Author Archives: Maggie

A fallen hero ~ Wordless Wednesday

Peter Michael Gaffaney (on left)

Peter Michael Gaffaney (on left)

Peter Michael Gaffaney (1893-1918) is my first cousin, three times removed.

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live : Day Two

Saturday was another busy day at  Who Do You Think You Are? Live.  I had three talks booked, as well as an Ask the Expert session, but otherwise had more time than Friday to wander around the stands and catch up with some friends.

First up for me was “Your Irish Ancestors and the Law”, with Brian Donovan talking about the Petty Sessions order books that are available on www.findmypast.ie.  The Petty Sessions courts handled most criminal cases in Ireland, apart from the most serious, and were held by Justices of the Peace without a jury.  Record taking was made mandatory in 1851 and so only a few earlier documents survive.  Among the order books are dog licence books (1850-1924) – every dog had to be licenced, and every farmer usually had a dog. Details  include owner’s name, address, and occupation.  Brian also discussed the Irish Prison Registers 1790-1924 on findmypast.ie, another great resource.  I really enjoyed this session as I learnt a lot and Brian’s a very entertaining speaker.

I had a long break until my next talk and made the most of the time to chat with fellow IHGS students, and also to attend the inaugral WDYTYA? Live “tweet-up”, ably organised by Rosemary Morgan.  It was a great chance to meet some of the people I’ve been following on Twitter, and to discover more folks to follow!

My Ask the Expert session was with Kathy Chater who gave me some great tips on how to chase up details of my 3xgreat grandmother Elizabeth Rose, born in Cape Town in 1845.

Nick Barratt’s presentation on the future of genealogy was interesting, and it’s apparently his last gig at WDYTYA? Live as he is moving back to the National Archives to head up their Medieval team (amongst others).  Somehow I can’t see TNA keeping him away next year!

I then raced around like a mad thing to pick up a Flip Pal (thanks for speedy service, guys!) and the second-hand books I had scored earlier and were being kept for me by the bookstall, before leaping into the last talk of the day – Rosalind McCutcheon on The Registry of Deeds in Dublin.  Wow. What a resource!  I’ve heard Rosalind talk before, and so I signed up for this without knowing how much the Registry of Deeds could be of use to me in my own research.  It was a great way to end the day, and I am itching to get over to Dublin to start digging away amongst those dusty tomes.

Overall, I loved WDYTYA? Live this year more than other years.  I think the main difference was that there were more people I knew to chat to during each day, and I had chosen the talks I attended wisely. (Oh yeah, and I got my Flip Pal. And lots of books!)

Handouts for most of the talks will be available from the Society of Genealogists website soon, hopefully.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live : Day One

Last weekend I attended the Who Do You Think You Are? Live exhibition held at the Olympia in London.  It runs for three days, and I went along for the Friday and Saturday.

What struck me on Friday was how CRAZY busy it was in comparison to last year.  I like going on the Friday, because I have this idea it’s a “quiet” day.   Not so!  I  also filled up my time with four talks and the Keynote lecture with Q & A, so by the end of the day I was feeling rather overwhelmed.

WDYTYA? Live 2013

It doesn’t look that busy in this photo, but it was!

The most illuminating presentation I attended was Debbie Kennett’s “A Beginner’s Guide to DNA”.  A fellow IHGS student and I raced into the Olympia to get seats for her 11am session, and were not disappointed.  Debbie gave a clear and concise overview of the three main tests you can take : Y-DNA (males only), mtDNA and Autosomal, and explained how they can be used for genealogical connections.  I found it completely fascinating and now want to get everyone in my extended family tested!

In my Ask the Experts session I scored Dominic Johnson as my expert, and wished I had brought along my palaeography assignments instead of a question about my South African ancestor! Last year I had been inspired by her workshop on palaeography.

