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.

The voyage of Mary Jane ANNETT aboard the ‘Priam’  21 May-25 August 1852
                             written (with some poetic licence) by Corrinne KING

In 1852 what would tempt one to embark on the arduous and hazardous three-month journey to the opposite side of the globe?
Of course we had no say, it was father’s decision so that was that!
Throughout the nineteenth century deaths at sea were tragically common, as many as one in five children, and one in sixty adults died on the voyage to Australia.  At least twenty-six emigration ships were lost due to disease, fire, collision or sinking. Few sailors or passengers could swim, rarely were there enough lifeboats available anyway.  Conditions for steerage passengers were little better than those suffered by the unfortunates on coffin or convict ships...

 ‘We was stuffed into the single women’s quarters aft of the ship like livestock into cages at the Sunday market. At times the noise was as bad... and the smell worse.
The bunks running both sides was double-deck, each three foot wide, so we shared with another. Cos we were from the same village Elizabeth and me coupled up. Most of us could sit up on our bunk but the taller girls would bash their head on the low overhead. We brought our own bedding but they was infested with filthy fleas, lice and vermin within a week of leaving shore, and smelly soon after. Every few days, when weather allowed, we took our bedding up to shake and air, but it never seemed to be quite dry ever again.
Our quarters was below the water line so we only had vents to allow air and light in. When the weather was bad we had to shut them. We couldn’t use candles or oil lamps then either,  it was too dangerous with the pitching and rolling, so it got mighty dark, and the air got pretty bad... especially when we first left home and when we hit bad weather, even those without the seasickness was soon vomiting too cos of the smell.
There wasn’t really room for the ladies to bathe. Sometimes we would take a seawater-soaked cloth onto our bunks for ‘top and tail’.  Elizabeth said the men stripped down on a shelf hung over the side of a ship, and threw buckets of water at each other, we envied them sometimes.

There was only two toilets, one each side... there was always a waiting line. We were told to use the rags on the back of the door ‘to clean’, they had been soaked in vinegar but it didn’t really cover the smell. Water that slopped down the bilges smelled even worse and it wafted up through the floor to our quarters, especially in the hot weather.
There was a clothesline down the centre of our passageway, we took turns at washing out a single garment in seawater to hang there. Often they wasn’t dry again the next day but we had to make do.
Cos our ship was new, the captain made sure below deck was scrubbed with vinegar and chloride of lime every few days. Widow Wilson took charge of who was on duty, we tried to dodge her but she always found us.

The food was good enough; pickled meat, flour, sugar and dried peas mostly. The weevils got at it though, as did the rats and mice... Elizabeth found one cooked in her porridge one morning!
Water became foul after about a month and stuff would grow in the barrels that could make you sick. Sometimes even the new water brought onboard still tasted bad and people still got sick. Whenever it rained, if we could get on deck, everyone used whatever they could to collect the rainwater. It tasted so sweet... but there was never enough. Sometimes I would just stand with my eyes shut and my tongue out. Elizabeth said I would catch my death in my wet clothes, but for just a wee while I could pretend I was still back in the fields at home catching the raindrops on my tongue.
We was only a few days out when the first case of measles happened. Seems poor Johnny Crockett brought it onboard. Soon it was raging through the whole ship, even some of the sailors caught it. Five children succumbed. Mum was worried about our bairns, she needn’t be though, they caught it but they came through ok.  Johnny Crockett’s mother left this life after she got to fitting when she saw him buried at sea.
As the trip wore on more people came down with fever and coughing. Doctor said it was infection of the lungs mostly, but all in all we was a healthy bunch. We had seven babies born on the ship too, only one didn’t make it to land.
Come the ninth day, just off Madeira, we hit the stillness when the Trade Winds failed. Absolutely no motion for 12 days! The heat on-deck was unbearable and even with a hat, more than a half-hour in the sun could bring on sun-stroke. Down below it was suffocating, we was soaked in sweat and even fanning brought no relief. We thought this had to be the worst... it wasn’t.  
On day fifty-eight, just past the Cape of Good Hope, we hit the Roaring Forties. It became so much colder and we was met by mountainous seas and drifting ice-floes as we passed through the uncharted expanse of the Great Southern Ocean. For ten terrifying, unrelenting days we was confined in our sodden quarters, fearing for our very lives. Clinging to each other and anything fixed, fervently reciting our Hail Mary’s as the ship and our possessions were tossed about like autumn leaves in a November gale back home. Elizabeth and me was certain this was the end, just like the other ship we had heard was seen sinking off the Cape of Good Hope.

Then... day ninety-six, I saw it!  My first glimpse of the new land... my new homeland.    
I disembarked, older and wiser, at Portland Bay to the unfamiliar but pleasing smell of eucalyptus.’
3)      Steerage Passengers. Accessed from
4)      Passenger List. Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923. Accessed from
5)      Voyage of the Priam 1852. Accessed from
6)      Arrival of the Priam and sighted sinking barque. Accessed from Trove Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875)

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, 19 June 2013

Eliza FOARD 1831-1876

Eliza Foard was born c1831 in Mayfield, Sussex, England, the seventh child of Stephen Foard and Sarah Boots. She was baptized on 10 Apr 1831 in Mayfield, Sussex, England.

Eliza eventually had eleven siblings, namely: William b1817, Sarah b1820, Henry b1821, John b1823, Stephen b1826, Benjamin b1828, Dinah b1835, Alexander b1837, Frances b1839, Elizabeth Ann b1841, and Charlotte b1844

In 1841 she resided at High Street, Mayfield and by 1851 Eliza was living as housekeeper to her widowed brother William and his three young children at 16 Crown Square, Camberwell, Surrey.

