On this day – 16th February

120 years ago, my Great Grandparents Patrick Hoare and Mary Walsh were married.

February a popular month for weddings

Patrick and Mary are among a number of Irish Catholic couples in my tree who married at St James’s parish church, Killorglin, Co Kerry, Ireland in February over the years. Ten years earlier, Patricks older brother Michael married Johanna Corkerry on the 5th of the month, Mary’s younger brother Edward married Deborah Riordan on 6th Feb 1912 and going further back to 1872 my Great Great Grandparents Patrick Walsh and Julia Cahillane were married on the 13th Feb.

An Irish Catholic Tradition

It wasn’t just my family who favoured February weddings, as the graph below shows it was the most popular month to marry in 1901 with 107 noted in the Killarney registration district and the same patterns can be seen in the registers for other years across Ireland.

Why February?

So why would so many want to marry in one of the coldest months of the year? I thought it maybe had something to do with Valentines day but further research has shown that it was more likely due to couples wanting to marry before the start of Lent when traditionally the Catholic church decreed weddings should not take place. A closer look at the dates in the civil registers seems to confirm this theory as only two marriages in 1901 and three in 1912 occurred between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

You maybe wondering why they didn’t wait until after Easter when the weather would have hopefully been warmer but that probably was not an option for my ancestors and many others who lived in small rural townlands and relied on working the land for a living. They would probably have had more time in the Winter to plan a February wedding but from Spring through to Autumn it would have been long days in the fields tending to their crops and livestock with little time for anything else.

Great Grandfather Patrick Hoare


Irish Genealogy

Irish Cultures and Customs

On this day – 8 July

171 years ago, my 2nd Great Grandfather Alfred Legge was born.

I have always assumed that Alfred was the biological father of my Great grandfather Herbert Henry Legge but as he did not marry my 2nd Great Grandmother Charlotte Laming until three years after their son was born, can I be certain?

Alfred and Charlotte

Alfred and Charlotte both grew up in Canterbury, Kent and at the time of the 1871 census, a year before Herbert Henry was born, their families were living a few doors apart on Blackfriars Street, a stones throw away from the magnificent cathedral.

Charlotte, who had just celebrated her 17th birthday was working as a domestic servant and living with her siblings and parents George and Sarah Ann, but twenty one year old Alfred was not with his family and has yet to be found on any census.

A little over a year later Charlotte became a single mother and as we saw in the previous post registered my great grandfathers birth with the name Legge, but did not provide his fathers first name.

Alfred eventually married Charlotte three years later on Christmas day in 1875, but why wait three years if he was Herbert Henry’s father?

Mystery Solved?

Did Charlotte’s father George who died a few months before the wedding refuse her permission to marry so they had to wait until she was 21?

Possibly, but I also discovered from his death certificate that Alfred had spent time serving in the army so perhaps he had been posted without knowing about the pregnancy?

Army Record

Alfred joined the 76th foot regiment shortly after his 21st birthday in 1870 having previously spent time as a volunteer with East Kent Militia. He then served in India until he was discharged on medical grounds early in 1875 so he married Charlotte within a few months of returning to England.

Unanswered Questions

I thought the army Record and a recent DNA match leading back to one of Alfred’s older half brothers confirmed my theory that he was posted without knowing Charlotte was pregnant, but on reviewing all the records for this blog I have spotted a few anomalies I had not considered before.

Why did Charlotte record Alfred’s occupation as “Iron moulder” when he had joined the army in 1870? He was a Whitesmith and plumber/gasfitter in civilian life so could conceivably been working in a foundry prior to joining the army.

When did Alfred leave for India? His record does not say he was based anywhere else during his career.

Where was Alfred when the 1871 census was taken.

What do you think was Alfred the father of my Great grandfather Herbert Henry?

Sources and Citations

On this Day – 30 June

148 years ago, my Great Grandfather Herbert Henry Legge was born

My first certificate and a mystery to solve at the start my research.

After finding out Herbert Henry had been born in Canterbury from the 1901 census, I found his birth under the name Legge without any problems in the old BMD registers so was surprised to find his mother had registered him in her maiden name and not provided a first name for his father.

Herbert Henry Legge Canterbury 2a 706

Had I hit a brick wall before I had barely started?

Fortunately not. The church of the Latter Day Saints had just released an on line 1881 census search (the first to be digitised) where I was able to find Herbert Henry living with his mother Charlotte, sister Susannah born 1876 and father Alfred Legge.

Another search of the BMD registers and I found Charlotte marrying Alfred three years after the birth of their son in 1875.

So where was Alfred when his son was born and why did he wait three years before he married Charlotte?

Well it took me a while to find out anymore so I will save those discoveries for a future post!

Thanks for reading.

On this Day – 11 June

Two Grandfathers – one born the other died.

As my paternal grandfather Horace Herbert Legge was celebrating his fiftieth birthday his future daughter in laws father, my maternal grandfather Thomas McGrath sadly passed away at the young age of forty eight.

1908 – Leatherhead, Surrey

Mr and Mrs Herbert Henry Legge are pleased to announce the birth of a son Horace Herbert, a brother for Elsie, Sidney and Arthur.

1958 – Monmore, Ireland

Thomas McGrath died after a short illness in hospital. He is survived by his wife Sheila and three children.