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For a long time I have been trying to find out about my gg grandmother Mary Spencer, nee Hardy / Hardding. She is described as the wife of Francis Spencer, hosier (born 1820, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire) but I have been unable to find a marriage in either England or Ireland. They lived in Drogheda Street, Balbriggan from the early 1860s to 1895, when Francis died. Mary was the informant on Francis's death certificate, his widow, present at death, her mark. 

The couple had 2 sons whilst in Balbriggan: Wrighthall, my g grandfather, born 1866 (mother Hardding on birth certificate) and Robert born 1870 (mother Hardy). Both boys were baptised in 1876 in St George's Church of Ireland Church, Balbriggan. Wrighthall was married in Nottinghamshire in 1889, where he spent the rest of his life apart from 7-10 years in Ballaghaderreen. Robert emigrated to Los Angeles in 1919, and the 1920 US census said his mother was English.

There is a possible Mary Spencer in Mill Street in the 1901 census, though this says she can read and write. I have been unable to find her death in Ireland or England.

I would love to know when and where she was born and died.


Monday 3rd April 2017, 07:28PM

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  • The lady in the 1901 census, does seem fairly likely to be Francis's widow given that her trade was hosiery same as the Francis. I also note she was born in Nottinghamshire (as he was).

    Francis Spencer is not a very common name in Ireland. I notice that there was a Francis Spencer marriage registered in Balrothery in 1865. It was to Ellen Matilda Appleyard. Not Mary Hardy/Harding. Just odd that there should be a marriage at the time and location you would expect. You might want to look at the certificate to see if he was in the hosiery trade.

    Can’t see Mary in the 1911 Irish census. Where were Wrighthall and Robert living at that time? Could Mary have gone to live with either of them and have died there?

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 3rd April 2017, 11:57PM
  • Thanks for your reply, Elwyn. The Francis who married Ellen Matilda was one of Francis's sons by his first wife. Francis sen seems to have moved from Notts to Balbriggan, together with most of his children and 2 of his widowed brothers, after his wife's death in 1862. They were all hosiers and obviously moved there because of the renowned hosiery factories. Several of them later married local people, then either stayed in Balbriggan (like Francis jun), moved back to Notts, or emigrated to the US.

    In 1911 Wrighthall was living in Sutton in Ashfield, Notts and Robert was still in Balbriggan.

    I spent a March day in Balbriggan 4 years ago - attractive place, but bitterly cold!


    Wednesday 5th April 2017, 07:08PM
  • I have recently discovered that Mary Spencer died in Rest for the Dying, Camden Row, Dublin South on 1 Feb 1909.

    Now I just need to find a marriage between 1862 and 1866 in either Ireland or England, and a birth about 1841 in Nottinghamshire (possibly not of a Mary Hardy, if this was also Mary's 2nd marriage)!


    Saturday 15th April 2017, 06:17PM