Michael Lyons, 1861-1915



Correction: Kinealy was actually Kenealy

5th known child & 4th son to Catherine (nee Buckley) & Stephen Lyons.

1861 Born, 31/10/1861, at 26, College St., St. Olave , where the family were living in the 1861 Census( prior to his birth), from his birth certificate B4. Bmd entry gives him as Michael Lyons . Baptised 6/10/1861 at Holy Trinity, Dockhead. as Michael Lyons, son of Stephen & Catherine Lyons. There is an error in the exact date, probably in the official b.c. as it was not registered until December. . Dockhead replied: 1st June 1980
"No entries for Timothy or Stephen.
Michael Lyons, son of Stephen & Catherine Lyons (formerly Buckley) born 2.10.1861, baptised 6.10.61
Godfather "Patrick Lyons"
Godmother "Helen Connell"
No address or other details are given"
I did some searching in 1861C for this Helen Connell: but only match was aged 60, charwoman, b.Ireland, with Hannah 21 & Jeremiah 15, both b.Ireland, living in Marylebone. No trace of her in 1871C, and an Ellen Connell dies Marylebone Dec 1862. Unlikely that they would have chosen such an old godmother. I am sure Patrick Lyons is the son of Honorah, aged 21 in the 1861 C: though there is another Patrick Lyons, 27, a cooper, from Limerick, wife from Kerry, married before leaving Ireland ~1858, in the 1861C living in St.John, Horsleydown

1871 census. Aged 9. Eventually I found the family under "Lynes".
Stephen, age 45, b.Co Cork. 36 Brunswick Court, Bermondsey. "Dock Labourer"
Catherine, wife, 45/40, b. Co Cork
Timothy, son, 17, b.Bermondsey, Surrey. "Wharf Labourer"
Mary, daughter, 15 b.Bermondsey, Surrey
Stephen, son, 11, b.St Olaves, Surrey
Michael, son, 9, b.St Olaves, Surrey
Eliza, daughter, 7, b.St Olaves, Surrey.
Also given is John Lyons, and it says "son", age 35 and blind.
Also at same address are a family of 3 names Lacey, the parents born Limerick, and their 1 year old son, b.Co.Cork

1877. Michael Lyons was apprenticed, aged 16, as a Lighterman to Robert Joseph Tucock for 5 years on 10/7/1877 in Bermondsey. This master died Sep 1879, so he was assigned over to William Taylor in February 1880, and finally freed on 4/9/1882.


Lighterman certificate for Michael Lyons, issued 17/9/1882, his second master signing to "I have no objection to his freedom"

Having discovered Michael married in the 1881C, I obtained the 1879 marriage cert. St. Olave Dec 1d.503 of a Michael Lyons and it is not him

But, through obtaining the 1882 b.c. B 20 of his second child, Stephen Patrick Lyons, I find that the wife of the Michael Lyons that I am interested in was formerly Mary Ann Dillon. And..

Marriages Jun 1880
Dillon Mary Ann St Saviour 1d 255

Lyons Joseph St. Saviour 1d 255 . Do not need the state m.c, as have now found the marriage 5/4/1880 - see below -in St. Georges records.- the state cert. would only give me the occupations of himself, his father Stephen Lyons and his father-in-law, John Dillon. I have the witnesses and addresses from the church record..

1880. Do not have her state b.c. Mary Ann Lyons born to Joseph & Mary Ann[nee Dillon] Lyons on 7/03/1880, baptised 28/03/1880, gps John Murphy & Mary Ann Foley, in Our Lady of Salette, Melior Street[ from parish records, seen there Aug.,2009]. This is almost one month before her parents married in the different Catholic Church of St.Georges !. Maybe Michael decided to change his name to Joseph on this b.c. & his m.c. for anonymity. By 1881, he has reverted to Michael in the censuses and on future b.cs. of his children.