In the few spare minutes I had between talks, I managed to get my hands on a Flip Pal mobile scanner and find out all about it, with plans to buy the next day.  I also purchased four books on my ‘Want to Buy’ list (hurray for show specials!):

  • Bruce Durie’s Understanding Documents for Genealogy & Local History, The History Press (2013)
  • Simon Fowler’s Tracing Your Army Ancestors, 2nd ed., Pen & Sword (2013)
  • Celia Heritage’s Tracing Your Ancestors through Death Records, Pen & Sword (2013)
  • Debbie Kennett’s The Surnames Handbook, The History Press (2012)

One of the best parts of the day was chatting to the staff from IHGS, and catching up over dinner with fellow students.

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.

 

Wrights of Boxford & Polstead, Suffolk, England: Burials

Around this time last year I was in Bury St Edmunds record office, Suffolk, tracking down my Wright ancestors. An IHGS assignment required me to record register events for a family over a period of at least 50 years in one parish, and then construct family trees from those events. Knowing (from census records) that my Wrights had lived in Boxford and Polstead, I chose to research both parishes. You can find the baptisms and marriages online at FamilySearch, though Boxford’s data appears to be limited in date range and includes entries taken from the bishop’s and archdeacon’s transcripts (BTs), which are sometimes noted as “Boxford BTs”, but also noted as being from “Sudbury”, the name of the deanery. However, burials aren’t included, and I thought it might be useful for others if I listed the burial entries I found.

I viewed the parish registers on microfiche, and in some cases the entries were quite difficult to decipher.  As with any transcription, errors may be lurking!

Wright burials in the parish of Boxford, Suffolk 1759-1848

Burial date Name Age Residence
3 Jun 1759 Gabriel Wright from London
14 Oct 1762 John Wright 89
26 Aug 1790 Elizabeth Wright 27
26 Dec 1809 William Wright 22 Boxford
15 Jan 1816 Mary Wright 47 Boxford
24 Oct 1817 William Wright 64 Hadleigh Hamlet
1 Apr 1819 Mary Wright 4 Boxford
5 Mar 1820 Charlotte Wright 4.5 Boxford
1 May 1820 Robert Wright 6 months Boxford
7 Jul 1834 Samuel Wright 3 months Groton
19 Mar 1835 Mary Wright 25 Boxford
19 Nov 1837 Mary Wright 2.5 Boxford
19 Mar 1848 Matilda Wright 19 Groton
6 Dec 1848 William Wright 42 Boxford
10 Dec 1848 Harriet Wright 17 Boxford

Wright burials in the parish of Polstead, Suffolk 1773-1845*

Burial date Name Age Residence
21 Apr 1773 Mary Wright
4 Sep 1788 Susan Wright 45
2 Jan 1803 Mary Wright 45
16 Dec 1804 Judith Wright infant
9 Mar 1806 Phoebe Wright 21
14 May 1809 Mary Wright 1
10 May 1810 Mary Wright 72
10 May 1810 Benjamin Wright 72
6 Jul 1810 James Wright 1
27 Aug 1810 Sarah Wright 37
20 Jun 1813 Robert Wright 5 weeks Polstead
25 May 1817 Elizabeth Wright 39 Stoke
30 May 1820 Clarke Wright 41 Boxford
19 Feb 1823 Sarah Wright 57 Polstead
22 May 1823 William Wright 78 Boxford
20 Jan 1827 Joseph Wright 2 months Polstead
13 Jul 1829 John Wright 4 Polstead
8 Jul 1845 John Wright 69 Polstead

Boxford Parish (Suffolk, England), Parish Registers, Burial entries, Fiche no. 10 (1754-1807), Fiche no. 11 (1807-1808), Fiche no. 16 (1808-1831), Fiche no. 17 (1831-1858), Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds.

Polstead Parish (Suffolk, England), Parish Registers, Burial entries, Fiche no. 8 (1772-1783), Fiche no. 11 (1783-1788), Fiche no. 12 (1789-1813), Fiche no. 15 (1813-1825), Fiche no. 16 (1825-1858), Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds.

*There appeared to be a gap in the register of burial entries for Polstead parish between 1781 and 1788.

Bridget (Power) O’Rourke… maybe ~ Wordless Wednesday

Woman in black, Napier, New Zealand

Woman in black, Napier, New Zealand

Woman knitting, New Zealand

Woman knitting, New Zealand

One of these women could be my great great grandmother, Bridget Power. Or not.

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.