The Incredible Journey………….

That’s it, I have finally made it to the end, this is the last of sixteen blogs telling the life stories of my 2x great-grandparents! 

The very fact that Elizabeth McCormack is the very last one, will tell you that Elizabeth’s story was maybe a little harder to tell, than some of the others, primarily because she was born and lived in Dublin at a time when records were few and far between. Although there were no census returns for Elizabeth, the fact that her and her family were regular visitors to the workhouse, enabled me to piece together what was a rather difficult and at times harrowing life. The important part for me is that she is remembered and however limited the records might be, the fact that I am able to tell her story is the most important part. As with all family history stories, as more and more record collections become available, there is always the hope that I can add to Elizabeth’s story in the future.

My overwhelming feeling is that Elizabeth led an extremely difficult life, living in the packed streets of Dublin in the latter part of the 19th Century, life was hard, with poverty, deprivation, sickness and death all around, to survive that tells me something about the strength of character that Elizabeth had. I have visited Dublin twice whilst researching my Irish ancestors and have walked the streets and seen the houses that Elizabeth and her family lived in, which has helped to bring her closer to me and has helped to bridge the gaps that records haven’t been able too.

So here is Elizabeth’s (Lizzie’s) story……………

Elizabeth McCormack was born on 8th March 1860 at the family home in 6, Aughrim Street in Dublin to parents William McCormack and Mary McEve. She was baptised on the following day, 9th March 1860 at St. Paul’s Church, Arran Quay in Dublin.

Elizabeth McCormack Baptism:NLI

(Elizabeth McCormack’s Baptism Record, St. Pauls Church, Arran Quay Dublin)

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(6, Aughrim Street as it looks today, photographed on my trip to Dublin)

St. Pauls Arran Quay 1

(St. Pauls, Arran Quay, Dublin, as it looks today, photographed on my trip to Dublin)

I have no records to tell me what young Elizabeth’s life was like as a child growing up in Dublin and have no indication of where she worked prior to her marriage in 1885. She married relatively later than was the norm at the time, she was aged 25 when she married John Daniels on 5th May 1885 at the tiny chapel of Chapelizod. At the time of her Marriage she was living at Cabra Road in Dublin. Elizabeth and John went on to have five children, Mary Margaret Daniels born in 1883, John Daniels born in 1886, Elizabeth Daniels (my great-grandmother) born in 1889, Margaret Daniels born in 1894 and William Daniels born in 1895, all of Elizabeth’s children were born in North Dublin.

John Daniels:McCormack Marriage:NLI

(Marriage Entry for Elizabeth McCormack and John Daniels)

John Daniels:McCormack Marriage

Marriage Record for Elizabeth McCormack and John Daniels)

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(Cabra Road as it looks today, photographed on my trip to Dublin)

It was just after the birth of their last child, William, that I discovered records that showed how difficult life and times were, for the Daniels family and how they would take an even darker turn for the Daniels Children.

Between the years 1897 and 1905 there are numerous separate entries in the South Dublin Workhouse for Elizabeth Daniels, her husband John Daniels as well as entries for Elizabeth (Lizzie) and her children. There are various addresses listed in the records including Island Bridge and 3, Woodroffes Cottages all in the Island Bridge and Kilmainham areas of Dublin. The interesting part is that they are separate entries from each other, Lizzie is listed on 14 separate occasions with the children and John is listed on 8 separate occasions alone. Were they separated at this stage? Difficult to say for sure.

To summarise the Workhouse records for Elizabeth (Lizzie) and her children are shown below and the details are as follows:

Lizzie was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in April 1901 address listed as Woodroffes Cottages, with her Children, Lizzie Aged 10, Maggie aged 8, William aged 5.

Lizzie was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in July 1901 address listed as Woodroffes Cottages.

Lizzie was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in March 1902 address listed as Island Bridge, she is listed with her children, Mary aged 19, Lizzie aged 13, Maggie aged 11 and William aged 8.

Lizzie was admitted again into the South Dublin Workhouse in March 1902 address listed as Island Bridge, she is listed with her children, Mary aged 19, Lizzie aged 13, Maggie aged 11 and William aged 8.

Lizzie was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in September 1902 address listed as Island Bridge, she is listed with her children, Lizzie aged 12, Maggie aged 8 and William aged 7.

Lizzie was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in February 1903 address listed as Island Bridge, she is listed with her children, Lizzie aged 13 and William aged 6.

