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The Gallagher Family Bible

George and Margaret Gallagher had a family Bible that has passed down through time, barely.

The Bible is in rough shape. The cover is entirely loose, as are the first few pages. The binding is intact, but its leather backing is gone. The tin clasps are in good condition, still attached to the back cover, and in general the pages and the numerous illustrations are fine. The cover leather is sorely in need of revitalization.

The Book

The text and annotations of this Bible are the work of George Leo Haydock, who compiled this version in about 1811. It includes extensive footnotes on the translation as well as the interpretation.

The text is extensively annotated.

Haydock prepared this Bible in England in part as a defense of Catholicism, at a time when the repeal of the anti-catholic Penal Laws was being considered. Some of the annotations are therefore intended to combat claims of the Protestant clergy that Haydock considered unfair or mistaken.

The Haydock Bible was very popular. It was published in many editions in England as well as the United States. Both Catholic Presidents of the United States, Kennedy and Biden, were sworn in on Haydock Bibles.

The Bible has a few dozen illustrations, many in color.

This folio edition was published by John G. Murdoch in London. There is no date in the book itself, but based on the specific form of the title page, it appears this edition was published in about 1874.

The Family Register

By George and Margaret's time, it was traditional to record family history in a bible. Originally this would be done inside the front and back covers, but later Bibles included pages specifically dedicated to the purpose, as this one does.

The first page of the Family Register section

The register is loose now but remains bound to the first page of Genesis, so it must have been bound into the book originally, not an insert included later.

The register has pages for births, marriages and deaths, but only the births are filled in, and only for this one generation of the family. I don't know what the ovals in each child's section is for -- possibly a space to paste a photo? None of them are used.

It seems to me that the ink and handwriting of all the names in this register are very similar. I think it was written at one time, not over the course of years. It's also interesting that the parents are simply named, with the spaces dedicated to birth and marriage dates left blank. I wonder if these names were written much later, possibly by one of the children in the spirit of starting the register with what was already known. If that is true, then these names must have been written after 1896, the last date recorded.

The Family

George Gallagher and Margaret McDonald were married on May 18, 1872 in Wigan. By a Catholic miracle, they had their first child just a couple of weeks later. I wonder if that's why they omitted their wedding date from the register?

George and Margaret's marriage registration

George Gallagher was a clogger, or in other words a maker of wooden-soled shoes. In 1901, the family lived on Earl Street in Leigh, just across the street from St. Joseph's church. George died in 1902, just under 50 years old. Margaret died in 1916 at the age of roughly 63.

The children listed are:

Ellen (June 4, 1872 - 1956). Ellen married George Harry Evans in 1903, had a son named George Egerton Evans in 1909, then moved to British Columbia in 1913. George managed a general store.

Hugh (February 9, 1876 - February 12, 1908). Hugh married Mary Alice Smith in 1899, and had a daughter named Ellen Gallagher in 1900. Hugh was a clogger, like his father. He died in the Prestwich Lunatic Asylum in 1908.

Edward (February 4, 1878 - 1941). Edward married Elizabeth Ann Thomason on June 2, 1900, and by another miracle they had their first son Edward (Ted) Gallagher two months later. Their second son George was born in 1904, and last was Justin in 1908. Edward was a skilled blacksmith.

Mary (January 30, 1880 - unknown). Mary, known as Polly, married cotton spinner Robert Marshall in 1907. They had four children before Robert was killed in France in World War I in 1916. In 1939 Polly lived with two of her sons, just a few doors down from her brother Peter and his family.

Peter (June 8, 1882 - unknown). Peter married Margaret Ann Atkinson in 1903, and they had three daughters. Peter was a Lead Coverer in a Cable Works, whatever that means.

Margaret (January 1885 - 1891) died as a child.

George (May 23, 1887 to July 17, 1966). George was a cotton spinner in Leigh in 1911, but must have emigrated to Canada shortly afterward because he signed up for the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force in February 1916. In October of that year he married Amy Winifred Street in Leigh, perhaps on leave. By the 1920s he was back in Canada, and died in Vancouver in 1966.

Francis (August 3, 1889 - 1963). Francis (Frank) married Alice Tunstall in 1916. They had two sons. Frank was a cotton spinner.

Agnes (April 17, 1892 - January 5, 1978). Agnes married Alfred Hamill in 1917, and moved to Canada in 1923. They had two children. Alfred worked for the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway for 35 years, and died in British Columbia.

Justin (April 7, 1894 - June 2, 1908). Justin died at age 14; the newspaper said it was due to extreme heat.

Margaret (December 18, 1896 - 1943). Margaret married Peter Hourigan in 1923, and they had one daughter named Katherine. By 1939 Peter was an incapacitated coal miner, and Margaret was working as a silk weaver.


If the Bible was indeed published in about 1874, that would be roughly when George and Margaret were married. It was an expensive item for a very poor family, particularly a couple so young. Perhaps it was a wedding gift, if the publication date is a little late. Or perhaps it was purchased second-hand much later.

George died in 1902. When Margaret died in 1916, her oldest child still living in England would have been Edward the hammersmith, who evidently took possession of the Bible.

Edward died in 1941. Edward's widow Elizabeth Ann lived her last years with their son George, and their eldest son Ted had long since moved to the United States. George must have inherited the Bible, and when he died in 1995 it passed to his eldest child Terence. When Terry died in 2009 the Bible went to his eldest child in turn.


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