The 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
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
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
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.
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.
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.