Search billions of records on


It was once thought that Margaret O'Neill, the grandmother of my grandfather Patrick O’Neill, actually lived in Carrickmacross Co Monaghan before she had her illegitimate son John O'Neill and did not marry. There was never any mention in the family of cousins or uncles on the O'Neill side of the family - only on the Fox side of the family. This of course was through Annie Fox who married John, Margaret's one and only son,  in Grangetown in the year 1887. No records of Margaret O'Neill and her early years with her son John, my great grandfather, have ever been traced to date - and even the attempt to trace her early years in Carrickmacross as a child have been tantalisingly nebulous.There is a street in Carrickmacross named after the O'Neill's who lived there and owned a Hotel on the street in the last century. Margaret may have had a link with this family but records are scarce before the year 1864 - the official year of compulsory registration - and no Margaret O'Neill is found in the baptismal register of the main church in Carrickmacross - St Joseph's. - or indeed of a John O'Neill, whom I believe was born in 1864. A search of the surrounding area of Carrickmacross conducted by the Monaghan registry office also revealed no trace of a John O'Neill born c 1864. So we need more information on the whereabouts of Margaret born c 1836 and John born in 1864,  in Ireland according to the 1891 census.

But suddenly, only recently in 2010 after extensive research, my Uncle Gerald O'Neill discovered the elusive John O'Neill aged 17 years, working on a shipping vessel in Penzance as a cook, in 1881, where his birthplace is recorded as Cork Ireland - not in the North, as previously thought; and in the same year, his mother Margaret aged 28 has been employed for ten years as a servant to a  rich  family in Derbyshire called Boden before leaving with the family to live and work for them in Falmouth, Cornwall, not too far from her son, until the death of her employer in the late 1890's. It appears that she felt forced to place young John aged 6 years into a Catholic industrial school in Liverpool, whilst she earned her living elsewhere in Derby. How she happened to obtain work for a rich property owner living in Derbyshire is a matter  for speculation. 

1871 Census Records: 150 Blagriffs (Blagreaves) Lane, Littleover, Derby 

          Thomas W. Boden       Hd Widr.42     Int. of money & Landowner Derby
          Emily J Boden              Dau.       11     Scholar       Litchurch           Derby
          Clara A                        Dau.         8     Scholar       Litchurch           Derby
          Gertrude M                  Dau.         5     Scholar       Littleover           Derby
          Margaret O'Neill          Serv.U    28     Servant Domestic                Ireland 
          William Bradley            Serv.      12     Genl. Servant                      Nottingham

1871  Census Records for St George's Catholic Industrial School West Derby Rd, Liverpool

           records a John O'Neill aged 5 yrs as an inmate along with many others. 

The school was founded 1854 or 1858 by Belgian nuns at Everton Flags, Everton Terrace, Liverpool, at first it was mixed school. Certified 30th December 1861 for 275 boys, girls unknown. In 1863 removed to West Derby Road, the former West Derby Fever Hospital that had been modified internally to accommodate the children, 2/3rds girls and 1/3rd boys. Re-certified 13th June 1867 for boys only. The girls were sent to ST GEORGE’S INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS FOR ROMAN CATHOLIC GIRLS, FAIRFIELD, LONDON ROAD, FRESHFIELD, FORMBY.

1881 Census Records: “Aratus” Penzance 

          William Earle              Marr  M  61 1820  Master         Ashprenton   Devon
          Edwin Neirass            Marr  M  35 1846  Mate            Torquay        Devon
          George Shapter          Marr  M  28 1853  AB Seaman  Teignmouth  Devon
          Thomas Black             Single M 20 1861  AB Seaman  Belfast         Ireland
          Charles Scotoberg      Single M  23 1858  AB Seaman Sweden (For Nova Scotia)
          John White                 Marr  M  30 1851  AB Seaman  Nova Scotia
          John O'Neill               Single M  17 1864  Cook           Cork            Ireland 

So here is my gt grandfather John aged 17, a cook on a ship, not far from his mother – and born in Cork – where my father always said they came from – not Carrickmacross – unless she fled there to have the baby in 1864. So his birth records should be in Cork - if  he was he registered at all? But he will have been baptised and his mother may have had to supply a baptismal certificate when he was placed in St George's industrial school in 1870 or so. 

