SOMERS – mainly in Ireland
The earliest Somers which I have traced in a direct line is my great-great grandfather James Somers. The only reference I have to this James Somers is the certificate of his son’s second marriage on 15th October 1890 (see below) which says that the father of the bridegroom was James Somers already deceased . His son Dr James Louis (or Lewis) Somers J.P.was born circa 1837, probably in Kilkenny City. Dr JL Somers married Jane Frances Louisa Usher of Birr, King's County on 12th July 1861 at St Brendan's RC Church Birr. Their marriage was reported in the King’s County Chronicle on 17th July 1861 “On the 12th July, by the Rev. Dr Egan, P.P. James S. (sic) Somers, Esq. Kilkenny to Jane Frances Louisa, youngest daughter of the late Noble Luke Usher, Esq PARSONSTOWN”. The marriage is also recorded in the Birr Roman Catholic marriage register for 1838 to 1899. Their children as listed in the large family Bible were born as follows:
The first four of the above were born in Birr according to the Birr Roman Catholic Baptismal Register for 1838 – 1899 as the children of James Somers and Jane Usher. The baptismal dates given are: Noble 4th May 1862; James 7th June 1863; Mary 29th January 1865 and Emily 25th March 1867. The others are recorded in the Roman Catholic Baptismal records for the Parish of Roscrea, which suggests that the family moved from Birr to Roscrea between 1867 and 1868. What is interesting is that the Roscrea records show four sets of twins as follows:
Child Sponsor 1 Sponsor 2
31st July 1868 Joseph Rev. Patrick Crowe (?) Anna Giunal (?)
31st July 1868 Vincent Michael Lalor Catherina Lalor
4th January 1870 Maria Noble Somers Honora Dunne
4th January 1870 Augusta Noble Somers Honora Dunne
29th May 1871 Janetta Edmund Commesford Elleansra Callanan (?)
28th June 1872 William Nobilis Somers Maria Somers
21st August 1873 Adelaide Frederick Lucas Maria Somers
21st August 1873 Maria Frederick Lucas Maria Somers
30th August 1874 Florence Jacobus Somers Maria Brown
30th August 1874 Maria Jacobus Somers Maria Brown
It would appear therefore that poor Jane Frances Louisa Somers (née Usher) produced 14 children and that one of each of the four sets of twins probably died at birth as the family bible mentions only one child for each twin. Assuming this to be correct, each surviving twin took as a second name that of his or her deceased twin, e.g out of Joseph and Vincent, only Joseph survived but he became Joseph Vincent.
Jane Frances Louisa Somers (née Usher), Dr James Lewis Somers’ first wife, died on 30th June 1889. According to the civil records for Roscrea Jane Frances Louisa was 50 when she died, her address is given as Castle Street, Roscrea, occupation was surgeon’s wife, she was Roman Catholic and her death was registered on 10th July 1889 by her son N.L. Somers. The cause of death : pneumonia – 3 weeks – senpraue of lung – 2 weeks – certified. Jane must therefore have been born around 1839. A cutting from a local newspaper in a family album records the death: “SOMERS – June 30, 1889, at Roscrea, Jane Frances Louisa, the beloved wife of Doctor J L Somers, J P , and daughter of the late Noble Luke Usher, Esq, of Birr. R.I.P.” It seems likely that her widow may have rounded down Jane’s age to the nearest decade for the purpose of the registration of her death. She almost certainly never knew her father Noble Luke Usher who died on 10th November 1834 according to Probate records. His Will was dated 29th November 1832 and whilst other children are mentioned as beneficiaries Jane is not. It looks as if Jane was born around 1834 or 1835 at the latest, which suggests that she was probably 54 or 55 when she died.
The 1901 census reveals that on 19th April 1901 Dr James Lewis Somers aged 60 born in Kilkenny City was living at 18 (Castle Street) with his (second) wife Annie aged 46 who was born in Wexford Town and Lizzie Fitzpatrick an 18 year old unmarried domestic servant from Roscrea. They could all read and write. Dr Somers’ profession is given as General Practitioner L.R.C.P. Ed , L.F.P.S. G(lasgow), L.A.H. Dub. and JP Co Tipperary. Details of the house where they lived: number 18, built, private dwelling, 8 out-offices and farmsteadings, inhabited, walls of stone brick or concrete, roof of stone tiles or iron, 9 rooms all occupied, 7 windows to the front of the house. The combination of the number of rooms and windows made it a “first class” house for the purpose of the census. Presumably the house was rented as a Miss F.J. Bridges is shown as the “Landholder” which I assume is the equivalent to freeholder in the UK.
I am aware of, and in contact with, living descendants of Noble, James, and Mary.
