Mary Elizabeth Barry 1890 ->1924

She married under the alias of May Barrett in 1912

According to the 1912 m.c ,Archibald D W Keene married a 'May Barrett' , but there is NO Trace of such a person!! However, on the birth certificates of her last 4 children, May Keene puts down her maiden name as BARRY, not Barrett!

Then, on the 1921C May Keene reveals that she was 30 yrs 11 mths on 19/6/1921 and born in Cloyne, Cork : this would mean she was born mid July 1890



1890. From Irish government records, a Mary Elizabeth Barry was born 11/7/1890 in Castlemary, Cork to James Barry, sailor, Portsmouth, and Mary Cronin , Castlemary

Castlemary is part of Cloyne see map on Cronin page


This would strongly suggest/ almost confirm that she is the May Barrett, who married in 1912 and appears as May Keene in the 1921C

No 1891C for Ireland

1901C. Mary Eliz Barry, 10, is living with her maternal grandparents , John Cronin, 63, and Mary Cronin 62, in Castlemary, Cloyne


1911C. May Barry, 20, is living with her maternal grandparents in Castlemary, Cloyne . They have aged by 20 years in just 10 tears!!! Their ages likely should read 72 and 74?


1912." May Barrett", 22, married Archibald D W Keene, 27, of Independent means, on 8/5/1912 in Winchester Register Office / His address Market Hotel, Winchester, hers 21 London Avenue, Portsmouth. His father Samuel Wolfe Keene, corn factor, deceased; hers John Francis Barrett, warrant engineer Royal Navy . I believe she has invented the alias May Barrett and is no other than Mary Elizabeth Barry; her mother and siblings, of which 5 by 1911C, moved to Portsmouth by 1895 and are indeed living in London Avenue in 1911C. She also has a brother John Francis Barry, born 1897 and her father was a T1 and Boatswain in the RN until he was dismissed in 1898, T1 being a senior NCO, close to Warrant Engineer.


The following children were born to Edward & May: Edward H W Keene Winchester 3/12/1912; Archibald Harold W Keene Woolwich 29/1/1915;; Randell Bertrand W Keene Woolwich 8/9/1917 ; Frederick William W Keene Alverstoke 9/10/1919 & Samuel Rochard W Keene Alverstoke Mar 3/2/1922 . , mother given as Barry for all the last 4 on freebmd!- see image higher up, ignoring the last entry!


Randall Bertrand W Keene, brought up by relatives. went to Australia, married a woman called Jean and  his son Peter now lives in Sydney. He does not appear in the 1939 Register so likely went to Ausrtalia befre then. ASK Peter if he has his father's b.c., with Barry on it!

Archibald Harold W Keene 1915 married Mary Louise Donelan in Sydney 1940 and died 1948 - Ancestry tree. Contact?? . He was brought up by relatives . He was in SouthEast Asia during the war and didn’t survive for many years after the war.

; Frederick William W Keene ( brought up in an orphange) is in the 1939 register at 38 Foxley Road, Croyden, clerk in coal office with a couple Frederick 43 & Bessie 42 Canston

A Samuel R W Keene born 8/2/1922( brought up in an orphange) died Bournemouth 1990. As he was under 21 in the 1939 Register, he does not appear there!

Children of Archibald & May page

"my dad kept in contact with some of his brothers, especially Bill.  Bill did indeed live in or near Croydon. I remember visiting him at Warlingham. He was certainly involved in the sale of coal business,though I don’t recognise the Foxley Road address but it might be in Warlingham, which I suspect is now in the London Borough of Croydon. Randall went to Australia, married a woman called Jean and  his son Peter now livesin Sydney. All I know about the brother Archie is that he was in SouthEast Asia during the war and didn’t survive for many years after the war. He did marry someone called Mary and he died on30 June 1948. So he could well be the Archibald whom you’ve tracked down.

I know even less about Samuel Richard Keene. He had a history of psychiatric problems and I believe spent time in institutions dealing with such problems. He could be the person you’ve traced as being born in February 1922, since his father Archibald would still have been alive then."


1921. May Keene, 30, was living Alverstoke, Hampshire with 4 children . Son Edward MISTRANSCRIBED as Edith!!!. Here Randall is called Ronald and Frederick is called William! This census gives May's age as 30 years and 5 months: together with Cloyne, this enables us to establish that she was actually born as Mary Elizabeth Barry, and she does admit to Barry on the b.c.s of 4 of her children!

May Keene
Female 1890 30 Cork, Ireland Home Duties -
Edith Keene
Male 1913 8 Hampshire, England - -
Archibald Keene
Male 1915 6 Woolwich, Kent, England - -
Ronald Keene
Male 1917 3 Woolwich, Kent, England - -
William Keene
Male 1919 1 Gosport, Hampshire, England - -
Elizabeth Keene
Female 1880 41 Bermondsey, London, England Home Duties -
Marjjo Keene
Female 1913 8 Gibraltar - -
Robert Keene
Male 1917 4 Gibraltar - -
Cissie Hunt
Female 1886 35 Farnham, Surrey, England Home Duties -
Violet Cissie Hunt
Female 1914 6 - -

Who is Elizabeth Keene? She must have married a Keene, maybe an elder step brother of May's husband

1922. Her youngest son, Samuel R W Keene, was born on 8/2/1922 , her fifth son

1922 Her husband, Archibald D W Keene, bombadier, 37, dies on 26/9/1922 at the Royal Herbert Hosputal, Woolwich .Their address 11b, Married Quarters, Broclehurst, Gosport . Cause of death, stomach cancer and a lung abscess. No probate


It seems that the family was split up at this stage: the 3 eldest boys being taken in by their step brother and sisters,; the younger 2 going into an orphanage

1925. May Wolfe Keene applies for her eldest son's, Edward's , birth certificate. She is in the King Edward 7th Sanatorium, Midhurst .

The King Edward VII Sanatorium at Midhurst, Sussex, opened in 1906 for 100 paying patients with early tuberculous disease. The lavish building was financed by a donation from Sir Ernest Cassel: see S.E. Large, King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst 1901-1986: the King's sanatorium, Chichester 1986, and Jeremy Taylor, Hospital and asylum architecture in England 1840-1914, London 1991, p. 34. It was criticised by some as badly-sited: one critic said "It was a long way from everywhere, supply and everything was very dear, and the thing that consumptives wanted as much as anyone else - i.e. drinking water - did not exist, and the water had to be brought from a long distance. But they got water where they did not want it, in the form of dense mists ... it had one of the worst climates in England for consumptives" (quoted by Taylor, pp. 24-25). Its lavishness made it notorious as an ineffective model for the mass treatment of tuberculosis in Britain (Taylor, index p. 272)



It would appear that Admission and Discharge records for 1921-1930 might exixt at the West Sussex record Office: this is at Orchard Street, Chichester, David MUST VISIT

Records can be found at:


  West Sussex Record Office

Record type

Date range


1906 - 1969


1908 - 1969

   Admission & Discharge

1906 - 1930


It is thought that the eldest 3 of her 5 sons were taken in by relatives, the younger 2 entered orphanages . NEED more details here

Unable to find her death in Britain or Ireland up to 1945!!. Have also failed to find a remarriage. The West Sussex Record Office has early 20th Century docs: worth David going to investigate


Keene Index