Catherine Mullervy 1839-1910

My great, great grandmother, Catherine Mullervy was born in Drumlish  in the Parish of Killoe, County Longford, Ireland in January 1835.  She was baptised on the 19th of January that year.  Her sponsors are recorded as Edward and Elizabeth Malervy.  (There are many different spellings of the surname recorded.)  Her parents were Owen Mullervy and Ann Flinn.  I have found records of two siblings; Patrick born 1832 and Cecilia born 1844 but I suspect that there are more and I have information to suggest that she had a brother, Owen.

The family would have undoubtedly been affected by the great famine in Ireland but the mill in Drumlish was a source of employment and food for the local people and as such the community did not suffer as much as other places.

When Catherine was 23 years old she married a local man, Peter Cosgrove.  The marriage took place on 8 January 1862 and their first son, Patrick, was born in January 1863.  Patrick was my great grandfather.  Daughter Anne was born in 1867 followed by James in 1869 and Francis in 1871.

Life in Ireland became too tough for the young family and they left to seek new opportunities in Scotland.  Their departure was some time between 1871 and 1873.  There is no record of Francis in Scotland so I suspect that he died as an infant in Ireland.  In 1873 their son Peter was born but I can’t be sure if he was born in Ireland or Scotland.

The family settled in Newmains, Lanarkshire where Peter found work as a furnace labourer.  This would have been hard, physical labour but the job came with a house and the family were allocated 25 Furnace Row.  It was in this house where baby Peter died on 20th March 1874.  The cause of death was measles.  His father registered the death using an X in lieu of a signature.  Catherine must surely have been distraught over this death but there was more heartache to come.


On February 16 1875 Catherine gave birth to a daughter, Catherine.  No doubt she would have tried her best to care for her children but in the cramped and unsanitary condition of Furnace Row it was only a matter of time before disease struck again.  In less that three weeks, between 21 January and 5 February 1876 Catherine lost three more of her children as baby Catherine, Anne and James succumbed to bronchitis and whooping cough.  I cannot imagine how poor Catherine coped trying to deal with the loss of a child while others were dying.  It would have been harder still as she was pregnant at the time with her another child.  Michael Cosgrove was born on 1 September 1876.  Peter would have been unable to take time off work to support his wife as they would have been totally reliant on his wages to survive.

baby catherine

Ann Cosgrove

James Cosgrove

The remaining family moved to a new home at 18 Furnace Row where son, John was born on 7 May 1878 and daughter, Elizabeth on 12 March 1880.  It was here too that on 3 June 1880 3 year old Michael died of convulsions caused by scarlet fever.

Michael cosgrove

The 1881 census shows Catherine, Peter, Patrick, John and Elizabeth still living at 18 Furnace Row.  Peter is recorded as a general labourer while my grandfather, Patrick had found employment as a coal miner.  For a time they were joined by Catherine’s brother, Patrick Mullervy.  Patrick contracted lardaceous disease and passed away in Catherine’s home on 29 February 1882. He was 50 years old.

On 8 March 1883 Catherine gave birth to Joseph.  On 2 April 1884 Joseph died.  The cause of death is recorded as gastritis.

Patrick left home and Catherine continued to look after her two remaining children, John and Elizabeth while Peter worked to keep a roof over their heads.   They were forced to take in lodgers to help make ends meet.


Peter Cosgrove died of pneumonia on 25 February 1893.  With no income and no way of supporting herself she was forced to apply for poor relief.  Her first application was in March 1893 when she was given 2/- to help support her and her children. This may have tided her over for a short time but a second application in April 1893 resulted in the offer of admission to the Poor House.   In June 1894 Catherine made a further application for poor relief as she had been confined to her bed for four weeks.


The original Poor Law registers can be viewed at North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre.  Catherine is not the first of my ancestors to appear in one of these ledgers.  It is incredibly moving to see the actual record of their hardship as it was written at the time.

In February 1901 she would have received the news that her son, Patrick had died of smallpox.  At the time of his death he was living in Glasgow.

Catherine Mullervy Cosgrove died on 24 February 1910 at 18 Furnace Row, Newmains.  She is buried in a public plot in Cambusnethan Cemetery.

death catherine cosgrove

4 thoughts on “Catherine Mullervy 1839-1910

  1. Pingback: Patrick Mullervy Born 1906 | Shaking The Branches

  2. Pingback: A Less Than Perfect Ancestor | Shaking The Branches

  3. What a tragic story. Back then these events or tragedies were commonplace however to have and watch so many little ones and young men & women die of illnesses that nowadays have been either eradicated or become easily treatable is indeed heartbreaking. How mothers and fathers withstood constant grief beggars belief. The conditions that families had to live in and survive hardly bears thinking about. They wouldn’t have known anything different though. Thanks Paula for this story albeit a very sad one.

    Liked by 1 person

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