Since this is Valentine's Day, I prefer to think it was all for love.
JOHN CAVENAUGH joins with ALLICE HOWARD
John and his girl Ally, my maternal fifth great-grandparents got together sometime around 1760, although the definitive proof of a marriage record continues to elude me.
Married or not they christened their first born child, a son, William on 24 December 1761. Over the years following the birth of William, John and Allice welcomed at least three more children, two girls, Elizabeth (born 1763), Mary (born 1766), and another son, Christopher, born 1778, a full seventeen years after the birth of his elder brother.
WILLIAM 'BILLY' CAVANAGH plights his troth to MARY BRIEN
Ah yes, William, my maternal 4th great-grandfather, son of John and Ally, promised to be truthful and faithful to his Mary on a snowy December day. I remember it well, for the two became one on 30 December 1798 in Donabate, County Dublin, Ireland.
According to the memoir of their grandson, Andrew J. Kettle, William and Mary were quite an extraordinary couple. Both were involved in the 1798 Rebellion, with Mary secretly transporting pikes into North County Dublin, and providing shelter for insurgents after the rising was quashed. 'Billy' was briefly imprisoned since he was a member of the United Irishmen. Thankfully the wealth of his family saved him from the hangman's noose. It was perhaps in celebration of their survival that William and Mary wed on the penultimate day of December in the year of the Rebellion.
Together William and Mary shared at least three children, including their second born child Alice, my third great-grandmother, who was christened Ally on 5 March 1800, a namesake for her grandmother, Allice Howard.
ALICE 'ALLY' KAVANAGH falls for THOMAS KETTLE
Ally, daughter of William and Mary, enjoyed 25 years together with her beloved husband Thomas. Ally and Thomas welcomed many children — at least six — including my great-great grandmother Maria 'Mary' Kettle and her brother Andrew Joseph Kettle.
Sadly, Ally died 24 September 1855. Upon his death 22 September 1871, Thomas was interred with his 'beloved' Alice in St. Colmcille's Churchyard, Swords.
In the case of the Cavenaughs, it is interesting to note how much their surname 'morphed' on documents over three generations of the family. This speaks to the dominance of oral culture over written. In other words, the person noting family passages in parish registers, whether sacristan or priest, wrote what he heard. Uniformity of surnames did not become the order of the day until the 19th century. By the time her son Andrew J. Kettle was writing his memoirs in the early 20th century, he wrote that O'Kavanagh was his mother Alice's surname.
MARIA 'MARY' KETTLE weds JOSEPH FITZPATRICK
On the bright morning of 14 September 1857 Maria, called Mary, daughter of Thomas and Ally, took the plunge with her beau Joseph.
Together they had nine children, including my great-grandfather Thomas Fitzpatrick. They had fourteen years together, when sadly, Mary died 23 April 1871. Her youngest child Teresa was only ten months old at the time. Mary is interred with her mother and father in St. Colmcille's Churchyard, Swords.
THOMAS FITZPATRICK marries MARIA 'MARY' HYNES
Like his parents before him Thomas took his bride in a September wedding. Thomas and Mary were united on 23 September 1893. They faced hardship during their married life, but they endured.
Together they left Ireland for Liverpool England, and then returned to Ireland again. Their marriage brought them six children, including my grandmother Maria 'Mary' Angela Fitzpatrick, and her little brother Joseph Fitzpatrick, who died in Liverpool at the age of six.
FRANCIS BALL pledges his troth to JANE EARLY
Up to this point in my 'roll call of love', I have laid out the family line which resulted in the birth of my grandmother Maria 'Mary' Angela Fitzpatrick. Although I won't include his complete line here, I do want to add the parents of Mary's husband, my grandfather Patrick Joseph Ball.
Francis Ball and Jane Early were joined in marriage at St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral on the 24th instant of August 1884. It was an illustrious beginning to a marriage plagued by loss, but I like to imagine it was a happy union which produced the gentle soul who was my grandfather, the first born son of Francis and Jane's five children.
MARIA 'MARY' ANGELA FITZPATRICK ties the knot with PATRICK JOSEPH BALL
Although it is alleged that case maker Patrick Joseph Ball may not have been her family's first choice as a perfect match for Maria 'Mary' Angela Fitzpatrick, these two are said to have adored one another. They wed on 1 June 1921, and shared just over fifteen years of marriage.
Together they had eight children, with seven living to adulthood, including my mother Mary Jane Ball. Their baby son Thomas died when he was just over 10 months old. Sadly, Mary Fitzpatrick Ball died 18 December 1936, at the age of forty-two; her youngest child John was less than a year old at the time.
ANNE MAGEE gets hitched to JOHN GERAGHTY
As I mentioned at the outset of this piece, the union of these two has me flummoxed. Minimal details of their relationship, as outlined by one of my father's sisters, make it appear as though Anne and John mixed as well as fire and water. I do not know how they met, but have surmised the introduction may have been made by Anne's father, Patrick Magee, perhaps in the hope of reigning in the revolutionary inclinations of his eldest daughter. As the manager of the Jameson Distillery, Patrick Magee knew John Geraghty, the son of wealthy car proprietor Patrick Geraghty who owned the car company favoured by Mr. Jameson. John and Patrick often interacted since John was the driver who 'squired' Mr. Jameson to the Smithfield distillery.
No matter how the relationship began, with Anne almost 28 years old, she was on the cusp of the age when 'the bloom is gone off the rose', as they say, and so it would have been important to get her married. John was significantly older than Anne, eleven years her senior, and just a couple of months shy of his 39th birthday when they wed on 15 February 1928. The marriage produced seven children, including their second born son, my father Michael. The couple had been married for just over twenty-four years when Anne suddenly died. Some of the Geraghty children remarked it was only after their mother's death that they realized their father truly loved her, and was completely lost without her.
MARY JANE TERESA BALL captures the heart of MICHAEL FRANCIS GERAGHTY
My mother and father first laid eyes on one another when she was eighteen and he was twenty. Mom recalled his beautiful blond hair, the crease of his trousers, and the brilliant polish of his black leather shoes. Dad noted her gorgeous brunette hair falling in waves to her shoulders, and her beautiful eyes, one of them half blue and half hazel. His aunt Mollie wanted him to court one of my mother's sisters, but he only had eyes for Mary Ball. It was a long courtship, five years, but finally they were married 2 August 1954, and had been married for over 45 years when my dad died in March of 2000.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY ONE AND ALL!
May you have much love in your life today and always.
Thanks to The Graphics Fairy for the Valentine images.