Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Fitzhenry name stats from the USA

A top tip from the Guild of One Name Studies forum was to put the Fitz(-)henry surname into the US whitepages on-line.
As you can see, in the grand scheme of things, we're a small and select bunch with the Fitzhenry name ranking 33,784th most common surname in the US
(between Everingham and Frankenberg). with 516 individual entries.
That's 516 individuals who have a phone of course.
Allowing for the fact that 3 are known to this blog (including Ann of course), where are the rest of you? Send us a "Hello, I'm one of the unknown Fitzhenrys" email.

A breakdown of the stats for the more nerdy brained amongst you can be found here by clicking on the Fitzhenry link below

Name Popularity

Fitzhenry listings in the USA:

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Sunday, 28 December 2008

The Tale of Two Brothers

One of my favorite things about genealogy is encountering the unexpected. I was researching a family member interred at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when I discovered not one, but three FitzHenrys buried there. Who were the other two FitzHenrys honored at this sacred place? With respect for their service to our country, I began to piece together the tale of two brothers, Donald W. and Kenneth James FitzHenry. These sons of William and Agnes FitzHenry, were born in Hennepin County, Minnesota in 1925 and 1928 respectively. Their older sister, Irene, was born about 1924 and died in childbirth in 1942.

Donald and Kenneth earned their place at Ft. Snelling for their service in WWII. Both men served in the Air Corps and eventually earned the rank of sergeant. They enlisted on the same day, January 12, 1946. I can only imagine their mother’s worry. Both men survived the war and went on to marry and have children in the 1950s. Their children joined the 79 million babies that were born in the baby boom years in the United States between 1946-1964. I have more information about their living descendents, but will refrain from publishing details for privacy reasons.

Donald was laid to rest at Ft. Snelling in 1998 and his younger brother, Kenneth, in 1989. Information about their interments can be found here and here.

The FitzHenry Connection

Once I had the first few pieces of Donald and Kenneth’s family group, I wanted to answer the question: Were they descendants of Enoch?

Patrick J. and Mary Gillan FitzHenry, Donald and Kenneth’s grandparents, were waiting to be discovered. Patrick and Mary were both born in Canada in 1858 and 1871, respectively. According to census records, they immigrated to Minnesota in the 1870s. Their parents were born in Ireland. No connection appears to exist with Enoch since he was born almost 100 years before. Following is the information I have gathered thus far:

Patrick J. FitzHenry was born 1858 in Canada. He died in Minnesota 1916 and is buried at St. Michael’s cemetery in Montgomery, Minnesota.

Mary Gillan FitzHenry, the daughter of Michael and Mary Gillan, was born about 1871 in Canada. She died December 3, 1938, in Minnesota and is buried at St. Michael’s cemetery in Montgomery, Minnesota.

Patrick and Mary had at least five children. Census records indicate there may have been six, but one was not living. All of their children were born in Minnesota.

William FitzHenry, was born July 8, 1896, he died October 1974. William and his wife, Agnes, had three children: Irene, Donald and Kenneth.

George FitzHenry was born March 6, 1899, and died September 16, 1962. George and his wife, Beatrice, had three children.

John Joseph FitzHenry was born October 19, 1900 and died June 21, 1979. Marital status unknown.

Margaret FitzHenry is buried at St. Michael’s cemetery in Montgomery, Minnesota. Her birth and death dates up for debate. According to the Minnesota Cemetery Inscription Index, Margaret was born in 1866 and died in 1884. Using those dates, her mother would not have been born at the time of her birth. However, the inscription indicates that Patrick and Mary Gillan FitzHenry were her parents. Something is definitely amiss!

James FitzHenry was born June 25, 1905 and died April 9, 1970. Marital status unknown.

Exact dates for this family have been difficult to verify. I have seen several conflicting records. If any of our Canadian friends have more information, please stand up and be counted.

Thank you to Donald and Kenneth for their honorable service to our country and for the unexpected opportunity to research their family. Rest in peace.

*Photo credit: Contributor: G.B.O.

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Monday, 22 December 2008

Swim like a Fitz!

Back in July, six members of the Fitzhenry family from Sidmouth, near Exeter in Devon swam the English Channel.
An amazing feat especially when you see the rather circuitous route they my reckoning they crossed at least 5 ferry lanes!

Bev Kronk spotted it all the way through the Earth in Australia - those of us nearer to the event (me) are ashamed to say we missed it.

So in an attempt to redeem myself as the contemporary historian of all things Fitz(-)henry, well done to Paul, Neal, Lee, Craig, Dave and Daniel. Here's the details of the charities they were supporting by doing their epic swim. You can still donate through their website.