1880. Joseph Lyons married Mary Ann Dillon 5/04/1880 in St.Georges RCC. Joseph Lyons (son of Stephen) to Mary Ann Dillon (daughter of John) with both marriage partners recorded as living at 10 Freemans Lane Horselydown. Have not purchased the State m.c.
Witnesses: Stephen Howard [ he is the brother of Mary Ann's mother, Jane: proved from 1881C entry!], address 25 Rand Rents and Mary Ann Pooley, address 18 Rand Rents, Rev J Reeks . This info. from Bernard Cullen St. Georges . Rands should read Sards. Am in email contact with Stella Wilson, Genes, gggranddaughter of John Dillon, 1860, brother of Mary Ann Dillon 1862 & Jane Dillon 1864, the latter being the informant of the birth B20 of Stephen Patrick Lyons 1882 . The buildings were built by Sards, ropemakers, for their workers.

Apprentice lightermen were not permitted to marry during their apprenticeship - this could be the reason why Michael married under the name of Joseph Lyons. But his new Master, William Taylor must have known he was married as apprentices were meant to live with their masters, and Michael was with his wife & child at 1 Albert St. in 1881C - and no William Taylor there or nearby - & probably at 10 Freemans lane on 10/3/1882.

http://london1868.com/ is a wonderful 1868 Map site: click on it to zoom.

1881 census a Micheal (transcribed incorrectly) Lyons,19, waterman lighterman, appears married to a Mary Ann,19, and with a 1 yr. old Mary Ann, all 3 born in Horsleydown. Address 1, Albert St., Bermondsey.[ A fair way from Freemans Lane but not far south of Sards Rents where Mary Ann's family were. Think this has disappeared, maybe even by 1891, but, it was north and parallel to Abbey Street, which is an eastwood continuation of Long Lane] .There was one other family in the house as a separate household


1882. 10/03/1882, son Stephen Patrick Lyons born, at 10 Freemans Lane, St.John Horsleydown [St Olave] to Michael Lyons, lighterman, & Mary Ann Lyons, formerly Dillon, the informant being a Jane Dillon [Mary Ann's sister] of 25 Sands [ read Sards] Rents, Horsleydown. Possess b.c.B20. This Michael must be him....same address, 10 Freemans Lane, as 1881C entry for Stephen, Catherine & Elizabeth. Why he chose to get married as Joseph Lyons is a complete mystery!-= but maybe because he was not meant to marry as an apprentice Lighterman ? But he does go on to call his third son Michael Joseph in 1887. No baptism La Salette & not in St. Georges

1882. Freed from his apprenticeship as a lighterman, 17/9/1882

1884. Son John Lyons born 12.8.84 - from lighterman certificate- Sep 1884 St. Olave 1d 201. He was born at 25 Sards Rents. No baptism found in Our Salette & not in St. Georges

1887. Another son Michael Joseph Lyons born. Jun 1887 Lyons Michael Joseph St. Olave 1d 231. No baptism found in Our Salette & not in St. Georges. Need to ask Dockhead for these 3 1882-7 baptisms in 2012

1888. His father Stephen Lyons is admitted to the St Olaves Workhouse as destitute from 15 Snowsfields.His mother Catherine is given as of 2 Millstream Road, Dockhead & 2 sons, also mentioned, seemingly of same address as their mother - if so must be Michael & Stephen.

1890. He is certainly the informant, M Lyons, son, on the death cert. of his father, Stephen, who died 1/03/1890. Stephen Lyons died in the St. Olaves Infirmary, having been admitted there 17/12/1889, but is referred to as Hide Sorter of no. 3 Cross St., St.Johns, Southwark. Michael's address is also given as 3,Cross St.; so he & his family were obviously living here in 1890. As his father had been destitute in the Workhouse in 1888, I suspect 3 Cross Street was primarily the home of Michael & his family and that father, Stephen, had just been taken in during his last year of life. But I am dubious as to whether his mother Catherine & his 2 siblings Stephen & Elizabeth were also with them- they seem to have been in 2 Millstream Road from mid 1888-start 1891: see Catherine page. By 1891C, all the houses in Cross Street, next to Swan Mead, are uninhabited, probably as the area is about to be redeveloped .

