Alan Conroy wrote to me, saying, “Hi there, My grandmother Mary Ann Quinn was born in Blantyre on 10th December 1910. Amazingly, we didn’t find this out until 2010 when she was 100 years old. Her parents had moved over to Blantyre form Ireland so her father could work in the mines. I did some research and discovered she was baptised in St. Joseph’s on Christmas Eve 1910. Her godmother was given as Mrs. Berry who we believe was her aunt (nee Quinn) This would lead me to believe that she may have had first cousins there in Blantyre. Although they will have most likely passed away, where would I begin to find out more information? My grandmother passed away in 2012 and I visited the following year. I was at the David Livingstone Centre where I believe Waterloo Road may have been and got to visit St. Joseph’s Church. When I asked her why she hadn’t told anybody she was born in Scotland she said that nobody had ever asked her where she was born. The Mrs. Berry reference is very vague and I’m afraid I can’t see much coming from it.”
I started to dig around in the hope of finding out more for Alan, but couldn’t do this without first mapping the family tree. I did discover that the Blantyre connection was very brief and flitting, for the whole family returned to Ireland when Mary Ann was only 1 year old, with the 1911 census showing them in Ireland the following year. Also , Mary Ann was the eldest child of 7, all the other children being born in Ireland.
Next, i wanted to check Mary Ann’s aunts, to see if any of the Quinn females married to a Berry family. She certainly had many aunts and uncles for her father Henry Quinn was one of 15 children, many of whom were female. Certainly none of them were married as Mrs Berry by the time Mary Ann was born, so I’m not sure the godmother was an aunt after all. Mrs Berry may simply have been a friendly , familiar face in Blantyre in 1910, when a young couple were expecting their first child in a foreign land. I think Mary Anns parents (Henry and Elizabeth Walpole) came to Blantyre in 1910 (for they were married in Ireland in January 1910. It would appear their first child happened right after that marriage and the pull of going back home to Ireland and extended family proving too strong)
Before I leave this story, I will note a strong connection and pull to America for many of the Quinns. There are numerous trans Atlantic crossings, especially in the 1920s, which I couldn’t get more details of, without paying ancestry databases. Many of the Quinn family ended up split between Ireland and America.
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Robert J Paton Scotlands People has a John Berry marrying Elizabeth Quin in Blantyre in 1890