A Kiwi in search of her Irish, English & Scottish tribes

Month: January 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

NZ Research plan

Auckland Archives office

  • Customs Inwards letter – The High Commissioner for New Zealand, London – Alexander Wright – passenger to Auckland per “Rimutaka” leaving London 12 June 1908 (possibly great grandfather)

Wellington Archives office

  • Probate file for Patrick James O’Rourke – 1908 (great great uncle)
  • Probate file for George Tunnecliff – 1912 (great great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for Alice Tunnecliff – 1919 great great great uncle’s wife)
  • Probate file for Henry Richard Florey – 1916 (great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for Elizabeth Ann Florey – 1922 (great great grandfather’s wife)
  • Probate file for Michael McGonnell – 1929 (great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for George Tunnecliff – 1942 (great great great uncle)
  • Coroners Inquest Report for Henry (Harry) Florey (great great grandfather)
  • Coroners Inquest Report for Annie Florey (great great grandmother)

National Library, Wellington

  • NZ Tablet – obituary for Bartholomew O’Rourke – 1923 (great great grandfather)
  • NZ Tablet – obituary for Bridget Power O’Rourke – 1914 (great great grandmother)


  • Locate cassette tape of Lally Coppinger’s interview (first cousin, twice removed)
  • Take photograph of St Mary of the Angels church, Wellington – grandparents’ wedding venue
  • Remuera cemetery, Auckland – locate burial plot for Annie Florey
  • Take photographs of living relatives!
  • Identify as many people/places in photographs as possible in my father’s collection
  • Scan older photographs and documents in my father’s collection
  • Collect information about paternal grandfather’s life for future assignment

I think this might be a bit ambitious, given that we’re only in New Zealand for three weeks, and it’s supposed to be a holiday for the whole family, and not just me! Reviewing the list, I’m not sure it’s worth going to the Auckland Archives office this trip, as I think the only time I’ll have to do it, will be just after a 26 hour flight with three kids. Yikes!

Two more sleeps and we’re off – can’t wait!

O baptism record, where art thou? ~ Bartholomew O’Rourke

I’ve been trying to find a birth or baptism record for Bartholomew O’Rourke. There’s lots of pointers to what year I should be looking at. From his obituary, marriage certificate, death certificate and his daughter Margaret’s birth certificate, I get a birth year range from 1842 to 1844. The most compelling piece of evidence, though, is his gravestone. According to the inscription1, he was 79 years and 10 months (that’s being fairly precise!) when he died on 13 November 1923, which makes a likely birth date of around February 1844.

It wasn’t until I got hold of his death certificate that I finally verified his parents’ names.  I’d been told their names via a family member, but I needed to see proof. Bartholomew’s parents were Michael O’Rourke, farmer,  and Catherine O’Rourke, formerly O’Callaghan.2

According to Bartholomew’s obituary, he was from Currens, Co Kerry, and I found a Currans in Kerry on Google Maps.

View Rourke family, Co Kerry in a larger map
Luckily, parish records for Co Kerry are available online, or at least, a transcription of them. Irishgenealogy.ie‘s database includes not only the records from Kerry, but also Dublin City, Carlow and Cork.3

Currens is in the parish of Killeentierna, where I found records that mentioned several Michael Rourkes, including one with a spouse named Catherine Callaghan/Callihan/O’Callaghan.

Searching the baptism records from 14 Mar 1827 through till 05 Sep 1879, I found the following children of Michael and Catherine, and the townland where they were living:

Mary – 10 Oct 1837, Ballymacdonnell
Ellen – 24 Nov 1843, Ballymacdonnell
Johanna – 29 Mar 1846, Ballymacdonnell
Margaret – 1 Oct 1848, Ballymacdonnell
John – 15 Mar 1850, Kilfylm
Catherine – 18 Jun 1852, Ballymacdonnell
Bridget – 21 Jul 1854, Ballymacdonnell
Honora – 22 Oct 1856, Ballymacdonnell
Ellen – 24 Dec 1859, Kilfelim

Now, that looks like a mighty big gap between Mary and Ellen. It doesn’t quite fit in with the 1844 birthdate for Bartholomew, and certainly, if the children were baptised within a month or two of birth, there is no way Bartholomew could have been born that close to Ellen. Still, maybe Ellen was baptised late, and he was born after her. Or Bartholomew had lied about his age, or wasn’t even sure himself. I would definitely have expected at least one more child between the two older girls, so maybe that’s where he fits in?

