Thomas seemed to disappear after his birth. He is not recorded on the 1901 Irish census. There is no good match for him in England either. This made me suspect that he had emigrated. I spent a lot of time scanning passenger lists. Hours were spent on the census returns in the USA.
In June 1890, a 17 year-old labourer called Thomas Stanley sailed from Queenstown (now known as Cobh) on the Catalonia heading for Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1900, a 28 year-old Thomas is living in Groveland Town, Essex, Massachusetts.
In 1902, Thomas married Margaret Regan in the adjacent community of Georgetown. The marriage record shows that Thomas was the son of Michael Stanley. A promising trail comes to an end! Well, not necessarily a complete end. Michael could be related to John (b 1825). Finding evidence is not going to be easy. The 1920 US census shows that they had seven living children:
- Annie, b 1904
- William J, b 1906
- Robert E, b 1910
- Agnes P, b 1912
- Esther L, b 1913
- Illene R, b 1915
- Leo F, b 1917
If a descendant of any of these children is researching their history, then we could compare notes.
Having spent many hours on an unfruitful search I then came across the following record. I am sure that it wasn’t available when I started looking!
I read this as follows:
Date of death: 23rd March 1908
Place: Cloonebane, Fuerty
Name: Thomas Stanly (the alternative spelling), a Batchelor, age 34
Cause of death: Chronic bronchitis and asthma (duration unknown) and exhaustion (2 months)
Witness: Bridget Stanley (making her mark as being illiterate), mother of deceased
Registered: 30th May (some nine weeks after the event)
Thomas died as a result of being worn out by two conditions that are quite treatable today. If his breathing was that bad, it is difficult to see how he could have worked as a labourer. He would not have had a lot of choice. His older siblings John (b 1866) and Mary (b 1868) were both in Dewsbury by the time their father died in 1898.
I checked on the cause of death of Michael (b 1870, d 1879) to see if asthma was the cause. The record is difficult to decipher. I think that it says that the cause of death was Whooping Cough.
This is a highly contagious disease. Thomas would have been six when his brother died. The NHS website ( https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/whooping-cough/ ) says that one of the side effects is breathing difficulties. Perhaps Thomas was affected at the time his brother died.