Monday, May 23, 2011

Matrilineal Monday: Liverpudlian birth records in Latin, and a nice surprise

As I have shared with you in past postings, the family of my maternal grandmother Mary Angela Fitzpatrick emigrated away from Ireland. Sometime after her father Thomas sold his '7-day License House' [i.e. Public house & grocery], and in the autumn of 1897, the family headed to Liverpool, England. While they were in residence at Liverpool for a relatively short period of time, the family not only suffered the loss of six year old Joseph, in November of 1901, but also welcomed two more boys. Thomas Andrew was born on 27 April 1899, and John came into this world on 27 August 1901.

During their tenure in Liverpool, the Fitzpatrick family lived in the densely populated wards of Kirkdale and of Scotland. Although Thomas found work on the docks, the work was sporadic and unreliable. Despite the hardships they endured, the family remained deeply religious and were members of St. Alban's Roman Catholic Church, a church which stood just inside the Scotland ward near Athol Street. At the time of Thomas's birth the family was living at 19 Milford Street in the Kirkdale ward; by the time of John's birth they had moved to 360 Great Howard Street in the Scotland ward. It is in the parish records of St. Alban's Roman Catholic Church that I located the birth records for John and Thomas.

The records are interesting in and of themselves because they are written in Latin, the language of the Roman Catholic Church well into the 20th century. Most, if not all, of the records I have so far gathered have some Latin words or phrases in them; however, despite the fact that my research dates back to the 1740s, these are the first records I've found in which the information is disseminated entirely in Latin. In my opinion the Latin version bears a certain elegance that I find attractive. The records are also interesting because of what they include and what they do not, and the nice surprise which showed up on one of them.

Here is a list of the Latin terms used in the record translated into English:

Anno: "In the year"
die: "the day of"
mensis: "of the month"
natus: "was born" (male)(female would be 'nata')
baptizatus: "was baptized" (male) (female would be 'baptizata')
filius: "the son of" (daughter would be 'filia")
olim: "in times past": in other words the maiden name of the mother
conjugum: "married couple"
a me: "from me"
Patritia: Priest (not an exact translation, but you get the picture)
Patrinus fuit: "godfather was"
Matrina fuit: "godmother was"

Before we even look at the forenames, which are also recorded in Latin, some of the word endings (as noted above) tell us that this is a male child. Also, in this case I am fortunate because the forenames closely mirror their English language counterparts, so there is no confusion.

Thomas Andreas Fitzpatrick is Thomas Andrew Fitzpatrick.
His father’s name is noted as Thomae instead of Thomas.
His mother Meariae Teresae Fitzpatrick is Mary Teresa Fitzpatrick.

Literally translated Thomas Andrew Fitzpatrick’s record reads as follows:

In the year 1899, the day of 27, of the month April was born, and in the year of 1899, the day of 8, of the month May was baptized Thomas Andrew Fitzpatrick, the son of Thomas and Mary Teresa Fitzpatrick (in times past Hines), married couple: from me Father Francis Keating. Godmother was Elizabeth Christie.

You will notice there is no godfather named on the record. Also, after the priest's name there appears a phrase which is abbreviated. I cannot say for certain what it is; however, it may be 'missio adiuncti' meaning "associated to the mission of" the church.

John Fitzpatrick's birth record has a few interesting quirks in comparison with his elder brother's.

Literally translated John's birth record reads:

In the year 1901, the day of 27, of the month August was born, and in the year of 1901, the day of 30, of the month August was baptized John Fitzpatrick, the son of Thomas and Mary Fitzpatrick (in times past Hynes), married couple: from me Father Francis Keating. Godmother was Anna Kennedy.

John's record is a excellent example of the need to search such records carefully. His name is recorded as 'Joannes', which is the Latin rendering of 'John'. On first sight an English reader might pick it up as a female name. Again, the word endings of 'natus' and 'baptizatus' confirm this as a male child. Also, his mother's forename is recorded as Maraie (Mary) and her maiden name is recorded as 'Hynes', not 'Hines' as it is on his brother's; however, I have seen these incarnations before in records of Mary's other children. Once again you will notice the name of the godfather is curiously absent, and the odd little abbreviation follows the priest's name. The godmother in this case is Anna Kennedy.

Also, there is a wonderfully interesting notation in the column under the home address, the nice surprise to which I alluded in the title of this piece. It reads, "Matrimonius junctus Mariae Donegan in Ecclesia Inchicore Dublin Eire die 11th Augustus 1940. T. Carney". This translates to "joined to a marriage with Mary Donegan in the Church of Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland, the day of 11 August 1940". I am very grateful to T. Carney, whoever he/she was for what looks like a good lead to John Fitzpatrick's marriage record.

The search continues...

Copyright©2011 J. Geraghty-Gorman. All Rights Reserved.

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