Monday, 2 February 2015

Troublesome Irish

As previously mentioned in my Poor Predecessors post, my Quinnin (Queenan) family expanded out from Newcastle, and a particular branch adopted the surname McQueen and moved to the Sunderland area. This caused me quite a bit of trouble when trying to find them. 

My 2x Great Grandparents were Martin Quinnin and Barbara Coyle who married in 1856 in Newcastle. His brother James by this point had already moved to Murton along with his parents, Andrew and Bridget. Martin and Barbara soon came to join them in Murton. In 1867 Bridget Queenan died, and James registered the death. For quite some time, I could not find James thereafter. 

However there was a James Quinnin who married an Annie Farrell in 1872 at Gateshead. The Catholic registers soon proved to be a match for this difficult uncle. The trouble was, I could not find him in any census return around this time.

I soon turned to the BMD indexes, actually to find children of Martin and Barbara. Living in the general North Shields area and later New Hartley, they would come under the Tynemouth district. Two births soon turned up, which I couldn't count as children of Martin and Barbara. These were;

          Births -  2nd Quarter - 1873 - Tynemouth
          Emmeline Jane QUINNIN

-  &  -
Births - 4th Quarter - 1874 - Tynemouth
John Andrew QUINNIN

There is sadly also a matching death for the not yet year-old John Andrew, in 1875. 

I thought Emmeline quite an unusual name, so tried searching for her in the census returns. Nothing turned up - but that was because I was searching with her surname as Quinnin. I soon found a matching Emmeline, born around 1873 at Earsdon (which comes under the Tynemouth district), however her surname was under McQueen! I had the Quinnin name written in numerous ways before, but never this variant. So naturally, what a surprise it was to find that her parents names matched the exact people I was looking for! 

The only discrepancy which I still don't understand today is that James' birthplace is recorded as Morpeth, Northumberland. On another census return, his birthplace is listed as Meldon. I don't know whether to put this down to an enumerator's mistake, or perhaps the stigma of being a native Irishman was difficult at that time. 

The family were living in Ward Street, Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland, and James is noted as being a police constable. James and Annie also had two more children, Mary Ellen born in Earsdon also (I later found her registration in Tynemouth under McQueen) and Agnes who was their first child born in Sunderland. 

However, I was still a little anxious that this was perhaps a completely different family and that I had made a mistake. I looked into getting Emmeline's baptism record. It wasn't under McQueen nor Quinnin - it was under Quin! I was very much relieved to find that her sponsors were her uncle Martin and elder cousin Mary Ann
In Latin, Emmeline Jane's baptism on 20th April 1873 at
Our Lady and St. Wilfred Roman Catholic Church, Blyth.
Parents are recorded as James Quin and Ann Farrel.
Godparents, or sponsors
are Martin Quin and Mary Ann Quin,
her uncle and cousin.
This branch of the family definitely seemed to be on an upwards trajectory, eventually owning public houses, namely the Waverley Hotel on High Street West, and the Wellington Hotel in Ryhope. The names of James and Annie's daughters often appear in newspaper articles for their acclaimed performances on the violin and piano. 
Advertisement appearing in the Sunderland Echo in 1886,
 reporting the reopening of the Waverley Hotel after extensive alterations
after James McQueen became the proprietor.
From Ryhope the family moved to Newcastle, to the Cattle Market Hotel where Annie died in 1910. She was buried at a cemetery in Gateshead, presumably with her family.

James now a widower, moved out to the rural riverside town of Haydon Bridge where he had the Anchor Hotel up until his death in 1919. After he died his son Emmanuel (known as Manuel) took over. 


  1. Hi there, I’ve stumbled across this whilst trying to find information on my Great x3 Grandfather, James McQueen, seemingly the same one you describe above! You seem to have got further back then me in the family tree, and I would love to know more, if you are willing to share? Many thanks, Mel xx

  2. Hi, I’ve come across this post whilst searching for info on my Great x3 Grandad James McQueen - seemingly the same one you mention in your post! It seems you have got further than Me in your search, as I didn’t manage to get past James. I would be very interested to see what you have found if you are willing to share? Kind regards, Mel x