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McCann, Macann, or Maccann?


wes williams
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I had checked the Titanic lists too! Nothing.

 

Aside from the aliens, I am hoping neither he nor Sarah are accounted for amongst the 'unfortunate' and/or 'wretched' man/woman 'found dead in back of such-and-such a street' that I keep encountering in the local records.

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I thought it was established early in this thread that the comedic rollerskating bloke was not the same man as the concertina man. Certainly the photo on the postcard doesn't look anything like the pictures of Prof J H in his own publications.

 

I find, trawling the British Newspaper Archive, a number of reports from the West Country featuring a Mr Maccann or Professor Maccann 'of Plymouth' playing concertina at various charity and social events in Devon and Cornwall. Wheere no initials are given, I strongly suspect that most, if not all of these refer to brother William. John H would probably not have been referred to as being 'of Plymouth' at this stage. There may have been a more or less deliberate attempt to suggest that the more famous elder brother was involved, but of course no one suspected that these articles would be read or even available a century or more later.

 

As far as spellings are concerned, that is usually down to the journalist. Just because the name appears as 'McCann' or whatever in a press report doesn't mean that the man himself spelt his name that way. I suspect that in some cases the spelling was adjusted to fit the type into the page!

 

As for Minnie - yes, poor Minnie. Obviously rumours of her death were being put about by 'Certain Ladies' as early as 1900. Maccann seems to have felt there was no need to take her with him on his tours of America and Australia. Her death certificate does indeed give her age as 47, suggesting a birth in 1861, whereas her census entries suggest 1866. However, I have not found any record of her 'marriage' to John H, if it occurred, and have no idea of her maiden name. Her birthplace was apparently York, but there were dozens of girls born there in 1866 registered as 'Minnie' - and that may not have been the name she was registered with. As well as a name in its own right, it can be a diminutive for virtually any girl's name beginning with 'M'. Have any of the rest of you identified her?

 

Andrew

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Hand written census details must always contain an element of doubt. Questions will have been answered verbally, not necessarily by the person in question, and recorded by someone who may have assumed the spelling, or heard incorrectly. The published results have probably been subsequently transcribed from an initial rough copy onto the final document by someone the quality of whose handwriting might leave much to be desired, all this probably by the light of a flickering candle. Add to that those who are reluctant to reveal their true age, or may not even know it, and who also have a secret or two that they prefer not to reveal or perpetuate. Do autobiographies always contain the whole truth and nothing but the truth. ? A certain amount of conjecture creeps into all family history in my experience.

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One key mystery for me is why is JHM and latest known wife, Sarah, are apparently absent from the 1921 census (particularly if he was apparently still going in the 1920s)?

 

Was it alien space ship or passenger ship that spirited JHM (and Sarah) away?

 

Last night I worked through the passenger lists of those departing from Liverpool and Plymouth between 1905 and 1925 (using a friend's 'Find my past' account to access www.ancestorsonboard.com'). I accept that there are other ports for departure (Bristol, London, Hull etc), but given his previous movements these seemed the best place to start.

 

I had hoped to find both Sarah and JHM on the same ship sailing for a new life in America as so many of those departing Liverpool did. As it turns out, there is no record of a Sarah MacCann (including the variant spellings of the surname) or Sarah Kennerley, of the right age on any of the departing ships. I was also unable to find JHM on any of the lists (accepting that there are a small number of 'J McCanns' listed with no birth date - but none of these are listed as musicians, professors etc, mainly labourers, mechanics etc; the great majority have birth years allowing some certainty).

 

 

So, from the search of passenger lists to date, it would appear he (and Sarah) do not sail from British shores and thus avoid inclusion in the 1921 census. This might support the theory that JHM died c.1912-1921. Any record of JHM's departure from this world would, however, seem elusive.

 

...back to the aliens theory?!

Edited by Myrtle's cook
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Possible death record of John H Maccann:

 

Amongst the Catholic burial records is one for a John Maccann of 107 Rice Lance [Liverpool], aged 70, d. 29 July 1931, buried in Ford Cemetery.

 

The case against:

-JHM would have been 72 at this date

-We have no evidence that JHM adopted/converted to Catholicism (the church where he married Sarah, St Stephens the Martyr, was Church of England)

 

 

The case for:

-107 Rice Lane is the address of the West Derby Union Workhouse, at that time the principle work house for Liverpool (a fit with the account of him dying in great poverty)

-A rather unscientific quick scan of the pages of the Liverpool Catholic burial records indicates that a disproportionate number of those coming from 107 Rice Lance died aged 50, 60, 70 etc. Potentially due to the vagueness of the subjects' own minds when admitted?

