Catholic Records

A marriage blessing (John Delaney and Emma Dean)

Hull (Paroisse Notre Dame de Grâce, Ottawa Co., Quebec), Register of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1886-1900, M. 54 (1887), John Delaney and Emma Dean; image 197 of 2423, ( accessed 20 April 2012), Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-967.

From the parish register for Notre Dame de Grâce, Hull (Ottawa County, Quebec), here is an interesting (and highly unusual) marriage record. As I read it, it is not a record of the performance of a marriage act at Notre Dame de Grâce. Rather, it is a record of a Catholic blessing bestowed upon a marriage that had already taken place — in a Protestant ceremony in Salford, Greater Manchester, England, a year and a half earlier.

The record [my transcription, with my translation] reads as follows:

Le sept Aout mil huit cent quatre vingt sept par devant nous prêtre, dûment autorisé par Monseigneur Joseph Thomas Duhamel Archevêque d’Ottawa, soussigné se sont présentés John Delany fils mineur de Michel Dolany et de Mary Ashberry de cette paroisse d’un part, et Emma Dean fille mineure de Herbert Dean et de Mary Davis de Salford, Manchester Angleterre d’autre part, lesquels ont déjà contracté ensemble mariage le seize Janvier mil huit cent quatre ving six a Salford, Manchester Angleterre, devant un ministre protestant: n’ayant découvert aucun empechement, nous prêtre soussigné avons bene [bené] leur mariage en présence de Michael Delany et de Francis Delany soussignés. ME Harnois, ptre.

[The seventh of August one thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven in the presence of we the undersigned priest, duly authorized by Monseigneur Joseph Thomas Duhamel Archbishop of Ottawa,  have come John Delany minor son of Michel Dolaney and of Mary Ashberry of this parish, on the one part, and Emma Dean minor daughter of Herbert Dean and of Mary Davis of Salford, Manchester, England on the other part, who have already contracted marriage together on the sixteenth of January one thousand eight hundred and eighty-six in Salford, Manchester, England in the presence of a Protestant minister: no impediment having been discovered, we the undersigned priest have blessed their marriage in the presence of the undersigned Michael Delany and Francis Delany. ME Harnois, priest]

A week before the above-recorded blessing, it should be noted, Emma Dean had converted to Roman Catholicism and had been baptized a Catholic at Notre Dame de Grâce (31 July 1887), with her father-in-law Michael Delaney and her mother-in-law Mary Ashbury serving as sponsors (as le parrain, the godfather, and la marraine, the godmother, respectively). Without this conversion to Catholicism on the part of Emma Dean, there’s no way that Father M.E. Harnois would have blessed the marriage. (subscription-only, though apparently this index is free) has the England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index: 1837-1915. A search of this index for “John Delaney,” 1886, Lancashire, turns up “John Delaney, Jan-Feb-Mar 1886, Salford, Lancashire, vol. 8d, p. 60; while a search for “Emma Dean,” 1886, turns up “Sarah Emma Dean,” Jan-Feb-Mar 1886, Salford, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, vol. 8d, p. 60. That looks like a match. To order a copy of this marriage certificate from the GRO (General Register Office), Directgov has an online ordering system (the fee is £9.25, roughly Can. $14.75, per certificate).

More on the Delaneys in future entries. This family (parents Michael Delaney and Mary Ashbury) originated in Co. Kilkenny, Ireland; resided at various far-flung military outposts of the British Empire, where most of their children were born (Michael Delaney was a soldier in the 80th Regiment of Foot); moved to Salford, Lancashire, where their youngest child and only daughter was born; emigrated to Canada; and ended up at a house in Ottawa where my father lived as a child.

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