My love for genealogy is fuelled by my determination to discover the truth behind our mysterious O’Connors.
My passion is at its fullest when it comes to them.
They are my biggest headache and my greatest love.
I’m not entirely sure what fuels that passion, was it the incredibly kind, loving heart of my, Great Granny Cuddles, Eileen May O’Connor, or the love that radiates, when my Nan speaks of her Grandfather, John Cornelius O’Connor.
It could even be the gut feeling, I get when researching them, the knowing, that I most possibly will never find the truth about them and our Irish heritage. Knowing that, that could be the case, the stubbornness in me, rears it’s ugly head and pushes my determination to the next level.
I wholeheartedly believe that my soul will not rest until I discover the truth about John Cornelius O’Connors heritage.
Thankfully I am very lucky that my grandmother, Doreen Townsend nee Willats, has the most incredible memory, as well as the perfect storyteller voice.
Without her insight and her stories, I wouldn’t know half as much as I do about the younger generations, of the O’Connor family. Nan always speaks of them from her heart and with so much love, it’s such an incredible blessing.
I thought it was about time, I introduced you to some of our O’Connors, the sons and daughters of, John Cornelius O’Connor.
He had nine children in total, two from his first marriage, to a Canadian lady, who sadly we know absolutely nothing about. We believe her passing was so deeply painful, John never spoke of her or his two sons.
After John Cornelius, lost his first wife, he went on to marry again.
He married, Ethel May Wheeler, and they had 7 more children, 2 sons and 5 daughters.
With upmost pride and honour, let me introduce them to you.
I have left out, some of their childrens dates of births, due to the 100 year privacy law. And I hope to fill in some marriage and death dates, as I purchase their certificates. This may take a while with the continuous financial rise of living and the incredibly long wait for certificates.
So without further ado I give you,
The Children Of John Cornelius O’Connor.
First up, we have,
Thomas O’Connor, who was the Son of, John Cornelius O’Connor and his Canadian wife. Unfortunately we do not know her name yet.
We believe, Thomas was born, on the 2nd of July 1896, at Campbellford, Ontario Canada.
He died on the 2nd September 1918 at Royal victoria Hospital, Netley Marsh, Hampshire, England.
Thomas is buried at, The Royal Victoria Hospital Military Cemetery, Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley Marsh, Hampshire, England.
Very little is know about him to date.
My Great Gran Eileen O’Connor did not know anything about her Half-Brother, Thomas, until her Father John, took her to the hospital just before he died, where she met him for the first and sadly the last time.
May he rest peacefully.
Second up, we have,
James is the second son of, John Cornelius and, his first wife James is the full brother of Thomas.
As of yet we do not know his date of birth or where he was born in Canada.
James died at The Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley Marsh, Hampshire, England on the 25th October 1916 and is buried at The Royal Victoria Military Cemetery, Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley Marsh, Hampshire, England.
Unfortunately this is all we know at present.
It is believed the Johns first wife, mother of Thomas and James died. John was beyond devastated and in his grief left everything and everyone behind in Canada and returned to Southampton England, where he took up lodgings at Alfred and Emily Wheelers home. This is where he met their daughter, Ethel Wheeler, who became Johns second wife and mother to his other children.
Before I continue with Johns other children, I must add, we are pretty sure that, Thomas and James, who are named above, are the sons of John, but I’ll admit, I’m not 100% sure, I just have this funny gut feeling that something isn’t quite right. So please do not take my word as gospel. Especially with James. Something just doesn’t sit right with me, I’m sorry to say.
But, at this present time, they are the best leads we have, as they are the only two Canadian O’Connors buried at, The Royal Victoria Military Cemetery, Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley Marsh, Hampshire, England, where we know John’s sons are buried.
Anyway let’s get back to it.
Third up, we have,
Eileen May O’Connor.
Eileen, was born on, Wednesday the 18th of August, 1909, at Number 12, Deal Street, Southampton, Hampshire, England, to John Cornelius O’Connor and Ethel May O’Connor Nee Wheeler.
Eileen, married Reginald George Wilfred Willats, son of, Harry Herbert Willats and Eleanor Mary Willats nee Kirby (Music Hall Artists) on, Thursday the 24th of October, 1929, at St Josephs, Bagle Street, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
Eileen and Reg had one child, a daughter whom they named, Doreen June Willats (my Nan.)
Eileen passed away after a long, fulfilled life, at the grand age of, 84 years old.
