A Falling Out?

I’ve recently renewed my subscription to the British Newspaper Archive and today I discovered this article from the Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News dated Friday 20 February 1891.

Patrick Cosgrove was my great grandfather. His daughter, Catherine, was my maternal granny. He and Edward Cooper were both born in Ireland but were raised in Newmains, Lanarkshire. Both men left Newmains in the 1880s to work in the jute industry in Dundee. They both got married in Dundee within a year of each other. Patrick married my great granny, Sarah Helferty and Edward married Agnes Sweeney. By 1891 both men were back in Newmains. I’d sort of assumed they might be friends. So what caused Edward to beat up his neighbour? And smash those windows? He was certainly upset about something.

I don’t know if Patrick held a grudge but Sarah certainly didn’t. She married Edward Cooper ten years later!


Newmains – Ancestry of a Village

On a recent visit to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland I spotted this poster in the Maritime Heritage Centre.

It’s an ambitious project that aims to trace the ancestry of every person who has lived in the village. The Maritime Centre is a great wee museum tells the story of the village and how the people made their living from the sea. There are some great photos of the area as it was and of the people who lived there.

Newmains, the village which features most heavily in my family tree, can’t boast of a coastal location but it does have an interesting history. It became home to many immigrants seeking a better life during and after the Great Famine in Ireland. Many of the descendants of these immigrants are still in the village and local area today and many will be unaware of their Irish roots.

The Irish in my family comes mainly from my mother’s side. Go back a couple of generations and her family were all in Ireland. They came from various counties and I now have a big list of towns and villages in Ireland I would very much like to visit.

The men from these immigrant families found work mainly at the Coltness Ironworks. Their homes were mainly provided by their employers and, even by the standards of the day, they were poor.

The parish of St Brigid in Newmains was founded in 1896 and the records from the early years list the baptisms, marriages and deaths of so many family members. If you click on the link to the parish website you can find the details of these records. You can also find more about the history of the parish.

My grandfather was Hugh Brawley. He was born in Newmains in 1899. He was one of 12 children. His father, Daniel was one of 10 as was his mother, Ellen Keenan.

My granny, Catherine Cosgrove was the only child of Patrick Cosgrove but she grew up with step and half siblings.

Through these families I am linked to so many others in Newmains by blood and by marriage. Here are a few that locals might recognise.

  • Mullervy
  • Cooper
  • Keegan
  • Reynolds
  • Mulvey
  • McAdam
  • Darragh
  • O’Donnell
  • Coyle
  • Bradley
  • Monaghan
  • Brown
  • Higgins
  • Collins
  • Hunstone
  • Hagan
  • Hendry
  • Devlin

A Newmains genealogy project would be a massive undertaking but I would like to know if anyone has any photos or stories of their Newmains Irish immigrant families that they would like to share.

Patrick Mullervy Born 1906

Above is the death record for Patrick Mullervy. His great grandfather was my great great great grandfather, Owen Mullervy. This record makes me really sad. Look at the age at death. He was just two minutes old. And there’s yet another family connection to Furnace Row in Newmains.

The name Mullervy was one I had never even heard of prior to starting my family tree. The Mullervys are my maternal granny’s family. My granny, Catherine Cosgrove lost her father when she was just an infant and her mother remarried soon after so maybe that is why the name had never been mentioned. Although in saying that, most of the names in my family tree were new to me.

I have previously written about my great great granny, Catherine Mullervy and how she and my great great grandfather, Peter Cosgrove came to Scotland from the village of Drumlish in County Longford. Looking at records for Drumlish I can see that there were a lot of Mullervys there so my challenge now is to work out where they fit in to my family tree. Owen Mullervy who is named in baby Patrick’s birth certificate was my great great granny’s nephew but I can’t find any record of his father coming to Scotland. This branch of the family is very much a work in progress

Married On This Day – Hugh Brawley & Catherine Cosgrove

My maternal grandparents were married in St Brigid’s Church, Newmains on 6 August 1920. Hugh was 21 years old and a labourer at the local iron foundry. Catherine was 20 and a pottery worker. I don’t have a photo of their wedding day. I’m not sure that one exists. The best man was Hugh’s brother, Peter and Catherine’s bridesmaid was her cousin, Sarah Duffy.

