Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Aviva MVC #VolunteerDublinCity

For much of the past two months I have been working as a volunteer steward at the Aviva Stadium Mass Vaccination Centre with the Dublin City Volunteer organisation. The Volunteer team manage the queueing systems (yes - there are queues!) and we act as stewards at key points for the one-way system over three floors. If you are familiar with the Aviva, vaccination is taking on the third floor in the large bar area. It is all very efficient, with the Volunteer, Security, and Medical teams working well together. Everybody is always in good humour and the best part of the job is seeing the relief on the faces of people who have just received their vaccine. 

The Volunteer team is very diverse, with people from all over the world "doing their bit". Most are young people giving up their time in a good case, but there are a few retirees like me who are glad of something to do during the Pandemic. If you wish to volunteer - there are often opportunities posted on the Dublin City Volunteer website.

It is weird to think that this is a historic moment in human history. All over the world in sports stadia, car parks, and medical centres - there are people queueing up to have a needle jabbed into their arm. It is desperately sad that people are still dying in such large numbers in places like India for want of a vaccine. What is happening is a great relief to us all here in Ireland, but relief is not spread evenly all over the world. I do hope that lessons will have been learned for when the next Pandemic comes along.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

My Maternal Great-Grandparents Richard Cullen and Anne McCann #Census1901

The fourth and last installment of my quick review of Census data from 1901 relating to my great grandparents features Richard Cullen and Anne McCann - both from Co Wexford. They were married on 12th November 1905 in St James' Street in Dublin. Luckily, I do have photos of both of them - I think they both look very glamorous in the photos below - especially my great-granny Anne.

Richard Cullen (1870 - 1940) 

Richard proved hard to find in the Census. He was from Wexford Street in Gorey, but is not listed in the Cullen family which still lived there in 1901. He was 30 years old at the time of this census - clearly he had moved out. We know he was a plasterer by trade and that he had moved to Dublin. By the 1911 census he lived in Ivar St in Arbour Hill. In a search I found a "Richard Cullen" who was a "Boarder" at a house in Merchant's Quay in Dublin (Residents of a house 18 in Cornmarket (Part) (Merchants Quay, Dublin). His occupation is listed as "Plasterer", and that he was originally from "Co Wexford". However, some doubt arises in that his age is given as 29. As he did not fill the census form out himself, it may be that his landlord guessed his age or didn't bother with accuracy. Nevertheless, I can be reasonably sure this is my fourth great-grandfather in the 1901 census.

Anne McCann (1874 - 1952)

Anne McCann grew up in Kilnahue, near Gorey in Co Wexford. Unfortunately, she is the only one of my eight great-grandparents that is not recorded in the 1901 census in Ireland. In the 1905 marriage registration her address is given as 13 Gambier Terrace in Liverpool, England. Clearly she had moved to Liverpool for work. Unlike in Ireland, access to the 1901 census records in England is not free.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

My Maternal Great Grandparents James Byrne and Margaret Coburn #Census1901

Continuing my research into the 1901 Census, today I am focussing on my mother's side of the family. Her surname was Byrne, but as many before me have found - names have been spelled differently in the past. In the 1911 census, the family record featuring my grandfather Paddy Byrne was "Burns". In the 1901 census, James Byrne and Margaret Coburn are listed as Residents of a house 4 in Ballincor (Redwood, Tipperary) - he was a "Farm Servant" and she was a "Domestic Servant". In this record his surname is given as "Byrne". James married Margaret on 29th January 1903 - their marriage registration shows the surname "Byrne".

The 1901 census form shows that my Byrne/Burns great-grandparents were working as servants on a farm. James is listed as "Can Read", and Margaret is listed as "Cannot Read" - neither are listed as being able to write. Perhaps this might explain some confusion over the spelling of their names. It should also be noted that the census form was probably filled out by the Head of Household Denis Maher, and he may not have checked the spelling of James' surname with him. According to the Enumerator's Return Form, the house they lived in had a thatched roof with either 2, 3, or 4 rooms. With 10 people in the house it must have been very crowded. Though there is no evidence of this, I would not be surprised if some or all of the male servants lived in sheds or farm buildings.

The confusion over the surnames Byrne and Burns has made further research about this side of the family difficult. For example, within the family we know that James Byrne served in the British army from the beginning to the end of the first world war. He most likely enlisted in the Leinster regiment in Birr, Co Offaly - but there is no record of his service. I have never seen a photograph of either of these great-grandparents, though I expect they do exist. My great-grandmother Margaret Byrne lived until 1965 - I remember my mother visiting her in hospital, but little boys were not allowed on the ward. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

My Paternal Great-Grandparents Thomas Hurley and Bridget Murphy #Census1901

For the 1901 Census, my paternal great-grandparents Thomas and Bridget Hurley were already married and had four young children. They were Residents of a house 74 in Newmarket (Newmarket, Cork), which was on Church Street in Newmarket. Thomas was the local Creamery Manager, while Bridget ran a small shop in the ground floor of their house. 

