Monday, December 25, 2017

Riordan Quane family via James

There was a time, not so many years ago, when I thought that my Irish family history would remain unknown- but in recent years more and more documents are being digitised and are now accessible from the other end of the world.

Last night. Christmas Eve, I was fiddling around, and made yet another fortuitous combo of words in a Google search. Bingo! Thanks National Archives of Ireland! It led to a census abstract from 1916, that seems pretty certain to have been made by Patrick's older brother James to prove his age for the pension. Down the side of this document, it also has a list of names that must be his siblings. I haven't been able to get Patrick's birth entry- it was too early for the microfilm online from Ballylanders Parish- but his name is listed in the siblings, as are the names of Ellen and Bridget who I had found on the register. It also lists John who came to New Zealand and Margaret who was my great-grandmother via her Malone marriage. The only one I wasn't aware of before was Mary...

Oh- and for some reason I had to use Safari to access this document properly on my Mac- in case that affects some of the rest of you...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Payn Headstone- how things can change

Sometime early in my genealogical discoveries, I found out that the grave of my great-grandparents Frank Payn and Johanna Scettrini, was in Hokitika Cemetery, and I went there and found it.
It was a very simple headstone.
I might yet find I have another photo stashed away- though at the time I took fewer as they all had to be developed and paid for!- but it seems that I may have totally 'ignored' the fact that their son John F Payn, who died in France in WW1, had a plaque underneath his parents. This is visible in this online photo on the Westland Cemeteries site.
At the time I visited the cemetery it took me sometime to find the grave, so I drew myself a little 'map' for future visits. This might help some other visitors, but on a return visit my wayward use of left and right still had me muddled for a while even with my 'map'!
In the last couple of years Maurice Payn of Nelson, Frank and Johanna's grandson, and my mother's first cousin, has taken it upon himself to do something about renovating some of our original pioneer headstones. He arranged to have Frank and Johanna's grave redone to include more information about them, and here is what the headstone now looks like.

(And yes, the Arthur Thomas Payn in the next grave, is another grandson.)

Thanks are due to Maurice Payn for his efforts in taking care that these pioneer graves will still be able to tell their story to future Payn-Scettrini generations.

Next up- I must write some sort of summary of Frank Payn's life. 'Papers Past' has lots of bits about him...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Etaples Military Cemetery

I am nearing the end of collating all the information I have about James Riordan, fourth and youngest son of Patrick Riordan and Mary Burke. I've previously written about where he was buried in France. But I realise it might be useful if I describe how exactly to find his grave site, in case any family members want to visit the grave to pay their respects.

He is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery, just a few kilometres north of the town of Etaples, south of Boulogne-sur-Mer along the Pas-de-Calais coast.
screenshot from Google Maps
The cemetery is huge- overwhelming. I cried when I saw it.

Luckily I had a map from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that helped me quickly identify which section of the cemetery to head for.

James Riordan's final resting place in France lies in Section VII, C.1.
We will remember them.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

James Lalor- South Beach

To respond to questions from a new family genealogist, my Lalor folder was opened.... so I am sharing here some of the info I have about James Lalor.

James LALOR was born in Co Kilkenny, Ireland, circa 1837-1838 to John and Mary Lalor.

On 14th September 1871, he married Catherine ROWLAND in the Roman Catholic Chapel, Greymouth, when he was described as a bachelor and a miner. He dwelled in Greymouth District, with a stated ‘length of residence’ of 2 ½ years.

Catherine and James had six children. Their first daughter, Margaret Jane, was born 22 August 1872, while they were residing at South Beach, and subsequent children were named John, Mary, Robert, James and Thomas.

James mined for gold at South Beach.  On the Westland electoral roll of 1911 James Lalor, of Paroa, is listed as a miner, and in 1914 on the Westland supplementary roll he is listed as “6182 Lalor James, senr. South Beach, miner.”

In April 1883 James is listed as one of four men applying for a lease of 8 acres of land at South Beach, for a period of 15 years, to be worked by ground sluicing. The company formed was to be called “The Rising Sun Gold-mining Company”. One of the other company members was Robert Delaney, who had been named as a witness in James Lalor’s wedding 12 years earlier.