Of course, this is assuming that I have the right family, but it seems likely to me, given the right area, and the right parents’ names. I’m interested to know how complete the records actually are, and if there is a particular reason my Bartholomew’s record appears missing.

There are several Bartholomew Rourkes baptised in the parish, but with different parents. My current theory is that Michael Rourke’s father was Bartholomew, and he (along with several of his brothers) named their first sons, Bartholomew. It will require a lot of work going through the parish records to even begin to prove this hypothesis. Something to add to my To Do list!

  1. Old Napier Cemetery (Napier Hill, Napier, New Zealand), Bartholomew O’Rourke gravestone, Section T Headstone Ref 1207; photograph supplied by [NAME FOR PRIVATE USE], January 2011.
  2. New Zealand, death certificate for Bartholomew O’Rourke; 13 Nov 1923, Napier; citing 1923/4896, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.
  3. Dept of Tourism, Culture & Sport. “Search Church Records”. Database of transcriptions, church records for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kerry. Irish Genealogy. http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/ : accessed 13 Nov 2010.

Bartholomew O’Rourke ~ Wordless Wednesday

Bartholomew O'Rourke

Bartholomew O'Rourke (1844 - 1923)

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

WDYTYA Live 2011

I’ve finally booked!

We arrive back from New Zealand on the Friday afternoon, so I’ve been tossing up whether I’ll be compos mentis, or a pile of jibbering jet-laggedness.  Still, can’t pass up one of the genealogical highlights of the year, so I’ve bought a Q-jump ticket for the Sunday, and booked into three workshops and an Ask the Expert session.  (Will have to figure out what I’m going to “ask” at that.)

I also have a Beginner’s Tutorial weekend coming up for my course with IHGS in Canterbury in March, which I need to book before I go away next week.  Have to psych the hubby up for a weekend with the three kids on his own.   I’m hoping this will really push me forward on the assignment front (aka get my A into G and do some work), plus I get to meet fellow students. Oh, and a kidfree weekend! 😀

From the Emerald Isle to the Land of the Long White Cloud

Bartholomew O’Rourke’s obituary contains lots of valuable information about his life – so now it’s a matter of verifying it.  According to the “correspondent”, Bartholomew was 23 went he left Ireland, and arrived in Lyttleton in 1866 aboard the Blue Jacket.

The Blue Jacket sailed from London on 15 July 1866 under the command of Captain James White, and arrived in Lyttelton 14 October 1866.

The Press October 16th 1866

The fine vessel Blue Jacket, commanded by Captain White, arrived and anchored in harbour on Sunday about half-past five pm after a passage of ninety days. Dr Donald, health officer, went down at half-past seven and gave her a clean bill of health. The passengers speak most highly of the treatment they have received at the hands of the captain and his officers, and also of the doctor (Macdonald), to whom flattering testimonials were given. We are informed by Captain White that he has been near the coast since the 5th. The following is an account of her passage:- Left Gravesend on the 15th July at half-past three, weighed anchor and proceeded in tow of a steam tug. Sailed through the Downs same day at four pm; discharged pilot off the Isle of Wight. Passed Start Point same day. On the 18th signalled the ship Star of Tasmania from London to Otago, and another ship in company, supposed the be the Electra.On the 27th passed Madeira to the westward. On the 31st signalled the ship Anna Cecilia, from London to Melbourne. Crossed the Equator in long 24deg 50min W.; had good S E trades. On the 15th September passed the meridian of the Cape of Good Hope in lat 43deg 21min S. Passed north of the Crozet and Kerguelen Islands on the 22nd, in lat 48deg 48min, long 92deg 12min E., and encountered a heavy gale. Passed the meridian of Cape Lewin in lat 48deg 22min S.; saw a large iceberg about 500 feet high and from two and a-half to three miles in circumference. On the 30th passed the meridian of Port Philip. On October 6 passed Auckland Islands; ran down easting in 47 and 48deg, and since that time had light and baffling winds. Yesterday the Commissioners went down and inspected the emigrants and accommodation, and expressed themselves in terms of commendation as regarded accommodation. The emigrants brought out are certainly a superior lot, and we have no doubt but that the single young women will obtain immediate employment.1

