What Happened To Hannah Kane?

There are a few brick walls in my research that I revisit from time to time to see if I can make any progress. Sometimes I discover new records that were previously unavailable online and in a couple of cases DNA has helped me make the breakthrough.

In the case of Hannah Kane, my great, great, great grandmother, I have found very little. She had five children (that I know of) between 1827 and 1840. The five baptismal records are the only records I can find relating to Hannah. I’m not sure where she was born although I suspect it was in Ireland. I have no idea when she died although I know that she lived in Glasgow when her children were born.

The five children

  • Mary Brawley Born 1827
  • Agnes Brawley Born 1830
  • Hugh Brawley Born 1833
  • James Brawley Born 1837
  • John Brawley Born 1840

are all recorded as the lawful children of John Brawley and Hannah Kane. Well there are variations on the spellings of both names but I’m confident it’s the same couple in every case. The children being recorded as lawful should mean that the parents were married. I can’t find any record of a marriage. John was originally from County Derry in Ireland so it’s possible they married there before coming to Scotland. It’s also possible they were never married at all.

The children were born before civil registration so we have to rely on church records which didn’t record a lot of information. The baptisms all took place in St Andrew’s Parish in Glasgow. This is the record for James who was my great, great grandfather.

Then there is the problem of tracking down the children. I have no idea what happened to Mary, Hugh or John. I can’t find any record at all of the family in the 1841 census. I lose track of Agnes for a number of years but later find her married to an Edward Docherty and living in Glasgow. A DNA match has confirmed she is the right person.

By the time of the 1851 census James and his father John were still together but John had a new wife, an English woman called Mary Ann Thornton. They had children together the first of whom was born in 1843. An Edward Docherty appears as the godfather to one of the children. Is this the same Edward Docherty who married Agnes?

If John and Hannah were legally married he would have to have been widowed to allow him to marry again. There’s no death record for Hannah that I can find. A Hannah Kane of about the right age appears on the 1851 and 1861 census as a cotton mill piecer. She is living as a lodger so there is no one else on the record who could help confirm her identity.

Glasgow was not very welcoming to Irish immigrants at that time. Could it be that Hannah decided to return to Ireland? I’m just frustrated that I don’t know more about Hannah and I am not sure where to go next.

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