Help finding a marriage record

Started by: cath476 (881)

Hi, I wonder if anyone can help, I'm looking for a marriage between Thomas Ryan (b.1853 in Ireland) and Clara Devine (born c.1861 in Wigan).
They appear together as married on the 1891 census living in Princess street in Wigan.
Thomas Ryan had 10 children between 1883 - 1900 and their mother's maiden name is given as Devine but I can't find any record of Clara Devine anywhere.
I'm pretty sure they were Roman Catholic. Can anybody please help?

Started: 27th Sep 2014 at 21:28
Last edited by cath476: 27th Sep 2014 at 21:36:28

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

Would love to help you, but a first search has also been fruitless. Either they never married (not so unusual among the working classes at this time) or Clara was married before and she married Thomas under her widowed name. Her maiden name would still be on the children's birth registrations, but I can't find a Clara Devine marrying anyone else around this period. Of course, she may have been known as Clara but her birth registration name was different. For example, the 1901 and 1911 censuses (Thomas was widowed by this time) show a MARTIN RYAN born about 1897. There is no birth registration, but there is a birth registration for a PATRICK RYAN in 1897, mother's maiden name DAVINE. I think Martin and Patrick were one and the same. The DAVINE spelling led me to more searching, but to no avail. The only Clara Devine I could find in 1881 was in Liverpool, supposedly born abt 1866, but I couldn't find a marriage of a Clara Devine to a Thomas Ryan in Liverpool either. Clara died in 1901 aged 37. Her twin daughters Catherine and Annie born in 1900 must have died shortly after their births.
Clara was obiously buried as Clara Ryan, but I don't know whether this means they were officially married or not.
I wonder whether she really was born in Wigan. An ancestor of mine keeps changing her mind throughout the censuses as to whether she was born in Ireland or Wigan.

Will do a bit more searching.


Replied: 28th Sep 2014 at 18:29

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

Look what I've found:

(from, but also on ancestry)

Name: Clara De Vine
Event Type: Marriage
Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec
Registration Year: 1881
Registration District: Rotherham
County: Yorkshire
Event Place: Rotherham, Yorkshire, England
Volume: 9C
Page: 937
Line Number: 200

Clara De Vine probably married one of the following people
Name: Frederick Bowater
Name: Thomas Ryan
Name: Martha Kaye Walker

The 1891 census for somewhere in Yorkshire shows a Frederick and Martha Bowater (probably Frederick's second wife going by the ages of the children) but no Clara Bowater. I therefore presume that Clara married Thomas Ryan.


Replied: 28th Sep 2014 at 22:36
Last edited by LEP1950: 28th Sep 2014 at 22:37:32

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

The 1881 census has a 16 year old Clara Devine living in Wath on Dearne, Rotherham with her parents James (58) and Mary (55) and six siblings. James was born in Madras, India and Mary was born in Co. Clare, Ireland. Clara was supposedly born in Barnsley. I can't find any record of this yet, but the siblings were all born in various places. Who knows what is accurate. Anyway, I don't think Clara was born in Wigan. There is no trace of a record there or in the National Archives. It wasn't unusual for people to say they were born where they were living even when this wasn't true (I read that in a book on ancestry research).And sometimes the enumerator misunderstood. The children were all born in Wigan and so Clara was born in Wigan, too.


Replied: 28th Sep 2014 at 23:15
Last edited by LEP1950: 28th Sep 2014 at 23:16:45

Posted by: cath476 (881)

LEP, thank you so much! Rotherham looks promising! Your first post echoed all the thoughts I'd had about it and I had a feeling she wasn't born in Wigan. I tried Soundex searches but to no avail - I never thought to split the surname! You've definitely given me more to go on. Thank you again!!

Replied: 28th Sep 2014 at 23:20

Posted by: mygriffiths (1205)

According to 1871 census when the family were in Claycross, Clara was born in Durham
Name: Clara Devine
Registration Year: 1864
Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun
Registration district: Auckland
Parishes for this Registration District: View Ecclesiastical Parishes associated with this Registration District
Inferred County: Durham
Volume: 10a
Page: 186

Replied: 28th Sep 2014 at 23:40
Last edited by mygriffiths: 29th Sep 2014 at 00:00:37

Posted by: mygriffiths (1205)

Clara's father was in Dartmoor prison in 1891
Name: James Devine
Age: 69
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1822
Relation: Convict (Prisoner)
Gender: Male
Where born: Madras, India
Civil Parish: Lydford
Ecclesiastical parish: Lydford St Petrock
Town: Princetown
County/Island: Devon
Country: England

Replied: 28th Sep 2014 at 23:50

Posted by: cath476 (881)

Yes, I've just been looking at these records - I think I've found him in other prison records over his life - seems he was a bit of a career criminal - I wonder if that explains why the family moved about a lot? Thank you for this everyone - feels like I'm getting somewhere with it now!

Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 00:20

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

Hi Cath and mygriffiths,

I'd found the birth in Durham, but was going to try to follow that Clara up to seƩ if she disappears in Durham. It was a bit late last night.Have you looked further?

I'd also found the criminal records but didn't know whether to post them. It seems James was in prison at least three times - and his wife once,too.

Wonder why Clara's father was born in India.

Happy hunting!


Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 07:17

Posted by: mygriffiths (1205)

There is also a tree on ancestry relating to Clara's elder sister Winifred who emigrated to America.
This tree gives Clara's birthplace as the union workhouse in Bishop Aukland.

Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 07:21
Last edited by mygriffiths: 29th Sep 2014 at 07:23:49

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

If this is the correct Clara, then she does seem to have been born in Durham. I found the family in 1871 in Derbyshire. Here Clara's birthplace is noted as Bishop Aukland, Durham. James is not with the family - perhaps one of the prison spells?:

Name: Claria Devine
Age: 6
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1865
Relation: Daughter
Mother's name: Mary Devine
Gender: Female
Where born: Bishop Anckd, Durham, England
Civil Parish: Claycross
Ecclesiastical parish: Claycross
Town: Claycross
County/Island: Derbyshire
Country: England
Registration district: Chesterfield
Sub-registration district: Ashover
ED, institution, or vessel: 10
Household schedule number: 87
Piece: 3605
Folio: 73
Page Number: 19
Household Members:
Mary Devine
Winford Devine
Mary A Devine
Claria Devine
John Devine
Ann Devine
6 Months

Unfortnately, one of the trees on ancestry has this Clara marrying Charles Gascoigne Ackland in Doncaster in 1881. the marriage records on ancestry say 1887. There may be some kind of transcription error.

Now, it seems to me more likely that a Clara marrying a Thomas Ryan in Rotherham would be more likely to be the one living in Rotherham (census 1881) than in Doncaster, but I suppose this all needs crosschecking.


PS Sorry, mygriffiths, I have just noticed that you had already mentioned the 1871 census.

Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 08:48
Last edited by LEP1950: 29th Sep 2014 at 08:50:19

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

A Thomas Ryan was in Wath on Dearne, Rotherham in 1881:

ame: Thomas Ryan
Age: 25
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1856
Relationship to Head: Boarder
Gender: Male
Where born: Pack Gate, Yorkshire, England
Civil Parish: Wath on Dearne
County/Island: Yorkshire
Country: England
Street address: 69 Townend

Employment status:

View image
Occupation: Coal Miner
Registration district: Rotherham
Sub-registration district: Wath
ED, institution, or vessel: 3
Neighbors: View others on page
Piece: 4681
Folio: 65
Page Number: 23
Household Members:
David Griffiths 38
Mary Griffiths 35
Mary Jane Griffiths 10
Ernest Griffiths 7
Sophia Griffiths 5
Elizabethian Griffiths 3
Thomas Ryan 25

This is interesting. Wasn't he supposedly born in Ireland? It just says "ditto" on the record. Laziness on the part of the enumerator? Did Thomas Ryan not admit to being born in Ireland (They weren't exactly welcomed with open arms in many places at this time)????? I really can't imagine that the record of the Rotherham marriage isn't the one you are looking for.


Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 09:14

Posted by: cath476 (881)

This is all fascinating! I've only just got back in from work so not had chance to do any more digging. I found some of the criminal records - I do to mind you posting them - I don't suppose it matters now! I missed the one where his wife was jailed. Once the children are in bed, I'll have another look - thank you again everyone for taking the time to help - it's been puzzling me for ages!!

Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 17:55

Posted by: cath476 (881)

Ps, one reason I think we are on the right track is that Clara's mother is down as being born in county Clare and we are lead to believe that that is where Thomas Ryan was born! Could be a reason for him being there...

Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 17:57

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

I take this to be the marriage of James Devine and Mary as it takes place in Barnsley the year before the biirth of the eldest child:

Name: James Davine
Birth Year: abt 1826 (a bit out!)
Age: 31
Marriage or Bann Date: 28 Sep 1857
Parish: Barnsley, St Mary
Father's Name: John Davine
Spouse's Name: Mary Hogan
Spouse's Father's Name: John Hogan

However, I found an old post from 2009 somewhere:
"I am trying to find further information about my gg grandfather James Devine who I believe was born in Madras, India in approx 1823. Although census information conflicts between Madras and Ireland. There is a strong possibility he was born in Madras, as family stories exist.

