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

Month: March 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

Why did I not inherit this? ~ Wordless Wednesday


Margaret O'Rourke, great grandmother (date unknown)

Margaret O'Rourke, great grandmother (date unknown)

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Over the Ditch

In my great grandfather Peter’s obituary, there was mention of him being sent to Australia with his job, and I suddenly realised the significance of two very faded photographs I’d come across in an old album.  They must have been taken while he was in Australia, and the caption in the album provides a date.  I guess these might be the “cheesy tourist photo” of their time?

"Australian Blacks 1934" (caption in family album)

“Australian Blacks 1934” (caption in family album)

"Australian Blacks" (caption in family album)

“Australian Blacks” (caption in family album)

Note: New Zealanders often refer to the Tasman Sea, which lies between Australia and New Zealand, as “The Ditch”.

Peter Dominic Gaffaney ~ Sunday’s Obituary

Obituary of Peter Gaffaney, The Press, Christchurch, 1954

Obituary of Peter Gaffaney, The Press, Christchurch, 1954

Obituary of Peter Gaffaney, The Press, Christchurch, 1954


A great many Canterbury farmers will regret the death recently of Mr Peter Gaffaney who for more than half a century was a freezing works buyer in different parts of the Province. He was a gifted judge of stock, and among buyers was known as a very hard man to buy against at a sale. He was born at Temuka, and at the age of 19 began buying for the Refrigerating Company at Timaru. The company was then known as the Christchurch Meat Company. He stayed with the company at Timaru and Fairlie for about 22 years, and in 1930 transferred to Borthwick’s and was sent to Fairlie. He went to Rangiora in 1930 and remained as buyer there until his retirement two years ago. In earlier years he bought a great deal at sales, and was sent by his firm to southern centres to buy. A contemporary recalls that about 1925 he bought most of a yarding of 12,000 lambs at Lorneville. His firm sent him for two seasons to Australia, where in the New Zealand off season he bought lambs for the concern’s Victorian works. He never kept a tally of the stock he bought, but reckoned that in his working life he must have accounted for nearly 2,000,000 lambs. He will be remembered by Canterbury farmers as a forthright purchaser who wasted little time in concluding a satisfactory deal, but he will be specially remembered for his unvarying willingness to help farmers wherever he could. There can never be a tally of the number of kindnesses he did in such ways as finding breeding ewes, or additional feed, for clients. He was a member of a famous sporting family, and in his earlier days was prominent as a Rugby forward. In more recent years his interests were in racing and trotting. He was a life member of the Rangiora Trotting Club, and a steward of the North Canterbury Racing Club, and a member of the Metropolitan Trotting Club.1

Some of the details in this obituary seem slightly out – like when he was transferred and to where, doesn’t seem to tally with other information I have. I think it will be helpful to work out a timeline of his life, see how everything fits in.

There’s no mention of any family, or other personal details, which is a bit disappointing.  I’m intrigued by the referral to his “famous sporting family”. What’s that all about? Something else to investigate!

  1. “Mr Peter Gaffaney”, The Press, Christchuch, 1954; 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].

Peter Dominic Gaffaney ~ Sports Saturday

Rugby’s been a bit of a feature in my father’s side of the family, but I didn’t realise how far back until I came across this photo including my great grandfather Peter.  It’s from the Weekend Star’s “Pictures from the past – 100 years of rugby in Canterbury” in 1979.  I’m wondering if the game itself was notable is some way (apart from the loss), or was it simply because the newspaper couldn’t find any other photos from that era?

"1905", Pictures from the past - 100 years of rugby in Canterbury, Weekend Star, June 9, 1979, p.29.

"1905", Pictures from the past - 100 years of rugby in Canterbury, Weekend Star, June 9, 1979, p.29.


Set for action… the combined Canterbury-South Canterbury team (left) about to tackle New South Wales-Queensland at Lancaster Park in 1905. The home players (from left) are: S. Turtill, J. Weston (captain) F. Fryer, D. Horgan, G. Chambers, P. Gaffney [sic], F. Carlton, C. Pearce, P. Burns, G. Gray, W. J. Walter, L. Murray, A. E. Love, D. Fraser. The local combined side lost 3-5.1

1905 was an important year for New Zealand rugby – it was the first time a national team had toured outside of Australasia.  They left home as The New Zealand Football Team (or The New Zealanders for short), and returned as legends with the name “All Blacks”.  Of the thirty-five matches they played, in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and North America, they lost only one – a controversial defeat to Wales.  The team are now known as The Original All Blacks (or The Originals).2

I can’t find the date of my great grandfather’s match, but I’m guessing it would be during the usual mid-year winter season.  The national team were involved in pre-tour matches before heading off to England on 20 July 1905, missing most of  the playing season in New Zealand.  Comparing the list of players from the newspaper clipping, and the list of players from Canterbury in the national touring team, there are no overlaps.  So maybe players that might not have had a chance before, got to play for their provincial team in that season?  I wonder how long my great grandfather played in the team?

