Tag Archives: Beatles

The Isle of Man Ancestors of Paul McCartney

Paul-Mccartney-9390850-1-402The ancestry of James Paul McCartney (18 June, 1942) is on the whole of Irish descent. His mother, Mary Patricia Mahon was born circa. 1909 at Liverpool (died 1956) and his father James McCartney (born 7 July, 1902) also at Liverpool. Mary’s parents were Owen Mohin (born County Monaghan, Ireland) and Mary Therasa Danher (sometimes spelled as Danaher) and born at Liverpool, though her father John hailed from Ireland. Her maternal grandmother was from the Dudley area. James’ parents were Joseph McCartney (born Liverpool circa. 1867) and Florence Clegg (born circa. 1875 at Liverpool). Again, Joseph’s descent is Irish and knowing that Irish records are not the most accesible records on the net, I was interested to find out Florence’s family tree.

Joseph and Florence were married on 17 May, 1896 at Christ Church, Kensington, Liverpool. Both fathers were stated as being deceased, Paul Clegg a fish salesman and James McCartney a painter. When I started looking for Florence’s family in the 1881 census I found that her father had died and her mother was named Jane Clegg, a fish monger’s widow. They lived in what appears to be 13 Caud Street, though this may have been abbreviated, possibly Caudwell Street. The other members of the family were daughters Ann A Clegg (29), Paul (26), Gilbert (12) and of course Florence (6). Interestingly Jane was born in the Isle of Man, but the children were all born in Liverpool. But were they Jane’s children? The ages of the oldest children suggest not. Finding them in the 1871 census was not difficult.

Paul Clegg (55) Fishmonger born Isle of Man
Jane Clegg (33) wife born Isle of Man
Robert Clegg (61) brother born Isle of Man
Elizabeth Clegg (24) dau. born Liverpool
Anne A Clegg (18) dau. born Liverpool
Paul Clegg (16) son born Liverpool
Gilbert Clegg (1) son born Liverpool

Abode: 131 Breck Road

Source: http://www.ancestry.co.uk

With the arrival of Florence in about 1875, we can deduce that her father Paul died in the years leading to the 1881 census. A quick check on http://www.freebmd.org.uk reaveals that a Paul Clegg died in the Liverpool Registration District in the Dec quarter of 1879, aged 64. This matches perfectly a christening date for a Paul Clegg on 7 December, 1815 at Arbory, Isle of Man (“Isle of Man, Births and Baptisms, 1821-1911,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X5GR-R4C : accessed 30 Apr 2013), Paul Clague, 07 Dec
1815).

However, sometime during his early years residing in Liverpool Paul anglicised his name to Clegg. We can see this by examining his marriage records. He was wed 3 times. His first marriage was to Ann Bell on 25 August 1840. (“England, Marriages, 1538–1973 ,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NF16-G9J : accessed 30 Apr 2013), Paul Clague and Ann Bell, 25 Aug 1840).

Ann would have been the mother of Thomas Bell Clegg, baptised 15 October 1841 at St. Augustine Church, Everton; William (c.1843); Margaret (1844) and Elizabeth (1845). I did find baptism records for children with these names and birth years but I was confused with the entries for their father and his occupation. The Paul Clegg that I was after consistently stated his occupation on the census as a fish monger, and yet on the baptism records they state that he was a pattern maker, which suggests to me that he worked in a factory.

Ann must have died soon after 1845 because Paul married his second wife, Margaret Bell on 29 January, 1849 at St Nicholas Church, Liverpool (“England Marriages, 1538–1973 ,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N2TY-YQY : accessed 30 Apr 2013), Paul Clegg and Margaret Bell, 29 Jan 1849).

Was she a relation to Ann, his first wife? A sister perhaps? According to the 1861 census, Margaret gave birth to 2 children, Anne Alice Clegg (c.1852) and Paul Clegg (c. 1855). Margaret died soon after (there is a death registration for a Margaret Clegg in Q3 1856 in Liverpool) and we find Paul a widower again in the 1861 census. Not for long! He marries a Jane Clague in 1863 and a closer look at his 1861 census household and we see a 23 year old Jane Clegg, born in the Isle of Man, working as his servant. The similarity in their surnames suggest that there was a degree of kinship between them.  They had 2 children, Gilbert Cummins G. Clegg (1869) and Florence (c.1875), Paul McCartney’s paternal grandmother. It appears that the couple had a child named Gilbert Cummins Clegg born 1864, but died in the West Derby area in Q1 1866.

