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McCann, Macann, or Maccann?


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#1 wes williams

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 08:48 AM

Old hands here may remember the original thread with this title in the early days of this site. The thread was started by Bob Gaskins, whose research had shown which spelling was correct - and which has been verified in all subsequent research.

I managed to capture a video of a music-hall postcard collection featuring Maccann on a repeat of the Antiques Roadshow from a few years ago. While watching it with Neil Wayne recently, Neil noticed the spelling of this very early McCann postcard.

I think the caption reads 'The World's Greatest Accordion Roller Skate Dancer' !!

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#2 Dan Worrall

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 09:00 AM

Old hands here may remember the original thread with this title in the early days of this site. The thread was started by Bob Gaskins, whose research had shown which spelling was correct - and which has been verified in all subsequent research.

I managed to capture a video of a music-hall postcard collection featuring Maccann on a repeat of the Antiques Roadshow from a few years ago. While watching it with Neil Wayne recently, Neil noticed the spelling of this very early McCann postcard.

I think the caption reads 'The World's Greatest Accordion Roller Skate Dancer' !!


Interesting.

Now if someone could just find out what happened to old how-does-he-spell-his-name. I understand that Bob has all the material collected for a nice biographical book on the Professor of the Concertina....Bob is reportedly waiting to finalize it on news of how and where this fellow died. Any clues, anyone?

Perhaps death from roller skating into the orchestra pit?

#3 wes williams

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 01:10 PM

Hi Dan,
The only thing so far is a statement from one of the old players in the 1950's to the effect that Maccann died in extreme poverty. Although many (perhaps almost all) sources have been searched, no trace has ever been found. But one of the Lachenal price lists (1923?) says '..the late Professor Maccann...' so we are looking at the first 20 years or so of the last century.

#4 Alan Day

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 03:20 PM

We have a snippet of his playing for Duet International, kindly donated.
I forget how to spell the Duet he was playing.
Al ;)

#5 Dirge

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 04:53 PM

We have a snippet of his playing for Duet International, kindly donated.
I forget how to spell the Duet he was playing.
Al ;)

You know Al; it's right and proper that the Prof. is represented, I can't wait to hear it...

#6 JimLucas

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 07:51 PM

I forget how to spell the Duet he was playing.

"Duette"? ;)



#7 Dan Worrall

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:24 PM

Hi Dan,
The only thing so far is a statement from one of the old players in the 1950's to the effect that Maccann died in extreme poverty. Although many (perhaps almost all) sources have been searched, no trace has ever been found. But one of the Lachenal price lists (1923?) says '..the late Professor Maccann...' so we are looking at the first 20 years or so of the last century.

Hi Wes,

That is a solid lead. Do you remember who said it, and when?

I think the last sighting in the newspapers was in Dublin ca 1903. He had been playing in second rate halls for some time, and traveling. I think the consensus is that he must have died on the road somewhere....but consensus doesn't make that right. Someday someone will stumble into the answer.

Cheers,
Dan

#8 wes williams

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 12:37 PM

That is a solid lead. Do you remember who said it, and when?

Yes Dan! J A Travers (who got Reuben Shaw started on Duet),March 1950 :D

To quote from his article on Jack Clevoner in Accordion Review Vol 5 No.1 (scan in the ICA Archive):

...In 1903, Professor McCann (inventor of the McCann System) ran an Open Contest at the Grand Theatre, Sheffield, which Jack won. McCann, when handing him the award, said, "Jack, you are a better player than I am !''......

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

J A Travers traded in Bridgewater, Somerset, about 20 miles from where I am now. He died in 1952, having been taken into hospital just before the first ICA meeting, where good wishes for his recovery were sent by the members, but he died shortly after. I've had no sucess tracking him down in the past (apart from the address that he operated from), but maybe its time to try again.

But to get back to the original post, the J.H.Maccann on the postcard IS NOT "our" J.H.Maccann. I've just heard from Bob, and the postcard shown would have to be 1894 or later ( when they were allowed by the UK post office). There are other J H Maccanns (of various spellings), who have caused Bob a few problems is the past, until he found adverts in The Era, a stage magazine. And also from Bob, if you want to hear "our" JHM in action he is on the Library of Congress National Jukebox .

best wishes .. wes

Edited by wes williams, 13 June 2011 - 12:56 PM.


