What I have on this family:
1.1 Thomas O’Donnell and Ellen Curran
Thomas O’Donnell was born c.1847. He was a labourer. He married xxx in c.1871. They had children:
- Thomas, born a.1873. He married Ellen Curran on the 9th February, 1891. His age was given as 18, her age as 19. At the time of marriage, he was a labourer, as was his father.
All the above is derived from the marriage certificate of the son Thomas. The entry indicates that the father was also Thomas O’Donnell, a labourer. The son was specified as living in John St., Carrick on Suir. As he was only 18, he was probably living at his parent’s home. The most likely birth record for this Thomas is that of parents Thomas O’Donnell and Mary McGrath, who lived in John St. The birth however was for 25th November, 1875, which would have meant Thomas was in fact 16 rather than 18 when he married. It is possible he lied about his age as he was too young to marry.
His wife Ellen was born 1872, daughter of Patrick Curran, a labourer. Patrick was originally from Co. Wexford, but I believe Ellen was born in Co. Tipperary. At the time of marriage, Ellen was living in Garryrue, Carrick on Suir. An online source says of Garryrue:
Garryrue was a local name in the town of Carrick on Suir at the turn of the 19th-20th Century. Its Gaelic name was Garrai Rua (Red Gardens) anglicised to Garryrue. The Garryrue extended from the rear of Lough St to the rear of New St, Carrick (the present Pearse Square).
The two witnesses to the marriage were Michael and Elizabeth Byrne. This is relevant as later we will see Thomas son adopted the name Byrne in some contexts.
Thomas son and Ellen had children:
- Mary, born 14th June, 1892. Residence given as John St. In 1911, she was working as a domestic servant.
- James, born 13rd July, 894. Residence given as Garryrue.
- Thomas, born 4th May, 1896. He died, 3 months later, on the 10th August, 1896. Residence given as Long Lane on both documents.
- Eliza, born 24th September, 1897. Residence given as Cook Lane. She married John Beckingham and moved to Kentish Town Road, London.
- Patrick, born 10th August, 1900. Residence given as Long Lane, Carrick on Suir.
- John, born 8th June, 1902.
- Bridget, born 14th September, 1904 (registered as Byrne). Residence given as Town Wall. Married a Mr Hemmi, and moved to Regents Park Road, London.
- William, born 28th October, 1906 (registered as Byrne). Residence given as Racks, Carrick on Suir.
- Ellen (Ellie), born 10th February, 1909 (registered as Byrne). Residence given as Racks, Carrick on Suir.
- Johanna, born 1st June, 1911 (registered as Byrne). Residence given as Garryrue Lane.
- Christina, born 22nd December, 1913. Residence given as Garryrue.
- Michael, born 25th Jan 1916. Not confirmed by any official record.
By the 1901 Census, they were living in 16 Grey Stone Street. Ellen was marked as married, but Thomas was not at home. She was marked as head of family, and her father, Patrick Curran, was also in the house:
1901 Census: Residents of a house 16 in Grey Stone Street (Carrick-On-Suir, Tipperary)
- O'Donnell, Ellen, 27, Head of Family, married, cannot read.
- O'Donnell, Mary, 9, Daughter
- O'Donnell, James, 7, Son
- O'Donnell, Eliza, 3, Daughter
- O'Donnell, Patrick, 0, Son
- Curran, Patrick, 60, Father
By the 1911 Census, the family had moved to Red Garden, which was perhaps her parent’s house (she was in Red Garden before she married). Thomas was back in the house. Additionally, they had four more children: John, Bridget, William and Ellie.
1911 Census: Residents of a house 3 in Red Garden (Carrick-on-Suir (Urban), Tipperary)
- ODonnell, Thomas, 37, Head of Family, General Labourer
- ODonnell, Ellen, 35, Wife
- ODonnell, Mary, 19, Daughter
- ODonnell, James, 17, Son
- ODonnell, Eliza, 13, Daughter
- ODonnell, Patrick, 10, Son
- ODonnell, John, 9, Son
- ODonnell, Bridget, 7, Daughter
- ODonnell, William, 5, Son
- ODonnell, Ellie, 2, Daughter
I cannot find birth records for the children born after 1900. However, very strangely, there are records for Bridget, William, and Ellen BYRNE born to a THOMAS Byrne and ELLEN Byrne nee CURRAN. These births are in the years predicted by the 1911 census.
