Sunday, 2 August 2009

12: Comerford of Wexford Town

The Franciscan Friary in Wexford Town and John Street, seen from the gates of Rowe Street Church. Generations of Comerfords were baptised here in the 18th and 19th centuries when they lived in John Street and the neighbourhood (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2007)

Patrick Comerford

The Comerford family has been present in Wexford Town since the end of the 17th or the beginning of the 18th century. Father James Comerford, a Franciscan from Kilkenny, was parish Priest of Rosslare and Tagoat (1709-1734), Co Wexford, and appears to have lived at Ballydungan and at the Franciscan Friary in Wexford Town.[1] His will mentions family members in Kilkenny and Dublin, his books in the Franciscan Library in Wexford, and fellow clergy in the Diocese of Ferns, but mentions no family members in Wexford town.

In the 18th century, the number of Comerfords increases in Wexford Town, and their names appear regularly in the 18th and 19th centuries in the parish registers for baptisms and marriages in the Friary Church, which served as the parish church of the town. During the mid-19th century, the brothers Richard, James and Robert Comerford from Bunclody [see Chapter 8: Comerford of Bunclody and Dublin] worked in Wexford Town as stuccodores. Robert and James probably lived in John Street. Some of Robert’s children were baptised in the Friary Church before he returned to live in Bunclody, while James moved to Dublin.

EDMOND COMERFORD (ca 1722-1788) [See Chapter 8: Comerford of Bunclody and Dublin], the ancestor of the Bunclody branch of the family, appears in the Wexford parish registers in 1785, when Edmund and Jane Comerford were sponsors at the baptism in the Friary, Wexford Town, of Edmund Curry, son of Thomas Curry and Mary Luisa Macks. Edmond Comerford was a contemporary of Richard Comerford, Garret Comerford and Bridget (Comerford) Butler of Wexford Town:[2]

RICHARD COMERFORD (?ca 1708-post 1738), of Wexford Town. He may have been born ca 1708. He married Anne Doyle in Wexford on 5 May 1738.

GARRET COMERFORD (?ca 1754-post 1784), of Wexford Town. He was living in Wexford town in 1784.

BRIDGET CUMMERFORD (?ca 1766-post 1816), of Wexford Town. She was living in Wexford Town 1791, when she married George Butler on 9 January 1791. They had a son Edward Butler, who was baptised in Wexford Friary on 13 February 1816.

Drawing on the Roman Catholic parish records of Wexford Town, it is possible to outline a definitive family tree of one branch of the Comerford family in Wexford town dating back to the mid or late 18th century:

No 1, JOHN COMERFORD (born ca 1777?) married Catherine Murphy and had at least four sons:

1, John Comerford [No 2] (ca 1807-post 1852).
2, Philip Comerford [No 16] (ca 1812-post 1845).
3, James Comerford [No 21] (ca 1813-1873).
4, Patrick Comerford [No 32] (1820-post 1850).

No 2, JOHN COMERFORD, (ca 1807-post 1852), of Wexford Town, son of John Comerford [No 1]. He was born ca 1807? He was living in Wexford Town from at least 1837 until after 1857. On 6 July 1837, in the Friary, Wexford, he married Mary Whelan. In 1850, Mary’s sister, Bess Whelan, married Pat Stamp of John Street, Wexford, a neighbour of James Comerford of John Street (see James, No 21). John and Mary Comerford had at least three sons and three daughters:

1, John Comerford [No 3] (1838-ca 1843?). He was born on 22 July 1838, and was baptised in the Friary, Wexford, that day. He died in infancy.
2, Catherine (Kate) [No 4]. She was born on 30 May, 1841, and was baptised in Wexford Friary the next day. On 20 January 1864, she married in Wexford John Brien (or Breen). They had five daughters and two sons.
3, John Comerford [No 5], (1844-post 1901), of whom next.
4, Martha [No 6], born on 8 July 1846, baptised in Wexford Friary the next day.
5, Mary [No 7], born on 15 May 1847, baptised in Wexford Friary the next day.
6, Martin Comerford [No 12], (1852-post 1880), of whom after his brother John and John’s descendants.

