Tag Archives: O’Rourke

Bartholomew O’Rourke ~ Tombstone Tuesday

O'Rourke family burial plot, Napier Hill, Napier

O'Rourke family burial plot, Napier Hill, Napier

Sacred to the memory
Patrick James O’Rourke
died 13th Aug 1908
Mary Josephine O’Rourke
died 11th Feb 1882
James Thomas Power O’Rourke
died 12th July 1914
Bridget Power O’Rourke
died 18 July 1914
Bartholomew O’Rourke Senr
died 13th Nov 1920
aged 79yrs 10mths
Brigid Power O’Rourke
died 15 May 1964
Sweet Jesus have mercy on their souls

My great great grandfather Bartholomew O’Rourke is buried in Old Napier Cemetery, Napier Hill, Napier, New Zealand in a family plot, along with sons Patrick James O’Rourke and James Thomas Power O’Rourke, daughters Mary Josephine O’Rourke and Brigid Power O’Rourke, and wife Bridget Power O’Rourke.

Many thanks to the kind Trade Me genealogy forum member who located and photographed the gravestone for me.

  1. Old Napier Cemetery (Napier Hill, Napier, New Zealand), Bartholomew O’Rourke & family gravestone, Section T Headstone Ref 1207; photograph supplied by [NAME FOR PRIVATE USE], January 2011.

Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

NZ Research plan

Auckland Archives office

  • Probate file for Elsie Adelaide Nunns – 1985 (great grandmother)
  • Customs Inwards letter – The High Commissioner for New Zealand, London – Alexander Wright – passenger to Auckland per “Rimutaka” leaving London 12 June 1908 (possibly great grandfather)

Wellington Archives office

  • Probate file for Patrick James O’Rourke – 1908 (great great uncle)
  • Probate file for George Tunnecliff – 1912 (great great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for Alice Tunnecliff – 1919 great great great uncle’s wife)
  • Probate file for Henry Richard Florey – 1916 (great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for Elizabeth Ann Florey – 1922 (great great grandfather’s wife)
  • Probate file for Michael McGonnell – 1929 (great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for George Tunnecliff – 1942 (great great great uncle)
  • Coroners Inquest Report for Henry (Harry) Florey (great great grandfather)
  • Coroners Inquest Report for Annie Florey (great great grandmother)

National Library, Wellington

  • NZ Tablet – obituary for Bartholomew O’Rourke – 1923 (great great grandfather)
  • NZ Tablet – obituary for Bridget Power O’Rourke – 1914 (great great grandmother)


  • Locate cassette tape of Lallie Coppinger’s interview (first cousin, twice removed)
  • Take photograph of St Mary of the Angels church, Wellington – grandparents’ wedding venue
  • Remuera cemetery, Auckland – locate burial plot for Annie Florey
  • Take photographs of living relatives!
  • Identify as many people/places in photographs as possible in my father’s collection
  • Scan older photographs and documents in my father’s collection
  • Collect information about paternal grandfather’s life for future assignment

I think this might be a bit ambitious, given that we’re only in New Zealand for three weeks, and it’s supposed to be a holiday for the whole family, and not just me! Reviewing the list, I’m not sure it’s worth going to the Auckland Archives office this trip, as I think the only time I’ll have to do it, will be just after a 26 hour flight with three kids. Yikes!

Two more sleeps and we’re off – can’t wait!

O baptism record, where art thou? ~ Bartholomew O’Rourke

I’ve been trying to find a birth or baptism record for Bartholomew O’Rourke. There’s lots of pointers to what year I should be looking at. From his obituary, marriage certificate, death certificate and his daughter Margaret’s birth certificate, I get a birth year range from 1842 to 1844. The most compelling piece of evidence, though, is his gravestone. According to the inscription1, he was 79 years and 10 months (that’s being fairly precise!) when he died on 13 November 1923, which makes a likely birth date of around February 1844.

It wasn’t until I got hold of his death certificate that I finally verified his parents’ names.  I’d been told their names via a family member, but I needed to see proof. Bartholomew’s parents were Michael O’Rourke, farmer,  and Catherine O’Rourke, formerly O’Callaghan.2

According to Bartholomew’s obituary, he was from Currens, Co Kerry, and I found a Currans in Kerry on Google Maps.