1881 Census Records 14 Berkeley Vale, Falmouth, Cornwall

         Thomas Wm. BOWDEN      Head  W 52  M  Income From Land   St Werburgh, Derby, 
         Emily Jane BOWDEN           Daur   U 21   F   No Occupation        Litchurch,       Derby
         Clara Annie BOWDEN         Daur   U 18   F   No Occupation        Litchurch,       Derby, 
         Gertrude Mary BOWDEN    Daur   U 15   F   Scholar                    Littleover,       Derby
         Margaret O'NEILL               Serv    U 38   F   Gen Serv                 Ireland 


Electoral Records show another John O'Neill of 33 Bessemer Street – whom I originally presumed was my great grandfather John as he appeared to be living 3 doors from his future bride Annie Fox. However there was always a slight doubt about this - as his address on the marriage certificate is given as 15 Laing Street – the home of the Gribbin family. This John O’Neill is actually the father of a Rose born in 33 Bessemer Street and Helen O’Neill married to a Mary Ann Browne. [Confirmed by Kathryn Duggan of Whitley Bay who researched the same name and obtained a birth certificate for Rose in August 1883 – copy on desktop.

1885      Birth of Mary Deborah Gribbin - Mgr Carson’s mother

              July 18 daughter of Patrick Gribbin & Elizabeth (Stinson)

              July 28 Baptism by Henry Walker in St Peter’s South Bank

              Godparents: John O’Neill and Hannah Farrell

A very interesting discovery as it appears to confirm Auntie Eileen’s suggestion that the Carson’s were linked in some way to Eileen’s grandfather and my gt grandfather John. It would seem highly likely that this John living in the same house in 1887 was living there also in 1885 - even though the baptism took place in St Peter’s - a mile away – perhaps it was a holiday break for J J Nolan. It was high summer. So the reason that John O’Neill is possibly not on the early Electoral Registers was because he was a boarder in 15 Laing Street and not the house representative – who was Patrick Gribbin. But why John was chosen to be godfather to a Gribbin child is the mystery. Was he a relative? He must have been a very close friend – or his family was.


Oct 29th        John O'Neill aged 23 of 15 Laing Street

          Married Annie Fox aged 21 of 39 Bessemer Street

          His father's name claimed to be John  deceased

          Her father's name Peter.

          Witnesses - Thomas Flanagan and Annie Tierney

15 Laing St is registered to a Patrick Gribbin at this time - so this suggests some connection between John O'Neill and the Gribbin family. But the 1891 census reveals no trace of a person called O'Neill living there. Full particulars later pages: -


Dec 12         Birth of Katy Gribbin - a teacher in St Mary's Grangetown

      dau of Patrick and Elizabeth Gribbin

Dec 17         Baptised in St Mary's RC Grangetown

      Godparents - Edward Stinton and Annie O'Neill

Annie wife of John O’Neill is now a godmother to another Gribbin child – Is this because she is John’s wife? invited to be godmother because of the family name connection.Could this be Annie Fox married only 6 weeks? .... I think so.... another link with the Gribbin family of 15 Laing Street. It would seem so.

The Thwaites Connection

Dec 18           Birth of Mary Helen Twaites godmother to Mgt Purcell in 1902

        dau of Charles Twaites and Helen [O'Neill]

Dec 31           Baptised in St Mary’s married Frank Dunn in Feb 1911 aged 24

        Godparents - John O'Neill and Bridget Fox

This seems like a family swap - where the Foxes and the O’Neill’s agree to be godparents for different families nearby - Bridget must be the Bridget who has just come over to Annie's wedding and to replace her as housekeeper in 39 Bessemer St - standing in with her new brother-in-law - whilst Annie does the same two weeks earlier for her new husband. But this leaves us with a Helen O' Neill who could be a relative - not a sister surely.this would ruin the previous speculation. Who is she and living next door to the Fox family in 41 Bessemer St? Was she just a family friend and neighbour who just happened to live next door - with the same family surname as John O'Neill living at 33. Is this just coincidence?

