Tag Archives: ireland

Patrick Vaughan, you’re a hard man to pin down

5 Mar

My 2x great-aunt’s second husband Patrick Vaughan is proving to be a hard man to pin down. I put this down to two things:

  1. He never stayed in same place for long
  2. His age seems to vary from document to document

Both of these things make me wonder if I have the right man, or even the same man.

I am used to some of my relatives moving about a bit, usually from parish to parish or over the border from one county to another. Patrick on the other hand seems to have hopped from country to country. From his birth in Ireland across to Scotland , then emigrating to Canada. He came back across the Atlantic to England (and possibly mainland Europe) for the First World War, before returning to Canada where he seems to have lived out the rest of his life.

Or at least this is what it looks like. It is hard to be certain because of the variations in his ages across the various documents. The first time I came across Patrick Vaughan was on his 1917 marriage certificate, where his age is recorded as 43, giving a year of birth around 1874. Back in Canada his attestation record from 1916 gives an “apparent age” of 44 years and 2 months, from his date of birth of 17th March 1872.

I think I have found him living in Scotland in 1891 and 1901, his place of birth is correct, but the 1901 census gives his age as 39, which pushes his year of birth back to around 1862. His age in the 1891 census is not clear, it might say 29, but it is not good enough to really be sure.

Going back to Ireland the only likely baptism in the right county and right parish is in 1857. Losing a few years here and there is not a big deal, but it does mean that when he signed up to serve in the First World War in 1916 his year of birth was 15 years out, and he would in fact have been around 59 years old not 44. Interestingly his description does describe his hair as grey.

There are just enough similarities between the Patrick’s on these different records to make me think they are the same man, but not quite enough for me to be 100% certain that they are.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Who Do You Think You Are? – Dervla Kirwan

3 Aug

I am glad I made the effort to watch WDYTYA last night, because last night’s episode saw a return to form for the series after a rather poor start this year.

I have virtually no knowledge of Irish history, and my family history is almost completely devoid of any Irish connection, so I was surprised to find the episode so interesting and after last week I was extremely surprised to find it so enjoyable to watch. I think this is in part due to the fact that whilst the first half of the programme was specifically related to the Irish situation, the second half could really have taken place anywhere around the world where different religions have come into contact with each other.

Dervla Kirwan seemed to be genuinely interested in finding out about the two aspects of her family history that were featured in the programme, and appeared to be actively involved in the research process. There was a real sense of genuine exploration and depth to the research, which I felt has been lacking from earlier episodes. We found out much more than just births, marriages and deaths, although they were a significant feature.

I lost count of the number of different libraries and archives that she visited and the number of experts (on a wide range of subjects) that were on hand to explain the background and help interpret the records, that was really pleasing to see.

I know the first two episodes have come into criticism (not just from me) for not exploring other branches of the family, and whilst this episode could be accused of the same, I felt that there was no need, the central stories were so much stronger that there just wasn’t the need to explore further. I think in the last two episodes I was hoping that there would be something interesting going on away from the main stories which were rather dull (or just badly told?).

Unlike the first two episodes which just left me wishing for the programme to hurry up and finish, this episode left me wishing that they could have carried on further and spent more time, and I was disappointed that the show had to end. Now, unlike last week I can’t wait to see what Monty Don discovers next week.

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