Catherine Farrell (c.1821-1889)

The first time we learn about Catherine from the census is in 1881 when she is aged 60 and is a widow. She is living with her daughter Bridget who is 30 and her husband Thomas Shannon who is 38; all three were born in Ireland.

Catherine is down as a domestic and identified as Thomas' mother-in-law. Also living with them are Thomas and Bridget's children, Michael aged 5 who was born in Darwen and Mary Ann who is 3 and was born in Halifax.

We know that Catherine is Bridget's mother because on my grandma's birth certificate it says her mother is Bridget Shannon nee Farrell.

Catherine dies on 15th March 1889, at 16 Livesey Place, Darwen. The certificate says she died of senectus (old age); it also says she is aged 63. Whilst there is a difference in age, i.e. according to the 1881 census she was 60, yet in 1889 the death certificate says 63, nevertheless, it is highly unlikely that Catherine could read or write as he daughter, Bridget couldn't - so it is likely that she wouldn't necessarily know her age.

Her death is reported by her daughter, Mary Moran. I have searched the records and found a marriage certificate for a Mary O'Farrell who married John Moran on 8th September 1856 at St Anns RC church in Blackburn. This says that Mary was aged 20, a spinster, and worked as a drawer in a cotton mill. It also tells us that she was living in Fielding Row, Blackburn, which is the same as her husband, John, who was aged 22 and a mason's labourer. John's father was called Thomas and was a farmer, as was Catherine's father who was called James O'Farrell.

Of course, a lot of this is speculation!