|Mary (UNK) Shehan in medical ward of Northumberland Street Workhouse, March, 1871|
What little I know of these ancestors is based on the U.K. Census.
Mary and her husband were always listed as born in Ireland. Where, exactly? I don't know.
So I retraced my research and began reviewing what I've found to date, hoping to find their county of origin in Ireland. Alas, the trail led me to yet another sad tale in my hubby's family.
Finding the Shehan Family in the UK Census
Here is what I've learned about Mary UNK Shehan, based on the UK Census:
- 1841: Living in Gray's Buildings (a terribly poor London neighborhood). Husband John Shehan, age 40, is a laborer. Mary, 35, is a milkwoman. Children: Thomas (7), Mary (3), and Michael (8 months). Lots of laborers (men), charwomen, washerwomen, milkwomen, laundrywomen in Gray's Buildings. Many born in Ireland, as well.
- 1851: Living in #4 Gray's Buildings. Husband John Shehan, 50, is a laborer, born in Ireland. Mary, age 51, a laundress, born in Ireland. Their son, Thomas, 17, is a porter, born in Marylebone (London). Their son, Michael, 11, is a scholar, born in Marylebone. A niece, Bridget Warringer, 6, born in Ireland, is also in the household. What has happened to daughter Mary?
- 1861: Living in #20 Gray's Buildings. Husband John Shehan, 60, is a laborer, born in Ireland. Mary, age 57, no occupation, also born in Ireland. Son Michael, age 21, unmarried, is a laborer, born in Middlesex county, London. No children Thomas or Mary. I know the younger Mary married in 1859, and is with her own husband (Slatter) and family in 1861. Presumably Thomas moved out and possibly married, I'm still searching for him.
- 1871: Living in Gray's Buildings. Husband John Sheehan, age 70, is a laborer. Mary, wife, 70, occupation is laundry. Both born in Ireland. ALSO Mary Sheen is enumerated as being in the medical wing of the Northumberland Street Workhouse, age 70, married, a laundress, born in Ireland. As shown at top of this post, I found her in the admission register for this workhouse, suffering from "chronic rheumatism."
I looked for John and Mary Shehan in the 1881 Census in Gray's Buildings. No luck (even with creative spelling). I even asked my UK geneabuddies in the #AncestryHour Twitter group how to search the Census by specific residence, and followed their instructions. Still no sign of John and Mary.
At this point, I tend to believe John Shehan died after the 1871 UK Census but before the 1881 Census. I've tentatively narrowed his death date to 1875, and will try to verify via official records.
What of Mary UNK Shehan? Living in poverty in Gray's Buildings for at least 30 years, with occupations such as millkwoman and laundry, she was undoubtedly in dire straights, possibly homeless.
I checked the Census, and she was not living with her daughter Mary Shehan Slatter in 1881. If she was living with son Thomas or son Michael in the 1881 Census, I couldn't find her.
I again looked at my research. The last time I had found Mary Shehan was in the 1871 Census, where she was enumerated twice: at home in Gray's Buildings and in the medical wing of the Northumberland Street Workhouse.
That was my clue. If she wasn't in Gray's Buildings, I had a hunch where she was in 1881.
Part 2 will continue the saga of Mary Unknown Shehan. Get your hanky ready!