Author Archives: Maggie

Postcard to a father ~ (Not so) Wordless Wednesday

This is the reverse of the postcard of St Mark’s Church, Remuera, Auckland, that I posted some time ago.

Postcard to H.J.F. Florey, date unknown

Postcard to H.J.F. Florey, date unknown

 Mr H J F Florey
c/o K S Williams
Pahihuroa? Station
Taparoa Bay
N Z

Dear Father
Just a few lines
to let you know that we
are all quite well & hope
by this time you will
be better again.  I wrote
to you a good while
ago but the children
don’t go to shool [sic] now so
it never got posted as I can
not get down myself.
I will send again soon.
Wishing you a Happy  & a
Prosperous New Year from
xxxxxx  Nean

Henry John Forrest Florey is my great great grandfather.  I couldn’t work out who “Nean” was – perhaps his daughter Naomi, or maybe a daughter-in-law?  (I felt it was written by a woman, with the reference to children and school.)

In January when I was back in New Zealand, I came across an autograph book that belonged to my great grandmother Naomi, and inside the front cover was written:

Inside front cover, Naomi Myrtle Florey's autograph book, 1913

Inside front cover, Naomi Myrtle Florey's autograph book, 1913

St Mark’s church, Remuera, Auckland, NZ ~ Wordless Wednesday

St Mark's, Remuera, Auckland, NZ

St Mark's, Remuera, Auckland, NZ

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Will of James Brosnan, 1890 ~ Amanuensis Monday

After reading John Brosnahan’s will, I was curious to know what was in his father James’s will.  I hadn’t found it on Archway when I initially looked, as I was searching under the name ‘Brosnahan’.  Remembering that John’s parents were buried under the name of Brosnan, I searched again and found the reference to James’s probate file, held at Archives New Zealand’s Christchurch office.  The office now offer to email you a PDF of the document(s) you are wanting, or you can wait for a photocopy by post (NZD20.00 charge which includes postage and up to 80 pages).  Service was speedy and friendly!

I, James Brosnan of the Levels Plain in the Provincial District of Canterbury in the Colony of New Zealand Farmer do hereby revoke all former Wills and Testamentary dispositions heretofore made by me and declare this to be my last Will and Testament  I appoint George McSheehy Gentleman of Temuka in the Provincial District aforesaid Saddler and John Fitzgerald of Arowhenua in Provincial District aforesaid Farmer (hereinafter called “my Trustees”) to be the Executors and Trustees of this my Will.  I devise my freehold sections numbered 8037  7763 and 15176 situated in the District of Timaru and section numbered 1207  on the plan of the Town of Arowhenua and all other lands and hereditaments of which I shall die possessed to my Trustees  To the use and intent that my wife Ann Brosnan may receive out of the rents and profits thereof during her life a yearly rent charge of ten pounds sterling to be paid by equal half yearly payments the first of such payments to be made six months after my decease and to the further use and intent that if and as often as the said rent charge or any part thereof shall be in arrears for twenty one days my said wife shall have the same remedy by distress upon the said hereditaments ann premises for recovering such rent charges as lessors have by law for the recovering of rent in arrears And subject to such rent charge and the said remedy for the recovery thereof In trust as to the said section 1207 for my daughter Ann Brosnan her heirs and assigns forever and as to all other lands and hereditaments of which I shall die possessed in trust for my said daughter Ann Brosnan during her life and after her decease in trust for my grandson John Joseph Brosnan the son of my son John Brosnan his heirs and assigns forever I bequeath all the residue of my property to my trustees in trust to convert the same into money and to pay thereout my debts and funeral and testamentary expenses including the costs of erecting a gravestone over my grave and out of the residue to pay to my said wife the sum of twenty pounds to my daughter Kate Gaffaney the sum of forty pounds and to my daughter Margaret Gaffaney the sum of twenty pounds and to divide the residue equally among all my children who shall be living at my death And I declare that the power of appointing new trustees conferred by the Trustee Act 1883 may be exercised without the consent of any beneficiaries under this my will who shall at the time of such appointment be infants for under any disability  In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of August one thousand eight hundred and ninety.

Signature of James Brosnan (1890)

Signature of James Brosnan (1890)

Signed by the said James Brosnan as his last Will and Testament in the presence of us both present at the same time who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses

J Beri Cabinetmaker[?] Temuka
John W Salmond
Solicitor
Temuka1

There is no specific bequest to his daughter Ellen or son John – perhaps they were well set up anyway? And maybe he left his farming land to John Joseph as he was the youngest grandson, and without any land of his own?  As for his trustees, I know John Fitzgerald was a close family friend but I have no idea who George McSheehy Gentleman was.  I’d also love to get my hands on some contemporary maps that show the land sections.

