Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Margaret FLANAGAN 1825-1912

Margarets probable TIMELINE                  

23 December 1825   birth to: John FLANAGAN and Mary BURKE probably Kilfenora, IRE
23 January 1856       married to: Michael MALLEY Kilfenora, County Clare, IRELAND
23 April 1883            emmigration:     from South Hampton, United Kingdom
16 June 1883            immigration:      to Lyttleton, Canterbury, New Zealand
05 April 1905             admission to:     Nazareth House, Christchurch, New Zealand 
11 Sept 1912     death:             fatty degeneration of heart at Nazareth House, Chch,  NZ.
13 Sep 1912       burial:                   Block 13B, plot 11.   Sydenham Cemetery, Chch, NZ

Siblings: Michael FLANAGAN (sponsored and paid for passage to NZ after husbands death)

Children:       John-      baptised 12 Dec 1858      sponsor: Michael Malone
                      Bridget-  baptised 20 April 1861    sponsors: Denis Flanagan, Mary Carroll
                      Michael- baptised 18 Feb 1863     sponsors: Michael Malone, Honora Hogan
                      Michael- baptised 25 Sept 1864    sponsors: Patrick Flanagan, Sarah O'Malley
                      Charles-  baptised 31 May 1866    sponsors: Thomas Carroll, Margaret Kierse
                      Sarah-    baptised 26 May 1869    sponsors: Denis Flanagan, Mary Hogan
                      Patrick (emigration records birth c1858-9)
 Correspondence:      Nazareth House/Sisters of Nazareth
                                   David Atkinson descendant of Margaret’s brother Michael-4
th cousin
                                   Tremauritz descendant of  Margaret’s daughter Bridget- 3rd cousin
                                   Clare Heritage Centre (17 Sept 2002)

 RECORDS:               Marriage (FMP from National Library of Ireland))
                                   Assisted Emigration (NZ Archives Passenger Lists)
                                   Death Certificate (NZ BDM)

                                   Cemetery record  (Christchurch Library Cemetery  Database)

Margaret and Michael married 23 Jan 1856 in the parish of Kilfenora, Barony of Corcomroe, Co Clare.

Witnesses: Michael & Margaret McNamara.

The priest was shown to charged $2 (pounds) to perform the ceremony.

Unfortunately from a research point of veiw Church Marriage Registers did not commense until 1864.

Parents and place of birth were not a requirement for documentation, however it was customary in Ireland at that time for the bride to be married in her native parish.

It is reasonable then to assume Margaret was born in the Kilfenora parish. 
Emmigrated to NZ 1883 aboard 'IONIC' 1883.  It would appear (by oral history given to David Atkinson) that after the death of her husband Michael O'Malley, Margaret was brought out to NZ with at least 4 of her children. Her fare paid by her brother Michael FLANAGAN who was already living in NZ. – noted on record as single woman, death cert as widow.

Records show the arrival of the "Ionic" which sailed from Southampton 23 April 1883, arriving Lyttleton 16 June 1883 witth passengers: O'Malley; Margaret aged 40, general servant, from Clare.
Patrick aged 24, labourer, from Clare.
Mary aged 23, general servant, from Clare.
Mary (Hogan) aged 23, general servant, from Clare.
                                      Bridget aged 22, general servant, from Clare.
Charles aged 21, general servant, from Clare.  
The 'Clare Heritage Centre' states: "it  is our experience from doing research down through the years that information the emmigrants gave with regard to their dates of birth were rarely if ever accurate with discrepancies of up to 4-5 years being commonplace. This was done for a variety of reasons ie. to obtain cheaper passage, better employment oppertunities, marriage propects etc 
Margarets death certificate states her age as 86 at time of death, it also states she had spent 50 years in NZ. 

Margaret is my maternal grandfathers Paternal grandmother, my 2x great grandmother
                                     Margaret --> 
 Patrick->Thomas --> Edna -->
Much of my information has been provided by David Atkinson, a 3rd cousin once removed  who was originally contacted through records and paper-trail and later confirmed through DNA testing.
According to information registered with Nazareth House, formally situated (pre 2011 earthquake) at Brougham Street, Christchurch, New Zealand,  Margaret was born to John FLANAGAN and Mary BURKE 23 December 1825 County Clare, IRELAND.
This date conflicts with immigration records held at Canterbury Museum which gives her age as 40 years upon her arrival at Canterbury in 12 June 1885 aboard the Ionic. However ages were often falsified to meet the immigration laws of the era.

