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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Movie Short - The Book and the Rose

I recently watched a movie short called "The Book and the Rose".  It too was about some historical letters.  Quite a nice 30 minute movie that includes a big of romance and WWII.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Movie - Possession

I recently watched the movie called "Possession" on Netflix streaming.  It was made in 2002.  The reason why I post about it here is that it has a bit of a genealogy/ancestry slant to it.  It involves letters from the late 1800s Victorian Era making it seemingly historical fiction.  Gwyneth Paltrow is in the movie.  I will warn that some people may object the content as it does involve some adult themes.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Break for MYOG

It's time for a Christmas Break for MYOG.   Posts will be begin again after January 7th, 2013!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 6 - More Family History

There is more history in the booklet about Bridget O'Brien's family as follows in the next two page spread:

Next page follows:

The final pages follow.  All of this should be clickable so you can view them larger on your screen.

It still amazes me how much information that my relatives near and far have collected to prove our family line.  It seems as if I just "wait awhile" more information presents itself.  Thank you to all who have shared their information about our family and continue to do so. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 5 - O'Brien Origins

Continued from December 12th post......

Catherine was 11 years old when the O'Brien family arrived in Australia from Ireland, the youngest of the three O'Brien girls.  Mary O'Brien, the eldest sister, was three years older than Bridget.  She was born in 1833.  Mary was 21 years old when she arrived in her new homeland in 1854.

Mary O'Brien, aged 22, married John Courtney, aged 24, 28 December 1855, at St. James' Catholic Church, Richmond, Melbourne.  The church was later demolished to make way for grander and larger building as the congregation outgrew the original wooden one.  the new church was built in 1900 on the site where many of our ancestors stood, taking wedding vows, baptising their children and saying goodbye to loved ones.   John Courtney was from the South of Ireland.  Mary and John did have at least one child in Australia, a daughter, before coming to New Zealand to settlem  This is where I must leave Mary O'Brien and John Courtney and hopefully her descendants will continue to tell of their life in New Zealand.  

Now.....the many sons Anne and Edmund had, who also came to New Zealand.  So far, the only authentic history I have of Anne and Edmund's sons is very sketchy indeed.  One was led to believe there were at least five siblings.  I can name three only - Jack, Timothy, and Tom.  Timothy is buried in Greymouth cemetery.  No doubt the descendants from these O'Brien men will have their history and lives well documented which would be interesting to know. 

Our Bridget married James Power on 31 July 1858 at St. Francis Historical Catholic Church in Melbourne.  The building of the church was started in 1841 and completed in 1845.  Mary (Saint) Mackill made her First Holy Communion in St. Francis in 1850, the same year Ned Kelly's parents were married in St. Francis' church. 

Bridget was 22 years of age when she married James Power, he was 30 years old.  Catherine, Bridget's sister, was the bridesmaid/witness.  James Power came from County Wexford, Ireland.  His father was also named James, mother's maident name Chandler. 

Bridget and James lived eight more years in Australia after the marriage before setting sail for the West Coast of New Zealand in 1866, with three children being born in Australia, two sons and one daughter.  Bridget had five daughters, Mary-Jane (born Williamstown, Victoria), Julia, Alice, Catherine, Frances, and five sons, Tom, Ned, Jim, Bob, Mick.

There is so much detail on these two pages of the booklet.  The next few pages are fuzzy copies for sure.  I will have to try and download them more clearly here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rerun Friday - My Most Viewed Post

A handy tool that Google provides with a blog is the ability to see what post is most popular.  I find this fascinating.  To complete my final rerun Friday for 2012, I thought I'd share what appears to be my popular post.  For whatever reason the following post is my most viewed of all time at just over 1400 views.

That seems pretty amazing.  Those are not all my personal views by the way.  Also, I wonder if someone is searching for an O'Brien (as it is a common name) and my post comes up on their search.  Whether they found who they are looking for may not really be a mystery.  Let's just say that I always say that Kate Flanagan (Catherine Mary O'Brien) is one of the most interesting people in my family tree.  This supports that for sure.

By the way, since I wrote this post, I have found Kate's family members in Australia and the area in which they lived in New Zealand!  Or rather, they found me.  My networking online and using this blog to share and communicate does work.

Originally post on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

O'Brien's And The Curious Message Board Post

So have I reached a dead end with my O'Brien Family line?  Will I be able to find Kate Flanagan's (Catherine Mary O'Brien) family in Ireland?  Or in Australia?  I wonder.  I've posted on various message boards online and haven't really gotten anywhere.  I think I found my O'Brien's on an Australian passenger list, recently.  That information still begs for more information. 