He was married to Mary White (no marriage date) born, again I believe in County Clare and had at least 4 children."

So, where does the above researcher get the name MARY WHITE from??? of course, it could be wrong. Don't know what family stories are being referred to. The text is literal and so if you want to look and see if there is an email address, just put the beginning sentence into google. But it was five years ago...


Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 17:59

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

I have just found something that cancels out the Mary White idea. It's the baptism record of the eldest child Winifred:

England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 about Winefrida Divine
Name: Winefrida Divine
Gender: Female
Baptism Date: 28 Mar 1858
Baptism Place: Holy Rood, Barnsley, York, England
Father: Jacobi Divine
Mother: Maria Hogan Divine
FHL Film Number: 1942369
Reference ID: item 7-9 p 660

The father's name is given as Jacobus (i.e. James) and the mother's as Mary Hogan.


Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 18:29

Posted by: cath476 (881)

LEP - this all brilliant! I keep having a sneaky peek on my phone but can't wait to have a proper look later!

Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 18:50
Last edited by cath476: 29th Sep 2014 at 19:29:43

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

The baptism of the second child Mary:

England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 about Maria Devine
Name: Maria Devine
Gender: Female
Baptism Date: 6 Jul 1862
Baptism Place: Holy Rood, Barnsley, York, England
Father: Jacobi
Mother: Maria Hogan
FHL Film Number: 1942369
Reference ID: item 7-9 p 695

The 1881 census has these two children as being born in Barnsley. So this fits. The third child Clara was also supposedly born in Barnsley, but this doesn't seem to be true. Perhaps James and Mary did not want to say that Clara had been born in the workhouse in Durham. It#s not surprising that I couldn't find a baptism for Clara, but Holy Rood, Barnsley was/is a RC church and there are not so many RC records online.


Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 19:05

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

I don't know how far you want to delve into siblings etc., but in the 1881 census James and Mary have the following children: Winifred (abt. 1858), Mary (abt. 1862), Clara (abt. 1864), John (abt. 1868) and Annie (abt. 1871). After an eight-year gap "sons" Frederick (b. abt. 1879) and Thomas (born 1880/81) are noted. This got me wondering as Mary would have been 55 at the time. I suspected that the children must have been their grandchildren and so I did some rooting around. I found the baptism records of both:

Joannes Fredericus Divine (born in Jul/Aug/Sept 1878)
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

Name: Joannes Fredericus Divine
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 25 Dec 1878
Christening Place: Wath-upon-Dearne, York, England
Mother's Name: Winifred Divine

Indexing Project (Batch) Number: I04150-7 , System Origin: England-EASy , GS Film number: 1942372 ,Reference ID: item 4-10 p 181


Thomas Ernest Divine
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

Name: Thomas Ernest Divine
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 27 Mar 1881
Christening Place: Wath-upon-Dearne, York, England
Mother's Name: Maria Divine

Indexing Project (Batch) Number: I04150-7 , System Origin: England-EASy , GS Film number: 1942372 ,Reference ID: item 4-10 p 188

So, it seems that daughter Winifred was the mother of Frederick and daughter Mary the mother of Thomas.

On another topic, there are quite a lot of records relating to Devines born in India on familysearch, but I couldn't find one of a James born abt. 1823 with a father called John (known from marriage certificate). There is one tree on ancestry where the owner claims that the parents of James Devine were John and Emma and that Emma died in India in 1831, but this claim is completely without a source reference. Also the tree owner has Emma having a son three years after her death. He/she also has Clara marrying that Charles person I mentioned above and there are refernces to James in the 1861 and 1871 censuses that I think refer to someone else. I haven't yet traced James/Mary/Winifred in 1861 or James alone in 1871. I can only suggest that you remain sceptical about these findings.


Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 21:12
Last edited by LEP1950: 29th Sep 2014 at 21:14:42

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

So, I was going to pack in for tonight, but I have had one more find. If you have ancestry membership, you may have noticed that some trees have James and Mary in Selby in 1861. This is nonsense. First of all, this James was 13 years older than his wife and was born in 1811. Secondly there are three children mentioned - a James, Whiney (Winnie) and Helen. These do not correspond to the known children in the 1871 and 1881 censuses. Possibly Whiney could be Winnie, but this Winnie is several years older. AND if the people had looked for this James in 1871, they would have found him widowed and with the children James, Winifred and Ellen (sic), all ten years older and still in Selby. I get really frustrated about this kind of thing.

