The GDPR and this blog

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been something of an ostrich in recent times. Legalese makes my brain fry and my eyes cross so the implications of the GDPR or Global Data Protection Regulation have turned me into a cross-eyed ostrich.

GDPRHowever, the internet’s boundaries are porous and we don’t always know where our blog readership comes from unless we burrow down into our site’s statistics. This means that to be compliant we need to ensure do our best to ensure that our blog meets the relevant privacy regulations and that our readers are aware of how we’re treating their personal data.

Specifically they need to know:

  1. What we do with their names, emails and IP addresses if they comment or subscribe.
  2. Give them the option to unsubscribe if they choose to do so at any point.
  3. Give them an option to have their personal data removed from the blog by contacting the author.
  4. Let them know that cookies will track them if they give permission – and give them the ability to opt out.
  5. Clearly state which programs we’re using.

My blogging approach:

  1. Firstly, my blog exists to share my research discoveries or a story.
  2. I want it to continue to be available as long as possible, thanks to being archived by the National Library of Australia’s Pandora Archive (which I why I haven’t changed my domain name).
  3. Hopefully over time my descendants will read and be interested in what I’ve discovered about their ancestors.
  4. I do not sell products or services via my blog.
  5. Nor am I overly concerned about statistical analysis as that is not my main goal.
  6. I want to share research steps, as well as discoveries, with fellow enthusiasts.
  7. To achieve all of this, and continue to publish my blog, I need to ensure that I am compliant with regulations.

The actions I’ve taken:

  1. I’ve introduced a Privacy Policy page on each of my blogs (should have done this long ago). In this I’ve explained what programs I use and what my approach is.
  2. Set up a cookies warning bar which means the reader can accept or reject cookies. Once accepted the reader will not need to choose again for a further 180 days.
  3. Readers who’ve subscribed to blog posts can choose to unsubscribe or contact me to remove their personal data. Readers from the EU will be required to give privacy approval before they comment. (EU readers – please let me know if this doesn’t happen)
  4. Be assured I will not share your email with anyone without your permission and only then if it’s relevant to your research comments.

If you have any further questions or concerns about privacy issues in relation to your personal data on my blog, please contact me directly.

Two East Clare Families: Reddan & Liddy

I have posted two stories about the Reddans from Gortnaglogh, Parish of Kilseily, and the Liddy family of Ballydonaghan at Kilnoe Parish on my main blog, simply because of DNA connections. However, their story is also relevant to the East Clare Emigrants since each had family members who emigrated.

These are the links:

The Reddan Family of Gortnaglogh: Part 1

The Reddan and Liddy Families: Part 2

I’d be very interested in hearing from any descendants of these families, either in Ireland or in the USA or elsewhere.

I’m also curious how many east Clare descendants have had their DNA tested…feel free to contact me if you wish.

Clare Roots Conference experience

Diaspora clip

Last month I presented at the Clare Roots Society’s Conference in Ennis, County Clare. It was a great pleasure and privilege to be able to share some findings from my research with the people attending…and just as great a pleasure to have three Irish cousins attending to listen.

In the days preceding the conference I also had the opportunity to be interviewed on Clare FM Radio…my first ever radio experience. It was rather fun and not too scary! You can listen to the interview here.

hogan and garvey wnidows

These stained glass windows in St Peter’s Catholic Church, Surry Hills, Sydney commemorate the Garvey and Hogan parents’ lives.

This East Clare Emigrants blog is an extension of my earlier research into identified East Clare people which you can read out on my About the Projct tab above. I used both the Immigration Deposit Journals from New South Wales and the Board’s Immigrant Lists to identify the east Clare immigrants to eastern Australia and came up with some 1200 names of passengers who came under an assisted passage, one paid in large part by a colonial government. The problem then became how to identify these same immigrants as their lives progressed in Australia – how to distinguish between those many McNamaras and O’Briens?

This is where Trove, and its digitised newspapers, became important as a tool to rediscover those East Clare immigrants and their life stories. It also became apparent how many others came who I had not yet identified, opening up further vistas for research.

