Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Brickwall did actually get broken down

Despite what I said in an earlier blog about some brickwalls remaining intact, after many many years of searching I may have finally found the key to revealing my William Flynn.  He was the only ancestor who I had not managed to get out of Australia and back to his place of origin, so you can imagine why I was keen to find out about him.

Firstly, let me recap about my journey to discover William Flynn.

Way back in 1995 I obtained a copy of the marriage certificate of my g-g-grandparents, James Annesley & Mary Ann Flynn.  The marriage took place in 1875 at St Stephen's Church in Kurrajong.  No parents for either party were specified on the certificate, and the only information given for the bride was that she was a spinster, her occupation was specified as labourer's daughter, and her usual place of residence was Sallys Bottoms, Kurrajong. I subsequently obtained her 1930 death certificate, which said she was aged 78 (therefore born about 1852), born in Parramatta, and that her father was William Flynn, a labourer, and her mother was Lucretia. The NSW BDM indexes did not include a marriage of a William Flynn to a Lucretia, and the huge number of William Flynns precluded purchasing a copy of the death certificate of every possible candidate. If I had been able to find Lucretia's death that might have narrowed down a date for William's death if it specified that she was the wife or widow of William Flynn.  But I could not find any sign of her death either.

The NSW indexes did show the death in 1919 of William Flynn, and the baptism in 1852 of Albert Flynn, both sons of William and Lucretia, so I duly obtained these certificates. Albert's baptism, which took place in the Roman Catholic Church of St Patrick's at Parramatta, said he was born on the 6th June 1852, and baptised on the 10th of that month (I subsequently obtained a copy of the burial entry for Albert which said that he was buried on the 11th June aged 7 days - I know that doesn't add up correctly, but never mind). The death certificate I had obtained for the William Flynn showed he was the aged 76 (therefore born about 1843), born in Parramatta, the husband of Annie Amelia King and the son of William Flynn (labourer) and Lucretia Haslam.  So this gave me a surname for Lucretia.

With a common name like William Flynn, all I could surmise that he was catholic (from the baptism of his son Albert), and it was likely that he was of Irish descent (based on his surname). But that was all.

It even took years for me to find out where Sally's Bottoms was located. It wasn't until I obtained a copy of Michelle Nichols' Pictorial History Hawkesbury that I discovered it is now called Tennyson.

Years passed. I never stopped hoping that something would turn up (because that has happened before after many years), but I wasn't holding my breath.

St Stephens Church, Kurrajong
Photo by Bardaster,
And then I heard about a new book containing transcriptions from St Stephens in Kurrajong.  In the hope that it would include Mary Ann Julia Flynn's parents name and any information not on her marriage certificate, I sent off for a copy.  When it arrived I was disappointed to find that it contained the names of James Annesley's parents (which I knew anyway), but it was blank as regards Mary Ann's parents. HOWEVER, I looked at the names in the index (as you do) and I noticed that there were some other Flynn entries. So I checked them out an what did I find but the burial of William Flynn, age 63, abode Sally's Bottoms, on the 12th October 1875.

Well this looked like it couldn't be a coincidence - Sally's Bottoms isn't that big - but I sent off for the corresponding death certificate, and when it arrived I knew I had found my man. The details were that on the 9th Oct 1875 at North Richmond, William Flynn, a Labourer aged 63 was accidentally killed by a fall from his horse.  His parents were shown as William (surname not listed) and Hannah Day and he had been born in England (not Ireland!). And here is the clincher - the spouse was shown as Lucretia Haslem, though no age at marriage or place at marriage was given. The time in the colony/state was also "not known".

So I now have more to investigate - his approximate date of birth, his parents, a birth in England... although, any of that could be incorrect. But it gives me something to go on. 

Now all I need to do is find Lucretia's death.