Tag Archives: Brosnahan

The Brosnan ~ Follow Friday

Seán Brosnahan, the Ceann Fine of the Brosnan Clan, now has a website:  The Brosnan. The exciting news is that he’s made available some of his historical work, including the whole texts of The Kerrytown Brosnahans and Thinking About Heaven: A History of Sacred Heart Parish Timaru, both of which are now out of print and very difficult to get hold of. No longer! His articles, mostly focusing on 19th and early 20th century Irish Catholic issues and experiences in New Zealand, make for fascinating reading.

Seán’s collection of photographs on the site include those from The Kerrytown Brosnahans, as well as some that didn’t make it into the book. There are also photographs and a video from the Brosnan Clan Gathering last year in Co Kerry.

Keep an eye on the site for news of Brosna(ha)n happenings around the world.

Follow Friday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

My Genealogy Year 2013 ~ Accentuate the Positive!

February already and I’m only just getting round to my first post of the new year. Too late to join in GeniAUS’s Accentuate the Positive geneameme?? I hope not! Last year Jill came up with this great way to celebrate the genealogical highs of the previous twelve months, rather than dwell on any lows.

Here’s how 2013 panned out for me…

Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary

Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary

An elusive ancestor I found was a likely candidate for my 3 x great grandmother. Her son Henry John Forrest Florey had a different mother’s name on each of three vital records: “Henrietta Florey (formerly Byford)” on his birth registration in 1862, “Elizabeth Ann Florey” on his 1863 baptism record, and “Henrietta White” on his marriage record in 1885. My ancestors seem adept at the ol’ smoke and mirrors game, but I think I have finally discovered who Henry’s real mother probably is.

An ancestor’s grave I found was that of my 3 x great grandfather Thomas Gaffney. To be exact, I think we have found the record of his burial and the plot location. To find his actual grave will require a spike, a spade, and a large amount of elbow grease. Unless, of course, it was one of the graves that was washed away in Manchester’s great flood of 1872.

An important vital record I found was my 3 x great uncle John Burke’s baptism record. This broke down a huge brick wall and has helped pinpoint the area in Co Mayo from where my Burke family emigrated in the 1850s. It was wonderful to share the discovery with a Burke cousin, who was just as excited as I was!

My 2013 blog post that I was particularly proud of was the one commemorating the gallantry of my (first, three times removed) cousin, Peter Gaffaney, mostly because of the research involved.

My 2013 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was my Revisiting the Brosnahans post, marking my two year blogiversary.

A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was Google’s Hangout on Air. I haven’t quite figured it all out yet, but I managed to participate in one of Jill Ball’s GeniAUS hangouts in December and it was a lot of fun. My second attempt to join one last month didn’t work out so well, but I’ve since watched Mike Delagado’s immensely helpful video tutorial How to Join a Google+ Hangout for the First Time, so I am hopeful for the next time!

A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was all of them! I attended workshops at WDYTYA? Live in February, an IHGS tutorial weekend in March, the Exodus conference in September, and best of all – Back to our Past in Dublin with my father in October. I also learnt a lot from Relative Roots‘ three Genetic Genealogy Demystified webinars.

A genealogy book that taught me something new was Simon Fowler’s Tracing Your Army Ancestors.

The National Archives, Kew, London

The National Archives, Kew, London

A great repository/archive/library I visited was the Aldershot Military Museum‘s archive (by appointment only), and also the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock, both of which I hadn’t visited before. Even more exciting was my first trip to The National Archives at Kew, followed up by two more visits during the year. I made good use of the Society of Genealogists‘ library while attending several talks there, and checked out the new Kent History and Library Centre. And not forgetting my quick visits to the Valuation Office and National Library of Ireland while in Dublin. 2013 was a great year for ‘out and about’ research!

It was exciting to finally meet an O’Rourke cousin in Cork, a Burke cousin in London, and some Brosnahan cousins from New Zealand.

A geneadventure I enjoyed was my trip to the Brosnan Clan Gathering held in Castleisland, Co Kerry, in July. I think this would have to be the genealogical highlight of my year, meeting the aforementioned Brosnahan cousins and enjoying the amazing hospitality of our Irish kinfolk. It was a truly magical journey back to our “homeland”.

O'Rourke cottage, Ballymacdonnell, Co Kerry

O’Rourke cottage, Ballymacdonnell, Co Kerry

Another positive I would like to share is I got to see the O’Rourke family’s cottage in Ballymacdonnell, Co Kerry, where my 2x great grandfather Bartholomew was born, and the family’s grave plot where Bartholomew’s father, uncles and grandfather are all buried.

Thanks again to Jill for the opportunity to share my year of family history research and learning. You can read about the 2013 highlights of other geneabloggers through her GeniAUS website.