1891 census

At 12, Curlew St, Horsleydown, in 2 rooms, Michael Lyon 29, waterman, Mary Ann 29, Mary Ann 11, Stephen 9, John 6, Michael 3, all born St.Johns. 3 other families in the house.

Mary Ann b.7/3/1880 [have baptism]: Stephen Patrick b.10/3/1882 [have b.c]: John b.12.8.84: Michael Joseph b.Jun 1887 St.Olave 1d.231. In the Electoral Roll Book for 1891, he is not given at 12 Curlew Street, so maybe only moved in there just before the April Census[ X104/360 & 361 are the LMA fiches with this on] .

1892. His mother, Catherine Lyons, is admitted to St. Olaves Infirmary 4/3/1892 and there till 30/5/1892, reason given as 'own request'. On 10/8/1892 she is admitted to St. Olaves Workhouse, reason given as 'sons neglect', sons being listed as Michael of 12 Curlew St. and Timothy & Stephen of unknown address. She is discharged from there on 18/8/1892. Then on 22/8/1892 she is admitted to St.Peters House, Lambeth, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. She lives there for 10 years until her death in 1902. He appears to be the son who has most kept in contact with his parents c1888-1892[ although his unmarried brother Stephen is living with widowed mother Catherine in 1891C] and would appear to be desperately poor himself, having just the 2 rooms for his family of 6.

1892, 1893, 1894, 1900 Listed in Rotherhithe Electoral Roll [ St.John Horsleydown, p.74] books as having 2 rooms unfurnished on the second floor of 12 Curlew St., rent given as 4/6d per week in 1892 book . Also found him there in 1901-2, 1907-8 books, but not listed 1911-12 & 1912-13. Did not look at all years - 2012.

1899. His son Stephen Patrick was bound as an apprentice lighterman 12/9/1899, freed 18/9/1906, the master being given as Michael Lyons - his father .

1901 Census

Michael Lyons [mistranscribed as LYNS] 39 Lighterman barge, Mary 39, Mary 21 bookfolder binder, Stephen 19 lighterman barge, John 16 tea packer grocer, Michael 13 errand boy port, still living [ as in 1891] at 12 Curlew Street, still just 2 rooms, Bermondsey [ near river, to east of Tower Bridge Road].

1902, 1906, 1907, 1908 At 12 Curlew Street. In 1908 with Jeremiah Cokeley

1910. Only shown in Electoral Rolls, at 12 Curlew Street, under Whitehead's Case Objections: only one other on this list in Curlew Street. What was Whitehead's Case?

1903. Charles Henry Harrod was bound to him as an Apprentice, 13/10/1903, to be freed 8/12/1908

1911C..Michael Lyons, 50, born 1861 Bermondsey, Lighterman, living in 1 room [ so still very poor] at 12 Curlew Street, St. Olave, together with Mary Ann Lyons, 50, born 1861, Bermondsey, married 30 years, 4 children, 1 died: could have been any of 3 other than Stephen Patrick. Searched deaths 1901-1911 & Michael Joseph Lyons died 'Jun' 1905, 1d.80 , St.Olave Bermondsey, aged 18. Nobody else in his household, but his married daughter, Mary Ann Coakley , is living in 3 rooms in the same house with her husband & 3 children, plus another family in 2 rooms. Curiously he is not listed in Curlew St. in the 1911-12 Electoral roll book!.