View Rourke family, Co Kerry in a larger map
Luckily, parish records for Co Kerry are available online, or at least, a transcription of them. Irishgenealogy.ie‘s database includes not only the records from Kerry, but also Dublin City, Carlow and Cork.3

Currens is in the parish of Killeentierna, where I found records that mentioned several Michael Rourkes, including one with a spouse named Catherine Callaghan/Callihan/O’Callaghan.

Searching the baptism records from 14 Mar 1827 through till 05 Sep 1879, I found the following children of Michael and Catherine, and the townland where they were living:

Mary – 10 Oct 1837, Ballymacdonnell
Ellen – 24 Nov 1843, Ballymacdonnell
Johanna – 29 Mar 1846, Ballymacdonnell
Margaret – 1 Oct 1848, Ballymacdonnell
John – 15 Mar 1850, Kilfylm
Catherine – 18 Jun 1852, Ballymacdonnell
Bridget – 21 Jul 1854, Ballymacdonnell
Honora – 22 Oct 1856, Ballymacdonnell
Ellen – 24 Dec 1859, Kilfelim

Now, that looks like a mighty big gap between Mary and Ellen. It doesn’t quite fit in with the 1844 birthdate for Bartholomew, and certainly, if the children were baptised within a month or two of birth, there is no way Bartholomew could have been born that close to Ellen. Still, maybe Ellen was baptised late, and he was born after her. Or Bartholomew had lied about his age, or wasn’t even sure himself. I would definitely have expected at least one more child between the two older girls, so maybe that’s where he fits in?

Of course, this is assuming that I have the right family, but it seems likely to me, given the right area, and the right parents’ names. I’m interested to know how complete the records actually are, and if there is a particular reason my Bartholomew’s record appears missing.

There are several Bartholomew Rourkes baptised in the parish, but with different parents. My current theory is that Michael Rourke’s father was Bartholomew, and he (along with several of his brothers) named their first sons, Bartholomew. It will require a lot of work going through the parish records to even begin to prove this hypothesis. Something to add to my To Do list!

  1. Old Napier Cemetery (Napier Hill, Napier, New Zealand), Bartholomew O’Rourke gravestone, Section T Headstone Ref 1207; photograph supplied by [NAME FOR PRIVATE USE], January 2011.
  2. New Zealand, death certificate for Bartholomew O’Rourke; 13 Nov 1923, Napier; citing 1923/4896, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.
  3. Dept of Tourism, Culture & Sport. “Search Church Records”. Database of transcriptions, church records for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kerry. Irish Genealogy. http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/ : accessed 13 Nov 2010.

Bartholomew O’Rourke ~ Wordless Wednesday

Bartholomew O'Rourke

Bartholomew O'Rourke (1844 - 1923)

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

From the Emerald Isle to the Land of the Long White Cloud

Bartholomew O’Rourke’s obituary contains lots of valuable information about his life – so now it’s a matter of verifying it.  According to the “correspondent”, Bartholomew was 23 went he left Ireland, and arrived in Lyttleton in 1866 aboard the Blue Jacket.

The Blue Jacket sailed from London on 15 July 1866 under the command of Captain James White, and arrived in Lyttelton 14 October 1866.

The Press October 16th 1866

The fine vessel Blue Jacket, commanded by Captain White, arrived and anchored in harbour on Sunday about half-past five pm after a passage of ninety days. Dr Donald, health officer, went down at half-past seven and gave her a clean bill of health. The passengers speak most highly of the treatment they have received at the hands of the captain and his officers, and also of the doctor (Macdonald), to whom flattering testimonials were given. We are informed by Captain White that he has been near the coast since the 5th. The following is an account of her passage:- Left Gravesend on the 15th July at half-past three, weighed anchor and proceeded in tow of a steam tug. Sailed through the Downs same day at four pm; discharged pilot off the Isle of Wight. Passed Start Point same day. On the 18th signalled the ship Star of Tasmania from London to Otago, and another ship in company, supposed the be the Electra.On the 27th passed Madeira to the westward. On the 31st signalled the ship Anna Cecilia, from London to Melbourne. Crossed the Equator in long 24deg 50min W.; had good S E trades. On the 15th September passed the meridian of the Cape of Good Hope in lat 43deg 21min S. Passed north of the Crozet and Kerguelen Islands on the 22nd, in lat 48deg 48min, long 92deg 12min E., and encountered a heavy gale. Passed the meridian of Cape Lewin in lat 48deg 22min S.; saw a large iceberg about 500 feet high and from two and a-half to three miles in circumference. On the 30th passed the meridian of Port Philip. On October 6 passed Auckland Islands; ran down easting in 47 and 48deg, and since that time had light and baffling winds. Yesterday the Commissioners went down and inspected the emigrants and accommodation, and expressed themselves in terms of commendation as regarded accommodation. The emigrants brought out are certainly a superior lot, and we have no doubt but that the single young women will obtain immediate employment.1

