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McCann, Macann, or Maccann?


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#37 Dan Worrall

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 01:33 PM

Edited to combine this post with my post just before it, for clarity (ie, see previous post!).


Edited by Dan Worrall, 14 May 2015 - 10:53 PM.


#38 Crane Driver

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 10:29 AM

The last mention of a performance by Maccann I can find in the British Newspaper Archive is dated October 17 1904, at the Empire Theatre Portsmouth.  He was appearing as part of Fred Karno's company, so presumably still seen as a top performer.

 

There is, however, the matter of the marriage in Liverpool in 1908, mentioned above.  The groom gives his name as John Henry Maccann, musician, and gives his father as John Hill Maccann (deceased), also musician.  However, 'John  Henry' gives his age as 47, which is the age John Hill Maccann would have been in 1908.  The groom initially signed his name 'John Hill Maccann' but then crossed out the 'Hill' and substituted 'Henry'.  How many people accidently sign their father's name rather than their own on their wedding certificate?  Both bride and groom give their address as 3 Minshull Street, Edge Hill, Liverpool.

 

John Hill Maccann married Eliza Reed in 1878, but seems to have abandonned her almost immediately.  She died in the Devon County Asylum, Exmouth in 1914, so was still very much alive in 1908.  Maybe the Prof 'went underground' to avoid being accused of bigamy?

 

The bride in the 1908 wedding was Sarah Jane Kennerley.  The 1911 census includes a John and Sarah Maccann, both musicians, living at 1 Winter Street, West Derby, Liverpool.  Their ages match John Hill Maccann and Sarah Kennerley, and they had been married for 3 years, ie since 1908.  The only discrepancy is that John gives his birthplace as Liverpool rather than Birmingham, but we can't assume people always tell the truth in census forms.  Furthermore, the handwriting on the census form is the same as that on the 'John Henry Maccann' wedding certificate.  Do we have a facsimile of the Prof's sigature anywhere for comparison?

 

I believe that John Hill Maccann died sometime between 1911 and 1920, but that he had dropped out of sight either due to ill-health (perhaps another mental breakdown) or to avoid complications from his private life.  One day, we may find out.

 

Andrew



#39 Crane Driver

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 10:52 AM

Got it!  There is a signed photo of the Prof in his 'How to Play Concertina' leaflet, dated 1902, in the Concertina Library.  I'm pretty confident it's the same handwriting, especially for 'Maccann' - so that takes him to 1911.

 

Andrew



#40 Crane Driver

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 10:53 AM

Sorry - the attachment didn't attach

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#41 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 06:22 PM

The last mention of a performance by Maccann I can find in the British Newspaper Archive is dated October 17 1904, at the Empire Theatre Portsmouth.  He was appearing as part of Fred Karno's company, so presumably still seen as a top performer.

 

In fact the last performance I have traced (so far) is in The Derbyshire Courier for 15th April 1905, where the "Expensive Engagement of Professor J. H. Maccan [sic], The Renowned English Concertina King" is advertised for "Professor Wood's Musical and Pictorial Entertainments" at the Memorial Hall, Chesterfield, and it goes on to say that "Professor Wood's ... consulting room ... will be open daily ...  for consultations on Health and for Phrenological Examinations" - the latter making the procedings sound rather like a "travelling medicine show" and seeming to suggest a serious downturn in Maccann's status, even (it would seem) the end of his performing career.  :(

 

I've found additional references from the next two days (18th and 19th October) in 1904 too - but a "top performer" would rate numerous mentions in the theatrical press (and possibly in national newspapers too) during the course of a year, not just a paltry half dozen in Portsmouth and Cornish local papers - I think his music hall career must have already been in terminal decline by then...

 

The bride in the 1908 wedding was Sarah Jane Kennerley.  The 1911 census includes a John and Sarah Maccann, both musicians, living at 1 Winter Street, West Derby, Liverpool.  Their ages match John Hill Maccann and Sarah Kennerley, and they had been married for 3 years, ie since 1908.  The only discrepancy is that John gives his birthplace as Liverpool rather than Birmingham, but we can't assume people always tell the truth in census forms. 

