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    Default John O'Keefe or Keefe Born Ireland 1844

    Hello

    I'm trying to trace John O'Keefe or Keefe born abt 1844 Ireland. He is our family's 'skeleton in the cupboard', being the father of my great grandmother Agnes Stevenson born 16th April 1868.

    Agnes' mother Mary Ann Raymond, married James Carter Stevenson in 1860. James died in 1862. Agnes was born in 1868 & John Keefe (as spelt on the birth certificate) Railway Porter, is named as the father on the birth certificate, along with mother Mary Ann Stevenson of 57 Commercial Road Ipswich Suffolk. There is no record of a marriage between Mary Ann & John Keefe.

    In 1871 a John O’Keefe was lodging at a house in Station Road, Sudbury Suffolk, in the same census, Mary Ann & Agnes are living in Commercial Road Ipswich. John O'Keefe was employed by GER as an acting guard, he was 27 years old, so I am assuming that this is the same John Keefe named on Agnes' birth certificate. A search of the 1881 census proved inconclusive, i.e. no direct links to Suffolk or occupation with GER(Great Eastern Railways).

    Agnes' mother Mary Ann Stevenson died in 1879 & Agnes Stevenson entered Hope House Orphanage Ipswich, & is named on the 1881 census. Agnes married James Trott in 1894, her mother Mary Ann is named in the column 'Father' & Deceased in the column 'Father's occupation' on the marriage certificate.

    Agnes' mother had another daughter Ellen, listed on the 1871 census aged 2 months she died in 1871. Unfortunately the column for father is blank on the birth certificate.

    I would like to hear from anyone who may have John Keefe / OKeefe / O'Keefe, living in Sudbury Suffolk in 1871 in their tree. I have found a 'cluster' of O'Keefe's in the army barracks in St Botolph's Colchester, Essex (not far from Sudbury, Suffolk) were they John's brothers maybe? Also from anyone with any other ideas I could try?

    Many thanks in anticipation
    Clare

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    Hello Clare,
    we have a John James Keefe, on all acounts a red headed Irish man turn up on our family tree. I dont know when he arrived in New Zealand but he married 1867 his age is noted as 26. after a couple of years he disappears leaving his wife and 2 daughters. His age and the timeline could fit in with your skeleton in the cupboard. Unfortunately our marriage certificates of the time give no other information. This is just a shot in the dark but who knows he was also the skeleton in the cupboard here as well.
    Carol

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    Hi Clare
    I think Army is the key here but time will tell.
    Queens Barracks were in Ipswich.
    Do you know which Irish County John O'Keefe came from?

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    Hi claret, and welcome to the BG forums!

    You may have a challenge on your hands here -- with only one census, a common surname, and no specific place of birth in Ireland.

    You could try the petty sessions records for Ipswich, in case a maintenance order was taken out against John to support the child. Anything that survives should be at the Ipswich branch of the Suffolk Record Office, who have a paid research service.

    Railway records might be another possibility, if you can get to Kew. The main group of staff records for the GER are in the series RAIL 227/445-490. You might be able to find out how long John was employed, and where he was posted before and after Sudbury. Have a read of this research guide to find out what else these records might tell you.

    Just as a titbit, the Ipswich Journal of 21 December 1872 carries a report of a county court case in Halesworth, in which a local butcher took out an action against the GER for losses arising from the delayed transport of his meat to the London markets.

    (extracted from a longish article ...)
    "John Keefe, checker at Brick Lane, said that the unloading of the truck in which the meat was conveyed, was finished at eight o'clock. It might have been begun at 7.30.
    Cross-examined: It took half-an-hour to discharge this truck. Sometimes it took longer."

    If this is your man, it appears that he was employed at this date at the GER's Brick Lane Goods Station, in Whitechapel. Railway workers are notorious for moving around a great deal. Maybe you should look for him in London?

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    Hi Carol
    many thanks for your reply. I'm not ruling anything out at the moment, but my great grandmother Agnes was born on 16 April 1868, & John Keefe was named as father on the birth certificate. So if your Keefe married in 1867 & stayed for 2 years the dates don't fit?

    Clare

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    Hi Richard

    many thanks for your reply. Unfortunately the 1871 census only give place of birth as 'Ireland'.

    Clare

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    Hi
    many thanks for your help & advice. The Ipswich journal article looks very much like it could be our John. In my searches I had found a railway worker John Keefe living with his wife in London, I will revisit this research & see if I can make a connection.

    I think you are right, a trip to Kew may be the next route to try. A friend of mine visited the Chelmsford records office for me this month because I read somewhere that the GER records were held there, but unfortunately, as you said, they are now held at Kew. I plan to visit on my next rip to the UK at Easter, & your reference will be very helpful, thank you.

    I hadn't thought of the maintenance order route. I intend to visit Ipswich records office during my visit, as I also thought there may be some information in the Hope House Orphanage records.

    Clare

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