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Is my whole family history made up?!?

Melbourne, Australia
Hi Everybody,

I'm sure there is no definite answer to the question that I'm asking, but hope that people might have some ideas...So here goes!

My grandmother was Catherine Rattigan (1818-1984) Her parents were Mary Ellen and James Rattigan. And this is where I get confused...

I've always been told that my great-grandmother (Catherine's mother) was Jewish but was disowned by her parents when she ran off with an Irish Catholic boy when visiting relatives in Liverpool at the age of 17. She was either Polish or Romanian.

I have found my grandmothers birth record & her mothers maiden name is listed as Mary McDonough. I have also found the marriage record from 1912 in which her name is listed as Mary McDonough. I have also found a birth record from 1895 showing the birth of a Mary McDonough.

Apparently she was always "Mary Ellen" and never just Mary - so it seems strange that there is no middle name listed on any of the records that I have found.

The family does recall some McDonoughs, but believes that they were relatives, but not her immediate family.

I think that she may have used the details of a cousin (or whatever the McDonoughs were) when she ran away to get married. Does this sound plausible? Was this possible?

The only link that I have to what I believe might be her proper identity is that a family member (we're not sure if it was her sister or her cousin) ended up living in Liverpool after WWII. She was a Jewish lady who had been held with her son in either Auschwitz or Dachau (again, this varies depending who you ask) and then relocated to Liverpool. I am trying to find somebody who knows what her name and address was as she passed away in the late 1970's. Does a record exist of people liberated from camps after the war and where they ended up?

Any thoughts/ideas would be greatly appreciated :) I'm desparate to figure this out :confused:




Loyal Member
Staff member
Robin Hood County
Hi Suz,

You have got a toughie here.

First of all there may be some truth but it can get distorted along the way.

The link below is to About.com genealogy 'Jewish Genealogy'. Secondly I was told by another person that the name McDonough (they think) are an itinterant (gypsy) family. McDonogh is a very poplar itinerant name in Ireland. There are approx 100 clans and another thing is that the McDonough clans always refer to Mary as Mary Ellen. The McDonough side didnt and still dont register all the births. You need all possible dates and any other info you have if there is any chance of finding ancestors. The gypsy families kept and still keep a lot of information within the clans.

Rattigan is a Roscommon name sometimes spelt as Rhattigan, Rattigan, Ratigan, Rhattighaun.
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