James’s will is dated 7th August 1890, and he died just over a month later, on 23rd September.

Death notice, James Brosnahan, Timaru Herald, 24 Sep 1890

Death notice, James Brosnahan, Timaru Herald, 24 Sep 1890

Amanuensis Monday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.  An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

  1. James Brosnan Will, 1890; Probate file, 01 Nov 1890, Supreme Court, Canterbury District; PDF, from original Ref [CH171, CH1974/1890] held at Archives New Zealand, Christchurch.

Thank you, Mr Brosnahan

At the beginning of this month, I decided I would challenge myself to post on this blog every day.  It almost killed me, but I did it!

Today I’m reposting a photo, one that’s become quite special to me.  It’s a close up of John and Hanorah Brosnahan celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary with family and friends.

John and Hanorah Brosnahan ~ Temuka, 1925

John and Hanorah Brosnahan, with family ~ Temuka, 1925

When I was in Temuka last month, I met someone who is in this photo.  He is a grandson of John and Hanorah, and it was a great surprise and pleasure to meet him.  It is moments like these, that make my crazy obsession with family history all worthwhile.

Mystery women revealed?

Following on from yesterday’s post, I decided to have a look through some family photos, to see if I could find any likenesses to the three women in the photo.

I feel fairly sure that the woman on the left, Mystery Woman number 1, is my great grandmother, Margaret O’Rourke.  Here’s a comparison between yesterday’s photo, and a close up from her 1909 wedding photo:

Mystery woman number 1

Mystery woman number 1

Margaret O'Rourke, on her wedding day in 1909, Napier, NZ

Margaret O'Rourke, on her wedding day in 1909, Napier, NZ

Margaret’s bridesmaid was her sister Brigid, who was two years older. I’m not so sure that these two are the same person:

Mystery woman number 2

Mystery woman number 2

Brigid Power O'Rourke, 1909, Napier, NZ

Brigid Power O'Rourke, 1909, Napier, NZ

The Three Sisters ~ Mystery Monday

This is one of the photographs I had dated at WDYTYA? Live by Maureen Taylor, so now I have a date of around the early 1910s.  However, that’s about all I know – I’m not even sure if these three are, in fact, sisters.  I’m wondering if the woman on the left could be my great grandmother, Margaret (O’Rourke) Gaffaney.  She married Peter Gaffaney in 1909, and a ring is quite prominently displayed on her left hand.  Margaret had three older sisters (another sister died in infancy), so two of them could be in this photo with her.  I need to go through my stash of family photos to see if I can positively identify them.

Three woman, c1910

Three woman, c1910

It’s a lovely photo, whoever they are!

Mystery Monday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

WDYTYA? Live ~ wrap up

Today I enjoyed a lovely lie-in and leisurely breakfast at my hotel, before heading home by train.  I would have loved to have visited WDYTYA? Live for a third day, but had afternoon commitments.  Next year I will clear my calendar for the weekend!

Best decision I made this year was my choice of hotel which was only a five minute walk from Earl’s Court tube station, and on the way to the Olympia.  So this meant I could travel up on Friday morning by train, drop my bag off to the hotel, and then it was only another ten minute walk to the Olympia.  Genius!

I had splashed out on platinum tickets for both Friday and Saturday, which is an expensive way to do it, but it was worth it.  I just wish they had some kind of deal for a three day platinum ticket!  Maybe next year?

I spent a lot of my time in workshops.  Unless there are some special deals that are show-only, I tend to buy books/products online.  (I am still regretting not buying a Flip-pal, though!)  So I think it’s really the talks and presentations that make it worthwhile for me.  This year I got to meet up with a couple of friends as well, which was fantastic, as in the previous two years I’d attended on my own.  It was also lovely to hear talks by people I’ve heard/read about, and to see them in person.

One thing I meant to do last year was join the Suffolk Family History Society, and this year I finally did it! It’s the first FHS that I’ve joined, so I’m hoping for great things to come of it.

It wasn’t until the end of Saturday that I realised there was  free Wi-Fi available – doh!  I had real problems sending tweets out via Vodafone, so stopped trying.  It would have been good if the Wi-Fi had been better publicised (or maybe I should have checked for it at the beginning..?)

