Family trees are endlessly fascinating and here’s one that stretches all the way from Huddersfield to Australia with a strong Irish connection along the way.

Susan Barrett is seeking more information about her great great grandfather John Barrett and was fascinated watching the Tour de France pass through here.

She said: “I began work on the family tree (in a vague sort of way) probably going on 20 years ago, building on my dad’s work. Then I began again (more seriously) about five or six years ago, when developments in computer software and the internet opened up new opportunities.”

And here’s what she discovered.

John Barrett and Mary McDonagh (or possibly McDonough) wed at the Church of St Patrick, Huddersfield, on Monday, June 26, 1854.

At the time of their marriage, John, who was born in County Mayo, Ireland, and Mary, who was born in County Galway, Ireland, were both living in Manchester Street, Huddersfield.

 John Barrett appears to have moved to Huddersfield in the mid 1830s with his father James Barrett and mother Mary Shaw.

 Mary McDonagh arrived in Huddersfield at the latest in 1851, with the Census recording her as living at 98 Upper Head Row, Huddersfield, with a number of other people including, it seems, her cousins Mary Parker, Catherine Mulry and Bridget McDonagh. All were born in County Galway.

 In 1858 John and Mary waved goodbye to Huddersfield, migrating to Australia, where Mary died in 1870 (aged 37) and John died in 1879 (aged 47) — leaving behind four children. John and Mary share a grave in Adelaide’s West Terrace cemetery with their eldest son, Jim, whose death from mesothelioma occurred 100 years ago on July 17, 1914.

Susan said: “Mary McDonagh probably doesn’t have any relatives remaining in Huddersfield as her cousins appear to have migrated to America in the 1850s.

The family of John Barrett did, however, settle in Huddersfield. John’s father (James) died in 1879 and is buried in a public grave (apparently unmarked) in the Edgerton Unconsecrated Cemetery.”

John’s mother (Mary Shaw) was still living in Huddersfield in 1881. John’s sister, Judy, died as a baby in 1835. John’s brother, Patrick, appears as a child in the 1851 Census. John’s brother James (Barrett/Barratt, who was born in Almondbury) was a beer house keeper, marrying Bridget Brown in 1862 and dying of pneumonia in 1887 aged 48.

John and Mary Barrett share a grave in Adelaides West Terrace cemetery with their eldest son, Jim,

John’s brother Anthony — who like John was born in County Mayo apparently on a trip back there — died in 1886, aged 42 from cirrhosis of the liver, hemoptysis and exhaustion. And John’s sister, Fanny, married Thomas Clancy, a shoemaker.

Fanny Barrett and Thomas Clancy had at least eight children — John Thomas (c1862-1914); Bernard (c 1863-1908), who married Harriet Bowers; Anthony (c1865-1928), who married and had a lot of children with Mary Ellen Kilgannon; James William (c1868-1942), who had a difficult life, including spending five years at the Yorkshire Catholic Reformatory, Market Weighton; George (c1871-1941), who might have married a woman named Rose; Emily/Emma (c1872-1906), who married Albert Glynn; Jane (born c1877), who married John Thomas Brook; and Mary (c1879-1941), who married James Gulland Kinloch.

James Barrett and Mary Shaw and their family were not rich as they were hawkers, pedlers, weavers, mill workers, labourers. James and Mary almost certainly couldn’t read or write, nor could John Barrett and Mary McDonagh at the time of their marriage in 1854. This would probably explain, along with an Irish accent, why Mary appears as Mary Macdonald in the marriage notice in The Huddersfield Chronicle.

And James Barrett and Mary Shaw and their family seem to have lived in a series of boarding houses and rented rooms in Huddersfield — including Barker’s Yard; 10 Brooks Yard, Buxton Road; 84 Upperhead Row; 362 Upperhead Row; 7 Stotts Yard, Upperhead Row; 57 Manchester Street; 7 Kirkgate; 23 Kirkgate; Glass Alley; and 6 Helms Yard.

Susan said: “As the 2014 Tour de France passed through Huddersfield, the faces in the crowd perhaps included descendents of James Barrett and Mary Shaw and relatives of John Barrett and Mary McDonagh/McDonough.

“If you have information, photos, letters, the family bible or other family heirlooms, the family in Australia would love to hear from you.

Contact Susan at