|The Search for John Cotter|
As with most Churches and Parishes in Ireland , there are constant requests for Baptismal, Marriage and other Certificates for a variety of reasons and these are provided as part of the day-to-day activities of Parish Sacristans and Secretaries.
And what may seem to be a rather mundane duty becomes a delight when there is a request for a search with regard to a person from the distant past.
St. Patrick's Church on the Lower Glanmire Road, Cork, gets it's fair share of requests and tries to help those who require this information, particularly members of the Irish diaspora who cannot visit to view the Records directly. In most cases, when the information is reasonably accurate, certificates can be provided. If the information contains an address, and it is found that an old ‘homestead' still exists, a photograph will be taken and forwarded to the person who seeks the information, thus giving this person a greater connection with the past.
An interesting case arose recently which gave us, at St. Patrick's, an opportunity to demonstrate our determination to please, and is as follows;
Sheila, from a large North American city, had been for years, trying to find details of her paternal Grandfather through the usual ‘Roots' type websites, before hopping on to www.stpatrickscork.com and in an email dated 5th. May 2012 wrote:
Dear Sir/Madam: I am trying to find records of my grandfather, John Cotter, who arrived in the US with his parents and siblings in June 1892. So, the records would be before that date. I believe that his address was 45 Ballyhooly Road . His parents were John and Catherine (nee Harrington) Cotter. His siblings were Philip, Catherine, Joseph, Ellen, William, and James (these are the ones I can remember, there may be more).Are you able to verify that they were members of your Congregation? How can I receive copies of the verifying documents? Is there a fee for this? Thank you for your help. Sheila
While awaiting the results of the Record Search, No. 45, Ballyhooly Road was found, photographed, and sent on to Sheila.
45, Ballyhooley Road , (Blue Façade) where John Cotter Snr. and his wife Catherine lived, and where it is assumed where John Jnr. was born in 1873, this was ultimately found to be incorrect.
In response, having checked our Records, Aonghus O'Broin, Parish Secretary replied;
Grattan Hill , where Sheila's Great Grandmother had lived at the time of her marriage
We have lots of baptisms as follows:
Michael born 16-9-1874, address given Harrington Place, Godparents John
I notice that you have a response from St. Joseph 's parish identifying
Barrackstream (house unknown), where Mary was born in 1869
No. 1 Harrington Place (grey corner house), where most of the Cotter children were born between 1874 and 1889.
‘ This is fantastic! I cannot thank you enough. I don't know who Hannah is, but I am going to try to find out.'
Map of St. Patrick's Parish (part) and adjoining Parish, SS Mary & Anne Shandon (part).
A Patrick Street , Cork City centre
B Rowland Lane, Anne Moore home
C North Cathedra, where John Cotter was baptisedl
D 100, Shandon St. where John Cotter was born
E St. Patrick's Church, Lower Glanmire Road .
F St. Patrick's School
G Grattan Hill, Catherine Harrington's pre marriage home
H Windsor Tce.
L No. 45, Ballyhooley Road
K Kateville, Ballyhooley Rd.
M Harrington Square
P St. Joseph's Church
Q 224, Old Youghal Road
R 215/216, Old Youghal Road
From the City Library; a photocopy of the ‘ Cork Examiner' dated Monday 30 th . May 1892 advertising the various Shipping Companies operating sailings from Ireland (Queenstown) to ports in the United States
As a matter of interest, it was pointed out to Sheila that the ISMAY mentioned at the bottom of this advertisement was ‘Bruce Ismay', the co-owner of the ‘White Star Line' and the person named in the story on the ill- fated SS Titanic which was lost after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic in 1912 . Bruce Ismay survived this tragedy, he retired to live in Connemara , Co. Galway between 1920 to 1936, and on ill-health, he returned to England and died in 1937.
The vessel ‘Teutonic' on which the Cotter family sailed to the United States ( New York ) on 23rd. June 1892, arriving at Ellis Island on Wednesday 29th. June 1892. This was 180 days following the arrival of the first person to be registered at Ellis Island, a young Cork girl named Anne Moore, baptised at St. Patrick's Church on 25th. May 1874. A brass plaque to this effect is located adjacent to the Baptismal Font where many of Sheila's ancestors were also baptised.
Sheila, in one of her many emails recalled being told that her Great Grandmother,
Catherine Cotter (nee Harrington), had been ‘disowned‘ by her father on Catherine's marriage to John Cotter. This is despite Catherine (Kate) being a favourite of her father and to the extent that her father, who had owned property in the general area, had named some of this property as ‘Kateville'.
In the surrounds of Ballyhooly Road , there are places, even to this day, named Harrington Place, Harrington Square and Harrington Row.
