Sorting theRichard Woods in King’s County
My grandmother used to sing one of the lines in the chorus of an old Count Basie song Open the door Richard. I hoped that sorting out the Richards in Kings County, Ireland would lead me to further information on my genealogical quest.
This quest started when I was looking to find my gg.grandmother’s parents. I knew from books written about her husband Robert17and her sister Kate18, that her parents’ names were Richard and Anne and that they moved to Canada in 1861. Based on the wedding announcement15Alice’s parents were from Parsonstown, Ireland. This was confirmed by a copy of the marriage certificate16, which also gave her father’s occupation as a gentleman. Parsonstown was located in King’s County Ireland. The town is now called Birr and the county is now called Offaly.
As Alice was the second daughter and she was born in 1851C6, I searched for wedding records for Richard Woods with a wife Anne in the mid 1840s and located their wedding certificate1. In 1847, Richard Woods was listed as a gentleman, was already full age (over 21). Anne Woods was listed as full age (over 21). Richard’s father Richard Woods was listed as a merchant, and Anne’s father Richard Woods was listed as a Captain on half-pay.
So now I have Alice, whose parent are Richard Woods and Anne Woods, and they both have fathers that are Richard Woods.
Next step was to see what information was available from the census and census substitutes. Knowing how few censuses are available from Ireland I wasn’t holding out much hope. However, I was lucky, I hit paydirt. An 1821 census was available for Parsonstown. Except maybe it isn’t paydirt after all. I found Anne Woods, whose father is Richard, and her mother is named Anne, her father’s occupation is listed as Captain. I found six Richard Woods, but only one with a father named Richard and that father is a Shopkeeper, which matches a merchant, and his mother is named Anne.
So I started with:
Not only do I have Richard and Anne Woods three times over, I have another three Richards. I decided I needed to sort out the Woods of King’s County in the early to mid-1800s to figure out how they all fit together.
I labelled Richard and Anne, the parents of Alice Mary as and Annea. Annea’s parents are Richardband Anneb; Richarda’s parents are Richardcand Annec; a Richard Woods, only one year older than Richardaand living just down the street, with a father named Thomas is labelled Richardd; a 16-year old Richardeand a 79-year old Richardfcomplete the grouping.
The search of the civil records for marriage certificates with open dates found only one other Richard Woods, born about 18513and therefore too young to be included in the Richards currently being researched.
I then worked on matching residences and occupations with other census substitutes. These included valuation books, landed estate rentals, and directories such as Pettigrew and Oultons, Thom’s and the National Commercial Directory of Ireland.
Residences and Occupations
The residences listed on the 1821 census were 3C2and 5C1Duke Street, 3 Duke SquareC5, 4 William StreetC3, and 31 Castle StreetC4. I quickly found that street numbers are not actually street numbers. What is listed as 4 William StreetC3, in other documents is listed as 3 William StreetD14, and in others as 2 Williams StreetD13. Another issue that became apparent is the Duke SteetC1-2continues to be Duke Street in the Landed Estate Court RentalsD7, the same use of the houses (i.e. an apothecary or medical office right next door to a cloth merchant) is called Main Street in the Commercial DirectoryD116-118.
I then reviewed all the documents I could find relating to either occupation or residence of any Richard Woods in Offaly county between the years 1821 and 1864. Patterns started to emerge and I am able to confidently identify three of the Richards and how they are placed within the community.
Richarda was definitely living at 5 Duke Street in 1921C1. He named his home in Victoria after the place he lived in Ireland17, Garbally. A Richard Woods lived at Garbally when Richardawould have been around 33D6, just before he and Anneamarried.
Garbally is definitely connected in some way to Richarda, but whether that was through actually living there or family living there I am currently unsure. Garbally, comprising 585 acres, was leased to brothers Richard Woods, Thomas and William Woods55in 1848 for the life of William Woods, Thomas Woods, first and eldest son of Richard, and Michael Woods (a 175356document updated the lives from Francis, second son of Thomas to Michael youngest son of Thomas). As all of the signatories on the document would have needed to be of full age, the Richard that signed the document would be too old be any of the Richards that I am currently sorting. Further tracing of the deeds is an ongoing project.
Alice’s father was listed on her marriage certificate16and on his own1as a gentleman. However, he did work. After moving to Canada, in 1863 he was a clerk in the registrar’s officeD162, by 1868 he was the registrar for the supreme courtD159, and by 1874 he was the High SherrifD163. It is likely then that Richardaworked in a similar sort of position while in Ireland. To confirm that, the directories were very helpful. As early as 1829D101, when Richardawould have been 16 there is listings for Richard Woods as commissioner of affidavits in Partsonstown. The next directory listing a Richard Woods in 1834D103indicates that he is a Ch (Master Extraordinary in Chancery), K (Commissioner Kings Bench, later years Q for Queens), C (Common Pleas) and E (Exchequer). This continues all the way to 1861D155, the year that they moved to Canada. There is no record of Richard Woods after that date with the exception of one in Thom’s Directory there is a Richard Woods “Ch” in 1864, this is considered to be an error on the part of the directory. There is also a Richard Woods acting as a marriage registrar from 1846D119, again in every directory through to 1861D154,D156with none showing after that date. For a number of the early years, Richard Woods was also a Stamp DistributorD114(the tax kind, not the post office kind); however, that ended in the early 1850s. I can confidently state, therefore, that Richardawas a marriage registrar and commissioner of affidavits before he moved to Canada as well as after he arrived in Canada.