1891   Census : 14, Berkeley Vale, Falmouth, Cornwall

                         BODEN, Thomas W     Head    Wdr   M 62 1829   Own Means                       Derby
                         BODEN, Clara             Daur    Single   F 28 1863   Own Means    Normanton, Derby
                         BODEN, Gertrude        Daur    Single   F 25 1866   Own Means    Littleover,    Derby
O'NEILL, Margaret      Servt    Single   F 51 1840   General Serv Dom              Ireland 

As a follow-up to the previous email,  Thomas Boden died in 1899 Oct/Nov/Dec. Margaret doesn't figure in the 1901 census at the Boden household. The two girls(women) are left with a new servant. That was about the time she first appeared at Grangetown. I surmise that she (Margaret) left the household to look after Patrick and Aunty Maggie. The dates appear to make that a reasonable assumption. Ged

1891          Census Records - 41 Bessemer St Grangetown

                     Charles Thwaites Head 50 Boiler Fireman       Roydon       Norfolk              b.1841

                     Ellen Thwaite      Wife  46 nee O’Neill                                Ireland               b.1845

Arthur Son 20                                                                          Labourer               Bangalore    East Indies          b.1871 

Catherine Dau                                                           Dau   16  Dressmaker's App Wellington   EastIndies           b.1875

                                                       Florence             Dau  13   Scholar                  Grimstone    Norfolk             b.1878

Augustine                                                                   Son  11   Scholar                  Grimstone    Norfolk             b.1880

                                                       Henry                 Son    8    Scholar                 Grangetown                           b.1883  

                                                       Mary Ellen          Dau   4                               Grangetown                             b.1887

The Baptism of Henry Thwaites in 1883 should also reveal more godparents - records might be available in St Peter's South Bank as Canon Nolan was P.P. for Grangetown in the early days. The 1881 Census Records of Charles and Ellen Thwaites in Grimstone Norfolk might reveal a County place of birth for Ellen Thwaites formerly O'Neill - who is too old to be a sister to John but the ideal age to be sister to Margaret - born c 1848.

The interesting person here is  Florence. When Patrick returns to Grangetown to live in 1901- the first house he boards in is Florence’s house with his grannie Margaret O’Neill. Remember - Florence’s mother is an O’Neill, called Ellen/Helen. Is she a relative? She was born in Ireland in 1845 - Perhaps Grannie Margaret is her mother’s sister. Blood is thicker than water.


Nov 10           Birth of Patrick O'Neill - [Grandad] m Mary Ellen Mannix

           at 5 Bessemer St Grangetown  Eston

           Father John O'Neill Mother Annie O'Neill (Fox)

           Steelworks Labourer

Nov 17           Baptised in St Mary's by J J Nolan

          Godparents - Patrick Fox and Bridget Fox / Belinda ?


                      Jan 3 Informant - X The mark of Annie O'Neill 5 Bessemer St


Feb 18        Birth of Mary Ann O'Neill - did not survive the year

       daughter of John O'Neill and Annie( Fox) 

Feb 22        Baptised St Mary's by JJ Nolan

       Godparents - Edward Stinson and Bridget Fox

Edward Stinson appears to be the brother of Mrs Gribbin - see census records another strong link with the Gribbin family and probably a friend of John O'Neill?


1881            Census Records for Normanby Rd South Bank

Patrick Gribbin      Head mar   30        General Lab       Ireland

Elizabeth                Wife mar   26                                   Ireland

John                       Son             7             Mbro

Hugh                      Son             4                                   Ireland

Edward                  Son             2                                   Ireland

William                   Son            6mth          Eston

Robert Stinson       Brdr mar      25          Gen Lab          Ireland

        James Gorman      Brdr  unm    25           Gen Lab        Ireland

            Since Grangetown was not built until 1882, the census records for 1891 are incorporated in the South Bank records -

            because they are so close.

            NB There is no sign of Patrick Gribbin in 1871 Census for Charles St Linthorpe.