A physical search of the area failed to establish the whereabouts of ‘Kateville', however, after a further visit to the City Library, ‘Kateville' was identified from Ordinance Survey maps pre the 1900's.
Note the name ‘Kate' (Snr.) recorded in the Ellis Island immigrant records.
'Kateville', the O.S. map indicated only two houses, now numbers 108 and 109 Ballyhooly Road, with a vacant plot adjacent. An extension to No. 109 was built on this plot, now 109a, (grey façade with two dormer windows).
Sheila, on receipt of the list of Baptisms was understandably upset that her Grandfather was not on the list, and so a further search was undertaken by Aonghus but to no avail.
A question was posed to Canon Dan PP on the lines that ‘ if a child on birth was found to be ‘poorly' and a priest called, the child Baptised in the house, could it be that such a Baptism might go unregistered in the Church Records through oversight'. Canon Dan thought that this could have been possible at that time, 140 years ago. Today, it would be normal that a request for a Baptism is made through the Church Sacristan who would prepare the required pre-baptism details and would ensure that there would be a proper entry in the Baptismal Records.
This observation was passed on to Sheila.
Your email today reminded me of what my aunt told me about my grandfather, 'he was so small at birth that he could fit in a shoebox'.........just as you suggested. I am going to try the websites you recommended. But even if I don't find anything else, I have St. Patrick's records and the memories of John Cotter, a gentle man who loved me unconditionally and spoiled me rotten.
In a subsequent email Sheila having seen our article on the Home Page of our website outlining Megan Smolenyak's search for the true ‘Anne Moore' and she being the first person passing through Ellis Island and being of a similar age as her Grandfather, was it possible that her Grandfather might have known Anne Moore.
Reference to the Map above, Rowlands Lane where Anne Moore lived, is reasonably close to the Ballyhooly Road /St. Luke's Cross area. Rowlands Lane would have been in the adjoining Parish of SS Mary and Anne Shandon
In our article dealing with the Educational developments of St. Patrick's district, the following is an extract from that article;
St. Patrick's School opened to pupils for the first time on 13th September 1841 . It's location at St. Luke's Cross was described by it's first manager, Rev. Patrick William Coffey, as 'the most central of St. Patrick's district and approachable by six roads which meet at this point.' Fr. Coffey, in his letter of 20th. September 1841, applying for aid towards the payment of teachers' salaries and supply of books, informed the Commissioners of National Education that 'the educational wants of the poor in the district of St. Patrick's and in the parishes of S.S. Mary and Anne Shandon in the eastern suburbs of the city of Cork induced the clergy and laity of the parishes to confer on this important subject two years back.'
It could be reasonably assumed that the Cotter siblings attended this school, it being ‘just down the road' from No. 1 Harrington Place . It is also most possible that Anne Moore and her brothers also attended this school, it being the principle educational facility in the general area.
But did John Cotter know Anne Moore ?……….who can tell
In a further attempt to trace John Cotter the very helpful City Library officials suggested that two websites should be accessed;
The website of ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints', www.familysearch.org who specialises in records of births worldwide.
This website contains two John Cotters born in Cork in 1873 records but contains no further information such as birthdates, addresses, or parental details.
The second website is that of the ‘General Registration Office of Ireland , www.gro.ie The Library officials advised that the tracing of births would best be undertaken by a physical visit and search. In the case of a search with just a name and a birth year to be undertaken by Registry Office officials by a ‘distant request' could be time consuming and expensive.
Finally, all that we could do in St. Patrick's was to send a photograph of the Marriage entry of Sheila's Grandparents, unfortunately 144 year old ink tends to fade.
Clearly Sheila knew her Grandfather and all she wanted was a copy of his Baptismal Record. And this simple everyday request with which St. Patrick's was unable to comply, resulted in the above research, and may be of some consolation to Sheila.
Should anyone have any further information in relation to our ‘search' for John Cotter, we are sure that this would be appreciated by Sheila.
Contact can be made at email@example.com
JK June 2012
Since going on line with the above, Sheila has advised that Catherine Cotter had one more child, Martin, who was born in Chicago .
Sheila was also curious: ‘was £8 .00 or £9.00 a lot of money back then (1892) ? Did they have to pay for all of the children ?
We replied ;
‘Nine Pounds Sterling (£9.00) in 1892 equates to $415.36 US in 2012
Today, a one way trip on the Queen Mary 2 (taking six days) costs about $1500 while Freighter Passenger (taking 10 days) is about $135 per day. In both cases, the passenger would have a private cabin and the price also includes three full meals per day.
