Category Archives: People

Golden, or Diamond Anniversary? ~ Wedding Wednesday

On the occasion of John and Hanorah's wedding anniversary, Temuka, South Canterbury

On the occasion of John and Hanorah's wedding anniversary, Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ

The caption on the frame containing this photo says the occasion for the gathering was John Brosnahan and Hanorah O’Driscoll’s Golden Wedding anniversary.  John and Hanorah were married on March 31st, 1865 in Christchurch, NZ.1  This would date the photograph to 1915.  But the clothes don’t seem to match the period – just looking at the women’s hats, for instance, and checking my (new!) book by dress historian Jayne Shrimpton, they appear to be from the mid 1920s.  So, my guess is the occasion is their 60th (or Diamond) wedding anniversary, which would have been in 1925.  What do you readers think??

John and Hanorah Brosnahan (both seated)

John and Hanorah Brosnahan (both seated)

Taking a closer look at the photo, John is seated with his walking stick across him, and wife Hanorah is the woman seated on the right.  Behind John, with her hand on his chair, is his sister (my great great grandmother) Margaret.  On Margaret’s right is their sister Annie (“the Queen”).

The photograph was taken outside the Brosnahans’ house in Wilkin Street, which still stands today, though many of the external character features seem to have been removed.

Brosnahan home, Wilkin Street, Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ

Former Brosnahan home, Wilkin Street, Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ (Google map image)

Wedding Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. New Zealand, marriage certificate for John Brosnahan and Hannah Driscole [O’Driscoll],31 Mar 1865, Catholic Church, Christchurch, 1865/7579, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.

A Temuka wedding ~ 1896

As it’s St Valentine’s Day, we’re off to 1896 Temuka, South Canterbury, for a wedding – the nuptials of Mr Patrick Dennis Hoare and Miss Mary Brosnahan.

Wedding at Temuka, New Zealand Tablet, 15 May 1896, p 29

Wedding at Temuka, New Zealand Tablet, 15 May 1896, p 29

A WEDDIGN AT TEMUKA.

(From an occasional Correspondent.)

Temuka, May 2, 1896.
One of the nicest weddings that has been celebrated in Temuka for many years took place in St. Joseph’s Church on Tuesday last, when Mr P. D. Hoare, eldest son of Mr Denis Hoare, of Kerrytown, was united in holy matrimony by the Rev Theophilus Le Menant des Chesnais, S.M., to Miss Mary Brosnahan, second daughter of Mr John Brosnahan, of Levels Plains. The wedding procession arrived at the church at 9 o’clock and, after the marriage ceremony, assisted at the nuptial Mass, Miss Nellie Fitzgerald (Timaru) rendering “Mendelsshon’s Wedding March” on the organ. The bride, who wore an elegant dress of creme silk mixture, trimmed with Brussels lace and ribbons, and a wreath and veil, was given away by her eldest brother, Mr P. Brosnahan, and was attended by Miss Nellie Brosnahan, as chief bridesmaid, who was assisted by Misses Bridget and Katie Brosnahan, the bridesmaid wearing a cream serge dress trimmed with ribbon and hat to match and the assistants were attired in pure white dresses and hats to match. Mr Richard Hoare was best man. The bride’s travelling dress was one of navy serge, trimmed with silk, and tats to match. On going from the Church to the carriage rice fell in abundance on the happy pair. After a drive round, the guests assembled at Mr John Brosnahan’s for the wedding breakfast, about 150 being present, and in the evening about 200; these came from all parts of the district. After full justice had been done to the abundance of good things which bad been provided, Mr J. M. Twomey proposed the health of “The bride and bridegroom,” which he did in most felicitous terms, wishing the newly married couple success and happiness. Mr Glasson, of Timaru proposed the health of “Mr and Mrs Brosnahan,” and his neat speech was brimming with mirth. Mr Brosnahan responded, and thanked those present for their attendance, extending to all a hearty welcome. I might remark that the kindness of the good old couple fully justifies the proverbial Irish hospitality. After the banquet Mr Botterfield photographed the party. During the afternoon the time was spent in all kinds of amusement, and in the evening, after supper, the grand march, headed by the bride and bridegroom, took place at 8 o’clock, and the large assembly indulged in tripping the light fantastic toe for some hours, interspersed with songs and recitations. The presents were very numerous and very nice. The happy couple left for Amberley, their future home, the following day by the express train.1

