Remembering Captain Gordon Skelly

My sixth great grandfather Gordon Skelly was a Captain of the Royal Navy. He died on 22 June 1771, 250 years ago today.

He was born in 1741 at Warkworth, Northumberland, England to the Reverend John Skelly and Lady Betty Skelly née Gordon, daughter of Alexander the second Duke of Gordon.

He first joined the merchant navy in 1755, when he was about 14 years old. From 1757, probably as a midshipman, Skelly served on HMS Devonshire, a 66-gun third rate ship of the line. The commanding officer was William Gordon (1705 – 1769); it sounds as though they were related. William Gordon later became a Rear-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief, The Nore.

In June 1758 Skelly saw action at the Siege of Louisbourg and at the Capture of Quebec in September 1759. He kept a journal from 1757 to 1759. This account seems to hold considerable importance to historical collectors. It was sold in 2003 for $US141,900.

Burning of the French ship Prudent and capture of Bienfaisant, during the siege of Louisbourg in 1758, Richard Paton. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Skelly’s journal has the title “A Journal of two Voyages to North America. In his Majesty’s Ship ye Devonshire, From June 1757 to December 1759. Containing the Expedition against Louisbourgh under the Admirals Holburne and Boscowen; with the Reduction of some places of less note after the Surrender of Louisbourgh in the year 1758. The transactions during the winter at Hallifax in 1759–The arrival of Admiral Saunders with a Fleet against Quebec…to the Surrender of Quebec, and our return to England….“. Skelly recorded the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, also known as the Battle of Quebec, on 13 September 1759. Just outside the walls of Quebec City, “the whole line of the enemy soon gave way, ours pushing on with their bayonets till they took to their heels and were pursued with great slaughter to the walls of the town.”

“Slipping and stumbling the men went on” The British under General Wolfe climbing the heights of Quebec, 1759. Illustration by J. R. Skelton for the book Our Empire Story by H. E. Marshall. Image retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.

Gordon Skelly passed his lieutenant’s examination on 5 August 1761 and was commissioned as lieutenant on 1 October 1761. He served on several ships, among them HMS Baltimore, where from 10 October 1762 to 3 December 1762 he kept the Lieutenant’s logbooks.

On 10 January 1771 Skelly was appointed commander of the Royal Navy 10 gun sloop Lynx, stationed at Shields in north-east England. He and seven others were drowned there when the ship’s longboat was overturned by breakers when crossing the harbour bar.

Newcastle Courant 29 June 1771 page 2. Image (and subsequent newspaper image) retrieved through and reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive.
Leeds Intelligencer 2 July 1771
Entrance to Shields Harbour from The Ports, Harbours, Watering-places and Picturesque Scenery of Great Britain Vol. 1 by William Findon retrieved from Project Gutenberg

Gordon Skelly married Dorothy Harrison on 6 June 1766 at Yarm, Yorkshire, the ceremony conducted his father the Reverend John Skelly, Vicar of Stockton.

They had three children:

  • Gordon 1767–1828
  • Dorothy 1768–1840, mother of Sophia Mainwaring née Duff
  • Andrew 1772–1785

His granddaughter Sophia née Duff (1790 – 1824) married Rowland Mainwaring (1783 – 1862).


A visit to Charlton

Yesterday Greg and I drove to Charlton to look at the Wimmera land selected in 1875 by his great great uncles Thomas Edwards (1826 – 1908), James Edwards (1835 – 1916), and John Gilbart Edwards (1829 – 1912).

Last week I had found the properties on the parish plans, through the website of the Public Record Office Victoria. Thomas and James were in Narrewillock Parish north-east of Charlton. Comparing the plan to Google maps I discovered the road adjacent to the property was named—conveniently for us—‘Edwards Road’.

The land selected by Thomas and James Edwards from the Narrewillock Parish plan

John Gilbart Edwards settled at Yeungroon southwest of Charlton.

The land settled by John Gilbart Edwards from the Yeungroon parish plan.
Map of places visited near Charlton

We first found the property at Yeungroon, on Five Mile Road. The countryside nearby was in splendid condition after the rain. We stopped to look at a mob of sheep. They had a lot to say, much of it ‘maa’ rather than ‘baa’. Perhaps they were maa lambs, not baa lambs, a different breed.

Afterwards we looked through the Charlton Golden Grains Museum. The volunteers there had sent me a comprehensive list of newspaper articles about the Edwards, including obituaries for Thomas and James. At the museum we saw photos of the Charlton H.E.S. (Higher Elementary School) Basketball team of 1925. A couple of the photographs had the granddaughters of James Edwards Gwen (1910 – 2006) and Freda (1913 – 2008) Edwards in them .

Thomas died in 1908 at Charlton and was buried in Charlton cemetery. James, who died in 1916, was buried in Terrappee cemetery. We found their graves.

Charlton Cemetery is a mile west of the town.  From the obituary published in the East Charlton Tribune, which had been shared with us by the Charlton Golden Grains Museum, we knew that Thomas was buried there. At the cemetery is a directory of the site, erected by the Rotary Club, which lists all the graves and their location. The grave of Thomas Edwards has no headstone, but we were able to determine which plot was his by confirming the location of the neighbouring headstone. It is rare to find such a useful finding-aid at a cemetery.

On our way to Terrappee we drove past Mount Buckrabanyule which is covered with Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta), an invasive noxious weed, now listed as a Weed of National Significance.

The view west from Mount Buckrabanyule

Afterwards we visited the grave of James Edwards at Terrappee Cemetery, about 10 km northeast of Charlton. We knew in advance from FindAGrave that James’s grave there has a headstone.

James’s son Frederick James Edwards is buried next to James. Strangely, his gravestone has the wrong date of death. James died on 15 December 1974, the date confirmed by his death notice in The Age of 16 December.

Terrappee cemetery is a small bush graveyard, peaceful and calm, surrounded by enormous cultivated paddocks. It has a large peppercorn tree.

Then we found their property, formerly known as “Lamorna”, which had been selected by James and Thomas Edwards. A new crop of wheat had sprouted. James Edwards’s diary recorded that he sowed his first patch of wheat in 1876, a year after his arrival.

The land settled by Thomas and James Edwards in 1875 with a new crop of wheat.

From Terrapee we came back to Charlton and after a pleasant roast lunch sitting in the sun on the verandah of the Cricket Club Hotel drove home to Ballarat.