Unfortunately, I can find no Blue Jacket passenger list with Bartholomew listed. There are several lists published online. Of the two I found on Rootsweb, one lists only the “assisted and free passengers”, and the other passenger list includes the cabin passengers. The former list notes that the cabin passengers are missing, and gives several possible names, but none of these are in the latter’s list of cabin passengers.

A list on New Zealand Yesteryears makes no distinction between passengers, and doesn’t list Bartholomew either. On this site I also checked the lists for arrival of the Blue Jacket on 13 Nov 1865, 30 August 1867, and 30 October 1868, to no avail.

It’s possible he was a paying cabin passenger and he was missed during transcription.  Perhaps he stole a ticket and travelled under another name?  Or maybe he came on another ship, and the “correspondent” was misinformed?

  1. “Arrival of the Blue Jacket”, transcript by Denise & Peter, at Rootsweb, (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ourstuff/ArrivalBlueJacket1866.htm : accessed 24 Jan 2011); citing original publication in The Press, 16 October 1866.

Note: “Land of the Long White Cloud” is the common English translation of Aotearoa, the Māori name for New Zealand.

Bartholomew O’Rourke ~ Sunday’s Obituary

Bartholomew O'Rourke obituary 1923

Bartholomew O’Rourke obituary, 6 Dec 1923 (publication unknown)




There passed away on the 13th inst., at his home in Napier, in his 80th year, Mr. Bartholomew O’Rourke (writes a correspondent). He was born in the parish of Currens, Co. Kerry, Ireland. When 23 years of age he left the Old Country on board the Blue Jacket. After an uneventful passage of three months he arrived at Lyttleton in 1866. In company with many other adventurous spirits he travelled westwards in search of gold and tried his luck at Hokitika; thence to Charleston where he was married by Monsignor Walshe. Eventually settling down in Napier, he established himself and built up an extensive carrying business. Throughout his long life he was distinguished by his intense faith. No member of St. Patrick’s Church was more assiduous in attending late or early, and none more unbending than he in the rigorous and absolute fulfilment of all the duties of a devout Catholic. In 1877 he followed out the instructions of the late Rev. Father Hennebery; and although he never took the pledge as being derogatory to his character as a man and his independence as a Christian, he became an absolute abstainer. The Rosary beads given him by that extraordinary missioner he cherished till the end. The Rosary he recited every night without fail for 46 years. According to instructions these beads were removed from his hands in death and hung round his neck. Nor was his love for Ireland less remarkable. Her history he knew well; all her efforts for freedom, every fight against oppression only fostered the fond hope he cherished of final and absolute triumph. Thus after a long life of fidelity to God and native land, feelings inherited by all his children, he passed away surrounded by nearly all his surviving sons and daughters, whilst the priest imparted the last blessing, and the good Sisters of the Missions recited the prayers for the dying. The numerous assemblage at the last sad rites bore testimony to the esteem of the public. The Rev. Father Tymons read the absolution, assisted in the sanctuary by the Rev. Fathers J. Goggan (Hastings) J. Schaeffer (Greenmeadows), Heffernan and Clancy. Messrs. T. Barry, J. Leany E. O’Brien, W. Ryan, J. Pearcy, P. Griffin (members of H.A.C.B. Society) acted as pallbearers – R.I.P.