                         Nazareth House, Brougham Street, Sydenham, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Based on my genealogical research this piece of flash fiction is written about a key event in the life of Margaret FLANAGAN. Some poetic licence has been taken and some gaps filled in without proof, but it rounds out an ancestor, adds character, personality and interest.

Margaret stood amid her four surviving offspring, they watched the coastline dissolve into the gloomy afternoon. She thought of the darling babbies and beloved man she left behind. They were covered with the same sod she was carrying in an old whiskey bottle tucked carefully away with her mammy’s lace kerchief  and the crumpled and tattered note she had received informing of husband Michaels death eight months ago.  
She shed silent tears that mingled with the salty sea spray. Her life in County Clare had not been easy... that it looked no better for Patrick, Mary, Bridget and Charles, impelled agreement to her brother’s offer of emigration to New Zealand. He had set sail from these same shores ten years hence and forged a new and prosperous life in the land so far away. None believed they would see him again but now he was providing an opportunity for his five kinfolk by paying their fares.
How she wished Michael was with her though.
"Come in Mammy, you’ll catch your death”, even her thickest woollen shawl couldn’t disguise the thin, slumped shoulders of her mother that Bridget gently put her arm around . Margaret smiled but the sadness of leaving hearth and homeland forever, even when coupled with the excitement of prospective changes, produced emotional bittersweetness.
Bíonn súil le muir ach ní bhíonn súil le tír -There is hope from the sea but none from the land,  this brings new meaning to the adage she thought.
She resisted looking back one more time... like the view, nothing was left there for her anymore.                                                                                          



Thursday, 11 December 2014

Phyllis Olive GREENFIELD 1904 - 1962


Phyllis Olive GREENFIELD was born on 20 Oct 1904 in Temuka, South Canterbury, New Zealand as the seventh child of Henry Greenfield and Frances MOFFET. She had six older siblings, namely: Earnest Henry (1888-1960), Albert Percy (1889-1962), Joseph Leslie 1891-1942), Eveline Frances (1893-1948), Alexander William Moffat (1895-1976), and Alice Dorothy (1900-1941).


In these family portraits Phyllis is the infant. Oral history states there was a nurse behind her mother Frances keeping her steady during the sitting. Phyllis would appear to be six to eight months old. Frances died when Phyllis was 13 months.

Her father remarried on 15 December 1909 to Annie LARCOMBE, Phyllis was aged five years and two months. She was soon to be big sister to two more siblings: Meta Ellinor (1910-1994), and Zora Joy (1912-1983).    
On 1 May 1930 when she was 25, 
Phyllis married George Henry KING,
son of Thomas KING and Isabella MILES,
in Christchurch, New Zealand
(at Knox House, Carlton Mill Rd, Christchurch).                                

George Henry KING and Phyllis Olive GREENFIELD had the following six children:

Dorothy Maisie KING (1930-2012), George Edward (1932-1980), Frances Margaret Betty (1934-1985), Robert Sydney (1936-2000), Eveline Shirley (1937-2001), and Trevor Harry (1940-1987).
left to right: Betty, Shirley, Dorothy, Ted and Sid (Trevor is missing from this photo)

Following an interview I had with daughters Shirley and Dorothy in 2006, I have surmised that Phyllis seems to have had a unhappy life. Her own mother died when she was still a baby and although I have seen photographs with Henry and his youngest daughters, none include Phyllis. Her marriage was to a man who was not pleasant, and when he passed away, her oldest son stepped into the bullying role (as evident by correspondence from the armed services re his return to Christchurch, and information from interview with her daughters)... this was not a happy home. Memories of Phyllis by her daughters and daughter-in-law are fond but feelings for her are of sadness for what she endured.

 When her family had grown, Phyllis' great love was  'The Red Cross', of which she was a member. My one memory of Nana King is of her dressed in her uniform at the Labour Day Picnic in Linwood Park when I was about six years old.
Phyllis died in Christchurch Public Hospital on 09 September 1962 one month before her 58th birthday. Causes of death: 1) Left bronchopneumonia, 2) Right atelectasis (collapsed lung) and right pleural effusion,
3) Carcinoma left breast.

She was buried on 11 September 1962 at Addington Cemetery, Christchurch East, Plot 902c.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


My serendipitous discovery was this little angel.

Named for her maternal aunty, for whom I was searching at the time, Fanny was born the fourth child of John and Mary Jane GREENFIELD on or about 20 May 1863 in Oamaru, New Zealand. The first New Zealand born child in this line, and only 14 months after her mothers arrival there.

