Monthly Archives: January 2013

A close family in life, and in death ~ Tombstone Tuesday

When I received a transcript of Mary Jane’s burial details from Lewisham Council, I wasn’t surprised to see she shared a grave plot. But I was surprised to find out that she was sharing it with five other people! (My previous post describes my search for the grave at Brockley Cemetery.)

It’s been a fascinating exercise to see who all these people were.

The plot was originally purchased by “Mr Rio G M Stapley” of 131 High Street, Deptford, on 12th June 1896 for £3, and the memorial on the grave is described as “Flat stone & Curb set on Landing (Full Memorial)”.

I can find no “Rio Stapley” in the censuses, but living at 131 High Street, Deptford, in both 1891 and 1901 is Michael P. Fannen, an Irish-born Roman Catholic priest, along with two other priests and a couple of housekeeping staff. Should “Rio” be “Rev”? It looks like the grave was donated or paid for by the local church, or perhaps a kind parishioner.

Person no. 1
On the 15th of June 1896, 17 year old Edmund Carroll was buried there. From checking the censuses, it appears he was the second son of John and Honorah Carroll, born in Deptford, Kent. His birth was registered in the September quarter of 1878 in Greenwich. (John Carroll was my great great grandmother’s third husband.)

Person no. 2
Honorah Carroll was buried in the same plot on 10th of February 1900, and was 55 years old. The censuses show her to be John Carroll’s wife, and give her birthplace as Co. Kerry, Ireland.

In 1901, John Carroll married Mary Jane Wright (previously Freeth, formerly Clarke), my great great grandmother.

John and Mary Jane Carroll, November 1917

John and Mary Jane Carroll, November 1917

Person no. 3
The third person interred was 41 year old John Carroll, eldest son of John and Honorah, buried on 8th February 1918. He was also born in Deptford, and his occupation in the 1891 census was pupil teacher.

On the 18th of February in 1918, the ownership of the grave transferred to Mr John Carroll of 180 Evelyn Street, Deptford.

Person no. 4
Johanna Colligan (transcribed as “Colhgan” in the burial register copy) is listed as the fourth internment on 16th of March 1918. She was 44 years of age, and John and Honorah’s eldest child. She married Richard Colligan in 1901, and they appear to have had three children: Honora in 1902, Michael in 1905, and Margaret Mary in 1910.

By March 1918, John Carroll had lost his wife and three of their four children.

Person no. 5
John himself joined them on 26th of January 1923, aged 76 years.

Person no. 6
The last person to be interred there was Mary Jane at 76 years of age, on 17th of February 1932.

On 4th of March 1932, the ownership transferred to Mary Freeth (no address given), Mary Jane’s eldest daughter.

Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Mary Jane’s grave ~ (Not so) Wordless Wednesday

Last week I posted a couple of photos of Brockley Cemetery in Lewisham. This is where my great great grandmother, Mary Jane (Clarke) Freeth/Wright/Carroll, was buried in 1932.  I’d found her entry in the Greenwich Union death register and discovered she had been buried “by friends” in Brockley Cemetery1.  In May 2012 I contacted Lewisham Council and a lovely staff member there sent me Mary Jane’s burial details, as well as a map marked with the location of her grave. Eureka!

My mother was visiting from New Zealand at the time, and together we set off to find Mary Jane’s grave. This is what we were confronted with in the Roman Catholic section of the cemetery:

Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, London - June 2012

Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, London – June 2012

You can see how overgrown the area was – it was almost impossible to read any of the gravestones, even where the inscriptions were still legible.  After an hour, we gave up the search.

My next step is to contact the Friends of Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries, in the hope that they may be able to pinpoint the grave location more accurately. And to buy some heavy-duty gardening tools.

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. Board of Guardians, Workhouse Woolwich Road (Greenwich Union, London, England), “Register of Deaths”, Mary Carroll death, 12 Feb 1932; digital images; Ancestry.com, London, England, Deaths & Burials 1813-1980 (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 23 Jun 2011).

Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, England ~ Wordless Wednesday

 

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham - June 2012

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham – June 2012

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham - June 2012

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham – June 2012

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Revisiting the Brosnahans (plus two year blogiversary!) ~ Thankful Thursday

Early last year I began a series of posts on the Brosnahan family. Well, “one” of the Brosnahan families, as there were a few that settled in South Canterbury, New Zealand, around the same time. My great great grandmother, Margaret Brosnahan, emigrated to New Zealand with her older brother John in 1862, travelling aboard the Echunga. Their parents and siblings joined them a couple of years later.

Margaret’s grandson, my grandfather Dom Gaffaney, went to boarding school with his “cousin” James Brosnahan, who became a Marist priest and married my grandfather and his bride, Agnes Burke. What I wanted to find out, and the reason I started looking into the Brosnahans in more depth, was how Father Jim was related to the family – what level of “cousinage” (and if that’s not a proper term, it should be) was he to my grandfather?

James Brosnahan of Morvern and (Michael) Dominic Gaffaney of Waimate - St Bede's College Athletic Sports 1928, Christchurch, NZ

James Brosnahan of Morvern and (Michael) Dominic Gaffaney of Waimate – St Bede’s College Athletic Sports 1928, Christchurch, NZ

So, I began tracing all of my great great grandmother’s siblings, mainly focussing on her only brother John, and you can follow my series of posts from the beginning.

I didn’t do too bad a job I thought, had identified 10 out of 12 of John’s alleged children and their children. But, no Father Jim that I could see.

Several months later I was contacted by the wife of one of John Brosnahan’s descendents – she had some answers! (Don’t you love those kinds of emails?) Another of John’s descendents had compiled a family history in 2001, and my contact very kindly scanned and emailed it to me.

John Brosnahan

Caption in family album: John Brosnahan, brother of Mrs Margaret Gaffaney, Belper Farm, Temuka

I’m sure there are at least two readers who have been on the edge of their seats waiting since last February to find out about those missing two Brosnahan children. (Maybe?)  Here they all are:

  • Patrick
  • Ann
  • James
  • Margaret
  • Matthew
  • Ellen
  • Thomas William
  • Michael
  • Bridget
  • Mary
  • Catherine
  • John Joseph

So the two that I missed were James and Michael, and their children.

But there was no Father Jim.

A couple of months ago I purchased a second-hand copy of Seán Brosnahan’s book The Kerrytown Brosnahans, about his family who emigrated from Co. Kerry, Ireland to an area in South Canterbury that became known as Kerrytown, not far from my Brosnahans in Temuka.  I’d been waiting to get my hands on a copy for ages, ever since I’d heard about it. And it didn’t disappoint – Seán not only writes about his own Brosnahan family, but also the “other” Brosn(ah)ans, like mine. He couldn’t find a definite link between these different families, but doesn’t discount that they may be related further back, and they certainly intermarried once they were in New Zealand.

And there was Father Jim.

Sean’s great great grandfather Hugh with his brother Timothy, were the patriarchs of the Kerrytown Brosnahans.

  • Hugh Brosnahan and Deborah Butler
    • daughter Mary married Dennis Hoare
      • son Patrick Dennis Hoare, married Mary Brosnahan, my John Brosnahan’s daughter
      • daughter Margaret married James “Wigg” Brosnahan (from yet another Brosnahan family!)
        • son James became a Marist priest

John Brosnahan is my grandfather’s great uncle. So, how are my grandfather and Father Jim related? First correct answer wins a chocolate fish! (I may be some time working the answer out myself.)

On my two year blogiversary, I am thankful for Father Jim, cousins with answers, cousins with questions, awesome family historians who publish their research, and everyone who’s been reading and commenting on this blog.

Sources
Brosnahan, Seán G. The Kerrytown Brosnahans, R.J. & H.P. Brosnahan (Timaru: 1992).
Brosnahan, Tim. “Brosnahan Family History”, 2001; digital images scanned from original by [NAME & ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], 2012.

