But what was he doing in Ireland?

This is a golden time for family historians with Irish connections. Recently a vast amount of information became available at https://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/ There are Civil Registration records; records of birth. marriage and death. The parish records include both Church of Ireland and Catholic records. From the same site you can make searches of other records: 1901 and1911 census, Griffith's Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books also various immigration records.

Sometimes you get just an entry from an index, sometimes a transcription of a record. But often you find the actual image of the document, especially important if you are looking at civil registration records. The good news is that this is completely free.

Of course, I immediately made a search for MADDER. I usually get an occasional MADDER in Irish searches, but usually they come hidden  in a list of mis-transcribed MADDENs. Searching the Civil Registration records for MADDER produced 48 results, 10 of which were marriages. Half of these were for people with the name MADDERS. It was one of the others that caught my attention, the marriage in 1920 of Harold MADDER and Kathleen ROCHE. I clicked on the entry. There was an image available. One glance was enough to tell me this was one of "My" MADDERs.

The marriage took place on 28th July 1920 at the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary, New Ross in the county of Wexford. The groom was Harold Wm MADDER, he was 20 years of age and a bachelor. He was a furniture dealer by occupation and his residence was Wealdstone, England. Bells began to ring, I knew of a MADDER family in Wealdstone. The cherry on the cake was Harold's father's name - Arthur MADDER, a trader.

Checking my family tree, I quickly found Harold William, born in 1902 in Harrow Weald. He was the son of Arthur Edward MADDER who had been born in 1870, in Chelmsford, Essex. He was the younger brother of my Great Grandfather Henry MADDER (AKA Harry Smith).

I had picked up facts about this branch of the family here and there, enough to have a rough outline of the family. I knew that Harold William had married Ethel PIZZEY, a widow with two children, in 1943. What had happened to Kathleen!

Many years ago, back in the days when you had to physically search the big books, I had collected all the MADDERs in the BMD indexes. I have them all listed in an Excel file. There was one Kathleen MADDER. She died in 1912 in Huddersfield, not the one I was looking for. But there was a Kathleen J MADDER who died in 1969, aged 69. The Registration District was St Albans. According to the Irish marriage I had found, she was 24 in 1920, but it was near enough. (Harold had in fact been only 18, not 20 when he married). St Albans was not that far from Wealdstone; perhaps they had divorced. I haven't found any divorce record, but Kathleen was probably Catholic. I had not found any children of the marriage either, not in England or Ireland.

Where to go next? Perhaps I could find them on the 1939 Register - both William and Kathleen would be old enough to be included. I found Kathleen J MADDER easily. She was in St Albans, but where? Her date of birth was N.K but her year of birth was 1901. She was married and her occupation was Unpaid Domestic Duties. She was in a list with many other women. There is a column in the 1939 register that is usually left blank. For all the women on this page this column contained  a "P". The title at the top of the page says O, V, S, P. or I. I couldn't find any explanation on Findmypast of what the letters stood for, but the transcription of the page gives "Patient". The address was Napsbury Hospital.

Napsbury Hospital in St Albans was a mental hospital founded in 1898 for patients from Middlesex. During WW1 it was a military hospital and afterwards returned to use as a mental hospital. It closed in 1999. When did Kathleen MADDER arrive there? Sometime before 1939 and she must have died there 30 years later, in 1969.

Harold William had died in Bournemouth in 1960,. It appears his wife, Ethel, remarried in 1971.

I had difficulty finding Harold William in the 1939 Register, eventually tracking him down indexed as MADDEN (His brother, Charles I found under MADLER). He was living at 299 Northolt Road, Harrow, with his widowed mother and his three sisters, all single. Harold status is married and his occupation is Furniture Salesman.

Where do I go next? There are records for Napsbury Hospital at The Welcome Library or London Metropolitan Archives, but I believe patient's records are usually closed for 100 years.

Perhaps I shall get a copy of Kathleen's death certificate - will it say if she was still Harold's wife or divorced? What does Harold's second marriage certificate say? Unlike the Irish marriage certificate that started this research, they will not be free.

More interesting, what was an eighteen year old furniture dealer doing in Ireland? Did he meet Kathleen Roche there, or did they travel together from England?


Sources: Irish Marriage Certificate, English BMD indexes, 1939 Register, TNA, Hospital Records Database.