UK Records

How tall was Denis Killeen?

How tall was my 3x-great-grandfather Denis Killeen (1786-1850)?

According to his record of service, he was 5 foot 8 when he enlisted in the 97th Regiment of Foot at the age of 18, in 1804; and six years later, at the age of 24, he was 5 foot 10:

Denis Killeen, Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900

Denis Killeen, Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900

This from a newly added database at ancestry.ca: Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900.

Note: Ancestry.ca has recently added a number of new databases. Worth checking out.

Link

If you are researching Catholic ancestors in the UK, you should definitely consult Michael Gandy’s Tracing Your Catholic Ancestors (Public Record Office, 2001). It is a brief (only 64 pages) but comprehensive guide to the Catholic records, and also (and alas! for anyone researching Catholic ancestors during the Penal Period of 1559-1829) to the dearth of Catholic records prior to Catholic Emancipation and the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829. Highly recommended.

A marriage certificate (John Delaney and Emma Dean)

As noted in the previous entry, John Delaney and Emma Dean were married at Salford, England on 16 January 1886; a year and a half later, their Protestant marriage was blessed by a Catholic priest at Notre Dame de Grâce, Hull (Ottawa County, Québec, Canada).

From the GRO (General Register Office), here is a copy of the civil registration of their marriage, which was solemnized at an Anglican church: St. Bartholomew’s, Salford:

Marriage of John Delaney and Sarah Emma Dean, 16 Jan 1886

Obituary for (Michael) John Delaney, Ottawa Citizen, 22 December 1931

Note that John Delaney’s address is given as “Salford Barracks,” and his occupation as “Musician 80th Foot.” This is the same regiment (80th Foot) in which his father Michael Delaney had served, though Michael Delaney was an army pensioner by 1881, and by 1883 he and his wife Mary Ashbury had emigrated to Canada (John Delaney, with his wife Emma Dean, would follow his parents to Canada by the summer of 1887).

John Delaney’s military career began at a (by today’s standards) shockingly early age. His obituary (Ottawa Citizen, 22 Dec 1931) records that he was a drummer in the [Anglo-]Zulu War. He would have been about 13 years old at the time1: a drummer boy. He appears to have fudged his birth year by a couple of years for his Salford marriage (where he is listed as age 21, when he was in fact 19 years of age: perhaps he had already added a couple of years to his age in order to serve in the 80th Foot Regiment in 1880? he should have been 14 years old in 1880 in order to serve, but given his birth date, he clearly wasn’t), but in August 1887 Rev. Father M.E. Harnois of Notre Dame de Grâce accurately listed John Delaney as fils mineur (minor son, i.e., not yet 21 years of age) of Michael Delaney and Mary Ashberry [Ashbury].

It is highly unusual to have a civil registration of an Anglican marriage in England followed by a Catholic blessing of said marriage in the province of Quebec, Canada. My guess (pure speculation here, admittedly) is that John Delaney’s Irish Catholic parents (and probably especially his mother) were in fits that their son had placed his immortal soul in peril, and somebody (again, probably his mother) had lobbied the local parish priest to fix things, to put the fix in.

  1. John (Michael John) Delaney was born 12 August 1867 at Port Louis, Mauritius; the Anglo-Zulu War began 22 January 1879. According to his obituary, John Delaney served as a drummer in 1880.