Perhaps I should ask someone who knows something about rugby and its history?

  1. “1905”, Pictures from the past – 100 years of rugby in Canterbury, Weekend Star, June 9, 1979, p.29; 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].
  2. Wikipedia, “The Original All Blacks”, article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Original_All_Blacks : accessed 26 Mar 2011).

At last!

Finally I have submitted the first assignments for my course!  Knuckled down this week and got them finished and sent off yesterday.  So I kinda missed my self-imposed deadline of Monday, but at least they are done. ( I’m doing the Higher Certificate in Genealogy by correspondence with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury.) And I’ve already downloaded and read the next lecture and started some prep work for the next three assignments, one of which is the biography of a grandparent.  I’m looking foward to this as it sounds like fun, and I shall be grilling my father and his siblings for information about my paternal grandfather.  It would be a great exercise to do for my other grandparents as well, so might think of tackling them later on in the year.

It took me six months to complete that first lecture and its assignments – yikes!  Am aiming to finish this next one within six weeks, and plan to schedule set times during the week for study time.  Of course, my schedule will be all out the window come Easter school holidays, but hopefully I’ll have made a good start by then.

Margaret (O’Rourke) Gaffaney ~ Sunday’s Obituary

Not long after my great grandparents, Peter and Margaret Gaffaney, moved to Rangiora in North Canterbury, Margaret died “unexpectedly” at the age of 46 (though her death certificate gives her age as 42) on 16th November 1931.  The cause of death was “Perinephritic Abscess, Toxaemia and secondary Haemoerrhage”.1

My grandfather was just 21 when his mother died, and of course my father and his siblings never knew her.  My poor great grandfather spent 23 years a widower.

Obituary, Margaret (O'Rourke) Gaffaney, 1931 (publication unknown)

Obituary, Margaret (O'Rourke) Gaffaney, 1931 (publication unknown)


On November 16, there passed away at Rangiora, Mrs Margaret Monica Gaffaney, wife of Mr. Peter Gaffaney, well-known throughout Canterbury. Death was unexpected, and occurred after an operation necessitated by a sudden illness. Mrs. Gaffaney was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. B. O’Rourke, of Napier. She was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent, Napier, and upon her marriage took up residence with her husband in the South Island. Mr. and Mrs. Gaffaney resided at Fairlie for ten years, following that at Waimate for eight, and had been living at Rangiora for the past three years. The deceased lady was noted for her genial kindness and brightness of disposition, and her charming personality won for her a very wide circle of friends in the South and elsewhere. During her last illness, Mrs. Gaffaney was attended by Rev. Father Leen, parish priest at Rangiora, a close friend of the sorrowing family. At the Requiem there were present in the sanctuary, besides the celebrant (Rev. Father Leen), Rev. Fathers A. Keane and S. O’Connor, of St Mary’s, Christchurch, and Rev. P. Cahill. The Mass was sung by the children of the convent school in the presence of a crowded congregration of relatives and friends. At the graveside in the Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, the burial service was conducted by Rev. Father P. Cahill, of Hastings, nephew of the deceased, assisted by Rev. Father Leen. Surviving are Mr. Peter Gaffaney, husband of the deceased, and their son Dominic, as well as brothers and sisters of the deceased. R.I.P.

  1. New Zealand, death certificate for Margaret Gaffaney; 16 Nov 1931, Rangiora; citing 1931/10480 Births, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.

On the other side ~ Funeral Card Friday

Back in January I posted a picture of my great great grandmother’s funeral card – it’s one of many in my father’s possession, and I have scans of all of them, but only one side.  So, during my recent trip back to New Zealand, I went and re-scanned them all, front and back.  (Actually, I’m not sure which side is “front” and which is “back”!)

One side:

Margaret Gaffaney, funeral card 1927

Margaret Gaffaney, funeral card 1927

And now the other side:

Margaret Gaffaney, funeral card, 1927

Margaret Gaffaney, funeral card, 1927


Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew,
of my Saviour crucified.1

According to Wikipedia:

Our Lady of Sorrows (Latin: Beata Maria Virgo Perdolens), the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows (Latin: Mater Dolorosa, at times just Dolorosa), and Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life. As “Mater Dolorosa”, it is also a key subject for Marian art in the Catholic Church.2

  1. Margaret Gaffaney funeral card, Temuka, South Canterbury, New Zealand; digital image; scan from Gaffaney family papers, Feb 2011; original privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], great grandson of deceased.
  2. Wikipedia, “Our Lady of Sorrows”, article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Sorrows : accessed 18 Mar 2011.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

I always knew I had Irish ancestors, but was never quite sure who they were and exactly where they were from.