 

Yes, the handwriting is clearly very different to that of the Head of Household, Frederick Turner, and very similar to John Hill Maccann's in the earlier documents - and I believe it is his (though it's not identical - look especially at the letter "a" in his name). But I'd wonder if Sarah didn't write her own name (as it looks different again) - and no wonder the poor indexer transcribed it as Maccarm...

 

I notice the Census Enumerator has pencilled in the word "Instrumentalist" (and something else I can't decipher) after Musician.

 

I believe that John Hill Maccann died sometime between 1911 and 1920, but that he had dropped out of sight either due to ill-health (perhaps another mental breakdown) or to avoid complications from his private life.  One day, we may find out.

 

Since finding his admission to Bethlem, I've been wondering about possible mental health issues affecting his life and career, but that information has only very recently become available. Who knows what else might turn up yet?

 

Meanwhile, his is not the only "missing" death that I'm searching for from around that time, and the other one (Dante Gabriel Rossetti's model "Fanny Cornforth") was known by several different names, just to complicate matters... :unsure:


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 18 May 2015 - 12:05 AM.


#42 Dowright

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Posted 18 May 2015 - 08:01 AM

In ancestry.com, the summary sheet for John Hill Maccann has his death as 1917 in West Ham, London, age 57. I could not find an underlying record for this entry, and I do not believe that it is correct.

A couple years ago, I found the 1911 census record, as discussed above, and previously had found the 1908 marriage record, also discussed above. I also found a death record for a John McCann (or Maccann, I do not remember which) for after 1911 (I cannot remember what year) registered in Liverpool. No image was available, so I ordered the death certificate through Ancestry.com. I received a message saying that the death certificate ordered by me could not be provided.

I continue to search for the documentation from the time when I ordered the death certificate.  In my disappointment. I may have tossed whatever information that I had, but I do not think that I did. I will keep searching my files.

 

I have managed to do a lot of concertina history research from here in the US. But occasionally, it would be so helpful to be located in the UK. I think that if I could visit the death records in Liverpool, I just might be able to obtain the relevant record. Maybe someone else can do so.


Edited by Dowright, 18 May 2015 - 08:15 AM.


#43 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 18 May 2015 - 10:15 AM

In ancestry.com, the summary sheet for John Hill Maccann has his death as 1917 in West Ham, London, age 57. I could not find an underlying record for this entry, and I do not believe that it is correct.

 

Yes, I can confirm your belief regarding that one - I checked up on it and ruled him out a long time ago.

 

 I also found a death record for a John McCann (or Maccann, I do not remember which) for after 1911 (I cannot remember what year) registered in Liverpool.

 

The only recorded 20th century death of a "John Maccann" in England is in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, in 1939 (born 1865), but there are lots of John Mccann ones that might be him, and a good few of them in Liverpool...

 

But I understand Martin Price went through ALL of them when he was researching for Bob Gaskins. :unsure:

 

No image was available, so I ordered the death certificate through Ancestry.com. I received a message saying that the death certificate ordered by me could not be provided.

 

I'd never order them through Ancestry, which is a very expensive apart from anything else - much better, and cheaper, to order certificates direct from the General Register Office: http://www.gro.gov.u...tes/default.asp


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 26 May 2015 - 09:07 AM.


#44 Myrtle's cook

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 04:54 AM

In an attempt to add some more detail to MacCanns Liverpool years I have looked through the Gores directories for Liverpool 1903-1912 held in Liverpool Central Library with reference to dates and addresses previously identified above. It should be noted that these lack the pinpoint accuracy census information, being largely compiled in the year preceding their issue and cover date. They also only list the head of the household, not all occupants such as lodgers. Heres what they tell us:

Dunkeld Street
1903 16 Dunkeld Street, occupied by a Mrs Pye; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or professor, anywhere in directory.
1904 16 Dunkeld Street, John Nichols, Traveller; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or professor, anywhere in directory.
1905 16 Dunkeld Street, Mrs Minnie MacCann, Householder; No mention of John H MacCann, musician or professor, in directory including under Professors ( the usual place for music teachers)
1906 16 Dunkeld Street, John H MacCann CAM, musician, also listed under trades section under Professors.
1907 16 Dunkeld Street, John H MacCann CAM, musician, also listed under trades section under Professors.
1908 16 Dunkeld Street, John H MacCann CAM, musician, also listed under trades section under Teachers (the category which replaces Professor in 1908 Gores Directory).
1909 16 Dunkeld Street, Owen McArdle; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or teacher, anywhere in directory, nor for Ms Kennerley.
1910 Ditto

Comment: The Dunkeld Street that Maccan would have known was redeveloped after the war, and although the road itself survives, the dense terraced housing has been demolished with 1970s and 1980s social housing taking their place. The only surviving buildings of the period are the pub, Olympia and an adjoining boarded-up building which both face West Derby Road. Opposite are the Grafton Room and Olympia dance halls that we built a few decades later. This was not the most salubrious of areas at the turn of the last century, rather a lower middle class/working class district. Professions listed included: porter, plumber, coachsmith, book keeper etc. Interestingly there were also a number of musicians passing through the street, e.g. in 1903 John H McNeil (no. 22), William Andrews (no. 23), in 1904 they were joined by Herr William Lampe somewhat above the usual density of musicians in a street of 30 or so houses! The street is only a mile or so up the hill from Liverpools centre and close to a number of local music halls (eg Royal Hippodrome, West Derby Road and Theatre Royal Breck Road) and would have been convenient for the music halls on London Road and the citys centre.

Minshull Street
1908 3 Minshull Street, Jeffrey Bolton, clerk; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or teacher, anywhere in directory, nor for Ms Kennerley.
1909 3 Minshull Street, Jeffrey Bolton, clerk; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or teacher, anywhere in directory, nor for Ms Kennerley.

Comment: This seems to have been a rather fragmentary street by this time with many missing numbers. It was clearly a working street, no. 1 was The Fox public house (1909 Liverpool Licensing Report Book), with grocers and furniture makers also listed. The remaining properties may not have been in good repair, in 1911 The Fox had been demolished with a travelling showman listed on the site in the census. The street name survives but successive development in the university and Royal Hospital area have erased any original traces. The street is within easy walking distance (10mins) of the city centre and the main stations of the day, Lime Street and Exchange, that would have given access to the whole country. Also close to the docks which would have provided wider travel opportunities. Ominously it is only a few hundred yards from the site of the old Liverpool workhouse.

Winter Street
1911, 1 Winter Street, Frederick Turner, French polisher; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or teacher, anywhere in directory, nor for Ms Kennerley.
1912, 1 Winter Street, Frederick Turner, French polisher; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or teacher, anywhere in directory, nor for Ms Kennerley.

Comment: The only Winter Street listed in is what was then termed Low Hill, modern Kensington/Fairfield (L6) and not West Derby. It is a few minutes walk from both Minshull Street and Dunkeld Street. One of three storey terraced properties survive at the higher end of the street, number 1 has long since been demolished. The other residents listed in Gores suggest it was of a similar character to Dunkeld Street. A photo of the surviving house, with a later stone cladding, is shown on Google Earth: https://www.google.c...b4e5f62!6m1!1e1


Note that there are a number of John MacCanns (or spelling variants there of) listed across the years looked at, but none that can be securely tied to John H MacCann, musician/professor.

Hoping this is helpful. When I next have some time I will look through the later and earlier directories to see if JHM appears. There are also the parish registers, coroners reports and poor house registers that may provide some help.

Edited by Myrtle's cook, 19 May 2015 - 05:04 AM.