In Rotherhithe Electoral Roll books [in Southwark Archives but also on fiche in LMA & now online on Ancestry] Michael Lyons is listed at 12 Curlew Street from 1892 - the earliest book found - until 1907-8 when J. Cokeley, his son-in-law, also appears . In 1911, 1913 & 1915 books Michael is not listed, just Jerimiah Cokeley. One year, 1909?, Michael Lyons appears as a lodger in 2 rooms, one on first floor, one on the 2nd, both unfurnished - rent paid to Jeremiah Cokeley. . In 1918 book he is not listed, just Jeremiah Cokeley & his wife Mary Ann Cokeley. From 1919 until 1928 there is also a Mary Ann Lyons listed, who must be Mary Ann nee Dillon, inferring that her husband Michael is dead and she still has her own room in the house with her daughter & son-in-law. In 1929 the Cokeleys are listed as Coakley and, with Helen Agnes & John Coakley as well as Mary Ann Lyons are still at 12 Curlew Street. . Bernard Coakley also there in 1930. Kathleen Coakley as well in 1934. John disappears in 1935. No indexed entry for Mary Ann Lyons 1937 & 1938 but she is still there with the Coakleys, but indexed again in 1939, there again with an additional Coakley, a Joseph, but Kathleen gone. . No later entries for her, but, Mary Ann Coakley with Helen A and Bernard J at 208 Malpas Road Lewisham in 1946, plus a William P Coakley in 1947, the same 5 Coakley1949-1955. Last listed there in 1957, without William P. or Joseph but John back!

1915 Michael Lyons, aged 54, dies Dec 1915 St.Olave[county London!] 1d.239.

Michael Lyons was a member of the Guild of Watermen & Lightermen, (City Livery Company- dates back to 1627). JL examined their records in Feb 2011 & found that his son, Stephen Patrick Lyons , b.10/3/1882 Horsleydown, was bound as an apprentice 12/9/1899, freed 18/9/1906, the master being given as Michael Lyons - his father . Another son, John Lyons, b.12/8/1884 St Olave, was bound 8/12/1903, freed 8/6/1909, the master being given as Cornelius F Clemens. Later on the 3 sons of Stephen Patrick Lyons, were in their turn apprenticed: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stephen James Lyons,  b.14/5/1906 St Olave Bermondsey, bound apprentice 29.6.1920, to his father, Stephen Patrick Lyons, as master - no date of freedom, . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James Michael Lyons , b.26/2/1911 Bermondsey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .& Michael Lyons, b. 4/8/1920 Bermondsey . . . . no apprentice dates & master noted for these last 2.

Was Michael Joseph Lyons b.1887 apprenticed before his death in 1905? - I have not found a record for such in the Guildhall records.

Apparently, to be a Waterman or Lighterman was in its day a highly regarded profession. Normally required a 7 year apprenticeship and annual licensing by the river authority. Men wore distinctive badges to identify themselves to fare paying passengers or other cargo vessels. But, in the case of Michael, he still seemed to live in dire poverty: -6 people in 2 rooms in 1901C and he & his wife in just one room in 1911C

Looking for a suitable death for Mary Ann Lyons[Dillon]: Dec 1920 LYONS Mary A 57 Camberwell 1d 585 - age is almost correct, she would have been 59. But this does not tie up with her being in Curlew St. up till 1928, which would suggest a death after 1929 or a move elsewhere. This 1920 Camberwell death age agrees for Stephen's widow, Mary Ann Lyons, nee Magee,who was born 1863. .

The Mary Ann Lyons, aged 91, dying Southwark, Dec 1952, 5d 654, must be Mary Ann Dillon . She was living with her daughter, Mary Ann Coakley at 12 Curlew Street in the 1939 Register . Where did she live 1940 -1952?- not with her daughter 1946-1952, and wherever it was does not seem to have submitted Electoral Roll Books to Ancestry!. She could have gone to live with son John Lyons after the war as he died maybe 1964 Bermondsey, but I have Electorall Roll entries for him up to 1960 and she is not listed with him.


1. Mary Ann Lyons 1880- 1965?.

2. Stephen Patrick Lyons 1882-1953.

3. John Lyons 1884

4. Michael Joseph Lyons 1887-1905. Alive, aged 14, as errand boy port in 1901. Died 'Jun' 1905, 1d.80, St.Olave Bermondsey, aged 18. Have not found him apprenticed as a lighterman.

Wrong families links to some research that led to wrong families


Lyons family main page

Stephen Lyons, his father