In the 1990s I spent several years living in Ireland. Oh, when I think of all the research I could have done! But, I was busy studying and working and having fun. Back then, it seemed like every day was St Patrick’s Day, full of craic and lots of Guinness.

I took my family to Ireland for a two week holiday in the summer of 2009. You’d think after living in the place I would have remembered that you don’t go to Ireland for the weather, especially in the summer. The lovely lady at the holiday home company assured me that a heatwave was forecast that year. (Ah, the optimism!) It rained. Well, mostly. Occasionally we saw the sun. One place we visited during a sunny spell was Muckross House, near Killarney in Co. Kerry – with three young kids we declined the 45 minute guided tour around the grand house, and opted to see the Traditional Farms instead, with “three separate working farms (small , medium and large), each complete with animals, poultry and horse drawn farm machinery” as they would have been back in the 1930s and 1940, “a period before the widespread use of electricity”.

Dwelling house, medium-sized farm at Muckross

Dwelling house, medium-sized farm at Muckross Traditional Farms

Scones baking on the fire, Muckross

Scones baking on the fire, Muckross Traditional Farms

Living area of house, Muckross

Living area of house, Muckross Traditional Farms

Since that trip, I’ve not only discovered the names of my Irish forebears and the counties they hailed from, I’ve also recently found a great great great grandfather’s farm in Co. Kerry. Perhaps it was a little like the one we saw at Muckross?

To the Gaffaneys, the O’Rourkes, the Burkes, the Brosnahans, the Burtons, the Powers, and the McGonnells, to you who journeyed across the seas to make new homes in New Zealand, I raise my glass on this day, and thank you for your pioneering spirit and courage.

Peter Dominic Gaffaney ~ working man

I have this newspaper clipping (or rather, a scan of it) that tells a bit about my great grandfather Peter and his working life.  He was a livestock buyer for Messrs Borthwick & Sons in Waimate, South Canterbury.  He had obviously been given a promotion up to Rangiora, North Canterbury, and the  article is about the farewell he was given on leaving Waimate.  I’m not sure which publication this article appeared in, nor the exact date, but it would have been around 1928.  I must ask my father more about him!

Eloquent Tribute (Peter Gaffaney) - part one

Farewell tribute to Peter Gaffaney (publication and date unknown) - part one

Eloquent Tribute (Peter Gaffaney) - part two

Farewell tribute to Peter Gaffaney (publication and date unknown) - part two




Mr Peter Gaffaney, Messrs Borthwick & Sons’ stock buyer in Waimate district for some nine or ten years, who has been transferred to Rangiora, was tendered a farewell by a large host of friends at a smoke concert held in the Silver Band Hall last night. Those present were fully representative of the farming community, stock dealers, and the general community, and the gathering was a happy and enthusiastic one.

Mr G.A McCulloch, Wahao Forks, presided.

After the Loyal Toast had been honoured, the chairman proposed the toast of “The Guest of the Evening.” Mr McCulloch said the large attendance was a tribute to the guest more eloquent than words. During the many years as a fat stock buyer in the Waimate district he had won popularity. He always looked on the bright side of life, possessing a jovial disposition and plenty of Irish wit. He was above all a shrewd judge of stock, one of the best in the Dominion. (Applause). Mr Gaffaney had attended to his business, and would work day and night if necessary. The speaker had done a good deal of business with the guest of the evening and could say that any dealings had been of the most pleasant nature. He was always obliging and fair and a real good sport. Mrs Gaffaney was also held in the highest esteem throughout the district. The speaker was sorry that Mr Gaffaney was leaving, but it was pleasing to know that it was for betterment, and probably a stepping stone to something better still. The speaker hoped that while resident in North Canterbury he would visit Waimate occasionally. He would meet with a hearty welcome. (Hear, Hear). The speaker wished the Gaffaney family every prosperity and health in the future.

The toast was drunk with musical honours.

Mr C. L. H. Gunn endorsed the remark that Mr Gaffaney was proficient at his work. Being an agent he was in the best position to judge the guest’s capabilities, and he could say that while there were some as good there were none better. As an agent, he was also sorry that Mr Gaffaney would now be missing from the yards. Relations with him had been of the best. He was sure Mr Gaffaney would do as well in North Canterbury as he had in Waimate. He extended stock agents’ best wishes for his success in Rangiora, and the healthy and happiness of his wife and family.

Mr F. O’Boyle said he had known Mr Gaffaney probably longer than anyone in the room. Mr Gaffaney was always out to make the best deal he could, and he thought he had made many a good deal for Messrs Borthwick & Son.

