Author Topic: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's  (Read 2579 times)

rosesinmay

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Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« on: October 22, 2012, 07:29:14 PM »
My Dad, Thomas, who is now 81 years old, and living in England, was born to a Kathleen Clarke in Belfast in 1931.

Although he was adopted and has had a happy life, he would dearly like to know what became of his birth mother. 

We think she advertised him for adoption in the Irish News as we have found a copy of an advertisement which says:

"Would motherly woman adopt baby from birth.  Good parentage.  No premium."

Dad's adoption papers state that he was advertised in a newspaper. 

Although we know little about Kathleen Clarke, we believe she may have worked as a barmaid and lived in Susan Street, Belfast when Dad was born.  No father's name was given on Dad's original birth certificate however we were told his name was Bob.

Does anyone have elderly relatives or friends who may remember her?  We know this is a sensitive subject and that times were very different back in the 1930's.  Any replies would be treated with the utmost respect.

JimG

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2012, 05:27:09 PM »
     Firstly,  Mary Lennon of  http://www.lennonwylie.co.uk/belfast.htm offers to look up directories she has but are not included on her website. Susan Street exists in her other older directories.  { Susan Street is off Newtownards Road Pottinger Ward, East Par. Div.} She has 1930 and 1931. I would ask her. She is also often on this message board. She needs donations to run her own website.
Secondly,  I have no idea how rare it is for an advertisement to advertise  a forthcoming baby for adoption, but it struck me as something I had never seen when working with Irish newspapers for more than 10 years in my life back in the 60’s.  Have you seen the advert and does it have a box number or anything traceable.  In those days Nazareth House at the top of the Ravenhill Road would be helping in babies being placed for adoption, and I don’t think they advertised as such. I think it was run by the Convent of the Holy Shepherd {Records might exist} Do the adoption papers make any mention of Nazareth House. 
So I was left puzzled with the clarity and the determination of the mother to be, placing such an advertisement.  I went looking to see if the mother could be named in the 1911 census, www.census.nationalarchives, making her at least 19 or 20 years old or much older towards the end of child bearing in those days. There are some 92 matching her name but of all ages and all over Ireland.
I quickly looked at some of the youngest entries, and seeing it was the Irish News that had the advertisement I looked for Catholics in particular.  I found nothing of direct connection.
If you don’t get any relatives contacting you, and any sort of straw might be of interest, I did find one entry in the 1911 census that made me pause and look up more , he's a householder Thomas Chevalier Clarke,]Head of a mainly catholic household, saying he is an Atheist, living at 56 Mill Street West (Smithfield, Antrim) in 1901 its 27 Irwin Street. This is off Cullingtree Road Smithfield Ward, West Par. Div. Neither are near Susan Street which is southwards ie the Co Down part of Belfast. He has become a Musician, Poet and Artist, I think earlier he may have described himself as a teacher.  One other member of the household is ‘a freethinker’. Anyway you will find details of the youngest child aged one. but then there are many others.

I do wish you luck with finding a relative or neighbour
 

rosesinmay

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2012, 05:56:38 AM »
Hello JimG

Thank you so much for your detailed and thoughtful reply.  It is much appreciated.  The adoption was arranged in England in 1945 when Dad was 14 and the papers state "mother's whereabouts not known for last two years".  I am going to follow up your suggestions.  Yes, the advert did have a PO Box no. with the Irish Times but sadly they do not have records of who placed it.  Nazareth House wasn't mentioned at all.

We do have a copy of the advert.  It catches our heart with it's wording, especially the word "motherly".  It feels both comforting and deeply touching at the same time especially it sits below one for Chumland Amusements at the Bellevue Pavilion, Plaza Skating Sessions, and above an advert. for lodgings in Marquis Street.  It is hard to believe that that tiny advertisement was maybe for our Dad, who now has three children of his own, eight grandchildren, and recently 2 great-grandchildren.   

We do wonder if Kathleen Clarke could have also been known as Kitty, or even Catherine and did she have a brother or father named Thomas who she named her baby after ?  She registered him herself about 6 weeks after he was born although the adoption papers state his adoptive parents had him from about three weeks old.  That puzzles us.

In the 1930's my Dad recalls being taken to see his "Aunty Kathleen" in the centre of Belfast.  He recalls she worked in an upstairs bar, she dark hair and smelt nice, and was always kind to him.  He wonders if it may have been in a theatre or hotel as it had a posh staircase and curving walls and seemed to quiet, almost empty when he was there in daytime hours.

He never thought at that time that Aunty Kathleen may have been his birth mother.  He was only told he was adopted when the family had moved to Coventry for work and he needed a birth certificate to attend Technical College.  It came as a huge shock. He had much love and respect for his adoptive parents who couldn't have children of their own, and only started to think about this research after their deaths.

