The stranger in the grave

Glasnevin cemetery claims to have 2 million people buried within its walls, and a substantial portion of my Dublin ancestors are there.

John Long

I got the full details of a grave for a family of Longs, who were related to my great-grandmother, Mary Agnes Long. John Long, a butcher, his wife, Mary Teresa Long née Waters and their son, David Long were all known to me and members of her immediate family. David Long was an electrician and he never married, which explains why he was buried in a grave with his parents. However, it was the fourth person who intrigued me. Mary Anne Long, aged 44 died in 1915. She was a butcher’s wife living at 36 Bride St. I have research my own Long family extensively and her name was not familiar to me. She was chronologically the first person in the grave too. I found her death record on Civil Registers

Unfortunately, she died in the Richmond Hospital and they registered her death, so there’s no helpful family member name but the 1911 Census came to the rescue. This showed her husband was a Myles Long, a butcher, and they were the parents of a large family of then 8 but later 9 children before her untimely death in 1915. Her birth name was Mary Anne Moran.

Myles’ father was also a Myles and he had a brother called Mathew. These brothers were butchers, living on Patrick St. Their families used the same church as mine, St Nicholas de Myra, on Francis St. I suspect that Myles Long, Mary Anne’s husband, was a cousin of John Long.
However, a definitive link, beyond the fact that Mary Anne was buried in their grave, eludes me. John Long’s father, David, does not appear as a godparent or witness in the other family. There’s no death record for him, and only 2 confirmed children – perhaps he died young. John Long does appear as witness and godparent, but it’s a common name.

None of these 3 couples, who are roughly contemporary, all butchers, called Long, living in or around Patrick St, have their parents’ names recorded on their marriages.

I spoke to Lynn Brady, the excellent resident genealogist in Glasnevin and confirmed that John Long purchased the grave in 1908 for the princely sum of £3. There was also a relationship policy in Glasnevin. People buried in the same plot had to be spouses, children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Mary Anne Long was listed as John Long’s wife! However, my John Long was married in 1868 and pre-deceased his wife, who is also buried with him. It seems more likely that he fudged the relationship to get Mary Anne buried, especially given the alternative: a bigamous marriage with a woman 30 years his junior, who had 9 children with another man! The fact that this happened underlines the connection between the two families.  One branch was older, more financially secure and prepared for the future.  Mary Anne died unexpectedly and her husband was perhaps in a more precarious position.  Sadly, Myles Long died himself only 5 years after his wife. I don’t know what happened to their children when they lost both parents so young.

Further research produced a tree of some 80 people related to Myles Long, which I’ve now put up on Ancestry in the hopes of making contact with some descendants of this family. There are some partial trees created by people working on this family and I’ve sent messages to all of them. If one or more of them has taken a DNA test, we might be able to prove my hypothesis.