I also note that both witnesses at the wedding of Thomas O’Donnell and Ellen Curran were Byrnes, suggesting that Thomas O’Donnell IS Thomas Byrne, using an alias (or his mother’s name?) for some reason for these years, but reverting to O’Donnell for the 1911 Census.
Another possibility, noting Thomas O’Donnell was missing from the household for the 1901 Census, perhaps Ellen re-married (or co-habited) with Thomas Byrne, and had several children with him. I note a record for the death of Thomas Byrne in 1909 in Ahenny, which might be him, explaining why Thomas O’Donnell is back with the family in 1911. I think the first is more likely.
There are two further birth records for Thomas Byrne and Ellen Curran after the 1911 Census: Johanna (1911) and Christina (1913).
There is an extensive discussion on ROOTSCHAT by the grandson of the John O’Donnell who was born 1902. One poster to the thread noted as I did above:
But when I search for O'Donnell birth registrations for the younger children shown in that 1911 census return, I can't find them. The only births I can find in the relevant area and time period, with a mother called Ellen Curran, are registered as Byrne.
A couple with the same names (Thomas Byrne and Ellen Curran) also had these two children: Johanna b. 1911, Christina b. 1913.
He further notes:
In the above 1913 registration for Christina Byrne, the surname was subsequently corrected in 1941 to O'Donnell by statutory declaration by Bridget ? and Eileen Haywood 'two credible persons having knowledge of the fact of the case'.
He later note that these notes were “written on the right of Christina's birth cert.”.
Another poster (“Gaffy”) provides further information:
I've found a transcript of what I suspect is a baptism for John, he was baptised in the RC parish of Trinity Without (15 miles SE of Carrick on Suir in Waterford City) on 8 June 1902, parents listed as Thomas O'Donnell and Ellen Curran of Philip Street, the sponsors were John Forristal and Margaret Kerins. I still can't see a civil birth registration, so I'm wondering if Thomas and Ellen were just visiting someone in the city or otherwise there temporarily and the civil birth registration for John got forgotten about in returning home to Carrick on Suir?
I can also see transcripts of baptisms for Patrick (1900) and Bridget (1904), the one for Bridget is important, for it sits well with the civil birth registration for Bridget Byrne (that I posted above at Reply #1) in all but surname. In the transcript, she was recorded as Brigid O'Donnell, baptised in Carrick on Suir RC parish on 18 September 1904, the address given as Town Wall, parents Thomas O'Donnell and Ellen Curran, sponsors James and Eliza Cunningham. So baptised O'Donnell and registered as Byrne.
My belief is that Thomas O’Donnell husband of Ellen Curran ran afoul of the law at some point and had to go into hiding. This included being absent for the 1901 Census. However, they did need to register the births of the children, so opted for an alias for this. The pressure seemed to be off by 1911, when they appeared in the census as O’Donnells. But note, the remaining two children were registered as O’Donnells. It is possible their neighbours by this time knew them as Byrne, so they continued the deception.
A record from the Workhouse (see below) suggests that Thomas and Ellen had a further son, Michael, born 25th January, 1916. However, this birth was not registered.
Ellen died sometime after this and Thomas and two of his children (Johanna born 1911 and Michael born 1916) ended up in the workhouse (which can happen when unable to work). According to the record found by John’s grandson, Thomas entered the workhouse with his two children Johanna and Michael. The record showed him as a widower. The record provided the next of kin as “John, Eliza (Beckingham) Kentish Town Road” and “Bridget Hemmi, Regents Park Road”. These being his daughers.
The grandson continues:
According to the records, Johanna after many admissions and discharges later, she was finally discharged to Shaftesbury Home, Shaftesbury Avenue on 18th feb 1927.
Father, Thomas was discharged finally on 26th Feb 1927 to somewhere I cannot transcribe but Michael's last discharge on the record is claimed as 29th Dec 1926 but says continued after P.A next to it so I am unsure if this was his final discharge and I have looked for further admission records but haven't found this continuation.