#9 wes williams

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 12:45 PM

I forget how to spell the Duet he was playing.

"Duette"? ;)

No, that was the 1850s Wheatstone rectangular one :P

#10 Dirge

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 03:43 PM

And also from Bob, if you want to hear "our" JHM in action he is on the Library of Congress National Jukebox .

best wishes .. wes


That's most interesting. It's a scratchy old recording but to my ears he doesn't really use it as a 'duet' much, does he? I suspect the English players of the day would have sounded much the same. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting but probably less reliance on the piano backing than that. Perhaps time and technique had moved on since he invented the layout and started demonstrating it, and perhaps that's why Jack C had to be acknowledged unequivocally as his better.

Is that unfair? It's difficult to be really sure.

#11 Crane Driver

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 04:10 AM

I've been doing some family history research, so have a subscription to Ancestry. I tried John H Maccann there, and found an entry which may be of interest. It's dated 22 April 1908, and is a parish record from St Stephen's, Edge Hill, Liverpool. It records the marriage of John Henry Maccann, Musician, aged 47 (hence born 1861), widower, son of John Hill Maccann, Musician, deceased, to Sarah Jane Kennerley, a spinster aged 32. The groom's signature, I noticed, originally read 'John Hill Maccann', but then the 'Hill' has been crossed out and substituted with 'Henry'. There is a John H McCann (sic), musician, born 1861 in Birmingham, in the Liverpool census of 1891, where his wife is a vocalist named Minnie. A Minnie Maccann died Liverpool early in 1908. Given the different spellings of my own family name in census and church records, I'm not surprised by the different spellings of 'Maccann' - I think people had a more relaxed approach to spelling then.

Andrew McKay

#12 Irene S.

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 06:36 AM

I've been doing some family history research, so have a subscription to Ancestry. I tried John H Maccann there, and found an entry which may be of interest. It's dated 22 April 1908, and is a parish record from St Stephen's, Edge Hill, Liverpool. It records the marriage of John Henry Maccann, Musician, aged 47 (hence born 1861), widower, son of John Hill Maccann, Musician, deceased, to Sarah Jane Kennerley, a spinster aged 32. The groom's signature, I noticed, originally read 'John Hill Maccann', but then the 'Hill' has been crossed out and substituted with 'Henry'. There is a John H McCann (sic), musician, born 1861 in Birmingham, in the Liverpool census of 1891, where his wife is a vocalist named Minnie. A Minnie Maccann died Liverpool early in 1908. Given the different spellings of my own family name in census and church records, I'm not surprised by the different spellings of 'Maccann' - I think people had a more relaxed approach to spelling then.

Andrew McKay


Darn Andrew ... you posted first ... I was still researching various things!

In the 1871 census John Hill (then aged 11), born in Birmingham, is shown resident with his family at 13 Morley Road in Plymouth (it looks as though the house consisted of more than one apartment, as more than one head of household is shown on the census return). The members of the family shown there are:
John Maccann (50 years old) - head of household and musician,born in Lincoln
Sarah H Maccann (39 years old )- wife, born in Birmingham
John Hill Maccann - 11 years old, scholar, born in Birmingham
Emily Maccann - 7 years old - daughter
William H Maccann - 5 years old
Lavinia H Maccann - 2 years old

All three siblings were born in Plymouth, so the family had obviously been resident there for at least seven years at that point.

In the 1881 census John H Maccann, aged 21, and a married man by that point, is shown as living at 52 Malmesbury Road in Bow, in London as a boarder in the household of Edward Tucker, a joiner, alongside Tucker's 3 sons and 1 daughter, a lodger (another joiner) and another boarder (another joiner). Possibly he was staying there while on the road ? (Purely speculation). I haven't managed to track Minnie down yet.

The 1891 census shows John Hill (then 31) ,a musician, living with Minnie (25 and music vocalist and born in York) as lodgers with Julia Mulholland (woman of independent means) in Gill Street, Liverpool.

