Finding lots of criminals in the Irish side of the family

I’ve been making great headway with my Irish great-grandmother’s ancestry. But I didn’t expect them to be criminals. However I’ve just got access to, which includes Dublin prison registers. And there are an awful lot of references to my ancestors!

The easiest to spot were two imprisonments for my great-great granny Mary Tate nee Fegan. She’d been recorded mainly under her married name, but in the prison register they wrote her maiden name underneath. Her age fits with what I have, and I now know that she was 5 foot 2 1/2 inches tall, had brown hair and blue eyes. The first time she was in the Grangegorman prison, not far from her home, was in 1889, for being drunk and disorderly. In 1891 she was back again, for breaking four panes of glass.

Her husband John Tate wasn’t much better. He first appears in 1899, in Mountjoy prison, convicted of assaulting Maria Tait, probably his second wife. He was sentenced for one calendar month, which was quite a long time for crimes in this family. He was back in prison in 1901, in Kilmainham prison this time, convicted of setting an ass of his loose on the public road. I think both these references are to my great-great grandfather, though there’s a slight disparity between them in whether he was missing a left or a right eye, and whether he was born in Cork, or in Fermoy, a town near Cork. The height matches though.

If he was born in Fermoy I may have found his father, who John’s marriage certificate records was another John Tate ironmonger by then deceased, in the 1846 Slater’s directory for Fermoy, with a matching occupation, and recorded at Patrick Street.

There’s another Tate criminal that jumps out from the Dublin registers, 15-year-old Mary Tate, but it doesn’t fit well name-wise with the family, who had a much younger daughter Mary, and an older mother Mary. I suspect it may be my great-grandmother Annie Tate, misrecorded. Her age fits pretty closely, as does the very precise birthplace and home address for her. She was convicted of obstruction, and served four days in Grangegorman prison.

EDIT: Just found two more obstruction cases involving a 15-year-old Tate girl at the same time. This time recorded as Hannah or Hanna. The birthplace – a very precise street – and home address fit with my family. I’m pretty sure this was my great-grandmother Annie, b. 1879, who was almost certainly named after her grandmother, Mrs Hannah Fegan.

About vivdunstan

Academic historian, genealogist, former computer scientist, and Doctor Who fan.
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