Tag Archives: South Canterbury

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.

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.

James & Ann Brosnan ~ Tombstone Tuesday

James and Ann (Collins) Brosnan are my 3 x great grandparents. I’m not sure why they used that particular spelling of their surname here – they seemed to have used a couple of spellings interchangeably, but ‘Brosnan’ is now etched on their gravestone. The rest of the family all appear to have consistently used ‘Brosnahan’.

Gravestone, James & Ann Brosnan, also Annie Brosnan, Temuka Cemetery, South Canterbury

Gravestone, James & Ann Brosnan, also Annie Brosnan, Temuka Cemetery, South Canterbury

 

In Loving Memory
of
JAMES BROSNAN
who died 23rd Sept 1890
Aged 76 Years

R. I. P.

also ANN
wife of the above
died May 15th 1902
Aged 85 Years

also their daughter
ANNIE
died Dec 28 1944
Aged 89

R. I. P.

Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

St Patrick’s church, Waimate, South Canterbury, NZ

St Patrick's church, Waimate (photo probably taken 1920s)

St Patrick's church, Waimate (photo probably taken 1920s)

St Patrick's church, Waimate ~ January 2012

St Patrick's church, Waimate ~ January 2012

St Patrick’s church in Waimate was opened on October 24th, 1909, replacing the original church that had been built in 1876 of local heart timber.  It was renovated in 1954. ( The original church was moved to Washdyke in 1934, where it remains today.)1

  1. Waimate District Council, “Waimate Churches“, (http://www.waimatedc.govt.nz/Waimate/Community/waimatechurches.htm : accessed 19 Feb 2012).

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)

 

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.