The only evidence of her existence (to date) is her death certificate, NZ BDM ref #1863/1840, which states:
WHEN DIED AND WHERE: 27 May 1863, Oamaru
NAME AND SURNAME: Fanny Greenfield
SEX: female
AGE: 1 week
CAUSE OF DEATH: inflammation of the lungs

God Bless you precious little one, such a short existence in this earthly plain, but duly noted and included in our family tree... remembered in future generations.

11 Dec 2014, Further to this blog:
Several months later I was advised by that there might be a match for Fanny GREENFIELD, there was. Fanny's birth had indeed been registered, NZ Registrars Return BIRTHS ref # 118 which states
WHEN BORN AND WHERE: 21 May 1863, Oamaru
SEX: female
NAME AND MAIDEN SURNAME OF MOTHER:  Mary Jane Grienfield formally Annet

I have since obtained photocopies of both certificates which were registered at the same time and both have Fanny's surname misspelled as GRIENFIELD

Friday, 8 November 2013

Mary Jane ANNETT c1835-1869

Born in c1835, the first of seven children to William ANNETT and Mary RODGERS. Research supports Mary Janes mother was born in the Catholic faith about 1803 in Dublin, Ireland. Her father born c1808 to James and Elizabeth nee ?SHEPHERD was a farm labourer Kent, England and of Church of England faith.

There is some confusion as to whether Mary Jane was born at Sevenoaks, Kent, ENGLAND (as were all her siblings), IRELAND (1841 census) or Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA (1851 census)... to date I have been unable to substantiate or locate any records of her parents marriage, her birth, or documentation pertaining to her travel as an infant.

If born overseas,Mary Jane had returned to her fathers home at Seven Oaks in Kent, ENGLAND before the birth of her first brother in 1838.

By the 1850s revolutions in agriculture and industrial practice had caused great changes in the lives of village folk and many landless farm workers flocked to the large towns and cities.

Meanwhile in Australia, there was an acute shortage of labour caused by the gold rushes which began in 1851. The incentive of assisted passage was offered to emigrants of good character whose skills were needed in the colony. This no doubt had a bearing on the decision of the ANNETT family to emigrate.

At age 16, Mary Jane emigrated aboard the "Priam' as a single woman along with her parents and siblings but on a separate document, she is recorded as a housemaid who could read and write. The Priam departed from Plymouth, England on the 21 May 1852 and arrived 3 months and 4 days later at Portland, Victoria, Australia on 25 August.

At disembarkation Mary Jane went with her parents, who had been allocated a round tent, and camped in that until accommodation was found. Her brother Henry recalled this experience remembering seeing as many as 200 aborigines taking part in a corroboree at Wattle Tree Hill, near Portland.

Upon reaching the new country, Mary Janes father aged 49 years joined the Police Force on the 01 September 1852, but by 1855 he had been found 'Drunk on Duty' on three occasions and was dishonorably discharged.

When 18 years old Mary Jane was married on 09 March1853 to Charles WIGGINS, son of John Wiggins and Sarah Hodges. The Marriage was held in the Presbyterian Denomination in the Portland Parish and recorded in the Pioneer Index file no. 3154.

There is no known issue.

Two years and eight months later aged 20, she married Johannes Barends GROENEVELD son of Barends Hendriks Groeneveld and Catharina SIMMERMANS, at the home of William ANNETT (father), at Portland, Victoria on 17 November 1855.

As Charles did not die until June 1901, it can be assumed that Mary Janes marriage to Johannes was either after an annulment or bigamous. I am unable to substantiate either at this time. Provision for divorce in Victoria was not introduced until 1861.

It is worthy to note here the verbal history, albeit forth-hand and four generations further on , that mentions the idea that Mary Jane was a barmaid or dancer when Johannes rode into town from the goldfields one day. A fellow worker commented to Mary Jane about the handsome gold miner, to which Mary Jane replied 'keep your eyes/hands off him, he's mine' as he was until her untimely death.

Eleven months after their marriage and while Johannes was seeking their fortune in gold, Mary Jane gave birth to their first child Johannes at the Armstrong Diggings, Mt Ararat, on 27 December 1856. Mary followed in 1858 at Belfast (renamed Port Fairy), Victoria, and Caterina at Warnambool, Victoria in 1860.

Perhaps it was the primitive conditions in which they were raising 3 small children, the thrill of a new goldrush, or simply the promise of a better life in a new country... but by the time the youngest child was a year old, Johannes and Mary Jane again emigrated... this time to New Zealand.

