Julia CAHILL nee RIORDAN of KILBANE

The discovery of Bridget Reeves’ gravestone and the notice of her mother’s (Julia Cahill) death notice, pulled the unravelling thread to a genealogical discovery. You can read this story here.

I decided to explore when Bridget’s family arrived in Victoria. Her brother Edmund’s obituary revealed he’d lived in the Gippsland area for some years and had an estimated year of arrival in the late 1850s.

Turning to the PROV immigration indexes online I searched both assisted and unassisted immigrants. My thought was that given his mother’s age, she may have been unassisted. However I could find no Julia Cahill anywhere near her age in either set of indexes, and NSW provided similar results. I knew it wasn’t unusual for emigrants to fudge their ages so they could gain access to the government’s passage assistance. In this the east Clare emigrants of this time frame were often given a helping hand by the parish priest of Broadford, Fr John Bourke.

Temporarily giving up on Julia, my search focused on Edmund Cahill and there were two possibilities: one, Edmand (sic), aged 20 on the Mindoro in October 1857 and another, Edmond aged 17 on the Lady Milton in July 1857. I eliminated the second because of the cluster of people he was travelling with, and his place of birth (Tipperary).

Next step was to search for all Cahills on the Mindoro as that fitted this Edmund’s age best. Bingo! There was Edmund (20), Catherine (17) and Pat (22). But were they the right family? Catherine proved not to be part of this group because she came from Kilkenny not Clare.

SHIPPINGS INTELLIGENCE. (1857, October 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 4. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7140965

SHIPPINGS INTELLIGENCE. (1857, October 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 4. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7140965

I used Ancestry to search for the digitised documents[i] given it was late at night and a trip to the library wasn’t possible. Edmand Cahill, 20, a shoemaker from Clare was listed among the single men as was Pat Cahil (sic), 22 also a shoemaker from Clare and both could read and write. They had signed out of the ship on their own account on 19 November…later than others so I wonder why the delay.

CAHILL Judith 30796_125513__098-0-00839

Original data: Victoria. Inward Overseas Passenger Lists (British Ports). Microfiche VPRS 7666, copy of VRPS 947. Public Record Office Victoria, North Melbourne, Victoria. CLICK on the image to see it enlarged.

Bearing in mind the different spelling of Pat’s surname I again searched the indexes for Cahil. Another Eureka moment as it turned up additional passengers: Judith (44), Margaret (18) and Anne (14). Against their names on the Certificate of Final Departure[ii] was an “R” indicating their fare had been paid by family or friends as remittances. Had Julia originally been Judith? That was my question. The Immigration documents clarified it once and for all: they were going to Mr J S Reeves, son-in-law, Stratford, Gippsland. Mystery solved. I wasn’t concerned about Julia’s 23 year drop in age given what I knew from other experiences…but she must have worn well to get away with it!

Advertising. (1857, October 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 7. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7141033

Advertising. (1857, October 26). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 7. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7141033

Now we had clear links between Bridget Reeves, her brothers Edmund and Pat, sisters Margaret and Anne and mother Julia…and while there are many mentions they came from Clare, it was only Bridget’s legal separation that referred to her specific place of origin in Kilbane.

I think Julia/Judith was so brave to make the move from Ireland to Australia when she was 67. As she’s listed as a single woman on the ship’s documents it implies her husband, John Cahill, had died before the family emigrated. Unfortunately I can find no reference to them in the Griffiths’ Valuations in Killokennedy from 1852 though there is a Johanna Cahill in Kilbane village…surely it’s too much to think she had three first-name incarnations. As I mentioned previously, I found only indirect potential mentions in the parish registers which indicate a potential link to the Vaughan family.

STRATFORD. (1885, May 29). Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 3 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61922989

STRATFORD. (1885, May 29). Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 3 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61922989

Julia was able to spend 28 years with her family in Gippsland before her death, which was well recognised in the newspapers. In death as in life, she is surrounded by her family and remembered on the gravestone in the Sale cemetery.

Family Notices. (1885, May 18). Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 3 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved March 9, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61922839

Family Notices. (1885, May 18). Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 3 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved March 9, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61922839

Rest in Peace, Julia Cahill, another foundation member of our Colonial women who helped build our country.

As an aside, the man who was lost overboard on the Mindoro was William Bland and his death is recorded on the ship’s registers as 1 October not 1 August. His wife, Elizabeth Bland, only 23, from Middlesex, was left with two small children when she went to friends at Prahran.

————

[i] Ancestry.com. Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839–1923 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2009.
Original data: Victoria. Inward Overseas Passenger Lists (British Ports). Microfiche VPRS 7666, copy of VRPS 947. Public Record Office Victoria, North Melbourne, Victoria.Victoria. Inward Overseas Passenger Lists (Foreign Ports). Microfiche VPRS 7667, copy of VRPS 947.

 

[ii] Ancestry.com. Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839–1923 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2009.
Original data: Victoria. Inward Overseas Passenger Lists (British Ports). Microfiche VPRS 7666, copy of VRPS 947. Public Record Office Victoria, North Melbourne, Victoria.Victoria. Inward Overseas Passenger Lists (Foreign Ports). Microfiche VPRS 7667, copy of VRPS 947.

 

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Bridget REEVE(S) nee CAHILL of Glenomera

In the beginning…

Like pulling a thread in a jumper, today’s story unravelled from one of marital disharmony to a wider East Clare migration story.

From the Australian Town and Country Journal,  page 38: Mrs Bridget Reeves comes from Kilfane near Broadford County Clare, is 56 years of age and married her husband, Edmund Samuel Reeves (a widower) in St Mary’s Church Sydney in April 1855. She is seeking a judicial separation from her husband (a formality which would have been relatively unusual in those days). I believe that Kilfane is an error and should have been Kilbane, a townland in Killokennedy parish which is tied with Kilseily RC parish.