Bartholomew O’Rourke is my great great grandfather, and I am descended from his daughter Margaret.

I think this clipping was a marvellous find, stashed away amongst my father’s family papers. I can’t be certain which newspaper it was published in, but from the style and language, I’m fairly sure it was the New Zealand Tablet, a monthly Catholic newspaper. I hope to check up on this next month.

  1. “Obituary”, 6 Dec 1923 clipping from unidentified newspaper; digital image; scan from Gaffaney family papers, 2006, supplied by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; original privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], great grandson of deceased.

Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Matching & Hatching ~ Michael Gaffaney & Margaret Brosnahan

My great great grandparents, Michael Gaffaney and Margaret Brosnahan, married on December 26th, 1863 at the Catholic Chapel in Christchurch.   Michael gave his age as 23, and occupation labourer.  Margaret’s age was listed as “full”, and her occupation servant.2 According to Margaret’s obituary:

…the young couple having to visit Christchurch to get married. They travelled by coach, and the reason they had to go to Christchurch was that it was only twice a year a clergyman visited South Canterbury.

They lived at their farm “Belper” in Arowhenua, South Canterbury, named after Michael’s birthplace in Derbyshire, England. Michael and Margaret had fifteen children, with one being stillborn. They were:3 4

  • Susan GAFFANEY (1865 – 1954)
  • Annie GAFFANEY (1866 – 1937)
    • m. 1906 Robert John McCALLUM5
  • Margaret GAFFANEY (1868 – 1946)
    • m. 1900 William James HALLEY5
  • Ellen GAFFANEY (1870 – 1889)
  • Thomas John GAFFANEY (1872 – 1900)
  • Kate GAFFANEY (1874 – 1947)
    • m. 1897 Francis Buckland EARLY5
  • Michael Francis GAFFANEY (1876 – 1915)
    • m. 1905 Julia Agatha COUGHLAN5
  • James GAFFANEY (1877 – 1967)
    • m. 1910 Bridget LEARY
  • Peter Dominic GAFFANEY (1879 – 1954)
    • m. 1909 Margaret Monica O’ROURKE6
  • Mary Teresa Frances GAFFANEY (1882 – 1939)
    • m. 1906 Andrew BARRON5
  • Lucy Josephine GAFFANEY (1884 – 1952)
  • Joseph Arowhenua GAFFANEY (1886 – 1946)
  • Beatrice GAFFANEY (1888 – 1888)
  • Leo GAFFANEY (1890 – 1963)
    • m. 1922 Frances Mary HAILES5
  1. Gaffaney, Michael & Margaret (Brosnahan) photograph, date unknown; digital image; scan from Gaffaney family papers, 2006, supplied by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; original privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], great grandson of couple.
  2. New Zealand, marriage certificate for Michael Gaffaney and Margaret Brosnahan; 26 Dec 1863, Christchurch; citing 1863/927, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.
  3. [NAME FOR PRIVATE USE], Gaffaney Family Tree, GEDCOM file supplied to [NAME FOR PRIVATE USE], New Zealand, c.2002.
  4. NZ Dept of Internal Affairs, “Death Search,” database, Births, Deaths & Marriages Historical Records (https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/search/ : accessed 2010), entries for Susan Gaffaney (1954/26926), Annie McCallum (1937/27027), Margaret Halley (1946/29610), Ellen Gaffney (1889/5177), Thomas Gaffaney (1900/1426), Kate Early (1947/31561), Michael Gaffaney (1915/6780), James Gaffaney (1967/45590), Peter Gaffaney (1954/32898), Mary Barron (1939/15425), Lucy Gaffaney (1952/26370), Joseph Gaffaney 1946/33165), [Beatrice] Theresa Gaffney (1888/4557), Leo Gaffaney (1963/32342).
  5. NZ Dept of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database, Births, Deaths & Marriages Historical Records (https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/search/ : accessed 2010), entries for McCallum-Gaffaney (1906/5299), Halley-Gaffaney (1900/5738), Early-Gaffaney (1892/3565), Gaffaney-Coughlan (1905/6513), Gaffaney-Leary (1910/5144), Barron-Gaffaney (1906/5298), Gaffaney-Hailes (1922/3983).
  6. New Zealand, marriage certificate for Peter Gaffaney and Margaret O’Rourke; 09 Nov 1909, Napier; citing 1909/7835, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.

