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, 
2. 1852 'Advertising.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 18 November, p. 4, viewed 27 February, 2014,
3. 1880 'Family Notices.', The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), 11 February, p. 4, viewed 17 July, 2013

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.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

My parents' wedding 1937

This beautiful photo was taken on my parents' wedding day, April 6th 1937. 
Edward John Horgan was 29 and Hannah Olive O'Dea almost 25. 
They were married in St Mary's Catholic Church, Hamley Bridge, South Australia.

The story relating to this day was retold to a granddaughter in 1992. So here are my mother's words:

I met Edward Horgan at a St. Patrick’s night ball and he asked Mum if he could take me home.  He kissed me goodnight at the gate and later told me that that was when he put his brand on me!

Growing up seemed like a long process, but suddenly I found myself in adulthood.  Teenage years had gone and that meant that I must accept responsibility for the rest of my life.  At this stage, my thoughts were with settling down.  I had met the man of my dreams and after a few years – on the 9th of July, 1935 – I became engaged to Eddie.  I set about planning my future with a farmer husband.
1935 'Family Notices.', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 11 July, p. 25,
To leave my home and friends in a country town and move to an isolated farm seemed a big step for me.  I pondered over it for almost two years before deciding upon a wedding date.  I had other things to think about, too.  As my future husband’s mother had died a few years prior to this time, he (Eddie), his father and his brother, Joe, had lived on the farm with a housekeeper to care for them.  How could I take the job of an experienced housekeeper?  I realised that I must take on her position, as Eddie managed the farm for his aged father.

We planned our wedding for the 6th of April, 1937, and the day arrived bright and sunny.  I had a busy morning dressing at our home with two of my great friends, Mary O’Neill and Norah Carrigg, who were my bridesmaids.  We set out for St. Mary’s Church, Hamley Bridge for the ten o’clock Nuptial Mass, where Father Farrelly, our local parish priest, was celebrant.  My eldest brother, Jack, walked me up the aisle and presented me to Eddie, who was assisted by his brother Joe and a cousin, Frank McInerney.

My dear mother must have been so tired out after all the preparation she did for us.  Our Aunts, Uncles, cousins and many friends celebrated with us after Mass at the Hamley Bridge Institute.  ‘Twas mid afternoon before we set out for Gawler with the wedding party to have photos taken by Marchants, the photographer. 

From Gawler, Eddie and I boarded a train to begin our honeymoon.  After arriving in Adelaide, we booked in at the Grosvenor Hotel, opposite the Adelaide Railway Station.  We had breakfast the next morning and then boarded a train again for Murray Bridge.  We spent a week at the Bridgeport Hotel, and then the following week at the Mt. Barker Hotel, where I celebrated my 25th birthday.
We arrived at the Alma farm about two weeks after our marriage to take up our new life.

After Mum died at age 101 in June 2013, we found among her effects a postcard of the Bridgeport Hotel. A memento of a very special time.