Wikitree links:

History of the Edwards Family page 1

I was pleased to receive a copy of a brief history of the Edwards family in Australia—one branch of it, at least—from one of Greg’s Edwards cousins, a descendant of his great great uncle James Edwards. Greg’s mother Marjorie was descended from Francis Gilbart Edwards, youngest son of Thomas and Mary Edwards nee Gilbart.

Marjorie was quite interested in her family history and passed on many stories to me. She was especially fond of retelling the history of her Edwards and Gilbart forebears and their connection with a missionary family named Tuckfield.

The history, six pages long, will be continued in future posts.

Page 1


This short history of the Edwards Family was compiled by Frederick James Edwards, the son of James and Elizabeth Edwards who was born at the farm in 1884, ten years after the parents came there as Pioneers.

James Edwards was a great reader and very literary minded and from the time he arrived on the selection he kept a day to day diary from 1874 to 1901, and at the end of this history I will note the principle events of each year from year to year. It was partly from this diary that I got the particulars that is in this history.

For the benefit of future generations the following is a brief history of the Edwards families just prior to coming to Australia and since that time.

The founder of the Australian family was Thomas Edwards who was born in St. Earth [Erth], Cornwall in the year 1798 and during his manhood of the 49 years in Cornwall he had interests and worked in a foundry known in those days as Rolling Mills and manufactured principally mining equipment, carts, shovels and picks.

He married in 1826 to Mary Gilbart, the daughter of a prominent Methodist family. It is traditional that John Wesley stayed with the Gilbart family when founding the Wesleyan Church in Cornwall, they provided land for the first church and copper laid pulpit for the church.

Mary Gilbart’s elder sister came to Australia in 1838 as the wife of Rev. Frances Tuckfield, the first Wesleyan Minister appointed to Victoria.

Thomas and Mary Edwards had 5 sons and one daughter [7 sons and 2 daughters], the continuation of our family was the third son James, who was born on January 28 1835, at St. Earth [Erth] and came to Victoria at the age of 14 with all the family as immigrants and arrived in Corio Bay, Geelong on Christmas Day 1849 [13 January 1849] in the sailing ship “Lysander” and on account of the poor landing facilities and adverse wind did not land until the next day, The time taken by the ship from Plymouth to Geelong was about 100 days. This ship “Lysander” of 475 tons had 238 passengers and there were 9 births and 7 deaths on the passage. The ship had one more trip to England for immigrants and bought back to Victoria the documents signed by Queen Victoria for the separation of N.S.W. from Victoria in 1851. It was then fitted out as a hospital ship and acted in that capacity for many years and acted as a Hospital Ship at the Crimean War.

The Victorian Government paid all shipping freight for tradesmen on all tools used by the trade. We have an anvil forged made and steel faced at the farm, brought out under those conditions.

The hardships of landing in a new country with no housing and a big family can be imagined. The father was a wheel right and carpenter and the eldest boys were also in the trade. And in Geelong, while there was plenty of work, later James with the eldest brother Thomas, who stayed with James and worked together through life, followed the gold rush without success, and then went farming at Little River, Buninyong and Bullarook where they stayed 14 years.

The farm at Bullarook proved quite a good farm, potatoes were the main crop. As the open up the land cry was on, and all the Western District was taken up they decided to select at Charlton. When the parents grew old they went to Bullarook with Thomas and James and died there and are buried in the old Ballarat cemetery, The years at Bullarook was 1860 to 1874 with the sale of the Bullarook land at £10 per acre gave Thomas and James a IittIe money to start at Charlton. The finding of gold in Victoria brought thousands of immigrants from overseas and the service [surface] gold soon worked out and selectors took up land going north as the Western District was already taken over by squatters. These dates were from 1853 to 1870.

Greg and I have visited the graves of Thomas and Mary Edwards at Ballarat Old Cemetery.

The grave site of Mary and Thomas Edwards Wesleyan Section Ballarat Old Cemetery : WN, Section 08, Row 2, Grave 09 The headstone is missing. Buried at this location are Mary Edwards nee Gilbart died 1867, her husband Thomas Edwards died 1871, and four grandchildren, the children of Mary and Thomas’s son William Edwards. (Grave location identified with reference to the adjacent headstone of David Cooper at WN, Section 08, Row 2, Grave 08)

We have also visited the land at Bullarook 15 kilometers east of Ballarat.

Related posts

Wikitree links:

Tree progress May 2021

In May 2018 I wrote about the progress I was making on my tree.  Out of the possible 1,023 individuals of the previous ten generations of my forebears, how many, I wondered, could I name?

I discovered that I knew the names of only 22% of the possible 1,023 on my side of the family. On my husband’s side I knew the names of only 13%. From our children’s perspective the combined figure was 31%.

Two years later, in March 2020, I had made only a little progress. I was then able to name 33.6% of the combined total, about 3% more. A year later, as of today I can name 352, 8 more, 34.4% of the possible 1,023 total.

For the last six months I have been transferring my research to WikiTree, a collaborative project intended to produce a ‘singular worldwide family tree’.  (The genealogist Kitty Cooper discusses the scheme in a post of 26 April 2019). By contributing my research to WikiTree it will be there as a resource for my cousins to use now and indefinitely into the future, safe, I hope, from accidental and malicious damage.

In places there are discrepancies between my personal research tree and WikiTree. I still have 15 of my children’s 5th great grandparents to transfer from my tree to WikiTree. Transferring means revisiting my research and making sure I have citations to justify the relationships and the asserted facts. I also have names of forebears on my personal tree about whom I know nothing more than their name. These people cannot be added to WikiTree until I have more information about them.

Using the “Ancestor Explorer” app developed by Chase Ashley (, I can see a sortable list of all the ancestors of my children for up to 20 generations back and I can monitor the progress of identifying their 1,048,576 18th great grandparents and of the pedigree collapse that reduces the number of unique forebears.

As of today, on WikiTree my children have 3211 unique ancestors named and 8914 duplicate ancestors (additional lines of descent from a unique ancestor) within 20 generations. Less than three months ago, on 28 February, my children had 2459 unique ancestors and 7705 duplicate ancestors (additional lines of descent from a unique ancestor) within 20 generations; in particular, as part of my exploration of our Irish ancestry, over the last few months I have added a large number of our Irish forebears.

When looking at the 1,023 individuals of the previous ten generations of our forebears, I have only 245 recorded on WikiTree, 24% of the possible forebears.