So, it appears that Paul McCartney had the chance to exist because his great grandfather from the Isle of Man suffered two bereavements from the early deaths of his wives and married for his last wife, his young servant, in the early 1860’s. What happened to Florence’s only full brother, Gilbert?

He married Rose Roberts in the West Derby area in Q4 1891 and they had 6 children, 4 alive in 1911, Jane, Gilbert, John Paul and Joseph Gilbert. Their details are on a public tree on Ancestry. It also states that the G initial in his name stands for Grimes. In 1901 Gilbert senior was working as a dock labourer and lived at 152 Friar Street in the Everton area. By 1911 he was employed as a tram conductor, living at 6 Blyth Street, Everton. He died in 1941.

When I encounter personal names when I’m researching family trees I get quite curious about how they have been chosen. They usually reflect previous generations and are a great help, though not confirmation of, in connecting past generations. The name ‘Gilbert’ stands out in Paul McCartney’s tree and I was determined to find out if there were any links to an ancestor. Who could I find if I went further down in time?

The information contained in this post is the cumulation of the research I conducted last September. The public tree I found yesterday when I was familiarising with my notes has revealed differing information from my research. Whether I am right or not, I think it’s important to state both conclusions, but I will say that my findings has revealed an ancestor with the name Gilbert.

So, who were the parents of Paul Clegg (or Clague)? In the 1871 census mentioned earlier (see above) it states that Paul’s brother Robert was residing with them and that he was 61 years old. Looking for a birth/baptism for a Robert Clague circa. 1810 (and the name would have not have been Anglesised at this early date), I found the following entry on the FamilySearch website:

Robert Clague christened 5 March 1810 Arbory, Isle of Man
Parents: Robert Clague, Elizabeth Commish

Source: “Isle of Man, Births and Baptisms, 1821-1911,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X5GT-CVC : accessed
01 May 2013), Robt Clague, 05 Mar 1810.

I had already established Paul Clague’s christening as occcuring in 1815 (see earlier), and they both have the same parents. The only record I can find on FamilySearch for a marriage between a Robert Clague and an Elizabeth is:

Robert Clague married Elizabeth Corrin on 3 October, 1808 at Malew, Isle of Man

Source: “Isle of Man, Parish Registers, 1598-1950,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XZ11-P94 : accessed 01
May 2013), Robert Clague and Elizabeth Corrin, 1808.

Now, two things could be happening here. It may be that Elizabeth’s surname has been mistranscribed, and being unable to view the original Isle of Man marriage records I can only speculate that this is a possibility. The babtism records for Paul and Robert state her name was Commish, which is a surname commonly found in the Isle of Man in this period. I have also seen the surname Comaish which is very close to what I’ve discovered, and it is similar to the middle name of Cummins given to Gilbert Clegg (see earlier) born 1869. It probably is all down to pronounciation and ignorance the spelling of the name, a common occurance in the history of recording and registering names. Nevertheless, I am satisfied that the correct parents of Paul and Robert Clague was Robert Clague and Elizabeth Commish. I am of the impression that the public tree information stating that the marriage occurred on 19 December, 1807 at Arbory is
the correct one. The babtisms for both Paul and Robert were held at Arbory, as were William Clague (13 November, 1808), Charles (9 October, 1814) and Richard 24 January, 1813). The babtisms for the children of the other Robert Clague and Elizabeth Corrin, itself a surname common on the Isle of Man, were held at Malew, including a Robert Clague on 16 March, 1817 (“Isle of Man, Births and Baptisms,
1821-1911,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X5G6-MYW : accessed 01 May 2013), Robt Clague, 16 Mar 1817). To confuse further, the mother is listed as Elinor Corrin and not Elizabeth. This suggests that this Robert is not the brother of Paul because the discrepancy in their ages is too great.

So, I go on to find the parents of Elizabeth Comish and see what I can find.

Elizabeth Commish christened 6 July, 1783 Arbory, Isle of Man.
Parents: William Comish, Cath Costeen

Source: Unknown!

I found this entry in my notebook which looks like it was transcribed from the FamilySearch databases, but when I looked for it yesterday online there is no entry to be found. Therefore the only source I can quote is a secondary one, probably an Ancestry.co.uk public tree. The entry states that her parents were William Comish and Cath Costeen. Next I enter for a birth for a William Comish to see what comes up and I find this:

William Comish christened 27 November, 1743 Arbory, Isle of Man.

Parents: Gilbert Comish, Margaret Clark.

Source: “Isle of Man, Parish Registers, 1598-1950,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X8S9-KQ2 : accessed 01 May 2013), Wm Comish Clark, 1743.

