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Sylvester Mahoney (b. ????)

Irish-born Catholics Sylvester (also written as Silvester) and Eleanor Mahoney brought up their family in Stratford, Essex.

With the expansion of the railway at Stratford and the later construction of the Stratford Railway Works, a large number of labourers (many of them Irish) had moved to the area by the early 1840s. The Census records from the mid-1800s list several families with the surname "Mahoney", or variations such as "Marney", and it seems possible that some were related to Sylvester. Many of the families lived in cramped and unsanitary conditions in the back streets near Maryland Point.[1]

By the early 1850s, the family had fallen on hard times and Sylvester was listed as a pauper in the 1851 Census. It seems highly likely the entire family was illiterate.

In December 1851, his daughter Ann, who was working as a street hawker, married local fishmonger Joseph Hitchcock at Christ Church, Stratford. On their marriage certificate, no profession is given for Ann and Sylvester is a labourer.

Sylvester died in 1857. Ann and Joseph Hitchcock later named their son John Silvester after him.



  • date of birth unknown — the two available census returns (1841 & 1851) give approximate years of birth as 1801 and 1788


  • possibly Bridget Mahoney (b. ~1799) who is listed as a charwoman in the 1841 Census and seems to be looking after Sylvester's daughter Ellen


Eleanor Mahoney (b. ~1799) née ?

  • born around 1799 in Cork, Ireland[2]
  • maiden name unknown, but also known as Ellen
  • date of marriage to Sylvester Mahoney unknown, but likely between 1816 and 1830
  • died 1873 aged 75[3]


Ann Mahoney (b. ~1827)

Catherine Mahoney (b. ~1832)

  • born around 1832
  • likely married in 1859 to Edward Perkins (b. ~1836) who worked as an engine spring maker and died in 1903 aged 67[6]
  • mother of Mary Ann Perkins (b. ~1861)[7], Williams Perkins (b. ~1862) and Edward Perkins (b. ~1863)[8]
  • likely died 1890 aged 56[9]

Dennis Mahoney (b. ~1836)

  • born around 1836
  • probably died 1851[10]

Ellen Mahoney (b. 1841)


Family Tree


Census Data


  • address: Jane's Court Back, Stratford
  • Silvester Mahony (aged 40) — head, occupation: hawker
  • Eleanor Mahony (aged 40) — wife
  • Catherine Mahony (aged 10) — daughter
  • Dennis Mahony (aged 5) — son
  • Ellen Mahony (aged 0) — daughter
  • Ann Mahony (aged 14) — daughter
  • James Mahony (aged 65) — father?

Also listed nearby are:

  • Bridget Mahony (aged 40) — occupation: charwoman
  • Ellen Mahony (aged 8) — daughter?


The surname appears to be given as "Marney" and it would seem the family has fallen on hard times.

  • address: 6 John's Place, Stratford
  • Silvester Marney (aged 63) — head, pauper
  • Ellen Marney (aged 52) — wife
  • Ann Marney (aged 24) — daughter, occupation: hawker
  • Dennis Marney (aged 15) — son
  • Ellen Marney (aged 10) — daughter
  • Mary Sweeney (aged 17) — niece, occupation: water cress seller
  • Norah Sweeney (aged 15) — niece, occupation: water cress seller

Research Notes

  • Possibly Sylvester Mahoney who was baptised 06/Mar/1791 in Killarney, Kerry, Ireland, to parents Tyrone Mahoney and Catherine Mahoney (née Leary)[13]
  • The 1841 Census lists James Mahony (aged 65) at the same address, so possibly Sylvester's father or his uncle?

Notes & References

  1. Gilbert Place, also known locally as Gilbey's Alley, was highlighted in several newspapers during the 1850s as a likely source of recent cholera outbreaks due to the fact that human sewage mixed with the drinking water supply.
  2. No birth registration found.
  3. Death registered Q3. 1873 West Ham.
  4. Marriage registered Q4 1851 West Ham.
  5. Death registered Q3 1881 West Ham.
  6. Marriage of Catherine Marney registered Q1 1859 West Ham.
  7. Died 1860 aged 31.
  8. Worked as a blacksmith, married Annie and had at least 4 children.
  9. Death of Kate Perkins registered Q3 1834 West Ham.
  10. Death of Dennis Marney registered Q2 1851 West Ham.
  11. Birth registered Q1 1841 West Ham.
  12. Death registered Q4 1857 West Ham.
  13. There were no other matches found between 1788 and 1801.