In your grandparents time, accommodation and meals at this Passenger Class was Second Class, not as good as Solo/Stateroom class but certainly much better than ‘Steerage' which was most likely ‘communal', (and very rough, especially in bad weather).
I doubt if there were any reduced costs for children as each would have been allocated a bunk in perhaps a number of cabins. Reference photo of the ‘Teutonic', these cabins would have been at lower mid-ship (the dark line of portholes).
Sheila also asked ‘how did the adults survive 6 days on a boat with all these children'.
‘Given that it was mid summer, the crossing was most likely calm. It was a great adventure and I would think that they were all very excited with the prospects of a new begining in the‘ New World '.'
Furthermore, we have found a descendent on the Harrington side of the family living in Cork and who is now in contact with Sheila.
Hopefully, we will be able to add more to the ‘The Search for John Cotter' in due course.
We have since received further information that .... .... John Cotter was in fact baptised in the North Cathedral.
Wedding Day of John Cotter and Ada Mischer (German)
John & Ada Cotter, (pictures received September 2014)
Picture of Shandon Church (it is assumed) painted by Sheila's Grandfather over 100 years ago. For larger image CLICK
Birth record [General Records Office Ireland]
February 26 th 1873, at 100 Shandon St, Cork: birth of John Cotter, son of John Cotter, Shandon Street, black smith, and Kate Cotter, formerly Harrington; informant Ellen Leonard, Shandon St (present at birth); birth registered March 4 th 1873
Certificates available online from: http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/bdm/Certificates/
Baptismal record [Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne (also known as the ‘North Cathedral’ or informally as the ‘North Chapel’)]
February 26 th 1873 - baptism of John Cotter, Shandon St, son of John Cotter and Catherine Harrington, volume 11, page 190, entry 28, ID 476883
Cathedral website: http://www.corkcathedral.ie/ See also: http://www.corkcathedral.ie/Genealogy/Genealogy.html
Diocesan website: http://www.corkandross.org/parishes.jsp?parishID=1
YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/cathevents
Another surprising Birth Record was found through the GRO, the first Daniel Cotter:
Birth record [General Records Office Ireland]
Daniel Cotter, birth: 26th. August 1871, Cork, Ireland
father: John Cotter
mother: Kate Harrington
Reference ID v15p116
reply from GRO 100114:
26/08/1871, at Barrack Stream, Daniel, son of John Cotter, Barrackstream, black smith, and Kate Cotter, formally Harrington, informant Kate Cotter, mother, Barrack Stream; registeration 05/09/1871.
School record [St Patrick’s Male National School, St. Luke’s, Cork]John Cotter’s entry in St. Patrick’s School register March 29 th , 1881: John was one of 35 boys who transferred from the Infants to the Boys school on that date (further details on pages 2 and 3).
The Cotter boys in St. Patrick’s National School 1881-1892
[in all six cases the father’s occupation is listed as ‘smith’]
John Cotter Enrolled St Patrick’s Boys NS: Mar 29th 1881
Age last birthday: 8
Father’s occupation: Smith
Previous school/class: St. Patrick’s Infants/2nd
Last record: Aug 27th 1881
Thomas Cotter of St. Luke’s, aged 7, enrolled Apr 14th 1887, from St Patrick’s Infants/1 st ; last record: Jun 19th 1892
William Cotter of Barrackstream, aged 9, enrolled Jan 17th 1888, ‘never at National School’; last record: Jan 30th 1891
Michael Cotter of Barrackstream, aged 13, enrolled Oct 30th 1888, from South Monastery/5th ; last record: Feb 2nd 1889
Joseph Cotter of Ballyhooly Road, aged 8, enrolled Apr 29th 1889, from St Patrick’s Infants/3rd , last record: Jun 19th 1892
James Cotter of Barrackstream, aged 9, enrolled Dec 1st , 1891, from St Patrick’s Infants/3rd; last record: Jun 19th 1892
Four of the six Cotters who attended St. Patrick’s had their home address recorded as Barrackstream with Joseph listed as being from Ballyhooly Road and Thomas from St. Luke’s. The home addresses in the school records at that time were very general: names such as St. Luke’s (=‘near St. Luke’s Cross’) , Lower Road (=‘Lower Glanmire Road area’) and Barrackton (=‘opposite/near the Barracks’) might each refer to boys from ten or more streets or terraces.
Barrackstream was a common address before 1905: it did not refer to a single street but to an area near Dillon’s Cross where nowadays the houses would be listed as Old Youghal Road or Ballyhooly Road or by the names of adjoining terraces and rows. Hence Joseph’s ‘Ballyhooly Road’ address does not necessarily indicate a change of house from Michael’s ‘Barrackstream’. The information was most likely gathered by asking the boys themselves and it is not unusual in the school register to find different addresses for members of the same family, probably depending on how each child described the location of their home.