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Sunday, 21 December 2008

End of 2008 "State of the Nation" address

So here we are at the end of another year, and I just wanted to highlight how far this Fitz(-)henry one name study has come over the past 12 months.

At the end of 2007, this blog was just me prattling on, on a fairly irregular basis to an unknown audience.

Then some brilliant things happened.
Ann contacted me for the first time, and Lesley rekindled an old friendship.
Over the next few months they started providing me with such good stuff that they became co-authors of the blog - and I couldn't have done it without them!

And I also discovered Feedburner which meant we could offer people with an interest in the Fitz(-)henry name the chance to keep up with our findings by subscription, and gave us the information about how many people potentially were out there reading our blog. As of today, there's 13 of you, so you're still a small select band but growing!

This year we also kicked off the Fitz(-)henry DNA study. It only has two participants so far, so if you are wondering what to give the Fitzhenry man who has everything for Christmas this year, why not consider his very own DNA profile - linked to our study of course!

In April, the Guild of One-Name Studies (GOONS) gave us accredited One-Name study status and we are now the official registrants of the Fitz(-)henry name at the Guild.

And we've made contacts with Fitz(-)henrys from all over the world this year.
I'd like to name check all the people who emailed us or left comments on the blog - big thanks to you all all.
Keep reading the blog and sending us more stuff.
Tell your Fitz(-)henry relatives and friends about us!
Bev Kronk (Australia) - prolific supplier of facts. Thanks again, Bev.
Rodrigo Palacios Fitz-Henry (Chile) - thanks for your information about our only known South American branch, and will you please email me again through the blog, as I don't think my emails are getting through to you. I would really love to publish the info you've sent me and just need your permission.
Canon Patrick Comerford (Ireland)
Garry and Laurie Fitz-Henry and their family, Brian Dulcombe Fitz-Henry and Annabella Fitz-Henry (all from Canada and descendants of William Fitz-Henry and Martha Eagles).
Tom Fitzhenry (Dublin, Ireland)
Mrs Betty Volante and Mr Michael Volante (England)
Terri Tiffany (USA)
Sarah Murphy (England) a descendant of John Fitzhenry of Oswestry (died in WW1)
Kerry Robinson nee Fitzhenry and Christine Fitzhenry (Australia) who are both descended from Peter Fitzhenry of the AIF (died in WW1)
Sandra Fuller (Australia)
Norma Temperton (England)
Glen Porteous and Lynda Moseley (USA) for their research about William Fortune
Darren Fitzhenry (USA)
Shilo Fitzhenry (USA)
Kim Tregellas (USA)
Geraldine Cheyne and Paul Davies (Australia) researching the (Fitz)Henry connection in the Vitzdamm family.

There.... I think that's all of you - apologies to any I may have missed!

And what's in store for next year?
We hope to get more people interested in the DNA study - pop over here to take a look at the website.
The DNA website will be expanded to hold more in the way of reference material for our One-Name study - the family trees we've put together and suchlike.
And we hope that you all keep healthy and happy in the year ahead.

Merry Christmas.
Jo Fitz-Henry

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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Road Trip 3 - the Surrey Record Office

The Surrey record office in Woking is a real gem of a place. Lovely open modern building, lots of lovely records to lose yourself in and enthusiastic helpful staff.
I was on the trail of the family of William Fitz-Henry and Martha Eagles of Ashtead. I wanted to know where William was buried to see if a gravestone would give me any further clues about his ancestors. I'd looked in the graveyard of the parish church of St Giles when I visited Ashtead earlier in the year, but hadn't found a gravestone.

The first bonus was finding that the parish records of St Giles weren't on fiche - this meant I got to look through the original register. And what a splendid register it was, all leather bound and gold tooled. I have got photos of it, but the copyright declaration that I had to sign said I would put any of the photos on t'internet. Sorry.

So who did I find in the register?
William and Martha's first two children (Hester and Rowland) were born before they settled in Ashtead, but I did find the baptisms of:

Harry Duncombe Fitz-Henry christened 8 May 1882
on of William FH (Captain Retired full pay) and Martha Elizabeth.

Woodfield Duncombe Tighe Fitz-Henry born 26 January 1883, christened 6 May 1883
Son of
of William FH (captain in the Army, retired full pay) and Martha Elizabeth.

William Fitz-Henry, born 30 October 1885, christened 19 August 1886
Son of William (Captain in the Army) and Martha Elizabeth.

Harry Duncombe died in infancy, but neither he nor his father William (died November 1885) were buried at St Giles. One of the records office staff suggested that one or both of them may have been buried at the new municipal cemetery in Leatherhead (the nearest big town). This would mean a trip to the cemetery itself to consult their records.