I love that expression “tripped the light fantastic toe”!  A quick internet search reveals it was originally coined by John Milton, in his poem L’Allegro, written in 1645.  The Times was using the phrase in that form in  1803.2

After that slight diversion, back to the task at hand. The article seems to be clearly referring to my John Brosnahan and family, with the names of his daughters mentioned being the same as given in his will. Information I noted here:

  • a son, “the eldest brother” P. Brosnahan, who was not mentioned in John’s will
  • Mary is John’s second daughter
  • Nellie, Bridget and Katie (Catherine?) have not yet married

I love the description of the party afterwards – gives a wonderful sense of the convivial atmosphere.

Anyway, time to get searching for Mary’s sisters’ marriages on NZ’s Births, Deaths & Marriages Online, using the spousal surnames discovered in her father’s Will, and these are the most likely ones I found:

  • 1898 – Margaret Elizabeth Brosnahan m. Frank Louis Adams3
  • 1905 – Ellen [Nellie] Brosnahan m. James Moore4
  • 1908 – Kitty [Catherine] Brosnahan m. Richard Connell5
  • 1911 – Bridget Brosnahan m. James Thomson6

Could the brother “P. Brosnahan” be Patrick? On John and Hanorah’s gravestone is an inscription for a Leo Brosnahan, “son of Patrick and Nora”.

Looking for possible marriages for Mary’s brothers, this is what I came up with:

  • 1898 – Patrick Brosnahan m. Hanoria Toohey7
  • 1907 – Thomas William Brosnahan m. Esther Byrne8
  • 1915 – Thomas William Brosnahan m. Catherine Rebecca O’Neill9

There is a death in the index for an Esther Brosnahan in 191010, which would tie in with Thomas William remarrying.  I couldn’t find a likely marriage for Matthew.

Looking back at John and Hanorah’s gravestone again, there is an inscription for a John Joseph, who died in 1900 at the age of 15. On Papers Past, I found a death notice which confirmed that he was John’s son (and his youngest)11:

Death notice of John Joseph Brosnahan, The Star, 03 Mar 1900, p5

Death notice of John Joseph Brosnahan, The Star, 03 Mar 1900, p5

At the very bottom of the gravestone is an inscription to Annie Kleim. She proved to be a bit of a mystery for a while – I could find no record of an Ann(ie) Brosnahan marrying a Kleim.

However, I did (eventually!) find a record of an Annie Orton marrying a Fritz Kliem in 191012, and then a record of an Annie Brosnahan marrying a Bruce Orton in 189813 (they actually appear twice in the index). There was a death entry in the index for a Bruce Orton in 190614, but his age was given as 7 years. Upon checking the Timaru District Council cemetery database, I found a record for a 29 year old Bruce Orton who was buried on December 11th, 1906 in Pleasant Point cemetery.15

So, could this Annie be another child of John and Hanorah’s?

This is how John’s family is shaping up so far:

  • John Brosnahan m. Hanorah O’Driscoll
    • Patrick m. Hanoria Toohey
    • Thomas William m. (1) Esther Byrne, (2) Catherine Rebecca O’Neill
    • Matthew
    • John Joseph d. 1900
    • Annie m. (1) Bruce Orton, (2) Fritz Kleim
    • Mary m. Patrick Dennis Hoare
    • Margaret m. Frank Louis Adams
    • Ellen m. James Moore
    • Catherine m. Richard Connell
    • Bridget, m. James Thomson

So far, I have come up with ten probable children for John – nearly, but not quite, the twelve as mentioned in his Cyclopedia entry!