Sadly my grandparents died a long time ago. I never met my grandfather and was very young when my grandmother died. I would love to know what she wore and what kind of celebration they had. I know it would not have been a lavish affair but I’d like to think it was special for them.

An Epidemic- Patrick COSGROVE 1866-1901

This is the story of my great grandfather, Patrick Cosgrove.  He is my maternal grandmother’s father. He was born in, Killoe County Longford in Ireland in January 1863 to Peter Cosgrove  (1832-1893) and Catherine Mullervy (1939-1910). Patrick was one of at least ten siblings.

  • Anne Born 1867
  • James Born 1869
  • Francis Born 1871
  • Peter Born 1874
  • Catherine Born 1875
  • Michael Born 1876
  • John Born 1878
  • Elizabeth Born 1880
  • Joseph Born 1883

I know that Francis was born in Longford and that Catherine was born in Lanarkshire but I don’t know for sure about Peter so at some point between 1871 and 1875 the family left Ireland and settled in Scotland.  Their family home was at 18 Furnace Row, Newmains, Lanarkshire which is where the five younger children were born.  The town that they left was Ballincurry in the parish of Killoe.

Having left Ireland for a better life, the family faced some horrendous times.  I can find no record of Francis in Scotland so I can only assume that he died very young.  Perhaps it was the circumstances of his death that caused the family to leave Ireland.  This was not, however, the end of the heartache.

Baby Peter died on 20 March 1875.  The cause of death was recorded as measles. Catherine was only a month old at the time.  She died on 21 January 1876 followed closely by Anne on 1 February and James on 5 February.  Three children dead within just over two weeks.  The cause of death is recorded as whooping cough. Catherine would have been pregnant at the time.  Son Michael was born in September 1876 but died less than four years later on 3 June 1880.  The cause of death was scarlet fever.  Joseph died on 2 April 1884 at 13 months old.  The cause of death was gastritis.

So it was amidst all this tragedy and death that Patrick was raised.  The family remained in Furnace Row and in the 1881 census Patrick was working as a coalminer while his father was a labourer.

By 1884 Patrick had left home and was living in Lochee, Angus.  It was there while he was working as a labourer and living at 44 Whorterbank, Lochee that he married my great grandmother, Sarah Helferty on 3 December 1888.  Sarah was born in Glasgow to Irish parents, Arthur Helferty and Mary Wilkinson. She had moved to Lochee to work in the jute mills

I recently visited the Verdant Works Museum in Dundee which is housed in a former jute mill. It gives a real insight into the lives that my great grandparents would have lived, albeit for quite a short time. There was a large community of Irish immigrants in Lochee as they were prepared to work in poor conditions for low pay. Jute was still a thriving industry and there were plenty of jobs to be had. The Irish had a reputation for rowdy, drunken behaviour and the women were very much in charge due to them being, by far, the majority of the workforce. In many households the woman was the breadwinner while the husband stayed at home to look after the children. This was not the case for Sarah and Patrick as at that time they were childless.

By 1891 the couple were back living in Newmains at 27 Furnace Row.  On the census Patrick is again recorded as a labourer.

On 16 July 1900 the couple’s only child was born in Glasgow – a daughter, Catherine.  Sadly, less than 7 months later, on 10 February 1901, Patrick died in Belvidere Hospital, Glasgow during the smallpox epidemic.  His death record shows that he had not been vaccinated against the disease.

At that time vaccination was compulsory only for infants but even that was not strictly enforced. There was some opposition to vaccination but I imagine that my great grandfather didn’t give it much thought. There were some 2500 cases of smallpox in Glasgow between January 1901 and May 1902.

