Thomas Coyne (1877-) Thomas Coyne was born in Chester on 15th December 1877 and baptised as Thomas Patritius Coyne in St Werburgh's in that city on the 6th January 1878. He was the first child to be born to John Coyne, a water bailiff, and his wife Bridget Kenny who had married also at St Werburgh's on 20th May 1876, when John Coyne's occupation was Tobacco pipe maker. The family appear on the 1881 census living at 26 Love Street, Chester St John's, and Thomas has been joined by a sister Ann born in 1879. In 1891 Thomas and his sister are living with their widowed maternal grandmother Margaret Kenny at 88 New Chester Road, Lower Bebington. Their father John Coyne is lodging in Chester, working as a railway porter; and he describes himself as married; of Bridget there is no sign. On the 7th August 1899 Ann Coyne married John Charles Hopkins in Birkenhead and they are living at 29 Bold Street in 1901. So far there is no trace of Thomas Coyne in 1901, but on the 1st November 1906 he sailed from Liverpool for a new life in Canada on board the Kensington and he appears in the 1911 census living at 346 George Street, Toronto along with his wife and in-laws. Thomas Coyne married Mary Alice Staniforth in Toronto on 28th February 1908; she had arrived in Canada with her mother Sarah, and sisters Sarah and Dorothy on board the Bavarian which sailed from Liverpool on 17th November 1904. Their father, William Thomas Staniforth had crossed the Atlantic the previous year on the Corinthian leaving Liverpool on the 16th April 1903, presumably to set up a business and arrange accommodation for the rest of the family. William Thomas Staniforth and his family came from Sheffield, and from a long line of cutlery manufacturers. His father, also called William Thomas specialised in edge tools and cutlery with his own "Ascend" trade mark. He founded his business in 1849, died in 1890, and by 1914 his company had ceased trading. William Thomas junior appears to have been his only son. I assume he took his cutlery expertise to Canada with him. Unfortunately his occupation on the 1911 census for Toronto is unclear - it probably reads Hardware merchant, and he is working on his own account. Thomas Coyne's occupation is given as Shipper in a Packing House. Thomas and Mary Coyne have no children listed with them in 1911 though they had had two sons' births registered: James in 1908 and Alfred in 1910, on both occasions Thomas's occupation is given as Packer, and the address is 346 George Street. James died shortly after birth, but Alfred appears on the 1921 census, so did they just forget him in 1911? Another son Walter Raymond Coyne was born in August 1911; with the same home address, Thomas's occupation is recorded as an employee of Davies Co. According to Wikipedia "William Davies Company was a pork processing and packing company in Toronto, Canada. At one time, it was the largest pork packer both in Canada and the British Empire, and it operated Canada's first major chain of food stores". A fourth son, George Ernest was born on the 25th October 1913, and he appears with his father, and brothers Alfred Thomas and Walter Raymond on the 1921 census, still living at 346 George Street, along with his grandfather William Thomas Staniforth, whose occupation still appears to be Hardware merchant.  The original image for this census shows that the first entry for Thomas had M for married, but that this has been changed to a W for widowed. However a daughter Ruth was born to a Thomas Coyne and Mary Alice Staniforth on the 28th January 1923. Her details come from the registration of her death from diptheria on 5th September 1927, and her gravestone in the Toronto Necropolis. On the 1935 voters list the family are still at 346 George Street, Thomas is now a postal clerk, and he has a wife living with him - is this still Mary Alice then? Their three sons are also present: Alfred is a baker, Walter a hairdresser and George a clerk. William Thomas Staniforth is now retired (he died on the 23rd December 1944). At first glance the record on FamilySearch for the death of a Thomas Coyne on the 24th August 1936 in Toronto looks to be a match. His parents are stated to be John and Bridget Coyne, and his spouse, Mary. But the actual image proves it not to be him: this one had only been ten years in Ontario, was a retired farmer, and had been born in Galway on the 21st May 1875. A probable marriage for George Ernest Coyne to Bernice Margaret Bilyea was announced in the Toronto Daily Star for the 24th July 1945, and this strongly suggests that both his parents were still alive at that time. And from the Michigan passenger lists on Ancestry I can see that they had four children by 27th October 1953 when they were returning from Los Angeles ... so a strong probability of some Coyne “cousins” waiting to be discovered in Canada, apart from any potential descendants of Alfred Thomas and Walter Raymond  ... It was finding Thomas Coyne's attestation papers of August 1916 when he signed up to the 238th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force that was the original clue to his new Canadian life. Here he gives his birthdate as 15th December 1877 and place of birth as Chester, Cheshire, England. He also gives his Canadian address as 346 George Street, Toronto and his wife's name as Mary. He is 38 years and 8 months old, 5 foot 7 and a half inches tall, and has a fully expanded girth of 38 inches. He has a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair and no distinctive marks. Surprisingly he gives his religion as Church of England; he was born, baptised and brought up a Catholic, and even declared himself to be Roman Catholic on his marriage and in the 1911 census. The 238th was a Forestry Battalion and it sailed for Europe in September 1916. Working behind the lines away from enemy fire, the men - many of whom would otherwise have been ineligible for military duty, owing to age or physical problems - kept the British armies in France self-sufficient in timber. They also cleared more than 100 airfield sites, and some even built airbases. The alternative would have been to import timber from Canada: importing the labour freed trans-Atlantic shipping space for other purposes - food, shells and reinforcements.
Hopkins families: The Coynes John, Bridget (Mary) & Thomas : from Chester to Toronto
Click photo to enlarge
^