More on Brother 2

I had my suspicions that Brother 2 (see Brother 2 and Still hunting Brother 2) may have been called Michael. Unfortunately, the Michael Stanley who died in Dewsbury in 1859 was aged one. His father was Thomas. At the time, I suggested that looking for an unknown name, in an unknown place, without even a date of birth was beyond my powers of deduction. I have decided to revisit this particular challenge.

What do I know? The hard facts are, as previously stated, almost non-existent.

  • Thomas was born in 1829. This information comes from his 1854 marriage certificate.
  • His brother John (my great grandfather) was born in either 1823 (calculated from the death certificate) or 1825 (calculated from his age at the time of his second marriage in 1865).

Time for some (hopefully) educated guesswork.

  • John was probably the first-born son. This would be in keeping with the pattern seen subsequently.
  • There will be other children born between 1825 and 1829. It is quite possible that there were two children born in the intervening period.
  • Thomas and Brother 2 probably left Roscommon as a result of the Great Famine. If they left in 1848, Thomas would have been 15.
  • I can find no clear trace of Thomas on the 1851 census for England. Perhaps they left Ireland later than this.
  • There are no guarantees that Thomas was the youngest. It seems unlikely that Brother 2 could have been born later than 1840. He would have been very young to have been trailing around with Thomas if this was the case.
  • There is a marked tendency for Irish immigrants to cluster together. Where you find one, you will often find many. This is true for most immigrants but seems particularly the case for those leaving Ireland.
  • Christian names are recycled endlessly. Within different branches of the Stanley family there are many children baptised as John, Patrick, Catherine and Bridget.
  • New Christian names rarely appear. This tends only to happen when there are many children and the ‘standard’ names have all been used.
  • From a geographical perspective, those travelling from Roscommon to England and ultimately ending up in Dewsbury, Yorkshire (where there is a sizeable cluster) are likely to have come through Liverpool. Lancashire seems a good place in which to look.
Roscommon castle (author’s photo)

Based on the analysis outlined above, I looked at the 1861 British census for men born in Ireland between 1825 and 1840. I then excluded those called John (quite a few) and Thomas. This left me with 28 entries. In terms of further research, I sorted the names into two groups: those with names that appear elsewhere in my research, and the rest. Hence Richard (with 3 entries), Peter (with 2) Daniel, Luke, Henry, Francis, George, Nicholas and Christopher are all relegated to the second group.

The group of favourites has Michael (5 times), James (also 5) and Patrick (3). That is a manageable number for further digging.