And, once again, many thanks to those members of the Clare Genealogy Group on Facebook who responded to my request for images of their Clare ancestors to include in collages for my talk.


Beware the OCR

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been trawling Trove looking for “Missing friends” + “County Clare”. There’s certainly been some interesting stories among them, that’s for sure: long silences, unknown deaths and as time passes, the search for family and descendants in estate proceedings. Among them are examples of searches from the USA, Canada and Britain.

One story that caught my eye was in The Advocate lauding their own success at finding lost relatives.


About 12 months ago we pointed out, how this journal, through its advertising columns, traced the relatives of two families who had been separated for years—in one case over 60 years. We now call attention to two more cases of relatives being brought into communication with each other through the medium of “The Advocate.” … Last month, Dr. T. P. M’lnerney sent the following inquiry, which appeared in “The Advocate” :— M’INERNEY.—Wanted, information of Matthew and Michael M’lnerney, and their sister, Honora Vaughan, who came to Australia about 1850 (my emphasis). Their brother, Dennis M’Inerney, who was born at O’Callaghan Mills, County Clare, Ireland, went to America about the same year. A relative in America wants the information.

The following letter from Dr. M’lnerney shows how successful we have been in the matter :— To the Editor of “The Advocate.” Dear Sir, – To know that your columns are widely read must be a gratification to you. Here is a conclusive proof. In April last I received a letter from Iowa, America, asking if I could give the writer any information concerning Matthew and Michael M’Inerney who left County Clare for Australia. I tried hard to oblige my correspondent. I wrote letters to all persons whom I thought might be able to give any information -but without success. I was about to abandon my quest when I I thought of “The Advocate” and in your issue of the 29th ult, a short advertisement appeared. Success instantly followed. The missing friends were discovered. Relatives in America and Australia will be united. Your columns succeeded where my efforts failed. I rejoice to find you have so many careful readers—readers, too, who even read advertisements. Gratefully yours,

P. M’INERNEY. Aug. 12. 1911.

1911 ‘MISSING RELATIVES.’, Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), 19 August, p. 25. , viewed 28 May 2016,

I couldn’t recall seeing the people mentioned in this story, so I searched my indexes. Nope, not there. Back to Trove and searching for various combinations came up with no result, until I changed it to America and Missing Friends. This is what came up in the text from the OCR (optical character recognistion). No wonder it hadn’t turned up in my primary search or it my subsequent searches (McInerney, County Clare, Matthew McInerney, O’Callaghan’s Mills).


It wasn’t as if the scanning was all that unclear so who knows what went wrong.

McInerney OCM and America

1911 ‘Advertising’, Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), 29 July, p. 31. , viewed 17 Jun 2016,

The text has now been corrected so future searchers should find it quite easily, but it’s a lesson on how we can over-rely on the OCR and assume something wasn’t reported in the paper.

What is truly remarkable about the story, though, is how quickly the problem had been solved. The original advertisement was published on 29 July and just three weeks later the newspaper had news that contact had been made with family members who’d been separated for 6o years. Isn’t that remarkable in the pre-digital era…or in any era, really. And a bonus: I’ve acquired more East Clare emigrants.

Wouldn’t you love to know the stories that flowed between the branches of the family on two continents?

I wonder if any of my readers are descendants of Michael, Matthew, Honora or Dennis?



Daniel MOLONEY of Shark Creek (and Broadford)

Mr Daniel Moloney’s obituary in the Freeman’s Journal of 26 March 1931 is a genealogy in itself – a veritable gold mine, especially as the Moloney surname is not uncommon in Broadford. It even provides us with the ship he arrived on, the John Temperley. I have a lot of emigration data on this ship including disposal lists and surgeons’ reports from State Records NSW but nary a word of Daniel Moloney, which means I can’t cross-check his parents right now. There are some Maloney and Maloughneys but none are Daniel. There were at least 25 identified East Clare emigrants on the John Temperley but for my own research I now need to do further exploration into the Maloneys who seem to have slipped my net.

