Shirleys of Coleraine
Ireland and Scotland
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Original source: public family tree at posted by "bodicea42"

John Shirley Birth: 1836 Ireland Death: 1897, age 61 Coleraine, Aghadowey, Londonderry; Lived at Ballygawley in Aghadowey

1899 - Administration (with the Will) of the personal estate of John Shirley late of Ballygawley Aghadowey County Londonderry Farmer who died 13 February 1897 granted at Londonderry to Matilda Shirley of Ballygawley Widow the Universal Legatee for Life. Date Of Death: 13/02/1897 Date Of Grant: 20/11/1899 Effects: Effects £261 Registry: Londonderry Londonderry Registry of wills

Married Matilda Dempsey, born 1834 at Coleraine, Aghadowey, Londonderry. Enumerated at Ballygawley Aghadowey Londonderry in 1901 census Age: 67

Children of John Shirley and Matilda Dempsey:

2(i). Robert Shirley born 1857 Coleraine, Aghadowey, Londonerry. (The news article reporting his death says he was age 45, thus born 1837, which would disallow being the son of John and Matilda Dempsey) According to family, Robert died 1 Jan 1882 Age: 25 Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland. His body was found washed ashore near Dunoon.

Robert Shirley, labourer, 12 Nile Street, Greenock, missing since 31st December 1881, body found at Blairmore Pier on 6th February 1882 age 45 (Greenock Advertiser & Greenock Telegraph 9.2.1882)

Married Jane Hunter 3 Feb 1876 at St. Marys, Greenock Scotland; She remarried Samuel Kernaghan in 1888 after the death of husband Robert Shirley

3(i). John Shirley born 1876

Email Sept 2011: I am Margaret Shirley b 1953 daughter and twin brother John, of Arthur Shirley b 1921 Troon, married Agnes Carruth in 1951, and died in Paisley 1992, who was the 6th son of John Shirley b 1876. who married by gran Helena Donnelly in 1899 in Greenock and had 6 sons and 3 daughters - names can be provided if need be. I would like to find out more about by Great grandfather Robert who died in 1882 his body being found washed up on shore near Dunoon

married Helena Donnelly in 1899 in Greenock Scotland

Children of John Shirley and Helena Donnelly:

4(i). son Shirley

4(ii). son Shirley

4(iii). son Shirley

4(iv). son Shirley

4(v). son Shirley

4(vi). Arthur Shirley b 1921 Troon Scotland; died in Paisley Scotland 1992; married Agnes Carruth in 1951.

4(vii). daughter Shirley

4(viii). daughter Shirley

4(ix). daughter Shirley

3(ii). Francis Shirley born 12 May 1882 at Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland. 1901 Age: 19 Residence Greenock East, Renfrewshire, Scotland Death Troon.

Married Elizabeth Trainor

Francis Shirley, Elizabeth Trainor and son John Shirley

2(ii). Francis Shirley born 1861 Ireland; enumerated in 1881 Greenock, Renfrewshire census Scotland.

2(iii). Alexander Shirley baptised 1 August 1863 at the Catholic Church in Coleraine parish to John Shirley and Matilda Dempsey

1 Aug 1863 Alexander Shirley baptised s/o John Shirley 'Risk' and Matilda Dempsey at Aghadowey, Coleraine (Catholic); Sponsor ----, Teresa Dempsey

2(iv). James Shirley born 1863 Ireland 1891 Age: 28 Residence Greenock East, Renfrewshire, Scotland 1901 Age: 38 Residence Greenock East, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Married Agnes Nicol

Children of James Shirley and Agnes Nicol:

3(i). John Shirley born 1883 at Renfrewshire, Scotland, United Kingdom d. 1956 Age: 73

Married Anne Coventry

Children of John Shirley and Anne Coventry:

4(i). Margaret Shirley b ___ she married William Mckenzie. She died in 1981, aged just 67

"Margaret or Meg as she was more fondly known was James' son John Shirley's and Annie Coventry's daughter . In total John and Annie had 11 children, only 5 of them lived to adult hood." - Lorraine Smith, 2013

3(ii). Matilda Shirley born 1883 in Greenock and she married Thomas Kerr. They lived in Bridgeton, Glasgow, she died in 1958, aged 75. They had one son called James , age unknown. (source: Lorraine Smith, 2013)

I originally posted the following info for Matilda, but was corrected by a relative.

b 1886 at Renfrewshire, Scotland, United Kingdom d. 12 Feb 1981 Age: 95 Death Inverclyde Hospital. Greenock.

Married William McKenzie

3(iii). Elizabeth Shirley born 1887 at Renfrewshire, Scotland, United Kingdom

3(iv). Francis Shirley born 1889 at Renfrewshire, Scotland, United Kingdom

2(v). Patrick Shirley born 1867, age 34 in mother's 1901 census household, farmer

2(vi). John Shirley aka John Stanley born 1 Sep 1869 at Coleraine, Aghadowey, Londonderry. Catholic. Baptised on 12 September 1869. Enumerated in 1901 census: age: 32 Residence Greenock East, Renfrewshire, Scotland. In 1911 census, he is enumerated at Coleraine Northern Ireland, occupation cycle manufacturer. Evidence suggests that he is the John STANLEY enumerated in Aghadowey Londonderry Ireland in the 1911 census (see email posted at bottom of this page, and email next)

12 Sept 1869 John Shirley baptised s/o John Shirley and Matilda Dempsey at Aghadowey, Coleraine (Catholic); Sponsors Wm? McKee, Margt McKee

2018 Email from Max - I have some information that may be of interest to enquirers who have posted information on your site relating to John Shirley / Stanley of Aghadowey, born about 1870. He was my great-grandfather. My father, who lived in his house in Aghadowey around the time of WW2, gave me details about him twenty years ago. He was said to have been born John Shirley, but changed his name to Stanley while at sea, to assume the papers of a more qualified colleague. One of the ships he worked on was the White Star Line's SS Gothic. His wife was born in Bermuda where her father, a soldier, was then stationed. In the late 1890s he lived in Silvertown, London, where a daughter, Kathleen Rosa (my grandmother) was born in September 1897.

