Ellen Kenny connections

Ellen married John Stanley in 1884. (Three of their children were born in New St. Dewsbury) I looked forward to 1891 to see what happened to other members of her family. Her brother James E Kenny (aged 16 by this time) is lodging with Edward and Bridget Shiel who are Irish. This couple can be found in 1861. At that time, Edward is a Mason’s Labourer. Lodging with them are Michael Kenney and (presumably his) two young children. Michael was born in Ireland in 1838. The children, the oldest of which is only 21 months old, were born in Dewsbury. There is no sign of the mother. They must have come to Yorkshire in 1859 at the latest.

As often happens, people seem to disappear from the intervening census returns.

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The challenge is then to find some variation of spelling that might have been used. In 1871 Edward and Bridget are recorded under the surname Shale. This time, his place of birth is shown as Roscommon, and hers as Mayo. (County Mayo is immediately to the west of County Roscommon.) There are three lodgers staying with them, all from Mayo. I have found a record of the baptism of an Edward Shiel in Kilteevan. This is about four miles due east of Roscommon Town.

Clusters in one town of people from the same general point of origin are common. It still happens today. Many cities have distinct areas inhabited by ethnic Chinese, Italian, Greek etc. The Irish weren’t always particularly welcome. The sentiment was expressed by Ebenezer Elliot, known as the Corn Law Rhymer who wrote in the 1830s and 40s:

When work grew scarce, and bread was dear,

And wages lessened too,

The Irish hordes were bidders here,

Our half paid work to do.

As someone might put it today, “They are taking our jobs.”

It is quite understandable that they would choose to live close to each other. New arrivals would find lodgings with the longer established families. Is this an Irish cluster or a Roscommon cluster?

There are four people with the Kenny name connected in some form.

  1. John (born 1831 in Ireland) living at New St in 1881
  2. Michael (born 1838 in Ireland) lodging with a Roscommon man in 1861
  3. William (born 1840 in Ireland) whose daughter Ellen married John Stanley and three of whose children were born in New St between 1889 and 1895
  4. Francis (born 1847 in Roscommon) living in the adjoining property to John and Ellen Stanley in 1901.

There is a link between Stanley and Kenny back in Roscommon. That is a story for another post.