On the census enumerator's House and Building Return form, their house is described as a "Shop" and has a "1st" class rating with a score of "12". This figure was based on adding up scores for number of walls (1), number of roofs (1), number of rooms (4), and number of windows at the front (6). 

In the family listed below, their son Charles became a priest, Tim became a doctor (and moved to Wales), Hannah became a nun (Sr Bridget), and Pat never married.

This is Thomas Hurley's signature:

Monday, April 12, 2021

My Paternal Great-Grandparents Joseph O'Loughlin and Julia Murphy #Census1901

Following on from my recent post about the 1911 census which featured three of my Grandparents, I knew that in my Ancestry family tree that I did not have all census details for my eight Great-grandparents - so I decided to see if I could find them at the National Archives. Here are two of my paternal great-grandparents:

Joseph O'Loughlin (1864-1916)

The common (and annoying) practice of dropping the "O" and the apostrophe from surnames made finding Joseph a little difficult. By the 1911 Census he had been widowed twice and did not marry again. In the 1901 census I found him under the surname "Loughlin". I already knew that he was born on 10th April 1864 in Tureenclassagh in North-west Co. Cork. I found a "Joseph Loughlin" living on his own in house 11 in Tooreenclassagh (Williamstown, Cork). The writing is identical to that on the 1911 Census. However, I am only 99% certain that this is my Great-grandfather - his age given in 1901 is 32, but he is 46 in the 1911 (which would be correct based on his date of birth). Did he lie about his age on the 1901 census? He later moved to Barnacurra (about 20 kms away) where he lived in 1911. Here are his details from the 1901 Census:

Here is his signature from the 1901 Census form:

Curiously, in the 1911 census form, while he filled the form out - he did not sign it. It is signed by the Enumerator (Thomas Brien) - who added other bits to the form which was obviously not completed correctly by Joseph.

Julia Mary Murphy (1876 - 1907)

My great-grandmother Julia Murphy was from Lisrobin (about 6 kms from Tooreenclassagh). As she died in 1907, she is obviously not listed on the 1911 Census. But I found her in the 1901 census living as Residents of a house 1 in Lisrobin West (Meens, Cork). She married my great-grandfather on 16th February 1904. She came from a very big family - she was the fourth youngest of the 14 children of Daniel and Mary Murphy. She was just 31 years old when she died. Here are her details from the 1901 Census:

Trivia: it is through Julia's mother Mary (née Finucane) that I am related to the late broadcaster Marian Finucane - she is my 2nd cousin x2 removed!

Monday, April 05, 2021

50 "How To... Programme in R" Videos

Today marks the publication of the 50th video in my "How To... Programme in R" series - I have been posting videos every week day since the launch in mid-January. I don't know how many more I will do, but I estimate that I am about half-way through my former "Programming for Big Data" module that I used to teach in NCI. The 50th video is about how to reference data in a matrix:

Unfortunately, so far the series hasn't really taken off. To date, the How to... Programme in R series has garnered just 3,845 views for all 50 videos. In contrast, my most popular single video How To... Perform Simple Linear Regression by Hand achieved 46,600 views during the same period. I do expect that when I create videos about performing statistical tests later in the series that the view count will go up. I also would like to be able to figure out how to group the videos into lessons without having to re-record. The 50 videos that I have created equate to six out of 12 classes that were in my module. I did not intend that I would create a full course - there's too much competition for that, but it might me a nice option to have.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Census Data 1901/1911

Wednesday was the 120th and 110th anniversaries of the 1901 census and 1911 census respectively. For anyone who has searched through their family histories they are a mine of information, and a fascinating look back in our history. It is also interesting for me and others of my age in that they were taken at the time when my grandparents were small children. My maternal grandmother Kathleen Cullen was born on the 14th April 1911, so missed out by two weeks on being recorded for posterity. However, both my grandfathers and my maternal grandmother were recorded.

Patrick (Burns) Byrne

My maternal grandfather Paddy Byrne was born on 20th July 1905 and was 5 years old for the 1911 census. His record was difficult to find due to the spelling of his surname. His father (James) spelled the surname with "Burns", which became "Byrne" in the 1920s. The record is located at Residents of a house 17 in Ballyquirk (Lorrha West, Tipperary)

PJ O'Loughlin

My paternal grandfather was born on 22nd December 1904 and was six years old for the 1911 census - he was an only child. His first name is recorded as "Pattie", and the surname is spelled "Loughlin" instead of "O'Loughlin". His mother Bridget had died in 1906. Note also that there is a cousin "Eugene" listed. The record is located at Residents of a house 3 in Barnacurra (Barnacurra, Cork).

Kathleen Hurley

My maternal grandmother was born on 28th August 1903 and was seven years old by the time of the 1911 census. Interestingly, her first name is recorded as "Katty". This family was originally hard to find, but one of my cousins living in Newmarket found a "Hurby" family recorded and sent me the link. The hand writing on the original census form is difficult to make out, but this "Hurby" family names, age, and location matched my grandmother's family, so I reported the error in the surname and it was corrected within a few weeks. The record is located at Residents of a house 2 in Church Street (Newmarket, Cork).