Richardb is Richard John
Probably the easiest to sort out was Richardb. He in the army, which meant that documents often referred to his rankD10, D117, documents also indicated his middle initial was “J”D14and his middle name was JohnD13. This led to other genealogical documents (to be discussed later). He is also listed as nobility and gentryD117as well as his rank. It was also easy to confirm that he moved to Oxmantown Place after William Street.
In 1821, both ThomasC2and RichardcC1are listed as shopkeepers on Duke Street. There are four other Thomas Wood’s on the 1821 census (another project perhaps): an apothecaryC7, a chandlerC8, a timber merchantC9, and a labourerC10. The first three of these are listed on Main Street, the last lived in Kinnitty.
In 1824D165Richard Woods is listed as a linen and woollen draper on Duke Street. In 1844D3, Richard Woods and John Molloy are jointly occupying a property on Duke Street. Again the property next door is occupied by Thomas Woods and both have a business in the house.
In 1846 D116, there is a Richard Woods as a linen and woollen drapers and haberdashers on Main Street and a Thomas Woods listed as a physician and surgeon also on Main Street. There is no apothecaries or timber merchants listed. Although a Thomas Woods is listed as nobility living at GarballyD164.
June 184839a Richard died at age 59. That would have made him 32 in 1821. The only one that fits is Richardc. This also agrees with documents that record Mrs. Anne WoodsD7,27as a representative of Richard for the property on Duke Street after that date. This must then be Annec.
In 1852D7, Annec Woods as representative of Richard Woods was on Duke Street with the address being used as a cloth and general mercery [sic] establishment. Adjoining was the premises of Thomas Woods being used as Medical Hall, which is the same as in 1821 on the census.
Duke Street was between Main Street and Duke Square in the 1840s and it is likely that the directories simply took this as one long street ending in Duke Square.
As the three Richards I was able to place are the three that I know are related to me, I could have stopped here. However, my goal was to try to place all of the Richards within the community. The land information, while assisting me in placing three of the Richards included another four residences and added another Richard Woods.
The other Richards
There is a entry for the representative of the Reverend Richard Woods at Chapel Lane that begins to appear in 1854D20. However, the only Reverend Richard that could be found in that year in the Thom’s DirectoryD170in the Ecclesiastical Directory living in Lismore and had been living there in 1851D169also. While it is possible that it could be either Richarddor Richarde, it could also be a completely different Richard. We can safely exclude Richardfas, if he lived until then, he would have been 112 years of age and very unlikely to be starting a new career as a reverend.
Pound Street it shows up only once in the period in question and that was to rent out some acreage43. However, it shows up again in the 1890s where a Richard Woods is getting a dog licenseD301-2and in the directory of Parsonstown residents is noted as a gardenerD158. Again this is unlikely to be one of the Richards currently being explored.
Newspaper articles were then searched for further clues and a few more connections were made or confirmed. The articles themselves also provided a lot more genealogical information, which was very helpful. After searching newspapers, there are still some outstanding issues. Connecting the Richards to their homes and occupations resulted in some connections still not being made.
Plotting the Richards on a timeline with known occupations still left some occupations and residences not confirmed as connected.
We still don’t know which Richard Woods was Paymaster. There is a story about the paymaster in 184625,57where he unsuccessfully fended off robbers (the wild west in Ireland). There is also another story in Dec 185137where he gave several hundred pounds from his own pocket so that the workers would have money for Christmas as the Board of Works paid in “considerable intervals”. The paymaster could be one of Richardeor Richardfor perhaps one of the Richards already sorted as it is not known how much of a time factor that job entailed.
We do know that that either Richarde or Richardf died on 5 November 185152,31. Therefore, at least one of them cannot be the paymaster. Nor can that one of them be the coal and bacon merchant on Green Street as coal was still being sold after that time. It is possible that the Richard that was a paymaster moved on to being a merchant as the two occupations do not overlap.
Adding to the family history
The purpose of this search, as well as sorting the Richards, was to add to the information about family history.
Neither Crossle nor Betham (genealogical indexes for those not familiar) were very helpful as they tended to list information that, by that time, I had discovered elsewhere. However, more information was able to be added.
Archdeacon Charles Thomas Woods, born 1825, was brother of either Anne or Richard. The book written by family17indicates that he was Richard’s brother. Anne had a brother, Charles B.C3, but that does not mean than another brother was not given that name. I therefore checked the entrance books for Trinity College in Dublin and found his father listed as a gentlemen11. That could still be either Richardbor Richardc. Newspaper articles confirmed that Charles Woods was the son of Richardc33is a brother of Richarda34.
Searching for civil marriages, found a marriage certificate for Mary Henrietta Woods from King’s County. As she listed her father as Richard John, and Henrietta is also a middle name of one of Alice Mary’s sisters, I am confident I have found a younger sibling of Annea.
Newspaper articles found another brother and sister to Richarda, as well as a nephew. Edward44 is listed as the youngest son of the late respected Richard Woods when he was ordained. Debbie is included as the third daughter of Richardcand her brother Charles officiated at the wedding38further confirming the relationship. William Frederick Woods30who received a military appointment through competition (rather than purchase) mentions his father, William, and grandfather, Richardc.
After reviewing more than 260 documents, I was not able to completely sort all the Richards Woods in Kings County. However, the sorting has accomplished the original purpose which was to add to the genealogical knowledge for the family history. So Richard did open the door. I now have (Edward and Debbie’s birthdates are estimated):
Now, on to the next project!