The application DNA Painter has useful charts to present tree completeness. I exported GEDCOM files from WikiTree and my personal research tree to compare the results:

Progress on my personal research tree as at 13 May 2021 from the perspective of our children – 352 forebears of a possible 1,023 in ten generations.
Surname groups from left to right: Young, Cross, Sullivan, Dawson, Champion de Crespigny, Cudmore, Boltz, Manock
Progress on WikiTree as at 13 May 2021 from the perspective of our children – 245 forebears of a possible 1,023 in ten generations.
GenerationAncestors identified WikitreeAncestors identified Personal research treeDifferenceTree completeness WikitreeTree completeness Personal research tree
Parents2 of 22 of 2100%100%
Grandparents4 of 44 of 4100%100%
Great-Grandparents8 of 88 of 8100%100%
2nd-Great-Grandparents16 of 1616 of 16100%100%
3rd-Great-Grandparents32 of 3232 of 32100%100%
4th-Great-Grandparents45 of 6457 of 64-1270%89%
5th-Great-Grandparents55 of 12872 of 128-1743%56%
6th-Great-Grandparents43 of 25677 of 256-3417%30%
7th-Great-Grandparents39 of 51283 of 512-447.62%16%
8th-Great-Grandparents41 of 102473 of 1024-324.00%7.13%
9th-Great-Grandparents54 of 204857 of 2048-32.64%2.78%
10th-Great-Grandparents69 of 409642 of 4096271.68%1.03%
11th-Great-Grandparents96 of 819230 of 8192661.17%0.37%
12th-Great-Grandparents122 of 1638420 of 163841020.74%0.12%
13th-Great-Grandparents187 of 3276818 of 327681690.57%0.05%
14th-Great-Grandparents276 of 6553615 of 655362610.42%0.02%
15th-Great-Grandparents34 of 13107215 of 131072190.03%0.01%
16th-Great-Grandparents12 of 26214412 of 2621440.00%0.00%

A useful challenge that categorises ancestral profiles was posed earlier this year by the Dutch genealogist Yvette Hoitink. She suggests there are six levels of profile beyond ‘Unidentified’ (where not even the name is known):

  1. Name only – perhaps the forebear is named in a child’s record but no other details are known
  2. Vital statistics – know the dates but little else
  3. Occupations, residence, children, spouses – know several key points of information; know when and where they were born, married, and died, but also where they lived between those key dates and what they did for a living; know who their children were, and if they married multiple times.
  4. Property ownership, military service, religion, criminal activity – filled in more biographical details about their lives; researched in court, notarial, cadastral, church and military records, where applicable; if they owned property, how they acquired it, how they disposed of it; whether they left a last will or if they had a prenuptial agreement; for men, whether they served in the army; what religion they were and which church they attended; if they were criminals, what they did and what their sentence was.
  5. Genealogical Proof Standard – Yvette categorises this as ancestors for whom she has finished reasonably exhaustive research and has proven who their parents are; finished researching them in a wide range of records, such as newspapers, town records, and tax records; documented them according to current genealogical standards, analyzed everything properly, resolved conflicts, written up her conclusion, and met the Genealogical Proof Standard.
  6. Biography – Yvette categorises this as ancestors for whom she has not only finished the research, but has produced a biography or family story with historical context from it.

I think these stages are indeed useful in measuring progress. I have a long way to go in compiling the profiles of our forebears beyond merely recording their names and dates.

Related posts

The family of Ann Mitchell nee Holmes

My paternal grandfather’s great grandmother, my fourth great grandmother, was a London woman named Ann Mitchell (1805 – 1831), a missionary’s wife. The bare facts of her life can be established, and it is possible to speculate with some confidence about her immediate family.

Here she is getting married:

On 5 January 1826 Ann Holmes, aged 20, of the parish of Saint George Bloomsbury, married Rev. William Mitchell of the Parish of Saint Mary Islington, clerk, bachelor, full age. William Mitchell had obtained a licence the day before from the Diocese of London. Since Ann was under twenty-one, her mother Susan Holmes, widow, gave her consent to the marriage.

On 7 January 1826 the marriage was noted in the Oxford University and City Herald:

Clergymen married: On Thursday last, at Islington, by the Rev. E. Bickersteth, the Rev. Wm. Mitchell, of Bombay, to Ann, youngest daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes, of this city.

Soon after their marriage the Mitchells travelled to India, in connection with the work of the Church. There they had three children:

  • Annie born 1826
  • Susan Augusta, my third great grandmother, born 1828
  • William Owen born 1829

Ann became unwell, however, and the Mitchells returned to England.

On 23 March 1831, Ann died, just twenty-six. Her death was announced in the Oxford University and City Herald on
26 March:

On Wednesday evening the 23rd instant, died, after a painful and lingering illness, aged 25 years, Ann, Wife of the Rev. William Mitchell, late of Bombay, and youngest Daughter of the late Mr Thomas Holmes of this city.

What about her parents and siblings?

I looked for other newspaper notices concerning Thomas Holmes and his children. I found a notice for an Alice Holmes, probably Ann’s sister, in the Oxford University and City Herald of 1 February 1834:

On Saturday last was married, at Newgate-street, London, Mr Robert Stuckey, of Cheapside, to Miss Alice Holmes, fifth daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes, of this city.”

Sadly, Alice Stuckey died a year later. The ‘Oxford Journal’ of 21 February 1835 has:

On the 2d inst. died, of consumption, in the 30th year of her age, Alice, the wife of Mr. Robert Stuckey, of Cheapside, London, and fifth daughter of the late Mr. T. Holmes. of this city.

It was possibly consumption that also killed Ann Mitchell, Alice Stuckey’s sister.

I also found a notice in the ‘Oxford University and City Herald’ of 19 November 1836 mentioning Ann’s brother-in-law:

On Monday last died, at Walworth, Mr Geo. Stanley, many years clerk in the Bank of England, son-in-law of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes of this city.

George Stanley married Elizabeth Holmes on 5 September 1814 at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, England. Stanley was a widower. One of the witnesses was Susan Holmes, probably the mother of Elizabeth and Ann.

In 1852 Ann’s mother died. The ‘Oxford Journal’ of 27 November 1852 has:

Nov. 25, at New-cross, near London, in the 87th year of her age, Mrs. Holmes, widow of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes, formerly of this city.

Death and burial records confirmed that this Mrs Holmes was Susannah Holmes aged 86 who died at Newcross Surrey and was buried at Nunhead, Surrey.