In 1886 when a public meeting was held about leasing of South Beach lands, James Lalor was one of those involved in the discussions, and he proposed a motion “That Document2a petition be presented to the Waste Lands Board, and a copy forwarded to the Honorable the Minister of Mines, showing that by the sale or leasing of any land within the Paroa district that the miners would suffer severely, inasmuch as their very costly dams and water-races would become valueless, which should be viewed as a calamity to be averted.”

In 1890, James applied to the Warden’s Court for four month’s protection for an extended claim at South Beach, and this was granted.

In his later years James also became a “Parliamentary Messenger”. An article in 1901 in ‘New Zealand Free Lance’ described him in favourable terms, noting that among the messengers in the recent session of the House of Representatives ‘there was one at least who bore a historic name and is a blood relation to two men who have achieved celebrity. The writer told us that James Lalor was a modest man: “Yet, Mr James Lalor, who came up from Greymouth to wear the livery of Parliament and who has just got back to the Coast this week to resume his avocation as a gold miner could boast of his family connections if he were not far too modest a man to say anything about himself at all.”  The writer then said that James Lalor was a ‘full cousin’ of the celebrated Irish orator, Richard Lalor Sheil,

James was active in community affairs on the West Coast. A search of the “Papers Past” website gives many examples, recorded for the most part in the ‘Grey River Argus’.

Paroa School committee. In 1886 he was chairman of the school committee when a farewell presentation was made to a Head Teacher at Paroa school who was leaving the district. Three years later, in 1889, there was clearly a heated annual meeting at which there was a clash over whether the head teacher of the time should be retained or removed. James Lalor was elected onto the committee during that meeting, with the highest number of votes.

Paroa Licensing Committee. In 1882 James Lalor is listed as being a member of this committee at the annual meeting, which considered a request for reduced licensed fees. In 1885 we read that he was successful in elections for the Paroa Licensing Board.

Parnell collection.  James Lalor clearly did not forget his Irish origins either. In 1881 it is recorded that he gave 5 shillings in the South Beach collection for the Parnell Defence Fund.

In 1992, my aunty, Edith Lemon (nee Lalor), showed me where the old residence of James and Catherine Lalor stood at South Beach. It was rather derelict, but was still standing in the midst of an industrial site on the southern end of modern Greymouth.

James Lalor died at South Beach on 3 October 1916, of malignant disease of the throat. In the Argus he was described as ‘well and favourably known throughout the West Coast’ and a ‘true and devoted father’.

He is buried in Karoro Cemetery in Greymouth, together with his wife Catherine, and two grandchildren who died as infants.

This info was compiled by Margaret Riordan in February, 2010. I haven’t included source footnotes here, but please e-mail me via this blog if you want details.

NOTE: The only info I hold about James Lalor’s parents comes from his death entry where his parents are named as John and Mary Lalor. I have seen James mother described as “Margaret Gorman’ on the MyHeritage website but don’t have any documents myself that indicate this. If you happen to know more, please contact me! I would love to search more in the Irish parish registers for James forebears, but just knowing "Co Kilkenny" is too broad a brush!

James and Catherine Lalor- Karoro Cemetery

Sometimes someone asks me something about one or other line of the family and I go searching for old info I haven't looked at for a while. In this case a fellow Lalor descendant in Greymouth has become interested in genealogy, and found that the grave of our mutual great-grandparents, James Lalor and Catherine Rowland, had been recently restored. So she asked Rhodes Monumental who had organised it, and they contacted me, and I contacted her...

This is what the grave looked like on the last day of December 2016, with arum lilies growing profusely out of the base, and the lettering mostly quite difficult to read.

I decided to get the grave redone, and Rhodes Monumental masons have done a superb job. This next photo shows what it looked like at Easter time this year.
It was nearly finished...
And just a few days later it was finished, and I was e-mailed this final photo from Rhodes Monumental in Greymouth.

Now the lettering on the headstone of these original pioneers of ours has been renewed for more generations to come to read. Rhodes Monumental have done a great job.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

James Riordan

The plan is ... to stick to a plan! I am going to collate all the information I have about James Riordan, who died of wounds incurred near the Somme during the battle of Flers-Courcelette in WW1.