            Here are another Gribbin family recorded in St Mary's M'bro:-

      March 20th 1874 - Birth of John Leo Gribbin of North Ormesby

      son of John and Elizabeth Gribbin formerly Gribbin

      Godparents - John Gribben and Frances Jackson

Could they be related? This family lived 7 West Terrace and according to the census records of 1871 -John was 68 and a retired draper born in Co Down Ireland - a clue if they are related.

1891            Census Records for 15 Laing St Grangetown

                                     Patrick Gribbin Hd      40                             Ireland               b.1851

                      Elizabeth A ... Wife      37                             Ireland               b.1854

                      John Gribbin son          17     Labourer         Mbro Charles St b.1874

                      Hugh Gribbin son         13     Scholar                    Ireland        b.1878

            Joseph Wm   son         10     Scholar             South Bank         b.1881

EScholar            Elizabeth               dau 7 Scholar South Bank                                                   Mary D        dau            5                             South Bank        b.1886

                                                                                                                                                 Robert L      son            4m                           South Bank        b.1890

                                                                                                                                                 Edward Stinson B.I.L.  28     Labourer                  Ireland       b.1863

Catherine dau 4 b 1887

So here are some possible leads about the Gribbin family. We know that for a short time in about 1874 they came to Middlesbrough and had John. Patrick would be 23 Elizabeth 20. Perhaps they may show up on a census for 1871 - 3 years earlier - but that would make Elizabeth only 17-but her maiden name is she may be in Middlesbrough in 1871 with her Stinson family-after their emigration. However since she was born in Ireland and later returns there after having her first child, it is likely that she was probably in Ireland as a child herself. Details re birth

Feb 20th 1874 Birth of John Gribbit(in) Charles St M'bro

son of Patrick Gribbin 20yrs  and Elizabeth Anna Stevenson (Stinson?) 18yrs

Godparents - Robert Stinson and Mary Ann Milligan

So they return to Ireland for a few years around 1877 - 80 and return to South Bank-to have Joseph in                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

1891    1891               1891 Census for 56 Calthorpe St Middlesbrough

April              John O'Neill    Head   27   Puddler Ironworks     Ireland

Anne O'Neill   Wife    24                                        Ireland

Patrick O'Neill son 2     Patri                                     Patrick O Neill             2                                   Grangetown

No sign of Mary Ann O'Neill - so the child must have died between Feb 1890 and April                                                                            

one of the reasons for moving house perhaps -from Grangetown to Middlesbrough

Dec 27             Birth of Margaret O'Neill in 17 Lawson St Middlesbrough

Father John O'Neill   Mother Annie O’Neill formerly Fox


                                                                 marries James Conway 

1892           Feb 15th Informant - X Mark of John O' Neill -  Father - 17 Lawson St 

Mar 24th     DEATH OF ANNIE O' NEILL aged 28 yrs - wife of John O'Neill  Iron Worker at 17 Lawson St Middlesbrough


                                   of Bronchial Catarrh Broncho Pneumonia asphyxia

Mar 25th  X The mark of John O' Neill  Widower present at the death 17 Lawson St Middlesbrough  A very sad situation for all concerned - a new baby and toddler left motherless.The children were taken to Barley Hill Tyrone Ireland to be cared for by Annie's mother Bella Fox - wife of Peter Fox, for whom Annie had kept house for in 39 Bessemer St until her marriage in 1887. Little Patrick and baby Margaret would never see their father again.  

1894        REMARRIED Jan 11 

Marriage of John O' Neill Aged 28 Widower (Genl Labourer)  22 Welford St Mbro & Rose Goodman Aged 27                                                                                                                                                                       (Spinster ) 

167 Cannon St Mbro* Father (John O'Neill) deceased Farm Labourer  Father Peter Goodman  Shoe Maker - in St Mary's Cathedral RC  Witnesses: Thomas McKinstrie X The Mark of John O' Neill  and   Margaret McKinstry  Rose Goodman - signed her own name  

*167 Cannon St is the address of Peter Goodman in M'bro Directory

1887  Jan 27         Birth of John O' Neill in 22 Welford St M'bro  

                               son of John O' Neill and Rose O'Neill nee Goodman    

                               Baptism in St Mary's Cathedral M'bro    

                               Godparents - James Docherty and Margaret McInstry  

Half-brother to Patrick and an uncle to my dad- killed in action World War 1 Sept 25th 1915 - Eighth Battalion Seaforth Highlanders His name is inscribed on Albert Park Memorial tablets outside gate.  

