We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted.
Each of us contains within this inheritance of soul.
We are links between the ages, containing past
and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise.
– Edward Sellner
I’m sure by now, you are well aware of my love for genealogy, but more so my love for family past and present.
Family to me, is everything, it’s my whole existence and I often feel that my purpose on this earthly realm, is souly to discover our history and to never let the ones before us be forgotten.
With each and every soul, I researched, I find a little of myself in them. And each fascinating soul, leaves his or her mark on my soul and captures a piece of my heart along the way.
It is the biggest honour to research their lives and to share my finding with you, in hopes they touch your soul as deeply as they have mine.
Most of their lives were far from easy, they had struggles as we do. They fall in love as we have, they multiplied giving us the gift of a future. They lost loved ones, many of them their own bairns. They survived some of the hardest situations in history. They mastered skills that sadly have long been forgotten and they loved wholeheartedly. Some sang in music halls and others ploughed the lands, some lived in riches and others in rags. Each bringing their very own special gift to our dna.
Researching them, isn’t always a walk in the park, it’s hard, it frustrating and often overwhelming. It’s ridiculously expensive, and it can leave you with more unanswered questions than you ever thought possible. And although some are incredibly easy to trace, others hide behind the toughest, highest and slippery brick walls.
One of those astonishingly hard ancestorss to trace is a lady called, Rosina Margaret O’Connor.
Rosina is my 3rd Great auntie.
Her genealogy is without a doubt the most impenetrable and unyielding to research.
As with all our O’Connor relatives, whom haunt me from their graves (in the best possible way), I solemnly swear I will not rest, until I discover her roots, her stories, her loves and her truths.
Though so little is known about the O’Connor family, they own a humongous piece of my heart. I love each and every one of them, which may be strange to many, especially as I never had the honour of meeting them, but ever since I started researching, at a wee age of 18, they have gotten under my skin and deep within my heart.
I can not and will not give up on them. They are part of my dna, my soul and my heart, and, it’s an humongous honour to call them family.
Although Rosinas life is over, and, her spirit has moved on to a better place, she is constantly in my thoughts and pulling at my heartstrings.
Rosina has left so many unanswered questions, puzzling mysteries and given me an inexpressible determination to find the truth about her life, her blessings, her struggles and her loves.
Researching Rosina, hasn’t been easy, as you’ll see, lots of information and documentation is missing. There are gigantic gaps in her history but my heart and soul are rejoicing, that I’ve managed to fill in a few gaps, in my journey of discovery, into her life.
Going from, just her name, to knowing even the smallest details about her and her life, has given my an overwhelming pleasure and the delicious feeling of belonging.
I have so much more work to do and, even though a lot of the times, I feel like I’m banging my head on a brick wall over and over and over again, I will not let it defeat me. The O’Connor family are far, far too important to not give them my all.
Hopefully one day, one of Rosinas descendants, may stumble across my ramblings and get in touch, and, possibly between their memories and my research, pieces of her puzzle will fall perfectly in place and the mysteries will be no longer.🧩
So let me tell you what I have discovered to date.
To the best of my knowledge, Rosina Margaret O’Connor, was born on Saturday, the 29th of November, 1884, in County Kerry, Ireland. However the 1921 census gives her birth location as, Canning Town, Essex, England.
I’m not sure, how correct this information is, as we were always lead to believe, Rosina and her siblings were all born in Ireland. Possibly in Castle Island, County Kerry.
County Kerry definitely has some importance to the O’Connor family, as my sister was named, Kerry, after the O’Connor family.
Rosina’s parents, were, John Patrick O’Connor, who also went by the name John Cornelius or Patrick John.
He was a Master Marina (possibly while he lived in Ireland) and later a Carpenter (when he moved his family to London, England).
We believe Rosina’s Mother was called Mary.
Very little is known about them, apart from, it’s believed they left Ireland to work in service in London. The reason for them leaving is also unknown.
Rosina, was the youngest child, of 4.
Her siblings were Thomas, John Cornelius and Annie Dorothy O’Connor.
You can read all about her Brother, my Great Great Grandfather, John Cornelius O’Connor, here, here and here.
After months and months, of researching Rosina, she is presently untraceable until the year, 1907.
So let’s start her story there, as well as glimpses into her sister Annie’s life.
