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Monday, December 21, 2015

Learning more about Catherine Lucy Darcy–part 2

Catherine Lucy Darcy’s death certificate* gave her father’s name as Edward Flower Darcy. With no other information to go on I had entered the name into my database, but it had lead me no-where.

James Bennett and Catherine’s marriage certificate gave me the correct name for her father, also his occupation, and a name for her mother.

Her parents were:
Richard Darcy, chemist and Lucy Flower.
Having the rights names makes all the difference! I started looking into readily accessible sources for Dublin, Catherine’s place of birth. I found:
  • A marriage licence index entry for Richard Darcy and Lucy Flower in 1822 (the marriage licences themselves no longer exist).
  • A few directory entries for Richard Darcy, chemist or druggist, at 103 Thomas Street in the early 1820s.
  • A baptism transcript for Catherine Lucy Darcy, daughter of Richard and Lucy of Thomas street, in 1823.
  • A baptism transcript for Catherine’s sister, Elisabeth, in 1824.
  • Newspaper articles mentioning Richard Darcy’s insolvency, and sale of his premises at 103 Thomas street in 1826.
The easily accessible sources having dried up, I then started wondering about Catherine. The mention of Liverpool on her daughter’s birth certificate had me wondering. Her husband, James Bennett, was the informant. Surely he would know whether his wife was English or Irish? It occurred to me that perhaps she had been born in Dublin, but spent substantial time in Liverpool before eventually emigrating to Australia.

I searched the 1841 UK census and found an entry for Richard Darcy, chemist, living in Liverpool. In the same household was a new name, Bridget Darcy, and Elizabeth Darcy. No Catherine, but the ages for Richard and Elizabeth matched my expectations. Bridget was too old to be Richard’s daughter and too young to be Elizabeth’s mother. Was she a new wife?

It wasn’t too hard to find a marriage record for Richard Darcy and Bridget Connor in 1833. Richard was a widower. Although I haven’t yet found her in any records, it appears that Catherine had probably moved to England before the age to 10.

I couldn’t find Richard in the 1851 census. I did find a Bridget Darcy of the right age listed as a visitor in Liverpool, with a Catherine Connor also visiting the same household.

My current theory is that Richard died some time between 1841 and 1851. I have ordered the most promising death certificate for a Richard Darcy who died during that period and now I’m waiting for the mail, hoping that the informant will be a name I recognise.

* Details of sources mentioned in this post are available on request.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Goodbye, Windows Live Writer - Hello, Open Live Writer

For most of it’s existence I have written this blog using free blogging software from Microsoft called Windows Live Writer. It provides a simple Word-like, interface with just the features needed for blog posts. Publishing finished content to this blog took only the click of a button.

Sadly, I hit a snag after clicking the publish button this morning.

Blogger returned the following error: NotFound: Not Found

After determining that I wasn’t going to solve the problem quickly, I copied and pasted my work into Blogger’s own interface. Yuck. I got my post up, but it was very fiddly. I didn’t want to have to do that for all my future posts.

A google search revealed that the bad news was that Microsoft had stopped supporting the product, and a change at Google meant that uploading to Blogger (a critical part of the publishing process!) was broken, as of only about a week ago.

The very good new is that Google held off on making the change they wanted until there was an open source fork of the original Windows Live Writer, called Open Live Writer, available. Apparently volunteers within Microsoft got the open source code ready, which Microsoft then donated. Well done to all concerned!

I’m using Open Live Writer to write this post. Installation was quick and easy, and it looks almost exactly the same as the interface I’m used to. A few features are greyed out or missing, for now. Because it was so new, my anti-virus threw up some warnings about lack of a user base, so fingers crossed it’s all OK! So far so good, as far as I can see.

If you are reading this on my blog, then publishing has worked and I’m happy once again.

Learning more about Catherine Lucy Darcy – part 1

After a piece of luck finding James Bennett’s death record (a long missing puzzle piece!) I was inspired to look more closely at his wife, Catherine Lucy Darcy.

This is the information I had about Catherine’s origins:
  • According to Catherine’s death certificate, her father was a man by the name of Edward Flower Darcy.
  • Catherine’s date of birth varied between documents from the late 1820s to the early 1830s.
  • Her place of birth was usually given as Dublin, Ireland but appeared on (at least) one of her children’s birth certificates as Liverpool in England.
  • Catherine seemed to have married James Bennett in 1853. Their place of marriage was either Collingwood, Victoria, or Uxbridge in England. However, no marriage certificate for this couple had been found by myself or any of the researchers I have communicated with.
  • A woman born in Ireland named Catherine Lucy Darcy arrived in Australia on board the Kent in April of 1853, with a number of other young female emigrants who were mostly from England. 
Some of the information above is not correct.

I decided to have another try at finding the marriage certificate. The historical indexes on the Victorian Births Deaths and marriages website have recently become free to search. They have an excellent search interface. Lots of fields available, searches on first name variants, no restriction on how they can be combined, and wildcard options. Wonderful.

After trying various searches, this entry had me interested:
Groom: James Bennett Yes!
Bride: Catherine Davey Davey could be a mistranscription of Darcy
– Maybe?
Year: 1884 Expected c1853. Far too late, surely?

The year was far too late and I didn’t want to waste $24 if it wasn’t the right couple. Before jumping in, I tried to eliminate “James Bennett and Catherine Davey” as being the same people as my ancestors. If they had children, or if there was a death index entry for Catherine Bennett (nee Davey) then they were probably different people and I would save my money. I found no evidence that “James Bennett and Catherine Davey” existed.

I bought the certificate. It was the right couple!

So what did I learn? I’ll get to that next…