1895  Oct 8th        Birth of  Annie O' Neill in 22 Welford St M'bro  died in Berwick - buried in Ireland

                               daughter of John O' Neill and Rose (Goodman) Nov 8th                  

                               Baptism in St Mary's Cathedral M'bro                                              

                               Godparents -    Thomas Doughty and Sara Crossin 1897    

Feb 7th                  DEATH OF JOHN O' NEILL AT 21 Welford St M'bro  Aged 32 yrs Ironworks Labourer - from -

                               Acute Lobar pneumonia  4.5days JB Larke MD Feb 8th     

                              Informant - T McInstrie Brother in law Present at death Resident at 22 Welford St Middlesbrough  

NB    Who lived at 21 Welford St - the address given for place of death? Thomas McKinstrie & Mgt Goodman seem to be living in the Goodman family home in 167 Cannon St in 1891 because they have a boy Peter born there - Cathedral Baptismal Records

NB: Rose remarries on April 18th 1901 to a Paddy Donnelly - address given as 21 Welford St, and is living in 6 Samuelson Street Newport by the year 1915 Cathedral records & War Office Records Witnesses - James Doherty and Maria McKernon or McKeown                        

                                                Must check St Patricks RC for Baptisms of Donnelly 1901-1915  

1903                             Birth of Daniel Donnelly 14 Welford St M'bro Feb 16th

                                     son of Patrick Donnelly and Rose Goodman  

                                     Godparents Daniel Donnelly and Mary Donnelly marries Rose Linon 18th April 1934 in Armagh Cathedral 1900 .     

About this time Patrick O' Neill leaves for England from Tyrone to take up work in the Ironworks owned by Bolckow & Vaughan in Grangetown, to join his uncle Michael Fox and Edward Purcell, now living in Bessemer St. He is about 12 years of age. According to Aunt Eileen, he lived with his Grannie O'Neill in Multy Sullivan's back bedroom. However...... in  But according to the Census Records of 1901 Patrick is living in 45 Bessemer Street with his sister and his grannie  aged the house of John Burt  his wife Florence aged 23 who was born in Grimstone Norfolk and their daughter Mary aged 1 Grandad’s age is stated to be 13 and his sister Margaret is  9.

1901     Census Records: 45, Bessemer Street, Eston, Grangetown 

                                     BURT, John             Head  Marr. M  25 1876    Vessel Man St'l Wrks Middlesbro

                                     BURT, Florence         Wife Marr.  F  23 1878    Grimston Norfolk

                                     BURT, Mary E                     Daur. F   1 1900    Grangetown

                                     O'NEILL Margaret Boarder Wdw F 65 1836    Ireland (Gt Gt Gran) 

                                     O'NEILL, Patrick   Boarder          M 13 1888    Grangetown - (Grandad)

                                     O'NEILL, Margaret Boarder            F 9 1892    Grangetown – (Gt Aunt Maggie Conway)  

             The Thwaites family come from Grimstone Norfolk – and he married an Ellen O’Neill – Florence's mother. Strange isn’t it?  Could              Florence be a great niece of Margaret O'Neill. And that's why Margaret, her great Aunt, is staying here? 

1908 Jan 25     Marriage of Patrick O' Neill to Mary Ellen Manix 

                                Patrick 21 General Labourer of 40 Laing St marries Mary Ellen Manix of  57 Bessemer St

                                Father John O' Neill Deceased  Labourer Father John Manix  Labourer  

                                in St Mary's RC Church Bolckow Rd Grangetown                                                   

                                Patrick O' Neill  and Mary Ellen Manix signed.  

                               Witnesses - Edward Burt and Margaret O' Neill*    

We have two choices here and two possible witnesses  - either  Grannie Margaret O'Neill now aged 70.  She lived with Patrick and Mary Ellen until her death in c 1912  - positively disliked by Mary Ellen and Edward Burt aged 67 from Vaughan St  OR A  young Margaret O’Neill aged 16 who was born in Mbro and young Edward Burt aged 26.   I prefer the young couple myself but would they have been eligible? Or was it a mixture of both?    