As a stroke of fortune, the records office also had some editions of Kelly's Directories for Surrey on fiche. Amongst the "Private Residents" were
1885 edition, Fitz-Henry Capt. William at Oakfield Lodge
1886 edition, Fitz-Henry Mrs. at The Shaw.
I had previously thought that she had gone back to be near her family in Buckinghamshire straight after she was widowed, but the christening of William and the Kelly's entry showed that she was still a fixture in the village for at least another 8 months. Oakfield Lodge was still shown on the Ashtead map of 1932, but the current Google map shows some modern houses on the site in what is now Balquhain Close.

So... why was baby William's christening delayed for so long after his birth? This was answered the following day at Guild of One Name Studies lecture in Dorchester. In short, a woman did not re-enter society after the birth of her baby until she had been "churched" - going to Sunday service at her church a month after the birth. Often the baby was taken along and was christened at the same time - not before, unless the baby was very sickly. However, Matha's husband died before she had baby William christened and she entered her six month period of "deep mourning". To have the baby christened during this time was considered at the very least disrespectful, and at worst it would have brought misfortune on the child. Hence Martha had baby William christened when the mourning period was over.

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Sunday, 14 December 2008

The Family of John and Anne Fortune

After Jo’s visit to the National Archives, I wanted to learn more about William Fortune. What circumstances led him to die in England all alone? What do we know about this supposed cousin of Enoch FitzHenry?

Fortunately, I have been in contact with a very knowledgeable Fortune family researcher. The following report is posted with her permission and is public record at Fairfield County, South Carolina. The document contains information about the entire Fortune family. However, for brevity, the excerpts below focus on William Fortune.

The comments in italics are my own.

Background Information

John Fortune was born about 1725 in Ireland. He and his wife, Anne and their family of seven children arrived in Charleston, South Carolina on August 23, 1767 aboard the ship Britannia. Anne was born about 1726. Her maiden name has not been proven, but may have been Fitzhenry. The names and dates of birth of the children: Mary, born June 15, 1746; William, born December 30, 1748; John Jr., born February 20, 1752; Jane, born September 1, 1754; Mark, born June 23, 1756; Richard, born June 17, 1758; and Elizabeth, born December 23, 1759.

There is some confusion over where in Ireland the family departed. Janie Revill, in her book, Protestant Immigrants to South Carolina 1763-1773, pages 82-84, transcribed the South Carolina Council Journals, specifically Journal 33, pages 234-237 (meeting of September 1, 1767), which states the Britannia arrived from Newry. R. J. Dickson’s excellent book, Ulster Emigration to Colonial America 1718-1775, states the Britannia sailed from Belfast to Charleston in 1767, but sites the Revill book as its source.

Agents for the port of Newry were located in Belfast, and agents for Belfast were located in Newry, according to Dickson’s book. The overwhelming majority of Fortunes have been concentrated in Wexford County, Ireland since the 1600s, and the majority of Fortunes in Wexford since have been of the Roman Catholic faith.

Evidence contained in an 1815 letter written by William Fortune to his son, Joseph Fortune, proves he had relatives in Wexford. Whether they were Fortunes or members of his mother’s family is unknown, but I believe he was referring to his father’s family.

Revill’s book states the passengers aboard the Britannia were Protestant, but no proof has been found to determine the Fortune family’s religious denomination once they arrived in South Carolina. (It is likely the Fortunes were Protestant. Immigration to the Carolina’s exploded with the promise of free land to Protestants via the Bounty Act of 1761.)

Another letter written by William Fortune to his son Joseph in 1821 refers to an uncle, Owen Fortune, “the brother of my father, John Fortune”, and at least three of Owen’s children: Richard, John and an unnamed daughter who married and was living in London, England in 1821. At the time, Richard was visiting his sister and was enlisted with the 18th Hussars in France. His rank is not known. Richard’s brother John is also mentioned as being a soldier, but his company and rank are not given. This is as much as is currently known of Owen Fortune and his children.

The belief that Anne Fortune’s maiden name was possibly Fitzhenry also stems from a letter purportedly written by Enoch Fitzhenry to William Fortune. Enoch Fitzhenry allegedly wrote to William Fortune, in which he referred to William in the letter as a cousin. There is recorded evidence Enoch Fitzhenry was in New York during the early 1800s, but no connection to him or his descendants has been proven.

There is no evidence the Fortunes arrived in South Carolina as indentured servants. Written evidence proves they were literate. They also paid for the surveys of their bounty land very shortly after their arrival in Fairfield District. There is a seven month period between their arrival and the issuance of their grants in which the family’s whereabouts are undocumented, and it is assumed they spent the time traveling from Charleston to Fairfield District, possibly stopping from time to time to work and earn enough money to continue.

