Need help connecting John breen to his irish ancestors

+5 votes
I am looking for information about a certain John Breen born in ireland. He had a mom by the name of margaret but i was unable to locate her or her husband. He married Maria Jane Ramsden in england in 1864.

There is more information on his profile

Any help is greatly appreciated
WikiTree profile: John Breen
in Genealogy Help by Anonymous Grand'Maison G2G6 Mach 1 (19.2k points)

There are a great number of Breen's in county Clare Some from Coraclare Hope that helps a bit

3 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

I started on Genes Reunited. His marriage to Maria Jane Ramsden is indexed in quarter 2 of 1864 in Liverpool. Unfortunately the index doesn't record all the details (you can order birth, marriage and death certificates from the GRO). But I have a location.

Found him and Maria in the 1871 census, living in China Street, Everton, Liverpool. He is 29, so born in 1841-42, in Ireland. His occupation is "porter in metal warehouse". Maria is 23, so born in 1847-48, in Liverpool. They have two children, Margaret (4) and John (10 months), both born in Liverpool.

Going back to the 1861 census, where John is 18, born in Ireland, working as a cotton porter, and living in William Henry Street, Everton. He's the stepson of the head of the family, John Grannell, a bootmaker, age 60 and born in Ireland. His wife Margaret Grannell, age 35 and born in Ireland, is presumably John's mother. Also living with them are John's brothers Philip Breen (14, born Ireland) and James Breen (11, born Ireland) and his step-brother James J Grannell (2, born Liverpool).

John, Philip and James were all born before civil registration of births in Ireland, so I turn to, which records a large number of church baptisms, marriages and deaths. Found 'em. John was baptised on 4 August 1842, Philip on 1 October 1846, and James on 2 May 1849, all in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, and their parents are James Breen and Margaret Foley, who married on 11 September 1841 in Enniscorthy. If the age recorded for Margaret in the 1861 census is accurate, she was only 15. Unfortunately the church marriage record doesn't record anything about their parents, but you at least have a location in Ireland.

As confirmation I've got the right family, I found John Grannell in the 1871 census, living at Kermode Street, Everton, with a nephew, whose name is Donatus Foley.

So to summarise:

Margaret Foley (born somewhere around 1815 to 1826) married James Breen in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, on 11 September 1841. They had three children:

  • John Breen, born before 4 August 1842, Enniscorthy
  • Philip Breen, born before 1 October 1846, Enniscorthy
  • James Breen, born before 2 May 1849, Enniscorthy.

James senior presumably died some time after 1849. Margaret then married John Grannell, and they had at least one child, born c. 1859.

by Patrick Brown G2G2 (2.7k points)
selected by Rob Judd
Incredible! Thank you so much

Not sure where "James J" comes from, as the child born to Grannell and Foley in 1859 is Lawrence Joseph.

GRO Reference: 1859  S Quarter in LIVERPOOL  Volume 08B  Page 205

Although, I guess they could have changed their minds after registering his birth- or the J is for Joseph and they used a different Saint's name as the forename.  (All three names, James, Joseph, and Lawrence are names of Saints -- kind of a big thing with many Irish families, naming their children for the Saints.)

He's Lawrence J Grannell in the 1871 census, and it's unlikely there'd give two children in the same household the same first name, so my money's on a mistake filling in th census form in 1861. Here's the 1861 census extract:

Details for multiple addresses/families, all in the same handwriting, and written neatly and consistently. The census enumerator probably hasn't written this down in the houses he's visited, he's made notes and completed the form properly when he's got back to his desk. And when filling in Lawrence's first name, he's looked at the wrong line of his notes.

On the other hand, my great grandmother was called Maude, but her name was recorded in the 1901 census as "Diana" - and the handwriting matches her father's signature, not the enumerators. Who knows what's going on there.

+3 votes

Have you got a copy of John's marriage certificate? It should give his father's name and occupation. If you know the year, quarter and volume/page numbers you can order a copy here:

Also, if John's younger siblings (or half-siblings) were born in England, their births should have been registered and you could find out his mother's maiden name. If you register you can search the index for free to find that out:

by Katie Fuller G2G6 Mach 3 (33.5k points)
+1 vote
I was struck by what are no doubt co-incidences.

My great grandfather, Patrick Breen, was born in Co. Kerry, Ireland, in 1839 or 40. His mother was Margaret. Patrick emigrated to the U.S. in about 1850 to join his parents who had emigrated a bit earlier, according to one source. I recently learned that Patrick had a brother, John Breen, born May,1842 in Ireland and emigrated to the U.S. in 1858. He died in Montana. Patrick was a career U.S. Army soldier, having enlisted in 1855. He was discharged by order of the Secretary of War in 1877.
by Don Humphreys G2G Crew (510 points)

Related questions

+5 votes
6 answers
186 views asked Oct 1, 2015 in Genealogy Help by Ron McCauley G2G Rookie (280 points)
+8 votes
1 answer
49 views asked Aug 10, 2021 in Appreciation by Helen Worth G2G Crew (400 points)
+6 votes
4 answers
+4 votes
1 answer
+1 vote
2 answers
417 views asked Mar 7, 2014 in Genealogy Help by anonymous
+5 votes
3 answers
206 views asked Mar 9, 2019 in The Tree House by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
+7 votes
1 answer
+11 votes
5 answers
317 views asked Feb 21, 2019 in The Tree House by Steph Meredith G2G6 Mach 8 (82.9k points)
+6 votes
2 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright