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52 Ancestors in 2018


This year I am going to take part in a fun genealogy meme called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, promoted by Amy Johnson Crow. The idea is to get everyone getting the stories about our ancestors out there, and involves writing a blog, Facebook post, tweet, email – whatever gets the information out to our relatives.

I’m going to be putting my weekly ancestor on Twitter, as I figured that I should be able to manage 140 characters. Amy has weekly themes which my posts might or might not match. Generally, over the next year I’ll be posting about 16 of my 2x great grandparents, 16 of my husband’s 2x great grandparents, and the same for each of our 8 great granparents. The remaining 4 posts will be made up of our grandparent couples (grandfather and grandmother together).


Mary Finn (abt 1826-1886)


Mary Finn was born about 1826 and married John Barrett in 1850. She died in 1886.

Mary Barrett née Finn death certificate

Mary Barrett née Finn death certificate

I know very little about Mary’s background, but I do know that she had a relative, Matthew Finn, who was a Dean in the Catholic Church in Swinford, Mayo, Ireland. In various newspapers, he has been described as an uncle to some of Mary’s children. Because of the uncle references and the fact that he was a similar age to Mary, I have presumed he is her brother.

Dean Finn was a popular priest, so it isn’t difficult to find information on him. One thing I have discovered about Irish obituaries is they often include a family history, and if someone is related to a Catholic priest or nun, this always gets a mention.

John Finn, parish priest of Killasser was Matthew’s brother. From research I have discovered that John’s mother was Bridget Durkan.

The Finn family was from the Gorteen-Ballymote area of County Sligo (one obituary for Matthew says Gurteen/Gorteen and another says Ballymote).

By researching Mary’s newsworthy brothers, I hope to glean more information on Mary herself.

Funeral of Dean Matthew Finn 1891

Funeral of Dean Matthew Finn 1891 listing those present

Ann Willis (1841-1929)


I’ve written about Ann before.

Ann was born in County Galway, Ireland and baptised at Portumna, Galway in 1841, daughter of Thomas Willis and Margaret Grealy. Until the Catholic registers became available at the National Library of Ireland, I didn’t know Margaret’s maiden name. The images are browse only at the NLI, but the popular genealogy sites have indexes.

The following photo has been handed down to descendants. On the back is written Sheilds Hindmarsh. Hindmarsh is in Adelaide, where Ann lived, and Sheilds was Ann’s married name. It isn’t certain, but we think this is the only known photo of Ann Willis.

Ann Willis

Ann Willis

John Barrett (1821-1884)


John Barrett was the fifth son and sixth child of John Barrett and Mary Hanley. The Barretts were a well-to-do family who leased a large amount of land in the townland of Finnor, Roscommon, Ireland. John was born in 1821 and John and Mary had another six children after him. They lived in “Finnor House.”

Finnor House Roscommon Ireland

Finnor House and Outbuildings Roscommon, Ireland

John Barrett followed his older brother Martin to the Balla area of County Mayo. He married Mary Finn in 1850, and they Had a farm at Lisnolan, Mayo.

John Barrett supported land reform in Ireland, and at one stage during the Land War he was chairman of the Balla branch of the National Land League. His family was evicted from their Lisnolan farm and were living at Prizon townland when John died in 1884.

Lisnolan - Griffiths - Barrett No 5

Lisnolan – Griffiths Valuation – Barrett No 5

There is some information on John Barrett in an article I wrote about one of his sons, Michael F Barrett. Have a look here in the section under Land War. I submitted the article as part of the 101 Mayo People project.

George Gubbins (abt 1853-1933)


I didn’t know about my reputed 2x great grandfather George Gubbins until I received the birth certificate of my great grandfather John Willis, born in 1869. George wasn’t married to John’s mother, Ann Willis.The year of George Gubbins’s birth is a mystery. While details of his parents marriage in Cork, Ireland in 1831 and baptisms of two of his siblings can be found, there is nothing for George. According to the shipping list that recorded his family’s arrival in Adelaide in 1855, he was two years old at the time.