-Unless there was someone to speak up for this John Maccann it may well have been assumed that he was Catholic due to his surname, which in Liverpool might well have lead to such an assumption with its large Irish Catholic population.

Edited by Myrtle's cook
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As an aside, and perhaps off topic, I noticed this article while perusing a copy of The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld) from Saturday 1 November 1902 (as you do...).

 

Much more detailed than other press articles I've seen relating to Maccann's 1902/3 Australian tour, which were usually just a brief mention.

 

The second paragraph is interesting in that it appears to acknowledge Maccann's history of (unspecified) health problems. It also suggests that he undertook such concerts "when opportunity affords". Are there any records of other such performances in, say, Liverpool? Plymouth? and at a later date?

 

As mentioned in earlier posts, this report also refers to his instrument as the English concertina.

 

The programme may also be of interest. It appears quite detailed, and more accurate what you would expect from a probable junior journalist sent to cover such an event. I wonder whether it was just copied from a press release issued by Mr Rickards, the promoter. In fact, was the concert put on as a PR excercise to promote the Theatre Royal appearances?

 

Treat for Hospital Patients.

English Concertina Recital.

The inmates of the Brisbane Hospital who were in, or able to reach, No. 1 surgical ward had a great entertainment yesterday afternoon at the hands of Professor Maccann, the inimitable performer on the English concertina, who has this week, under the management of Mr. Harry Rickards, delighted the audiences at the Theatre Royal.

The professor has, in his time, received some benefit from hospitals, and delights to show his appreciation in this way when opportunity affords; and it may be safely averred that, during the hour that his performance lasted, a good many who are finding themselves heirs to ills of the flesh forgot some of the troubles that beset them.

In proof of the great treat afforded to the inmates of the hospital, we append Mr. Maccann's programme:

march, "Empire" (Maccann) ;

fantasia, " Gems of Scotland " (Maccann);

selection, "Maritana" (Wallace);

duet (two instruments), "Mikado" (Sullivan);

overture, "Zampa" (Herold);

imitations, violin, bugle, organette, brass band. bagpipes, church organ, "The Lost Chord" (Sullivan) ;.

valse duet, (1) "The Geisha" (Jones), (2) "Belle of New York" (Kerker);

humorous sketch, "Around the World in Five Minutes, " introducing national melodies of different nations (Maccann) ;

song, "The Village Blacksmith" (Weiss) ;

songs, (1) "Home, Sweet Home" (2) "God Save the King," on the smallest concertina in the world.

Edited by malcolm clapp
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That's a really interesting lead Malcolm.

There is a scrap book for at least one of the Liverpool work houses (and some of these also doubled as hospitals for the less well heeled). It not indexed and arranged in approximate chronological order from memory, many of them reports of Board of Guardian meetings, but might well contain records of some of the lighter episodes of the institution's working lives. I will take a look when time permits.

Edited by Myrtle's cook
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I thought it was established early in this thread that the comedic rollerskating bloke was not the same man as the concertina man. Certainly the photo on the postcard doesn't look anything like the pictures of Prof J H in his own publications.

 

I must confess, Andrew, that I missed Wes' post about Bob Gaskins' comment, but to my eyes the two do resemble oneanother, especially in the nose, and thought he'd maybe had his hair neatly trimmed and shaved off his walrus moustache to look younger and more fashionable - whilst all the references to the roller-skater that I was finding dated from August 1905 and later, so after the last known sighting of Professor J. H. Maccan [sic], The Renowned English Concertina King" in April of that year. However, I've now found three earlier references to him, in Gloucester, in December 1898 and 1899. :huh:

 

I find, trawling the British Newspaper Archive, a number of reports from the West Country featuring a Mr Maccann or Professor Maccann 'of Plymouth' playing concertina at various charity and social events in Devon and Cornwall. Wheere no initials are given, I strongly suspect that most, if not all of these refer to brother William. John H would probably not have been referred to as being 'of Plymouth' at this stage. There may have been a more or less deliberate attempt to suggest that the more famous elder brother was involved, but of course no one suspected that these articles would be read or even available a century or more later.

 

It's one thing for William to be called "Professor Maccann" as a music teacher, when "professor" was a common 19th century term in that context, but another altogether for performing - when it's your brother's professional stage name...

 

(You seem to have access to a lot more newspapers than I do.)

 

As far as spellings are concerned, that is usually down to the journalist. Just because the name appears as 'McCann' or whatever in a press report doesn't mean that the man himself spelt his name that way. I suspect that in some cases the spelling was adjusted to fit the type into the page!