Unfortunately, I can find no Blue Jacket passenger list with Bartholomew listed. There are several lists published online. Of the two I found on Rootsweb, one lists only the “assisted and free passengers”, and the other passenger list includes the cabin passengers. The former list notes that the cabin passengers are missing, and gives several possible names, but none of these are in the latter’s list of cabin passengers.

A list on New Zealand Yesteryears makes no distinction between passengers, and doesn’t list Bartholomew either. On this site I also checked the lists for arrival of the Blue Jacket on 13 Nov 1865, 30 August 1867, and 30 October 1868, to no avail.

It’s possible he was a paying cabin passenger and he was missed during transcription.  Perhaps he stole a ticket and travelled under another name?  Or maybe he came on another ship, and the “correspondent” was misinformed?

  1. “Arrival of the Blue Jacket”, transcript by Denise & Peter, at Rootsweb, (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ourstuff/ArrivalBlueJacket1866.htm : accessed 24 Jan 2011); citing original publication in The Press, 16 October 1866.

Note: “Land of the Long White Cloud” is the common English translation of Aotearoa, the Māori name for New Zealand.

Bartholomew O’Rourke ~ Sunday’s Obituary

Bartholomew O'Rourke obituary 1923

Bartholomew O’Rourke obituary, 6 Dec 1923 (publication unknown)




There passed away on the 13th inst., at his home in Napier, in his 80th year, Mr. Bartholomew O’Rourke (writes a correspondent). He was born in the parish of Currens, Co. Kerry, Ireland. When 23 years of age he left the Old Country on board the Blue Jacket. After an uneventful passage of three months he arrived at Lyttleton in 1866. In company with many other adventurous spirits he travelled westwards in search of gold and tried his luck at Hokitika; thence to Charleston where he was married by Monsignor Walshe. Eventually settling down in Napier, he established himself and built up an extensive carrying business. Throughout his long life he was distinguished by his intense faith. No member of St. Patrick’s Church was more assiduous in attending late or early, and none more unbending than he in the rigorous and absolute fulfilment of all the duties of a devout Catholic. In 1877 he followed out the instructions of the late Rev. Father Hennebery; and although he never took the pledge as being derogatory to his character as a man and his independence as a Christian, he became an absolute abstainer. The Rosary beads given him by that extraordinary missioner he cherished till the end. The Rosary he recited every night without fail for 46 years. According to instructions these beads were removed from his hands in death and hung round his neck. Nor was his love for Ireland less remarkable. Her history he knew well; all her efforts for freedom, every fight against oppression only fostered the fond hope he cherished of final and absolute triumph. Thus after a long life of fidelity to God and native land, feelings inherited by all his children, he passed away surrounded by nearly all his surviving sons and daughters, whilst the priest imparted the last blessing, and the good Sisters of the Missions recited the prayers for the dying. The numerous assemblage at the last sad rites bore testimony to the esteem of the public. The Rev. Father Tymons read the absolution, assisted in the sanctuary by the Rev. Fathers J. Goggan (Hastings) J. Schaeffer (Greenmeadows), Heffernan and Clancy. Messrs. T. Barry, J. Leany E. O’Brien, W. Ryan, J. Pearcy, P. Griffin (members of H.A.C.B. Society) acted as pallbearers – R.I.P.

Bartholomew O’Rourke is my great great grandfather, and I am descended from his daughter Margaret.

I think this clipping was a marvellous find, stashed away amongst my father’s family papers. I can’t be certain which newspaper it was published in, but from the style and language, I’m fairly sure it was the New Zealand Tablet, a monthly Catholic newspaper. I hope to check up on this next month.