The original admittance register for Belvidere Hospital is available to view at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. It shows that Patrick was admitted to the hospital from Weaver Street Receiving House which, I have been told, was to help cope with the amount of patients requiring hospital admission. On his arrival at Belvidere on 1 February 1901 Patrick was already very ill.

It’s heartbreaking that my granny never knew her father. I hope that her mother, Sarah, talked about him and told her about happier times.

A Narrow Escape – Hugh Brawley and Catherine Cosgrove 

I found this newspaper article dated Monday 10 August 1953 while researching my maternal grandparents, Hugh Brawley and Catherine Cosgrove. The fact that they’d been involved in a train derailment was something I’d never heard before but it must have been pretty big news in the family at the time. Hugh and Catherine had been visiting their son, Daniel in Luton, Bedfordshire.

The picture isn’t very clear but the article focuses on two Yorkshire men who assisted in rescuing passengers from the train. Information from the Railway Archives tells us the events surrounding the accident.

Report on the Derailment which occurred on the 8th August 1953 near Abington in the Scottish Region British Railways

“The 10am Down express passenger train from Euston to Glasgow (the “Royal Scot”) comprising 13 bogie coaches, hauled by a Pacific type engine, was running about 60mph on the northward descent from the Beattock summit. As it emerged from a shallow cutting, rather less than a mile beyond Abington station, the track buckled laterally under its passage, with the result that the last seven coaches were derailed. The 7th, 8th and 9th came to rest upright and practically undamaged. They were in close line with the front portion of the train which was still on the rails ahead of them, but the 10th became uncoupled and fell on its side about 200 yards further back; this coach was again separated by about 150 yards from the day three which remained coupled together, with the 11th and 12th also overturned to the left, and the rear brake van partially overturned to the right diagonally across the two tracks. Damage to the three overturned passenger coaches was remarkably light in the circumstances, and there were no very serious injuries. Nineteen of the 312 passengers in the train and a dining car attendant were taken to hospital, and 7 of the passengers were detained; 17 others sustained minor injuries or shock.”

The newspaper article lists those detained including my grandmother.

My grandfather was also injured but refused to go to hospital thus missing out on the £150 compensation payment that followed!

Catherine Mullervy 1839-1910

My great, great grandmother, Catherine Mullervy was born in Drumlish  in the Parish of Killoe, County Longford, Ireland in January 1835.  She was baptised on the 19th of January that year.  Her sponsors are recorded as Edward and Elizabeth Malervy.  (There are many different spellings of the surname recorded.)  Her parents were Owen Mullervy and Ann Flinn.  I have found records of two siblings; Patrick born 1832 and Cecilia born 1844 but I suspect that there are more and I have information to suggest that she had a brother, Owen.

The family would have undoubtedly been affected by the great famine in Ireland but the mill in Drumlish was a source of employment and food for the local people and as such the community did not suffer as much as other places.

When Catherine was 23 years old she married a local man, Peter Cosgrove.  The marriage took place on 8 January 1862 and their first son, Patrick, was born in January 1863.  Patrick was my great grandfather.  Daughter Anne was born in 1867 followed by James in 1869 and Francis in 1871.

Life in Ireland became too tough for the young family and they left to seek new opportunities in Scotland.  Their departure was some time between 1871 and 1873.  There is no record of Francis in Scotland so I suspect that he died as an infant in Ireland.  In 1873 their son Peter was born but I can’t be sure if he was born in Ireland or Scotland.

The family settled in Newmains, Lanarkshire where Peter found work as a furnace labourer.  This would have been hard, physical labour but the job came with a house and the family were allocated 25 Furnace Row.  It was in this house where baby Peter died on 20th March 1874.  The cause of death was measles.  His father registered the death using an X in lieu of a signature.  Catherine must surely have been distraught but there was more heartache to come.


