the 1911 census in the whole of county Kildare and she is the right age, unlike the other Esther Kavanagh born in the Naas registration district and mentioned above who would have been 7. It is therefore fairly certain that this is John Kavanagh’s daughter, which means that you may also be related to the Morrisseys. The census states that Esther’s relationship to the head of the house was cousin, which implies that Thomas Morrissey’s mother was either a Lynch or a Kavanagh. If she was a Lynch then the Morrisseys are not related to you. If she was a Kavanagh then it was highly unlikely (though not impossible) that Thomas Morrissey at 29 was the son of Esther’s aunt Kate Kavanagh, who would have been approaching 46 on census day 1911. However, as mentioned before the Naas birth records only go back to 1864 so Kate, Edward and John Kavanagh could well have had older siblings as yet undiscovered, one of whom was Thomas Morrissey’s mother.

 The 1911 census also states that Mary Kavanagh had given birth to 10 live children, 8 of whom were still living. I have found birth records for 9 of them and one of the deaths. The two 1911 census records account for 7 of the 8 living children, so the other living one was either Patrick’s twin brother John or the one I have found no trace of.  I would hazard a guess that 15 year old John Kavanagh was the living one and he had found a job and moved away from the family home.

There were 17 John Kavanaghs in the 1911 Irish census who were aged 15. 16 of them were the son of the head of the house. The 17th was a pawnbroker’s assistant living at 108 Capel St, Dublin.

I cannot be certain this is the right John Kavanagh but the fact that the census record says he was born in co Kildare is strong supporting evidence. How a 15 year old van driver’s son from Old Connell came to be a pawnbroker’s assistant in central Dublin can only be guessed at.

This leaves the missing birth and death records for the 10th Kavanagh child. I have checked both registers for Kavanaghs born between 1896 and 1911 in the Naas registration district to no avail. However the registers only hold information for live births so it may be that Mary Kavanagh had a stillborn child whose existence would not be officially recorded but who was included in their return in the 1911 census.

John Kavanagh, like his father, met an untimely end.  On 3rd Oct 1926 at Old Connell, John Kavanagh, aged 53 (actually 57) a labourer, died of “shock result of fracture of skull and other extensive injuries, caused by his being accidentally knocked down by a motor car.” The informant was E Cosgrove, coroner for North Kildare after an inquest held on 4th Oct 1926. An ironic end for a man who spent much of his working life as a driver.

Much of the remaining information about this branch of the Kavanaghs comes from the other family trees mentioned above. They say that Mary Kavanagh died in Dec 1952 when she would have been 85. I have found a death record for Mary Kavanagh from Naas who died in Jul 1952 aged 79 but there is nothing else even remotely close. We know she was still alive in 1946 from the note in the margin of William’s birth registration mentioned above.

We now turn to the children of John and Mary Kavanagh. I have found no further record of the twins and there is nothing in the other trees either. Their third son William enlisted in the British Army at Naas on 24th March 1916 giving his age as 19 (he was 18) – exactly a month before the start of the Easter Rising. He fought in the First World War as a gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery. He served in several units of the RGA and was on active service, although the military records do not say where. He was hauled before the C.O. twice, admonished for outstaying his leave by 11 hrs 30 min on 11th Jun 1918 and for being drunk on 27th Aug 1918. He was discharged at Dover on 20th Sep 1919 with the comments “Very good character, honest, sober and hard working”. The documents also state that before enlistment he lived at Old Connell, Newbridge and was a restaurant assistant.

On 30th April 1924 at the RC church in Cabinteely, William Kavanagh, a labourer from Newbridge, son of John Kavanagh, labourer, married Elizabeth McDonald, a domestic servant of Beech Grove Cottage, Cabinteely, daughter of Stephen McDonald, labourer.  The witnesses were Thomas Kavanagh (probably the groom’s younger brother, then aged 17) and Esther Smyth. William was 27 when he married, Elizabeth almost 31.

I located this record after finding out about the marriage from one of the other trees. This tree also tells us that William and Elizabeth had two children. The elder child, a daughter, is flagged as still living on which means nobody except the tree owner can view any other information about her. We can, however, work out that she must have been born in 1925 and (if she really is still alive) is therefore your 95 year old second cousin once removed.

