Is James O'Brien related to the Earl of Lucan

+2 votes

I am interested in learning more about James O'Brien born about 1845 in Ireland. A letter we have tells us his grandmother was the Earl of Lucan’s daughter but was disinherited because she married her father’s groom, possibly by the name of Cardiff. He remembers being taken by his mother to the ancestral castle. Years later his mother was shot whilst saying her prayers because she was the only one left in Ireland to give evidence in a court case re the claim to the title. About 1880 a man by the name of Cardiff came to New Zealand hoping Grandfather (James O’Brien) would contribute money towards furthering their claim but he didn't. Does anyone know more about this story?

in Genealogy Help by Sarah Fox G2G Rookie (190 points)

1 Answer

+2 votes

Hi Sarah!  Welcome to WikiTree!

That is a tantalizing tale, for sure!

Family stories, in my experience, usually contain a kernel of truth, but might have come down to us slightly different from what actually happened - just like any other oral transmission.

You will probably have to do the research -- we can help -- documenting your parents and grandparents and seeing what comes up, and tracing all the known descendants of the Bingham family, and seeing what comes out of that.

Time frame wise, do you think this is the Lord Lucan? [[Bingham-122|Charles George (Bingham) Bingham Earl of Lucan 4th (1830-1914)]]  Or the one before, or the one after?  edit: earlier, i'd guess, based on the age of James O'Brien.   

You might also look for the name Cardiff in census or church documents in proximity to the Lucan family.

Often the 'smoking gun' evidence does turn up, but not usually when going for it directly.  Usually we have to assemble the whole picture in the way we would even if there isn't a family legend.



by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (229k points)
edited by Shirlea Smith
Maybe the best place to start is building a profile for your grandfather James and working back.  Let me know when you have it started, and I will help look for sources.

Thank you Shirlea,  The information I do have is via James O'Briens death certificate ( died 15th September 1915). This certificate gives his mother's maiden name as Cardiff, that is Margaret Cardiff, his father's name as William and his age at death as 70.

I have his marriage certificate (12 May 1868) at which time he was 22.
From this I have deducted he was born about 1845 ish.
I have found a possible baptism entry for James with a date of April 25th 1845 from St Andrews Church in Dublin.

Further I have found a possible marriage certificate dated the 21st of June 1841 between a William O’Brien and a Margaret Cardiff in Newbridge, Kildare, Ireland.  This reconciles well with James’s date of birth a few years later.

But this is as far as we have been able to go.

I have no way of knowing if this is the correct William and Margaret.

Hi Sarah!  As far as whether the 1841 marriage of William and Margaret is for your people or not, one thing you could try is to see whether that couple has a life separate from your people.  If you find them in a different part of the world with a different batch of children, then you know they aren't yours.


Thanks Shirlea but I have been unable to find them on any census records.  Any other ideas?

Ireland is hard!  But the first thing i would try to do is locate the baptismal register for the parish that they were married in, and see if they christened any children in that parish.  Remember you are following their career with an open mind, not trying to understand yet what it means for your own family tree.  

If that couple did not christen any children there, check to see if one of them was buried there as a fairly young person, explaining why no children.  If that doesn't pan out, follow the advice from the pre-computer days: identify the adjoining parishes and check their registers.  If that doesn't work, try to understand something about the job market of the time, and where they could have moved to earn a living, and check there.

Good luck!



(editted to change birth register to baptismal register)
I have Bingham, in  cousins trees on my dna results and Dawson,  Lord Lucan's mother's maiden name. But I have O'Brien as well. There's also numerous old Irish names connected to Fitzwilliam, then Stapleton dct. I think you have given me a clue. thanks very much

Pauline Elizabeth
Thanks Pauline. This is very interesting. May I ask where your DNA is linked.  Mine is on under Sarah Simpson.  It would be interesting to know if we are related.  When you say Lord Lucan's mother's maiden name was Dawson to which Lord Lucan are you referring?



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