Johannes preceded Mary Jane by three months arriving at Port Chalmers, North Otago on either the 'Mary Anne Wilson' or the 'Aldinga'. He traveled on to and settled at Oamaru, a fast developinging South Island harbour town, where he arrange accommodation for his family. Mary Jane and Johannes lived here the remainder of their days.

Mary Jane traveled aboard the 'Mary E Ray' to Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand in March 1862 with her 2 oldest children. Another Mrs Greenfield had traveled to Port Chalmers two weeks earlier aboard the 'Blue Jacket' with a 1 year old infant, I suspect it was Mary Janes sister Frances traveling with the youngest child but to date I have been unable to substantiate this.

Mary Janes brother, Henry ANNETT (aged 30 years) also traveled to Port Chalmers on the same voyage as Mary Jane.

Within 14 months of arriving in the new country, on 20 May 1863, Mary Jane gave birth to her third daughter Fanny undoubtedly named for and in appreciation of her younger sister. Sadly this child survived only one week and succumbed to "inflammation of the lungs".

Jane was born 14 months later on 10 July 1864 and baptised at the local Oamaru Church 'St Lukes'.

A second son, Henry, was born at Oamaru 31 March 1867.

Her final child, Eveline was born on 16 February 1869 also in Oamaru.


On 22nd September, Mary Jane Annett, Beloved wife of John Greenfield, aged 34 years.

The funeral will leave her late residence, Wharfe Street tomorrow (Saturday), at 2 O'clock.

M Grenfell, Undertaker.

Mary Jane died of "Phthisis and weakness" on 22 September 1869 in Oamaru aged only 34 years.

She left a legacy of seven children; Joseph (Johannes Junior) aged 13 years, Mary aged 11 years, Caterina aged 9 years, Fanny (deceased), Janes aged 5 years, Henry aged 2 years, and Evelyn aged only 7 months.

The funeral left the family home in Wharfe Street and traveled to the Oamaru Cemetery. Mary Jane is buried at Block 9 Section 22.

Her final resting place is marked with a significant oamaru stone headstone bearing the inscription:

In loving memory of Mary Jane ANNETT

beloved wife of John GREENFIELD

who departed this life 22 September 1869 aged 34 years.

"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord"

John is also buried with his wife but only her name appears on the headstone.

Only three of Mary Janes children would survive to produce descendants.

It was only once I traced Mary Jane back to Victoria that any light was shed on what had become of her for fellow researchers, to date I have been unsuccessful in all attempts to find any further information on her sister Frances in either Australia or New Zealand.

Mary Janes male siblings became founding families of the area of settlement in Australia and quite prominent and well documented members of society.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Eileen Marianne SHERIDAN 1864-1930


Eileen Marianne SHERIDAN was born on 25 Feb 1864 in Dublin, IRELAND (place to be confirmed) as the second child of Terence SHERIDAN and Mary Anne MANNING.

Oral history says that she was born at the Dublin Police Barracks. Correspondence with Cath O'Neil confirms that this is a possibility although to date no record has been found to substantiate the claim.

Her father was a policeman/sergeant with the Royal Irish Constabulary.

She had thirteen siblings, namely:

Mary Anne, born 02 Feb 1863 in County Meath (to be confirmed) and died 2 April 1864 at Kilronan, Aran Isles.

Winifred Maria, born 01 July 1865 on Inishmor, Aran Isles. Died 13 October 1945 at Timaru, South Canterbury, New Zealand.

James William, born 28 March 1867, Dingle, Co Kerry.

Maryanne, born 05 May 1869, Castlegregory, Co Kerry. Died 24 Jan 1895 at Timaru, NZ.

Patrick, born Castlegregory, 28 Feb 1871.

Bridget, born Co Kerry, 27 Aug 1872. died at Dingle 1873.

Catharine, born Castlegregory 25 Dec 1873.

Terence, born 05 Jan 1876 at Co Kerry, emigrated to Massachutettes, USA.

Bridget, born Co Kerry 17 Oct 1877.

Andrew, born at Shievadieher, Co Kerry 08 Aug 1879.

Thomas, born 11 Feb 1881at Cloghane.

Gerald, born 27 Oct 1882 at Beherbee.

Peter born 04 Oct 1885 at Cloghane.


When the tender age of only 15 1/2 years (aged 18 years as per documentation) Eileen aka Ellen emigrated to New Zealand aboard the 'Lady Jocelyn' which departed London 29 August 1879 and arrived at Lyttleton  on 08 December 1879 (as per Canterbury Museum Research Centre records). She was registered as a housemaid from Co Kerry.