O'Brien is a fairly common Irish surname.  It is extremely common in the Castleconnell area of County Limerick, Ireland.  I think that there is even a bridge named after an O'Brien in Castleconnell.  I've tried to research my O'Brien family line on the internet but have found much difficulty in doing so.  Not only is O'Brien a common Irish name but apparently there are a lot of Edmund (or Edmond) O'Brien's too from this area.  I am not sure visiting the location will turn up any new information.  I would love to at least drive through Castleconnell and see what it looks like.  It is, at least, the location where Kate was baptized.

Maybe I should be looking for the Gleeson's, or is it Gleason?  They must have been from this area too.  Anne Gleeson married Edmund O'Brien.  They had some children including Kate.  I only wish I knew more about this family unit.  It would certainly help in my research.

I know some information about Kate.  There is her reputation and her letters.  I still need to finish reading her letters.  They are full information.  Kate was pretty direct and even to the extent of being blunt.  She must have been quite the character and smart.  I am fascinated by her.  I believe one of my next projects will be to read all of her letters.

The other day I did receive a response to my message board post.  I find it rather curious. 

Re: Catherine Mary "Kate" O'Brien - Castleconnell, County Limerick, Ireland

Posted by: R.... C...... (ID *****9163) Date: September 26, 2010 at 13:40:43
In Reply to: Catherine Mary "Kate" O'Brien - Castleconnell, County Limerick, Ireland by K...E... of 4591
Hello K......:

For Cat(herine) O'Brien B 1843 (exact), Castleconnell RC parish, Co. Limerick, with the father's forename unknown, I found 10 rcds. None had a father forenamed E(dmond).
For Edmond/Edmund O'Brien M 1840 +/- 3 yrs, Co. Limerick, I found 5 rcds: 1837 Patrickswell RC, 1841 Murroe & Boher RC, 1841 Bruff RC, 1842 St John's CI, and 1843 Hosptial & Herbertstown RC parishes.
For Ann(e) Gleason M ditto, I found 4 rcds: 1839, 1841, 1841, and 1842. None are a match at the parish level with those for Edmond/Edmund.

The transcription of Co. Limerick B/M/D rcds is essentially complete. It is doubtful more will be discovered. It looks like the rcds for your ancestors didn't survive.

Sorry. Good luck.

I have some more questions for this person.  I so appreciate him looking up info.  I emailed him but have not heard back yet.  I find this information very curious.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 4 - CEAD MILE FAILTE

And a hundred thousand welcomes to everyone interested in this post.  I know many relatives who will probably find it very interesting.  This continues the Rest In Peace booklet for Bridget O'Brien Power and Frances Power Bradford.

Now, I'm not sure how great this inserted into this post.  It brought tears to my eyes as I read it.  I can hardly believe that I was given this information about my O'Brien Family tree.  This was written by relatives in Australia/New Zealand.  It is so definitely my family!

I will transcribe it here.....

Bridget O'Brien was born in 1836, County Clare, Ireland.  Her parents, Edmund and Anne (nee Gleeson) were married in 1827 and left the shores of Ireland in 1854, sailing with their large family to the far ends of the world - Australia, settling in Kyneton, Melbourne, Victoria.  Edmund and Anne died in their adopted land and are buired in the cemetery at Kyneton.  

Bridget O'Brien was 18 years of age when the family arrived in Australia.  It has been well documented, as a child of 10 or 11, Bridget could vividly remember people dying in the streets of Limerick during the potato famine, 1845-1846.  She also, recalled, as a young woman living in Melbourne, seeing the explorers Burke and Wills setting forth on their attempt to cross Australia exploring.  Sadly they never returned.  Streets in Melbourne are named after the brave young men.

All of Anne and Edmund O'Brien's children left Australia and sailed further to the ends of the earth - New Zealand, settling on the West Coast of the South Island, working on the gold fields and timber milling.  From the West Coast they dispersed far and wide over New Zealand, one son going to Canada and daughter, Catherine, going to San Francisco to marry Patrick Flanagan, who had sailed to America six months earlier.  They were married in St. Mary's Cathedral, California, 15 August 1870.  They purchased 100 acres of land in the Napa Valley in 1873, growing grapes and oranges, building a home and raising a family of two daughters and six sons.  Mary became a school teacher and never married.  Agnes died young in her 20s.  Ignatius, the eldest son, never married, died young of pneumonia during World War I.  Edward, never married.  Louis, never married.   Richard, married, one son.  John Francis married, five children.  Leo, married, no children, became a doctor, graduating from Georgetown Medical School and tragically died during the great flu epidemic of 1911-1917.