I looked at parish records for Oxfordshire and found the baptism for Alice Holmes, daughter of Thomas and Susannah, baptised on 13 January 1804 at All Saints Oxford. There was a baptism for Ann, daughter of Thomas and Susannah Holmes, at All Saints Oxford on 8 January 1806. I found some other baptisms including for a daughter Catharine baptised 11 May 1788. I also found the marriage of Thomas Holmes and Susanna Burton on 17 January 1785 at Saint Giles, Oxford. I believe this is the marriage of Ann’s parents.

I found two death notices for Thomas, one on Saturday 14 March 1812 in the Oxford University and City Herald: “On Thursday died Mr. Holmes, shoemaker, of Bear-lane, in this city.” The other in the Northampton Mercury of 21 March 1812 “Thursday sennight, in the 49th year of his age, Mr. Thomas Holmes, of Oxford.” I think this Thomas Holmes is Thomas Holmes the father of Ann.

I also found the burial record for Thomas Holmes, aged 49 on 18 March 1812 buried at St Ebbe’s, Oxford.

Reverend William Mitchell married again, and returned to India. In 1838 he was appointed by the Western Australian Missionary Society to help supply the spiritual needs of the residents of the Swan River Settlement, in what was to become the new colony of Western Australia. The Mitchell family, including the three children by his first wife Ann Mitchell nee Holmes, arrived there in 1838.

Related posts


Z is for zeal

Helen Maria Bayly, my fourth great aunt, was the second youngest of the sixteen children of Henry O’Neale Bayley (1757–1826) and Anne Penelope Bayley nee Grueber (1762–1837). Helen married a famous mathematician and astronomer. Was this an unhappy union with a man who neglected his wife in a too-zealous pursuit of his career, or was it zany, zestful, and zingy?

Helen Bayly married William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865) on 9 April 1833 at Ballinaclough, Ireland. The marriage was announced in the Belfast Newsletter of 16 April 1833:

At Ballinaclough Church on Easter Tuesday, William Rowan Hamilton Esq. Royal Astronomer of Ireland to Helen Maria, daughter of the late Rev. Henry Bayly, Rector of Nenagh.

They had three children:

  • William Edwin Hamilton 1834–1902
  • Archibald Henry Hamilton 1835–1914
  • Helen Eliza Amelia Hamilton 1840–1870
Dunsink Observatory was established in 1783. On the right is the main building. On the left is the dome housing the 12″ Grubb refractor. William Rowan Hamilton was a director of the observatory and lived here with his family from 1827 to 1865. Photograph retrieved from

William Rowan Hamilton’s biographer, Robert Perceval Graves, wrote in the 1880s of the Bayly family: “The lady whom Hamilton married in the year 1833 was a daughter of the Rev. Henry Bayly, Rector of Nenagh, in the county of Tipperary, a member of the family whose head is settled at Debsborough in that county : she was in this way connected with Lord Dunalley and with Dean Head, Dean of Killaloe, who were neighbours in the country, took an interest in the marriage, and were subsequently Hamilton’s acquaintances and correspondents. Miss Bayly’s mother, whose maiden name was Grueber, and who by her letters appears to have possessed a bright mind and amiable disposition, was at this time a widow and resided at Bayly Farm, near Nenagh. She (Anne Grueber) had many children, two of whom were married to brothers, Mr. William and Mr. Henry Rathborne, whose country-houses, Scripplestown and Dunsinea, were in immediate neighbourhood to the Observatory. With the elder of these sisters, Mrs. William Rathborne of Scripplestown, Helen Bayly was often a guest.”

There seems to be considerable disagreement among biographers of William Hamilton about the success or otherwise of his marriage.

In their “Math and mathematicians: the history of math discoveries around the world” Lawrence Baker and Leonard Bruno, portray it as a dismal failure:

[Having had two marriage proposals rejected, in 1833] “Hamilton married Helen Marie Bayly, a country preacher’s daughter. Although they had three children together, his wife proved not only to be chronically ill but extremely pious, shy, and timid. Since she was also unable to run a household, Hamilton’s married life was both difficult and unhappy.”

Retrieved through (requires free registration)

On the other hand, Anne van Weerden, a Dutch researcher, disagrees strongly with the description of Hamilton by various biographers as “an unhappily married alcoholic”. She notes that his own account of the discovery of the quaternions [an extension of the complex numbers], “…which he made when he was walking with his wife, breathes such a peaceful atmosphere that it became the inducement to investigate how an alleged unhappy marriage could lead to such a circumstance.” In her “A Victorian Marriage : Sir William Rowan Hamilton” (Weerden, Anne . A Victorian Marriage: Sir William Rowan Hamilton. 2017. Internet Archive BookReader.), she argues that “…he did have a good marriage, and that according to current standards he was by no means an alcoholic.”

Images of Sir William Rowan Hamilton and his wife Helen, Lady Hamilton retrieved from

Anne van Weerden was surprised by part of a letter Hamilton wrote to his son Archibald on the 5th of August 1865 while “the hand which penned it was at the time tremulous with approaching death.” The letter triggered her research and she argues that the dark view on this marriage as having been an unhappy one, or even a burden for Hamilton, does not seem to fit in with Hamilton’s recollection of how he found the quaternions:

But on the 16th day of the same month – which happened to be a Monday, and a Council day of the Royal Irish Academy – I was walking in to attend and preside, and your mother was walking with me, along the Royal Canal, to which she had perhaps driven; and although she talked with me now and then, yet an undercurrent of thought was going on in my mind, which gave at last a result, whereof it is not too much to say that I felt at once the importance. An electric circuit seemed to close; and a spark flashed forth, the herald (as I foresaw, immediately) of many long years to come of definitely directed thought and work, by myself if spared, and at all events on the part of others, if I should even be allowed to live long enough distinctly to communicate the discovery. Nor could I resist the impulse – unphilosophical as it may have been – to cut with a knife on a stone of Brougham Bridge, as we passed it, the fundamental formula with the symbols, i, j, k; namely, i² = j² = k² = ijk = −1 , which contains the Solution of the Problem, but of course, as an inscription, has long since mouldered away. A more durable notice remains, however, on the Council Books of the Academy for that day (October 16th, 1843), which records the fact, that I then asked for and obtained leave to read a Paper on Quaternions, at the First General Meeting of the Session: which reading took place accordingly, on Monday the 13th of the November following.