 The younger child was John Gerard Kavanagh, born 5th Jul 1926 in Co Kildare, died 24th Dec 2000 in Naas. The other tree says that John Gerard Kavanagh married Catherine Conlan, but when they married is not recorded. John and Catherine had two children, a girl and a boy, who are also still alive so I cannot view their details. They are your third cousins, and may well have children and grandchildren of their own.

William Kavanagh, builder’s labourer of Newbridge, died of stomach cancer in Naas hospital on 21st Sep 1962 aged 64. His widow Elizabeth followed not long after, dying of throat cancer in the same hospital on 10th Aug 1965 aged 72.

There is a marriage record of Esther Kavanagh of 4 Kildare St, Dublin, daughter of John Kavanagh, labourer, who married Frederick Buckner, a soldier of Portobello barracks on 6th Jun 1920 at St Andrew’s church in Dublin. Kildare St runs from Trinity College to St Stephen’s Green so it is unlikely the daughter of a labourer would live there unless she was a domestic servant. This is a possibility but the evidence is too tenuous. Another marriage record I have found for Esther Kavanagh daughter of John reveals she was a minor in 1934 and therefore too young. A third has Esther Kavanagh daughter of John marrying in Arklow in 1941 – if this is the right one she would have been almost 42 on her wedding day. The Irish online marriage records currently stop at 1942.

Two of the other trees suggest Esther Kathleen Kavanagh married Harold Albert Searle (1904-1979) in 1924. There are records in the England and Wales Civil Registration Marriages Index for Esther K Kavanagh marrying a spouse named Searle and for Harold Searle marrying a spouse named Kavanagh in Kingston-upon-Thames in the fourth quarter of 1924. If this is your grandmother’s first cousin then the other trees say they went on to have two daughters, Joan M Searle (1925-?) and Sheila Mary Searle (1928-2009), who were your father’s second cousins. Joan married but her husband is flagged as still alive on so I cannot view his details. They had no children.

Sheila was married to Percy James Roberts (1928-2009). They had three sons, also flagged as living. They are your third cousins. The three sons between them have produced three sons and four daughters, who are all your third cousins once removed. One of them unfortunately died young, Esther’s great-grandson Pita Roberts (1978-c.1997). The other 6 have between them produced 5 sons and 5 daughters so far, who are your third cousins twice removed. All told you have 19 living relatives who are descended from Esther Kathleen Kavanagh – but only if she really is the same person as the Catherine Esther Kavanagh, daughter of John and Mary Kavanagh of Newbridge, whose birth record I found in the public register.

On 22nd Feb 1922 Mary Kavanagh, housemaid of Old Connell, Newbridge, daughter of John Kavanagh, carter, married Patrick Bermingham, railway porter, son of Patrick Bermingham, labourer, at the Roman Catholic church of Newbridge.

All other information about Mary Kavanagh’s descendants comes from one other family tree which tells us that she was known as Masie. Patrick and Masie had six children but all we know from the other tree are their names and that all are now deceased. I have located two of their records on the index of births. They were George, John Gerrard (born Q3 1928), Mary C (born Q2 1930), Patrick, Philomena and William, and were your father’s second cousins. There is no record of spouses or children except for Philomena, who married John Collins from Arklow, known as Jack, and had one child, a daughter, who is your third cousin. According to the other tree Masie Bermingham died in Celbridge, co Kildare in about 1981. Her daughter is still alive, as are all her descendants.

Philomena’s daughter married a man with the surname of Morris, also still living (I know his surname because the other tree also contains his late father, Alphonsus Morris, whose details I can view). Mr Morris and Ms Collins had a daughter and two sons, who are your third cousins once removed. The Collins daughter married a man with the surname Kirby and had two daughters who presumably also bear that name. One Collins son has a son and daughter, the other has a son, and all three presumably have the Collins surname, although these days this is not guaranteed. The five in this generation are your third cousins twice removed.

On 2nd Jan 1928 Florence B Kavanagh of Newbridge, daughter of John Kavanagh, labourer, married William Vidler of 41 India Place, Edinburgh, son of William Vidler, labourer, at the Roman Catholic Church of Newbridge. I have found no other record for her and the other trees have nothing either, so we must assume she moved to Scotland with her new husband. There is no trace of her in the 1939 register either, but this only covers England and Wales.

