Thursday, 4 December 2014

Andrew O'Leary sails from Dublin

A family leaves Ireland

In the early years of white settlement in the newly established colony of South Australia, there was urgent need for agricultural laborers. Suitable candidates were selected from Ireland and England to fill this gap. During 1835 eleven commissioners were appointed to control land sales and any revenue. They were also in charge of regulating the flow of emigrants. From the initial nine ships that had sailed in 1836, immigration grew steadily and during 1840 nearly 3000 people reached South Australian shores. Desirable applicants were expected to be fit and preferably married with family to populate the state.

Andrew O'Leary from County Cork, Ireland fitted this bill and sought assisted passage for himself to be accompanied by wife and four children.  The  ship Mary Dugdale departed Dublin on June 2nd 1840 for a journey to Port Adelaide which lasted for four months.

Aboard with Andrew were his wife Catherine (born Burke 1818) and the children, the baby Honora was only a few months old. While the application shows that passage was sought for 4 children, the census record taken in 1841 only lists 2 boys under fourteen and one daughter under 7 as part of the household.
Is it possible that their other child died aboard the Mary Dugdale as there were 8 deaths on that voyage all of whom were recorded as children?

Life in South Australia

In 1845 Andrew is listed as being a petitioner on The Memorial by the Colonists of South Australia against the introduction of convicts. Andrew had purchased land at Salisbury and along with other colonists was making a hard earned living "to found for themselves and their children a virtuous happy and permanent home"  the moral tone of which they felt would be undermined by the introduction of felons. (1.)

In  July 1846 we find Andrew in the magistrates court seeking £3 wages owing to him from 1843 at the rate of 6 shillings per day. The defendant is ordered to pay £2 8s at 10s per week. (2.)
This money would now have been essential for survival as by then at least another three children, including David Joseph (1843) had been born. We can garner more of those early days from David's recollections on his 90th birthday in 1933.

Here we see that Andrew and Catherine arrived with three children perhaps adding weight to the theory that a child died aboard the ship in 1840.

By 1849 Andrew had 26 head of cattle on the property purchased at Salisbury.
As years passed the newspapers of the day mention some of the sons being involved in ploughing matches in districts nearby. Here are the rules for a typical ploughing match; a tough day's work indeed.

" Each competitor to plough half an acre in one ridge and two half ridges, with an equal number of furrows on each side of the ridge,  independent of the mould furrow.
The depth to be five inches, and not more than nine inches wide. Time allowed six hours." (3.)

These competitive days drew large crowds sometimes up to 600 people. They were popular with the ladies too. After the hard work of supplying the food, these days were also a social gathering.

Perhaps it was here at one of these ploughing matches that my great grandfather John Horgan met and wooed Andrew and Catherine's daughter, Honora O'Leary.

Andrew (great-great-grandfather) died on June 6th, 1882 at Salisbury at the age of 88 he had been in the colony for 42 years. His wife Catherine (great-great grandmother) had predeceased him in September of 1871 at the age of 53.


1. 1845 'MEMORIAL BY THE COLONISTS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA AGAINST THE INTRODUCTION OF CONVICTS.', South Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1844 - 1851), 14 February, p. 2, viewed 4 December, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71600655 
2. 1846 'RESIDENT MAGISTRATE'S COURT.', Adelaide Observer(SA : 1843 - 1904), 1 August, p. 7, viewed 4 December, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158922940
3. 1860 'VII—AGRICULTURAL PROCEEDINGS.', The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), 25 August, p. 4, viewed 4 December, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article823193
Further newspaper articles relating to this O'Leary family http://trove.nla.gov.au/list?id=53065



Thursday, 17 April 2014

A significant date

My mother's birthday

Hannah O'Dea (est. mid 1930s)
On April 17th, 1912 my mother Hannah Olive O'Dea was born in Pinnaroo, South Australia to Patrick John O'Dea and Georgina Ellen O'Dea (born Bennett).

Today is the first anniversary of her birthday since her death at the age of 101 on June 27th, 2013. I am sure my six siblings, some of their children and maybe some of the cousins will be remembering her fondly today by whatever name they called her - Mum, Nana, Nana Hannah, Aunty Nan.

She married Edward John Horgan in 1937 and her focus in life was always her family and her faith. She left behind 7 children and their spouses, 27 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren.

Birthdays were always an opportunity to gather all the family together, catch up on news and events in children's lives and of course celebrate with a cake big enough to share.
Mum was incredibly good at remembering all the birthdays and always made sure she had a suitable card to send. Many shopping expeditions included the purchase of birthday cards for others. From her box of cards she could retrieve an appropriate greeting for most people and most occasions and with her small birthday book always nearby, she recorded births as well as deaths.

She saved the cards received and over the years they kept many a child entertained as we cut and re-purposed them into tags, decorative boxes or simply used them to decorate pages of school or craft work. Discarded envelopes and the backs of cards were used for shopping lists with stamps being saved "for the Missions."

There will be no cards today, but we have many fond memories of birthdays past. Happy Birthday, Mum.