Thank you Jim G for wishing us luck with our search.  We know it may be too late to find answers, that to pin down accurate details we need a lucky break, and that we are looking for a needle in a haystack !!!!

With very best wishes to you.

JimG

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 09:44:11 AM »
     The  3 week delay between your dad going into his new parents hands , and her registration could have been, because she was ill or might not have known it has to be done within a set time limit, or...  Have you any clues about her religious  background.  The placement of the advertisement in the Irish Times seems slightly curious.  It might be described as the establishment class. There would have been cheaper ads in other newspapers, so it was a conscious decision to get the best possible solution for your dad.
I turned to seek any record of her in later life and tried burials
 From  http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/burialrecords/search.asp
Who look after
•    [/font][/color]Balmoral Cemetery[/color]
•    [/font][/color]Belfast City Cemetery[/color]
•    [/font][/color]Clifton Street Graveyard[/color]
•    [/font][/color]Dundonald Cemetery[/color]
•    [/font][/color]Friar's Bush Graveyard[/color]
•    [/font][/color]Knock Burial Ground[/color]
•    [/font][/color]Roselawn Cemetery[/color]
•    [/font][/color]Shankill Cemetery[/color]
•    [/font][/color]The index is incomplete, The detail exists under the Graveyard in some cases. I have edited out some entries, but left the first one in, as there are several in Dundonald.[/color]
Catherine       Clarke 60 Years         16 February 1929    18 February 1929    Dundonald Cemetery           View Details   
Catherine       Clarke 73       23 August 1985        26 August 1985        Roselawn Cemetery  View Details   
Annie Kathleen         Clarke 24 Years         15 July 1934 17 July 1934 Dundonald Cemetery           View Details    Your Dad would have been too young to remember a Belfast visit I  think
Kathleen        Clarke 70       23 February 1966    28 February 1966    Dundonald Cemetery           View Details   
Kathleen        Clarke 53 Yr  21 June 1962            23 June 1962            Roselawn Cemetery  View Details
Kathleen        Clarke 88       6 August 1993          11 August 1993        City Cemetery - Glenalina Extension          View Details   
The view details cost £1.50 each.

 However what is missing is the records  of vast burials in Milltown Graveyard
I don’t think a record exists, and in particular a poor peoples area makes it even more unlikely.  However one can write to the cemetery. There might be a way of finding the burial if a chapel service took place, again which chapel
St Peters Cathedral at PetersHill near the city centre is starting to index records.
I don’t think I can help you further. So I hope others will join in helping your quest
 My best regards to your Dad and his loving extended family!
JimG
 
 

rosesinmay

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 08:16:57 PM »
Dear JimG

Thank you so much for your further information and the time and trouble you have spent on our behalf.  I know our Dad will greatly appreciate this and will want me to return his best wishes plus his sincere thanks to you.

You have given us more leads to follow and we will post further if we fall lucky but once again, many thanks.

maura

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2012, 02:11:56 PM »
Milltown records do exist, but they are not online, if Kathleen was a R.C. she may have got Thomas baptised before she handed him over. I would check out  R.C. churches in the area to see if they have a baptism for him, as usually it a member of the family that are sponsors, but not in all cases.

rosesinmay

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2012, 01:02:21 PM »
Hello Maura

Thank you for your post and the information about Milltown Records.  Another lead I will follow and I am grateful for it.

I have written to and telephoned many churches in Belfast and the surrounding area to ask about Baptism records for my Dad.  Sadly to date, none have been found.

We really appreciate your time and effort trying to help us in our search.

With best wishes to you, Maura.

Pclarke

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 08:30:01 AM »
Dear Maura
I sent you a personal message last night with information about Kathleen Clarke.  Please contact me. 
P

maura

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 09:12:40 AM »
Dear Maura
I sent you a personal message last night with information about Kathleen Clarke.  Please contact me. 
P

You have to post at least 3 times before you can send or recieve personal messages.

Pclarke

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2012, 09:54:27 AM »
I think your ship may have come in.   I am reluctant to go too public with information, so this is post 2.

Pclarke

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2012, 09:55:09 AM »
And this is post 3 so I will try sending you a personal message

maura

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2012, 10:20:28 AM »
Nothing so far

BClark

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2020, 04:07:44 PM »
Nothing so far
Hi I was wandering if Pclarke ever got his message over? I am a relation to Kathleen Clarke and would also like to see what PClark had to say thanks

maura

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Re: Kathleen Clarke, Belfast, 1930's
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2020, 05:02:10 PM »
Hi I was wandering if Pclarke ever got his message over? I am a relation to Kathleen Clarke and would also like to see what PClark had to say thanks

Sorry I never ever got a message from him