Lynch, Haughey and Cassidy

My mother's family -
Dundee to Glasgow: The puzzle of Margaret Cassidy, and Thomas Lynch

My perceptions of Margaret Cassidy and Thomas Lynch

When I wrote the initial family history document, and even when editing it and starting to write the much more complicated 'new' parts, I had no material on Margaret Cassidy, my mother's father's mother, beyond her name. I knew that she had a long-standing relationship with Thomas Lynch, and that the 1871 census gave her birthplace as Dundee. Her death record shows her father as Michael Cassidy. This may or may not be correct.

When I wrote this piece, a few years ago now, I thought I had found her. There was a likely birth, a family with father Patrick Cassidy (rather than Michael), but everything else seemed to fit; the birth was indeed in Dundee, her parents were from Ireland, and she was not alone in the world but had siblings, at least one of whom had descendants in Dundee. Indeed I recently had an article about a descendant, Jim Cassidy, who died at the end of WWI, in the publication of the Tay Valley Family History Society.

Well, alas this was one of these wrong turns that happen in doing family history - and other kinds of history also. [This Cassidy family indeed had a daughter Margaret, with a birth at the right time in the right place, and the father at one point was a railway worker, fitting the small amount of information that came from Margaret's death registration. Alas, this Margaret Cassidy had died in 1860 -  I have a scan of the register entry which names her brother as informant for this death. But while the family was not 'mine' it was somebody's, and indeed I've learned rather more about these Cassidys since. I'm retaining much of what I wrote earlier, at my older page at, and in a separate page on Cassidy on this ‘new’ part of the website, because it may be of interest to others.] 

However, back now to where I started off, with the Margaret Cassidy and Thomas Lynch who were my mother’s grandparents.

Margaret Cassidy and Thomas Lynch had their household in Glasgow, for the eleven years from before the birth of their son Thomas in 1868 until Margaret's death after childbirth in 1879. They did not marry, though they were clearly regarded as married by those around them and appear as such on the census in 1771. A relationship such as this could have been listed as an 'irregular marriage' - quite legal through habit and repute, if their community considered them as 'married' - yet the children Thomas and Margaret are listed as 'illegitimate' on their birth records and Margaret Cassidy as 'spinster' at her death, reported by Thomas who is identified as 'occupier' of their shared household; something, therefore, prevented the relationship being a legal marriage, and I will discuss that in the section on Thomas Lynch, below.

I have no knowledge, though, of how Margaret Cassidy and Thomas Lynch met (in Dundee or in Glasgow?) or how their relationship - unmarried, long-term partners over twelve years or more - was regarded by her family. 

To recap: in a footnote to the original material on this site, I said:

This is where things get rather complicated. The long-term partner of Thomas Lynch (senior) was Margaret Cassidy (not Lowe). She died on 21 Feb 1879, after a third childbirth. The two children are both in the records as 'illegitimate' and her death record shows her as 'single' - all of these attested by Thomas Lynch, present as signatory. The death record of the younger Thomas Lynch shows Margaret Cassidy as his mother (though his marriage record says 'Lowe'). The 1871 census has Thomas (38), Margaret (30) and the two children in Bridgeton, both Thomas and Margaret born in 'Forfarshire - Dundee' and Thomas as labourer in a chemical works. The 1881 census shows the household of Thomas Lynch, now engineer's labourer, and his two children, giving Thomas's birthplace as Dundee. His death record (16 April 1889) gives his parents as Margaret McTaggart and Michael Lynch, and he is described there as widower of Margaret Cassidy. What particular pattern of social class relationships is inherent in all of this I have no idea, simply that there is one... 

So, this area of the website tries to show something more of Margaret Cassidy and Thomas Lynch, with the discoveries of the family of the 'other' Margaret Cassidy in a separate page.

So who was Margaret Cassidy?