#45 Myrtle's cook

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 07:00 AM

Some addenda to Winter Street (which has just dawned on me!): It is 'just around the corner' (literally) from Hengler's Grand Cirque where Maccan is listed as playing in Honri, 'Working the Halls', p.38, which refers to Maccann playing at Hengler’s Cirque, Liverpool in April 1891 (I am indebted to Stuart Eydman's 'The Life and Time of the Concertina...' on concertina.com (footnote 529) for this reference). The Cirque closed in 1901 but reopened the following year as the Hippodrome, one of the largest theatres in the provinces: http://cinematreasur.../theaters/37531and http://www.arthurllo...reLiverpool.htm

It may well be that when the 1911 census recorded Maccan in Winter Street he was appearing once again at this theatre.

#46 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 11:15 AM

In an attempt to add some more detail to MacCanns Liverpool years I have looked through the Gores directories for Liverpool 1903-1912 held in Liverpool Central Library with reference to dates and addresses previously identified above.

 

Great, someone "on the ground" in Liverpool who can research real-life source material there - just what we need for this!!! :)

 

The material available on the internet is wonderful, and ever-increasing these days, but I've been very frustrated by (for example) the lack of any early 20th century Liverpool directories online - whilst you're in a position to look at ALL of them!

 

The street is within easy walking distance ... of the main stations of the day, Lime Street and Exchange, that would have given access to the whole country. Also close to the docks which would have provided wider travel opportunities. Ominously it is only a few hundred yards from the site of the old Liverpool workhouse.

 

Hmmm - yes, so which (if any) of those paths did they take I wonder? Maybe they stowed away on an ocean liner, and finished up in goodness knows where, because I haven't found a trace of either of them anywhere after 1911... :huh:

 

Note that there are a number of John MacCanns (or spelling variants there of) listed across the years looked at, but none that can be securely tied to John H MacCann, musician/professor.

 

Yep, quite a number of both John and Sarah McCanns - we are not helped by Liverpool being the second-largest Irish city in the World...

 

Hoping this is helpful. When I next have some time I will look through the later and earlier directories to see if JHM appears. There are also the parish registers, coroners reports and poor house registers that may provide some help.

 

You bet it is!



#47 Dan Worrall

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 11:28 AM

I share Stephen's compliments to Myrtle's Cook. Well done!

 

Just a thought. But if any of either foul play or mental illness is suspected in or after 1911, as per above posts, would there be any Liverpool police documents for that year that could be searched...or documents for the local mental ward? I remember searching the magistrate's court records of Bow Street Station in London for the 19th century once; lots of great information on a couple of street performers. But if that type of data isn't online for Liverpool, we non-Liverpudlians can't get at it. And presumably the coroner's office files have already been looked at by others?

 

And come to think of it, Myrtle's Cook, have you seen any sign of those working class concertina bands in your area that we keep hearing about?

 

Thanks for the hard work! We should set some sort of prize for the first who finds Maccann's death info....maybe that prize would be a copy of Bob Gaskins planned book on Maccann!
 

Dan

 

ps. Crane Driver - nice sleuthing on the wedding signatures. And Dowright's notion that a 1911 Liverpool death certificate might exist is very promising.


Edited by Dan Worrall, 21 May 2015 - 11:34 AM.


#48 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 01:36 PM

I think that if I could visit the death records in Liverpool, I just might be able to obtain the relevant record. Maybe someone else can do so.

 

Or maybe not - seeing that the indexes of "hatches, matches and dispatches" (births marriages and deaths) available for searching online are centrally compiled, on a quarterly basis, from all the data supplied by all the local registrars - in other words, the information available locally should be exactly the same as you see online.

 

However, church or burial records might just contain additional information, or workhouse/asylum records - but if they died in poverty, or in such an institution, I know from previous experience that records may be scant or incorrect.

 

Indeed, I wonder if the 1908 death might in fact be that of the correct Minnie Maccann but, seeing that she died in the Workhouse Infirmary, it may be that they didn't know (or care?) enough about her to give her correct details on the Death Certificate. It might be why Maccann came to remarry that year.

 

 



#49 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 06:27 AM

I believe that John Hill Maccann ... dropped out of sight either due to ill-health (perhaps another mental breakdown) or to avoid complications from his private life.  One day, we may find out.


Since finding his admission to Bethlem, I've been wondering about possible mental health issues affecting his life and career, but that information has only very recently become available. Who knows what else might turn up yet?