The Life of Rosina Margaret O’Connor, 1884-1939
When Rosina was 22 years old, she married, 23 year old, bachelor, Walter Wiseman Mason, son of Mr. Walter Mason, and, Elizabeth Humphries, on Sunday, the 19th of May, 1907, at The Parish Church of St Peter, Regent Square, London.
Their witnesses were, Richard Bennett and, Annie Dorothy Spencer. Rosina was working as a Waitress at the time of their marriage and residing at Number 9 Harrison Street.
Walter was residing at, Number 2, Sidmouth Street and working as a, Dentist Assistant.
They gave their fathers names as, Walter Mason, a Bookseller and John Patrick O’Connor, a Carpenter.(Deceased)
F. W. King, assistant Curate, took the ceremony.
I wish I could picture their faces, and feel the excitement of the day.
I wonder if Rosina and Annie, had the fiery red, fiercely curly, hair of the Irish?
How would she of worn it?
Would Annie have delicately places flowers in her locks?
What would Rosina have worn? I imagine her looking a picture perfect elegant bride.
Did they speak with a slight Irish accent or had they spent too much time in London and lost the delicious Irish twang they would have been born with?
Who would have been given the honour, of giving her away, as sadly her father John, wasn’t able to. I wonder if John or Thomas had been given the honour or maybe her Mum or Annie ?
Were her brothers even there? I do hope so.
At first glance I thought Annie was Rosinas witness but I don’t think it was her.
So who was Annie Dorothy Spencer? Was she an relative? It seems like Annie may have been named after her?
And their other witnesses, Richard Bennett, who was he and what was their relationship? A friend or possibly family? So many questions. Questions I feel I may never find the answers to. 🥺
Anyway, it wasn’t long until their was another marriage to celebrate.
As on, Tuesday, the 13th of September, 1910, at The Registry Office, West Ham, Essex, Rosina, was a witness to her sister, Annie Dorothy O’Connors, marriage to, James William Taylor.
Their other witnesses was, Ada Etherton. Ada was Annie and James landlady. I’m not sure as yet, if their is any other connection.
Was Rosina happy for her sister or did she feel, she was loosing her best friend?
Did Rosina like James or was she harvesting silent thoughts that Annie could do better?
Who would have walked Annie down the aisle of the register office?
Was their mother still alive and celebrating the marriage of her daughter? And if she was alive, where had her life taken her? Had she remarried or had she lived in grief for the rest of her life, never getting over her husbands death ? 💔
Were Rosina and Annie, as well as John and Thomas, close to their mum? I sincerely hope they all were, as nothing quite compares to a mothers love. 💞
Specking of love, I’m sad to say, Rosina and Walters marriage, wasn’t plain sailing and Rosina found comfort in another man’s arms.
His name was, Richard Williams, a Labourer, at a Electric Power station.
Very little is known about their relationship or how they became lovers.
If only I had a Crystal ball to look back to the past and see how their relationship unfolded. Unfortunately I can’t but how wonderful that would be. It would open so many doors in my research. 🔮 A time machine would be so much cooler though. Hurry up science, it’s about time one was invented.
While Rosina was still legally wed to Walter, Rosina gave birth to a son whom she called, Richard Mason Williams. He was born at, Number 12, Warton Road, Stratford, West Ham, London, England, on Tuesday the 10th, of March, 1914.
Richard Williams was named as his father.
Rosina registered Richards birth, on Monday, the 20th of April, 1914, in West Ham.
Rosina gave her name as, Rosina Williams formerly O’Connor.
The only link to Walter is, Richard’s middle name Mason, but of course this was Rosina’s married name.
Nearly a year later, Rosina’s, legal husband, Walter Wiseman Mason, a Ship Steward, of 10 Regent Square, Grays Inn Road, sadly died on Thursday, the 4th of March, 1915, at The Seamens Hospital, Greenwich West, Greenwich, London, England.
Walter, died from, Secondary Sarcoma of Mesentery, and, Exhaustion.
His brother, Herbert Thomas Mason, of Number 10, Regent Square, Grays Inn Road, was present and registered his death on the same day, Thursday, the 4th of May, 1915.
Walter Wiseman Mason, was laid to rest, on Tuesday, the 9th March, 1915, in Hendon Cemetery, Holders Hill Road, Hendon, London, England, in grave 20682 K on L.
