If you have relatives that lived in the Timaru, South Canterbury area, it is well worth taking a look at the Timaru District Council Cemetery Database, which includes the following cemeteries: Arundel, Geraldine, Pleasant Point, Temuka, Paeroa West, and Timaru. They have most, if not all, their burial records online, and many have accompanying gravestone images. Another bonus are their cemetery maps – many of the plots have surnames included, making it so much easier to find the one you’re looking for!
On searching for my John Brosnahan, I found a likely looking plot in Temuka Cemetery1. From his marriage certificate, I knew he was born around 1841, so a death in 1926 at the age of 85 years seemed a pretty good match. And then, there was the fact that a Hanorah Brosnahan was also buried in the same plot, with a corresponding matching age. Bingo!
In Loving Memory
Who Died March 2nd 1900
aged 15 Years
Beloved Husband of
Who Died Aug 24th 1926,
Aged 85 Years
Also His Beloved Wife
Who Died Nov 22nd 1928
Aged 86 Years
Also Leo Brosnahan Beloved Son of
Patrick & Nora Brosnahan
Died June 16th 1917
Aged 17 Years
The gravestone gave me lots of leads to follow up. The first thing I did was to try and find John’s death entry on the NZ Birth, Deaths & Marriages site so I could order a printout of his death registration. (New Zealand death certificates post 1875 are a mine of information, usually including parents’ names, birthplace, spouse, date of marriage, ages of living children, etc.) Except I couldn’t find him in the index, even with trying several spelling variants. And then, after asking for help on the TradeMe genealogy forum, someone suggested looking at a probate file they’d found referenced on the Archives NZ site, Archway.
There was a probate file listed for John Brosnahan, Farmer, Temuka, dated 1926, held at the Archives NZ Christchurch office. As there had been access problems following the earthquakes there, I wasn’t too hopeful of getting a copy of the file, but I contacted the archive staff with my fingers crossed.
Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.
- Timaru District Council, “TDC Cemetery Database”, database, Timaru District Council (http://www.timaru.govt.nz/cemetery-database2.html : accessed 2011), database entries for John Brosnahan, Farmer, Temuka (ref 18404, row 233, plot 213, buried 26 Aug 1926) and Hanorah Brosnahan, Temuka (ref 13209, row 233, plot 213, buried 24 Nov 1928).