Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Looking for Lizzie

Last April I wrote a blog post on the life of my 3x great-grandmother, Jane or Jean Duffy. On 5 March 1858, when Jean was around 20 years of age, she gave birth out of wedlock to Elizabeth White. Elizabeth's father was reputed to be named Peter White, a ship carpenter. In my original post, I presumed that Elizabeth had died in infancy, as I could not find a later record of her. I can now admit that my presumption was wrong and I have uncovered her story. 

Elizabeth White was born on 5 March 1858 at Netherton Colliery, New Kilpatrick. Her father was recorded as Peter White, a ship carpenter who was not present at the registration of her birth. Elizabeth's mother Jean was working at a paper mill at the time. 

Elizabeth's birth entry.
Elizabeth was later baptised on 27 March, although her birthdate was given as the 26 February, which is obviously a mistake on the priest's part. Elizabeth's only godparent, or sponsor, was a woman named Mary Callaghan

Jean Duffy married my 3x great-grandfather, Bernard Carroll, on 6 July 1860 at Rutherglen, and so Elizabeth became a step-sister to Bernard's children from his first marriage. Although her mother went to live at Rutherglen, Elizabeth stayed behind in New Kilpatrick and lived with her uncle William Duffy

Little is known about Elizabeth's childhood, but by 1871 she was back living with her mother, step-father and siblings. She later worked in a cotton mill.

On 20 December 1877, Elizabeth married a coal miner named John Duffy at St Bridget's Catholic Church, Baillieston. Although John shared his surname with Elizabeth's mother, it is believed that they were not related. There are a few lies on the marriage entry, but they are fairly typical of an illegitimate child. 

Her father was recorded as William White, rather than Peter, who was a coal miner. Her mother Jean Carroll was reported as Jane White, formerly Duffy. It was quite common back then for illegitimate children to make up a history of themselves, inventing a father to name on the marriage certificate. Elizabeth must have told the priest that her parents were married. One of the witnesses to the union was Bernard Carroll, either her step-father or step-brother.

Soon after marrying, Elizabeth and John moved to Blantyre, a mining town not very far away. Here Elizabeth gave birth to the couple's first child in November 1879. They had a baby girl and named her Agnes. I can only assume that their baby was named after my 2x great-grandmother, Agnes Carroll

From Blantyre the Duffys moved to Larkhall, where they had their second child John, born in February 1881. Shortly after the family moved to the United States where they had two more children, Patrick and Robert

Back in Larkhall, Elizabeth's half-sister, and my 2x great-grandmother, Agnes gave birth to a baby boy in March 1894. The baby was named John Duffy Leslie in honour of his uncle-in-law. Baby John sadly died in December of the same year of pneumonia. 

The Duffy family were back in Larkhall by September 1896 when Elizabeth gave birth to the couple's fifth child, Peter, followed by their sixth, Joseph, in September 1898. In the mid-1900s the family moved to the Kirkcaldy area of Fife, where they remained for many years. 

Elizabeth White Duffy died on 3 May 1927 at Denbeath, Wemyss, Fife. She died of chronic cholecystitis, a sudden inflammation of the gallbladder. On her death certificate her mother was recorded as Jane White, formerly Duffy, so perhaps the family believed this to be true. Her father was noted as Peter White, a ship wright. 

Elizabeth's death entry.

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