Today I found a map of where the battle of Flers-Courcelette took place, on a NZ History website. James Riordan was wounded in action on 22 September, 1916.
Map produced by Geographx with research assistance from Damien Fenton and Caroline Lord.
It originally appeared in Damien Fenton, New Zealand and the First World War (Penguin, Auckland, 2013).

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Malone great-grandparents

Yes, I know I should be more 'disciplined' and should stick to some sort of research plan for doing my genealogy- but..... Sunday afternoons are great for random explorations. And especially now that the National Library of Ireland, and National Archives of Ireland have digitised access to so many more records... So somehow I found myself on the National Archives of Ireland census search page.
And here is the 1901 census entry for my Malone great-grandparents: Jeremiah Malone and Margaret (nee Riordan) his wife. I love that they spoke "Irish and English".

By the time of this census my grandmother Margaret and her sister Bridget were in New Zealand. Also another brother Patrick was known to be in New Zealand- but another day I will have to 'chase him up' to find out more about him.

The family are in house #2 of this house and building return- in Ballinadrideen, the place of my grandmother's birth.
Thanks to National Archives of Ireland for this information. I hope one day to get to Ireland to find Ballinadrideen, somewhere just south of Charleville.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

James Riordan- WW1

James Riordan was the fourth son of Patrick Riordan and Mary Burke of Charing Cross, Canterbury, and he was born in 1887. He enlisted for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, arriving in Etaples, France, in mid-August 1916. He was wounded in action on 22 September 1916, and subsequently died of wounds on 11 October 1916. He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, about 27 kilometres south of Boulogne, Pas-de-Calais.

Last year, 2016, the New Zealand government commemorated the centennial of the entry of NZ troops into the Battle of the Somme, near Longueval, and the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery. As I read news accounts about this, I realised that James Riordan was killed around this time. I knew that he had died of wounds in a military hospital, but as the Etaples Cemetery was a long way from Longueval, it did not seem likely to me that he could have been in this battle. Still, the timing was close.

A few weeks ago at the NZSG conference I spoke to one of the historians at the NZ Defence Force stand. He checked the details on James Riordan's casualty form with me, and when he looked at the date he was wounded, and the fact that James was a Rifleman, he said it was quite likely that James Riordan did take part in the Battle of the Somme. He also told me that because he was wounded in the thigh he possibly got gangrene from bacteria and died as a result.

The historian told me that the Somme was a huge long battlefront, but that the battle the New Zealanders entered was at Flers-Courcelette. He gave me a brochure with the web address where I could check the unit's history. I found the website, then the NZ history link, leading to a WW1 link, and then to a link for the NZ Rifle Brigade history.  This history detailed the battle around Flers that the Rifle Brigade was involved in from September 15th. There were heavy casualties, and James Riordan must have been wounded in action as part of this battle, before being moved back to a military base hospital at Dannes-Camiers, near the Etaples Military Cemetery.

Coincidentally, John Joseph, another Reardon from Darfield, the son of Bartholomew and Maggie Reardon, was killed in action in the same battle, and is buried at the Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial. Both men are listed on the cenotaph in Darfield, Canterbury.

I have visited the grave of James Riordan in Etaples Cemetery, and hope I might return there one day. It is comforting to read, from the NZ Tablet, 26 July 1917,  that the graves of many of the NZ soldiers were visited by their comrades, including the grave of James Riordan.
From the Papers Past website, NZ Tablet, 26 July 1917.
Lest we forget.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."
~Laurence Binyon

Monday, June 5, 2017

A journey to family war graves

The material in this article was published in the "The NEW ZEALAND GENEALOGIST" Vol 32 No 272, Nov/Dec 2001. It was also on my homepages for many years, but those are no longer online. This blog post replaces those homepages.

Paying  my last respects
The journey to family War Graves in Northern France

I grew up in Waitara, in a house that backed onto the War Memorial Hall with its adjoining cenotaph. As each Anzac Day neared, white crosses and poppies would appear around the small cenotaph. I grew familiar with the way the old soldiers marched wearing their medals, and mesmerised, I watched the younger soldiers who stood in uniform at each corner of the monument, immobile, their guns held firmly in front of them.