  1. “A Weddign in Temuka”, New Zealand Tablet, Vol XXIV Issue 3, 15 May 1896, p 29; digital image, Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand (http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast : accessed 23 Apr 2011)
  2. Martin, Gary. “Trip the light fantastic”, The Phrase Finder (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/trip-the-light-fantastic.html : accessed 14 Feb 2012).
  3. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Frank Louis Adams and Margaret Elizabeth Brosnahan, 1898/5006, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  4. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of James Moore and Ellen Brosnahan, 1905/2373, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  5. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Richard Connell and Kitty Brosnahan, 1908/3495, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  6. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of James Thomson and Bridget Brosnahan, 1911/3995, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  7. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Patrick Brosnahan and Hanoria Toohey, 1898/1849, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  8. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Thomas William Brosnahan and Esther Byrne, 1907/5988, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  9. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Thomas William Brosnahan and Catherine Rebecca O’Neill, 1915/43, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages
  10. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Death Search”, database entry for Esther Brosnahan, 1910/5717, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages
  11. “Deaths”, Star, Issue 6734, 03 Mar 1900, p 5; digital image, Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand (http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast : accessed 16 Jul 2011)
  12. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Fritz Kliem and Annie Orton, 1910/5520, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages
  13. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database entries for marriage of Bruce Orton and Annie Brosnahan, 1898/1888 and 1898/2713, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages
  14. NZ Department of Internal Affairs, “Death Search”, database entry for death of Bruce Orton, 190/7649, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages
  15. Timaru District Council, “TDC Cemetery Database”, database, Timaru District Council (http://www.timaru.govt.nz/cemetery-database2.html : accessed 2011), database entry for Bruce Orton, (ref 3122, row 6, plot 126, Pleasant Point, buried 26 Aug 1926)

 

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way ~ Amanuensis Monday

When I finally received a copy of John Brosnahan’s Will1 in the post, I was very excited, hoping that it would reveal information about his family.

It did.

It gave the names of three sons, five daughters (and their married names), his wife, father, a sister, and a grandson. Eureka!

  • James Brosnahan
    • Ann Brosnahan
    • John Brosnahan, m. Honora
      • John Joseph
      • Thomas William, Levels Plains, Farmer
        • Thomas John
      • Matthew, Seadown, Farmer
      • Bridget, m. Thomson
      • Nellie, m. Moore
      • Mary, m. Hoare
      • Margaret, m. Adams
      • Catherine, m. O’Connell
John Brosnahan's signature, from Will dated July 9th, 1918

John Brosnahan's signature, from Will dated July 9th, 1918

I, John Brosnahan of Temuka in the Provincial District of Canterbury in New Zealand, Farmer, hereby revoke all former wills and codicils made by me and declare this to be my last Will.

1. I appoint my sons Thomas William Brosnahan of Levels Plains in the said Provincial District, Farmer, and Matthew Brosnahan of Seadown in the said Provincial District, Farmer, to be executors and Trustees of this my will.

2. I declare that in the interpretation of this my will the expression “my Trustees” shall (where the content permits) mean and include the trustee or trustees for the time being hereof whether original or substituted.

3. I bequeath the following legacies free of all duties:
a) To my Trustees the sum of One hundred pounds (£100) of which I direct my Trustees to spend the sum of Fifty pounds (£50) in having masses offered up for my soul in the Parish of Temuka each week until the said sum of fifty pounds (£50) shall have been so expended and as to the other sum of fifty pounds (£50) forming the balance of the said sum of One hundred pounds (£100) I direct my trustees to hold the same In trust till the death of my wife and then to expend the same in having masses offered up for her soul in the Parish of Temuka each week until the said sum of fifty pounds shall have been so expended.

b) To my daughter Bridget Thomson the sum of Two hundred pounds (£200) to be paid within six calendar months from the death of the survivor of myself and my wife and I declare the the said legacy shall be charged exclusively upon and raisable and payable out my farm at Seadown herein after devised to my son Matthew Brosnahan charged with the payment of the said legacy.

c) To my daughter Nellie Moore the sum of Two hundred pounds (£200) to be paid within six calendar months from the death of the survivor of myself and my wife and I declare the the said legacy shall be charged exclusively upon and raisable and payable out my far at Levels Plains herein after devised to my son Thomas William Brosnahan charged with the payment of the said legacy.

d)  To my daughter Mary Hoare the sum of Two hundred pounds (£200) to be paid within six calendar months from the death of the survivor of myself and my wife and I declare the the said legacy shall be charged exclusively upon and raisable and payable out my far at Levels Plains herein after devised to my son Thomas William Brosnahan charged with the payment of the said legacy.

e) To my son Thomas William Brosnahan my twenty one shares in the Timaru Milling Company Limited

f) To my daughter Margaret Adams the sum of Sixty pounds (£60) to be paid within six calendar months from the death of the survivor of myself and my wife and I declare the the said legacy shall be charged exclusively upon and raisable and payable out my farm at Seadown herein after devised to my son Matthew Brosnahan charged with the payment of the said legacy.