His headstone reads,
In loving memory of Walter Wiseman Mason who passed away March 4th 1915 Aged 32 Also of Walter Mason Father of the above who passed away June 22nd 1915 Aged 58 years.
His headstone was later removed to make a lawn cemetery in 1970.
I wonder how their relationship was, when Walter died? Had they lost contact or were they still friends?
Did Rosina attend his funeral and if so how would she had been received?
I do hope they stayed friends, as once they would have found happiness in each other and to loose that is a dying shame. Hopefully there were no hard feelings, as no matter the situation, I’m sure Rosina would have felt some sort of guilt.
I also hope it was possible for her to grieve for the man, she once loved and planned a future with.
Just under a year later, on Tuesday, the 27th of February, 1916, at Rosina’s home, 12, Warton Road, Stratford, West Ham, London, England, Rosina gave birth to a daughter, whom she named, Rosalie Dorothy Mason Williams.
Rosalie’s father, was named as Richard Williams, a Electricians Labourer.
Rosina, registered Rosalie’s birth on, Friday the 5th of April, 1916, at West Ham.
Rosina and Richard, baptised Rosalie, on Thursday the 16th of March, 1916 at, St. Aidan’s Church, Stratford East, Chelmsford, Essex, England.
They gave their surname as, Mason-Williams, and, their abode as, 12 Warton Road. Richards occupation was listed as an Electrician.
St. Aidan Church, was built in 1895, suffered bomb damage in the London Blitz and was closed in 1944.
Heartbreakingly, on Monday, the 11th of February, 1918, at Rosina’s Sister Annie’s home, Number 129, Mortlake Road, Canning Town, Newham, Essex, England, Rosalie, died from Measels and Pneumonia. She was only 21 months old.
The county coroner, George E Hillary, registered her death on Wednesday, the 13th of February, 1918, after a post-mortem and inquest was held on, Tuesday, the 12th of February, 1918.
I have scanned the newspaper archives, for any information about the inquest, but unfortunately to date I have come up blank. I will continue to search.
I am also still still searching for her burial.
Jumping forward to the year 1920, George V was on the throne, David Lloyd George (Coalition) was Prime Minister and it was the 31st Parliament. War Secretary Winston Churchill announces that conscripts will be replaced by a volunteer army of 220,000 men. Great Britain and Ireland compete at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerpand win 15 gold, 15 silver and 13 bronze medals. The UK Government proposes a car tax of £1 per horsepower (13 p/kW). The first women jury members in England are empanelled at Bristol quarter sessions.
And on Monday, the 23rd of December, 1920, at The Registry Office, West Ham, Essex, Rosina was once again a witness, to her Sister, Annie Dorothy Taylor nee O’Connor marriage to Albert Cranham.
Annie had sadly become a widow in 1918.
Annie and Alberts, other witness was, Esther Latchfield.
Just a short few months later, the United Kingdom’s census, was taken on the 19th June, 1921, which shows, Rosina, her partner Richard Williams and their son, Richard Mason Williams, residing in a three room dwelling at, 12 Warton Road, Stratford, West Ham, London, England, which is now the site of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Rosina, was using the name Rose, and was working at home doing housework.
Richard wasn’t working but had previously been working in engineering for Maryland Engineering Co Ltd.
I wonder how they were supporting themselves and their son, Richard.
As you can see Richard was older than Rosina, so maybe he was claiming a pension.
Richard Mason Williams, was in school full time.
The 1921 census, throws a little confusion into my research as under Rosina and Richards, son, Richards Mason Williams, information, it states that, Richards, Mother is dead, hmmmmm, I totally do not understand why that was written or if it means something, that we just have not worked out yet.
His birth certificate clearly states that Rosina is his mother.
Going forward, Rosina purchased a burial plot at, East Finchley Cemetery, East Finchley, Middlesex, England, on the 4th November 1927.
I wonder whom this was for?
Jumping forward again, to the year 1933, George V, was on the throne, Ramsay MacDonald (Coalition) was Prime Minister and it was the 36th Government. First modern “sighting” of the Loch Ness Monster, happened. The London Underground diagram designed by Harry Beck was introduced to the public.