In the St. Patrick’s Boys school registers, Harrington’s Row, Harrington’s Place or Harrington’s Avenue do not appear before 1894: it is quite likely that pupils from this part of Ballyhooly Road were recorded under the ‘Barrackstream’ label. [Unlike St. Patrick’s Church records, street names with house numbers did not begin to appear in the school register until c. 1917.]
Education in Ireland in the 1800s was controlled from London and in the 1870s each primary school level had a certain ‘book’ of required knowledge in English language and math that had to be mastered and which was the subject of tests by Board of Education inspectors: it would have been common for a pupil to say that they were ‘on the 4th book’ where today they might say ‘4th class’ or ‘4th grade’. St. Patrick’s pupils generally left the Infant school and transferred to the Boys’ when they were on the 1 st or 2 nd book and about 8 years old. [Actual dates of birth only began to be recorded around 1910] It is noteworthy that the Cotter boys did not join the school in order of their ages: William and Michael in particular appear to be out of sequence.
William apparently went to school for the first time at 9. It was common at the time for children to start school at 6 years and stay until joining the workforce at 13 or 14 but many children did not begin school until much later and many also had intermittent attendance. School attendance for children of 6-14 years did not become compulsory until 1892: even then the requirement only applied to children in urban areas and an attendance of about 70% satisfied the law. Around that time, St. Patrick’s would register about 10 boys every year who had never been to school and who might be any age up to 14 years.
After (presumably) two years in the Infant School, John Cotter’s career in St. Patrick’s Boys appears to only have lasted from late March to the Summer vacation of 1881 by which time he was still only 8. A possible explanation is suggested by looking at Michael’s record. Michael transferred to St. Patrick’s at age 13 from the South Monastery (a Presentation Brothers school near the Presentation Convent in Douglas Street about 1.5 miles from Dillon’s Cross) when he was on the 5th book. Perhaps John also attended that school and finished his schooling there?
St. Patrick’s Boys School
St. Patrick’s Boys’ and Girls’ National schools were established near St. Luke’s Cross in Cork in 1841; later a separate infant school was opened on the same site. The schools were built between Ballyhooly Road and Alexandra Road (see map). Alexandra Road is some 30 feet higher than Ballyhooly Road at this point and this led to a rather unusual design. The boys and girls were housed in the same 2-storey building with the girls occupying the upper floor and the boys the lower. The girls’ entrance opened onto Alexandra Road and their recreation yard was adjoining it; the boys entered from Ballyhooly Road and their yard was in front of the building on the lower level. The infant school on the same site was later separated from the seniors by a wall.
The school was on the edge of the city at that time: an 1870 map above shows a terrace of cottagesimmediately north of the school but only three other houses between that terrace and the houses at the Barracks Cross (now Dillon’s Cross).
The boys continued to occupy the school until a new school was built in 1937 about quarter of a mileto the north. The girls and infants continued on the St. Luke’s site until the late 1950s when a new building was erected for them in the next field to the boys school. The photo above right which appears on Diarmuid O’Donovan’s site ( http://www.dodonovan.com/?p=657 ) was taken in 1937 and gives a glimpse of the boys’ yard with the infant school in the background .
The old school buildings were levelled in the late 1960s and in the early 1990s a private house [red-brick, ‘Russet House’ on maps] was built in the site. [The girls’ entrance was through the stone wall high above the house on the left. The terrace to the right of the school site is ‘Hill View Cottages’ as shown on the map at top left.] On aerial photo sites such as osi.ie or Bing or Google maps, the girls’ yard, now overgrown, can be seen on the Alexandra Road (upper) side.
It was not very difficult to find where John Cotter was born some 140 years ago. It is still the original three storey building with a delightful florist shop on the ground floor but perhaps it was not so on the 26th. February 1873.
Most likely it was multi-family dwelling on this busy artery leading out of Cork City with various traders, horse and trap traffic and passing ladies dressed with black shawls and known as 'Shawlies'. The North Cathedral, which registered John's baptism is within 100 yards of his birth place, and ironically perhaps only about 200 yards. from the home of Anne Moore.
The records above indicates that John was baptised on the same date as his birth and possibly due to a health condition as described by Sheila 'he was so small at birth that he could fit in a shoebox'
But in life, he was large enough to leave a lasting impression on his granddaughter, who has strived so hard to trace his 'roots' and has led Sheila to this point in time.
