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Biography of a Lineage - The Dublin Spierin's (IRL4, DUB1)


Generation 1 (born ~1800)

Generation 2 (born ~1830-1846)

Generation 3 (born ~1860-1890)

Many Irish Spearin families, perhaps the majority, emigrated to Australia and the New World. This particular branch was one of the few who stayed behind.

The patriarch, Patrick Spierin (1802-1872) was probably born in Limerick but the first piece of documentary evidence is his marriage record to Mary Morgan in 1828 in Tipperary. He was a police constable, probably with the Peace Preservation Force, and lived in various places in northern Tipperary between 1828 and the late 1830s. He was the arresting officer in an infamous murder case that sparked the Devon Commission. Several years thereafter he turns up in Dublin - perhaps his involvement in the murder case made him a marked man and he had to flee Tipperary with his young family (as the suspect he arrested was hung outside Clonmel gaol). He commenced work on the developing Irish railway system and this started a family profession that was passed on from father to son for many generations.

He had at least 7 children (5 boys, 2 girls) but only the male lines are known to have survived childhood.

The eldest son John was an alderman and married twice (Margaret Tuite & Rosanna Reynolds) and had 4 sons himself. Only one (Thomas, 1870-1913) survived childhood but he had no offspring and so this line died out.

The second son (Edward Joseph Spierin, 1835-1902) was my great great grandfather. He became a Station Master, first at Limerick Junction and then at the North Wall in Dublin. He was Grand Master of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. With his wife (Mary Agnes Ryan), he had 2 sons and 3 daughters - one son (John Augustus) died at 10 months of hydrocephalus, the other (James Patrick) died of TB half-way across the Atlantic on a return trip from Buenos Aires, leaving behind a young wife and daughter (who never married). All three of EJSs  daughters survived - two sisters (Jennie & Kate) married two O'Mahony brothers (Tim & Jack), whilst the third (Lizzie, my great grandmother) married HT O'Carroll. Thus this line of the family "daughtered out".

The other three sons of Patrick Spierin had prolific families and passed the Spierin name forward to the present day.

Nicholas (1842-1909) spent the early part of his working life on the railway in Carlow. He later moved with his family between Carlow and Liverpool, where he probably did seasonal work as a stevedore on the docks. He married Anne Mills and they had 8 children, including 2 sons: George (1867-1926, variously a grocer, publican, labourer and electrician, who married Elizabeth Marlow and had at least 8 children including 4 sons) and John (1873-1955, a carpenter and wheelwright, who married Catherine Hand and had 4 children including 1 son).

William (1846-1904) lived right beside the ProCathedral on Marlborough Street in Dublin. He was heavily involved in the Land League and frequently hosted meetings in his house. He was variously a printer, a porter, a packer, and a clerk. He also is recorded as being a Justice of the Peace in 1884. William married twice (1872 & 1892), first to Anne O'Toole (1851-1891) and then to Elizabeth Lynch (1872-1912). He had 8 children by his first marriage and 3 (2 sons) by his second.

Of the 5 sons from his first marriage, John Patrick was a railwayman, twice married (Anne McNally & Charlotte Berry), who travelled to New York, Arizona, San Francisco and probably Australia; Ernest Joseph was a bookbinder who lived & died in New York; and Edward was a successful shopkeeper who had 3 sons of his own.

When William died in 1904, he left a young wife (25 years his junior), pregnant with their third child who was later born in the workhouse. His young family was destitute and his younger son ended up in the Ragged School for Boys.

Patrick (1841-1908) was a railwayman, first an engine fitter and in later years a porter. He married Maria Reagh and they had 11 children (9 sons).

The eldest son John married Charlotte Galvin and they travelled to Argentina on the infamous "City of Dresden" in 1889. Six years later, their 2 daughters (Jane & Carrie) were in an orphanage in Buenos Aires (as Juanita & Carmelita). Years later (in 1928), they returned from Argentina, probably to stay with family in Birkenhead, Liverpool.

The second oldest son, Michael, was variously a fitter, mechanic, and commercial traveller. He married Mary Cummins and they raised 10 children in Birkenhead. One of their sons was killed in WW1 aged 19.

Patrick's second youngest son, Malachi, was also involved in WW1 and may have suffered shellshock. He apparently used to travel across the US in box cars.

The youngest son Patrick was a telescope/periscope fitter and later a railwayman at the Broadstone in Dublin. He married Mary Moyna and had 12 children (6 sons). The family moved to England in the 1950's.

Maurice Gleeson
Feb 2012

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Last update: Feb 2012

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