Their third child and eldest surviving son:

No 5, JOHN COMERFORD (1844-post 1911), son of John Comerford [No 2], born on 20 January 1844, baptised in Wexford Friary the next day. On 9 August 1865, he married in Wexford Mary Whitmore. Mary was born ca 1844. John was a house painter and he and Mary lived at 44 John Street, Wexford (1901 census) and 43 John Street (1911 census). John and Mary Comerford had at least three sons and three daughters:

1, Mary [No 6] (1867-post 1901), born on 25 February 1867, baptised in Wexford the next day. She married ... Kavanagh and was living with her parents in John Street, Wexford, in 1901, when the census gave her age as 30. Her two daughters, Mary Kavanagh (8) and Kate Kavanagh (7) were living with her parents at the 1911 census.
2, John Comerford [No 7] (1869-pre 1880), born on 11 September 1869, baptised in Wexford the next day. He died in infancy.
3, Catherine (Katie) [No 8] (1875-post 1901), born on 29 December 1875, baptised in Wexford the next day. She was unmarried and living with her parents in 1901 when the census gave her age as 24.
4, Margaret Anne [No 9] (1877- ), born 21 September 1877, baptised in Wexford the next day.
5, John Comerford [No 10] (ca 1880-post 1901). He was born ca 1880/1881. He was living with his parents in Wexford in 1901, aged 20, general labourer.
6, Laurence Comerford [No 11] (ca 1885/1886-post 1911), born ca 1885/1886, he was living with his parents in Wexford in 1901 (aged 15) and 1911 (aged 24).

No 12, MARTIN COMERFORD (1852-post 1880), of Wexford Town. He was a son of John Comerford [No 2]. He was born on 24 January 1852, and was baptised in Wexford the next day. Martin married Mary Yates (Yeates or Gates) in Wexford on 11 August 1874. Martin and Mary Comerford had at least three sons:

1, John Joseph Comerford (1875-1876) [No 13], born on 12 May 1875, baptised in Wexford the next day. He died in infancy in 1876.
2, Martin Comerford (1877- ) [No 14], born on 13 May 1877, baptised in Wexford the next day.
3, John Joseph Comerford (1880-1915) [No 15], born on 9 March 1880, baptised in Wexford two days later. He died in 1915.

No 16, PHILIP COMERFORD (ca 1812-post 1845), of Wexford Town. He was a son of John Comerford [No 1]. He was born ca 1812 and was living in Wexford Town from at least 1837 until after 1845. On 9 October 1837, in the Friary, Wexford, he married Mary Kerewan (Kearwin or Kirwin).

Phil and Mary Comerford had at least two sons and two daughters:

1, John Cummerton [No 17], baptised in Wexford Friary on 20 October 1837.
2, Laurence Commerford [No 18], born on 24 August 1840, baptised in Wexford Friary the next day.
3, Catherine [No 19], born on 25 May 1843, baptised in Wexford Friary the next day.
4, Anne [No 20], born on 11 June 1845, baptised in Wexford Friary the next day.

No 21, JAMES COMERFORD (ca 1812-1873), of Wexford Town. He was a son of John Comerford [No 1]. Born ca 1812/1813? He was living in Wexford Town from at least 1842. In 1853, he was living in John Street, where his neighbours on either side were Patrick Stamp (who married Bess Whelan, sister of Mary who married John Comerford, No 2) and Mary Hanrahan. On 6 May 1842, in the Friary, Wexford, James Comerford married Mary Kehoe. James died on 19 May 1873, aged 60, at his home in John Street, Wexford, with his wife Mary present. James and Mary had at least six sons and one daughter:

1, John Comerford [No 22], born on 20 November 1842, baptised in Wexford Friary the next day. He died in infancy before 1845.
2, John Comerford [No 23], born on 19 April 1845, baptised in Wexford Friary the next day. He died in infancy before 1846.
3, John Comerford [No 24], born on 13 April 1846, baptised in Wexford Friary the next day. He died in infancy after 1849.
4, Martin Comerford [No 25] (1849-post 1876), of whom next.
5, Catherine [No 26], born on 12 February 1852, baptised in Wexford the next day.
6, John Comerford [No 29], (ca 1856-post 1880), of whom after Martin.
7, James Comerford [No 33], born on 28 May 1857, baptised in Wexford the next day.