 

So last night I fired up an old PC and found the emails that were exchanged between Bob Gaskins and myself in 2003, and I was reminded of this report from The Era of 10th November 1888 that Martin Price (Bob's researcher) found then (you couldn't search papers like that online 12 years ago!):

 

PROF. MACCANN on leaving the Standard Music Hall, Pimlico, on the 2d inst, was seized with a fit, and was at once taken to St. George's Hospital and placed in the surgical ward, where the doctor declared cerebral disease. The sufferer stayed in the hospital until Monday, and was then removed to Hanwell Asylum.



#50 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 07:06 AM

Whilst this birthday reference, which I just found, from The Era of 8th January 1898 could have made the difficult task of finding Maccann's birth (registered as John Job Macann) an awful lot easier:

 

PROF. MACCANN'S celebrated his thirty-eighth birthday on Sunday last [2nd January] at the Grand, Gravesend. After Capt. Davis had made a happily framed speech, the company drank Mr. Mac's health. Several presents were given by friends and members of the company.

 

Twelve years ago, before solving the riddle of his birth, I was already commenting that he (then) seemed to have been a man with no beginning and no end, and still we don't know what became of him. Even then I was saying to Bob that maybe he got abducted by aliens... :rolleyes:



#51 wes williams

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 08:55 AM


Stephen wrote ...However, church or burial records might just contain additional information, or workhouse/asylum records - but if they died in poverty, or in such an institution, I know from previous experience that records may be scant or incorrect.

 

Which brings us back to the  J.A.Travers quote from March 1950

...And to think that Professor McCann, who made this popular Concertina arrangement died in poverty.

 

Thanks to all of you here for your research!


Edited by wes williams, 22 May 2015 - 08:56 AM.


#52 JimLucas

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 11:45 AM

Twelve years ago, before solving the riddle of his birth, I was already commenting that he (then) seemed to have been a man with no beginning and no end, and still we don't know what became of him. Even then I was saying to Bob that maybe he got abducted by aliens... :rolleyes:

 

I had considered posting that Prof. Maccann had been abducted by aliens and was now happily performing with Elvis for an audience that included JFK, but I decided that was too frivolous for this serious thread and forebore.  Ah, well.  B)



#53 Rod

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 01:31 AM

For some reason this conundrum reminds me of an occasion when I once paddled alone in Loch Ness......briefly.

#54 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 07:03 AM

Whilst this birthday reference, which I just found, from The Era of 8th January 1898 could have made the difficult task of finding Maccann's birth (registered as John Job Macann) an awful lot easier:

 

PROF. MACCANN'S celebrated his thirty-eighth birthday on Sunday last [2nd January] at the Grand, Gravesend. After Capt. Davis had made a happily framed speech, the company drank Mr. Mac's health. Several presents were given by friends and members of the company.

 

Twelve years ago, before solving the riddle of his birth, I was already commenting that he (then) seemed to have been a man with no beginning and no end, and still we don't know what became of him. Even then I was saying to Bob that maybe he got abducted by aliens... :rolleyes:

 

Looking through those old emails again I see we had another reference then (from an 1880's Glasgow publication) to Maccann celebrating his birthday on 2nd January, though his birth registration gives his birthday as 3rd January and at his baptism (at St. Peter's, Plymouth, by which time he was John Job Maccann - with TWO c's) in 1866 it was given as 1st January. :huh:

 

Whilst it would appear that on the 1861 Census he was enumerated as John Hill and described as the child of his grandparents. (Indeed, there's more than a touch of "like father like son" to the story!) ;)

 

So it's not just the spelling of Maccann that varied, so did his middle name and also (in at least that one instance) his surname, and his birthday! And then there's all his travelling, all over Britain, and to America, and Australia...

 

Like I said, he's not at all an easy subject to research! :unsure:  - and especially not 12 years ago when looking for Census returns involved a trip to London and winding through spools of microfilm, instead of subscribing to a genealogical research website (or two!) and looking at the same material on your home computer.


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 26 May 2015 - 09:14 AM.





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