Dr James Louis Somers apparently came from Kilkenny City (see transcript of entries in family Bible held by RJ Usher-Somers and also the newspaper announcement of his marriage) and also the 1901 Census. The civil records say that Dr JL Somers was aged 73 when he died on 5th July 1910, suggesting that he was born c. 1837. Again it looks as if when the 1901 Census was being compiled he rounded his age down from about 64 to 60.The Kilkenny Archaelogical Society reported on 2 March 1998 that a James Sommers (sic) was baptised on 10th April 1836 with parents James Sommers and Margaret Gwynne, sponsor Mary Ellis and siblings John (1831) and Joseph (1834). The register entry was at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic parish, Kilkenny City. There were three other James Sommers’s born between 1830 and 1840 in Kilkenny at St Mary’s church, but the 1836 baptism looks like the closest assuming that baptism was shortly after birth.
According to Kilkenny Registrar’s district Vol 3 page 423 a James Somers died on 14th March 1869 aged 74 , of the Workhouse Kilkenny, widower a labourer. Died of debility after 6 months. Informant Chief Resident Officer, Workhouse.
On 7th August 1864, King Street, Kilkenny, James Sommers, married, 63 years, tailor, died. Cause of death not given.Informant was son Joseph Sommers present at the death, Kings Street. (Vol 13 page 344). Several other James Somers/Sommers/Sumers/Summers of around the same dates in other districts have been found. James Somers’ widow died in 1872. Details are as follows: 13th June 1872 at King Street (Kilkenny) Margaret SOMERS, 74 years widow of tailor, of Cerebral Apoplexy, one month certified. Informant was Joseph Somers, occupier, King Street. Registered 23.7.1873 – GRO Vol 13 page 351.
On presently available information, my guess is that the James Sommers who died in 1864 is the most likely father of Dr JL Somers.
According to Kilkenny records a Joseph Somers married an Ellen O’Brien in 1871 and they had at least four children including:
Mary Josephine Somers (bapt. 25th September 1874) King Street
Elenor Gertrude Somers (bapt. 29th October 1876) Rose Inn Lane
Christian ? Elizabeth Somers (bapt. 7th January 1879) Rose Inn Street
Mary Anne Agnes Somers (bapt. 25th July 1880)
Also in 1871a John Sommers married.
There is also a marriage entry for a Robert Frazier Somers, Roscrea 1880.
Slater’s Directory of Kilkenny for 1846 refers to a James Somers of St John Street as a “provision dealer” and a separate entry for a James Somers at Chapel Lane a “tailor”.
Another possibility, for which I have no evidence but merely a hunch, is that James Louis Somers’ father James Somers, married into the Edgeworth family. Please see my page on Edgeworth for my thinking behind this idea.
I have been give the name of a Thomas Aquinas Somers one of whose sons was called Joseph Vincent Somers. Thomas Aquinas Somers was born in Ireland circa 1846/7, emigrated to America sometime between then and 1870 when he surfaced in Philadelphia, married Delia Dooley in the early 1870s had 10 or 12 children and a variety of occupations mostly involving the liquor business and real estate. He died in 1893, the rest of his family remaining in Philadelphia. It has been suggested that perhaps Thomas Aquinas might have been a sibling of Dr James Louis Somers as the latter also had a son called Joseph Vincent Somers. See separate page on Thomas Aquinas Somers.
Dr JL Somers married secondly, Ann O’Connor (daughter of Richard O’Connor) at Saint Kevin’s Roman Catholic Chapel in Dublin on 15th October 1890. The marriage certificate indicates that the groom’s father, also called James Somers, was already deceased. Ann was at the time living at 15 South Circular Road, Dublin which is in the parish of St Kevin’s. They had a daughter Margaret Catherine Somers (also known as Maud) possibly around 1897. Dr J.L Somers died on 5th July 1910. According to the civil records for Roscrea he was living at Castle Street Roscrea, a medical practitioner, death was registered on 28th August 1910 by A. Somers of Castle St. (presumably his widow Ann) he was married, a Roman Catholic and aged 73 which conflicts with the age of 50 give in the 1901 census. It probably means that he was born around 1837. See separate pages for Dr JL Somers’s Will and obituary. Cause of death was: heart disease – cardiac failure – certified E. Lewis. Maud never married and died in Dublin on 14th March 1966 aged 69.
Noble Luke Usher Somers married Louise Josephine Lantenois at the church of St Clotilde in Paris on 12th June 1890 and they had the following children:
Amboise died shortly after birth in Northern France and all of the other children are now dead. Neither Camille, Yvonne, Gilbert, nor Vera (known as Vivy), married. There are living descendants of Marie, Emile, Ida, Raoul, and Geoffroi. My father was Geoffroi.