There are very few clues. The only census entry that is assuredly of her is that from 1871, when she is with Thomas Lynch and their son Thomas. This gives her approximate age, and birth in Dundee. There are two other census records, from 1851 and 1861, that could be her, but without firm evidence this is speculation. The first is that of a child aged about 13, living in the household of a grocer in Carnoustie, in the parish of Barry, with birthplace given as Dundee. The second, from 1861, is of a mill worker reeler in Dundee, age given as 21, boarding in the household of James Docharty and his family (all born in Ireland).

There are other Margaret Cassidys in the 1861 census, but either with a family, or born in Ireland. I’m tempted to think that these Dundee-born lasses may be her. In this case, something happened to send the wee girl from Dundee to Barry, and her early history might not be very dissimilar to that of her partner Thomas (explored in detail below). And, there is one possible  birth/baptism in the RC church records, in 1837, of a Margaret Cassidy with mother Mary Southwell and ‘reputed’ father Philip Cassidy, but I have found nothing further at all on either of these people.

Possible histories of Thomas Lynch

Thomas Lynch has been an elusive figure. 

What we know is that Thomas Lynch had a household with Margaret Cassidy in the East End of Glasgow between 1868 and 1879. Three children were born - the last born dying in 1879, when Margaret too died, on 21st February 1879, of 'exhaustion after childbirth'. Thomas was described in the 1871 and 1881 censuses, and on the birth entries for his children, as a labourer of various sorts. For the record of his death on 15 April 1889 at age 56, his son Thomas gave the information that his father was son of Michael Lynch, weaver, and Margaret McTaggart.

'Lynch' is an Irish name, and by the mid 19th century there were many Lynches in Glasgow; but census entries consistently show Thomas Lynch as born in Dundee, and his age would indicate that his parents, or at least his father, must have been an early immigrant. There is no record of a Michael Lynch and Margaret McTaggart to be found. The younger Thomas, aged 20 when his father died, may have had little knowledge of the background. From the 1871 and 81 census records and his death record, Thomas Lynch was born around 1832-3. I did find one possible clue, the birth of a Thomas Lynch, 15 July 1830, to Michael Lynch and Margaret Haghey, with baptism in January 1831, in the Catholic records from Dundee. Baptism sponsors were Walter and Mary Burk. 

Possibly, this could be Thomas, I thought (rightly, as you’ll see when you read on, though it took years to ascertain this!) However, there was no record of him in the 1841 census - no Thomas Lynch, whether aged around eight or aged around ten, at all in Dundee or Angus (or anywhere else), although there was a boy aged 12 in a household in Kirkton of Auchterhouse that I thought might be a workhouse or orphanage of some sort; it is that of Charlotte Chrichton, grocer, Betsy Chrichton who seems to be her daughter born in 1823 [1], and eight other children aged between four and nine, in addition to the 12-year-old Thomas Lynch. This might possibly be the boy born in 1830, with the age being a year out. Ages are shown in the table below (simplified from the FreeCen transcription), and all were born in Angus.

  • CHRICHTON Charlotte F 60
  • CHRICHTON Betsy F 15
  • LYNCH Thomas M 12
  • HUTCHISON William M 9
  • PATTULLO George M 8
  • WEBSTER James M 8
  • WEBSTER Janet F 6
  • SHOES Eliza F 4
  • ANDERSON Susan F 9
  • ANDERSON Duncan M 8
  • ANDERSON Alexander M 7

So, the next stage was to find out what this household was. Auchterhouse history, I thought, might hold some record, but there were other clues in the Dundee Kirk Session records and in the Dundee lists of poor - of which more later.

In the Dundee Catholic records there is another birth, of James Linch, born 16th November, baptised 14th December 1823, son of Michael Linch and Margaret Haray or Harvy or Hacay. This might be the same family as the 1830 Thomas. In the Howff burial records there is an entry for a Michael Linch, buried on 30 May 1834, aged 42, with birthplace Drogheda, Ireland. Unfortunately no occupation is given, nor did I find further material on Margaret Haghey, Haughey or Haray.

