Kelly Family who emigrated to New Zealand 1861

Kelly Family who emigrated to New Zealand 1861

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Posted Thu 2 May 2019 10:24 PM
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I am trying to trace ancestral roots for my great-great grandfather James Kelly (age unknown), his wife Mary (aged about 46, nee Fannell), and their two children John (aged about 19) and Bridget (aged about 17, born Mar 17th 1845) who emigrated to New Zealand aboard the Avalanche from Gravesend, London, England on Oct 14 1861, arriving here in Auckland, New Zealand on Feb 10 1862.

According to records held by our Births Death and Marriages office, we understand that Carlow was originally home to this Kelly family.  The came out to join James' brother Maurice, who had been living in New Zealand since about 1840.  Maurice had a very colourful history which you can read about here (from a New Zealand Herald article from 1888) if interested: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-PyX6g_Rwc8teUkiAIy_2ZV8kHDproA9 -- so it looks like Maurice and James may originally have come from Queen's County (now called Laois/Leix), an inland county of the province of Leinster.

If you can help in any way, I would be most grateful.
Thank you.

Phil Sheehan, New Zealand.

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Posted Fri 3 May 2019 10:31 AM
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Hi Phil,

You have quite a bit of interesting family history there! Maurice was quite the colourful person and what luck that he was interviewed to give his life story (albeit we suspect a bit augmented here and there ;)).

Did you manage to find the passenger list for the Avalanche? There were two ships called Avalanche, one slightly older than the other. One  Avalanche made four passages to Auckland, its third in 1862. As the other Avalanche was a dedicated settler ship (commissioned and built specifically to take settlers to far away shores) it does have a bit more prominence in records and newspaper articles.

You have Bridget's birth date, so if she was born in Carlow you might be able to find her birth certificate there. There are about 24 mentions of a Bridget Kelly born in Carlow around 1845 so that might be a good place to see if you can find her documents.

What documents do you have already on the family? Have you researched Maurice to see if he could lead you to a possible place of birth for James and perhaps Mary?

Warm regards,
Cornelia

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Posted Sat 4 May 2019 12:03 AM
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Thanks for that feedback.
  
We believe Maurice and James' parents to be John Kelly and his wife Honora Kelly (born Commins).  If the article on Maurice is only half true (and we are certain there's more than one embellishment there!), then they were born in Queen's County.  The article also states that the parents were peasant farmers and tenants on the estate of Captain Fitzmaurice.  Apparently, there were 13 sons and one daughter in the family. 
If Queens County is only 40km from Carlow (according to Google) then that seems a reasonable distance. Daughter Bridget's death certifcate said she was born in County Clare, which just seems too far away.  I think whoever recorded that might simply have gotten it wrong.
We have no records at all from the Ireland-side history.
We know that James and his family came on the Avalanche from Gravesend (leaving Oct 14 1861) and arriving in Auckland (Feb 10 1862).  Passengers are listed in this article here:
https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/03-05-2019/1b073e9f-c0d7-4f7f-9645-4089.jpg

Thanks too for the link to Carlow birth records.  I will see about exploring that further.  We believe her DOB to be 17 Mar 1845.
Cheers

Phil Sheehan (in New Zealand)
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Posted Mon 6 May 2019 6:33 AM
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Hi Phil,

Thank you for your detailed reply! You've already received some wonderful tips from Martin, and I hope it will lead to more information about your roots here on the island. 

The genealogy centre in Carlow will hopefully be able to tell you more, so keep us posted on your findings, and we're always here if you have any questions! 

Warm regards,

Melin



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