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A- Z Challenge 2017 Theme Reveal

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During the month of April, the A-Z world wide blogging challenge involves bloggers posting using a letter of the alphabet for each consecutive day except Sundays. Last year on my Library Currants blog I wrote about mobile apps each day in April. Here’s a summary post of all those apps reviewed in April 2016.

This year I’m taking a family history focus, recalling Life on the farm in the fifties and sixties. Memories fade with time so best to get them down in writing before age or misfortune overtakes. Last year Maureen over at Exploring Family posted her experiences of a rural childhood which inspired me to look back too.

Some stories will be personal, some just fun and memories – short and sweet so I can keep up the pace.  All posts will  be subject to editing as my siblings may have different versions of events or more exact detail. I’ll do my best to report life as I remember with a few diversions in time along the way. Indeed they were Earlier Years.

Come along for the ride, How m…

Stormy weather and a dedication

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A downpour of 52 mm of rain in an hour accompanied by loud thunder and lightning reminded me of one of my mother’s sayings. She explained thunder to her small children as  “God moving his furniture around upstairs”.

No furniture was moved in the recent storm but we awoke the next morning to see many of the wooden sleepers in our pathway had been floated from their gravel bed. Minor damage indeed compared to the damage done to farmer’s crops throughout the years by storms or rain at inopportune times.

On investigating the condition of farming near Tarlee for Honora Horgan and her sons in the time shortly after husband John’s death in 1883, I found this report of conditions at the completion of harvest in 1885.

The correspondent was answering these 7 questions posed by a circular from The Adelaide Observer.
Harvest Returns
1. What is the name and the extent of the country you report upon?
2. What is the area of land reaped this year, and how much more than last year?
3. What is the gen…

The family rally around

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What a challenge Honora Horgan faced in 1883. Her husband John Horgan died at 48 years old leaving her at age 43 on their farm at Linwood, South Australia with six children. In her own grief how did she manage to console her children? Thomas was 16, Andrew 14, Catherine 11, John 8, Johanna 7 and Nora 5.  The land was in her husband’s name and while a Married Women’s Property Bill was currently before the Legislative Assembly it did not come into effect until 1884.1

How would she manage? Apart from the heavy work of farming required, who would handle the business matters? There were still meals to be cooked, vegetables to tend and livestock needing attention. Her boys were accustomed to farm work but really too young to take on the management tasks needed.

Honora’s brother, David Joseph O’Leary lived nearby on a farm at Stockport. He had lost his young wife Mary Johanna, in an accident in 18782 when his two children were only toddlers. It is not hard to imagine that he would then have …

The name O’Dea

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The O’Deas on my maternal side came from County Clare. This piece below, now published on several websites, appeared in The Freeman’s Journal of 1882. The journal was first published in June of 1850 with a focus on Catholic and Irish issues. It continued with this title until a name change in 1932.

O’DEA
The O'Deadhadhs, or Deas, are of Milesian extraction, springing from Aenghus Cinnatrach, fifth son of Cais, of the race of Oliol Ollum, King of Munster. The O'Deas were formerly chiefs of Triocha Cead Cinal Fermaic, otherwise Triocha Ougbterach, or the upper district, and Diseart ni Dreadbadth, now the parish, of Dysart O'Dea, in the barony of Inchiquin, and county Clare, comprising about 24,000 acres statute measure.

The chiefs of this territory are thus mentioned by O'Heerin is his topographical poem:
With due respect we first treat
Of the higher lands of Triocha Oughter;
O'Dea is the inheritor of the country
Of the nut producing plains.

In very early—ti…

114 years ago

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A troubled life On this day 114 years ago John Francis Benedict O'Dea died in the Parkside Asylum in Adelaide, South Australia. An article in Trove alerted me to the reason why his death may have taken place there.  He had been wrestling with his demons for several years before being committed as a patient in January of 1900.

This 1897 article provides a glimpse of his difficulties and of the family's efforts to deal with those issues. In 1897 he was about 27 years old, his father John was 62 and his younger brother Patrick mentioned here had not yet turned twenty.


Monday, July 26,
[Before Messrs W. H. Cox and J. W. R. Croft, J.P.'s.]
John Francis O'Dea, of Hamley Bridge, a young man, was charged with being a dangerous lunatic. 

John O'Dea, the father of defendant, said his son was very dangerous at times, and caused his parents anxiety. On Saturday last he invited him to wrestle with him. 

Patrick O'Dea, a brother of defendant, said the latter was always talking …

Where did they get those names?

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This photo of my maternal grandparents in 1907 displays a wedding party of siblings of both the bride and groom. The attendants ranged in age from 41 to 16 years. It also provides some clues to the names that the bridal couple would give to their children in the years that followed.


Left to right: Margaret I. O”Dea 41 years, Michael James O’Dea, 26 years, the groom Patrick Joseph O’Dea 29 years, the bride Georgina Ellen Bennett 17 years, her brother James George Bennett 16 years and Hannah Teresa O’Dea 37 years.

The groom’s family – children of John O’Dea and Maria (Mary) Crowley The eldest O’Dea sibling, Bridget Elizabeth born in 1864, had married Coleman Kain in 18911 and by the time this marriage took place in September of 1907 she was 43 and had given birth to seven children.
Next in line Margaret, was born in 1866 followed by Hannah Teresa in 1869. In 1870 son and heir John Francis Benedict arrived. Michael was born in 1873 followed by Mary Anne in 1875. Patrick Joseph entered t…

Accentuate the positive 2016

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The year has passed and postings here have been infrequent, however prompted by Jill to Accentuate the Positive I look back at 2016 and find I have much to be positive about in my genealogy endeavours throughout the year.
An elusive ancestor I found was my husband’s unknown grandmother Louisa May Lawson via Trove Government Gazettes where she was granted Letters of Administration in the estate of his grandfather. This led me to acquiring those records through NSW Archives.
A precious family photo was given to me by my brother  - a photo of Smyth household at Alma Plains showing gt-grandmother Hanora Horgan and my father as a small boy. Post to come in 2017.
Ancestor's graves  - I had the opportunity to photograph several in Pinkerton Plains and Navan cemeteries in South Australia.
An important vital record I found was – probate files for my husband’s grandfather which included copies of birth certificates for his children.
A newly found genimate shared – records of Walmsleys and Ton…