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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oh My O'Brien's - Did I find you?

Australia, for me, can be a difficult place to search for ancestors.  That is my opinion and really revolves around the fact that I do not know enough details about the geography to know where to look. is a good start but what's the difference between Victoria, New South Wales, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.  I can do my best to look at a map but an Australian Geography class for "dummies" might be in order here. 

My biggest challenge has been to figure out where those Flanagan Brothers were in Australia and New Zealand.  They were always moving around.  I've found letters where Patrick Flanagan does write to Kate O'Brien (his future wife).  The locations confuse me and maybe that's because Pat and his brother Michael  were so transient.   However, I don't think Kate and her family budged much between the years of 1854 and 1870.   Who knows, I could be wrong.

The other day I may have actually struck gold.  It is amazing how any scrap of information can send you in the right direction (but sometimes in the left direction too).  A wonderful professor from a college in Ireland responded to me.  He provided me with Kate's exact date of birth.  I knew the month and year but not the day.  He also provided me with her middle name.  I should have guessed that "M." stood for Mary.  I do know that she went by Kate, spelled with a "K".  Her given name was Catherine Mary O'Brien.  In Napa, all anyone would have know her as was Kate Flanagan.  This professor also mentioned Port Phillip District (NSW) and Victoria for assisted immigrants to Australia.  He was thinking that I'd have to go to the archives.  Guess what?  Those passenger lists are on

So what did I find?  Well, I'm sure of what I found but are they the correct people and who is who?  I bet that question comes up a lot in the quest for one's family tree.  For starters, I do have information that Kate immigrated from Ireland to Melbourne, Australia in 1854.  That is written down in my box of treasures.  I believe the source of that information are her granddaughter's, Kay and Ellen.  I am thinking that they may have actually gotten some of their information directly from the source - Kate.

The information that I found is from the Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923 Immigration and Travel.  The following applies to everyone listed below:  Arrival Date: 9 Jun 1854; Arrival Port:  Melbourne, Australia; Departure Port:  Plymouth;  Ship: Parsee; Nationality:  Irish and Scottish.

1.  Michael Obrien, b. abt 1811
2.  Edmund Obrien, b. abt 1812
3.  Bridget Obrien, b. abt 1816
4.  Run (incorrectly transcribed and should be Ann) Obrien, b. abt 1816
5.  Margaret Obrien, b. 1841
6.  Ella Obrien, b. 1842
7.  Catherine Obrien, b. 1843
8.  Eliza Obrien, b. 1844
9.  John Obrien, b. 1845
10. Michael Obrien, b. 1845
11. Susannah Obrien, b. 1847
12. Michael Obrien, b. 1849

I am assuming that Edmund and the adult, Michael, were brothers.  Michael and Bridget would be married to each other with Edmund and Ann as husband and wife.  Which children belong to which couple?  Catherine would belong to Edmund and Ann.  That's all I can figure and that's if these are the O'Brien's that I seek.  There's a good bet they are the right family.  Then again, the O'Brien name is quite common. 

Maybe more information will come my way..........It has thus far.....When I run with a shred of information, I've been so lucky.  Will my luck continue?

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