Could this be the elusive ancestor with the ‘Gilbert’ name that was passed to Paul McCartney’s great uncle Gilbert? It seems to fit, but I’m not conclusively stating that I am right. The reason for this is that there is always the possibility that there are other
Gilberts about at this time. Consider this possibility. On the public tree that I have previously mentioned in this post, it is stated that the William Comish who married Cath Costeen (which I’m happy with) was the son of another William Comish and his wife Anne (Cubon), married on the 1 July, 1735 at Arbory. They had a son called William, baptised at Arbory on 5 July, 1741. So, we have two William Comishes, one born in 1741 and the other 1743, with fathers named Gilbert and William, who might well be brothers with a
father named Gilbert. Perhaps a diagram may explain better.

Comish tree

I am in the awkward position of not really knowing which is the right William, after learning of the existence of the William that was
born in 1741. Making it even more troublesome is that there is only one marriage found on FamilySearch for a Gilbert Comish.

Gilbert Comish married Margaret Kaveen 24 July, 1736, Arbory

Source: “Isle of Man, Parish Registers, 1598-1950,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X8S3-Z88 : accessed 01
May 2013), Gilbert Comish and Margt Kaveen, 1736.

Could this be a wild mistranscription of Clark/Kaveen? Why is there no marriage record for a Gilbert Comish and Margaret Clark, though
that is what is stated in the baptism records of William Comish (1743).

This is, unfortunately, as far as I dare to go!

There is no doubt in my mind that I have found the source of the ‘Gilbert’ ancestor in Paul McCartney’s family tree. I just can’t
conclusively state how he fits into it. My gut feeling is that I am on the right track with the Gilbert/Margaret Clark line. They also
had a daughter, predictably, named Margaret and that name is continued into future generations, though Margaret is a popular name and
Paul Clague’s second wife was also named Margaret.

Addendum

Looking closer to this publicly accessible family tree on Ancestry reveals a Welsh connection in Paul McCartney’s family history. I haven’t checked the facts myself but the researcher has provided copies of marriage certificate for James McCartney, Paul’s great grandfather. He married Elizabeth Williams whose grandfather was a Welsh mariner named William Williams who was born either in the Mold area or a place in Flintshire.

 

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Welsh roots of The Beatles – John Lennon

Liverpool has been well known for increasing its population in the 19th century with a substantial Welsh and Irish contingent. Many came to the famous English port predominantly for work opportunities, leaving their taciturn, simple lifestyles in their rural countries, and deciding to take their chances with the harsh, and at times brutal industrial environment, in the rapidly populous areas of north west England. The obvious question that is often asked by genealogists is this. Why did so many leave the security of their long established communities to expose themselves to the relatively unknown elements that we associate with industrialisation?

This is our perspective gained from the advantage of having hindsight. At the time our ancestors were struggling to survive in their own areas. They could see that their communities were worsening and felt that they did not have a choice. They must have made these decisions with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. The prospect of giving themselves a better income and therefore a higher standard of living must have been a great motivator. Some did find fame and fortune but of course a great many didn’t, finding life hard, and constantly surrounded by death and hopeless poverty. We have to thank those individuals who dared to venture to these grimy, dangerous and unforgiven territories and give birth to future generations so that they could get a chance to make a mark on the world.

Such humble backgrounds can be found when investigating the ancestry of the four members of the Beatles. Predominantly more Irish than Welsh, the research so far has taken me to some interesting locations. However, the purpose of the research was to concentrate on their Welsh origins, and this is what I want to focus on. The Irish ancestry has been well researched and I thought it would be a good assignment to locate any Welsh ancestry that the fab four have got. A good source for John Lennon’s Irish ancestry can be found here

John Lennon has Welsh roots on his mother’s side. Julia Stanley (1914-1958) was the daughter of George Ernest Stanley and Annie Jane Millward, who were married late 1906. They had four daughter, Mary (b.24 Apr. 1906), Elizabeth Jane (1909), Julia, and Harriet (1916). On the whole researching the Milward line proved to be quite time consuming and exact, accurate records were difficult to find online. This is a classic example of the type of difficulty family historians can come up against. Some people can be difficult to find especially on the census records, and this is exactly what I found when trying to pinpoint the parentage of John’s grandmother Annie.