I grew up, watching these Anzac Day commemorations, not knowing that on each side of my family, a young man had gone to war in northern France and had not returned.

It was when I began to explore my family history as an adult that I learned about my two great-uncles who had died in World War 1. James RIORDAN, born in Charing Cross, the fourth son of Patrick Riordan and Mary BURKE, lies buried near the town of Etaples on the French coast. John Francis PAYN, born in Kumara, son of Francis Davis Payn and Johanna SCETTRINI, rests now in a peaceful inland part of rural France near the city of Cambrai.

Finding out about what had happened to James Riordan posed an early puzzle for me in my genealogical research. I found the will for Patrick Riordan, his father, quite quickly, and from that I learned that there was a son called James who had inherited the family farm near Charing Cross in 1911. However, further references to this James seemed elusive.

It was a visit to National Archives in Wellington that first gave me evidence that the James Riordan I sought may have died in World War 1. On a list of World War 1 soldiers, I found James Riordan, farmer, whose next of kin was described as “PJ Riordan (brother), Springdon, Southland.” I knew that I had a great-uncle named Patrick Joseph Riordan who farmed at Springston in Canterbury. Further research was clearly warranted.

I also viewed the casualty form for James Riordan while at National Archives. Private Riordan 23436, was part of E Coy, the 13th reinforcement and he had embarked in Wellington on May 29 1916. He arrived in France in August and marched out to division on September 8th. He was wounded in action two weeks later on 22 September 1916 and died of his wounds at 11am, 11 October 1916. The casualty form gave a detailed listing of the position of his grave in the Etaples Military Cemetery. I wrote down all the details, not thinking that one day I would visit this grave.

I decided it was time to send to the Registrar General’s Office for James’ death entry. Unfortunately, the register entry did not name his parents, but it did list his place of birth as Charing Cross, and this increased the likelihood that he was the James I was seeking.

When I began researching my mother’s side of the family, I was put in touch with Maurice Payn in Nelson, who knew much of the oral family history. I quickly learned from him about John Payn who had died in World War 1. Maurice sent me a copy of a card that the family had received that carried a photograph of the grave. He also had a coloured certificate that had been sent to the family to recognise the services of John Payn, “Who gave his Life for his Country”.

A search at National Archives for a casualty form for John Payn proved fruitless though, as his form was missing when I looked, so I had no details about his place of burial.  The death registration entry from the RGO clearly listed his parent’s names, but listed his place of burial only as “France.”

On a visit to the Alexander Turnbull library newspaper section, I was able to find both men listed on the rolls of honour in newspaper lists of the time. While on a South Island trip, I visited Darfield, and saw the memorial that listed Riordan, J; in Kumara, I saw the greenstone tablets that listed the name Payn J.

On a visit passing through Waiouru, I called into the Army Museum to see the greenstone memorial wall. While there, I began talking to one of the soldiers present. I was planning a trip to Europe at that stage and I wanted to know more about the locations of the cemeteries these two men were buried in. Although I knew which cemetery James Riordan was buried in from his casualty form, John Payn’s exact burial place still eluded me. The soldier told me that details about the graves could be found through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. (This conversation was prior to the days of the website that now exists.) The soldier was kind enough to go in search of the address for me, and on my return home, I wrote away to the Commission.

Very quickly I received a most helpful reply. I was sent information from the register for each cemetery, that described its whereabouts, and also a brief outline of the history of the nearby battles that had led to its creation. There was also specific information for each named soldier that usually included the names of their parents and their home addresses. Finally I had a written piece of information that named the parents of James Riordan and left no doubt that he was my great uncle. I also now had exact details about the burial place of John Payn. Importantly, as I was later to discover, there were also two maps. One was the map of the immediate locality of the cemetery that gave me clues as to the nearest town. The other was a map of each cemetery, with the sections and plots numbered clearly. This map was to prove vital when I reached the Etaples cemetery where James Riordan was buried. The cemetery held more than 11000 graves, and finding a specific grave without such a map would have been an impossible task.