Lizzie was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in March 1903 address listed as Island Bridge, she is listed with her children, Lizzie aged 14, Maggie aged 11 and William aged 6.

Lizzie was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in December 1903 address listed as no abode, she is listed with her children, John aged 17, Lizzie aged 15, Maggie aged 11 and William aged 9.

on 24th November 1902 Lizzie was listed in the South Dublin Workhouse as sick and with her four children she was to be discharged when well. Her husband was listed as being in Prison.

on 8th July 1901 Lizzie was listed as being Sick in the South Dublin Workhouse

on 1st April 1901 Lizzie and her three children were listed as destitute in the South Dublin Workhouse

on 2nd February Lizzie was listed as sick in the South Dublin Workhouse

on 2nd April 1903 Lizzie was listed as destitute with her three children in the South Dublin Workhouse

Lizzie was the victim of assault in 1908 that resulted in James Moore being given a custodial sentence of 14 days.

Lizzie Daniels Senior Minute Book 1

Lizzie Daniels Senior Minute Book 2

Lizzie Daniels Senior Minute Book 3

Lizzie Daniels Senior Minute Book 4

Lizzie Daniels Senior Minute Book 5

Lizzie Daniels Senior Workhouse 1

Lizzie Daniels Senior Workhouse 2

Lizzie Daniels Senior Workhouse 4

Lizzie Daniels Senior Workhouse 5

Lizzie Daniels Senior Workhouse 6

Lizzie Daniels Senior Workhouse 10

Lizzie Daniels Senior Workhouse 11

Lizzie Daniels Senior Workhouse 12

Lizzie Daniels Senior Workhouse 13

Lizzie Daniels Senior Workhouse 19

The darker side was the record for 1902, John aged 54, was sent to Mountjoy prison and sentenced to two months imprisonment for ill treating his children. His last residence is listed as Summers Cottages, Kilmainham. His wife is listed as Lizzie and her address given as Woodroffes Cottages, Island Bridge. John’s birthplace is listed as John’s Lane. At the time John was listed as 4ft 11 3/4″ tall with brown hair and green eyes. My Initial thoughts were that ‘ill treating his children’ meant by physical means, but having discussed this with “Genie Friends”, it could also mean abandonment and neglect, but one would expect to see terms such as ‘neglect’ or ‘desertion’ in a charge, rather than ‘ill treating’. Further evidence of similar cases at the time, shows evidence of terms such as ‘neglect’ and ‘failing to pay maintenance’, so my first suspicion of physically ill treating his children, could actually be sadly correct.

The full summary of John Daniels workhouse records and prison records are as follows:

John was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in 1897 address listed as 6, Woodroffes Cottages

John was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in 1898 address listed as 6, Woodroffes Cottages

John was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in 1899 address listed as 3, Woodroffes Cottages

John was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in 1900 address listed as 3, Island Bridge

John was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in 1902 address listed as Island Bridge

John was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in 1903 address listed as Island Bridge

John was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in 1904 address listed as Island Bridge

John was admitted into the South Dublin Workhouse in 1905 address listed as Island Bridge

John was also admitted to Stevens Hospital in 1904 with Bronchitis.

Elizabeth died on 29th December 1909 when she was just 49 years old, the cause of death was Cardiac Dropsy and present at her death was her daughter, Margaret Daniels. She died at the family home of 21, Sarah Place in Dublin, which was the Daniels family home for many years after Elizabeth’s death. I visited Dublin twice, pre-covid and was able to visit and photograph the areas which the Daniels family lived, were married in, or buried in. I can honestly say that one of the biggest thrills for me, whilst researching my family tree has been the process of ‘walking in the footsteps of my ancestors’. To walk the same streets they walked, to see the houses and streets that they were brought up in, to visit the same churches that they worshipped in and to visit their final resting places, is such a wonderful experience. If you have not done this yourself before then I would urge you, if you can, to visit the areas that your ancestors lived, it’s both a humbling experience and such a heart-warming experience. I have even been fortunate enough to reconnect with my Daniels cousins in Dublin, which for me is exactly why I do family history. It’s about making connections and reconnections that help you to really know who you are yourself. I know it sounds ‘cliche’ to say this, but Dublin, more than any other ancestral place that I have visited, is where I have felt most at home.

