Posts Tagged ‘McEvoy’

It is good to jot down ideas and hunches that come to mind whilst searching your family tree.  All too often those exciting thoughts follow the majority of our everyday musings into the ether unless recorded in a detailed fashion. I can’t count the many occasions that I’ve come across a scribbled note in my box of jottings, confidently written in a way that I would easily recall. Hmm, how wrong could I be?  So here’s hoping my blog will keep me on track.

I would dearly love to know how Patrick met Jane.  I daydream how they met and fell in love.  They were married in 1854 at a Roman Catholic chapel on Pilgrim Street, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Patrick was 26 and Jane 20. Bearing in mind that clues can be misleading and turn out not to be clues at all I find a huge one in their marriage certificate. Both Patrick and Jane’s father, Barnard, were quarrymen. Had Barnard and Patrick worked together I wonder? Had Barnard invited the young Patrick to share a meal with his large family in his rented terraced house in Gateshead? It must have been difficult; a family of nine in a two up and two down. There are photos of Leonard’s Court taken in the 1930s before it was demolished.




Barnard’ family lived at number 144.

Tram stop number 4 shows Leonard’s Court. If you move your mouse over the map you can see Leonard’s Court.  Click on number 4 to see more photographs. http://www.asaplive.com/tram/tramroute/interactive/index.html

A neighbouring street was Nun’s Lane which still exists.  By 1861 Barnard and Jane had moved to neighbouring Swan Street number 17.


Or perhaps Patrick had met Jane at church or at a church function both being Roman Catholics? Did they have church functions in the 1850s? But Patrick lodged in Newcastle upon Tyne and that’s a fair journey across the river in the 1850s. Even the horse drawn trams didn’t operate until 1883.  I believe there was a ferry to cross the Tyne Gorge from Gateshead to Newcastle. Stephenson’s two tier high level railway and road bridge was opened in 1849 but a toll had to be paid so I’m not sure they could afford to use it. http://www.newcastle-arts-centre.co.uk/high-%20level.htm

The old Georgian bridge was probably their option.  This was a low level stone bridge demolished in 1868 to be replaced by the the Swing bridge that still stands.

Today another penny drops.  Why I hadn’t made the connection before?  I examine Patrick and Jane’s marriage certificate again for the umpteenth time. Had I missed something? Then there it was, another clue staring me in the face. Patrick and Jane were married in Newcastle upon Tyne, why not in the bride’s parish?

I Google Catholic church, Gateshead, and find that the first purpose built Catholic church wasn’t built until 1859.


There were Catholic missions with a priest in attendance in makeshift chapels. Some were over public houses or in private homes owned by rich catholics. Many people made the journey over the river to Newcastle for mass on a Sunday. So it appears that I might have been on the right track after all.


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In the beginning

I am told that genealogy comes second in the most searched for websites,  the number one  being ….. well, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that.  I am also led to believe that most people researching their family tree are hoping to discover links to the landed gentry or at the very least to someone who has been recorded in history for a deed, good or bad.  For me it wasn’t like that at all.  Upon learning that we had an ancestor from Cork with the name Patrick McEvoy I felt a sudden swell of pride.  ‘We have Irish blood’ I told anyone who made the mistake of lingering in my presence. ‘I’m going to find him and when I do, I’m off to Ireland’. Quite what I had in mind I’m not sure.

I’ve been to Ireland, well Dublin to be exact but that was before I knew about Patrick. I  had hopes of retracing Patrick’s steps (not literally) and finding his home town or village but it’s still work in progress. Cork is a huge county and I still don’t know where Patrick comes from. I only know that he came from Ireland to England in the late 1840’s or early 50’s.

All the information about tracing your family tree tells us to firstly ask the elders in the family what they know.  My mother had no information about the Irish link and at that time I was focussed on that alone. She’s gone now and I really regret not asking her about all the other rellies, I realise now just how important they are when building up the bigger picture. My Aunty Frances, Patrick’s informant so to speak, had no other details other than he came from Cork. At the time I thought, right, I’ll go there then not realising that Cork is like Yorkshire, a huge county.  Much later I spoke to my father about my endeavours and he volunteered ‘Lizzie Jane told me that her family came from Northern Ireland.’  Lizzie Jane was my Great Grandmother née Elizabeth Jane McEvoy, Patrick’s granddaughter. He didn’t know from where in Northern Ireland and had no further information. By then it was too late to return to Aunty Frances and query this news as she had  passed away.

I bought books and joined both Ancestry and Genes-Reunited. Before long I found Patrick via the Census forms online. I was able to build a family tree linking Patrick to my mother. Sadly from his first appearance in the 1851 Census, I can’t trace him back any further….. yet!

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