Miscellaneous Items. (1883, September 8). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 38. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71003442

Miscellaneous Items. (1883, September 8). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 38. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71003442

From the Indexes to the Victorian Divorce Cause Books, Volume 1, 1861-1884 (VPRS 5335) it seems Bridget went on to divorce Samuel formally. However I would want to pursue this at the Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV) to be absolutely certain. This is an extract from the indexes:

VPRS 5335, PROV, Index to Divorce Cause Books 1861-1884

VPRS 5335, PROV, Index to Divorce Cause Books 1861-1884

Trove comes to the fore, giving some clues about their failed marriage. The article is a long one and worth reading. Bridget is charged with threatening to burn down her husband’s house and witnesses indicate he had previously been violent.

From here it was a logical progression to see if I could pin down their marriage in Sydney, and the births of their children, for which I used a mix of Ancestry records and NSW BDM indexes.

At first I had some difficulty locating their marriage but I believe this is it:

REEVE John S to CAHILL Bridget (NSW 120/1855 120/1855 V1855120 101).

Using wildcards, and narrowing the date search to April 1855, is an interim confirmation of the correct marriage. There are two ways to confirm this: purchase the certificate or check the marriage microfilms for NSW in that period.

I found the following children’s births by searching parents’ names:

  1. Annie b abt 1856  Married Matthew Carr 1878/2011; died 1934 buried Sale 4 Feb 1934 aged 78 years.
  2. Susan b abt 1859 died 1868 Vic buried Sale, Vic 1 Feb 1868 aged 9 years.
  3. Elizabeth b abt 1865 d 1942, Preston, Vic (married Cowan?)
  4. Edw Samuel b abt 1865 died 1936, Auburn, Vic
  5. Patrick Edmund b 1865 Stratford, Vic/25246, died Sunbury Vic/23740
  6. Julia b abt 1865 died 1937, Hawthorn, Vic
  7. Ellen b 1867 Victoria/5058  Stratford died 1871, buried Sale 1 Oct 1871, aged 5.
  8. Alice M b 1868 NSW
  9. Sarah b 1869 Vic/12016 Stratford
  10. Thomas b 1870 Vic/26591 (possibly Thomas Henry died 1944 Ringwood)
  11. Susan b 1873 Vic/6025 Stratford,Vic} may be the same as #12.
  12. Mary Susan b abt 1877 died 1933 Carnegie Vic}

This exceeds the number of children stated in the original article and there are three with similar estimated birth years, based on age at death. If we assume that the two deceased children were not included, and that Susan and Mary Susan are one and the same, then we have nine children and Susan would be the 11 year-old mentioned. Direct family members would want to clarify these ambiguities.

I next turned my attention to Bridget’s arrival and since she married in Sydney I started in New South Wales. This is an extract of the relevant entry for the ship Ellenborough, arriving Sydney 12 October 1853.

NSW Immigration microfilm (online) 2137 (4/4791) page 8.

NSW Immigration microfilm (online) 2137 (4/4791) page 8.

 Advertising. (1853, October 18). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 1. Retrieved March 10, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61328849


Advertising. (1853, October 18). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), p. 1. Retrieved March 10, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61328849

Although there were 400 immigrants on board, Bridget was unusual among the Irish women of this era, in that she could both read and write. Perhaps that gave her confidence, too, when she sued to formally separate from her husband.

Bridget states that she came from Glenomer (Glenomera) Co Clare which fits with what we know of her from the initial article. Her emigration was also typical of the Irish I’ve researched: she was accompanied by another woman, Bridget Garvey, from Glenomera and she may have known some of the five other East Clare women on board before she sailed. So far, it also seems she probably led the family’s migration, something that’s atypical for other ethnic groups.

It seems that Bridget and her husband moved from New South Wales to the Gippsland area of Victoria in or near the town of Stratford not long after their marriage.

There is an interesting article on Trove which refers to Samuel Reeves, a private of the Royal Artillery, and his wife, Bridget Reeves as witnesses to a court case. To know whether this relates to our couple, or another, more details would be needed about Samuel’s career at the time.

Bridget died 25 September 1885 and was buried in Sale Cemetery, Victoria on 27 September 1885, aged 66 years – she had aged 8 years since 1885. Thanks to Find a Grave, her gravestone is pictured here. Although the image is difficult to read, by searching the cemetery’s burial register in conjunction with this is become apparent that ultimately Bridget had not been alone in Australia. From the Find a Grave information, Bridget is buried with her siblings Ann (bur 18/7/1882, 37 yrs) and Patrick (bur 1/8/1872, 38 yrs) and also her mother, Julia (bur 19/5/1885, 95 yrs). Unfortunately the Kilseily parish records, available on microfilm via the LDS church, do not commence until after the birth of all Julia’s children however there are a number of instances where witnesses may be her children: if correct it seems likely the Cahills may well have been related to the Vaughan family of Lisroe.

Ironically Bridget’s mother, Julia Cahill, was blessed with a longevity which escaped some of her children, having an estimated YOB of 1790. Her funeral notice ties her to another son, Edmund, living in Briagolong in the Gippsland District of Victoria.

Family Notices. (1885, May 18). Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 3 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved March 9, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61922839

Family Notices. (1885, May 18). Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 – 1954), p. 3 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved March 9, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61922839

Edmund Cahill, died on 24 June 1921 and was buried in the Briagolong Cemetery: his gravestone can be see on Billion Graves here. His obituary will be in a subsequent post.

The unravelling threads of the research jumper will be the topic of further posts.