If you’re a descendant of the Lavelles/Lavells, of Ballyknock, County Mayo, do get in touch. I have something of your’s!
Occasionally, at the local car boot sale, I find some lost genealogical treasure and often think it would be cool to re-unite it with its rightful owners.
My parents’ generation threw away old certificates “because they look tatty”. At a local archive, I was told there are no original inquest records for the whole of the York area, as they were thrown in a skip in the 1960s or 70s. Fascinating, irreplaceable mill records used by Misses Hartley & Ingilby when researching ‘The Old Hand-Knitters of the Dales’ in the late 1940s, have now vanished without trace…
At the car boot sale, I found a lovely Victorian wooden box. Which I couldn’t afford. But inside it was this 1841 Census Return from the Public Record Office of Ireland and I had to have it, as the Lavelle (or ‘Lavell’ – it was spelled both ways on the form) family, Michael and Mary, were a weaver and a spinner. We got it, sans box, for a quid. If this is your ancestor, it is your’s for the asking.
The Irish 1841 Census is a far more sophisticated and comprehensive thing than the British, that’s for sure. The document is damaged so not all legible. It is about the size of 4 A4 sheets so hard for me to photo the entire thing. Whereas the 1841 British Census just has a “Yes” or “No” tickbox for where born – whether in county or not – the Irish census has the county (like subsequent British ones did) but better still, records the person’s Educational level (Mary and Mary were down as “cannot read” – which would be true of most weavers here, too, at this date) and what is interesting to us is that this is a concrete record of weaving and spinning as a true cottage industry, as late as 1841 – which it would remain in the remoter parts of the UK, as well. The average Yorkshire spinner would have been in a manufactory for two generations or so, by 1841.
I wonder why this lone record ended up carefully preserved in a little wooden box? Did someone need it as proof of ID to emigrate, or work elsewhere? Proof of age for a pension? And how did it end up in York? York had a sizeable Irish population down in the Bedern – near the Minster – by the 1840s. I found out a little about this when I was researching the ill-fated Nine Days Wonder of Kelfield. But this box may have been traded at an antiques fair/car boot anywhere, and we’ll never know how this one spinner and weaver’s family record ended up in a box one rainy morning at the Livestock Centre. It would be cool to see it reunited with the family. Hopefully, little Mary had descendants or a sibling who did…
Michael Lavelle was 55 in 1841; Mary 34 and they had a daughter Mary, aged just one.
I have no knowledge of Irish genealogy but have gathered that census returns survive only erratically. So this may be a lucky find for someone.
If you’re a genealogist with these names in your tree, do get in touch.
And apologies for the truly awful photos. Unfamiliar camera, bad light, etc.