Broome Bridge (also known as Broom Bridge and called Brougham Bridge by Hamilton, perhaps in jest) on the Royal Canal in 2007. Renowned as the location where, in 1843, the Irish mathematician, physicist and astronomer William Rowan Hamilton came up with an important mathematical equation.  He was walking from the observatory to
Dublin, because he had to preside the monthly meeting. Apparently, his wife had joined him when he was walking along the canal, he had not noticed where she came from. He scratched the formula on the stone work, perhaps to celebrate it. Photograph retrieved from
The plaque on Broome Bridge commemorating William Rowan Hamilton’s discovery. The the fundamental formula for quaternion multiplication reads i² = j² = k² = ijk = −1 .
Dunsink Observatory is about 10 kilometers north-west of Dublin City centre.
There is an annual Hamilton Walk on 16 October from the Observatory to Broome Bridge to commemorate the discovery of the non-commutative algebraic system known as quaternions.

Having read Anne van Weerden’s essay and her other writings I am convinced by her arguments that William Rowan Hamilton was happily married to his wife Helen. William Rowan Hamilton’s zeal for his work was not interrupted by his wife. She ran her household around him and did not interrupt him with demands to come to dinner. Perhaps this was the foundation of their zero-problem marriage. Each had their zone; one zigged, the other zagged.

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Y is for Youghal

James Patrick Murray (1782 – 1834), my first cousin eight times removed, was born at Leghorn (Livorno), Italy to James Murray, a Scottish army officer, then Governor of Menorca.

James Patrick Murray joined the British Army in 1797 as an ensign with the 44th Regiment of Foot and subsequently served as an aide-de-camp with his first cousin Sir James Pulteney. He took part in the 1799 Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland and in the 1800 Ferrol Expedition, an unsuccessful British attempt to capture the Spanish naval base and shipyard there. In 1802 Murray was placed on half-pay. After a period training at the Royal Military College, in 1804 he was appointed a major in the 66th Regiment of Foot.  From 1804 to 1809 the second battalion of the regiment was stationed in Ireland. 

DURING the early spring of 1804, the 2nd Battalion of the 66th Regiment, under command of Lieutenant- Colonel Peter, embarked for Ireland, and landing at Cork in the month of March, went into quarters at the Geneva Barracks. 

During the years 1805-6-7, the battalion was stationed in the South of Ireland. In June 1808, it was encamped on the Curragh of Kildare; and when the Camp at the Curragh broke up, it marched to Dublin, and there remained until the spring of the following year.  [Groves, John Percy. ”The 66th Berkshire Regiment”. Reading : J.J. Beecroft ; London, England : Hamilton, Adams and Co., 1887. page 28 retrieved from ]

In 1809 the 2nd Battalion with a strength of 720 bayonets under the command of Major Murray was deployed to Portugal. Major Murray was wounded at the Battle of the Douro; he lost the use of his right arm. He was subsequently employed in Ireland. 

MURRAY, Colonel James Patrick, C.B. — Obtained an Ensigncy in the  44th regiment, 1796, and a Lieutenancy in 1797. He was employed on regimental duty until May, 1798, when he was appointed Aide-de-camp to General Don, with whom he continued until June, 1799, when he joined Lieutenant-General Sir James Pulteney, and  served as Aide-de-camp to that officer during the campaign in  North Holland. He was present in the actions of the 27th August, 10th and 19th September, 2nd and 6th of October. On the 26th December, 1799, he obtained a company in the 9th Foot. He next served in the expedition to Ferrol. At the peace of 1802, he was placed on half-pay, and after studying for some time at the Royal Military College, was appointed to a company in the 66th Foot. The 9th February, 1804, he obtained a Majority in the latter corps : the 25th May, 1809, he received the Brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel, and was appointed Assistant-Quarter- Master-General in Ireland; and in November, 1809, Lieutenant-Colonel, 6th Garrison Battalion. He also served in Portugal, and received a severe wound at the passage of the Douro (see page 33) ; in 1813, 14 he was Assistant Adjutant-General in Ireland. The 12th August, 1812, he received the Brevet of Colonel. [Groves. pages 151-2 retrieved from ]

In 1803 James Patrick Murray married Elizabeth Rushworth (1783 – 1865), daughter of the Reverend Edward Rushworth of Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. James and Elizabeth had 6 sons and 6 daughters all born in Ireland:

  • Catherine Ann Murray 1804–1895
  • James Edward Ferguson Murray 1806–1834
  • Pulteney Murray 1807–1874
  • Harriet Elizabeth Murray 1809–1872
  • Mary Johanna Murray 1810–1875
  • Jane Susan Murray 1810–1841
  • Charles Murray 1814–1848
  • Elizabeth Murray 1817–1904
  • Henry Patrick Murray 1819–1855
  • Cordelia Maria Murray 1822–1909
  • Douglas Alexander Murray 1824–1866
  • George Don Murray 1826–1857

On 6 April 1809 their fourth child, Harriet Elizabeth Murray, was born in Youghal, County Cork. Harriet’s father was away fighting in Portugal where he was wounded on 12 May and lost the use of his right arm. 

On 25 May 1809 James Patrick Murray was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and employed in the Quarter-Master-General’s Department in Ireland. On 2 November 1809 he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the 5th Garrison Battalion. 

From 1811 to 1819 he was Assistant Adjutant-General in Ireland, stationed at Athlone, on the border of County Roscommon and County Westmeath. In 1819 he received brevet promotion to colonel.

In 1830 he was promoted to Major-General. He was then on half-pay serving with the 5th garrison battalion.

On 5 December 1834 Major-General James Patrick Murray, 52, died at his house Killeneure, near Athlone, after a few days illness. He had fallen victim to a cold caught on a morning when two Officers of the Royals were drowned in the River Shannon. They had been returning from his house to Athlone.

Naval & Military Gazette and Weekly Chronicle of the United Service 13 December 1834 page 889 retrieved through FindMyPast

Obituary in the Gentleman’s Magazine June 1835 page 660
Dec. 5. At Killeneure, near Athlone,
In his 53d year, Major-General James
Patrick Murray, C.B.