She died on Saturday the 23rd of October, 1993, at Romsey Hospital, Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Eileen is my Great Grandmother and was truly a beautiful soul. Apart from my dads passing, Eileen aka Granny Cuddles, death impacted me more than any other passing.
If you were lucky enough to meet her, you’ll know how truly amazing she was.
And although her life was far from easy, especially after losing the love of her life, her soulmate Reg, when he was only 42, her love and kindness shone bright. Her strong heart and dazzling character left a mark on everyone she knew.
She is still deeply loved and missed and will be forever in our hearts.
You can read more about her life, here, here and here.
Fourth up, we have,
Dorothy Rose Emily O’Connor.
Dorothy, was born on Thursday the 4th of May 1911, at Number 4, Cross House Terrace, Southampton, Hampshire, England, to John Cornelius O’Connor and Ethel May O’Connor nee Wheeler.
Dorothy married Harold Croucher at Saint Mary’s Church, Southampton in the October to December quarter of the year 1933. They had two children, Peter Harold Croucher born in August 1934 and Joy E Croucher, who was born in the year 1937.
Dorothy died in the January to March quarter of the year 1984 in Southampton and was laid to rest at, Hollybrook Cemetery, Tremona Rd, Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
Fifth up we have,
Kathleen Helena Florence O’Connor.
Kathleen was born on the 04th December 1913, at Number 4, Cross House Terrace, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
She married William Albert Young in the July to September quarter of the year 1934, in Southampton.
They had five children, David, who was born in 1935, Jean, who was born in 1940, Susan, who was born in 1942, Betty Ann, who was born in 1945 and Patrick, who was born in 1947.
Kathleen passed away on the 16th January 1996, in Southampton, Hampshire, England.
She was laid to rest, at Hollybrook Cemetery, Tremona Rd, Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire, England, in plot L18-263.
Next up we have,
Patrick John O’Connor.
Patrick was born on the 2nd July 1915 at, Number 11, Cross House Terrace, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
Patrick married Violet Elizabeth Maud Long, on the 29th November 1939, at Southampton Registry Office, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
They did not have any children.
Patrick passed away on the 5th of December, 1983, at Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
He was laid to rest at, Hollybrook Cemetery, Tremona Rd, Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire, England, in plot L18-144.
Doesn’t Patrick, have the most friendly face, one ever did see. He just makes me smile. I imagine him to be just like my Granny Cuddles, the best hug giver ever.
Norah Margaret O’Connor.
Norah was born on Friday the 3rd of May, 1918, at Number 11, Cross House Terrace, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
She married, John Walter Cooper, on Monday the 18th April, 1938, in Southampton, Hampshire, England.
They had two children, John who was born in 1940 and Margaret, who was born in 1945.
Norah passed away on Sunday, the 18th of May, 1980, in Southampton, Hampshire, England.
She was laid to rest at, St Mary Extra Cemetery, Portsmouth Road, Sholing, , Southampton, Hampshire, England, with her husband John, in plot D31-155.
Brennan Cornelius O’Connor.
Brennan was born on the 17th November 1920, at Number 11, Cross House Terrace, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
Brennan married Joan Lillian Janse Van Rensburg in South Africa and they had 10 Children. Unfortunately I do not know all of their names. The ones I do know are, Brennan Patrick, Faith, Maureen, Timothy, Reginald and Alan. I believe the others are 1 female and 3 sons.
Brennan Cornelius returned to England, alone without his family. Brennan Patrick(Junior) followed him over and turned up on my Great Grans doorstep, as hers was the only address he knew. Brennan Patrick stayed in England and married here.
Brennan Cornelius passed away on the 25th May 1993, at Number, 44 Castle House, Castle Way, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
He was laid to rest at, Hollybrook Cemetery, Tremona Rd, Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire, England, in plot A14-184.
And last but not least,
Molly E O’Connor.
Molly was born on the 3rd of June, 1923, in Southampton. I assume at Number 11, Cross House Terrace, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
Molly married Anthony Diamond Rogers, in the October to December quarter of 1944, in Southampton.
They had two children, Molly, who was born in 1946 and Kathleen 1948.
Molly passed away on, the 15th November 2009, in Southampton, Hampshire, England.
She was laid to rest, at Hollybrook Cemetery, Tremona Rd, Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire, England, in plot K9-285, with her Parents, John and Ethel.
Aren’t they the most delicious bunch you ever did see.
I truly am honoured to call these incredible individuals my family.
Even though, I can’t remember meeting any of them, apart from my Gran, they all own a piece of my heart.
Until next time,
Too-da-loo for now.