The Bounty Land

John Fortune, Sr. was granted 100 acres in Craven County on the head of Jackson’s Creek on March 2, 1768, which I believe is the same 100 acres surveyed for John Fortune, Jr. on October 1, 1767.

John Fortune, Sr. was granted 350 acres in Craven County on the head of Jackson’s Creek on March 8, 1768, being the 100 acres surveyed for John Fortune, Jr. who apparently died before the grant was finalized.

Mary Fortune was granted 100 acres in Craven County on the head of Jackson’s Creek on March 8, 1768, bounded on the Northwest by land laid out to her brother, William Fortune.

William Fortune was granted 100 acres in Craven County on the head of Jackson’s Creek on April 6, 1768.

The record shows that Richard Winn purchased William Fortune’s 100 acre grant from William and his wife, Mary on November 26, 1771. This 100 acre tract is the site upon which Winn would later establish the Town of Winnsborough.

John Fortune, Sr. died in Fairfield District in November, 1776. He is buried on the 350 acre plantation granted to him in 1768, although the exact location of his grave is unknown. Although several sources report that his Will is of record in the Office of the Probate Judge for Kershaw County, it is not. The estate file there contains a transcribed affidavit from his daughter Mary Fortune McCreary who testified in an 1815 civil action in Richland District that her father died in 1776 and that he had made a Will, which was in her possession for some years after his death. She testified the Will directed the bounty lands in his name be sold by her mother, Anne.

Robert McCreary and wife Mary Fortune McCreary conveyed Mary’s 100 acre grant to Joseph Owen on February 8, 1778.

Anne Fortune died in 1783 while living on Thorntree Creek near Camden, probably with the family of her daughter, Jane Fortune Robinson, wife of Judge Walter Robinson. Her Last Will and Testament is of record in Kershaw County in Will Book A1, page 157. In it, she states her husband’s Will was destroyed by their son, William Fortune and devises the 350 acre tract owned by her husband to her Executors, Walter Robinson and Thomas Mews. She contracted to sell the 350 acres under Bond for Title to John Milling in shortly thereafter, although the exact date is not revealed of record.

William Fortune fled South Carolina for England in 1783. By 1802, he was living in Hawkesbury, Canada. On February 8, 1802, claiming by right of primogeniture, as the oldest son, sold his father’s 350 acre tract and the 100 acre tract surveyed for John Fortune, Jr., to John Woodward, Sr., James Barkley and James Barber.

On May 10, 1813, in Columbia (Richland) District-Sarah Milling filed suit for partition against John Woodward, Sr., James Barber and James Barker to recover the land sold to them by William Fortune in 1802. The land was eventually ordered to be divided into lots and sold in Winnsborough at public auction on the first Monday in August, 1818. It is not known who purchased the property at the sale.

The suit was over the 350 acre tract only, and it appears Woodward, Barber and Barker retained possession of the 100 acre tract originally surveyed for John Fortune, Jr.

The Town of Winnsborough was later established on much of the 650 acres granted to the Fortune family, particularly the 100 acres granted to William Fortune.

Life of William Fortune

William Fortune was born December 30, 1748. He married Mary (last name unknown), probably Brown, in Fairfield District. At least two of his children, William Jr. and Joseph, said to be Cornwallis Joseph, were born there as well. William and Mary had six children. In addition to William and Joseph, they were: Thomas Patrick, Rawdon, Eliza and Louisa. Joseph, Eliza and Louisa all lived in Canada. Eliza married a Hoople. Letters written from William to his son, Joseph between 1817 and 1821 consistently state that Joseph was his only son, so the other boys must have died young.

Much of William Fortune’s life is revealed in the many letters he wrote to his son Joseph. He was a land surveyor and a soldier. Pay vouchers and affidavits from several Loyalist officers, including Lord Rawdon, Earl Cornwallis, Maj. Thomas Fraser, Col. Alexander Stuart and other officers and enlisted men in the Volunteers of Ireland prove he was a Loyalist for most of the War. He petitioned the Canadian government from Charleston and from Point Fortune for bounty lands, eventually amassing several thousand acres. There is also evidence William and his brother, Richard, served the American cause as members of Col. Thomas Taylor’s regiment, from which they deserted prior to 1783. Their names, along with brother-in-law John McWatty, appear on a list of 38 deserters from Col. Taylor’s regiment. William’s property was confiscated and he left South Carolina around 1783 for England. His numerous petitions for bounty lands in Canada state he was involved in the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill in 1781, and the Battle of Eutaw Springs, as well as the evacuation of Charleston.