James Louis Edgeworth Somers married 1st July 1890 his cousin Mable Usher, daughter of Dr Joseph F Usher of Ballarat. A cutting from a local newspaper, in a family album records the event: “ SOMERS – USHER. MISS FRANCIS USHER, eldest daughter of Dr. Usher, of Ballarat, was married on Tuesday, 1st July, to Dr. Edgeworth Somers, of Queensland. The ceremony took place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ballarat, and was an exceedingly quiet one. The bride wore a travelling dress of brown velvet, and a small bonnet of pink roses and brown leaves ; she carried a lovely bouquet of pale pink geraniums, white heath and ferns. Dr. and Mrs. Somers left by the afternoon train for Melbourne en route to Sydney.” Dr James Louis Edgeworth Somers and Francis Mable Usher had the follwing issue:
Noel Travers Edgeworth Somers born 1893
Neville Edgeworth de Firmont Somers born 1895
Florence Ruth Edgeworth Somers born 1897
Gervase Lewis Edgeworth Somers born 1899
Monica Mary Patricia Edgeworth Somers born 1901
Joseph Vincent Somers became a doctor and married Florence ? and they had at least five children.
Joseph Vincent died a few months before his father ie circa 1910 according to the obituary of his father, although the obituary refers to Joseph Vincent as Dr J.P. Usher Somers. I believe that he died in the Midlands UK.
Hilda married and had a daughter Kathleen Gorham who became a famous ballerina in Australia. Kathleen’s obituary appeared in Dance and Dancers in August 1983. I do not know what has happened to the others.
Jane Frances Louisa Somers married Robert Bamford – a family famous for JCB excavators. The B standing for Bamford. A cutting from a local newspaper records the event: “ BAMFORD and SOMERS – November 15, 1893, at the Roman Catholic Church Roscrea by the Venerable the Archdeacon of Killaloe, Robert, son of Henry Bamford, Esq., Enville House, Uttoxetter (sic), Staffordshire, to Jane Frances Louise, daughter of Dr. Somers, J.P. Roscrea and granddaughter of the late Noble Luke Usher, Parsonstown.”
Mary Monica Isabella Somers married Dr Henry or Harry Moorhead on 19th October 1884. A cutting from a local paper in a family album reads “There was considerable gratification of the marriage of Miss Somers eldest daughter of Dr Somers with Dr. Henry Moorhead, of Clonaslee, son of Dr Moorhead, J.P. of Tullamore, The happy young bride and bride-groom, who are members of old and respected King’s County families, and the daughter and son of highly esteemed physicians, received the congratulations of numerous friends, who wish them a long and happy life.” According to Patricia Moorhead (wife of a descendant) “ Mary Somers and Henry Moorhead were married according to the rights of the Roman Catholic Church by Rev. Edmund O’Leary in the residence of the bride’s father at Roscrea” (18 Castle Street). She continues: “This was quite usual in the families of the well to do Catholics”. Mary Somers and Henry had the following issue:
Adelaide Mary Somers married Richard Thomas Ashe Hardy on 15th November 1898 at Roscrea Ireland. A cutting from a local newspaper records the event: “HARDY and SOMERS – November 15, 1898, at the R.C. Church, Roscrea, by the Very Rev. Doctor Culligan, P.P., V.G., Richard Thomas Ashe, Marchington Grange, Staffordshire; elder son of the late Richard George Hardy, Esq.,. Marchington Hall, Staffordshire, to Adelaide Mary Usher, daughter of Dr. Somers, J.P., Roscrea, and granddaughter of the late Noble Luke Usher, of Parsonstown, King’s County.” They had a son Angus Hardy.
Florence Mary Anna Somers was two weeks short of her 17th birthday when she died in 1891. The civil records for Roscrea record her death as follows: Florence Marion Beatrice Somers of Castle St. Roscrea, occupation Lady, date of death 17th August 1891 registered on 23rd September 1891 by J.H. (sic) Somers Roscrea father. She was aged 16 single and a Roman Catholic. The cause of death : tuberculsis – 2 years – pulmonia – phthisis – 10 months – certified. With a slight variation in her names, a cutting in a family album, from a local newspaper records: “SOMERS – August 17, at Roscrea, Florence Marion (?) Beatrice, youngest daughter of Dr. J.L. Somers, J.P. R.I.P.”
I have certain information on other individuals bearing the surname Somers on a separate page.
I have a lot more information about the above which I hope to include in due course. Furthermore research is continuing.
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E mail: Robert Usher-Somers
Last updated: 10h September 2003