Further history, though, looked a little more promising. On 24th November 1850 a Thomas Lynch was married to Euphemia Low, in Kirriemuir; they lived in Westmuir, a weavers' area. The 1851 census shows Thomas to have been born in Dundee. He is an agricultural labourer and Euphemia a handloom weaver, born in Kirriemuir. Both Thomas and Euphemia are aged 19 in this census. A son, James, was born on 15th May 1851 and baptised on 18th May with the name James Low Lynch. Later records show Euphemia giving birth to two more children, with different fathers [2], who are with her at 15 Westmuir in the 1861 census, though James is not; he was in the household of Euphemia's own parents, James Low and Jean McQueen. James seems to have learned to be a farmer [3], retained an association with his grandparents and eventually emigrated with them, to become a farmer in the US. His households can be traced through the US censuses, first with his grandparents, an aunt, and cousins, later in Colorado with his wife and children. He has descendants there today.

Clearly Euphemia Low and Thomas Lynch did not stay together, but the reason is lost in time. Was their separation one of mutual convenience? Did parents - whomsoever these were - have a hand in it? Are there possible other factors? Kirriemuir Kirk Sessions hold no mention of the separation, though they do of the children of Euphemia with other partners, saying that Thomas is elsewhere and at one point describing him as 'a native of Ireland' although the 1851 census gives his birth in Dundee. 

A prior marriage would be reason why Thomas Lynch and Margaret Cassidy could not marry either formally or irregularly. The peculiar persistence of the name 'Lowe' in the marriage records of the younger Thomas and Margaret shows that there was at least some connection to someone of that name. For the time being, I will speculate that Thomas Lynch had been married to Euphemia Low in 1850. However, whether he was the child in Auchterhouse or the infant in Dundee was not possible to determine without something further. The ages given, while not far out, do not match up conclusively - three or four years out for an adult is expected, but for a child? Family stories suggested there had been a change of name, and that - much later - relatives were looking for his family, but there are many reasons why searches or advertisements might be made, possibly on the death of Euphemia Low in 1918, long after Thomas himself had died. The confusion over the name 'Low' may be sufficient to have caused speculation.

The connection with Auchterhouse, however, was resolved by the Lists of the Poor in the Town and Parish of Dundee - a volume containing several years' records in the Dundee Central Library. This held lists for the years 1833 to 1839, including sections headed 'Board of Children' which named children sent by the parish to various locations including Auchterhouse. The 1834-5 list named Thomas and George Lynch living with an Andrew Scott in Bonnettown of Auchterhouse, and also an Ann Lynch with John Scott there, with sums of money for their care. The lists for 1838 and 39 show Thomas with Mrs Chrichton. George Lynch can be found in censuses from the area around Dundee. In 1834, there is an entry in Dundee Kirk Session minutes where two Elders are instructed to look into the situation of the 'Lynch family', and there are various references to children (orphans who had become a charge on the parish) being boarded out in Auchterhouse. My conclusion is that Thomas was indeed the child in Auchterhouse in 1841, that he was younger than George who left the 'board' in 1837-8, and I've written an article on this situation which details the search for this family. This is available from me on request - please email!

The story went that Thomas was often away on work-related activities, and wrote letters beginning 'Dear little people..' to his children Thomas and Margaret. But as a labourer, surely he would not be expected often to be away from home?... there may, though, be some other reason taking him from home, perhaps even connected with Euphemia Low and that son James - if indeed James survived infancy. Certainly there are puzzles here which could stand investigation. 

Thomas Lynch the elder remains, still, a rather hazy figure, almost a missing piece in the puzzle of my ancestry, glimpsed from time to time but with many questions - where, for instance, was he in 1861? From my own perspective, I wanted to know whether he was a product of the Irish immigration to Scotland, or whether some of his antecedents might go back further into the Angus countryside.

DNA revealing more of Thomas Lynch’s story!