William Fortune’s letters paint a portrait of a greedy, self-absorbed man who appeared to suffer from grandiose fantasies. To say that he was enamored of Lord Rawdon is an understatement. He claimed a close connection to him and several high ranking or titled men in England. He was a scoundrel and led a colorful life, and according to his letters, was estranged from his daughters for many years.

It is fact that he spent months incarcerated in debtor’s prison in Gloucester Castle, London, England between 1815 and 1817. It is also fact that he mostly lived apart from his family between 1789 and 1821. His letters during those years are franked from London, Bristol, Bath and Brighton. He relates in one that he was rescued from Gloucester Castle by a woman who paid him 15 lbs. sterling in exchange for the promise of marriage, although he never married her. He died after 1821 and is said to be buried at Point Fortune, Canada. (We now believe he is buried at Hurstpierpoint, England. Please refer to William Fortune -The National Archives, Kew.)

Thank you to Lynda and family for their years of research!
If you would like more information on the Fortune family, please contact us.

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Sunday, 7 December 2008

Road Trip 2 - William Fortune (The National Archives, Kew)

To the American Fitzhenrys, William Fortune has the same mythic status as Enoch Fitzhenry. The legend of Enoch has it that William Fortune (his cousin) was the only relative that Enoch had contact with after his arrival in the United States. One of Enoch's sons (William Fortune Fitzhenry) was given the middle name Fortune in his honour. William Fortune was a soldier who had fought for the Brits in the American War of Independence (bad idea!) and had subsequently lost his lands in South Carolina and went north to Canada after a stay in England.

Ann Fitzhenry (co-author of this blog) and Glen Porteous (another Fitzhenry researcher) had both done their research on William Fortune, and they had found that there was a file on him in the War Office Records held at the National Archives in Kew. Was this going to be a story of heroics and being mentioned in dispatches? Or William acting as a double agent while he was staying in England?


It was a bureaucratic wrangle over who should pay for William's funeral. Probably the only reason these few sheets of paper were kept was because it set a precedent which enabled the War Office to pay
for funeral expenses of British Army soldiers to someone other than the next of kin or executor of a will.

Let me summarise what I discovered (for indeed there was a lot of repetition).

William Fortune had found himself in the village of Hurstpierpoint in Sussex in the year 1822. Hurstpierpoint while unremarkable in itself, is just north of Brighton on the south coast of England and at that time in Regency England, Brighton was the most fashionable place to be seen apart from London. Hurstpierpoint was also on the main coaching route from London to Brighton so William may have been just "en route", or he may have been paying someone a visit.

He was taken ill. Then he died on 26th November, and was buried in the Hurstpierpoint parish churchyard on 29th November 1822.

We know this as the curate of Hurstpierpoint, a Reverend John Charles Fowell Tufnell wrote to the War Office asking for recompense for the medical bills and the cost of the funeral which he had personally paid for.
The Reverend said that there were no relatives in the country (England) who could pay these bills and William had not enough money at the time of his death to cover his debts. Could he (the Rev. Tufnell) receive the balance of the army pay
that was outstanding up to the time of his death, which William Fortune was entitled as a British Loyalist in the War of Independence.

There was then a flurry of correspondence around the War Office, and from his first request in November 1822, the Rev. Tufnell finally received his money in March 1823.

What else did I find?
William Fortune was either a Colonel or a Captain; he is mentioned as both in the correspondence although the Rev. Tufnell referred to him as Colonel.
His regiment was referred to as either the American Loyalists or the American Provincials.
His regimental number was 132807.

He had been placed on half pay in 1783 and was still receiving this pay at the time of his death.
His outstanding pay amounted to £15 and 15 shillings, or 15 Guineas (a Guinea being a pound and a shilling, an archaic form of British currency which is still used in horse-racing). This sum was not to be sniffed at, as an agricultural labourer's wage was 8 to 12 shillings a week.

I visited the Sussex Record Office a few days later on the road trip.
A very old and worn microfiche scan of the Hurstpierpoint parish register confirmed that Colonel William Fortune had been buried on 29th November 1822 at the age of 74 years by the Rev Tufnell. It gave his place of residence as Hurstpierpoint rather than saying that he was visiting from elsewhere.
Unfortunately there was no records of the monumental inscriptions in Hurstpierpoint churchyard at the records office, and Hurstpierpoint was at the other end of the county and in the opposite direction to where I was heading next.
So that's a visit for another time.

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Friday, 5 December 2008

Revealed:The Mystery Lady of Brompton Cemetery

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Well, this is one loose end that can definately be sewn up !! Today two death certificates arrived, one of which was for the mystery lady, Ann Fitzhenry, discovered at Brompton cemetery by erstwhile Fitzhenry sleuth Jo!