Margaret Gaffaney ~ Funeral Card Friday

Margaret Gaffaney, funeral card 1927

Margaret Gaffaney, funeral card 1927

Jesus Mercy
Mary Help

Pray for the Repose of the
Soul of
Margaret Gaffaney
Who Died 16th. August 1927
Aged 83 Years
Fortified by all the Rites of the Holy Church

On whose soul, sweet Jesus, have mercy


O Gentlest Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on the soul of Thy servant Margaret; bring her from the shadows of exile to the bright home of Heaven, where we trust, Thou and Thy Blessed Mother have woven for her a crown of unfading bliss — Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.


E. O’C. CH.CH.

Following up from Margaret’s obituary and gravestone, this is the memorial card printed for her funeral1. My father has quite a few from the family, and my brother helpfully scanned them all in. Unfortunately, only the one side, so I’m not sure what is on the other side – perhaps a picture of a particular saint, or the Virgin Mary? On my trip to New Zealand next month, I shall investigate! Hopefully I’ll have time to do some scanning as well.

I also have a scan of this clipping2, not sure what newspaper it’s from, possibly the Timaru Herald (but I’m mostly saying that because it’s the only local newspaper I know of in the area at that time – something to follow up in the future).

Funeral notice for Margaret Gaffaney, 1927

Funeral notice for Margaret Gaffaney, 1927 (publication unknown)

The Friends of the late MRS MICHAEL GAFFANEY Senr. are respectfully informed that her Funeral will leave her late residence “Belper,” for St. Joseph’s Church, Temuka, at 8.30a.m. TO-DAY (Thursday, August 18th). Requiem Mass at 9 a.m., thence to the Temuka Cemetery.
Undertakers, Temuka.

  1. Margaret Gaffaney funeral card, Temuka, South Canterbury, New Zealand; digital image; scan from Gaffaney family papers, 2006, supplied by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; original privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], great grandson of deceased.
  2. “Funeral Notice”, 18 Aug 1927 clipping from unidentified newspaper; digital image; scan from Gaffaney family papers, 2006, supplied by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; original privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], great grandson of deceased.

Funeral Card Friday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Michael & Margaret Gaffaney ~ Tombstone Tuesday

Gaffaney family gravestone, Temuka Cemetery

Gaffaney family gravestone, Temuka Cemetery

My great great grandparents Michael and Margaret (Brosnahan) Gaffaney are buried in Temuka Cemetery, South Canterbury, New Zealand – Section A, plot 125. Buried in neighbouring plots are several of their children: Lucy Josephine and Susan (plot 122), Thomas John and Joseph Arowhenua (plot 123), Ellen and Beatrice (plot 124).1

Gaffaney family gravestone, Temuka Cemetery

Monumental Inscriptions for Michael, Margaret, Ellen, Beatrice and Thomas John Gaffaney

In Loving Memory
Michael Gaffaney
Who Departed this Life
11th July 1914
Aged 75 Years

In Loving Memory
Margaret Gaffaney
Who Departed this Life
16th August 1927
Aged 83 Years

Also Ellen Died 29th April 1889
Aged 18 years
Beatrice Died 1888 Aged 12 Days
And Thomas John Died 1st March 1900 Aged 28 Years