On February 16 1875 Catherine gave birth to a daughter, Catherine.  No doubt she would have tried her best to care for her children but in the cramped and unsanitary condition of Furnace Row it was only a matter of time before disease struck again.  In less that three weeks, between 21 January and 5 February 1876 Catherine lost three more of her children as baby Catherine, Anne and James succumbed to bronchitis and whooping cough.  I cannot imagine how poor Catherine coped trying to deal with the loss of a child while others were dying.  It would have been harder still as she was pregnant at the time with her another child.  Michael Cosgrove was born on 1 September 1876.  Peter would have been unable to take time off work to support his wife as they would have been totally reliant on his wages to survive.

baby catherine

Ann Cosgrove

James Cosgrove

The remaining family moved to a new home at 18 Furnace Row where son, John was born on 7 May 1878 and daughter, Elizabeth on 12 March 1880.  It was here too that on 3 June 1880 3 year old Michael died of convulsions caused by scarlet fever.

Michael cosgrove

The 1881 census shows Catherine, Peter, Patrick, John and Elizabeth still living at 18 Furnace Row.  Peter is recorded as a general labourer while my grandfather, Patrick had found employment as a coal miner.  For a time they were joined by Catherine’s brother, Patrick Mullervy.  Patrick contracted lardaceous disease and passed away in Catherine’s home on 29 February 1882. He was 50 years old.

On 8 March 1883 Catherine gave birth to Joseph.  On 2 April 1884 Joseph died.  The cause of death is recorded as gastritis.

Patrick left home and Catherine continued to look after her two remaining children, John and Elizabeth while Peter worked to keep a roof over their heads.   They were forced to take in lodgers to help make ends meet.


Peter Cosgrove died of pneumonia on 25 February 1893.  With no income and no way of supporting herself she was forced to apply for poor relief.  Her first application was in March 1893 when she was given 2/- to help support her and her children. This may have tided her over for a short time but a second application in April 1893 resulted in the offer of admission to the Poor House.   In June 1894 Catherine made a further application for poor relief as she had been confined to her bed for four weeks.


The original Poor Law registers can be viewed at North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre.  Catherine is not the first of my ancestors to appear in one of these ledgers.  It is incredibly moving to see the actual record of their hardship as it was written at the time.

In February 1901 she would have received the news that her son, Patrick had died of smallpox.  At the time of his death he was living in Glasgow.

Catherine Mullervy Cosgrove died on 24 February 1910 at 18 Furnace Row, Newmains.  She is buried in a public plot in Cambusnethan Cemetery.

death catherine cosgrove

John Cosgrove 1878-1917

John Cosgrove was my great grandfather’s younger brother.  While my great grandfather was born in County Longford, Ireland, by the time John was born the family had come to Scotland.  He was born on 7 May 1878 at 18 Furnace Row, Newmains, Lanarkshire.  His father Peter Cosgrove was a furnace labourer and may have been busy working the day the birth was registered as that job went to his mother Catherine Mullervy (there are many variations of the spelling of that name on different documents.) Catherine used a cross ‘her mark’ in lieu of a signature.

John was one of at least ten children.

  • Patrick Born 1863
  • Anne Born 1867
  • James Born 1869
  • Francis Born 1871
  • Peter Born 1874
  • Catherine Born 1875
  • Michael Born 1876
  • Elizabeth Born 1880
  • Joseph Born 1883

The reason I have chosen to write about John today is not so much about his life but about the circumstances of his death which I only discovered very recently when looking through the British Newspaper Archive.

I had known that he died at quite a young age in 1917 leaving behind a wife and four children.  He married Mary Lynch in 1908 in St Brigid’s RC Church in Newmains.  Mary Ann was born in 1909, Catherine in 1910, Patrick in 1912 and Elizabeth in 1914.  His death would have been particularly hard on Mary with such a young family to look after. It’s a sad story but I did find it upsetting to find the following short article which gave the circumstances surrounding his death.

I cannot imagine the agony those two poor men suffered.  The report shows that they did not die instantly but were taken to the Royal Infirmary which in those days would have been a fair journey.  I have no way of knowing if Mary got to see him before he died.