The fourth and eldest surviving son:

No 25, MARTIN COMERFORD (1849-post 1901), or Comerton, of John’s Gate Street, and later of John Street, Wexford Town. He was the fourth and eldest surviving son of James Comerford [No 18]. He was born on 28 March 1849, and was baptised in Wexford Friary the next day. On 8 October 1873 in Wexford, he married Mary Mansell (or Mansfield). He was a corn porter (1901), and living at 30 John Street and gave his age as 53; she gave her age in 1901 as 52.

Martin and Mary Comerford had at least three sons and one daughter:

1, James Comerford [No 27] (1874-1917), of whom next.
2, Margaret [No 28], born in Wexford in February 1876, baptised in Wexford on 6 February 1876. Married ...Webber, and was living in England in 1901, while her daughter Cathleen (aged 4) was living at 1 John Street, Wexford, in 1901 with Margaret’s brother and sister-in-law, James and Julia Comerford (see below).
3, John Comerford [No ?] (ca 1882/1883-post 1901), born ca 1882/1883, he was aged 18, a railway cleaner and living with his parents in 30 John Street, Wexford, at the 1901 census.
4, Martin Comerford [No ?] (ca 1884/1885-post 1901), born ca 1884/1885 he was aged 16, a general labourer and living with his parents in 30 John Street, Wexford, at the 1901 census.

No 27, JAMES COMERFORD (1874-1917), or Comerton, of 1 John Street, Wexford Town (1911), and later of Wygram Place, Wexford Town (1917). He was the son of Martin Comerford [No 25]. He was born in Wexford in July 1874, and baptised in Wexford on 19 July 1874. He married ca 1907 Julia O’Connor (sometimes Connors or Connor). He was a fireman or stoker first on the railways and then for many years in Mercantile Marine Service. During World War I, he was on board the SS Antinoe (London), when it was torpedoed by a German submarine about 150 miles off Bishop Rock on 28 May 1917. The ship was sunk and he was among those who drowned. He was then aged 42. His name is included on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.[3]

James and Julia Comerford were the parents of at least three sons:

1, Martin Comerford [No 40] (1908-post 1911), born on 14 November 1908, living with his mother, brother and cousin Cathleen Webber (4) at 1 John Street, Wexford, at the 1911 census.
2, John Comerford [No 41], born on 12 August 1910, aged eight months at the 1911 census and living with his mother, brother, and cousin Cathleen Webber (4) at 1 John Street, Wexford.
3, Edward Comerford [No 42], born on 29 October 1912.

No 29, JOHN COMERFORD (ca 1856-post 1880), of Wexford Town. He was a son of James Comerford [No 18]. He was born ca 1856, aged 20 in 1876, porter. On 24 November 1876, in Wexford, he married Jane Noctor (Naughter or Knockter), daughter of John Noctor, Back Street (High Street), Wexford, weaver.

John and Jane Comerford had at least two daughters and one son:

1, Mary Jane [No 30], born in November 1877, baptised in Wexford on 19 November 1877.
2, Catherine (Kate) [No 31], born in Wexford on 10 April 1879, baptised in Wexford the same day. She married Joseph Tyghe on 30 April 1911.
3, James Comerford [No 32], born in September 1880, baptised in Wexford on 22 September 1880.

