Michael is my brick wall, or at least one of my more difficult hurdles.
Michael Rochford was born about 1846-1848 in Wexford, Ireland, the son of Catherine Sullivan and Garrett Rochford. Family story has it his parents died of “the fever” when he was around eleven years of age so he was packed off to England to live with his aunt Esther. I cannot find any sign of him in England in the 1861 census. Maybe he moved to England at a later age?
He married Catharine Nolan in 1867 in Stalybridge, Ashton under Lyne, Cheshire, England. Sadly, she dies by December of 1868.
He then married Elizabeth McCabe on the 13th of Nov 1869 at St. Peter’s RC Church in Stalybridge, Ashton under Lyne. According to the 1871 census both he and Elizabeth were employed as cotton operatives. Their first son, Garrat, named after Michael’s father, dies before his first birthday in 1870. They had three more boys in Stalybridge before moving to Leicester, England by 1879. Michael continued to work in the cotton factory in Leicester as a cotton carder until his retirement.
In total he and Elizabeth had nine children together, eight of whom survived to raise their own families. By the time of our family reunion in 2006 their living descendants numbered more than 200.
Now, the difficulty is tracing Michael’s life in Ireland.
So far I have been unable to find any birth or baptism record for Michael. Still trying!
According to the marriage entry in the parish records for his marriage to Elizabeth in 1869 his father Garret was listed with the occupation of labourer. Custom has it that if the father was deceased it would have been so recorded. Maybe only Michael’s mother died when he was young?
I haven’t been able to find any clues to Michael’s mother Catherine Sullivan or her death.
I have found what appears to be a possible death record for his father however:
1877 Deaths Registered in the district of Clonroche in the Union of Enniscorthy in the County of Wexford
Date & Place of Death: Twenty-first  January 1877 Killegney
Male, Widower, Age at last birthday 74yrs
Rank, Profession or Occupation: Mendicant
Certified cause of death & duration of illness: Bronchitis the ----- --- - uncertified
Informant: the mark of John Sullivan, present at death, Killegney
When registered: January thirtieth  1877
Registrar: Fred Stock
Now, what are the odds that a Garret Rochford has, as witness to his death, one John Sullivan?
Could this be a relative of Catherine’s?
Time will tell.