4. I devise and bequeath my messuage and premises situated at Wilkin Street, Temuka, whereon I now reside and my furniture and effects of household use or ornament therein or thereto belonging to my wife Honora Brosnahan during her life and after her death  to my daughter Catherine O’Connell absolutely and I direct that my wife shall during her lifetime at her own expense keep the said messuage and premises and effects in good repair and condition and insured against fire to the full insurable value thereof in some office of repute and to the satisfaction of my Trustees in all respects.

5. I give devise and bequeath all the residue of my real and personal estate to my Trustees Subject to the payment of my debts funeral and testamentary expenses and the aforesaid legacy of One hundred pounds (£100) mentioned in clause 9a0 of paragraph 3 hereof and any duties payable in respect of any legacy bequeathed free of all duties.  I direct that my Trustees shall stand possessed of my real and personal estate (thereinafter called “my residuary estate”) upon the trusts following:-

(a)  Upon trust to pay the net income thereof after payment of all rates, expenses of management and such outgoings as in the opinion of my Trustees are properly chargeable to income to my wife if she shall survive me during her life and after the death of the survivor of my said wife and myself,

(b)  Upon trust: -

i. As to my farm at Seadown for my son Matthew Brosnahan absolutely subject to and charged with the payment of the legacy of two hundred pounds to Bridget Thomson mentioned in clause (b) of paragraph 3 hereof and of the legacy of sixty pounds to Margaret Adams mentioned in clause (f) of paragraph 3 hereof.

ii. As to my farm at Levels Plains for my son Thomas William Brosnahan absolutely subject to and charged with the payment of the legacy of two hundred pounds to Nellie Moore mentioned in clause (c) of paragraph 3 hereof and of the legacy of Two hundred pounds to Mary Hoare mentioned in clause (d) of paragraph 3 hereof.

iii. As to the three shares which I hold in the Canterbury Farmers’ Co-operative Association Limited for my son Matthew Brosnahan absolutely.

iv. As to the lands and hereditaments held by the Trustees of the will of my late father James Brosnahan In trust for Ann Brosnahan daughter of said James Brosnahan during her life and after her death In trust for my son John Joseph Brosnahan grandson of the said James Brosnahan his heirs and assigns forever In trust for my grandson Thomas John Brosnahan, son of my son Thomas William Brosnahan absolutely.

v. As to the residue (if any) of my residuary estate for my daughters Nellie Moore, Mary Hoare, Bridget Thomson and Catherine O’Connell or the survivor or survivors of them if more than one as tenants in common in equal shares.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand to this will this Ninth day of July One thousand nine hundred and eighteen.
[signature of John Brosnahan]

Signed by the Testator John Brosnahan as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us both being present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.
[signature of Walter Raymond], Solicitor, Timaru
[signature of L. Gow] Clerk to Raymond, Raymond & Campbell, Solicitors, Timaru

Apart from the valuable family details, there are a few other things I noted:

  • why was daughter Margaret Adams only bequeathed £60, whereas her sisters received £200 (apart from Catherine, who was left the house in Wilkin St) and a share of the residuary estate?
  • are there any children missing from the will?
  • did John’s father James leave “land and hereditaments” to John Joseph because he was the oldest grandson?
  • what else was in James Brosnahan’s will?

A codicil to the Will was added on August 8th, 1922.

I, John Brosnahan of Temuka in the Provincial District of Canterbury, Farmer hereby declare this to be a first codicil to my last will and testament which said will bears date the 9th day of July 1918.

Whereas by my said will I gave devised and bequeathed all my residuary estate unto my Trustees therein named upon trust to pay the income thereof to my wife during her life and subject thereto after giving and devising certain farms and shares to certain of my children I directed that the residue of any of my residuary estate should be held upon trust for my daughters Nellie Moore, Mary Hoare, Bridget Thomson and Catherine O’Connell or the survivor or survivors of them if more than one as tenants in common in equal shares.

