More Family Reconstitutions
Just wetting a line…I hope i haven’t put these up before. The first ones are Earl Grey orphans’ families in Australia, that is, from the first vessel that carried the infamous ‘Belfast Girls’.
Jaki McCarrick’s brilliant play of the same name puts the Belfast girls on board the Inchinnan. Creative artists of Jaki’s stature weave their own magic to use history how they wish. It’s a wonderful play with a great history of its own already, thrilling audiences in London, Chicago, Vancouver, and soon to appear in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and Portland, Oregon. Have a read of her play if you will, maybe buy your own copy online, or order one for your library, even share with a friend.
There’s more to discover by examining the detail in these family reconstitution forms.
Some Earl Grey orphans
Elizabeth McFarlane from Cookstown had nearly twenty seven years of widowhood. She gave birth to fourteen children, five boys and nine girls. She lost one of her twins because of an ‘accidental scalding’.
Charlotte Mackay from Banbridge lost four of her children to scarlet fever.
Eliza McLaughlin/McLoughlan from Clonfeakle in Tyrone lived all her life in Sydney but she too lost three of her children in infancy.
Sarah Wiley/Wylie from Banbridge married an Irishman of different religion from herself, lived most of her life in Sydney and lost three of her children at an early age. See the left hand side of the page which gives William’s various occupations and place of residence when he registered their children’s birth.
Port Phillip Arrivals, mostly on the Diadem.
There’s a facebook page for these Melbourne arrivals organised by the descendant of Eliza Sharkey per Diadem. It’s at https://www.facebook.com/portphillipirishorphangirls/
Lily Barber from Belfast went to the gold diggings but like most in the gold rush, didn’t strike it rich. She and James had eleven children. She is buried in Ballarat New Cemetery.
Eliza Ady from Dungannon or Cookstown in Tyrone married in Melbourne and went looking for gold with her husband. Her ‘treasure’ may have been her nine children. She is buried in Stawell.
Her sister Jane had ten children. I’ve left the names of some of their spouses supplied by one of her descendants, Munroe, Patchett, Radnell, Perry, Polglase. Maybe someone will be surprised to find they have a Famine orphan in their family tree?
The last but one of the Diadem orphans for the moment is Mary McCann from Enniskillen. The form was filled out by one of her descendants. I was able to add little to this one.
Rebecca Orr from Derry married a young carpenter from Somerset in a Wesleyan chapel in Geelong not long after she arrived. Present were her Diadem shipmate Margaret Love and her husband to be, William Hargrave.
A couple more to finish. When Mary Ann McElroy’s descendant returned my form, I had already lost access to Victorian BDM records. She came on that large ship, the Pemberton. Mary lived to the ripe old age of ninety, having given birth to nineteen children.
Finally two forms returned to me by other very cluey descendants. These date from the 1980s.
A new generation of orphan descendants is discovering a link to Earl Grey’s Irish Famine orphans. I’ve recently learned that Mary Theresa Slattery will be represented at a memorial celebration in Kilkenny this coming November (2017) by a member of her Australian family. She’s been in touch with the author of a fascinating work on Famine Burials in Kilkenny workhouse, Dr Jonny Gerber. (See Dr Gerber’s chapter in the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, eds., Crowley, Smyth and Murphy, Cork, 2012).
A reminder…the annual gathering at Hyde Park Barracks occurs on the last Sunday of August. See the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GreatIrishFamineMemorial/