Tag Archives: Taranaki

Remembering ~ Matrilineal Monday

Today would have been my Nanna’s 96th birthday. She passed away on the 2nd of February this year, four days before I was due to arrive in New Zealand to see her.

George, Jean & Naomi McGonnell (date unknown)

George, Jean & Naomi McGonnell (date unknown)

She was born Myrtle Jean Louisa McGonnell in Lepperton, Taranaki, New Zealand on April 4th, 1915, the only child of George Tunnecliffe McGonnell and Naomi Myrtle Florey.  She was always known as Jean (though the kids at school used to call her ‘Mac’).  She married my grandfather George Alexander Wright on November 16th, 1940 in New Plymouth, Taranaki.  They lived in Hawera, Taranaki, and brought up two children there, one of them being my mother.  George died in 1986, and several years later, Jean moved down to Paraparamu on the Kapiti Coast to be near my mother.  She remarried at the ripe old age of 90, and her and her husband celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary and 95th birthdays together last year.

Naomi Myrtle Florey (date unknown)

Naomi Myrtle Florey (date unknown)

Jean’s mother Naomi Myrtle Florey was born on February 4th, 1892 in Waitara, Taranaki, the youngest child and only daughter of Henry John Forrest Florey and Hannah Elizabeth Horne1.  Naomi married George McGonnell on February 24th, 1914 at St Mary’s Church, New Plymouth.2 She died on September 18th, 1948 in Taranaki.3

Naomi’s mother Hannah Elizabeth Horne was born about 1864 in Cape Town, South Africa, and arrived in New Zealand around 1865 with her parents Edward Horne and Elizabeth Rose.4 Hannah married Henry John Forrest Florey on March 10th, 1885 in Auckland.5 She died a tragic death on March 9th, 1907, when Naomi was just 15 years old.4

  1. New Zealand, birth certificate for Naomi Myrtle Florey; 04 Feb 1892, Waitara citing 1892/1422, Births, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.
  2. South Taranaki District Council, “Cemetery Register,” http://public.stde.govt.nz/cemeteries/, accessed: 03 Nov 2010.
  3. New Zealand, marriage certificate for George Tunnecliffe McGonnell & Naomi Myrtle Florey; 24 Feb 1924, New Plymouth, Taranaki; citing 1914/9563, Births, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.
  4. New Zealand, death certificate for Hannah Elizabeth Florey; 09 Mar 1907, Auckland; citing 1907/218, Births, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.
  5. New Zealand, marriage certificate for Henry John Forrest Florey & Annie Horne; 10 Mar 1885, Auckland; citing 1885/65, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.

Matrilineal Monday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Who’s yer daddy?

Henry Richard Florey is my great great grandfather on my mother’s side.

I got the tip-off from his son’s marriage certificate.1 Henry’s son (Henry John Forrest) had married in Auckland, New Zealand in 1885, but he’d been born in Chatham, England around 1862.

So where did his father Henry Richard come from, and who were his parents?

I headed off to look for him in the 1871 England census. And there he was.

On census night in 1871, he was living in Rochester, Kent in Five Bells Navy & Army Beerhouse, with wife Elizabeth Ann and son Henry.  Henry (Richard) was head of household with an occupation of “Tailor & Beerhouse Keeper”, and his birthplace listed as Yalding, Kent.2

Hurrah! Now to find his marriage record…

On 15 February 1863, Henry had married Elizabeth Ann Byford at the Union Street Chapel in the district of Medway “according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Bible Christians”.3 At the time of their marriage, they both resided in New Road, Chatham (Kent).  Henry’s father is listed as “Richard Florey (deceased)” with an (obviously previous) occupation of labourer.


In 1861 and 1851, I can find no trace of Henry at all.  (I have to confess, when first searching for Henry in the censuses, I misread, on both his marriage certificate and 1871 census, his occupation as “Sailor” rather than “Tailor” and imagined him sailing the high seas during this time.  Now however, I don’t think there is much call for a tailor aboard ship. Though I could be wrong there.  Again.)

And I couldn’t find a death record for his father Richard. Or a likely marriage for his parents. Ho hum.

In the 1841 census, I found a 1 year old Henry Florey in Wateringbury, Kent, which is just down the road from Yalding, my Henry’s birthplace.  This Henry is living with his mother Elizabeth Florey 37,  and her daughter and sons:  Jane Florey 18, William Florey 17, and John Florey 5.  Henry’s birthplace is ticked as ‘in county’.4

On FamilySearch, I found a baptism record for a Henry Richard Florey in Yalding in 1840.5 His mother is listed as Elizabeth Florey, but there is no father’s name given…  and despite his birth being after compulsory registration, I can find no record of his birth in the GRO index on FreeBMD.

Finally I got round to ordering Henry’s death certificate.  He died on 27 May 1916 in Lepperton, Taranaki, New Zealand, and was buried in Lepperton Cemetery on 30 May 1916.6 New Zealand death certificates can be a gold mine of information, if the informant of the death knew enough about the deceased.  Henry’s father is listed as ” — Florey” (grrrrrrr!).  His mother is given as Elizabeth Ann Knott – so I now have a maiden name!

On FamilySearch I found a marriage for a James Florey and Elizabeth Jane Knott in 1820 in Frindsbury, Kent. 7 Could this be the one? I then went searching for baptism records for Jane and William – and found Jane! Well, a likely candidate, at least: Jane Elizabeth Flora [sic], born 13 Dec 1824, baptised 02 Jan 1825 in St Margaret, Rochester, Kent.8 No sign of William. Or John.

If the family in the 1841 census is Henry’s, could the older two children be James’s children?  Had Elizabeth then had William and Henry with another man (or men?). Or is it more likely that James could be Henry’s father, and Henry got his dad’s name wrong when he married…?

1. New Zealand, marriage certificate for Henry John Forrest Florey and Annie Horne; 10 Mar 1885, Auckland; citing 1885/65, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.

2. “1871 England Census, Henry Florey (age 28) household, St Margaret, Rochester, Kent,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 02 Mar 2010), citing PRO RG10/904, folio 29, p 16, GSU roll: 823489, Medway registration district, Rochester sub-registration district, ED 12, household 65, 2 Apr 1871.

3. England, marriage certificate for Henry Richard Florey and Elizabeth Ann Byford; 15 Feb 1863, Medway, Kent, England; citing 1863 Mar [quarter] 02a [vol] 466 [page], General Register Office, Southport.

4. “1841 England Census, Elizabeth Florey (age 37) household, Wateringbury, Kent,” Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.co.uk, accessed 02 Mar 2010, citing PRO Class: HO107; Piece 464; Book: 2; Folio: 22; Page: 6; Line: 21; GSU roll: 306859, Registration district: Malling, sub-registration district; East Peckham, ED 2, 06 Jun 1841.

5. “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975″, database, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org/, accessed 5 Nov 2010).

6. New Zealand, death certificate for Henry Richard Florey; 27 May 1916, New Plymouth; citing 1916/4344, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.

7. “England Marriages, 1538-1973″, database, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org, accessed 23 Nov 2010)

8. “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975″, database, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org/, accessed 30 Dec 2010).