Mr S. I. Fitch said he knew Mr Gaffaney in a private capacity, and he knew him as a jolly good fellow. His popularity was amply testified to by the attendance that evening. He joined in the good wishes of the others.

Mr D. Borrie, an opposition buyer, said he had always got on well with Mr Gaffaney, and he endorsed the remarks already made. On behalf of the fat stock buyers of the district he extended best wishes.

Other speakers were Messrs J. Simmons, H. Matheson, S. R. Wood, E. C. d’Auvergne, T. Twomey, J. Dench, M. Cooney, W. Boland, R. R. G. Rattray, J. Heath, M. Leonard, F. Hansen, E. B. Harrison, J. W. Halliday, J. Gibson, D. Wise, T. Fleming, and G. Miller.

The toast of ‘Mrs Gaffaney’ was also enthusiastically honoured.

In making the presentation of a wallet of notes, Mr G. B. Creemer said that during residence in Waimate, Mr and Mrs Gaffaney had been his neighbours, and they had been fine neighbours. In business, Mr Gaffaney was undoubtedly a live wire; and his departure meant that Waimate lost a good citizen and the farmers a good friend. It was pleasing to know that well-earned promotion had come his way. He was certainly a first-flight judge of stock, and also he was a fair dealer. The gift was a token of the esteem in which he was held generally.

Mr Gaffaney was loudly applauded on rising to reply. He said he could hardly find words to express his gratitude for the tribute paid him. He was sorry to be going for he felt he was leaving the most friends he had ever met in his life. He had been nine or ten years in the district and he did not think he had met so many friends in that time before. He must say that his time in Waimate had been the happiest of his life. Everything had gone smoothly, and he only wished that where he was going it would be as easy. He believed he was leaving one of the best districts in New Zealand as far as fat stock was concerned. The people of Waimate were the finest he had ever met, and he had been in many places in both the North and South Islands. He thanked one and all for the handsome present, and repeated that he was sorry to leave the Waimate district.

The toast of “The Freezing Industry” was proposed by Mr Fitch and responded to by Messrs Borrie and Matheson; Mr C. L. H. Gunn proposed the toast of “The Farming Community”, which was responded to by Messrs E. C. d’Auvergne and E. B. Harrison; Mr T. Twomey proposed the toast of “The Sports” which was responded to by Messrs G. E. Bray, F. Hansen and W. F. Boland. Mr R. Harrison proposed the toast of “The Ladies,” Mr Solomon replying.

Other toasts honoured were those of “The Pianist,” “The Press,” and “The Chairman”.

Items were given by Messrs H. Matheson, D. Cooney, M. Leonard, S. Razell Wood, F. Hansen, and D Wise, (songs), Messrs D. Newall and S. I. Fitch (recitations), and Messrs J. Heath and Weiheipihana (duet and haka).

Messrs T. H. Walker and Soloman were the capable accompanists.1

  1. “Eloquent Tribute”, undated 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], grandson of deceased.

Lost and found (and lost again)

You may remember my disappearing Florey family from earlier posts, and my attempt to track them down.  The Floreys were last seen living in Wateringbury at the time of the 1841 census, but I hadn’t been able to find any of them until Henry Richard Florey, my great great grandfather, turns up in 1871 living in Rochester. Where did the rest of them go?

I decided to follow his half-sister Jane first – I had her baptism record, and a possible marriage for her – and ordered the marriage certificate from the GRO.

Jane Elizabeth Florey and Alfred Pope were married on 6th April 1846 at Trinity Church in the parish of Maidstone, Spinster and Bachelor respectively, both being of full age and residing in Maidstone. Alfred’s occupation was listed as Labourer, and their fathers were James Florey (Labourer) and Richard Pope (Labourer). Witnesses were William Apps and Charlotte Myers.1

I still can’t find Jane in 1851. There are some Alfred Popes around, but none with a wife Jane. I did find a death for a Jane Pope in 1847 in Maidstone2 – could this be her? Should I go ahead and order the certificate, or change tack and try and find her brother William?

(When I came to write this post yesterday, I couldn’t find Jane’s marriage certificate. I knew I had put it “somewhere” but obviously I had not filed it away correctly, nor did I note down any of the information in it. So, I spent over an hour searching through all my papers and binders before I found it, and several other certificates. Moral of the story – FILE promptly and carefully!)

  1. England, marriage certificate for Alfred Pope and Jane Elizabeth Florey; 06 Apr 1846, Maidstone; citing 1846 Jun [quarter] 05 [vol] 405 [page], General Register Office, Stockport.
  2. “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837-1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://freebmd.rootsweb.com/cgi/search.pl : accessed 14 Mar 2011), death entry for Jane Pope; citing 1847 Jun [quarter] Maidstone 5 [vol] 244 [page].

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