After John’s birth, George shows up in Melbourne, with the new name of Gibbins. He married a girl from South Australia in 1875.

George worked for a farming implement manufacturer, Hugh Lennon, for many years, taking over the management of the firm in about 1884. He started his own company sometime later. It was located in Footscray.

George Gibbins has his name on a number of patent applications. The image below is from one that he submitted in 1896 for “A machine or implement for sowing, pulverizing, harrowing and rolling land in one operation.”

R Sands and G Gibbins patent image

R Sands and G Gibbins patent for an implement for “sowing, pulverizing, harrowing and rolling land” 1896

Elizabeth (abt 1815-abt 1905)


Elizabeth, yep that’s all I know about the woman who married John Urry, probably sometime before 1838, when their first child was born. She was my husband’s 2x great grandmother. If I could find a marriage for John and Elizabeth, I might have a chance of finding Elizabeth’s maiden name. But so far my searches haven’t yielded any results.


I wrote the above paragraph a week ago, and then I remembered a way I could find out Elizabeth’s maiden name. The UK General Register Office birth search results lists the maiden name of the mother. I had the names of children and appropriate ages from the census records. So, it was a quick search to find the records of births for John and Elizabeth. Check out the GRO here – https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/Login.asp  You have to register, but it’s free.

I found entries for 4 out of 6 of their children. Her maiden name was Williamson.

Then I found a baptism for Elizabeth Williamson at Willingham by Stow, parents Thomas Williamson and Elenor. So I’ve been able to go back one more generation.

Oh, and once I had a maiden name, I could confirm that a  transcript I had seen earlier, for a marriage of John Urry and Elizabeth Williamson in Kingston, York in 1840, was likely the one I had been looking for.

St Helens Church Willingham by Stow

St Helen’s Church, Willingham by Stow


Elizabeth Jessie Bainbridge (abt 1847-1938)


There is some mystery surrounding the birth and baptism of Elizabeth Jessie Bainbridge, my 2x great grandmother, daughter of John Bainbridge and Elizabeth Short. She wasn’t baptised until 1852, but she appears in the 1851 census, aged 4, with her mother. When Jessie (the name she was known as) was baptised in 1852, there was another child, Eliza Jane Bainbridge, parents Elizabeth and John, baptised at the same time.

Baptism 1852 Newcastle Northumberland Elizabeth Jessie and Eliza Jane Bainbridge

Baptism 1852 Newcastle Northumberland Elizabeth Jessie and Eliza Jane Bainbridge

From the UK Government Record Office, a birth for Elizabeth Bainbridge was registered in Newcastle Upon Tyne Union in the June quarter, 1847 and a birth for Elizabeth Jane Bainbridge was registered in Tynemouth Union in the September quarter 1848. The mother’s maiden name for both registrations was Short. Now, brothers John and Ralph Bainbridge married sisters Elizabeth and Mary Short. So that could be the explanation there. Could Elizabeth Jane belong to Ralph and Mary and the baptism registration in error? Perhaps it should have Ralph and Mary as Eliza Jane’s parents.

Elizabeth Bainbridge births 1847-48 GRO

Elizabeth Bainbridge births 1847-48 UK Government Record Office

No more records have been found for Eliza/Elizabeth Jane Bainbridge to solve the mystery.

John Urry (1813-abt 1891)


John Urry was born in Clifton, Lincolnshire, about 1813. I don’t know who his parents were.

In the available English census documents he is recorded as living in the Stow Park area of Lincolnshire and then later in Saxilby. His occupation was variously listed as Agricultural Labourer, Farm Foreman, Groundkeeper and Farmer of 13 acres.

Stow Lincolnshire

Stow, Lincolnshire

In the 1871 and 1881 censuses he has a grandson, John Urry, born about 1864, living with him. I haven’t been able to track this John down to find out who his parents were.

John Urry (b 1813) died about 1891.