Just before the Index of Irish Wills 1484-1858 was published I was working with the editorial team. One of my tasks was to search through the original database for possible errors in the transcription of names. If you order all of the entries alphabetically it is easy to see where anomalous names turn up. In this instance, it was not anomalous, but an unusual name that has never left me. Somebody named a child Christmas Weeks and I have always wondered who this person was.
In 1828 a will was proved for a Christmas Weeks in the Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. The will was, of course, destroyed in 1922, but the terms of the will were copied into the Irish Will Register, a register maintained by Inland Revenue for tax purposes. The Irish Will Register is one of the substitutes used to fill the gap left by destroyed testamentary records. The Irish Will Register, which is held in the National Archives of Ireland, usually recorded the name, address and date of death of the deceased. The name and address of the executor and their relationship to the deceased if known. Also recorded was a schedule of assets, presumably for tax purposes, and the details of the bequests. The recipients of bequests were named as was their relationship to the deceased. All in all, a mighty useful substitute. The Irish Will Registers only really survive for the 1830s and are fully indexed in the Index of Irish Wills 1484-1858. If you locate a reference to an Irish Will Register (IWR) in the Index, we can order a copy of the register from us.
There is an earlier reference to Christmas Weeks in the Rolls of the Freemen of Dublin city 1774-1824. Christmas Weeks was admitted in Michaelmas 1806 not to any one Corporation (shoemaker, Merchant, goldsmith, plasterer, weaver, etc), but to the ‘City at Large’. The means by which he was admitted, by birth or service of special grace, were not recorded.
The newspaper collection at Findmypast.ie found a death notice for Christmas Weeks in the Dublin Weekly Register on 15th November 1828, p. 4., In Stephen’s Green, Christmas Weeks, Esq., late Commissary in his Majesty’s service.
Christmas Weeks also shows up in the indexed Church of Ireland records for Dublin city. In the Church of Ireland parish of St. Peter, on 6th October 1808, the baptism of Christmas Edward John Weeks, the son of Christmas and Jane Weeks of Stephen’s Green. Jane Weeks of Stephen’s Green died in June 1834 and was buried in the parish of St. Peter on 26th June. She was 52 years of age.
So, there was more than just one Christmas Weeks, in fact there appears to have been three. In 1839, Christmas Weeks appears in Pettigrew and Oulton’s Dublin Almanac residing on Merrion Avenue, so the name endured with the next generation.
Christmas Edward John Weeks married Mary and the couple had children; Jane (b. ca. 1837), Christmas (b. ca. 1840) and Bartholomew (b. ca. 1843). The family left Ireland between ca. 1840 and 1843 and settled in the village of Nuneaton in England where Christmas Edward John Weeks was employed as a solicitor’s managing clerk. They appear in the 1851 census for Nuneaton.
Enjoy this Christmas Week, one family cherished the name and passed it on over at least three generations.