In 1901 census Minnie is living in Lambeth at 94 Kennington Road, aged 35, with no occupation showing. As there are several different heads of household showing (Minnie is shown as Wife, not Head of household) it looks as though this was again a house with more than one apartment (as the residents are not shown as lodgers). No sign of John Hill - out on the road perhaps? No children living with them either.

The search may continue (if I have time while trying to track Lucy Broadwood's source singers down!)

Edited by Irene S, 19 June 2011 - 06:39 AM.


#13 Dan Worrall

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 07:13 AM

Andrew and Irene,

Nice work!

I haven't seen anything on Bob Gaskins' site to indicate Maccann's birthdate, although I'd guess that Bob would know. JHM took out a patent on his concertina in 1884, and published a tutor in 1885...that seems a lot to expect for someone in their early twenties back then. So maybe the John Hill Maccann who is deceased in Andrew's post is the right one (ie, the one born in 1861 is his son). This would peg JHM Sr's death date between 1903 (last press sighting) and 1908 (son's wedding).

Now all we need is the smoking gun...when and where did he kick the bucket? I'm still guessing he died while on the road performing. But who knows?

Cheers,
Dan

#14 Irene S.

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 09:14 AM

Andrew and Irene,

Nice work!

I haven't seen anything on Bob Gaskins' site to indicate Maccann's birthdate, although I'd guess that Bob would know. JHM took out a patent on his concertina in 1884, and published a tutor in 1885...that seems a lot to expect for someone in their early twenties back then. So maybe the John Hill Maccann who is deceased in Andrew's post is the right one (ie, the one born in 1861 is his son). This would peg JHM Sr's death date between 1903 (last press sighting) and 1908 (son's wedding).

Now all we need is the smoking gun...when and where did he kick the bucket? I'm still guessing he died while on the road performing. But who knows?

Cheers,
Dan


Further to all of that, the John Hill Maccann in question got married at the age of 17 apparently. I have seen it recorded elsewhere that "our" John Maccann had a brother William who was also a concertina teacher/musician .... this one has a brother called William ... which would make it seem to me that they are one and the same. At the age of 24 all things are possible ... people have prepared doctorates before that age! Still searching ...

Further searching has taken place ... no, this definitely is the right Maccann. If you read the details of "A Chat with Professor Maccann" reprinted from The Era (a theatrical paper) in 1902, on Concertina.com, you will see that John Hill started playing at the age of 7, and is quoted as having been born in Birmingham in 1861 ... ie the same chap! His father kept a music shop and was a very old concertina player, one of the first it seems, who had played in front of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort in 1858. John Hill himself was playing in front of Royalty at the age of 11. Sounds to me as though he would have been well able to produce an instruction manual in his early twenties. But nevertheless, it is the same man.


Further checks suggest that his brother, William H H Maccann died in Plymouth in 1936.

Edited by Irene S, 19 June 2011 - 10:16 AM.


#15 Irene S.

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 10:34 AM

Interesting - having now seen the wedding certificate for Mr Maccann on April 22 1908 (he obviously wasted no time after the death of Minnie), the name of bridegroom in the body of the certificate is given as John Henry Maccann .... father John Hill Maccann (deceased) ... both having occupation of musician. The certificate has, however, been signed initially as John Hill Maccann .... but then the Hill has been altered to Henry. The age of the bridegroom - 47 - is quite clearly correct for Professor John Hill ... and the details of occupation for the father would also be quite correct. Which almost makes it look as if the names of father and son have been incorrectly entered in the body of the certificate by the person officiating. (I am told by the ex-professional geneaologist in the family that you should never rely on the details in certificates of this sort being 100% correct).
Now why was that middle name changed? Is there some dark secret hiding here ... or is it just the person filling in the form covering up for their initial mistake?? ;)

Edit note: Sorry Andrew - somehow I hadn't noticed that you had already pointed out the amendment to the certificate. Interesting to look at though, isn't it?

Edited by Irene S, 19 June 2011 - 06:33 PM.


#16 Irene S.

