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Saturday, April 14, 2012

O'Brien's in Ireland to Australia, and onto California - Part 1

A few messages and blips on the screen have presented themselves about my O'Brien's in Australia but that's about it.  How do I know that I'm looking in the right place?  Well, evidence can be found in information provided by my great great Grandmother, Kate Flanagan, along with those letters.  I have written about Kate in my blog before.

In my mind, she is one of the most interesting characters in my family tree.  Let's just say not everyone liked her, and yet, she is so crucial in my Flanagan Family's story in Australia and California.  She adds a whole other dimension to my family tree.  When working on a family tree, you can feel shut out of what people were really like.  With Kate, I get to have a bit of the inside track of who she was and what she was like.  Inasmuch as you can know anyone who died just over 40 years before you were even born, Kate left a bit of a paper trail and reputation.

My own grandfather, Richard "Dick" Joseph Flanagan of Napa, California, mentioned in passing here and there about his grandma, Kate.  He even indicated that his own mother, Mary "Minnie" Elizabeth McLaughlin Flanagan, had a hard time with Kate.  Let's just say Kate could be difficult.  Her sister-in-law, Mary Ann Lynch Flanagan, took issue with her for a while but apparently made up later.  Ode to the two Mary Flanagan's who had Kate to contend with.

So, who was Kate Flanagan and what were her origins?

On a typed page in my "box" of treasures, there is information about Kate.  While it is not very in-depth, it is quite telling.  At my best "guesstimate", the information was gathered by Ellen Maxwell Flanagan.  She was notorious for typing information.  I believe that she obtained the information straight from her grandmother, Kate.

Kate Flanagan was born Catherine Mary O'Brien on May 19, 1843, to Edmond O'Brien and Anne Gleeson.  She was living in County Clare, Ireland but seems to have been baptized in Castleconnell which is currently in County Limerick directly along the Clare border. The more research that I do in Ireland about Castleconnell, the more I realize that is definitely a place to find the O'Brien name.  Heck, there is a bridge in town named O'Brien's Bridge.  I can also find Gleeson's living in the area.  How common do you think those surnames are in that part of Ireland?   Well, let's just say O'Brien is extremely common.

I have had three different sources/people in Ireland who could confirm Kate's birth, existence, and her parents.  One source is my Flanagan Family history and records found in County Louth, Ireland.  The second source is a professor at Trinity College in Dublin who researched Kate and her family but apparently didn't use the O'Brien's in his final work about immigrants from Ireland to Australia.

Another source was a random person in Ireland answering my message board post.  He indicated that he could only find Catherine Mary O'Brien in the records (and no other family members) with her date of birth as May 19, 1843.  Knowing that he found her in the correct location means that there could be more.  If he was looking in County Limerick records and not in County Clare records, or visa-verse, that would explain gaps in information.

I am hopeful to find out more about Kate's Irish origins someday with sourcing.  Oh, but wait, I have more.  Someone sent and/or posted information on that indicated Anne Gleeson's parents were Cornel Gleeson and Margaret O'Driscoll.  I definitely accepted those names onto my tree but there is a caveat.  I have no proof!

What else do I know about Kate and her family?  Other information has surfaced and I also have some information to re-review.

To be continued..................

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