When she was 25, at the Parish Church of St Giles, Camberwell, in the presence of brother William and sister Frances, she married Daniel KING (son of John KING and Hannah) on 18 October 1856

Daniel and Eliza had the following children:

  1. Henry T KING was born about Sep 1857 in Newington, Surrey, England.
  2. Eliza Ellen KING was born in 1859 in Newington, Surrey, England. She died on 08 Feb 1936 in Temuka, South Canterbury, New Zealand.. She married Amos DOUBLE on 07 May 1877 in Primitive Methodist Church, Timaru, South Canterbury, NZ.
  3. Daniel Edward KING was born in Jan 1861 in Uckford, Sussex, England. He died on 28 Oct 1949 in Temuka, South Canterbury, New Zealand.. He married Alice RYAN on 05 Jul 1883 in at the home of Daniel Edward King, Temuka..
  4. Thomas KING was born about 1865 in Lambeth, Surrey, England. He died on 25 Sep 1944 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. He married Isabella MILES on 12 Feb 1885 in Office of the Registrar, Temuka, South Canterbury, NZ.. He married Margaret MARRA on 06 Oct 1909 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand.
  5. Sarah KING was born about 1867 in Lambeth, Surrey, England.
  6. John KING was born about 1870 in Lambeth, Surrey, England.
  7. Elizabeth Ann KING was born 1873.

Between her marriage and 1874 Eliza and family lived at Mayfield and Croydon.

At age 40 Eliza, Daniel and their 6 youngest children emmigrated to New Zealand aboard the 'Carisbrooke Castle' which departed London 30 May1874 and arrived at Lyttleton, New Zealand on 3 September 1874. An epidemic of measle broke out soon after departure claiming the life of 20 children, this must have been horrific for the family who had no way to escape the cramped and closed living conditions. An account of the voyage and other interesting miscellaneous information can be read at 

To date no record has been found as to why Henry Thomas did not accompany the family to New Zealand.

By October 1875 Eliza and Daniel were expecting their first New Zealand born child.

       8.  Ruth KING was born on 24 May 1876 in Temuka, South Canterbury, New Zealand.

Elizas new life in the new country was very short lived, just a couple of hours after the birth of Ruth she died of confinement complications. The inquest recorded in 'the Timaru Herald' on 26 May 1876 gives quite a detailed and damning account.

Although the report states there had been nine children only eight births have been found to date.

To date I have not been able to locate any further documentation of Elizas death or burial details.

Sadly baby Ruth lived only 11 months before succombing to bronchitis on 14 April 1877. Her death certificate states she was buried at Temuka Cemetery although I have been unable to locate any documentation, I like to think baby Ruth and Eliza are resting together.

A historic non-fiction snapshot re the birth of baby Ruth (some poetic licence has been taken)...
I don’t blame my Daniel. This was my ninth baby, I never ad a doctor at any of them. I knew what to expect.

My Daniel ad done the best by us all when he brought us to New Zealand, near on two year ago, and we was settled proper now. I was glad for the clean air, and my Daniel ad plenty of farm-work to keep us all warm and fed. It weren’t no ardship when we found we was having another wee one.
When my time come, Ann Barrett and Mrs Murphy attended me from alf past one. I’d ad Ruth by four. She was perfect... an angel ...we was both doin’ well when they left at six.  Ann ad to get her Geordies breakfast.
When she came back at eight I weren’t  feelin’ too good but I didn’t want no doctor, I said I’d be good again by lunch.
My Daniel wanted to get the doctor too, but I just wanted a little cornflour to elp my faintness ... and a little drop of brandy...but soon I got to dreadin and was afeared  about wee Ruthie... I didn’t want Daniel to leave me... I was feelin real bad.
Daniel went for the doctor anyway, but when he got ‘ere at nine thirty it was too late.
The jury said if Daniel ad sent for the doctor in time I would probably be saved, but e only done what I told im. It weren’t is fault.

from original  document available at:
INQUEST. Timaru Herald, Volume XXIV, Issue 1431, 30 May 1876 King

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.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Marjorie GREENFIELD 1914-1945

Marjorie was born on 06 September 1914 in Christchurch, New Zealand,  to Albert Percy and Mary Lawyer GREENFIELD, the middle child of three.
Before enlisting in The New Zealand Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, Marjory was a beautician and residing with her parents in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Sat 6/Sun 7 Oct 1945  Special transport flight from Egypt to England. 299 Squadron, RAF (Shepherds Grove, Suffolk - 38 Group) Short Stirling IV LJ668 - took off from Egypt captained by Fg Off C T Dillon, RAF, bound for England, but diverted to Rennes, France, because of high fuel consumption. On entering the circuit difficulties were encountered with radio communication between aircraft and ground, whilst approach to the airfield was hampered by a 200-foot cloud base and inadequate airfield lighting. Although homed on to the correct runway and seen from the ground, the captain could not see the flare path when at 150 feet. He carried out an overshoot, called at 0028 to advise he had only 10 minutes fuel left and immediately crashed while turning to port, and burned out.
The six crew, eight RAF, two Navy and 10 Army passengers died, three New Zealanders being amongst the latter.
Passenger: 822452 Cpl Margery GREENFIELD, NZ WAAC -  aged 31.

Margery is buried at Rennes, Ille-et-Vilaine, Bretagne, France Sec. 18. Plot 1. Row B. Grave 4.

Both of Marjorie's siblings were also enrolled in the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Forces:

Frances Ruth Greenfield born 28 Oct 1912- died 17 Jan 2000, service number 71996

John Robert Greenfield born 15 Nov 1919- died 1996, service number 26687