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 02:59 PM

Oh dear - I've been spending time this afternoon hunting when I should have been doing other things (and could have been doing research into the area that I'm more acquainted with). There is, of course reference on the web to the fact that Maccann toured Australia in 1922 - when he would have been around 61 years old. As my family member (geneaological research specialist) said ... "Did he actually come back?" :rolleyes: )

There is also reference to a tour that he undertook in 1902 when he appears to have been acting as support to Eugen Sandow, the body builder. Herewith an interesting extract from the
Evening Post, 13 December 1902, Supplement, p 2.

For those women who remained unsure as to the propriety of gazing at Sandow, self-deception and humour could be employed to justify their presence in the audience. 'Priscilla', who wrote the 'Girls' Gossip' column in a Wellington paper noted that:
A number of women are wondering whether it is the 'correct thing' to go and see him, and some are waiting to see what others will do. But most of us are longing to watch the strong man. Aunt informs us she does not at all approve of such exhibitions, but she doats [sic] on the concertina, and has consequently taken a front seat in the circle!

In the first half of the show, before Sandow took to the stage, 'Professor' McCann played the concertina."

So he had (ostensibly) one fan in the front row (or was she there for something completely different?)

Edited by Irene S, 19 June 2011 - 03:19 PM.


#17 Crane Driver

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 05:37 PM

Irene - if you look at that 1881 census where "Eliza Maccann, wife of musician (absent)" is living at 37 Morley Place, Plymouth, she is sharing with a Sarah Makepeace, whose (also absent) husband has three stepchildren, Emily, William and Lavinia McCann (sic), who must be John H's siblings from the 1871 census. So Sarah Makepeace must be the ex-Mrs Maccann, John's mother. The Plymouth records list a Sarah Maccann as marrying a Charles Ernest Makepeace in 1874, so presumably the elder John Maccann died before that, and there is a John Maccann who died Plymouth in 1871 (after the census was taken). Eliza Maccann was born Eliza Wood Passmore Reed and married John Hill Maccann in Plymouth in 1878. In 1891, when John and Minnie are living in Liverpool, "Eliza W P Mcan" is living in Exeter with her parents Herbert and Eliza Reed. Perhaps "John H Maccann" changed his middle name to Henry for his 1908 wedding because "John Hill Maccann" was still legally married to Eliza. Eliza apparently lived on to 1914.

Ah, the carefree life of the professional musician!

Andrew

#18 Irene S.

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 06:20 PM

Perhaps "John H Maccann" changed his middle name to Henry for his 1908 wedding because "John Hill Maccann" was still legally married to Eliza. Eliza apparently lived on to 1914.

Ah, the carefree life of the professional musician!

Andrew


That very thought had occurred to me Andrew ... ie he signed in his real name first, from force of habit, (after all, you're not normally going to make a mistake in signing your own name, are you) and then realised the error of his ways, and put the other name in.

I hadn't got as far as drilling down to the other details re the women in his life as yet , (although I had found the apparent details of his father's date of death), as I got sidetracked into the search for his demise (and I really shouldn't have been playing around with this anyway, but I got interestingly sidetracked).. I'll have to sit down and read that lot later tomorrow (too late at night now).

A bigamous marriage in those circumstances wouldn't have been that unusual for the time anyway (I think we have an example of a bigamous marriage or two in our family as well! or at least there is one) - so that sounds a fairly reasonable solution . At one point I thought he'd been tracked down to Dublin for his death, as it appeared that there was an entry in the Irish wills registry for a John Hill Maccann - but it turned out to be one of those internet glitches where the three words appear on the same page ... doh!! Disappointed or what! Mind you ... fun trying!

A propos of nothing, related to the main gist of the conversation, it's Interesting to note that his brother's middle name was Hillam ... what a mouthful, William Hillam Maccann ... mind you, it rolls trippingly along ...

PS Re reading that thought ... am I correct in thinking we have three "wives" here now . :o

Eliza, whom he married in 1878 in Plymouth, and who apparently lived on till 1914.
Minnie Maccann ... who apparently died in 1908
And then Sarah Jane Maccann who he married in April 1908 ?

Must sit down and look at that lot again tomorrow!

Edited by Irene S, 19 June 2011 - 06:41 PM.





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