I managed to snaffle a FindMyPast polo shirt – score!  Plus track down Else Churchill for a genealogy blogger/tweeter rosette (um… sorry I hassled you straight after your presentation, Else!)  Maybe next year it would be a good idea to have a central point to pick one up (the SOG stand, perhaps), to save us stalking poor Else?

All up, I had a fantastic time at WDYTYA? Live, and am looking forward to next year.  (February 22nd-24th!!)

Day Two WDYTYA? Live

I was looking forward to today as I was meeting up with some of my fellow IHGS students. They are a bit further along in the course than me, and as hoped, I am now all fired up to crack on with my next assignments!

However, on with the event – I got some extra workshop tickets today, and the first talk I attended was Audrey Collins’ on TNA’s new Discovery service. Despite numerous technical glitches, it was an interesting and useful presentation. Looking forward to getting back to my laptop and doing some searches.

Next up was a comparison of parish registers and bishops’ transcripts in Wiltshire from John Hurley. I’m about to tackle these in my next IHGS assignments, so good timing!

Yesterday I spent some time going around the different stands downstairs, but today decided to mainly spend my time at the workshops instead. I bought a ticket for the keynote talk with Laurence Harris (unfortunately forgoing Bruce Durie’s presentation on Heraldry), and was a bit disappointed – not sure what I had expected, though. Perhaps something pitched at a slightly higher level? The Q & A session that followed was great, however.
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Panel participants included Laurence (myHeritage),
D.Joshua Taylor (brightsolid US), Dan Lynch (Google), Lisa Louise Cook (Genealogy Gems), Peter Christian, and Paul Howes (Guild of One Name Studies).

And then for a bit of light relief (and some excellent info), there was Chris Paton on doing Irish research online. Great craic altogether!

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I had an Ask the Expert session booked after this – I got some useful guidance on where to go next in the hunt for my Burkes in Mayo, but I wonder if I might not have come up with it myself given half a spare moment. Always nice to have someone’s undivided attention for 20 whole minutes, though (not something I’m used to with three young kids).

By this time I was in WDYTYA Live overload. Had a quick covetous look at the Flip-pal, and then legged it to the pub.

Day One WDYTYA? Live in technicolour

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Main event hall

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Nick Barratt on Family History and education

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Nick Barratt with Colin McFarlane

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Jayne Shrimpton – dating and researching family snapshots

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Jackie Depelle and her fabulous hat! (Lovely meeting you, Jackie!)

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Dominic Johnson on palaeography

My iPhone doesn’t take great photos and I can’t tell if any of the above are very clear, but am posting them ás is’ for now and fixing them up later when I get home.

Day One WDYTYA? Live

Couldn’t believe how busy the place was today! I arrived just before opening time of 10am and the queue of ticket holders outside seem to go on forever. It was at this point I was very glad I had splashed out and got a fast track platinum ticket, which enabled me to bypass the queues and go straight inside.

I managed to grab some extra workshop tickets upstairs,and then I headed straight for the photo-dating area, where my luck was in! Maureen Taylor dated four photos of mine before there was anyone else waiting in line (top tip: head for the photo dating area first).

The first talk I went to was Larry Lamb sharing his experiences of WDYTYA. His episode was voted as the most moving of the last series, and it was lovely to get his feedback on the whole process.

After that session, I grabbed something to eat and prepared my information for the Ask the Expert session I had coming up next. I spoke to a very helpful man about my military ancestors and found out where to look for further information. A visit to TNA at Kew seems to be in order!

I then had four talks/workshops in a row – all of them illuminating. Nick Barratt (along with Colin McFarlane) spoke about an amazing project they’re working on with school children, integrating family history with the national curriculum. (Can’t check website address right now, but will add as soon as I can!) Jayne Shrimpton showed us family snapshots from the 1880s to the 1940s, giving us ideas on how how to date them and also proving what value they have to our research.

Then it was palaeography with Dominic Johnson – I found this a brilliant presentation, despite numerous technical glitches. She has a real passion for her subject, and I can’t wait to get stuck into this topic for my IHGS assignments. (Famous last words..?)

Last session of the day for me was Discover Scottish Church Records with Chris Paton. Essentially a Quick History of the (surprisingly many) churches in Scotland, with helpful hints on where to research, all delivered with great humour. Lovely way to end the day!

(WordPress on iPhone won’t let me upload photos at the mo, so they’ll have to keep for another day.)