In 2015 I undertook a ‘Family Finder’ DNA test, and in 2016 up popped a ‘new relative’, Jennifer in the US - one of many potential ‘relatives' but closer than most, so with some hope of finding the connection between us. And we worked it out! She is a third cousin once removed, descended from John Lynch, born in Port Glasgow (and baptised in Greenock, as registered in the Catholic baptisms there) in 1821 - the son of Margaret Hauchy and Michael Lynch, weaver. And this descent has confirmed my speculations about Michael Lynch and Margaret Haughey/Haray/Hauchy - to which set of spellings must be added Hashie, as the marriage of Michael Lynch and Margaret ‘Hashie' took place in Port Glasgow in October 1818, entered into the Church of Scotland register as a proclamation but with no date for the actual marriage as that is likely to have been officiated by a Catholic priest.

Greenock at this time held a growing Irish community. When Michael Lynch arrived there is not known: he may have come as a child, or as a young man seeking employment. He may have trained as a weaver in Drogheda, or elsewhere in Ireland, or indeed in Greenock. And as to Margaret Haughey, there were other Haugheys in and around Greenock at the time, and she may also have migrated as part of a family group. Alas, the records that would give this don’t exist, but there is the possibility to explore other Greenock and Port Glasgow births and marriages, and follow these up through later census entries. My hunch currently was that she is from further north, as Haughey seemed to be a name occuring frequently in Ulster.

And another DNA link: in 2019 I found another ‘new relative’ - this time descended from a Margaret Lynch Fenwick born in Dundee, daughter of William Fenwick: and some tracing revealed an intriguing line of descent. William’s parents were Andrew Fenwick and Margaret Lynch, present im the 1901 census in Dundee with a brother George Lynch with them in the household  From there I traced George back through censuses to his birth in 1862, his and Margaret's parents being Duncan Lynch and Margaret Christie. Duncan had previously been married to Isabella Carse, and they are in Dundee in earlier censuses: Duncan however was born in Port Glasgow, about 1819.

Duncan's death registration, in Dundee in 1878, gives the names of his first wife, Isabella Carse, and second, Margaret Christie, and names his father as Michael Lynch, linen weaver. Duncan was therefore the eldest son of Michael Lynch and Margaret Haughey. And further evidence came from an article in the Dundee Courier and Argus, 27th October 1864, which emerged when I searched newspapers for the rather unusual name ‘Duncan Lynch’. 

This article, written by a contributor who was clearly a fan of Charles Dickens’ work, details a visit to a poor household in Heathfield Lane in Dundee, that of Duncan Lynch, weaver, his wife, various children and other relatives including their lodger, Duncan’s brother Thomas Lynch who had become very ill with a respiratory infection. The article describes the trip by Duncan and his wife to take Thomas to the infirmary - only to be turned away, as it was ‘too late’ (at two in the afternoon) for a case that was not ‘an accident’ to be admitted. I’ve written this story as an article for The Historian, the journal of the Tay Valley Family History Society, and at some point will upload it to a blog.

Thomas did survive the experience - and two years later was a witness at the formal marriage of Duncan and Margaret Christie. These events place Thomas in Dundee in 1864 and 66, so that it seems most likely that he met Margaret Cassidy, his life-partner, in Dundee.

DNA and Margaret Haughey

The DNA story continues, however. I was contacted by a fellow Haughey researcher from Donegal - a descendant of Condy (or Cornelius) Haughey who was farming at Loughmuilt in County Donegal at the time of Griffiths’ Valuation. This Condy died in 1870 aged 70. Given the strongn DNA link with this descendant, it seems most likely that Condy was either a brother or a close cousin of the Margaret Haughey who migrated to Port Glasgow, married Michael Lynch, weaver, there, and after the births of Duncan and John came with Michael and her children to Dundee.

There is much still to explore here - the work continues!

(If the Drogheda birth of Michael Lynch is correct, I have found a likely birth for him, though the sources are sparse.)

© Jenny Blain 2017, 2019 and 2020    email me