John McCullagh December 18, 2006
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Given the very limited information we have already on Mary (Curran) Martin, how might we find out more?


Well, her great-grandson Patrick White of Toronto sent me more – but the trail is easily followed!  Let’s see how much we have learned!

The 1901 Census is a fabulous resource for the family historian. A quick scan finds Mary Ann Martin living at 23 Kiln Street with her husband and seven children (AND a boarder). This is no more than 50 yards from where the photo was taken.

Mary, we learn, was born in Co Armagh, though her father was from Co Tyrone. Incidentally, if we glance at the Heads of Households of her two neighbours, we find at 22 one Robert Gallagher who hailed from Fermanagh (with a wife from Cavan), and at 24 one Patrick Taggart from Co Tyrone.  At the turn of the last century Newry was a significant source of employment for rural dwellers – as it is again at the turn of the twenty-first century.  Just a decade earlier there was labour unrest in the bakery trade, and I know that Robert Inglis imported ‘blackleg’ labour in his head-on dispute with his workers in nearby Monaghan Street! I know this for by such means did one Patrick McCullagh, your editor’s grandfather, arrive at 43 Monaghan Street. Perhaps Patrick Taggart was another of the unwelcome imports! 

Rose Ann Rodgers, a 34-year-old launderess boarded with the Taggarts.   Significant?  Well, Noel Rodgers’ father lived here until his death less than a decade ago.  Is there a connection? Also my daughter-in-law is a Rodgers. Connection? I don’t know! But I digress …

Our Mary (Martin) was born in 1869. She could read and write though her husband Thomas Martin, a year older than her, could not. He was a spade maker. There was such a factory then in Monaghan Street, next to Haldane-Shiels. You may remember the painted sign there that stayed on a gable wall facing Savage’s until a mere decade or so ago.

Mary was married at about age 21 and had a child every year until this census. There was also a boarder at 23, one Ellen Sands, a cleaner in a Linen Factory, who was from Co Down, married and could read and write. Opening one’s home to boarders was a significant supplementary money-earner!

How to find out more? Check the births, deaths, and marriages of all the people named here. We know already that Mary’s eldest daughter Sarah was married aged 21 in the Cathedral on the day the Titanic sank. This Sarah was grandmother to our friend and source, Patrick James White of Toronto.


I LOVE this genealogy lark!

 

 

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