And on Monday, the 22nd of May, 1933, Rosina’s partner, Richard Williams, a Building Steel Erector, died at their home, Number 12, Warton Road, Stratford, West Ham, London, England, at the age of 66 years.
Richard, died from, a Central haemorrhage.
No post-mortem was held.
Rosina, registered Richards death, on Thursday, the 25th of May, 1993.
Rosina was named as his widow.
He was laid to rest on Monday, the 29th of May, 1933, at West Ham Cemetery, Newham, London, in Grave C/Z/4.
He was buried with 7 other people, an unknown Male, Adelaide Mary Ann Cumberland, Lawrence Hennessy, Charles Thomas Abbott, Cyril Henry Cotton, Charles Dodds and John Lowe.
Although Rosina and Richards, time together wasn’t the longest, I hope they found enough love to carry them through until a time when they would be reunited.
They had two beautiful children together and their love never crumbled under the heartbreak of loosing their daughter, Rosalie, so I’m sure it survived death.
I’m a true believer in love conquering all and no matter the distance, the struggles and the pain, true love, will win hands down every time. Even after death, you’ll be together again, either in your next life or a different realm, be it heaven or any other name you want to call the afterlife.
Jumping forward a few years to the year, 1939, war is on the doorstep and life was about to change for so many.
On the Eve of Friday, the 29th of September, 1939, the prewar register was taken, which shows Rosina, and her son, Richard, residing at, Number 117, Mortlake Road, Canning Town, Newham, Essex, England.
They were sharing the residence with, Mr. Albert E McMahon and Mrs. Doris McMahon and their family.
Her sister Annie Dorothy, was residing at number 129, with her family, which I think is lovely. Sister’s are everything.
Rosina, was now using the name Williams.
She was unable to work due to being Incapacitated. 🥺
Her son, Richard was working as a Aircraft Assembler, getting ready for the upcoming war.
On Wednesday the 4th October 1939 at Number 1, Botley Road, West End, Southampton, Hampshire, England, Rosina’s Brother, John Cornelius O’Connor (my Great Great Grandfather), of Number 32, Canute Road, Southampton, Hampshire, a Watchman, passed away, aged 66.
John died from, Bronchitis and Myocardial Degeneration.
His widow, Ethel May O’Connor nee Wheeler, of Number 32, Canute Road, Southampton, Hampshire, registered his death on the same day, Wednesday, the 4th of October, 1939, in Winchester, Hampshire.
John, was laid to rest at, Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton, Hampshire on Saturday, the 7th of October, 1939.
I’m unsure if Rosina was present or not but I really do hope Rosina, Annie and Thomas were.
We know from Rosina and Annie closeness, they had a special bond, but I’m unsure what their relationships with their brothers, John and Thomas were.
I was sincerely hoping Thomas’s name may have popped up during my research, sadly it hasn’t so far. He seems to be as much a ghost, as all their parents.
I so very much wish, my great granny cuddles, Eileen May O’Connor, was still alive so she could share her memories with me.
Why do we not ask questions when we can? So much history is lost because we never thought to ask the questions. It truly makes my heartache.
Unfortunately the next documentation I have is, Rosina’s death index, which shows Rosina died, in the October to December, quarter of the year, 1939, in the district of Essex South-Western.
Rosina died on Friday, the 29th of December, 1939, at Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone, Epping Forest, Waltham Forest, London, England, aged 55.
Rosina died from Heart Failure and Myronditis.
Her sister, Annie Cranham nee Taylor nee O’Connor, of Number 129, Mortlake Road, Custom House, West Ham, registered Rosina’s death on Saturday, the 30th of December, 1939.
Rosina, was laid to rest at, West Ham Cemetery, Newham, London, England, on Thursday, the 4th of January, 1940, in grave Qg/156752.
She was buried with one other person, a lady called Matilda Walsh, who was buried a day later, on Friday, the 5th of January, 1940.
Although your human journey may be over,
I hope your soul is free,
That your spirit dances over Irish seas.
Rosina Margaret O’Connor
If you are a descendant of our Rosina O’Connor, our her siblings and parents, please feel free to join our Facebook group, “Descendants Of John O’Connor”. You can find it here. We would love to see and hear from you there.
Until next time,
Too-da-loo for now.
I have brought and paid for all certificates,
Please do not download or use them without my permission.
All you have to do is ask.
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