  1. “Obituary”, 6 Dec 1923 clipping from unidentified newspaper; digital image; scan from Gaffaney family papers, 2006, supplied by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; original privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], great grandson of deceased.

Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Matching & Hatching ~ Michael Gaffaney & Margaret Brosnahan

Michael and Margaret Gaffaney (date unknown)1

Michael and Margaret Gaffaney (date unknown)

My great great grandparents, Michael Gaffaney and Margaret Brosnahan, married on December 26th, 1863 at the Catholic Chapel in Christchurch.   Michael gave his age as 23, and occupation labourer.  Margaret’s age was listed as “full”, and her occupation servant.2 According to Margaret’s obituary:

…the young couple having to visit Christchurch to get married. They travelled by coach, and the reason they had to go to Christchurch was that it was only twice a year a clergyman visited South Canterbury.

They lived at their farm “Belper” in Arowhenua, South Canterbury, named after Michael’s birthplace in Derbyshire, England. Michael and Margaret had fifteen children, with one being stillborn. They were:3 4

  • Susan GAFFANEY (1865 – 1954)
  • Annie GAFFANEY (1866 – 1937)
    • m. 1906 Robert John McCALLUM5
  • Margaret GAFFANEY (1868 – 1946)
    • m. 1900 William James HALLEY5
  • Ellen GAFFANEY (1870 – 1889)
  • Thomas John GAFFANEY (1872 – 1900)
  • Kate GAFFANEY (1874 – 1947)
    • m. 1897 Francis Buckland EARLY5
  • Michael Francis GAFFANEY (1876 – 1915)
    • m. 1905 Julia Agatha COUGHLAN5
  • James GAFFANEY (1877 – 1967)
    • m. 1910 Bridget LEARY
  • Peter Dominic GAFFANEY (1879 – 1954)
    • m. 1909 Margaret Monica O’ROURKE6
  • Mary Teresa Frances GAFFANEY (1882 – 1939)
    • m. 1906 Andrew BARRON5
  • Lucy Josephine GAFFANEY (1884 – 1952)
  • Joseph Arowhenua GAFFANEY (1886 – 1946)
  • Beatrice GAFFANEY (1888 – 1888)
  • Leo GAFFANEY (1890 – 1963)
    • m. 1922 Frances Mary HAILES5
  1. Gaffaney, Michael & Margaret (Brosnahan) photograph, date unknown; digital image; scan from Gaffaney family papers, 2006, supplied by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; original privately held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], great grandson of couple.
  2. New Zealand, marriage certificate for Michael Gaffaney and Margaret Brosnahan; 26 Dec 1863, Christchurch; citing 1863/927, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.
  3. [NAME FOR PRIVATE USE], Gaffaney Family Tree, GEDCOM file supplied to [NAME FOR PRIVATE USE], New Zealand, c.2002.
  4. NZ Dept of Internal Affairs, “Death Search,” database, Births, Deaths & Marriages Historical Records (https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/search/ : accessed 2010), entries for Susan Gaffaney (1954/26926), Annie McCallum (1937/27027), Margaret Halley (1946/29610), Ellen Gaffney (1889/5177), Thomas Gaffaney (1900/1426), Kate Early (1947/31561), Michael Gaffaney (1915/6780), James Gaffaney (1967/45590), Peter Gaffaney (1954/32898), Mary Barron (1939/15425), Lucy Gaffaney (1952/26370), Joseph Gaffaney 1946/33165), [Beatrice] Theresa Gaffney (1888/4557), Leo Gaffaney (1963/32342).
  5. NZ Dept of Internal Affairs, “Marriage Search”, database, Births, Deaths & Marriages Historical Records (https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/search/ : accessed 2010), entries for McCallum-Gaffaney (1906/5299), Halley-Gaffaney (1900/5738), Early-Gaffaney (1892/3565), Gaffaney-Coughlan (1905/6513), Gaffaney-Leary (1910/5144), Barron-Gaffaney (1906/5298), Gaffaney-Hailes (1922/3983).
  6. New Zealand, marriage certificate for Peter Gaffaney and Margaret O’Rourke; 09 Nov 1909, Napier; citing 1909/7835, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.