NSW BDM show Daniel’s parents as Michael and Bridget Moloney. 


Assuming the aged stated in his obituary is roughly correct he would have been born c1844, making it borderline whether he sneaks in after the Broadford/Kilseily parish records commence in April 1844. I do not have Daniel’s name in my records but I do have the baptisms of siblings Anne and Michael to parents Michael and Bridget Moloney of Fermoyle (in Kilmore townland)- again assuming the information provided to his death certificate was correct. If this was my direct family I would be purchasing the certificate.

I also note there is an entry on the Clare Library Emigration Database for a Delia Moloney who emigrated to Philadelphia and whose father was James Moloney of Fermoyle.

Trove article128789776-3-001

Trove article128789776-3-001

I’m not totally sure what the AHC Guild is, as quoted here, but I suspect it is the Hibernians with their emerald green regalia and gold trimming like my own grandfather wore.

Shark Creek is near the town of Maclean in New South Wales, a very scenic area.

It should be noted this is an overview of this family based on the content of the obituary. There is a great deal more research which could be done especially by family members. I’d welcome contact from anyone who is related to this family, and comments from any readers.

Obituary Mr John HOWARD, formerly of Tulla

After a few days of Broadford records, it’s time for a change of location to nearby Tulla. I “love” how the poor wife misses out on having her name stated in these obituaries even though all the children are listed.

The Catholic Press, 5 October 1939.

The Catholic Press, 5 October 1939.

The Yongala in which he lost his son Thomas, was lost, apparently during a cyclone off the coast of Queensland in April 1911.

The Northern Miner, 31 March 1911, page 5. There is such pathos in reading of the elderly woman whose two sons and a nephew were on board.

The Northern Miner, 31 March 1911, page 5. There is such pathos in reading of the elderly woman whose two sons and a nephew were on board.

From John’s age at death based on the cemetery records below, it should be possible for any family member to find his baptism in the Tulla parish registers by ordering in the microfilm.

Baptisms and marriages, 1819-1880. Family History Library British Film 979693 Item 4

From the Fields of Mars cemetery records available here, we learn that it’s likely (but not certain) his wife’s name was Bridget.

Names: John Howard
Service Date: 28 Jul 1939
Date of Death: 27 Aug 1939
Age: 86
Gender: M
Register Number: 4511
Burial Type: Burial
Location: Section Grave C Grave : 57
Interred in this burial site :
Surname Given Name Service Date Age Location
Howard John 28 Jul 1939 86 SEC*C***57
Howard Bridget 24 Dec 1946 SEC*C***57

Introducing the O’BRIEN family from Ballykelly, Broadford

mary obrienJust to set the scene with this new blog I’d like to introduce you to my East Clare ancestor, Mary O’BRIEN from the townland of Ballykelly, parish of Kilseily, town of Broadford.

You might think that finding “Mary O’Brien from County Clare” would pose a challenge to any researcher but I struck it lucky with a circular letter I posted out, back in 1987, to any relatives I could identify. You see where I was indeed fortunate was that Mary married a Bavarian man, George Mathias KUNKEL, which made name searching so much easier. I suspect I’d have been stymied if she’d married Michael Ryan, for example.

Anyway my circular letter found its way to one of George and Mary’s surviving grandchildren, Anne Kunkel. Anne was an absolute goldmine! Not only was she a grandchild but she had lived with George and Mary on their farm at the Fifteen Mile, near Murphys Creek, Queensland. She obviously knew her grandmother very well and she had so many stories to tell me about their lives, and also the relatives. Anne was that precious person, a reliable witness. All the bare-bones data I had from births, deaths and marriage indexes, which I might add were much more restricted in those days, were confirmed by Anne, with one exception: one child had been born Elizabeth but thereafter known as Louisa. What I did know from both the oral history and the certificates was that the O’Brien parents were Michael O’BRIEN and Catherine REDDAN.

The old kitchen area of the Kunkel farm at the Fifteen Mile.

The old kitchen area of the Kunkel farm at the Fifteen Mile.