Chief of the Brosnan clan

As part of the Brosnan Clan Gathering last month, a Ceann Fine or “clan chieftain” was inaugurated at the Festival Banquet. There were great cheers from the Kiwi contingent when Seán Brosnahan’s name was announced. (Not sure the ash stick will make it through NZ customs, though.)

Sean Brosnahan, the new Ceann Fine

MC Mark Daly and Fr Dan Riordan with Sean Brosnahan, the new Ceann Fine.

Seán is the author of The Kerrytown Brosnahans, a book about his East Kerry ancestors who emigrated to New Zealand in the mid 19th century, and lived in the area of South Canterbury known as “Kerrytown”.  Sean describes his initial journey to Ireland to find his ancestral roots, details his and the many other Brosnahan families that settled in New Zealand, and includes an extensive listing of the descendents of those first Brosnahan settlers.  Seán is Curator at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Under Brehon Law the leaders of Irish clans were acclaimed by their kinsmen as custodians of the clan. This clan system formed the basis of society in Ireland up to the 17th century. The Ceann Fine was responsible for maintaining and protecting the clan and its property. This often meant leading his clan in battle on land and sea. In the old ages he was the military and political chief of his clan and the go-to person if someone wished to petition their regional king.
The Ceann Fine would also have held all sorts of social responsibilities to his clan members, including the fertility of the land and for protecting his clan against the blight and plague of any sort.
In the modern age he would provide an equally important role, that of unity and family identity, bearing importance on familial relations and establishing a deep seated sense of cultural pride. He will be often at times the only link one disparate sept of a clan shares with the larger sept, creating a sense of security and unity.
- Brosnan Clan Gathering, Facebook page

Brosnan Clan Gathering, Castleisland, Co Kerry

The East Kerry Roots Festival & Brosnan Clan Gathering was held in Castleisland, Co Kerry, over four days last weekend.  I am still trying to recover!

It was a fabulous event, well-organised and offering a whole range of walks, talks and everything in between.  By a stroke of pure luck, I ended up in the same bed & breakfast establishment as a (previously unmet) third cousin and his wife from New Zealand, as well as two lovely women travelling on their own like me.

There didn’t seem to be any time to rest at all over the four days – the festival programme was jam-packed with events and you didn’t want to miss out on anything.  For me the highlights were:

  • hearing one of my favourite poems read in the original Irish at the poetry reading session
  • Seán Brosnahan’s illuminating talk on Irish emigration to New Zealand in the 19th century
  • learning to play the bodhrán, bones and spoons
  • story-telling and songs at the rambling house in Farranfore on Friday night
  • the polka and sean nós dancing workshop
Maura's Rambling House, Farranfore

Maura’s Rambling House, Farranfore

And, of course, not forgetting  the bus trips to traditional villages and graveyards in the area, Saturday night’s festival banquet, Mass on Sunday morning at Currow, and the bog walk in Kilcummin.  Top of the list has to be meeting so many wonderful people, both local and from further afield.  There were over 20 Brosnahans from New Zealand alone!  (Pokarekare Ana was sung many times over the course of the weekend.)

There were opportunities to chat to local genealogy experts, but I spent most of my time enjoying the cultural activities and exploring the area my ancestors left a century and a half ago.

Music workshop at O'Riada's, Ballymacelligot

Music workshop at O’Riada’s, Ballymacelligott

Unfortunately I had to leave on Sunday afternoon to catch my flight home from Cork, so missed out on the farewell concert, but I heard it was fantastic!

My only suggestion would be to have a larger pub/venue for the some of the evening events.  For instance, the Poet’s Inn is a lovely wee pub in Castleisland, but couldn’t fit us all in on the Thursday evening.

My special thanks has to go to Joan, one of the festival organisers, who was so helpful before the weekend, putting me in touch with a relation from the area.  I think this is what made the gathering so special – we were all made to feel very welcome, even before we’d set foot in Ireland, by the locals and organisers alike.  Thanks also to Maggie,  our terrific guide on many of the tours.

Bog walk, Kilcummin

Bog walk, Kilcummin

Brosna, Co Kerry, Ireland ~ Wordless Wednesday

Brosna, ancestral home of the Brosnahans?

Brosna, ancestral home of the Brosnahans?

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

In celebration of Marriage ~ Wedding Wednesday

A post to commemorate the passing of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill in New Zealand today, which ensures that all people, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity will have the opportunity to marry if they so choose (and in doing so, will create some interesting scenarios for us family historians!).

The wedding of William Hally and Margaret Gaffaney, 20 November 1900.  This photo was taken in front of Belper House, the home of Margaret's parents, Michael and Margaret.

The wedding of William Hally and Margaret Gaffaney, 20 November 1900. This photo was taken in front of Belper House, the home of Margaret’s parents, Michael and Margaret, in Arowhenua, South Canterbury, NZ.  (Larger version 1.4Mb)

Wedding 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.

 

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.