I have always taken this [photo] to be my great-grandfather John Stanley (Shirley) as a younger man....Comparing him with the photo where John Stanley (Shirley) can definitely be identified (with wife and 2 children) – (see below) – I think this is right. If this is Matilda, his mother, she would be in her late 60s, and would be a widow by now (her husband John Shirley having died in 1897). However, if you or any other descendants have other opinions, I would be interested to know.

Believed to be John Shirley aka Stanley presumably with his mother Matilda Shirley (Family source: Max)

John Shirley aka Stanley with wife and 2 children, circa 1910
(Family source: Max)

Married Katherine _______ age 35 in 1911 census household; born West Indies

children of John Shirley/Stanley and Katherine: SURNAME: STANLEY

3(i). Catherine (Kathleen Rosa) Stanley born September 1897 in England, age 13 in 1911 census

3(ii). John Stanley born about 1903 in England, age 8 in 1911 census

2(vii). Matilda Shirley born 30 Apr 1874 at Coleraine, Aghadowey, Londonderry

Married Robert Stewart 26 Feb 1895 at Aghadowey, Coleraine, Londonderry, St Mary's RC. Joseph Shirley, witness.

Email Jan 2012 - Dear Sir - I have recently restarted researching my family history and came across your page on the Shirley Family Association. John Shirley, born 1836, Aghadowey, who married Matilda Dempsey, were also my Great Great GrandParents. Their daughter, Matilda,who married Robert Stewart, had 3 sons, and 5 daughters. My grandfather, Francis James (Frank) Stewart, was the youngest at 1 year old at the 1911 census. To my knowledge, the 3 boys went to the states (Inglewood, New Jersey) where my Granda met my Grandmother. They moved back to Derry City, where they lived the rest of their lives. They both passed away 2 years ago aged 98. I heard the eldest brother Robert was murdered in the states in a restaurant. I also heard John stayed in the states and was a policeman with a family. Thank you for your info and if i gather anything else i will pass it on. - Colin Stewart



1881 Scotland Census - Renfrewshire - Greenock

Robert Shirley 26
Jane Shirley 27
John Shirley 4
Robert Shirley 2
Francis Shirley 20
James Shirley 18
James Quigg 25

Email: John Shirley that married Matilda Dempsey lived at Ballygawley but supposed to be from Rhee where the other Shirleys originated but I have been unable to make any connection.
John and Matilda had 2 sons named John. First one born 25 July 1867 died you and second John born 1 Sept.1869.
A son Patrick (born c1867) was farming at Ballygawley in 1901.
Matilda Shirlety (born 30 Apr.1874 died 3 Feb.1936) married 26 Feb.1895 St. Mary's R.C. Church to Robert Stewart, carpemter with a Joseph Shirley as witness. Would be interested in their son who went to U.s. but returned to Ireland?
There might be a connection between this Shirley family and John Stanley of Coleraine.

Email: My great great grandfather was John Shirley b 1836 Aghadowey married Matilda Dempsey b 1836 also Aghadowey
He died 1897 at Ballygawley and had (that i know of so far) daughter mathilda, sons john, james, francis and robert
apart from john the other boys left to greenock around 1870 with james quigg b 1856 aghadowey

More Stewart, Shirley, and Stanley information

EMAIL 2016, by C. Stewart

I have just discovered some further information regarding the Shirley family of Aghadowey.

My Great GrandMother, Matilda Shirley was married to Robert Stewart. They were both Roman Catholic. My Grandfather Frank Stewart was one of their sons. Another son John moved to the states in the 1920s and had a son Robert. I recently met Roberts widow Jean who showed me some written notes that her husband had made while researching family history. He got the information from his father John Stewart before he passed away.

He wrote that his Grandfather was John Shirley and his Grandmother was Matilda Dempsey. He wrote that Matildas brothers were John, Pat, Barney and Frank [Ed: emailer is saying brothers of Matilda Stewart nee Shirley]. Under these names there was also a note in brackets saying (Young Frank). He made a note that they were all sailors. He also noted that Barney changed his name to Stanley while sailing, to get papers and also raised his family as Stanley. It is noted that he owned a bike shop in Coleraine. On searching the 1911 census, there is listed a Bernard Stanley and also a John Stanley, who were both Cycle manufacturers and living in Coleraine. Both are Roman Catholic and both have wives from outside of Ireland. Bernards wife is from England and Johns is from the West Indies. One of the former email contributors also felt there was a connection between Matilda Shirleys family and John Stanley from Coleraine. I believe this new information confirms that John and Bernard Stanley are in fact John and Barney Shirley. I hope others can make good use of this information.

I just found John Stanleys grave in Our Lady of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Aghadowey. He is buried along with his wife, Katherine Ann Smith, his son John, and his daughter in law Mary. The names and dates on the headstone tie in with the ages list on the 1911 census, and the biggest surprise is that they are actually buried right next to my great grandmother Matilda (Shirley) Stewart. This confirms to me that John Stanley is actually John Shirley, the brother of my great grandmother Matilda.


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