Further on Thomas O’Donnell, the grandson of John O’Donnell notes:
he suffered a shot to the head which ended with a metal plate placed in his head. He moved to London to live with daughter Bridget when his wife died but suffered mental health problems and was committed to Digby hospital in Exeter when he then died later.
We know that Thomas followed Eliza and daughters to Exeter where they were evacuated in WW2 where he was later admitted to Digby Hospital Asylum and died.
Regarding John O’Donnell born 1902: The grandson of John O’Donnell notes on his grandfather:
My Grandfather went on to join the Royal Munster Fusiliers 2nd Battalion in 1919 til 1922 in WW1 and served in Egypt during this time.
He somehow ended up in Watford, Hertfordshire, England where he met my Grandmother and my father was then born in 1949 he was around until my father was approx. age 2 and I know nothing of him after that.
Further to the life of John O’Donnell born 1902, the poster (“Girl Guide”) found John’s enlistment record in “British Army, Irish Regimental Enlistment Registers 1877-1924”:
First name(s) John
Last name O'Donnell
Birth year 1902
Birth place Carrick-On-Suir, Tipperary
Birth county Tipperary
Occupation on enlistment Farm Labourer
Regiment Royal Munster Fusiliers
Service number 7211746
Attestation date 28 Jun 1919
Age on attestation 17 29/
Attestation place Cork
Address of next of kin Long Lane, Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary
This suggests that the family moved once again, to Long Lane.
Other discussions show that John was “a Private in the Royal Munster Fusiliers and his last deployment in 1922 was in Egypt until the RMF disbanded in the July of that year.” He was discharged in Warwickshire.
Another record shows he spent a day in Camden St Pancras Workhouse, in on 1st Jan 1923 before being discharged to St Pancras Hospital on the same day. On this record it is written that sister Eliza (Beckingham) was his closest next of kin.”
During 1924-25, he was living with his brother Patrick at Rowton House, Arlington Road in South West St Pancras.
At some point after, John moved to Watford, Hertfordshire, where he fathered the father of the grandson, on the 16th June, 1949.
He hooked up with Amelia Masters, but did not marry. She had 5 children from a previous marriage. She had one more with John (the father of the poster), but disappeared when the child was 2 years old. Apparently, he supported his partner and child through black market dealings:
John O'Donnell and Amelia Masters never married; as my Grandmother had 5 other children from a previous marriage, John was not in a position to support this size of family, so after initially bring money and items from the black market to help with the maintenance of his child, he left.
Later in life, John was again living with his brother Patrick, this time at 77 Icknield Way, Luton. Hedied on the 31st May, 1980 in Luton.
In regards to Patrick son of Thomas and Ellen, he moved to London. In the 1920s, he was living at Rowton House, Arlington Road in South West St Pancras. At some point he met Olive Maud Stilwell. She was born 17th December, 1903, and had a previous marriage to a Mr Dodkin. Apparently, they lived together for at least a decade at 6, King Edward Road, Oxhey Village, Watford, Hertfordshire. They finally married on the 27th September, 1949. In the 1970s, they were living at 77 Icknield Way, Luton. She died in April, 1978. Patrick died 1990.
Gaffy said in a different post:
The 1939 England & Wales Register shows a date of birth of 15 September 1904 for Bridget Hemmi, just one day out from the date of 14 September 1904 that Bridget Byrne was registered as born to Thomas Byrne and Ellen Curran and whom I believe was the same child baptised as Brigid O'Donnell on 18 September 1904 for parents Thomas O'Donnell and Ellen Curran. That date of birth is quite some coincidence if it isn't her.
Regarding daughter Eliza, we know she married a John Cunningham and lived in London in the 1920s at 50 Kentish Town Road. During the Second World War, she and her daughters were evacuated to Exeter. The father Thomas was with her, and he was later admitted to Digby Hospital Asylum, where he died.
Regarding daughter Bridget, she moved to London and married a Mr. Hemmi.
Another story regards the brothers of John (which would be James, Patrick or William):
I have been told a story by a relative of the Curran/Cunningham/Connelly side of my family that my one of my Grandfathers siblings was shot dead on his door step by the Black and Tan, so very interested in knowing more about that too.
 From son’s civil marriage entry.
 From his marriage registry age.
 From the marriage registry.
 From the 1901 Census.
 Children from the 1901 census unless more detail given.