Now I hereby revoke the trust of the residue (if any) of my residuary estate in favour of my said daughters and direct that the Trustees shall hold the said residue (if any) of my residuary estate upon trust for my wife Honora Brosnahan absolutely. In all other respects I confirm my said Will.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this Eighth day of August One thousand nine hundred and twenty-two.
[signature of John Brosnahan]

Signed by the said John Brosnahan as and for a first codicil to this last will and testament which will bears date the 9th day of July 1918 in the presence of us both being present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses

[signature of L. Gow], Law Clerk, Timaru
[signature of Walter Raymond], Solicitor, Timaru

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. (I have no idea how to pronounce Amanuensis, but it looks good, doesn’t it?)

  1. John Brosnahan Will, 1918-22; Probate file, 04 Oct 1926, Supreme Court, Timaru; photocopy, from original Ref [CH145, TU2645/1926] held at Archives New Zealand, Christchurch.

Annie (Collins) Brosnahan ~ Sunday’s Obituary

Obituary, Mrs Brosnahan, Temuka - New Zealand Tablet, 22 May 1902

Obituary, Mrs Brosnahan, Temuka - New Zealand Tablet, 22 May 1902

Obituary

MRS. BROSNAHAN, Temuka

Yet another of the fast diminishing numbers of early settlers has passed away in the person of Mrs Brosnahan, relict of the late Mr James Brosnahan, whose death (says the Temuka Leader) at the age of 86 is announced. The deceased lady was a resident of the district for the past 36 years, having settled here on her arrival from the County of Kerry, and was well known and highly respected. During the last 12 months her once familiar figure has not been seen about as frequently as of yore, owing to illness. The late Mrs Brosnahan was the mother of Mr John Brosnahan, of Arowhenua,  Mrs M Gaffaney and Miss Brosnahan (Temuka), Mrs Gaffaney (Dunedin), and Mrs Bryant (Christchurch). She leaves altogether one son, four daughters, 41 grand-children, and 20 great grandchildren. Previous to her illness she was hale and hearty, and was often to be seen walking to or from Mr Brosnahan’s to her own house in Temuka preferring to do so than drive.1

Annie Collins was my 3 x great grandmother.  She was born about 1816 in Co. Kerry, Ireland to Patrick Collins and Ann Seeler(?)2, and married James Brosnahan around 18383. Their son John and daughter Margaret (my great great grandmother) emigrated to New Zealand in 1862, and Annie and James followed a few years after with the rest of their family.

This obituary helped me to follow up the rest of my great great grandmother’s siblings. I knew about Catherine, who had married Francis Gaffaney, the brother of Margaret’s husband, Michael Gaffaney.

This photo is apparently of Catherine and Francis:

Catherine (Brosnahan) and Francis Gaffaney, Dunedin, NZ

Catherine (Brosnahan) and Francis Gaffaney, Dunedin, NZ

They married on April 16th, 1874 in Timaru, South Canterbury, and made their home in Dunedin, Otago.4

From Annie and James’ death certificates, I knew they had one son and four daughters living at the time of their deaths. After going through old photographs with my father, he told me about Annie Brosnahan, Margaret’s sister, who lived next door to the Gaffaneys – she was nicknamed “Queenie” and where she lived was called “The Queen’s Paddock”.

Caption on reverse: The Queen's Paddock, Queenie being Annie, next door to Belper House

Caption on reverse: The Queen's Paddock, Queenie being Annie, next door to Belper House

I wonder who the other woman is in the photo? Taking a closer look:

Annie "Queenie" Brosnahan, second from left

Annie "Queenie" Brosnahan, second from left

I wonder if this could be Annie’s mother, Annie Collins? From what the younger Annie is wearing, I’m guessing maybe the photo was taken early 1890s..? Annie Brosnahan never married, and is buried with her parents in Temuka Cemetery.5

So then I just had one remaining daughter to find: Mrs Bryant.

I found an Ellen Brosnahan who married Daniel Bryant in 18706, and found a few references to them, but haven’t been able to confirm anything so far – that may require ordering a certificate or two.

Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. “Obituary”, New Zealand Tablet, Vol XXX Issue 21, 22 May 1907, p 20; digital image, Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand (http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast : accessed 20 Nov 2010).
  2. New Zealand, death certificate of Annie Brosnahan, 15 May 1902, Temuka; photocopy, citing 1902/5750, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  3. New Zealand, death certificate of James Brosnahan, 23 Sep 1890, Temuka; photocopy, citing 1890/4316, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  4. Gaffaney Family Tree, compiled by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; GEDCOM supplied to author, 2006.
  5. Timaru District Council, “TDC Cemetery Database”, database, Timaru District Council (http://www.timaru.govt.nz/cemetery-database2.html : accessed 2010), database entry for Annie Brosnan, Timaru  (ref 13936, row 203, plot 203, buried 30 Dec 1944).
  6. NZ Department of Internal Affais, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Daniel Bryant and Ellen Brosnahan, 1870/8022, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.

John Brosnahan in the Cyclopedia

Interestingly, a John Brosnahan appears in The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, which I posted about yesterday. Could this be my John?

Brosnahan, John, Farmer, Levels. Mr. Brosnahan was born in County Kerry, Ireland, and came to New Zealand in 1862 by the ship “Exchange.” He engaged in various pursuits until 1865, when he became a farmer at the Levels, where he acquired 530 acres. Mr. Brosnahan is married and has twelve children.

Twelve children. Crikey! I have my work cut out trying to find all that lot.

The people featured in the Cyclopedia paid for the privilege of having an entry included – and provided the information to the compilers, so one assumes that the biographical data would be reasonably accurate.

My John Brosnahan did arrive in New Zealand in 1862, but the ship given here is “Exchange”, whereas he sailed on the “Echunga”. I can’t find any record of a ship called the “Exchange” sailing to New Zealand during this time, so I suspect it is an error made by the compiler, or perhaps faulty memory on John’s part? Or a different John?

  1. “Brosnahan, John”, The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District], (The Cyclopedia Company Limited, 1903); digitised publication by New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc03Cycl-t1-body1-d6-d104.html : accessed 09 Feb 2012).

Excerpt from The Cyclopedia of New Zealand shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand Licence.

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand ~ Follow Friday

A great resource from the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre – a searchable full-text edition of all six volumes of The Cyclopedia of New Zealand.

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand was published in six volumes between 1897 and 1908 by the Cyclopedia Company Ltd. Each volume deals with a region of New Zealand and includes information on local towns and districts, government departments, individuals, businesses, clubs and societies. Biographical entries frequently include the subject’s date and place of birth, the name of the ship by which immigrants arrived, spouse’s name, and the number and gender of children born to a couple. (NZETC website)

Members of the public paid to have an entry in the publication, so there is a bias towards those who could afford to do so. Few women, Māori or non-Europeans are included in the biographical section. However, it does give a wonderful snapshot of the towns and settlements in late 19th and early 20th century New Zealand, with the added bonus of maybe a snippet or two on your early settler ancestors.

Here is the entry for my great great grandfather, Michael Gaff(a)ney:

Gaffney, Michael, Farmer, “Belper Farm,” Arowhenua. Mr. Gaffney was born in 1836 at Belper, Derbyshire, England, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1858 by the ship “Cresswell,” landing in Lyttelton. He went to Timaru and was employed by Messrs. Rhodes Bros, for many years, principally at bush work and fencing. He was the first to take a waggon team to the Mackenzie country, and was engaged in the carrying business for some years. In 1861, he was the first who took up land on the Levels estate. The farm on which he resides comprises 548 acres, and he has another property of 252 acres at Washdyke, and a considerable amount of township property. In addition to wheat-growing, he fattens sheep for freezing, and disposes of a considerable number annually. Mr. Gaffney has been a member of the South Canterbury Hunt Club for many years and takes a general interest in sport. He was married in Christchurch to Miss Maggie Brosnahan, and has twelve children.1

Some of the biographical entries also included photos – perhaps you had to pay more for that?

This is just a little from the section on Temuka:

Temuka is on the main south line of railway, eighty-nine miles from Christchurch, and eleven miles to the north of Timaru. The surrounding district is rich agricultural country; towards the sea the land is particularly fertile, and was originally a wild swamp, but it now yields crops which average sixty bushels of wheat and from seventy to eighty bushels of oats to the acre. With a few exceptions, the holdings are comparatively large, and the whole district is dotted with fine plantations, which afford shelter to the stock and homesteads and lend a sylvan grace to the landscape. The district is well watered, as the Opihi and Temuka rivers are about half a mile from the town, the Orari three miles, and the Rangitata about ten. These rivers are known to all anglers as being stocked with trout, which, in respect to size and delicacy, equal the best in New Zealand. Temuka is, therefore, in high favour with anglers, some of whom come from Australia, and even England, every fishing season. In itself Temuka is a pleasant country town, with broad clean streets, and fresh water running in the side channels. It is well supplied with schools, churches, hotels, and livery stables. Many of the buildings are in brick, and the shops are supplied with articles equal to those to be seen in the larger centres of population. There are two doctors, two chemists, and one dentist in the town, which has a well kept park and domain, with a bicycle track, and tennis, cricket and football grounds. The post and telegraph office and the courthouse are built in brick. A large amount of business is transacted at the local railway station and the goods sheds. At the census taken on the 31st of March, 1901, Temuka had a population of 1,465; 767 males, and 698 females.2

According to the 2006 Census, Temuka now has a population of 4044: 1950 males, and 2091 females.2

Follow Friday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. “Gaffney, Michael”, The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District], (The Cyclopedia Company Limited, 1903); digitised publication by New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc03Cycl-t1-body1-d6-d101-d2.html).
  2. “[Temuka]“,  The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District], (The Cyclopedia Company Limited, 1903); digitised publication by New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc03Cycl-t1-body1-d6-d97-d1.html)
  3. “QuickStats about Temuka”, 2006 Census Data, Statistics New Zealand, (http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2006CensusHomePage.aspx : accessed 10 Feb 2012).

Excerpts from The Cyclopedia of New Zealand shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand Licence.

St Bede’s College Sports, 1928

My grandfather Dominic Gaffaney was a boarder at St Bede’s College, Christchurch, NZ for two years – from 1927 to 1928.  The college is the oldest Roman Catholic Boys’ College in the South Island, founded by Marist priests in 1911, and the only Catholic day and boarding college for boys in the South Island.1

Also attending St Bede’s at the time was his cousin Jim Brosnahan, and his first cousin George Gaffaney.  I love to imagine a bit of family rivalry going on between the three of them, especially when it came to sporting endeavours.

The annual sports of St. Bede’s College, held at the sports grounds, produced the usual keen competition and healthy rivalry, and although there were no outstanding performances the meeting was thoroughly enjoyable.

The senior championship was won by J. Brosnahan, a very promising distance runner and field athlete, G. Gaffaney and D. Gaffaney sharing second place.2

The following events where Dominic was placed:

220yds. Grand Handicap, Open (record, 22 2/5 sec., T.H.Lee, 1924) – First heat: J. Phelan (9yds.) 1, D Gaffaney (scr) 2, Time, 25 sec. Second heat: G. Gaffaney (1yd.) 1, G. Josephs (9yds.) 2, Time, 26 sec. Final: Phelan 1, G. Joseph 2, G. Gaffaney 3. Time, 25 sec.

440yds. Grand Handicap (record 58 4/5 sec. T.H.Lee, 1924) – A. Devonport (10yds.) 1, W. Doyle (20yds.) 2, D. Gaffaney (scr.) 3, Devonport ran splendidly to win very easily. Time 56 4/5 sec.

Mile Senior Championship (record, L. Carmody, 5 min. 1 sec., 1927) – J. Brosnahan 1, D. Gaffaney 2, F. McHugh 3. Time, 5 min. 10 sec.

880yds. Senior Championship (record, 2 min. 13 4/5 sec., J. Payne 1923) – J. Brosnahan 1, D. Gaffaney 2, J. McHugh 3. Time, 2 min, 26 4/5 sec.

440yds. Senior Championship – D. Gaffaney 1, J. Brosnahan 2, G. Gaffaney 3. Time, 59 1/5 sec.
Long Jump, Senior Championship (record, 18ft. 6 ½ in., J. Hendren, 1927) – G. Gaffaney 1, J. Brosnahan 2, D. Gaffaney 3. Distance, 16ft. 2 ½ in.

220yds. Senior Championship (record, 22 3/5 sec., T. H. Lee, 1924) – D. Gaffaney 1, G. Gaffaney 2, F. Foster 3. Time, 25 1/5 sec.

