Sunday, 5 October 2014

Nurse McConaghy of Carnaff, Dervock

A friend sought my help about Elizabeth McConaghy, a nurse linked to Carnaff, Dervock, who it was believed served in World War I and World War II. One of my Derrykeighan informants said that his grandfather and he had delivered peats to her home around 1942 and that she was, by then, an elderly lady.

[Death date led to newspaper search]

I could see no-one that might have fitted that description in Carnaff in the 1901 census but I did note a Grace Anne McConaghy and two children, Katherine and Alexander. The General Registry Office now has an online search facility so I slowly plodded through the deaths search from 1942, first under Dervock sub-district and then Ballymoney district. This on-line post-1864 search is not available for the past fifty years ie post-1964.

August Seventeenth, 1953, Route Hospital, Ballymoney - Elizabeth McConaghy, late of Carnaff, Dervock - Female - Spinster - 68 years - Retired Nurse - etc.

This indicated a date of birth adjacent to 1885 and a GRONI search yielded:

Fifth August, 1884 in Lisnabragh, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas McConaghy, farmer, and Ann McConaghy formerly McKinley.

A further birth search produced a brother Thomas, born Fourth July, 1887.

A GRONI marriage search gave Thos McConaghy, full age, bachelor, farmer, living at Lisnabragh, son of Dennis McConaghy, farmer, married in Ballymoney Reformed Presbyterian Church on Nov 20, 1883, Annie McKinley, full age, spinster, living at Clifton Terrace [on Millburn Road], Coleraine, daughter of Robert McKinley, farmer.

A further GRONI marriage search gave Dennis McConaghy, full age, bachelor, weaver, living in Toberdoney, son of Alex McConaghy, weaver, married in Billy Parish Church on 19 April 1853, Catherine Barr, full age, spinster, flowerer [embroidery?], living in Knockavallan, daughter of Thos Barr, weaver.

Anne McConaghie [note variant spelling] was a widow in the 1901 census and working back in the death searches I found that Elizabeth's father Thomas died on Eighth August, 1897, aged 43. and her grandfather Dennis just a sort time earlier on the Twenty-first June, 1897, aged 75. Dennis' death was reported by his daughter Grace Ann [in Carnaff in 1901 - see further up]. Dennis had received some Outdoor Relief support, also in 1897 [Ballymoney ancestry search]

If anyone can provide further information about Nurse McConaghy, especially a photograph, please email NALIL blog [see contact address].

Added October 5

There are several variants of the McConaghy name so it was hardly surprising that I would have difficulty finding Elizabeth once she moved away from her home in north Antrim. She was born in a Reformed Presbyterian home in 1884 and this provided the basis for a wider search. Mccon* produced a result in 1911 but it was macon* that produced a result in 1901.

Just 16 and three years after the adjacent deaths of her father and grandfather, Elizabeth Maconaghy is a servant in the Eglantine Avenue home in south Belfast of Maurice Frederick Fitzgerald, the Co Wicklow born Professor of Engineering in the then Queens College, Belfast, now Queens University. Ten years later, Elizabeth McConnachie is a nurse in the Belfast Union Workhouse on Lisburn Road, later to become Belfast City Hospital.

A NALIL friend has uncovered a Dennis McConaghy, son of Alexander McConaghy quite possibly Elizabeth's grandfather, born in the vicinity of Carnbore. [More to follow]