This delightful building is now occupied by Stacy O'Neill, www.shandonflowers.com and would seem to be a fitting end to Sheila's adventure on 'The Search for John Cotter'
But, was that the end, it was pointed out to us that the large Crucifix on the right-hand Nave of St. Patrick's Church was donated in memory of a Daniel Harrington & Family, perhaps over 100 years ago.
The Daniel and Ellen Harrington referred were in fact Sheila's Greatgrand Parents.
The Cork Examiner, 7th. September 1878
(perhaps a bit of useless information at this stage)
THE ACCIDENT ON THE MACROOM RAILWAY.—Amongst the sufferers is Thomas Harrington, eldest son of Mr. Daniel Harrington, of Harrington Place, St. Luke's. He was in the carriage next the engine, and sustained severe injuries about the head. He is at home under the treatment of Dr. S. O'Sullivan.
Harrington family headstone at St. Joseph's Cemetery, Ballyphehane, Cork
Script is as follows:
THO. & ABIGAL HARRINGTON
in memory of their beloved son
Died July 9 th 1845
[line of small italic text]
DIED OCT 18, 1860
Aged 67 years
At the bottom of the stone, there are 3 or 4 further lines of small italic text that cannot be read but appear to be lower-case italics and do not appear to be the names of further deceased - might be a prayer or verse from scripture.
Drowning of Joseph Harrington
Cork Examiner, Friday 9th July 1875
The following is an extract from the Cork Examiner, giving a report on Joseph Harrington (who would have been an uncle of John Cotter), from the Coroner at the time.
Sad Case of Drowning: Mr. Coroner Jones held an inquest yesterday on the body of Joseph Harrington who was drowned in the pond near the Glen. Jeremiah Leahy said he was in the Glen at the time of the occurranence and saw the deceased going into the pond for a swim. He afterwards heard shouts and on returning to the spot he saw bubbles rising as if something had been thrown into the water. He was told that Harrington was just after sinking. He in the company with two other lads, ran to the house of the deceased and acquainted his relatives of the accident. A young lad named Bryan dived for the body but could not succeed in reaching it. There was six foot of water in the place where he was drowned. The two lads named Twomey and M. Ostrich stated that they saw the deceased go into the water and after he had swam some distance he suddenly went down. It appeared as if his legs had caught in the weeds and he was unable to extricate himself. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
Sheila eventually got Cathedral records not just of her grandfather, but of three further generations of one branch of his mother’s (Harrington) family with the earliest record dating back to 1789.
Her great-grandfather Daniel Harrington, who donated the Crucifix to St Patrick’s, is buried with his parents in St Joseph’s Cemetery in Ballyphehane.
And what about the Cotters - further research elicited the following:
Directory Records of Cotters, Harrington and others:
* The records show that John Cotter’s father and grandfather were Blacksmiths.
* John Cotters in-laws were in the 'shopkeeping' business which later seemed to evolve into the property development business.
No. 224, Old Youghal Road with new roof, chimney and pebble-dash. John Cotter's Grandfather lived here during the 1840's
An empty corner where Nos. 215 and 216 Old Youghal Road once stood. John Cotter's Grandfather is recorded as living in these two houses at different times during the 1870's. No 224 above is 10/11 doors down the Old Youghal Road, right fork. Directly accross from this junction is the high walls of Collins Barracks (Victoria Barracks during the time of John Cotter's grandfather). Why or when these two houses were demolished needs further research.
Visit of the Cotter/Harrington 'Family' to St. Patrick's Church. Loaded 21st. September 2016
The 'Harringtons' review Harrington/Cotter records with David Dwyer, Sacristan on their visit to St. Patrick's Church on Wednesday 22nd. June 2016
Kay Macken is the daughter of John Thaddeus Harrington, Grand daughter of Philip Harrington and Great-Grand daughter of Daniel and Ellen Harrington
Paulette Peterson and Kay Macken (cousins) with the Crucifix erected in memory of the death of Daniel Harrington, 11th. December 1891
With their husbands, Norman Peterson and Aidan Macken
(Kay is the daughter of John Thadeus Harrington, grand-daughter of Philip Harrington and great-grand-daughter of Daniel & Ellen)
Daniel and Ellen Harrington Memorial Plaque
Kay Macken (left) with her husband Aidan, children and grand children, placing the inscribed Brass Memorial Plaque on the 125th. anniversary of her great-grand father's death.
With her family and Canon Dan (PP) at the base of the Crucifix erected in memory of her Great-Grand Parents
No body knows who or where the next piece of information comes from, however it is very nice and indeed gratifying when this information arrives. So, when this next piece came to us just before Christmas it was very pleasing, particularly in view of the association with St. Patrick's Church and Parish. (2nd. March 2020)