This gallant officer was the only son of General time Hon. James Murray, (fifth Son of Alexander fourth Lord Elibank,) distinguished by his persevering defence of Minorca in the years 1781.82. It was at that period that the subject of this notice was born, on the 21st Jan. 1782, at Leghorn, to which city his mother had retired from the siege. She was Anne daughter of Abraham Whitham, esq. the British Consul-general at Majorca. He was educated at Westminster School; and, having determined to follow his father’s profession, obtained an Ensigncy in the 44th regiment in 1796, and in the following year was promoted to a Lieutenancy in the same corps. In May 1798 he was appointed Aid-de-camp to General Don, with whom he continued in the Isle of Wight until June 1799; when he joined his relation and guardian Lt.Gen. Sir James Pulteney, and served as Aid-de-camp to that officer during the campaign in North Holland. He was present in the actions of 27 August, 10 and 18th Sept. 2nd and 6th Oct. and was in one of them slightly wounded. On Dec. 26, 1799, he was gazetted to a company, by purchase, In the 9th foot. He next accompanied Sir James Pulteney to the Ferrol, and was intrusted, by both the General and the Admiral in that expedition, with some important and confidential transactions. At the general election of 1802 he was returned to Parliament as one of the Members for Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight; but vacated his seat in the following March. At the peace of Amiens he was placed on half pay; and after studying for some time at the Royal Military Academy, was re-appointed to half pay in the 66th foot. In 1803 he espoused the amiable object of a long attachment, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward Rushworth, esq. of Freshwater House, Isle of Wight, and granddaughter of the late Lord Holmes, by whom he has left twelve children. In Feb. 1804, he obtained by purchase, a Majority in the 66th, with which he was stationed in several parts of Ireland; and subsequently was appointed to the staff of that country as Assistant Quartermaster-genera1 at Limerick, which situation he relinquished in order to accompany his regiment on foreign service. With the same regiment he also served in Portugal; where, at the passage of the Douro, he received a severe musket wound, which not only completely shattered and deprived him of the use of his right arm, but ever after impaired his general health. His gallant conduct, on this occasion, is honourably recorded in the public despatch of Sir Arthur Wellesley, who, shortly after he had received the shot, came up to him on the field, and, taking him by the hand, said, -” Murray, you and your men have behaved like lions; I shall never forget you”. On the 25th May 1809, Major Murray was promoted to the rank of Lieut. – Colonel; and on his return home, he was employed in the Quartermaster-general’s department in Ireland. From 1811 to 1819 he was Assistant Adjutant-general, stationed at Athlone. In 1819 he received the brevet of Colonel, and in 1830 that of Major General.

His death was occasioned by a cold caught in his humane exertions to save the lives of two young officers, who were drowned in the lake in front of his residence (see p. 220). He possessed an accomplished and a benevolent heart; and was characterized by the highest honour, integrity, and worth.

Page 220 Nov. 29. Drowned by the upsetting of a boat on the Upper Shannon, near Athlone, Ensigns James R. Byers and Wm. J. Kerr, (see p. 110), both of 1st regt.

Killinure House in Westmeath is now part of the Glasson Country House Hotel & Golf Club.

On 14 July 1834 Harriet Murray, who was born at Youghal, married Reverend Henry Hodges at Benown Church, Glasson, County Westmeath. Henry Hodges was her first cousin. They lived at Alphamstone, Essex, and had at least five children. She died in 1872.

Wikitree: James Patrick Murray (1782 – 1834)

X is for X-DNA

Mary Hickey (1819 – 1890), my third great grandmother, came to South Australia in 1840 on the “Birman” with her sister Julia (1817 – 1884) and brother Michael (1812 – 1840) and Michael’s wife and their two young children. Michael died on the voyage; his wife and children returned to Ireland. In 1843 Mary Hickey married Gordon Mainwaring, a farmer.

Although I have found records for Mary Mainwaring nee Hickey in Australia I have not been able to trace her origins in Ireland. It is possible however that DNA may provide clues to more information about Mary Hickey and my Hickey forebears

My father has a DNA match with JW on They share 21 centimorgans of DNA across 2 segments. JW is my father’s sixth cousin once removed. Their most recent common ancestors are Godfrey Massy (1711 – 1766), a clergyman, and his wife Margaret Baker; Godfrey and Margaret are my father’s sixth great grandparents. The amount of DNA shared is rather a lot for such distant cousins but not impossible. However, there may be a closer connection.

My father and JW uploaded their DNA to GEDMatch, a site that enables users to analyse and compare their DNA results. AncestryDNA uses algorithms to remove components of a match in cases where the company believes that the shared DNA may be due to general population inheritance rather than a genealogical relationship. On GEDMatch my father and JW share three segments of DNA on chromosome 3 totalling 37.6 centimorgans. They also share 49.4 centimorgans across two segments on chromosome 23, the X chromosome.

Shared segments of DNA reported by GEDMatch for my father and JW illustrated using DNAPainter. The purple bars highlight the lengths of the shared segments.

My father inherited his X chromosome from his mother, and a Y chromosome from his father. My father’s mother inherited her two X chromosomes from each of her parents but her father inherited his X chromosome only from his mother. Inheritance on the X chromosome thus has a distinctive pattern.

Godfrey Massy is shown on the fan chart highlighted in purple with an arrow pointing to his position. When the fan chart is overlaid with the X DNA inheritance path it can be seen that Godfrey Massy can not be the source of the DNA shared between JW and my father on chromosome 23.

My father’s X-DNA inheritance path is highlighted. The area with black X’s represent the X DNA inheritance paths for a male being the only possible ancestors who could be sources of X DNA. Charts generated using DNAPainter.

JW’s great great grandmother was Ann Hickey born in County Limerick in about 1823 who married James Massy in about 1841. James Massy was the great grandson of Godfrey Massy. James and Ann had a son Michael (1842 – 1888) and a daughter Margaret born 1844. Ann Massy nee Hickey died about 1845 and James remarried to a woman called Mary. In 1847, by his second wife he had a daughter they called Mary. James Massy, his second wife and his three children emigrated to Queensland on the Florentia, arriving in April 1853. James’s wife Mary died during the voyage. The shipping record states that James Massy was aged 30 (born about 1823), was born in Limerick, was a carpenter, a Roman Catholic, and could read and write.

The X DNA inheritance for JW shows that she could have inherited some of her chromosome 23 from her great great grandmother Ann Massy nee Hickey. My father and JW also both share DNA with matches who have Hickeys from Limerick in their family tree.

Ann Massy nee Hickey, JW’s great great grandmother, is indicated with orange and marked with the black arrow. Godfrey Massy, JW’s fifth great grandfather, indicated with light orange and a green arrow.
JW’s X-DNA inheritance path includes Ann Hickey highlighted with the orange arrow; Anne Hickey is a source of 25% (on average) of JW’s X DNA. Godfrey Massy, shown with the green arrow, is not a source of X DNA for JW. While there are certainly many other possibilities of sources for X DNA for JW, shared DNA matches with my father point to the Hickey line.