The report mentions a ‘slip’ at the furnaces.  Certainly the circumstances merited further investigation as a fatal accident enquiry was held in respect of their deaths.

John died on 5 July 1917 and was buried on 7 July 1917 in Cambusnethan Cemetery.

Mary remarried on 27 December 1918 in the same church where she and John were married.

Sarah Helferty 1867-1921

I have found some major errors in this story which I am trying to rectify. as soon as I have time so bear with me.

The theme of the week is ‘Tough Woman’.  I immediately thought of my great grandmother, Sarah Helferty.  All the circumstances of her life suggest that she must have been tough to survive.  She has also been fairly tough to research because no-one in the family knew anything about her past prior to meeting my great grandfather.

What I did know about Sarah was that she married my great grandfather, Patrick Cosgrove in Dundee and was widowed when my grandmother was just a baby and that she remarried a man from Newmains, Lanarkshire and lived there until she died.  She and her second husband had two children. It was believed that she may originally have come from Glasgow and that her parents were Irish. So with this basic information I set to work.

The first document I found was of her marriage to Patrick Cosgrove (born 1866)  At the time of their marriage on  1888, the two were living and working in Dundee.  Their addresses in Whorterbank, Dundee show that they were neighbours.  Sarah was employed as a mill worker.  Dundee at that time was famous for it’s Jute Mills.  The working conditions were poor and the wages were low.  The women in Dunde’s jute mills had a reputation for being tough, loud and hard drinking.  There were three women to each man earning Dundee the name of ‘She town’ .  The marriage certificates lists Sarah’s parents as Henry Helferty and Mary Ann Wilkinson.  So I continued my search using these details.

Sarah was born on 2 March 1867 at 144 Saltmarket in Glasgow.  Interestingly, the child listed after her on the birth register was born on the same day at the same address. I have tried to find out more about this address with little success but will hopefully clear this up with a visit to the archives at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow.  Sarah’s mother was indeed called Mary  – Mary Stewart nee Wilkinson.  She was an Irish immigrant who was employed as a housekeeper. To my surprise, she was not married to Arthur Helferty.  Sarah was illegitimate.  Mary is recorded as a widow in 1867.  She and Arthur had a daughter, Martha in 1861 so I wonder why they hadn’t married before Sarah was born.

I do not know when Sarah’s working life started but I do know that she could not read and write.  At this time children were employed in the textile industry in low paid, dangerous jobs.  Sarah’s circumstances would not have given her the luxury of a long school education.  Providing for herself would have been the priority.

The next record of Sarah is her marriage to Patrick in 1888.  The couple were married for almost twelve years when their daughter, Catherine was born on 16 July 1900. By this time the family were back living in Glasgow but their little family life was shortlived as in 1901 Sarah was left widowed with a small baby when Patrick died of smallpox in February of that year.  In the 1901 census Sarah and Catherine are listed as lodgers living with a family by the name of O’Donnell.

On 11 February 1902 Sarah married widower Edward Cooper.  Edward had also lived in Dundee at the same time as Sarah and Patrick but I have know way of knowing if they had known each other.

At the time of their marriage Edward had tow children age 12 and 13 so Sarah took on the role of stepmother as well as having to care for my grandmother.  Edward lived in Newmains, Lanarkshire and the 1901 cnsus shows that he was a neighbour of the Cosgrove family.  Perhaps they met when Sarah came through for a visit with her in-laws or perhaps Patrick’s family acted as matchmakers finding a husband to help provide for Sarah and Catherine.  I do know that Edward was a kind man who treated my grandmother well.

Sarah an Edward had two children together.  Arthur was born on 18 Noveber 1902 and Mary on 7 February 1903.

Sarah died on 4 December 1921.  The cause of death was cirrhosis of the liver, possibly from drinking which may have started back in her time in Dundee.  She was 54 years old.