March 25             Birth of John O' Neill - our dad - 29 Laing St - meningitis and deafness    

April 4                         Baptism in St Mary's RC Grangetown   

                                   son of Patrick O'Neill and Mary Ellen Mannix                                        

                                   Godparents - Margaret Lagan and Edward Burt               if you want to know more click on picture  

1909   June 21           Birth of Patrick O' Neill 13 Bessemer St  (did not survive)

                                   son of Patrick and Mary Ellen O'Neill ( Mannix ) June 21st      

                                   Baptism  seriously ill  

                                   Godparents - James Conway and Anna O' Neill

1910  Oct 14              Birth of James O' Neill  did not survive

                                   son of Peter? and Mary Helen O' Neill ( Mannix )

Oct 22                        Baptism in St Mary's        

                                   Godparents-Maria Anne Traynor      

Oct 29                        Birth of Elizabeth Purcell marr Tim McGarrell St Peter's Scarboro'Aug 1931  

                                  daughter of Edward Purcell and Isabella Fox      

                                  Godparent - Margaret O' Neill  died Nov 27th 1968 aged 57 Gravestone near entrance   1911        

1911                  Deaths of Michael Fox and Edmund Purcell    (see Fox tree - both uncles of Patrick O' Neill)  

1912 Dec 1st             Birth of William O' Neill in 82 Vaughan St (did not survive) son of Patrick O' Neill and Mary Ellen Mannix Dec 13th           

                                   Baptised at St Mary's   Godparents - John Hannon and Bella Purcell   1914        

1914                                                              WORLD WAR 1 BEGINS

                                    Patrick O' Neill enters as Gunner in Royal Artillery  

1915 July 4                 Birth of Anna O' Neill   in Vaughan St (did not survive) daughter of Patrick O' Neill and Mary Helen Mannix July 10th            

                                    Baptised in St Mary's      Godparents - Margaret Conway  previously O' Neill         

1917  Sept 20             Birth of Margaret O' Neill - married John Swan  

                                    daughter of Patrick O' Neill and Mary Helen Manix Oct 13th    

                                    Baptised in St Mary's   Godparents - Eugene Daly & Margaret Daly                        

1918                                                                                     END OF WORLD WAR  

1919 Dec 7                Birth of Winifred O' Neill  - 86 Vaughan St - died in infancy

                                   daughter of Patrick O' Neill and Mary Helen Manix Dec 13th       

                                    Baptism in St Mary's Godparents-Mary Helen Coughlan    

                             My mother remembers Winifred being 'laid out' in the window of the house in Vaughan St and says she was about 3 yrs old 

1921 Oct 28                Birth of Mary O' Neill    married R. Parkes Aug 5th 1940 Darlington  

                                    daughter of Patrick O' Neill and Mary Ellen Manix Nov 21st             

                                    Baptism in St Mary's   Godmother - Margaret Dooley  

1924 Feb 13                Birth of Gerrard O'Neill - 86 Vaughan St - (did not survive)  

                                    son of Patrick O'Neill and Mary Ellen Mannix                               

                                    Godparents-William Linehan & Mary Linehan

1926 Feb 10th             Birth of Eileen O'Neill - married  James Rooney July 1947

                                     daughter of Patrick and Mary O'Neill Mannix Feb 20th              

                                     Baptism in St Mary's Godparents - Thomas Doyle and Helen Doyle    

                                     Eileen died January 1997         

1927 Dec 26th             Birth of Gerald O'Neill  marr Valerie Brown 1954 St John's Billingham  

                                     son of Patrick and Mary Ellen Mannix  

           Dec 31               Baptism in St Mary's - Fr McEldowney   

                                     Godmother - Catherine Bennett  

1928?                            Birth of Kevin 0'Neill - last child - (did not survive)  

                                     son of Patrick and Mary Ellen  

1935                        MARRIAGE OF JOHN O'NEILL TO WINIFRED TRAYNOR  

Aug 3                            In the Church of St Ethelberga Barking East London  by Fr Heenan - later to become Cardinal  

                                                 Living in London