No 32, JOHN COMERFORD (1823-post 1860), of Wexford Town. He was a son of John Comerford [No 1] and Catherine Comerford. Born in Wexford town in December 1823, he was baptised in Wexford Friary on 12 December 1823. He lived most of his life in Wexford town, although he and his wife Alice Kennedy may have lived in Fethard-on-Sea, Co Wexford, at the time their twin daughters were born in 1850. John and Alice had five daughters and a son, including twin daughters:
1, Catherine (1845-ca 1849) [No 33]. She was baptised in Wexford Friary on 8 December 1845. She died in infancy before 1850.
2, Catherine [No 34] (twin), born 26 January 1850, baptised the same day in Templetown.
3, Mary [No 35] (twin), born on 26 January 1850, baptised the same day in Templetown.
4, John Comerford [No 36], born in Wexford Town on 22 July 1852 and baptised the next day in Wexford Friary.
5, Alice [No 37], born in Wexford Town on 3 July 1857 and baptised the next day in Wexford Friary.
6, Elizabeth [No 38], born in Wexford Town on 11 March 1860 and baptised in Wexford on 14 March 1860.

Unplaced:

JOHN COMERFORD [No 43], of Wexford Town, married Mary Duggan in Wexford on 5 September 1910, and they had at least three sons and two daughters:

1, Patrick J. Comerford [No 44], born on 21 June 1911.
2, Mary K. Comerford [No 45], born on 25 August 1912.
3, John G. Comerford [No 46], born on 24 February 1914.
4, Josephine [No 47], born on 5 April 1918.
5, John Comerford, born 17 December 1920.

No 48, MARTIN COMERFORD (1884-1950), of John Street (no 42 or 72), Wexford Town and Liverpool. He was born on 22 October 1884. He married married Marie Codd (born 19 April 1889, died 17 September 1972). They moved to Liverpool ca 1912-1913, and he died on 25 December 1950. Information from the Wexford parish registers and their great-grand-daughter Kate Morgan show Martin and Marie Comerford had two sons and a daughter:

1, John Comerford (1912-1994) [No 49], born in Wexford on 5 January 1912, died in 1994. He married Ivy Jones on 1 August 1936. They had two sons and one daughter:
1a, John Comerford (1937- ), born 28 October 1937. He has no children.
2a, Maureen (1939- ), born 31 December 1939. She has no children.
3a, Peter Comerford (1942 ), born 15 March 1942. He has two sons and two daughters.
2, James Francis Comerford (1913-2000), born in Liverpool on 31 July 1913, died on 13 July 2000. He married on 12 March 1937 Lena Vogel (born 8 October 1914, died 25 December 1992). They had three sons and two daughters:
1a, James Comerford (1939- ), born 17 February 1938. He has two sons and two daughters.
2a, Michael Comerford (1943- ), born 8 December 1943, and has one son and one daughter.
3a, Rita Mary (194- ), born 7 March 1946, and has one son and two daughters, including Kate Morgan.
4a, Ann (1948- ), born 1 May 1948, and has one son and two daughters.
5a, Martin Comerford (1959- ), born 14 November 1959, has two daughters.
3, Mary (1915-1996), born 22 April 1915, died 3 August 1996. She married Walter Delbridge. They had no children.

Recent members of the Comerford family in Wexford Town and the vicinity have included:

MARTIN COMERFORD, living in 1949, when he was goalkeeper with Wexford county football team.

© Patrick Comerford, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014

Footnotes and references:

[1] William Carrigan, ‘The will of the Rev James Comerford, PP Rosslare,’ The Past (Ui Ceinsealaigh Historical Society), No 1, November 1920 (Wexford: John English, 1920), pp 129-132; W.H. Grattan Flood, History of the Diocese of Ferns (Waterford: Downey & Co, 1916), p. 186.
[2] The details of these members of the Comerford family and subsequent generations are taken from the Wexford Town parish registers (Roman Catholic) and the 1901 and 1911 census returns for Wexford Town.
[3] Tom Burnell and Margaret Gilbert, The Wexford War Dead: a history of the casualties of the World Wars (Dublin, Nonsuch, 2009), p. 63.