While exploring records for Hickeys of County Limerick I came across a series of records for a woman called Bridget Hickey of Sallymount who had applied for a Poverty Relief Loan. One of the  guarantors was a James Massy, the other was named William Kennedy. It could be a coincidence, but perhaps Bridget was related to Ann Hickey, the wife of James Massy.

The Irish Reproductive Loan Fund was a micro credit scheme set up in 1824 to provide small loans to the ‘industrious poor.’ In November 1843 Bridget Hickey, shopkeeper of Sallymount, received £4 principal on which 20 shillings interest was payable. Six years later, in 1849, Bridget Hickey, James Massy, and William Kennedy were served with a notice stating that Bridget had neglected to pay most of the amount owing . They were obliged to appear in the Sessions-House of Castle Connell.

Irish Reproductive Loan Fund, T91 (The National Archives, Kew) Security notes of borrowers and sureties for loans Archive reference T 91/178 Retrieved through FindMyPast

On the reverse side of the notice it is noted that Bridget Hickey was dead and was the sister of James Massy and of William Kennedy. I interpret this to mean she was the sister-in-law of James Massy, the sister of Ann Hickey.

overleaf from above notice

In a return to the Clerk of the Peace signed 5 March 1853 – a document associated with Bridget Hickey’s loan – James Massy, a fishing rod maker, is reported as having left for Australia in November last. This fits with his Australian arrival on the Florentia in April 1853; the Florentia departed from Plymouth on November 22. The trade of fishing rod-maker, of course, is not too distant from that of carpentry. In that time and place, fishing pole manufacture was not an ordinary trade.  Fishing could be an upper class pursuit and a maker of fishing poles could have an intermediate status in the class structure, like an estate agent or a gamekeeper.

In the same return Bridget Hickey is stated to be a pauper last seen about November in the City of Limerick. The report of her death in 1849 seems to have been incorrect.

Ireland, Poverty Relief Loans 1821-1874 Returns to the Clerk of the Peace [dated on next page 5 March 1853] Source Irish Reproductive Loan Fund, T91 (The National Archives, Kew) Archive reference T 91/180 number 1034 retrieved through FindMyPast

I am reasonably confident that James Massy, husband of Ann Hickey, is in some way connected to Bridget Hickey. Ann and Bridget were probably sisters. Bridget Hickey and James Massy lived in either of the adjoining townlands of Ballynacourty and Sallymount, parish of Stradbally. Given the likely DNA connection between Anne Massy nee Hickey and Mary Mainwaring nee Hickey, I intend to look for the family of Mary Mainwaring nee Hickey in the adjoining townlands of Ballynacourty and Sallymount, parish of Stradbally.

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W is for Wexford

When in 1765 or thereabouts my 4th great grandparents Matthew Cavenagh (1740 – 1819) and Catherine Hyde Cavenagh nee Orfeur (c 1748 – 1814) were married, they first lived in Innishannon, a large village in Co. Cork. Sometime in the 1770s they moved to Wexford, a seaport on St George’s Channel, where they lived in Back Street, now known as Mallin Street, at that time a fashionable part of the town.

Like his father James (1702 – 1769) before him, Matthew Cavenagh held office in the Irish Customs as a ‘gauger‘ (excise inspector) and later as Surveyor of Excise Wexford. On his death the Accounts and Papers presented to the House of Commons, relating to the Increase and Diminution of Salaries, &c. In the Public Offices of Ireland, in the year ending he first of January 1820 recorded the death of Matthew Cavanagh the previous year. The diminution in salary paid to him as Surveyor of Excise Wexford was 46 pounds.

A family story has it that in 1793 when a large body of men demanding the release of two prisoners approached Wexford, Matthew Cavenagh accompanied the commander of the garrison in the hope of using his influence to prevent bloodshed. When, near the entrance to the town, the commander was piked by the insurgents, Cavenagh was at his side. While Wexford was in the hands of the rebels Matthew and his family were in danger of their lives.

They were hidden, however, by the Roman Catholic bishop and passed safely through the crisis. The 1793 rebellion is sometimes called the first Irish rebellion. In 1798 there was a second rebellion, centred on County Wexford, against British rule. In this rebellion the town of Wexford was held by the United Irishmen (republican insurrectionists). It was the scene of a ghastly massacre of local loyalists by the United Irishmen, who executed them with pikes on Wexford Bridge.

I do not know what role, if any, Matthew Cavenagh had in the 1793 rebellion. It is worth noting, perhaps, that there were Catholics among the United Irishmen and Protestants among the opponents.

Matthew’s oldest son James Gordon Cavenagh became a surgeon and joined the British army. He lived in Hythe, near Folkestone, at the barracks there. About 1837 he returned to Wexford, where he lived at Castle House.

James Gordon Cavenagh’s son – my great great grandfather, Wentworth Cavenagh (1821 – 1895) – was educated at Ferns Diocesan School in Wexford.

Extracts from the “Topographical Dictionary of Ireland” by Samuel Lewis, 1837(retrieved through Ireland Reaching Out):

WEXFORD, a sea-port, borough, market, post, and assize town, in the barony of FORTH, county of WEXFORD, and province of LEINSTER, 74 miles (S.) from Dublin and 30 ¼ (E. N. E.) from Waterford; containing 10,673 inhabitants. This town, which, as far as can be inferred from the earliest historical notices respecting it, was a maritime settlement of the Danes, is thought to have derived its name, which was anciently written Weisford, from the term Waesfiord (Washford), which implies a bay overflowed by the tide, but left nearly dry at low water, like the washes of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.

… the entry in the history of the town includes the following:

After the battle of the Boyne, the town declared for William III. and was garrisoned by his troops. In 1793, a large body of the peasantry proceeded thither to rescue some Whiteboy prisoners: on their approach, a detachment of the garrison was sent out to disperse them, the commander of which, Captain Valloton, having ridden in advance of his men, for the humane purpose of expostulating with the insurgents on their conduct, was cut down by a scythe: a monumental obelisk erected on the Windmill hill commemorates this deplorable event.

