News Irish News

Sunday 17 February 2019

Irish roots: Marriage record unlocks Meghan's ancestry

Welcome: Meghan Markle in Trinity College after her visit to the ‘Book of Kells’ in July 2018.
Photo: Gerry Mooney
Welcome: Meghan Markle in Trinity College after her visit to the ‘Book of Kells’ in July 2018. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Sarah Mac Donald

Meghan Markle's great-great-great grandparents wed on this day in the Church of Ireland parish of Donnybrook, Dublin.

A marriage registry record has unlocked the true origin of the Duchess of Sussex's Irish roots.

On January 23, 1860, her great-great-great grandparents married at the Dublin parish.

The entry for Thomas Bird, a private in the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment, based at Beggars Bush Barracks, Dublin, and Mary McCague, then living at Merrion Strand, is complete with smudges where the registry may have been closed before the ink had time to dry.

The discovery was made by Fiona Fitzsimons and Helen Moss of Eneclann, a genealogical research firm.

"It was known that Thomas Bird was in the army, but no one had thought to examine whether he might have served and married his Irish wife in Ireland. With this as our starting point we were able to follow Meghan Markle's family to Malta and then to New Brunswick, in Canada," they explained.

While the parish registry identifies Meghan's great-great-great grandmother as Mary McCue, she signs herself as Mary McCague. Thomas Bird signed the registry with an 'x' meaning he could not read or write.

Within six months of their marriage, the 22nd Regiment, which Thomas belonged to, was sent to Malta in June 1860, and the couple left Ireland on board the steam ship Olympus.

In 2016, Eneclann launched the Irish Family History Centre, based in CHQ Building and partnered with EPIC, which Prince Harry and Meghan visited during their trip to Ireland.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News