Cutting the cake at 70 in 1982
Cutting the cake at 80 in 1992


2004 with great grandson - 7th generation Horgan in South Australia
Hannah Horgan (seated)
2012 Celebrating 100 years with friends Marie N, Vera H, Avis P. and Carmel Mc.
Riverton Hospital, South Australia


Monday, 24 March 2014

Exploring the Horgan data

Time for some reflections on my research. I've been looking at the data gathered so far and adding citations where previously missed. In order to look at missing fields and determine where I need further data I've been analysing one family at a time.
Here's some facts for those of you with the Horgan surname.
There are 97 people in my database who were born Horgan.
  • earliest confirmed birth -  1828 Ballymacdonnell, Ireland
  • most recent birth  - 2004 South Australia
  • males - 47
  • females - 50
  • most common male names - Thomas x 9, John x 9
  • most common female names - Mary x 8, Catherine x 5
  • marriages - 46 known marriages 22/47 males, 24/50 females
  • religious orders - 2 males and 5 females joined religious orders
  • birth places - Ireland 5, South Australia 89, Victoria 3
  • living people - 32
  • deceased - 65 most recent 2011
So now it's time to head back to the research to fill some holes in the data.


Saturday, 8 March 2014

Horgan interactive chart

Here is a 'who's who' of my father's line that I have investigated so far. I've been experimenting with an interactive chart. Hover over the names to find more information about a person or couple.



For those who are interested in the process I made the chart in PowerPoint, saved it as an image then added the interactive spots in ThingLink. The ThingLink file can be updated with additional information over time.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

109 Days Later

The barque "China" courtesy SA Maritime Museum
On Monday 26th July 1852, the barque "China" left Plymouth bound for South Australia with 184 adult and 122 child immigrants aboard. Amongst those were many Irish passengers who were leaving the horrors of the potato famine behind them.

My widowed great-great grandmother, Johanna Horgan (born Fitzgerald) 1805 -1880, and her 4 children were aboard having already travelled from County Kerry to Plymouth. The assisted passenger lists name them as Johanna, Thomas, John and David whom we will later come to know as Daniel. Their voyage of 109 days was not without its difficulties and deaths despite the fine weather recorded on their arrival at Port Adelaide.

The barque China, which arrived at the Lightship on Thursday night at 12 o'clock, experienced very fine weather during the passage not having had a heavy gale of wind since leaving Plymouth. There were no deaths among the adults, but among the young children there were ten deaths, nine of these being under two years old. 1.

There were also 6 births recorded on that voyage. Imagine losing an infant or having a newborn at sea in 1852 aboard a heaving vessel without the most basic of conveniences or indeed the privacy a land based birth could offer. And what of those parents who had to see their child buried at sea, they must have wondered if they had made the right decision leaving all they knew behind.

In order for the ship to be granted another trip carrying assisted immigrants it was necessary to prove that all had gone well, so an attestation of goodwill would have carried weight with the commissioners deciding on the future employment of the ship's captain and his crew. This notice appeared in "The South Australian Register" just 6 days after the China's arrival in Port Adelaide.

WE the EMIGRANTS of the Ship "CHINA,"  from London, Plymouth, to Port Adelaide, desire to offer to you, and the Officers serving under you, our humble testimonial of the high sense we entertain of your unwearied exertions to promote, in every way, our comfort and happiness during the long voyage from England to Australia, at all times, and on all occasions. 

We beg that you will accept this, and we sincerely regret that it is not in our power to offer to you a more substantial token of the very high respect and esteem in which you are held by us. 

We wish you and your amiable and kind-hearted lady health and happiness, and we hope that the friends who may follow us may be fortunate enough to sail with you. 
We remain, Sir, yours very sincerely, THE UNDERSIGNED.....

There follows the signatures of men and women separated into 3 categories: Single women, Single men and Married men. In those lists one finds Joanna Horgan under single women and Thomas and John Horgan under single men. The attestation concludes with these words:

These are the genuine signatures, or marks, of the whole of the Single Women, Single Men, and Married Men, being the heads of families, on board the ship "China:'' 
THOMAS WORSNOP, Schoolmaster on board, DAVID ROBERTSON, Constable, JOHN MILLER, Constable. 2.

It appears indeed that this journey was more benign than many reported elsewhere.  My ancestors, this family of Horgans listed, went on to establish themselves as farmers in land selected near Tarlee in South Australia. There Johanna lived with her family until 1880. Her death was recorded in the Kapunda Herald and The South Australian Advertiser.

HORGAN.—On the 1st February, at her son's  residence, near Tarlee, Johanna Horgan, late of County Kerry, Ireland, aged 75 years, an old resident and much respected by a large circle of friends—a colonist of twenty-six years. 3.

1. 1852 'SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 13 November, p. 2, viewed 4 March, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38463488 
2. 1852 'Advertising.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 18 November, p. 4, viewed 27 February, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38454639
3. 1880 'Family Notices.', The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), 11 February, p. 4, viewed 17 July, 2013 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article30798433

4. More information on early voyages to South Australia can be viewed via the Pictorial collection the Mementoes of Migration from the SA Maritime Museum.