Showing posts with label Gabbaday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gabbaday. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

John Sweeney and Anne Elizabeth Gabbaday

St Leonard, Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch - East end
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon - geograph.org.uk/p/2624832

John Sweeney married Anne Elizabeth Gabbaday, daughter of John Benbow Gabbedy and Isabella Cleghorn, on 11 Jun 1832, in Shoreditch at the church of St Leonard (often known simply as Shoreditch Church - this is the church mentioned in the line "When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch" from the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons). Witnesses to the marriage were Anne's brother, Henry Gabbedy (sic), an Ann Goose and a Geo. Garrow.

Census returns consistently list John as having been born in 1809, in St George's, Middlesex (St George in the East), but I've not been able to find a baptism for him. (Some people accept a baptism of a John Sweeney in 1809, in Westminster, but I can see no reason whatsoever for believing that is the right one (wrong place entirely), just because it's the only one online.) Likewise, there are no records to definitely connect him to Ireland, that I can identify. Besides, knowing the way families named children in those days and, given that Anne's mother was Isabella, I'd put money on John's mother being an Eliza.

John and Ann had four children: 
  1. Maria Eliza Isabella Sweney, bap. 11 Jan 1835 at St Dunstan's, Stepney
  2. John Henry Charles Sweeney, born 11 May 1839, at 1 George Place, White Horse Street, Stepney
  3. Mary Ann Sweeney, b. 10 Dec 1848, bap. 19 Jan 1860 at St John the Evangelist, Limehouse
  4. Matilda Sweeney b. 8 Sep 1851, bap. 19 Jan 1860 at St John the Evangelist, Limehouse (Died, aged 16, in 1866)
On John Henry Charles' birth certificate, his father's occupation was given as Ship's Joiner. My guess is that he is the only child to get a Civil Registration as he was the first one born since it had been brought in just two years earlier and, since he'd had a civil registration, was never baptised. This isn't unique: people seem to treat baptism as an administrative, as much as a religious need.

In 1841 John and Ann Sweeney were living in Pleasant Row, Brewers Place, Stepney. John's occupation was listed as Carpenter and John (32) was living with wife, Ann (29), daughter Maria (7) and son John (2). 

By 1851, they'd moved to Ocean Street, Mile End Old Town, with John Sweeny (42), Carpenter, Ann (39), Maria (17), John (9), Mary Ann (5) and Matilda (0).

Then Ann Sweeny died, in Whitechapel, in 1855, she will have been just 44.

In 1861 at 107, North Street, Limehouse. John Sweney (52), Carpenter and Joiner, still considered himself married (rather than widowed). Living with him were his two youngest daughters, Mary Ann (13) and Matilda (10).

John had both girls baptised in 1860, five years after their mother's death. 

But Matilda Sweeney died, in Whitechapel, aged just 16, in 1866.

In 1871, John (63), still working as a carpenter, had moved in with his son and his family in Stephen Cottages, James Street, St Anne Limehouse, Stepney. 

John Sweeney died, in Stepney, aged 71, in 1878. 

Narrow Street, Limehouse
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Malc McDonald - geograph.org.uk/p/2441214
Narrow Street in Limehouse, East London. Some of the buildings along the
street are former warehouses - the River Thames runs behind them.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Regency Relatives or Early Eastenders

Regent's Canal, Limehouse, 1823

For many years I’ve had a passing interest in researching my family history, but generally hadn’t pursued this further than the last couple of generations of relations who were within someone’s living memory, not least because with a bunch of very commonly named folk, many of whom were manual (particularly farm) labourers, I didn’t think there’d be much recorded about them.

How wrong I was! Of course, it’s so much easier to research now that so many records are available online and, since communicating with other family members (some for the first time) who are researching their parts of the story, I’ve been unearthing all sorts of records I didn’t think I’d ever encounter and the further I go back, the more fascinating and magical it becomes.

One particular interest was my mother’s father, because now two of us, completely separately, believe him to have been Jewish (from his mother’s line), but while the circumstantial evidence is pretty great for having at least some Jewish blood - which probably applies to everyone with East End ancestors to be honest - I’ve yet to prove it conclusively. When the 1911 Census records were first made available online, I’d acquired copies of the records relevant to both my maternal grandparents, who were children at the time, but got no further as further searches had come up fruitless.

Throughout her life, my mother had been most pedantic that her maiden name was spelled Sweeney “with three Es.” Of course it should have occurred to me earlier to ignore that and, lo and behold, I find that most of the records from 1901 backwards are listed with the spelling of Sweney, sometimes Sweeny and even Swaney. (Important lesson: never, ever trust 'family stories'.)

Listing for John and Ann 'Swaney' in Stepney in 1841

Hence, by trying various spellings – double checking other details, such as locations, dates, ages, occupations and other family members listed, via census records, I’ve now got the line as far back as one John Swaney (as he’s listed in the 1841 Census in Stepney), Sweeny in 1851, Sweney in 1861 and 1871, born 1809, who died, in Stepney, as John Sweeney, in 1878.

He had married Anne Elizabeth Gabbaday (b.1811). They never stray outside the East End of London; an area famous for successive influxes of foreign immigrants - then, in particular, Irish weavers and Ashkenazi Jews.

The surname Sweeney is now most commonly found in the Province of Munster and in County Cork in particular where the majority of descendants can be found and, there are those who claim that John Sweeney (or his parents) were born in County Cork, but have yet to see any records that can confirm this.

And the origin of the surname Gabbaday, I'm told, is probably Jewish.

To put these ancestors into their historical context:
See: Timeline of the formal Regency

Please expect changes to these pages from time to time as we find new data or new records become available. You may like to use Follow That Page, a change detection service that sends you an email when web pages have changed.

If you're related to any of the people written about, I'm guessing you'll recognise them from the surnames. If you are, do please get in touch.