Letters from Catherine's grandson, Richard Flanagan, to New Zealand say that Patrick and Catherine's ranch/estate became one of the earliest wineries in the country.  Sadly, no Flanagan's own the property today.  Richard Flanagan also said, in 1981, that the original homestead still stands and is lived in.  Catherine died 11 March 1928 and is buried at Toulocoy cemetery in Napa.  All Catherine's children are buried in the Napa Valley.

I have to stop here to make a few comments.  I must say that this written history about my family in Napa is accurate.  A couple of asides that I must make are that Edward was actually the oldest son and Ignatius was second oldest son.  Tulocay Cemetery is the correct spelling and all of the Flanagan's mentioned above are buried there including my grandfather, Richard Flanagan.

My transcription continues with my December 15th post with Kate's origins and more information about her siblings.  This document is truly amazing.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 3 - Bridget O'Brien

Page 2 of the memorial booklet includes a photo of Bridget Power (O'Brien) who was Kate Flanagan's (Catherine Mary O'Brien) older sister.   Her daughter, Frances Power Bradford's photo also shares the page.

The next post finds my 3G grandparents, my 2G grandparents, and mentions my own grandfather.  It it pretty amazing.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rerun Friday - Past-Present-Future

Originally posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011


There are many people in the world who find the past something to forget.  Many people may think that exploring their genealogy is just that, something in the past.  Others find it fascinating and a way to find out more about themselves.  For example, why am I tall and my sister is pretty short?  Who did the phrase "wait a while" originate with in my family?  How and why did my family line end up in the United States and in California, specifically Northern California?

While I do know the answers to some of those questions above, the connection to our past is important to understanding our present and our future.  I look forward in my quest to find more about my connection to the past through my ancestors.  I wish to use and understand this information in the present.  My hope for the future is to share this with my children when they are older as a gift from the past.

Past - Present - Future

Linked Together By Time

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 2 - Requiescat in Pace

I must admit that the copy that I have of this Requiescant in Pace (Rest in Peace) booklet for Bridget O'Brien Power and her daughter, Frances Power Bradford, is not the best.  The information was shared with me via  I can hope that some day, I can have an original emailed to me.  That's not big deal at this point, however, as I can still read the information.

By the way, Bridget was Kate Flanagan's (my great great grandmother) older sister. The following is the front and back cover of this booklet.  Bridget's and Frances' descendants put this together in 2011.  I am very grateful that they chose to share this.  Thank you!

There is more coming that will demonstrate how we know that these are the correct O'Brien's from my family tree.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Flanagan O'Brien Down Under - Part 1 - Hokitika

My upcoming posts about my findings while in search of my O'Brien's Down Under will probably span a few weeks.  I plan to take it somewhat slow and do some homework as I share.  I may even repeat some information that I've already posted.

The big news is that I have now found some O'Brien relatives in Australia and New Zealand who have definitive information about Kate Flanagan (Catherine Mary O'Brien).  It's funny because now I'm not exactly sure where my new found relatives live Down Under.  The correspondence has been brief emails here and there and includes more than one O'Brien descendant.

First and foremost, I want to get my bearing on the location that was presented to me.   Second, I will post a very interesting written piece of history that, while it is not truly a source document, it has incredible merit and is quite the find.  Again, I love the discovery process.  Sometimes, I have to sit on information to allow it to sink in.   I have to digest my findings.

So, my first stop is to discuss Hokitika, New Zealand.  O'Brien's found?  Well yes...for a time.  I will come back to my O'Brien's.  They were in this location (at least some of them) and I am pretty certain now that so was Patrick Flanagan and possibly Michael, too.

In the Maori language, Hokitika means "place of return".  The Arahura River is in the surrounding area which is a source of pounamu (greenstone, New Zeland Jade, or nephrite).  There is a museum in Hokitika that is a history museum where stories of the greenstone, gold, and the "dangerous river port and the lively town" are preserved for visitors to see.  There are many historical sites and buildings in this location.

I think what caught my eye the most was "gold".  Did I just stumble across one of the Flanagan Brother's mining locations?   I suppose I might have just narrowed my search for the location of where Patrick Flanagan went in search of gold.

The West Coast Gold Rush in New Zealand occurred from 1864 to 1867.  Gold was found near the Taramakau River in 1864 by two Maori (indigenous Polynesian people).  Other locations where gold was found around this time were at Okarito, Bruce Bay around Charleston and along the Grey River.

Miners came from Australia from the Central Otago Gold Rush and the Victorian Gold Rush.  The prospectors tended to come to the Hokitika area.   25,000 people lived in this area by 1866.  There were more than 100 pubs too.  By 1867, the gold rush began to decline in this location.

Online, there are some amazing maps showing the mining locations along the west coast of New Zealand.