Anyway, I set about trying to look for the family again and found them under the transcription DARONE. Yes, that took quite a few imaginative steps!! Actually the original says DAVINE. I've now corrected it. Here's the record as I copied it:

Name: James Darone
Age: 39
Estimated Birth Year: 1822
Relation: Head
Spouse's Name: Mary Darone
Gender: Male
Where born: Ireland
Civil Parish: Barnsley
Ecclesiastical parish: St George
Town: Barnsley
County/Island: Yorkshire
Country: England
Registration district: Barnsley
Sub-registration district: Barnsley
ED, institution, or vessel: 15
Household schedule number: 41
Piece: 3446
Folio: 63
Page Number: 7
Household Members:
James Darone
Mary Darone
Windfred Darone

But Mary is only 26 supposedly. In 1871 she was listed as 46. Was the Irish accent so strong that the enumerator couldn't tell the difference between 20 and 30??? Or are we dealing with two different Marys?? A second wife?? James says he was born in Ireland. It may be true. I couldn't find him in the birth records for India on familysearch and on ancestry. He may have gone to India as an infant. A bit of a mystery as are his whereabouts in 1871. I'm off to bed. It's after midnight where I live. I need to think some more about all this.


Replied: 29th Sep 2014 at 23:20

Posted by: mygriffiths (1205)

A suggestion re India:
Penal servitude for some lesser crimes could have resulted in transportation to Australia. When time was served the freed prisoner could work their passage home probably stopping off in India to work.Maybe James' Irish father did this.

Replied: 30th Sep 2014 at 07:35

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

That's really interesting, mygriffiths. I knew about transportation from Ireland to Australia for crimes not much more serious than stealing apples, but I didn't know about prisoners working their way back home. I'd been thinking of the army.


Replied: 30th Sep 2014 at 08:00

Posted by: cath476 (881)

I saw some transportation penal records actually that had the name Devine on them but they too early for James - I'll have another look later.

Replied: 30th Sep 2014 at 17:04

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

There were a lot of Devines among the birth records for India, but no James to a John in the years around 1823.

I looked at those transportation records. There were quite a few Devines, but only one John (name of James's father), but unfortunately no date is given. They are interesting, though. I started looking up the names of all my Irish ancestors!!


Replied: 30th Sep 2014 at 20:06

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

I wasn't far wrong with the apple example. A certain Thomas Barnes was transported for seven years for possessing a stolen handkerchief!!!

Still haven't found James Devine in 1871. There is one lodging somewhere in Yorkshire, but he is described as unmarried. So, sceptical about that.


Replied: 30th Sep 2014 at 21:12

Posted by: LEP1950 (746)

I've ceased to be sceptical. I think there is a very likely possibility that this is the James you are looking for. First of all, he really is the nearest fit, but that is not a good enough reason. James is lodging in Brightside, Bierlow, Yorkshire in 1871 with Martin Bohan (sometimes Bowen in the censuses) and his wife Margaret, nee Fitzgerald. They married in Chesterfield, Derbyshire in 1858 and had four children born between 1859 and 1869 in CLAYCROSS, DERBYSHIRE. Their youngest (5th) child in this census was only 2 months old and born in Sheffield. It seems the Bohans had only recently moved to Yorkshire.
The two siblings born after Clara Devine were born in CLAYCROSS, DERBYSHIRE and this is the place that Mary Devine was living in alone with her children in 1871. The Bohans moved back to CLAYCROSS as they are there in 1881. I am basing what I say on circumstantial evidence, but it looks like James Devine lost his job in Barnsley, moved up to Durham to look for work in the coal mines, then on to Derbyshire. From here he followed or accompanied Martin Bohan to Yorkshire also in search of work, leaving Mary and the children temporarily behind. At this time he was still a coal miner. The Bowens returned to Claycross and James and family moved to Wath on Dearne. I can't prove that this James is the mising James but I really, really think so.

So, all for tonight.


Replied: 30th Sep 2014 at 23:06

Posted by: cath476 (881)

LEP1950, I'd completely forgotten about this thread but I just wanted to let you know, after more research and putting everything together, it looks like you absolutely right!

Replied: 7th Apr 2021 at 20:02

Posted by: mygriffiths (1205)

Cath476,I am sorry you must have missed the sad news that the lovely lady known as LEP1950 passed away in 2019.

Replied: 7th Apr 2021 at 23:41

Posted by: cath476 (881)

Oh, I did. How sad. She was so helpful and her research was brilliant.

Replied: 8th Apr 2021 at 10:42

Posted by: bentlegs (4805)

Some one was asking about anyone named Vose, I knew June Vose she went to Oz got divorced and came back to England She married again to my cosin but sadly died a few years ago, she left a son Dean in Oz.

Replied: 31st Aug 2021 at 11:49


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