Perhaps because of my penchant for the novels of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, I always thought Jane was a pretty name, so I did not understand why it had not been passed along. My mother explained that she did not know why the name was never again used as a first name, but it was not, end of story. After some research, I discovered that the name Jane had indeed been passed on as a forename, and no one in my family had any idea there had once been another girl named Jane.
The exercise of finding Jane is an interesting one because it demonstrates that you may find traces of ancestors who lived and died prior to the 1901 census and 1911 census by using clues you might find in those materials. In the case of a child such as Jane Ball, you could conduct almost the entire search for her without ever leaving your computer.
If you have an ancestor who lived within the urban metropolis of Dublin, Ireland, then you may want to try the same kind of search.
Clue #1: The 1911 Irish census and lucky number five
In the 1911 census of Ireland, one addition which is a boon to family history researchers is the column in which the head of household was required to record the total number of children born alive, and the number who were still alive in 1911. Looking at this section on the Ball family census, you will notice the total number of children born alive is recorded as '5'.
In my research I had found records accounting for four of these five children, namely Patrick, Mary, Christopher, and Francis Joseph. Along with his siblings, Mary, Patrick, and Christopher, Francis had been accounted for in the 1901 census, but he had disappeared by the time of the 1911 census. Thus in 1911 the number of children still living is recorded as '3'. As I recount in this article Francis Ball 1893-1905: 'case maker's son' lost, I discovered that, at the age of only twelve years, Francis Joseph Ball had died 6 June 1905. However, the details about child #5 did not appear on either the 1901 or 1911 census, and if not for that number five, I would have never known to look for another child.
So, who was child #5?
Link to the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census materials via The National Archives website.
Link to the Ball Family Census of 1901.
Link to the Ball Family Census of 1911.
Clue #2: All of Child #5's siblings were christened in the same church
Discovering that there had been a fifth child led me back to the parish registers in which I found the baptismal records of the four other Ball children. Patrick Ball had been christened in 1885, and his sister Mary had been christened in 1886; however, there was a significant gap between Mary's christening and that of her brother Christopher in 1889. This gap signalled that it was highly probable I would find the record for child #5 in either 1887 or 1888.
In the 1888 register of St. Kevin's Church, Harrington Street Dublin, I found Jane Ball. Little baby Jane was born 22 May 1888, and was baptized 1 June 1888.
|Baptism of Jane Ball, daughter of Francis Ball and Jane Early, 1 June 1888.|
Teresa Early, sister of Jane Early was baby Jane's baptismal sponsor.
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Clue #3: Birth and Death registrations at the G.R.O.
|Birth registration of baby Jane.|
|Death registration of baby Jane.|
Note her condition is referred to as 'Spinster'.
When their son Francis Joseph died in 1905, Jane Early and her husband Francis Ball had their son interred in Glasnevin cemetery; therefore, I decided to check to see if baby Jane Ball had been interred in Glasnevin as well. My idea found substance when I discovered a record for Jane in the register of Glasnevin cemetery. Jane Ball was interred two days after her death, on 30 August 1889; she is buried in the St. Patrick's section of Glasnevin Cemetery, not far from the St. Brigid's section in which her brother would be interred in 1905.
|Extract from Glasnevin Burial Register 1889.|
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|Click on image to view larger version.|
I found child #5. She was baby Jane Ball, the second born daughter, and third born child of my maternal great-grandparents Francis Ball and Jane Early.
Of course, I am only left to imagine the impact Jane's birth and death had on her family. When Jane was born her family lived at 16 Montague Street in an area of Dublin City called Rathmines. It would have been only a short walk to take the children to St. Stephen's Green to enjoy a summer's day. In the August of Jane's death only fifteen months later, the family was living at 16 Merchant's Quay in a tenement fronting the river Liffey.
At the time of baby Jane’s death, her mother Jane was carrying her third born son, Christopher. Since he was born in December of the year in which she died, Christopher would never know his elder sister Jane. Christopher was christened on the same day as his birth. I find myself wondering, was it the fear of loss over baby Jane’s death that led Francis and Jane to have Christopher baptized on the same day he was born?
There are no answers to any of the questions which now remain, only these documents, the bare bones of a life. They must serve as remembrances of the life of baby Jane Ball, boxmaker's child.
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