Thankful Thursday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

My Genealogy Year 2012 : Accentuate the Positive!

Jill from Geniaus came up with a wonderful idea to celebrate the high points of 2012:  Accentuate the Positive 2012 Geneameme, rather than concentrate on what we didn’t achieve during the year. So instead of feeling a bit depressed over all the things I didn’t quite manage to do this year, I get to feel a whole heap happier about all the cool stuff that happened!

An elusive ancestor I found was James Florey. Well, he’s not actually an ancestor, which I suspected but can now prove. He was the first husband of my 4 x great grandmother, Elizabeth Knott, and I couldn’t figure out what happened to him – it was as if he had abandoned his family and disappeared off the face of the earth. He hadn’t – he got transported to Australia for 10 years for sheep-stealing. Meanwhile, his wife found comfort in another’s arms, gave birth to my 3 x great grandfather (Henry Richard Florey/Pope), and eventually remarried. I have yet to find out what happened to James after he gained his Certificate of Freedom. Did he return to England, or stay in Australia?

A precious family photo I found was one that may be of my Nanna, Jean McGonnell, when she was young.

Possibly Myrtle Jean Louisa McGonnell (1915-2011)

Possibly Myrtle Jean Louisa McGonnell (1915-2011)

An ancestor’s grave I found was my great grandparents and grandparents’ final resting place in Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ – thankfully with little damage from the earthquakes in 2011.

A newly found family member who shared a photo of my 3 x great grandfather (the previously mentioned Henry Richard Florey) and his family – I could finally put a face to the ancestor who has led me a merry dance through all sorts of records.  Then, the wife of a fourth cousin sent me a family history of “our” Brosnahan family – amazing! And yet more family members contacted me with stories and photos, either through this blog or via my tree on Ancestry.

My 2012 blog post that I was particularly proud of was.. all the ones in February – I blogged every day that month.

My 2012 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was difficult to work out as my Stats plugin fell over and won’t play nice, but I think  it was my post on James Brosnan’s will.

A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was Twitter. I love keeping up to date with genealogy news, and also with fellow IHGS students.  I also joined a couple of groups on Facebook, and a Google+ community, and will see how those pan out over the next year.

A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was all of them! I had a busy year starting with WDYTYA? Live in February, then several weekend seminars at IHGS later in the year, and finally Celia Heritage’s one day workshop on Fleshing out Your Family Tree. I think the one where I learnt the most was the Military Records seminar at IHGS, given by Les Mitchinson, as this was an area I wasn’t familiar with.

A genealogy book that taught me something new was Helen Osborn’s Genealogy: Essential Research Methods.

A great repository/archive/library I visited was the Perth and Kinross Council Archive in the A K Bell Library in Perth, Scotland. I didn’t have much time there, unfortunately, but enough to find the burial records for my 3 x great grandparents, Michael Burke and Bridget Flynn, and take a quick look at some of the Perth valuation rolls.

 A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Ciarán Ó Murchadha’s The Great Famine : Ireland’s Agony 1845-1852.

It was exciting to finally meet my IHGS tutor, Celia Heritage! Plus twitter pals and fellow IHGS students at Canterbury in October, and also my Temuka cousins at the beginning of the year in New Zealand.

A geneadventure I enjoyed was my trip to Temuka in January, meeting cousins and visiting the family farm, and places where my grandfather grew up in South Canterbury. Also the trip to Scotland in May to visit the areas connected with my Burke and Philp ancestors. And visiting Deptford, London, with my mother to see where her grandfather was born and raised.

Another positive I would like to share is I finally indexed my research notebooks! And it has already proven to be a worthwhile exercise.  Who knows, maybe this year the data may find its way into Reunion?  I also worked on my IHGS assignments, submitting two batches this year, and received some not-too-shabby marks in return.

Thanks to Jill for a great opportunity to share my year of family history research!  You can read about the 2012 highlights of other geneabloggers through her Geniaus website.