In 1998 I set off on my long trip overseas, and one of my goals while in Europe was to visit the graves of both James Riordan and John Payn.

On 13 May 1998, some eighty years after his death, I was able to visit the grave of John Payn.

From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, I had obtained information that John was buried in Flesquières Hill British Cemetery, and that this was near the town of Cambrai in northern France.  As I headed towards Cambrai, through beautiful rural countryside dotted with small villages, it was hard to comprehend that this peaceful looking area had once been the scene of such wartime devastation.

In Cambrai, I sought information at the Tourist Office about public transport to the village of Flesquières. After several phone calls they identified what seemed to be a suitable bus route for me, but I was later to discover that the closest this bus would take me to Flesquières was a bus-stop some distance away. Once at this bus-stop, I sought directions at a village café opposite and began walking. I hadn't walked far, however, when a man I'd seen in the café pulled over in his car to offer me a lift. It turned out that this man had been born in the village of Flesquières. I suspect that he had no need to travel to the village himself, and that he drove me there purely as an act of kindness, and perhaps also as an act of French gratitude for the foreigners who had died there.

I was dropped off right in front of the cemetery itself. A wall rose up from the roadside with a tall cross above it. A large plaque announced, in English and in French: "The land on which this cemetery stands is the free gift of the French people for the perpetual resting place of those of the Allied armies who fell in the War of 1914-1918 and are honoured here."

I climbed the steps to find the grave of John Payn. It was easy to find with the information I had been given by the War Graves Commission. It lay near the tall cross, and a miniature rose grew in the carefully tended garden in front of his headstone. The headstone read simply: “52645 Private J.F. Payn, NZ Wellington Regt, 3rd October 1918 age 23. I stood quietly in front of his grave for some time, bringing a farewell from New Zealand to his resting place on French soil. Whatever horrors he faced in his last days, he rests now in the peace and beauty of the French countryside. 

 There was a shelter holding the register of names of those buried there, and it included a book for recording visits where I recorded that I had visited the grave of John Payn.

Near John’s grave lay those of many other New Zealand soldiers killed around the same time, near the end of the War, when their mothers must have begun to expect that they would be returning home. From this cemetery, another war cemetery is visible, just a few kilometres away. 
Two days later, on 15 May 1998, I visited the grave of James Riordan.

Transport to the cemetery at Etaples proved to be more straightforward, as train connections took me to the town of Etaples, and I just needed to walk a few kilometres north to the cemetery itself, which lay on a main road.

From the roadside, a short path led to a large cross. I found I was not at all prepared for the sheer size of the cemetery that soon lay spread out below me. The huge Etaples cemetery is impressively landscaped, and was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens: all the graves spread out below three terraces with a huge cross standing above them.

I used my cemetery map to find the area in which the grave of James Riordan lay. James’ headstone had the simple inscription: “23436 Rifleman J Riordan, NZ Rifle Brigade, 11th October 1916.” Again, I was glad I had come to pay my respects at the grave of my great-uncle. I stood at his graveside and reflected. James Riordan died in 1916, and in 1917, my father was born and was named James, surely in his memory.

I spoke with an Englishman there who was in charge of maintenance of the lawns and gardens. He explained to me how there had been huge field hospitals near this site, and that most soldiers buried in it had "died of wounds”.

I returned to New Zealand, glad in the knowledge that I had found the resting places of these two young men of my family. Each Anzac Day since, as a primary teacher, I have told children of this generation about the young men we remember who never came home.

 Margaret Riordan
 aka KiwiNomad06
 (I have other photos of both cemeteries that I will try and scan to post here before too long.)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

NZSG Conference 2017

Thanks to a tweet from my Burke cousin Maggie I heard about the NZSG conference in Auckland this weekend, which promised some interesting Irish lectures. Two researchers came out from Ulster, Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt. They delivered a treasure trove of info- and I will give just a few highlights of what I learned from them.

-Think laterally when looking for census substitutes- e.g. dog licences give addresses down to rural sub post office level.

-Extracts from the census were used to prove age for the pension, and these quite often list other family info. Many were issued in 1911 and these extracts escaped destruction in the 1916 fire.

