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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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Bridget (Power) O’Rourke ~ Sunday’s Obituary

Oh my word, it has been a long while since I’ve posted.  I have been busy with IHGS assignments, lots of family history research, and correspondence with distant cousins – hence this blog has been somewhat neglected.

Thanks to a fellow IHGS student, I now have a copy of my great great grandmother’s obituary from the New Zealand Tablet, and as I’ve lately been in contact with a few O’Rourke cousins, I thought it timely to share.

Obituary, Bridget O'Rourke, New Zealand Tablet, 30 Jul 1914

Obituary, Bridget O’Rourke, New Zealand Tablet, 30 Jul 1914

OBITUARY

MRS O’ROURKE, NAPIER

Death has laid its hand very heavily upon Mr
B. O’Rourke, sen., and his family during the last few
days (says the Hawke’s Bay Herald of July 20).  Fol-
lowing the death of the youngest son, Mr. James
O’Rourke, on Friday morning, Mrs O’Rourke, sen.,
passed away on Saturday morning.  The news caused
a profound shock to the community, and feelings of
widespread sympathy for the bereaved family.  The
deceased lady was an old colonist, having arrived in
New Zealand in the early ‘sixties, partaking of the ups
and downs of goldfields life at Charleston, on the West
Coast, where Mr. O’Rourke took a prominent part in
the pioneering work of those stirring times, eventually
coming to Napier, where the family have been well
and popularly connected with its business life since
1875.  Mrs. O’Rourke’s health had been failing for
some time, but her end was doubtless accelerated by
the shock of the death of her son James.  On Sunday the
remains of mother and son were laid to rest in the
Napier Cemetery, the cortege being one of the largest
seen in the city for many years.  A service was first
held at St. Patrick’s Church, and the final rites were
performed by the Rev. Fathers O’Sullivan and O’Con-
nor, the scene at the graveside, when the coffins con-
taining the remains of mother and son were lowered
into the one grave beside that of a son and brother,
who had died only a comparatively short time pre-
viously, being most impressive.  The members of the
H. A. C. B. Society, of which the late Mr. James
O’Rourke was a member, attended in full strength, and
acted as pall-bearers. – R.I.P.

Bridget O’Rourke died on 18 July 1914 in Napier, New Zealand, and is buried at the Old Napier Cemetery in the O’Rourke family plot.  Her cause of death was given as “Pneumonia, Syncope”.

Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

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What, June already? ~ (Very Un) Sorting Saturday

I don’t seem to be doing very well on blog posting lately!  I’d love to say that it’s because I’ve been concentrating on my IHGS assignment work, but that’d be a big fat lie.  There has been some family history research going on though, however not much filing and recording.

Most of the research I’ve been doing has involved travelling.  Back in April I managed a quick whizz around some villages in Staffordshire where my Tunnecliff(e) ancestor George may be from.  I had some helpful information from Tunnecliff descendents in Australia, and I’m hoping I can eventually prove a link to this particular Tunnecliff family.

Last week I was up in Scotland, chasing up my Burke and Philp ancestors, in Perth and Fife respectively.  With three kids in tow, it was a whistlestop tour of a few key places, but I did manage 30 minutes research at the A.K. Bell Library in Perth, poring over burial registers and valuation rolls.  I could have spent days in there!

A confession:  my record-keeping is C-R-A-P-O-L-A.  Things I thought I’d entered into Reunion are nowhere to be found.  Yup, still stuck somewhere in one of the fifty gazillion notebooks I write everything into.  *sigh*  I really notice how bad things are when trying to gather together info for a research trip, or attempting to answer an email from a distant relative (I will be in touch soon, I promise, once I’ve sorted out my notes!)

On a more positive (sorting) note, I’ve just cleaned out my RSS feed reader and drastically cut my blog subscriptions down to about thirty blogs – in the hope I’ll actually get to read all of them.  I think that’s about the only “housekeeping” I’ve done lately!

 

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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

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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.

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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.
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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.

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