Gaffaney family gravestone, Temuka Cemetery

Monumental Inscription for Joseph Arowhenua Gaffaney

Joseph Arowhenua
Died 27th April 1946
Aged 59 Years

Gaffaney family gravestone, Temuka Cemetery

Monumental Inscription for Lucy Josephine and Susan Gaffaney

Lucy Josephine Gaffaney
Died 22nd Sept 1952 Aged 68
Also Susan Gaffaney
Died 22nd April 1954 Aged 89
R – I – P

All images copyright Timaru District Council. 2

  1. Timaru District Council, “TDC Cemetery Database”, database, Timaru District Council (http://www.timaru.govt.nz/cemetery-database2.html : accessed 13 Nov 2010), database entries for Michael Gaffaney (1836-1911), Margaret Gaffaney (1844-1927), Ellen Gaffaney (1870-1889), Beatrice Gaffaney (1888-1888), Thomas John Gaffaney (1872-1900), Joseph Arowhenua Gaffaney (1886-1946), Lucy Josephine Gaffaney (1884-1952), and Susan Gaffaney (1865-1954).
  2. Timaru District Council, TDC Cemetery Database, digital images ((http://www.timaru.govt.nz/cemetery-database2.html : accessed 13 Nov 2010), photograph, gravestone for Gaffaney family, Temuka, South Canterbury, New Zealand.

Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Margaret Brosnahan ~ Sunday’s Obituary

Obituary for Margaret Gaffaney - 1927

Obituary for Margaret Gaffaney – 1927


Another of the pioneers of the district, Mrs Margaret Gaffaney, passed away early on Tuesday morning at her residence, “Belper House”, Arowhenua, at the ripe age of 83 years. The deceased lady and her brother left London for New Zealand in the year 1862, travelling in the shop “Achenga” [sic], and landing by the surf boat at Timaru on Anniversary Day, December 16th. She was then Miss Margaret Brosnahan, and her parents, brothers and sisters, arrived about two years later. A year later, Miss Brosnahan married the late Mr Miichael [sic] Gaffney, the young couple having to visit Christchurch to get married. They travelled by coach, and the reason they had to go to Christchurch was that it was only twice a year a clergyman visited South Canterbury. Mr and Mrs Gaffaney then returned to Temuka, and went to reside on the farm which the late Mrs Gaffaney occupied to the time of her death, her husband having predeceased her 16 years ago. There were fourteen children, of whom ten survive: Mr James Gaffaney (Levels), Mr Peter Gaffaney (Waimate), Messrs Joseph and Leo Gaffaney (Arowhenua), Miss Gaffaney and Miss L. Gaffaney (Arowhenua), Mrs W. Hally (Temuka), Mrs Barron (Arowhenua), Mrs Early (England), and Mrs R. McCallum (Timaru). There are 17 grand-children. Miss A. Brosnahan, of Timaru, the late Mrs Gaffaney’s sister, is the last of that Brosnahan family. Mr John Fitzgerald, of Arowhenua, was a shipmate of the deceased lady, and was best man at her wedding 64 years ago.

The funeral took place on Thursday morning at Temuka, and passing the Post Office, the cortege consisted of 34 motor-cars, and 14 horse-drawn vehicles. A good many more swelled the total at St Joseph’s Church, and at the cemetery. The large attendance and the many beautiful wreaths received, formed a striking tribute to one who was a kindly friend and a devoted wife and mother. The Rev. Father Bartley, S.M. and the Rev. Father Spillane, S.M., conducted solemn requiem mass at the short service at the graveside. The pall-bearers were the three sons – James, Peter and Joseph, with Mr W. Hally, Mr T. Brosnahan and Mr M. Dris-

The original newspaper clipping is held by my father, and I have a scanned copy, thanks to my brother. I’m not sure which paper it was from, possibly the Timaru Herald.

Margaret Brosnahan is my great great grandmother, and I am descended from her son Peter Gaffaney.

Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

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