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My passion is genealogy and family history. I host a podcast about Australian family history, Genies Down Under. In my day job, I work as a lecturer and a researcher in higher education, teaching pre-service teachers.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The fifteenth step in my A-Z of quirky ancestor antics - O is for O'Reilly and O'Riley

Oops, I almost missed this one.

For me, O reminds me of another quirky mystery associated with my family's surnames.

Although her maiden name appears to be RILEY in most documentation I have found about her so far, my great-grandmother's youngest son, Leo NORTHCOTE, always explained how his mother would sign her name with the "biggest O she could find" as Margaret O' RILEY or O'REILLY.

Two mysteries ....

  1. Why was she signing her name using her maiden name instead of her married surname, NORTHCOTE after she was married? Perhaps Leo was referring to the time before she was married.
  2. Why was she signing her maiden name with an O when most records I can find about her family record the surname as RILEY, REILLY or RIELY.

However, there were three records I have found where the O is used but all of these were informed by her son, Leo, or his wife or son, whom he had presumably told the story about her signing her name with "the biggest O she could find".

Leo’s mother was recorded as “Margaret O’Reilly” on his marriage certificate in 1930 and on his death certificate in 1970 she was also recorded with an O at the beginning of her maiden name. Also, on Margaret's death certificate, completed by her son Leo, her father is recorded as Thomas O’Riley.

Excerpt from Margaret's death certificate, 1927, where her parents' names are recorded

Excerpt from Leo's marriage certificate, 1930, where his parents' names are recorded

Excerpt from Leo's death certificate, 1970, where his parents' names are recorded

Leo and his mother, Margaret

1 comment:

  1. Strange but then my Sherry family added the Mc when they arrived and most changed to McSharry while my branch became McSherry.