The document positively confirms the lady's identity as Ann Fitzhenry daughter-in-law of Elizabeth (and Michael) Fitzhenry, and widow of their eldest son George Fitzhenry.

Ann died of Enteritis on the 29th April 1889 at 61 Duffield Street West Battersea. Her occupation is listed as "Widow of George Fitzhenry a compositor" . Whilst one might take issue with this description as being an occupation, it certainly helps to confirm her identity!. The absolute proof though, is the name and relationship of the informant, A E Puddle. This is Annie Puddle, Ann's eldest child, and who was living with her brother George FH in Battersea in 1891. The certificate identifies A E Puddle as the deceased's daughter, and she was present at her mother's death.

So another mystery solved, but another emerges........what happened to Ann's two sons, William born in Ireland in 1868 and George Fitzhenry born Manchester 1875 ? Maybe the 1911 census release will help to solve this one....but if you know what happened to the two FH boys, please don't keep us in suspense, drop a line here !!

PS. For those who were wondering, the second death certificate was for Ann's husband, George Fitzhenry who died 9 May 1879 of Phthisis (TB) aged 39. He was living at 18 Pimlico Rd Pimlico Belgrave when he died, and was an Army Pensioner at this date (having previously been in the 12th Lancers). The informant was his widow A Fitzhenry (see subject of above entry).

Friday, 28 November 2008

Lest we forget - Private John Fitzhenry 9956 of the King's Shropshire Light Regiment

The post about the Fitzhenrys who died in the Great war prompted Sara Murphy to write to us.
She is the
great great, granddaughter of John Fitzhenry of the King's Shropshire Regiment. (For our overseas readers, Shropshire is a county in West of England next to the Welsh border.)

I'm very grateful to her for sending us the following information which she has given her permission to post here.
John was the only surviving son out of 9 children.
(His father was also called John and originally came from Ireland.)
John's daughter, Dorothy (Sara's grandmother) was born around 7 months after John was killed and gives her name on her birth registration as Dorothy Fitzhenry. His widow Elizabeth Lila Smith (formerly Fitzhenry) was quoted to have said "if I ever had a son l would cut his legs off before sending him to war".

Sara has sent a link which shows that John is listed on the Oswestry park gates War memorial, right hand-side 3rd from the top.

Sara would be very pleased to hear from any descendant of this Fitzhenry branch. If you send me an email, I'll pass it on to her.

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Thursday, 27 November 2008

Lest We Forget - Peter Fitzhenry AIF Killed In Action

A recent post was a timely reminder of those Fitzhenrys who gave their lives fighting for their country. Amongst them was the name of an Australian, Peter Fitzhenry who died thousands of miles from home in the fields of Belgium in October 1917. I thought it might be appropriate to give some more details about this fallen Fitzhenry, so that he doesn't remain simply a name on a plaque.

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) is a wonderful repository, holding amongst many other documents, the service records for Australian service personnel. It is their longterm goal to have all documents digitalised allowing free internet access viewing. In the interim, where someone requests a file, and is prepared to pay a nominal fee (usually around $20 AUD) it is assessed for privacy issues, and if deemed appropriate for open access is immediately digitalised,' jumping the queue" so to speak. In the case of the surname Fitzhenry 1914-1920 seven files are listed, ALL of which are digitalised (I suspect that thanks are due to our North Queensland Fitzhenry rsearcher??). Much of the following was gleaned from the details included in the service file of Private Peter Fitzhenry, which helps to fill in some details relating to this fallen soldier.

Peter Fitzhenry was born in Ultimo, near Sydney in New South Wales the second son of Matthew Fitzhenry, a plumber, and his wife Catherine (nee Nelson). Although Peter had 7 brothers and sisters, and one could imagine many happy times as he played with his siblings, the fact was that for much of the time, life must have been pretty hard for young Peter. When he was only 3 his baby sister Ellen died, and the next year his big brother, Stephen, who was only 6 died. This must have been an awful tragedy for the family and for Peter. Stephen's death made Peter the eldest son, with responsibilities for helping his parents and looking after the younger children - and these responsibilities would have been substantial since his father's drinking became more and more of a problem. Money was scarse, but became even more so as he "drank all he earned' ( Catherine Fitzhenry). Eventually, in 1906, when Peter was only 16, his father Matthew finally deserted the family. Although Catherine, Peter's mother had a warrant issued for his arrest for desertion, it was still outstanding 16 years later.
Army documents describe Peter's mother Catherine as a "respectable woman, living with her daughters". Peter must have had a strong sense of responsibility for his mother and younger siblings though, as he lived all his life with her, even after his marriage in 1912 to Janet (nee Murdoch).
The family stayed close to Sydney, living in Redfern, an inner Sydney surburb. In its earlier days Redfern was described as a "neat workers suburb", but by the second decade of the 20th century it was considered more rough. John Tierney (1892-1972) author and teacher described it thus ..." it was a depressing place. It was nasty, hot, dusty. There was the grind and rattle of trams in Castlereagh Street and Redfern Street; the ceaseless clomping of horses' hooves, and the jarring accents of lorry wheels. Two of the largest carrying firms had their headquarters in Redfern, and the very air smelt stale of horses and was filled with specks of dried manure whenever a breeze stirred along those drab streets."