I could only find Annie Jane for certain in two census: 1881 and 1911. There is an Annie Milward living at 62 Frederick St, Liverpool, in the 1901 census, in the house of a Harry Daley, a native of the United States. The only problem is birthplace which is stated as Liverpool. She was born in Chester. However this kind of mistake is not unusual. As she was a boarder at the property she probably wasn’t asked by the landlord where she was born. He assumed Liverpool so wrote that down instead of Chester. Her profession was seamstress which again points me in the right direction because she states in the 1911 census, which is more reliable, that she was a tailoress.

Her father was John Milward and in the 1881 census, the enumerator has written ‘Wales’ as his birthplace. It often frustrates me that the enumerator didn’t bother to write exactly where John stated where he was born. This occurs with census information concerning Scots and the Irish immigrants as well. In 1891 he states he was born in Rhyl, Flintshire. 

Various websites have come up with different names for Annie’s mother, the wife for John Milward. I can only find one census where I can categorically know for sure that Annie’s parents were John Milward and Mary E Milward. But with such ambiguity it is essential to hunt down the marriage record to make sure. Of course there is always the possibility that some couples who state they were married on the census were in reality not, or got married in later years.

1881 census – Liverpool

John Millward (43) – clerk in law stationer’s office – born Wales
Mary E Millward (30) – wife                                               – born Wales
Annie J Millward (8) – dau                                                   – born Chester
Mary E Millward (6) – dau                                                    – born Liverpool
Harriet C E Millward – dau                                                   – born Liverpool

Residence: 17 Kent Square

In the 1891 Liverpool census, St Paul’s district:-

John Millward (48) – Wid – boarder – clerk, merchants – born, Flintshire,  Ryle                                                                                                                   
Mary Millward (16) – single – boarder – servant                 – born Liverpool

Residence: 71 Highfield St.

However, I’m still unsure and would never assume anything based on this kind of census evidence. This shows how difficult family research can be!

Searching for the family of John Milward has been difficult too. It appears that his father was a Thomas Milward born in St. Asaph, North Wales, but here too it is not so straight forward. Checking the 1841 census there are two Thomas Milward born in St. Asaph, and at first I thought that I had found a father and son with the same christian name. It is a mistake to assume that the surname Milward/Millward must be rare in North Wales, not Welsh sounding at all. In fact there appears to be earlier generations of Milwards in the North Wales area, increasing the possibility of the existence of another Thomas. Later census reveal that Thomas was at least 24 years older than his wife Jane, and reveal a consistency of having a son named John (Annie Jane’s father) but who is the other Thomas in the 1841 census?

1841 census – St. Asaph

Thomas Milward (50) – gardener        – born in county
Francis Edwards (25) – painter             – born in county
Anne Jones (50) – servant maid           – born in county
Elizabeth Milward (15)                             – born in county

Residence: Bronwylfa St.

and,

Thomas Milward (35) – gardener        – born in county
Jane Milward (35)                                      – not born in county
Edward Milward (11)                                 – born in county
John Milward (7)                                         – born in county
Elizabeth Milward (5)                                – born in county
Mary Milward (2)                                        – born in county

Residence: Roe? (near Elwy Cottage)

From a present perspective this could flumox a researcher because it seems like a mistake has been made by the enumerator. I was searching for one Thomas Milward who fits the criterias to make him the one I’m looking for. Seeing two of them (and on the same census page) places a seed of doubt. Has the enumerator made a mistake, and duplicated the entry? Knowing that the 1841 census was not noted for being the most accurate, enumerator mistakes, or rather the lack of a stringent accurate attitude, are expected, so what do I think is going on here?

I interpret this data as it stands, namely there are two Thomas Milwards. It would make much more sense if the two Thomas’ swapped places! What I think is that there is a Thomas Milward who was a gardener and living with a painter named Francis Edwards, probably a relative, aged around 50, but there was also another with a wife and family, and aged the same as his wife. Probably the enumerator either couldn’t make out the scribblings of Thomas’s writing on the original sheet, and guessed that he must have been around the same age, or he didn’t care about the accuracy!

So, it would be interesting to research the Millwards of Flintshire and Denbighshire and there are a lot of them. My online research has revealed that they first appeared in the area as early as 1767, a marriage between a John Millward and a Frances Williams at St Mary’s Church, Flint. They had at least 7 children. Originally, they came from the West Midlands area, probably Shropshire or Staffordshire.

In conclusion, I didn’t uncover any new information on John Lennon’s Welsh roots, but have opened up the possibility of further research. Thomas Milward’s wife was from Denbighshire, and more likely his mother was Welsh too, and the elusive wife of John Millward, if she could be positively identified, will open up another purely Welsh lineage to his family tree.