It would appear she travelled alone although she was joined later by her two sisters Winifred and Maryanne with whom she had a close relationship in this foreign country.

When she was 22, She married Patrick O'Malley, son of Michael O'MALLEY and Margaret FLANNAGAN, on 23 Nov 1886 in Blessed Sacrament, Phillipstown, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Patrick O'Malley and Eileen Marianne SHERIDAN had the following children:

  1. John Francis O'MALLEY was born on 17 Feb 1888 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. He died date Unknown. he married Isabella ARCHIBALD.
  2. Patrick William O'MALLEY was born on 11 May 1890 in New Zealand. He died in 1974 in New Zealand. He married Alice ?
  3. James Joseph O'MALLEY was born on 12 Jan 1892 in Christchurch, New Zealand . He died on 07 Jul 1942 in Christchurch, New Zealand. He married Ethel Esther MALZARD\MILSWOOD.
  4. Peter Charles O'MALLEY was born on 07 Oct 1893 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. He died in 1894 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
  5. Mary Anne O'MALLEY was born on 25 Dec 1894 in New Zealand. She died on 12 Dec 1979. She married Frederick BENNETT.
  6. Eileen Margaret O'MALLEY was born on 25 Oct 1896 in Christchurch, New Zealand. She died on 14 Nov 1972 in Christchurch, New Zealand. She married Martin MULLAY.
  7. Leo Charles O'MALLEY was born on 26 Jun 1901 in Christchurch, New Zealand. He died on 15 Jan 1959 in Christchurch, New Zealand. He married Doris Mabel BROCKER.
  8. Thomas Augustine O'MALLEY was born on 15 Feb 1903 in Christchurch, New Zealand. He died on 20 Jan 1973 in Christchurch, New Zealand at his daughters home, 61 Shortland St, Wainoni. He married Beatrice BIRD.
  9. Ambrose O'MALLEY was born on 15 Nov 1905. He died on 14 Oct 1990. Unmarried. 


Places of residence included:

1896-1900:She lived in 87 Barbadoes St, Christchurch, New Zealand.

1911 She lived in 18 Essex St, Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand

1919 She lived in 38 Southwark St, Christchurch East, New Zealand

1928 She lived in 36 Burke St, Christchurch South, New Zealand



To date very little else is known of her.

She died aged 66 years on 19 Sep 1930, at 82 Fitzgerald Ave, Christchurch, New Zealand. of cerebral thrombosis and myocardial degeneration.
She was buried on 22 Sep 1930 in Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Block 27 Plot number: 66
Age: 61 years
Address: 82 Fitzgerald Ave, Christchurch
Occupation: Widow
Born: Ireland
Years in New Zealand: 50.




Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Rose Elizabeth BIRD 1892-1896

For a long time Rose was just a namesake.

My mother Edna Rose O'MALLEY, had been told she was named for a young sister of her mother who had died... that was it! Mum had never asked any further questions and no other information was given, in fact it was only mentioned to me in passing and by chance one day.

My nana Beatrice BIRD, was the youngest of the two surviving sisters, Doris was the other. It was not known if Rose was older or younger, or whether she had died before or after the family emigrated from England to New Zealand.

Occasionally lady luck gives us a break, or maybe it is our ancestors helping hand... but late 2009 I had managed to reconnect with Lorraine THACKWELL, the daughter of Doris, with whom we had lost contact fifty years earlier. Unfortunately she knew nothing of or about our Rose but a few months later the renewed contact and talk of our family history set her amongst some bits and pieces given to her fifteen years earlier by her sister-in-law after her older brothers passing.
THERE IT WAS! a memorial card for Rose.

This information was timely as I had arranged a trip to England to visit significant ancestral sites and I was due to leave in less than a month.

On 10th September 2010 I was able to take a bunch of flower, sit, and spend some time with our elusive Rose Elizabeth.

Sadly site K-61-F is an unmarked grave, however upon my entry into Dronfield Cemetery two cute little squirrels were playing 'catch me if you can' as they scurried up, down, and around a beautiful old oak tree just along from Roses final resting place setting a playful and tranquil child friendly scene.

When I arrived home I sent for Roses death certificate. She had died at home, 7 Hartington Road, Dronfield, North East Derbyshire, of Pertussis (whooping cough), Acute Bronchitis, and Pneumonia. Less than 3/4 mile from her final resting place.

Rest in Peace Sweetheart... you are no longer lost and will never be forgotten... two of my own grand-daughters are named Sophie Rose and Lilly Rose.