 According to one other tree, Thomas Kavanagh married Rose Kelly in 1931 in London. This is corroborated by the England and Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index, which holds records for Thomas F Kavanagh and Rose M Kelly getting married in Wandsworth in the fourth quarter of 1931. The other tree also says Thomas Kavanagh died in London in about 1977. This is again corroborated by the England and Wales Death Index, which holds a record for Thomas Francis Kavanagh who died in the Kingston-upon-Thames registration area in the first quarter of 1977. His date of death is pinpointed in the England and Wales National Probate Calendar, which lists Thomas Francis Kavanagh of Tolworth (near Kingston), who died on 10th March 1977 leaving an estate valued at £6,001. Whether this is the correct Thomas Kavanagh is probable but not proven. There is no record of any children.

Bridget ChristinaKavanagh is also elusive. There are two other trees that hold her details, but the only new information is that she was known as Bridie and died in Naas in about 1990.

And here endeth (for now) the Book of Phillips. There are two further-flung branches of your family tree that I have not yet explored, which are the families of your great grandmother Mary Kavanagh (nee Kinsella) and her mother Margaret Kinsella (nee Tobin). Those will have to wait for another day – maybe next Christmas, maybe next year.

19th Sep 2020.

Kavanagh Family Tree

John Kavanagh  (c.1831 –c.11/6/1896)   m Catherine Kinsella (?-?)

        Kate Kavanagh (16/4/1865-?)

Michael Kinsella (c.1848-28/10/1905) m Margaret Tobin (c.1850-28/2/1927)

        Edward Kavanagh (c.Mar 1867-?) m Mary Kinsella (26/7/1872-?)

              Catherine Kavanagh (5/11/1894-?)

              Margaret Kavanagh (15/11/1896-?)

              John Kavanagh (26/11/1898-3/12/1898)

              Elizabeth Kavanagh (27/6/1900-6/6/1901)

              Mary Kavanagh (1/2/1902-?)

              Bridget Kavanagh (20/10/1904-?) m George Aloysius Phillips (21/6/1904-?)

                     2 children. See Phillips family tree above.

              Edward Gerrard Kavanagh (11/11/1906-?)

              Terence Michael Kavanagh (20/7/1909-?)

              William Kavanagh (8/10/1911-?)

        John Kavanagh (24/4/1869-3/10/1926) m Mary Lynch (26/2/1867-c.Dec 1952)

              Patrick Kavanagh (10/2/1896-?)

              John Kavanagh (10/2/1896-?)

              William Edward Kavanagh (3/12/1897- 21/9/1962) m Elizabeth McDonald (11/6/1893-10/8/1965)

                    Daughter, possibly still living (b 1925)

                    John Gerard Kavanagh (5/7/1926-24/12/2000) m Catherine Conlon (19/11/1926-3/12/2011)

                          Daughter and son still living

              Catherine Esther Kavanagh (17/4/1899-?) m Harold Albert Searle (6/4/1904-Mar1979)

                    Joan M Searle (30/5/1925-?) m ?

                   Sheila Mary Searle (4/8/1928-18/5/2009) m Percy James Roberts(Jun 1928-8/5/2009)

                          Son, living m ?

                                Daughter, living m?

                                      Son. living         

                                Pita Roberts (21/1/1978-c.1997)

                          Son, living m ?

                                Daughter, living m?

                                      2 sons 1 daughter, living         

                                Daughter, living m?

                                      2 daughters, living         

                          Son, living m ?

                                Son, living m?

                                      son & daughter, living         

                                Daughter, living m?

                                      son & daughter, living         

                                Daughter, living m?

              Mary Elizabeth Kavanagh (16/6/1900-c.1981) m Patrick Bermingham (?-?)

                    George Bermingham (?-?)

                    John Gerrard Bermingham (c. Sep 1928-?)

                    Mary C Bermingham (c. Jun 1930-?)

                    Patrick Bermingham (?-?)

                   Philomena Bermingham (?-?) m John Collins (1928-?)

                          Daughter, living m ? Morris

                                Daughter, living m? Kirby

                                      2 daughters, living

                                Son, living m?

                                      Daughter & son, living         

                                Son, living m?

                                      Son, living         

                    William Bermingham (?-?)

              Florence B Kavanagh (8/11/1901-?) m William Vidler (?-?)

              Thomas Francis Kavanagh (9/2/1907-10/3/1977) m Rose M Kelly (?-?)

              Bridget Kavanagh (16/12/1910-c.1990)