… under schools of the town:

The Diocesan School for the See of Ferns, situated to the north of the town, on the road from Ferry-Carrigg, was built in 1800, at the expense of the county, on a piece of ground leased by the late R. Neville rent-free for 30 years, with a right reserved of charging it with a rent not exceeding £50 per annum at the end of that period, which has not since been demanded by the present proprietor, Sir W. R. P. Geary, Bart. The school has accommodation for 40 boarders and 6 daily pupils, and has a large play-ground attached: the master receives a salary of £70, paid by the bishop and the beneficed clergy of the diocese: an additional salary of £100 was paid by the corporation until the discontinuance of the payment of tolls.

About 1840, when he was 18 years old, Wentworth Cavenagh travelled to Canada, Ceylon, and Calcutta. From Calcutta he came to Australia.

Matthew Cavenagh, his son James Gordon, and some other members of the Cavenagh family are buried in a family vault in the ruins of St Patrick’s Wexford.

My cousin Diana Beckett kindly shared with me her photographs of Castle House, the family vault, and some watercolours by Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh dating from 1905 and 1906. Castle House was pulled down in the 1930s. Some parts of its wall remain.

1906 sketch by Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh of Castle House, Wexford
The Castle, Wexford, from the Lawrence Photograph Collection in the National Library of Ireland. Image Courtesy of the
National Library of Ireland.
Wexford city walls by the former Castle House; the shed was built over the wall of the house.
1905 sketch by Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh of the family vault at St Patrick’s Wexford
The Cavenagh family vault in the ruins of St Patrick’s photographed in 1998 by Diana Beckett
In 1998 Diana and her mother cleaned up the tombstone but it is probably overgrown again now.

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V is for volume

One of my 5th great grandfathers was James Cavenagh (c. 1702 – 1769), a gauger [exciseman] at Graiguenamanagh on the River Barrow, ten miles or so southeast of Kilkenny.

View of Graiguenamanagh and the church from the River Barrow. Photograph taken 1997 by Andreas F. Borchert, CC BY-SA 3.0, retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.

Researching James Cavenagh led me to ‘Postscript to a Graiguenamanagh gauger’s stockbook’ by Edward J Law, which appeared in the 2012 “Old Kilkenny Review, pp. 61–65.

The article was not online, so I wrote to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, which kindly emailed me a copy. Law’s Graiguenamanagh gauger was indeed James Cavenagh. Much of the information for the article, based on research by Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh in the early 1900s, had been provided by my cousin Diana Beckett. The 2012 article was a follow-up to ‘An eighteenth-century Graiguenamanagh gauger’s stockbook’, published in the Old Kilkenny Review in 2011, also by Edward Law. The Kilkenny Archeological Society librarian also kindly sent me a scan of this. (Edward Law was the Society’s honorary librarian in 2011 and 2012.)

The notebook, of two hundred pages, is in the archive of the Kilkenny Archeological Society. The first 30 folios of the stock book were used for the intended purpose and contain notes relating to the Excise service. The rest of the book was used by James Cavenagh for personal memoranda.

Kilkenny District Thos Town Walk 1737

This stock book containeth 92 pages is for the use of the Division
Com[mencing] March 19th & ends ye 24th of March following 1737

Signed Jas Cavenagh gaugr and per Mark Usher surveyr

“Excise duties were imposed by acts of Parliament and collected in accordance with the regulations. The officers employed in collecting the inland excise, the main revenue in a district, were the collector, surveyor and gauger. Each district was divided into ‘walks’, with a gauger assigned to each walk. The gauger went round his walk twice a week taking account of all brewing activity, and the quantity and type of liquor being brewed. He measured all brewed substances in gallons, by which measurement duty was charged to the brewer. Once a month the surveyor visited each gauger’s walk, taking account of the brewings, and the quality and quantity, which he compared with the gauger’s accounts. If the accounts tallied, the gauger and surveyor signed and returned them to the collector, who assessed the duty payable per gallon, and charged the duty upon the brewer.” [McGrath, Charles Ivar Vincent. ‘The Irish Revenue System: Government and Administration, 1689-1702.’ PhD thesis, University of London, 1997.]

The notebook has readings three times a week for the town of Graiguenamanagh. Barrels, probably of beer, were counted as were stocks of tobacco. Permits were issued to carry wines and spirits to various towns and villages, individuals, houses, and fairs. The permits were for brandy, rum, French wines, Spanish wines, sack [white fortified wine], shrub [a fruit liqueur], canary [from the Canary Islands], and claret [red Bordeaux wine]. Sometimes the permits mentioned vinegar and sugar. The quantities were in:

  •      Hampers of up to six dozen bottles
  •      Jars of 2 ½ gallons
  •      Caggs [kegs?] of 9 – 18 gallons
  •      Casks 43 – 94 gallons
  •      Hogsheads 68 – 103 gallons
  •      Tierces [an old measure of capacity equivalent to one third of a pipe, or 42 wine gallons] for vinegar
  •      Roules [rolls] for Irish tobacco of 12 to 24 pounds
  •      There were also bags 100 – 224 pounds and hogsheads of 400 – 920 pounds

On folio 25 of the notebook, James Cavenagh recorded some notes about his family:

  •      Elizabeth Lindsay born 16.1.1717 was married to her 17.10.1732 she died 17.4.1734
  •      I was married to Ann Lane 20.7.1735
  •      Kildare born 24.4.1736
  •      Mary Cavenagh born 21.8.1737
  •      Matthew Cavenagh born 22.10.1738
  •      Wentworth born 18.6.1740
  •      Jane born 20.4.1741
  •      Margaret born 30.4.1742
  •      Ann Cavenagh died 9.6.1742
  •      I was married to Elizabeth Archdekin 12.2.1747
  •      Langrishe Cavenagh born 26.11.1748
  •      Ann Cavenagh born 15.2.1750
  •      Wentworth born 17.11.1752 new stile

Some of these names and dates are new to me. I look forward to researching my new relatives and adding them to my family tree.

The notebook also includes the placing out of James’s children as apprentices or servants. For example, on 15 June 1747 Margaret was placed with Mrs Richmond at 2s 0d per quarter. Matthew was entered for a second time with Mr Richmond on 27 August 1744 and with Mr Connors 17 July 1750.

The notebook also records income from the letting of property, details of his tenants, and sales of hay and grass. It has details of female employees, presumably maid-servants, with names, commencement dates, and payment It also records payments for shoes, clothing, and various goods and services.

The document is very interesting and I am pleased it has been preserved and researched by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society.

Related posts

Wikitree: James (Cavanagh) Cavenagh (abt. 1702 – 1769)