 

Agreed! Or a census enumerator - the classic there has to be my finding two different households of the Jeffries family living in the same tenament building, with the family name spelled differently...

 

As for Minnie - yes, poor Minnie. Obviously rumours of her death were being put about by 'Certain Ladies' as early as 1900. Maccann seems to have felt there was no need to take her with him on his tours of America and Australia. Her death certificate does indeed give her age as 47, suggesting a birth in 1861, whereas her census entries suggest 1866. However, I have not found any record of her 'marriage' to John H, if it occurred, and have no idea of her maiden name. Her birthplace was apparently York, but there were dozens of girls born there in 1866 registered as 'Minnie' - and that may not have been the name she was registered with. As well as a name in its own right, it can be a diminutive for virtually any girl's name beginning with 'M'. Have any of the rest of you identified her?

 

Well he took somebody to Australia with him as "Mrs. MacCann", according to the passenger list of the SS Omrah!

 

I must check my old notes and see if I found the marriage.

 

Okay, that's my allotted hour gone, just on answering your one post - must get an internet connection a.s.a.p. :(

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It's one thing for William to be called "Professor Maccann" as a music teacher, when "professor" was a common 19th century term in that context, but another altogether for performing - when it's your brother's professional stage name...

 

But if his brother had already died......

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Myrtle's Cook,

 

Another item for your list 'against' John Maccann of 107 Rice Lane, who died in 1931, being our Maccann is that the Lachenal catalogue of 1920ish (Concertina Library) states that he was by then the late Professor Maccann. In that he was a dealer and teacher for Lachenal, they should know whether he was dead or not.

 

Somehow I cannot see the roller-skating comedian being him, either. For someone in their forties to be that proficient in stage athletics would be unusual enough, but for someone known as the Professor and King of the Concertina, back from a multiyear concert tour of down under - where any athletic and comedic skills were not mentioned- to have spent enough time to maintain that sort of athletic and comedic skill seems a bit much. Not impossible, but not likely.

 

Fun search, keep it going!

 

Dan

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Wes Williams wrote: But if his brother had already died......

 

Using 'Find my Past' I discovered that William H McCann died in 1936 in Plymouth (at the correct age!)

Sorry - I was trying to suggest that John.H had perhaps died by 1921, so Stephen's comment about William using his brother's professional stage name in 1921 was not quite as concrete a fact as it might seem. And either you or Andrew had already given us William's year of death earlier, a page or two back. Like Andrew, I'm happier with this Plymouth appearance being William rather than John.

 

And a recent email from Geoff Crabb has reminded me that the original Maccann guide lists a tuner 'Maccann' at the same address as Charles Crabb - one of the Lachenal partners. Could this have been William, and Lachenal have been informed of J.H's death by William's contacts made then?

Edited by wes williams
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Dan - good point diplomatically made, one which I quite overlooked in my enthusiasm to share my find! That would seem to rule out such a late time of death.

 

Still, a great mound of Liverpool Work house records and other similar documents still to plough through... ...fingers crossed.

 

Wes - apologies - I think it was me who was confused re brothers dying, your post is quite clear in hindsight.

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It's one thing for William to be called "Professor Maccann" as a music teacher, when "professor" was a common 19th century term in that context, but another altogether for performing - when it's your brother's professional stage name...

 

But if his brother had already died......

 

Look on it as (at least partly) indirectly asking Andrew how far back these references to William as "Professor Maccann" go Wes, and not so much a "fact" as putting the subject up for discussion...

 

You can't beat a bit of "brainstorming" for getting minds going! ;)

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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He was admitted to Bethlem Hospital on 10th November 1888, at which time he was 28 years old and living at 24, Castle Terrace, Nottingham.

 

He was discharged "Well" on 28th March 1889

 

Though The Era of 2nd March 1889 announced that "PROFESSOR MACCANN, concertinist, who has been absent from the variety boards for several months through serious illness, is now convalescent, and will shortly resume business" and that of 16th March reported "Professor Maccann, who has just recovered from a long illness" performed at "The joint benefit for the popular proprietors of the hall at Hammersmith ... on Wednesday evening" - an event that was attended by many other music hall proprietors and agents, so perfect for re-launching his career. "We congratulate Mr. Maccan [sic] on his recovery, and are glad to find his concertina selections have not lost one whit of their charm. Songs from The Mikado and "The Lost Chord" pleased immensely. The Professor plays two concertinas, one in each hand, and produces some most harmonious effects."

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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