Given the importance of the carrying businesses in the area it is not particularly surprising to discover that Peter's occupation in 1917 was Carter!!

When he enlisted, on 23 January 1917, Australia had been at war for nearly 3 years. Whilst many young men had raced to join up in 1914, no doubt thinking of glory and a short stay overseas, (whilst other- older- men had joined up to escape unhappy marriages!!) Peter did not rush to enlist. At 26, he was no child, and had in fact been married for nearly 5 years, though he had no children. We will probably never know what prompted Peter to join H M forces in that January of 1917, but a poignant - even tragic - hint lies in a document included in his service file. Although initially reported "Missing In Action" 4 October 1917, his body was never located. He was only reported "Killed in Action" after a Court Of Inquiry held in March of 1918. In 1922 the Graves Service Unit was still doing its best to try to identify bodies of deceased sevicemen who were lacking any form of identification. Peter's surviving family was contacted and asked if they could furnish any information regarding the last known sighting of him, or if they had been notified by other groups of a place of burial, or anything that might give a precise location of his death. The response was provided by his youngest brother William * .
" Dear Sir,
the late Private P Fitzhenry was killed just outside the trench where A Company of the 1st battalion hopped over on the 4th October 1917 for Broodseide [?] Ridge. He has been posted missing but that is the exact locality as I happened to be with him,
Yours faithfully
W'm Fitzhenry "

In 1917 William turned 18.

The fact that William was in the same unit as his brother suggests that they joined up together. Is it possible that a young William full of youthful bravado decided to join up, and that Peter felt he should be with his baby brother, to try to protect him in what was to come? Again, we will never know.

Yet despite this, and having no known photos of Peter, we still know a surprising amount about him. For instance, we know that he had brown hair, and blue eyes, was 5 ft 4 inches tall and weighed 120lbs ( or 8 and a half stone). The little toe on his right foot was slightly raised, and he was a Congregationalist. We know that when he arrived in Plymouth England he was deployed to Durrington in Wiltshire for training. We know he overstayed his leave by 3 days in May 1917, and as a consequence he lost a weeks pay. We know that this wasn't an isolated incident because on the 4 August 1917 he was AWOL from 6.45am (and missed Parade) and that cost him 4 days confined to barracks. Sadly, Peter's story doesn't last much longer. He embarked for France at Southhampton arriving at Havre 5th September, and was listed as being available for fighting in France 15 September. He was reported Missing in Action 3 weeks later, in Belgium 4 October 1917, although only listed as Killed In Action after the Court Of Inquiry was held in March 1918. His body was never found.

In a surprising and sad addendum to Peter's story, I discovered that at the time of his own death, Peter was a widower.On 26 March 1917, just 5 weeks after Peter embarked on H.M Osterley in Sydney on his way to England and the front, his 24 year old wife Janet died. She never lived to hear of the death of her husband, but it is probable that he heard of hers. It is just so sad....

RIP Peter Fitzhenry 1890-1917

* I have been unable to locate a service record for William, but a service record has been located for a Walter J Fitzhenry, living at the same address as Peter and his family and listing his next of kin as Catherine Fitzhenry. He lists his age as 21 and 3 months at the time of enlistment. A view of the signature suggests that the soldier started to write Wi.. but then rounded the i to an a (of Walter) so I think it highly probable it is William putting his age up and assuming a different forename.

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Nerdy stats update

We've now broken into double figures with our blog subscribers - Feedburner tells me there's a grand total of 11 of you out there receiving our blog updates. Well done chaps. We now have two more people subscribing to the blog than there were at the first Queen gig back in 1972.

So as always I'll sign off with the strapline....

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Sunday, 23 November 2008

In Theory Anything Is Possible

It is commonly recognized that the surname FitzHenry was first recorded for the illegitimate child of King Henry I, the youngest son of William the Conqueror and Princess Nesta, the daughter of King Rhys of Deheubarth. The child born in 1104 was known as Henry FitzHenry. He was literally named the “bastard son of Henry.” What an auspicious way to get “our” start! (King Henry I is pictured at right.)