The other precious thing Anne gave me was the gateway into the O’Brien ancestry. She could tell me Mary’s parents’ names, her siblings’ names, whether they emigrated and to where, as well as the women’s married names. You can imagine just how important all this was.

Anne told me that Mary emigrated with her sister Bridget O’BRIEN, that they’d been six months at sea and “had a job before ever they got here”.. You can read a recent post about how I may have found her emigration here.

Anne also knew that Bridget had married a man named John WIDDUP and lived in New South Wales.  I was lucky to have another unusual name to pursue and was able to order Bridget WIDDUP’s death certificate on which her son had provided Bridget’s place of birth as Broadford, Co Clare, even though he’d got her mother’s name incorrect. My Bavarian grandfather had only ever provided “County Clare” when asked that question for certificates.

Nora Garvey, photo from her great-granddaughter.

Nora Garvey, photo from her great-granddaughter.

And so the story unfolded. I was given the link to 4th cousins in Sydney, and thanks to work trips there I was able to meet with them. They held a treasure trove of family photographs, funeral cards and anecdotes. Their ancestor, Honora O’Brien, Mary’s sister, had remained in Ireland and married a man name John GARVEY from Ballydonaghan townland, Bodyke. During the 1886 evictions, Honora and John very nearly lost their home. Over the decades that followed a number of Honora’s children emigrated permanently or temporarily to the United States, but several also came to Sydney where their aunt Catherine was living.

Honora Garvey remained in Ireland throughout her long life. Her husband John pre-deceased her on 4 March 1888. Honora died, aged 76, on 12 January 1917 at Ballydonaghan townland and her son Denis was present at her death. She is buried in the old Bodyke cemetery, County Clare, and is remembered on the far side of the world in the stained glass windows of St Peter’s Church, Surry Hills. The windows were donated by her Australian-based family in her memory.

Catherine O’Brien, emigrated to Australia and married a man who was also from Broadford (Glenomera), Patrick HOGAN. The Hogan and Garvey families lived close to each other and maintained close family relationships over many decades, retaining knowledge of their kin in Ireland and America.

These stained glass windows in St Peter's Catholic Church, Surry Hills, Sydney commemorate the Garvey and Hogan parents' lives.

These beautiful stained glass windows in St Peter’s Catholic Church, Surry Hills, Sydney commemorate the Garvey (left) and Hogan (right) parents’ lives.

Meanwhile back in Ireland, sister Margaret O’Brien married William McNAMARA and settled in Killaderry townland in Broadford. Another sister, Ellen O’Brien, married Thomas KINNANE from Hurdleston townland (various spellings), Broadford. This couple, with children Tom, Michael and Mary, reportedly emigrated to New York. I haven’t spent much time trying to find this family but should add it to my research list.

One brother, John O’BRIEN, who was baptised in 1848, remains a mystery. Not only does he not feature in the oral history, I can find no trace of him beyond 1859/60 when he appears in the parish register as a witness to two baptisms. (The Broadford parish register is available on microfilm

The O'Brien land at Ballykelly.

The O’Brien land at Ballykelly.

Mary’s brother Thomas O’BRIEN remained in Ireland and inherited the family farm after his parents’ deaths. In due course it moved out of the family, a fact which can be traced through the Griffith Valuation Revisions. Thanks to the assistance of the local clergy I was put in touch with the man who owned it in 1992, and he generously showed me the land.

It’s easy to see just how important it is to get your message out there, and find a reliable person to share the oral history. And in case this all sounds too idyllic, let me tell you that my grandfather was George and Mary’s eldest grandchild and would have known them well. Although he lived next door to me all my life, I never heard any of this from him because he was disenfranchised from his family, and also I was probably caught up in my own pre-teen world.

The other significant aspect of the story is the importance of chain migration for the Irish, with one person in the family following another, as well as their determination to select which migration option best suited them.

If you would like to share your story here, please let me know. I promise not to harass everyone with requests.

The grave of George and Mary Kunkel at Murphys Creek, Qld

The grave of George and Mary Kunkel at Murphys Creek, Qld