100yds. Senior Championship (record, 10 sec., T. H. Lee, 1924) – G. Gaffaney 1, D. Gaffaney 2, F. Foster 3. Time, 12 2/5 sec.3

In the 1928 rugby season, all three boys made it into the First XV – with George as captain.4

1928 First XV, St Bede's College, Christchurch, NZ

1928 First XV, St Bede's College, Christchurch, NZ

Standing: D. Gaffaney, G. Joseph, K. McMenamin, O. Scully, M. O’Reilly, E. Duncan
Sitting: J. Blackmore, J. Ryan, J. Brosnahan, G. Gaffaney (Capt.), M. Gonley, F. Foster, W. Thiele
In front: G. Duggan, O. O’Sullivan
Absent: W. Quirk (Vice-Capt.), J. Egden, W. Grennell, V. Coughlan, V. Cahill, P. Loughnan.

(St Bede’s is celebrating their centennial this year, postponed from last year due to the earthquakes in Christchurch.)

  1. Wikipedia, “St Bede’s College, Christchurch”, article; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bede%27s_College,_Christchurch : accessed 07 July 2011.
  2. The Bedean, St Bede’s College (Christchurch: 1928), p 56.
  3. The Bedean, (1928), p 57
  4. The Bedean, (1928)

Competing Cousins ~ Wordless Wednesday

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

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

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

John and Hanorah Brosnahan ~ Tombstone Tuesday

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!

Gravestone, John & Hanorah Brosnahan, Temuka Cemetery, South Canterbury, NZ

Gravestone, John & Hanorah Brosnahan, Temuka Cemetery, South Canterbury, NZ ~ January 2012

In Loving Memory
of

John Joseph
Brosnahan
Who Died March 2nd 1900
aged 15 Years

R.I.P

Also John
Beloved Husband of
Hanorah Brosnahan
Who Died Aug 24th 1926,
Aged 85 Years
Also His Beloved Wife
Hanorah
Who Died Nov 22nd 1928
Aged 86 Years

Also Leo Brosnahan Beloved Son of
Patrick & Nora Brosnahan
Died June 16th 1917
Aged 17 Years

Annie Kleim
R.I.P

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.

  1. 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).

The Brosnahans (no, not those ones, these ones)

My great great grandmother Margaret Brosnahan (1844 – 1927) arrived in New Zealand at Timaru on December 16, 1862 aboard the Echunga, which had left London on September 10.  Travelling with her was her brother, John.1

John Brosnahan

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

There are a heap of Brosnahans in early South Canterbury, many (most?) descending from a Hugh Brosnahan and Deborah Butler, from County Kerry, Ireland. Their family settled in the area known as Kerrytown.2   (A descendent, Seán Brosnahan, has published a history of the family, The Kerrytown Brosnahans, which I’d love to find a copy of.)  As far as I know, we’re not related to that lot, but it’s a bit hard to sort the wheat from the chaff with so many Brosnahans knocking around the area. (Er, no offence intended to you other Brosnahans!)

Anyway, I wanted to know what happened to my great great great uncle John.  Part of my reason for following up John’s family was that my grandfather had a cousin, Jim Brosnahan, who was at high school at the same time.  Later, as Fr Jim S.M., he married my grandfather and grandmother – it was the first wedding ceremony he conducted.  But, I couldn’t figure out how he fitted into the family – was he related by blood or marriage?

From information my father had, it appeared John had married a Hanorah O’Driscoll.  I found a likely entry in the online NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages  and so ordered a printout of the marriage registration.

John Brosnahan, 23, Labourer, and Hannah Driscole [sic], 21, Servant, were married in the Catholic church in Christchurch on March 31st, 1865.3  No parents’ information was given – customary for marriages registered in New Zealand before 1880 (very frustrating!).  The witnesses were Matthew Driscole, Labourer, Christchurch, and Mary Brosnahan, Servant, Christchurch.

Searching the BDM indexes for possible children of John and Hanorah proved fruitless – none seem to be listed, even after checking variant spellings.  How could I find them?

  1. South Canterbury GenWeb, “The Echunga Arrives”, transcription (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nzlscant/echunga.htm), from Lyttelton Times, December 24, 1862.
  2. Michael Brosnahan,”Family Tree”, (http://www.thebrosies.org/our-family-tree.php : accessed 2011).
  3. New Zealand, marriage certificate for John Brosnahan and Hannah Driscole [O’Driscoll],31 Mar 1865, Catholic Church, Christchurch, 1865/7579, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.