Ferdinand Richard Holmes Merrick/Meyrick Early life
Ferdinand seems to be the eighth child in a large family of eleven only two of whom were girls. A middle child in such a family is very probably not noticed very much unless they develop some kind of an assertive personality. Where on earth the amazing name of Ferdinand came from I have no idea. Neither do I know the origin of Holmes, which was to figure in two of his own children’s names. When Ferdinand married he gave his address as 3 Palmerston Road, Rathmines - which is the lovely leafy avenue abov, with very expensive houses like the one also shown at right. They seem to be terraced, but large - five or six bedrooms apiece. Indeed according to the 1911 census they have 10 rooms. In his own 1911 census record he also says that he was born in Rathmines. It is possible that his was the first birth in this house as directory records and baptismal records show the family living elsewhere in Dublin prior to this date. Palmerston Road does seem to be the residence of the Merricks in their later years though.
As I mentioned before, I do not have a birth certificate as yet for Ferdinand. However, from later census records and from his marriage certificate, we can deduce that he was born around 1869 in Dublin, in the posh area of Rathmines to the south of the city centre. His parents were Thomas Merrick, a solicitor and Mary Anne Lyster, who, I have just discovered, comes from Ireland’s illustrious landed gentry, with an ancestry going right back to 1240 or so (but that’s another story. The photograph at right is an actual portrait of them.
Dublin 1869 - 1890?
I have no idea where Ferdinand went to school, or whether indeed he went to school - he may have been educated at home I suppose, although by the late nineteenth century my guess is that the children of the middle classes would have attended select private schools, of which there were doubtless many in Dublin. No doubt he would have enjoyed the kind of attention, dress and ambience that is shown in the rather lovely painting below.
I do know, however, that he went to Trinity College Dublin, which is no less illustrious an institution these days than it was then.