I wasn’t in a mood to do any proper research tonight, so thought I’d just run a search through the records for a surname and do a browse. Many of the Derry BMD records are digitized on the Irish Genealogy website, but street addresses are not indexed, so sometimes interesting things pop up when you look at the street addresses – family members often lived together.
Well, I found way more than what I exptected – I found the name of my children’s 5 times great-grandmother – it was Elizabeth! She was married to Thomas Cooper, and had a son Thomas and a daughter Annie (their only daughter according to the newspaper announcement for Annie’s marriage); they may have had other sons too who I haven’t found yet. There is at least one other Thomas Cooper in Derry at that time who was a mechanic/engineer (and who I don’t think is related to our family)
It was the daughter Annie who provided the clue. As I was browsing through all Cooper BMDs for 1880-1900 I came across a death for Elizabeth Cooper, 70 years old in 1891 who died from bronchitis. The informant was the son-in-law David Norrie – which was a familiar name. I had Annie Cooper married to David Norrie already in the tree!
Elizabeth must have been Thomas and Annie’s mother, born about 1821 and died on 14th Feb 1891. Unfortunately Derry Journal is not digitized for the first half of 1891, as I would have liked to see where is she buried. Elizabeth is listed as a widow of a smith, which also fits the occupation listed on his son Thomas’ marriage cert in 1865.
I haven’t been able to find the death record for Elizabeth’s husband yet.
The unusual thing about this family line is that the Coopers were Presbyterian (while all other lines so far were Catholic). Their daughter Annie married in a Presbyterian church, their son Thomas married in a Catholic church and all his children were baptised Catholic, but he still listed himself as Presbyterian on the 1901 and 1911 census.
I had suspected Thomas’ wife is probably called Elizabeth since his son’s oldest daughter was Elizabeth, but it’s nice to have a document to prove it. I can update the family tree now – will draw and upload a nicer diagram over the next few days.