To return to Patrick Comerford’s welcome page and the navigation aids, click here:
Welcome to ‘Comerford Family History’

Last updated: 20 January 2008, 15 and 16 August 2009; 13 January 2010, 10 October 2010, 19 November 2010; 6 March 2011; 14 February 2013; 7 May 2013; 19 July 2014.

7 comments:

katem said...

I think I can help you with no.'s 48 and 49!

My name is Kate Morgan, daughter of Rita Mary Comerford. My great grandfather was Martin Comerford (no.48) born October 1884, died December 25th 1950. He did indeed marry Marie Codd and they had a son, John (no.49) born 5th January 1912. They moved shortly after the birth of their first son, to Liverpool. It is here where they had a second son, James Francis Comerford, born 31st July 1913 (my grandfather)and daughter Mary (unsure of d.o.b).

My grandfather passed away 13th July 2000.

Can you tell me anything about my great grandfather's (no.48) parents? For example, names, date and place of birth.

Many thanks,
Kate

Canon Patrick Comerford said...

Thanks Kate,

I've incorporated the information you've given me into the details for Nos 48 and 49 ... it's great help. I haven't yet found where your great-grandfather fits into this branch of the family, although names, dates and places indicate he is very much part of it. Keep in touch, and please share any more relevant information so I can extend the story of this branch of our family.

Once again, many thanks,

Patrick

katem said...

Many thanks for your reply Patrick.

After a little more digging, I can confirm the following:

Martin Comerford (no.49) was born 22nd October 1884. My great grandmother, Marie Codd, was born 19th April 1889 and died 17th September 1972.

As you know they had 2 sons and 1 daughter.

John Comerford (no.48) born 5th January 1912 married Ivy Jones 1st August 1936. They had 2 sons and 1 daughter. Eldest son John Comerford was born 28th October 1937. Daughter Maureen was born 31st December 1939 and youngest son, Peter, was born 15th March 1942. Both John and Maureen have no children, and Peter has 2 sons and 2 daughters.

I am unsure when John Comerford (no.49) died, I only know the year was 1994, his daughter Maureen will confirm the date for me.

James Francis Comerford married Lena Vogel, born 8th October 1914, on 12th Match 1937. (My grandad porned his watch to buy the marriage license!) They had 3 sons and 2 daughters. Eldest son, James was born 17th February 1938, and has 2 sons and 2 daughters. Michael was born 8th December 1943, and has 1 son and 1 daughter. Rita, born 7th March 1946, and has 1 son and 2 daughters. Ann was born 1st May 1948 and has 1 son and 2 daughters. Finally, introducing my favourite Uncle Martin born 14th November 1959, he has 2 daughters.

My grandmother Lena died 25th December 1992.

Mary Comerford, born 22nd April 1915 married Walter Delbridge. They did not have children and Mary died 3rd August 1996.

Both Martin and Marie lived on John Street, I have photograph of the house they lived in, I cannot quite work out the house number, could be 42 or 72.

Hope this information helps you extend our Comerford family history.

Many thanks,
Kate

Canon Patrick Comerford said...

Thanks Kate, that's very useful and I've updated the details. Have a look again at John Comerford [No 5]and Mary Whitmore, who lived in 44 John Street, who appears to be the most likely candidate for Martin's father. I would need to check this, though, on his birth cert.

katem said...

Hello Patrick,

Did you manage to check John Comerford's (No.5) birth certificate to see if he is Martin's father?

Many thanks,
Kate

Canon Patrick Comerford said...

Not yet Kate, waiting for a break in the academic year before I can even think of putting my head above the parapet. But keep in touch. Patrick

Anne said...

Hi Patrick,
I have just lately discovered the Comerford Family History and what a fantastic site it is.
I belong to the line of John Comerford (No.2)(son of John Comerford No. 1) John No. 2 - his daughter Catherine Comerford(No.4) married John Brien in 1864. My grandmother is one of their daughters Annie Brien.
I have one query, further down the line you give a John Comerford (No.32) as being son of John Comerford No. 1. is this an error.

Regards Anne