Silksworth St. Leonard Catholic baptisms 1873-1885, marriages 1873-1894, deaths 1873-1891

From the Roman Catholic church of St. Leonard in Silksworth, Sunderland district, which opened in Sept 1873:

  • 695 baptisms 1873-1885 plus the first one in 1886
  • 155 marriages from Dec 1874 to June 1894
  • 361 funerals from January 1874 to March 1891. Because this church did not have a burial ground until August 1882, most burials before then were at Ryhope Cemetery or Silksworth Cemetery. The burial place is stated in each burial.

Most of these records are in Latin. These baptisms usually include the mother’s maiden surname, the child’s birth date, and the names of a godfather and a godmother. The spelling of the surnames varies wildly – we found one family that went by Finley, Finlan, and Finnoran, another that alternated between McGorry, McGuire, and McGurrell, and a third that used Gartland, McGartland, and McGaghran interchangeably. There are also quite a few clerical errors. Here are two of the most puzzling, with our notes:

  • 12 Feb 1879 Maria Anna Leonard [Lanagan], of Ryhope, born 9 Feb 1879, daughter of David Leonard [Lanagan] & Annae olim Toole
    Godparents or Sponsors: Nicholas Mulveney; Martha Mulveney
    [Note: the surname may be an error. There are other baptisms here to David LANAGAN and Ann Toole, and Mary Ann, aged 2, is with them in the 1881 census. The GRO birth index says Mary Ann Lannigan.]
  • 5 Sep 1876 Eugenius Martin [Hughes], of 36 Cory St, Ryhope, born 14 Aug 1876, son of Edvardi Martin [Hughes] & Catharinae olim Shearon
    Godparents or Sponsors: Patritius Follen; Margarita Shearon
    [Note: the surname may be an error. There are other baptisms here to Edward HUGHES and Catharine Shearon. The GRO birth index shows this child as Owen Hughes, mother’s maiden surname Shearon.]

These are not the type of errors where the clerk mis-heard the name, as Lanagan sounds nothing like Leonard and Hughes sounds nothing like Martin, and they don’t appear to be the type of error where the clerk was copying the name from another piece of paper, so we’re mystified. It makes us wonder if these families did indeed sometimes use a completely different surname.

There were also quite a few converts to Catholicism receiving “conditional” baptisms (conditional because their baptismal status was unknown and you weren’t supposed to be baptized twice). Below we have 3 generations of the same family conditionally baptized on the same day:

  • 11 Jun 1881 Isabella Liddell, of New Tunstall, born Aug 1833, daughter of Thomae Dauson & Margaritae, conditional baptism
  • 11 Jun 1881 Sara Liddell, of New Tunstall, born 11 Feb 1860, daughter of Eduardi Liddell & Isabellae olim Dauson, conditional baptism
  • 11 Jun 1881 Joannes Michael Liddell, of New Tunstall, born 7 Feb 1880, son of Joanis Kennedy & Sarae Liddell, conditional baptism

A number of baptisms include information about the eventual marriage of the child being baptized, as the diligent priests went back to the register 20+ years later and added that information:

  • 2 May 1875 Maria Richardson, of 57 Queen St, Ryhope, born 26 Mar 1875, daughter of Patritii Richardson & Juliae olim Mullen, married Nathanelo Stanness at St Patricii Ryhope 28 Nov 1909
    Godparents or Sponsors: Joannes Kelly; Elizabeth Coulden

Sample marriages – these name the father of the groom, the father of the bride and often his abode, and usually the abodes of the witnesses:

  • 14 May 1877 Thomam McManus (of Ryhope, son of Francisci McManus) married Gratian Simpson (of Ryhope, daughter of Thomae Simpson, of Windy Nook, Gateshead)
    Witnesses: Jacobo Clark, of Johnston St Bishopwearmouth; Maria Howley, of Ryhope

Sample burials – all of these list the death date and some of them list the grave number:

  • 3 Apr 1874 Birgitta Fannon, of New Tunstall, age: 40, buried at Ryhope Cemetery, died 31 Mar
  • 21 Aug 1884 Gulielmus Crawley, of New Tunstall, age: 56, buried at St Leonard’s, grave 28, died 18 Aug