Resolving Feeney-McCluskey Mystery

This particular request was a difficult one to resolve. A while back, I received a request saying, “Please can you help me. I’m looking for the birth of Philip Patrick Finney or Feeney who was born on 24th June 1912 in Blantyre. I cannot find the birth record anywhere. His father was killed in the First World War and his mother, Mary remarried an unknown male by name of McClusky.

Philip took the McClusky name but later ran away to England and never returned. I know there’s very little to go on but wondered if you could maybe help? I think his father could have been Patrick Feeney born 1889 in Milngavie.”

I was able to reply with: “Hi. This proved most difficult to track down or resolve. I always double check information provided, so it was incredibly frustrating to find absolutely no births in 1912 or in the surrounding year for Phillip in Blantyre. I tried many variations of the Finney name too.

However, broadening the search to McCluskey, I’ve found the record! We need to leave aside the Finney name for now and indeed the name Mary as his mother! Philip McCluskey was born on 24th June 1912 to parents James McCluskey, a barman and Bridget Feeney. His parents had married on 1st December 1909 in Blantyre. Philip was born in the Village at Gate Cottage, the unusual (and quite beautiful) round house which guarded the village gate entrance. (pictured)

This is the correct Philip, but there is confusion in the original enquiry around his father or mother, which hopefully below will clarify.

James McCluskey, the father is not on the WW1 war memorial, setting some alarm bells ringing about the reliability of this information. Looking at James for a moment, when he married in 1909 at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic church, Blantyre he worked as a Barman and had been living at 24 High Patrick Str., Hamilton. Father Philip McCluskey is a Coal Miner. Bridget Feeney, age 18, is a Domestic servant, of 3 Ulva Place, Blantyre, very close to where the marries couple would settle down, i.e they moved beside the bride’s family in Blantyre.

Young Philip McCluskey was therefore named after his grandfather.

His father, James McCluskey did NOT die in WW1. In 1920, he was known to run fruit and vegetable store in Hamilton before his wife died. James actually died at 1 hour 20 min AM at Country Hospital, Stonehouse, age 70 on 29th November 1950.

Philip’s mother, Bridget died earlier in 1936 at Royal Cancer Hospital, Glasgow. She had been living at 323 Glasgow Road, Burnbank, Hamilton, Scotland.

Philip died in  2000 in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England

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