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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

O'Brien Message - New Zealand

I am continually amazed at how people really start to come out of the woodwork when you post your family tree and pursue connections.  The following message was posted to me on Ancestry.com on June 10, 2012.

hello my name is (private). Mary O'Brien is my 2x great grand mother. She Married John Courtney.  In 1855 later they moved to NZ were the Daughter married my great grandfather Edmond Fraser . Mary had two sisters Catherine And Bridget there is also another named Ann She was baptism sponsor to Catherine Courtney. I also have baptism records of other O'briens from Hokitika West Coast New Zealand. I have a statement here that Catherine O'brien married a Patrick Flanagan They settled in the Napa Valley California. I came across you whilst searching ship passage for the O'brien family to Australia.

I have sent her a quick message back providing her with my email address.  I am now up to 3 potential contacts on my O'Brien Family Tree in the "Land Down Under".  This person actually found information about Kate and Pat Flanagan living in the Napa Valley.  I do need to find out more.  While I know Kate's origins in Ireland, I have only sparse information about them in Australia and New Zealand.  I have a plethora of information about Kate and Pat once in Napa, CA.  I also have letters about Pat's travels around mining camps in New Zealand and Australia.  Now, if I could just pinpoint where the O'Brien's were located.  It looks like this person just provided me with a big clue.


The following are links to my O'Brien research in this blog (CRTL+Click on each link):

O'Brien's in Ireland to Australia and onto California - Part 1 
O'Brien's in Ireland to Australia and onto California - Part 2 
O'Brien's in Ireland to Australia and onto California - Part 3
O'Brien's in Ireland to Australia and onto California - Part 4
O'Brien's in Ireland to Australia and onto California - Part 5
O'Brien's in Ireland to Australia and onto California - Part 6

I must say this again,  Kate Flanagan (born Catherine Mary O'Brien) is one of the most interesting characters on my family tree.  The fact that we know so much about her is a story in and of itself.  For whatever reason, I feel very connected to her and want to know more about my 2x great grandmother who's reputation in our Flanagan Family precedes her even today.

My biggest challenge in locating the O'Brien's in Australia and New Zealand is my lack of understanding of the geography of that part of the world.  What seems fairly clear is that the O'Brien's were in Melbourne, Australia by 1854, went to New Zealand for a time, and were back to Melbourne, most likely.  Knowing that the O'Brien surname is quite common makes it hard to track them but I think I have found them here and there.

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