Birtley St. Joseph Roman Catholic baptisms 1853-1862

736 baptisms at Birtley St. Joseph, a Roman Catholic church in Birtley in the civil district of Chester-le-Street. We now have baptisms here from 1745 to 1862 inclusive.

These records are in Latin and we have retained the Latin forms of the names. The baptisms do not give the father’s occupation or the family’s abode, but they do list¬† the mother’s maiden surname, the child’s birth date, and two godparents. Many godparents share a surname with one of the parents, so they are probably related, which may be helpful in your research.

Some samples:

  • 30 Jan 1853 Jacobus O’Reilly, born 4 Dec 1852, son of Jacobi O’Reilly & Rosoe olim Gorman
    Godparents or Sponsors: Joannes McCluskey; Maria Anna McClear
  • 29 Dec 1861 Maria Brannon, born 26 Dec 1861, daughter of Edwardi Magee & Birgettoe Brannon
    Godparents or Sponsors: Maria Brannon
    [Note: “conjugum” is crossed out, so the parents are not married.]

A few baptisms also tell who the child eventually married.

  • 7 Oct 1859 Thomas McDonald, born 29 Sep 1859, son of Patritii McDonald & Marioe olim Fitzpatrick, married Anna Ryans at St Cuthberts Durham on 8 Apr 1914.
    Godparents or Sponsors: Petrus Dunn; Catharina McCabe

This one was interesting:

  • Emily Gordon [Vesey], born 11 Jul 1859, widow, daughter of John Vesey & Jane olim Mills, baptised as Emily Vesey in the church of St Joseph at Birtley, married Edward Anthony in the church of St Dominic at Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 14 May 1931
    [Note: this is on a printed card tucked into the register in July-August 1860, apparently as the only record of her baptism, since the baptism is not recorded in the register.]

As with other Catholic baptisms we have recently released, the surname spelling in these varies wildly, differing from the spelling in the GRO civil birth index and differing across baptisms within the same family. We noticed a few patterns:

  • treating “l” and “n” as the same letter: Connell and Connon were both used for the same person. Manuel, Mannun, Manahan, and Monaghan are all the same family.
  • treating “l” and “r” as the same letter: Garrigan and Galligan, Corrigan and Colligan
  • dropping or adding “Mc” to a name: Garrick and McGarrick
  • swapping “C”,¬† “K”, and “G” at the beginning of a name: Garrigan, Carrigan, and Keerogan, or Calligan and Galligan
  • writing McElhatton as “Michael Hatton”

One mother’s maiden surname was given, over several baptisms, as Pickering, Pickerton, and Pukett (which was recorded as Pickell in the GRO birth index). Another mother was listed as McGargle and Gargan, but McGarrick in the birth index. Another was listed as Coollican, Coulson, and Coulton, but was Coulton (for Coollican) and Coken (for Coulton) in the birth index. The names McGear, McGerr, McGarl, McGire, and Migar were all used for the same person. Queenan, Keenan, and Quin were all interchangeable. Rresearchers of Irish ancestors, you have my sympathy!