Elizabeth Daniels Senior Death 1909

(Elizabeth Daniels Death Entry)

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(Sarah Place the home of the Daniels family for many years as it looks today)

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(Sarah Place the home of the Daniels family for many years as it looks today)

Elizabeth’s story isn’t quite over, she managed to bowl me one last curve ball. I have always had an obsession with finding the final resting places of my direct line ancestors and one of the biggest frustrations of my genealogy journey has been my inability to find the burial place for Elizabeth. I have tried and exhausted all possibilities in the Kilmainham and Dublin area for a burial location and this has been a brick wall for many years. Who said Genealogy was easy!

I have included a few more images taken on my two trips to Dublin that give me that sense of connection to my Daniels family from Dublin.

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(7, Woodfield Terrace, the house my Nan lived in as a child)

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(Woodfield Terrace)

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(The School that Nan attended)

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(The School that Nan attended)

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(Yours truly walking in the footsteps of my Ancestors inside Kilmainham Jail)

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(Inside Kilmainham Jail)

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(Inside Kilmainham Jail)

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(Stevens Hospital where Nan was born)

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(My new cousin Sean handing over all the family stories)

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(One of the most important family heirlooms thanks to cousin Sean and my Daniels family)

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(Yours truly sampling Dublin’s finest)

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(The Church in Aughrim Street that Elizabeth would have worshipped at)

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(The Church in Aughrim Street that Elizabeth would have worshipped at)

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(Glasnevin Cemetery)

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(Glasnevin Cemetery – although there is no grave marker the burial plot for Elizabeth’s husband, John Daniels is above)

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(The Papal Cross in Phoenix Park)

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(Dublin’s oldest Pub The Brazen Head I am sure my ancestors would have frequented this place!)

So that’s it, the final biography of sixteen is complete. It has been a long and memorable journey, documenting the lives of all sixteen of my 2x great-grandparents, there have been lots of high’s and amazing discoveries and of course there have been some extremely sad lows as well. I now feel more closer to some of my ancestors than I have ever been, some I now feel a real bond and attachment to and it gives me a real sense of who I am and where I came from. It’s only by focusing on the small details of their lives and putting them into the social context of the day, that you truly get to know them. If you have thought about doing something similar yourself and have been put off by the amount of work involved, all I can say is it is completely worth doing, like the old saying “there is only one way to eat an elephant, one bite at a time.” 

Has it been worth it? You bet it has!!

Cheers, have a drink on me!

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16 thoughts on “The Incredible Journey………….

  1. Paul
    The sentence you wrote about being able to tell the story struck a real chord with me.

    With your permission I would love to quote it at the beginning of the book I am compiling for my grandsons and adding your name as author.

    Well done for reaching the end of the generation. It is so important for stories to be told.
    Sally

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 🎉 Congratulations, Paul, on achieving this milestone! I’m so sorry her life’s journey was so challenging and difficult.

    As far as her childhood, are there records left by others that would provide some insight as to what it might have been like?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Lynn, its been a long and rewarding journey with lots of emotions along the way. That’s a good avenue to pursue, thank you. I will endeavour to look at her friends and neighbours for some additional clues into her life, thank you for the suggestion

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Excellent, Paul.

    How are you saving this and the others for posterity? Are you making them ebooks, and sending them to your family members? Are you putting them into a “forever” account like on FOREVER.com for your family? Are you printing them to put in libraries or archives or family? Have you written a blog post providing links to all 16 of your biographies? Things you have probably thought about or completed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Randy you raise some really good questions and my previous blog actually questions all of those points. I had no idea until then how easy it is now to self publish a book, so that has become a realistic option now. At the moment I have been printing them and sending them to family members, but I gave a few more options now. I hadn’t thought about putting the links into one blog which is a great idea and prompt, so thanks for that. Have a look at my blog “What will happen when I become a Death certificate” I raise all of those important questions there

      Like

  4. Workhouse records can sometimes pose more questions than provide answers, as fascinating as the information is! I have a family in London where the mother died and the father and children were in and out of the workhouse. My great-great grandmother was not admitted with the family when the children were eventually sent to industrial schools or the Exmouth training ship. What happened to her between 1889 and the 1901 census is still a mystery. I hope we both can find more answers one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The more we discover about our ancestors, the more questions we have and that is definitely true about a lot of the records that we find for them. They leave us tantalising clues and that’s why when we make that magical breakthrough we are always so euphoric!

      Liked by 1 person

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