-If there is a priest in the family it is worth searching for them, as they often had quite a lot written about them.

-Look at post-dated records- after ancestor left Ireland, as records often ‘refer back’ to other family members, especially land records.

-Fragments of records exist for various areas, e.g. a list of Tithe Defaulters is useful in Kilkenny. (Book by John Grenham can help identify these.)

-Search by Place can be helpful if name might be transcribed in various ways.

-Can register for free on Trinity College of Dublin site- which has several record types online e.g. the ‘Down Survey of Ireland'.

-Griffiths Valuation-by parish and townland- land often stayed in families for centuries.

-Church of Ireland records also include Catholics, as it was the state church responsible for whole community, so include cemetery info, financial aid for the poor etc. Women in community might be mentioned e.g. if they received aid for fostering.

-Poor Law Unions replaced parish help, crossed borders of parishes and counties etc.  These later became the Registration Districts.

-PLU had vaccination records for all, not just those in workhouses.

-Registry of Deeds is intact from 1708- connected with Penal Code - strictly enforced  e.g. Catholics could have maximum 31 year lease; had to subdivide land amongst all sons.

-Family Search has recently released online some indexes to land deeds, and actual deed documents.

-Related penal documents include Poll Book objections if someone said someone on roll was Catholic; Catholic Qualification Rolls at National Archives

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Riordan- where is Curraheen?

Curraheen-Riordan connection
aka where exactly in Ireland did Patrick Riordan come from?

The New Zealand death entry for my great-grandfather Patrick Riordan in 1911 stated that he was born in “Curraheen”.

Now that various Irish records have become more freely available online, I have been dipping into the Catholic Parish registers. I had begun searching for Riordans in the Kildimo/Adare parish region in Co Limerick where there was a townland of Curraheen, not far from the River Shannon, but was not finding many likely looking names in this area. Also it seemed a bit distant from other known places for the family in Ballyhea (Malone), Charleville, Glenroe (O’Donnell) which were all further south near the border of Co Limerick and Co Cork.

To check whether I might have transcribed “Curraheen” incorrectly from the register in my original search (back in the early 90s), I paid for a digital image of Patrick’s death entry from the official RGO register. Definitely Curraheen. And his mother’s surname was definitely Quane.
Today I changed tack from searching Irish parish registers, and plugged ‘Riordan, Curraheen’ into Google.

Bingo! In the online 1829 tithe applotment books, I found a ‘widow Riordan’ living in Curraheen, in the parish of Ballylanders.(Also found a John Quane in Knockbrack, in the parish of Ballylanders, on the same page.)
(Ballinlanders was the spelling used in the applotment books, but Ballylanders was the spelling on the parish registers.)

A check on the parish map on the National Library of Ireland website showed that Ballylanders parish adjoins Glenroe parish, where Dean James Joseph O’Donnell, Patrick’s first cousin, came from.

So I returned to the National Library of Ireland website to look again at the Catholic Parish registers, this time looking for Ballylanders Parish. Unfortunately, the entries in the register of baptisms only start in 1849, and it seems that Patrick Riordan was born around 1847. But I soon found that I was finding plenty of familiar names in the register- lots of Quanes, and O’Donnells, as well as Riordans. On 16 Dec 1849 there was a “Bidy Riordan” who was a sponsor for a baptism. I wondered if this might be Patrick’s mother.

Then finally I found an entry that made it seem almost certain I was looking in the correct register. On June 4th 1850, Ellen, daughter of John Riordan and Bidy Quane, was baptised. One of the sponsors was Dan Quane. Ellen would seem to be a sister for Patrick Riordan, out great-grandfather.

It seems that I have quite likely found the “Curraheen’ that Patrick Riordan hails from, in the parish of Ballylanders, in the diocese of Cashel and Emily, Co Limerick. I have read that it is possible to trace births prior to 1849 in this parish but accessing the records is expensive. But I will search further in this online parish register later to see if I can discover other siblings for Patrick Riordan.

27 May 2017
Sidenote: Funnily enough, I have maternal ancestors (Heneberry/ Cronage) from the same diocese, just over the border in Co Tipperary, in Ballyporeen.