Thursday, 22 March 2018

#52Ancestors, Week 11, Lucky

I have been thinking long and hard about this one – all the way into Week 12 !

I don’t know if anyone had a dog named Lucky. I am pretty sure there is no-one called Fortuna or anything similar hiding somewhere in my tree. The only two relatively lucky people though sheer luck that I can think of, I have already written about before. My great grand uncle Walter who did pretty darned well on the Thames goldfields and then on the Coolgardie fields of Western Australia; and my daughter’s great great grand aunt Carrie who won a tiara in an Art Union raffle.

When I mentioned my dilemma to my daughter she simply said “The luck of the Irish.” Very cliché – but LUCKY she said that, and LUCKY that I asked her because suddenly there was my inspiration.

There is not a lot of Irish in my tree, but there are a lot of DNA connections it seems for that small branch. That is another topic though and I feel I need to spend a lot more time researching those families.

There is even less in my daughter’s paternal tree. Imagine my surprise when I discovered some years ago that one of her Irish families was from the same county as mine.

So where does luck come into it ? Wait and see.

Richard Gibson married Harriet Irvine in Kiama, New South Wales, Australia on 3 June 1870. She was the daughter of Irish immigrants, who had been living in Jamberoo since early 1840. Their marriage certificate gave no clues about where he was born. Much later, from his death certificate just the county Cavan was provided.

I did however come across his arrival to New South Wales in 1867 on the Light Horse. There was a lot of information on these pages including confirmation of his parent’s names and that he had a brother James in Sydney. There was also a place name – Killishandra (sic), Cavan.

So I began to see what I could find out about Killishandra, which turned out to be Killeshandra. I posted questions on RootsChat in 2009 and later on Ancestry message boards. I contacted a person through RootsChat who had access to the few surviving pieces of the 1841 Irish census – and they were for Cavan.

And here is the LUCKY bit. The parish for Killeshandra had survived and he was able to send me the information about the whole family.

The Irish census’, for anyone who has not looked at them, are a mine of information ! Remember this is 1841 too.

The family was made up of :

William, 51, farmer, head of the household, married in 1815
Sydney, 42, wife
Mary, 23, daughter
Jane, 18, daughter
Ufemy (sic), 13, daughter
Emily, 13, daughter
James, 9, son
Ephram (sic), 7, son
Richard, 4 months, son

In addition to this on another page where listed “those who have left the house or died since the 1831 census”

Hester, 21, daughter, in America, house servant
Margaret, 13, daughter, deceased, died 1838
William, 1 month, son, deceased, died 1836
George, 16, son, deceased, died 1839
Wm Henry, 1 month, son, deceased, died 1840

I’ve not been able to find too much more about them. I have emailed someone in the past who was a descendant of Mary or Jane and today while searching I rediscovered some messages to a descendant of Emily as well. I think that James was married to a sister of Richard’s wife Harriet, and that Ephraim also went to America.

Reading this back, I think it is time I made a more concerted research effort on all my Irish folk. Unfortunately changes of email provider and hardware over the years has meant that I have lost the traces of some of my earlier messages.

Maybe some of them will get their DNA tested so that I can sort that puzzle out too.

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