It has always been thought that certain FitzHenry families may be descendents of King Henry I. The theory sounds reasonable, but how could it be proven? Our recent DNA result could be the first step in that direction. It certainly provides more information than we’ve ever had before.

According to Prince Charles biographer, Anthony Holden, His Royal Highness can claim King Niall of the Nine Hostages as an ancestor. Does this also mean that King Henry I was a descendant of Niall as well? If so, our FitzHenry Y-chromosome match to Niall could be the first evidence that the story is true. Is Niall a common ancestor to King Henry I and our DNA participant?

What do you think?

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Under the heading 'Other Random Stuff"

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Earlier in this blog, Jo made reference to one of her other great loves - cricket!
With this in mind I did a search of Australian sports hero's in the hope that we could come up with a Fitzhenry descendant - even historically - who excelled in the field. Sadly, no such luck! We did have a Daniel Fitzhenry from NSW who was a minor international star in Rugby circles, ending up signing contracts with both English and French rugby teams!
However, my recent surf and search for South African Fitzhenrys finally hit pay dirt.,,, a cricket playing Fitzhenry!!
Please note: Russel Fitzhenry, born 1963, playing with Eastern Province Country District League, right handed batsman, and right arm offbreak bowler.

OK, so it's not at exactly international level, but it's nice to see the Fitzhenry's giving it the good old fashioned try, and love of the game is not solely devolved to a lone Fitzhenry descendant in Nottingham!!
(and yes, the rather desultary results of the recent Aussie tour of India, passed without comment, for a reason!! lol)

Lesley in Australia (who will be watching the Boxing Day test on TV, not attending like 2 of her brothers!)

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The Mystery Ladys of Brompton Cemetery: Identities Revealed?

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After Jo's sojourn at Brompton Cemetery revealed two mystery Fitzhenry ladies, I was able to claim the first as my gggrandmother Elizabeth Fitzhenry (nee Kemp) the widow of Michael Fitzhenry.(see attached Death certificate). However , rather surprisingly, the identity of mystery lady number two, Ann Fitzhenry, may also link into my Fitzhenry family grouping.

Elizabeth's daughter-in law was a lass named Ann Elizabeth Fitzhenry (nee Currey). Ann had married Elizabeth's eldest son, George c 1864. Ann hailed from Essex, and George, who had joined the 12th Lancers whilst still a teenager, ended up being posted to Ireland, where their two eldest children, Ann[ie) 1866 and William 1868 were born. By the time of the 1871 census, the family was back in England - or more precisely, Aldershot, Hampshire. Younger son George was born whilst they were posted near Hulme, Manchester in 1875, and baby Laura was born (and sadly passed away) in 1877 Canterbury, Kent. No wonder it took a while to connect all the siblings - a name like Fitzhenry, children born Ireland and Manchester, doesn't at first glance seem to connect to a London born and bred Fitzhenry family!! However, enough on the background!!

I have been unable to locate either George or Ann Fitzhenry in the 1891 census. I believe that George may have died, aged 39 in 1879, London (certificate pending). However, I HAVE been able to locate two of George and Ann's children in 1891 - living at 32 Falcon St BATTERSEA !! It would appear (if I am reading the census correctly) that Falcon St intersects with Duffield St, Battersea, the address listed for the mystery Ann Fitzhenry buried at Brompton. Despite the fact that mystery Ann is listed about 6 years older than I would have expected for my Ann, the circumstancial evidence does seem suggestive that they are in fact the same woman. Given the relative rarity of the surname Fitzhenry, surely it would be an extreme coincidence to have two completely unrelated family groupings living so close together in the same time frame. Consequently, I think it more than likely that the mystery lady is in fact Elizabeth Fitzhenry's daughter-in-law, Ann.
However, if anyone reading this can shed more light on the mystery, please drop us

The Secret: Revealed!

In an earlier post I discussed the second participant’s DNA results. I am disappointed that the American FitzHenrys descended from Enoch do not appear to be related to the other families noted in this blog. However, I am very grateful for our connection to these individuals and the pursuit of studying the surname around the world. It’s something special and unique to claim the name, FitzHenry.

I am pleased to report that the DNA results unlocked another secret. They revealed a significant relationship with our second participant and Niall of the Nine Hostages. Niall Noígíallach was a 5th century warlord whose dynasty dominated Ireland for six hundred years. He quite literally left his mark in populating Ireland. High King Niall may have left as many as three million modern day descendants! DNA Ancestry Project

According to information provided by Family Tree DNA, a recent study conducted at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, found that a striking percentage of men in Ireland (and quite a few in Scotland) share the same Y chromosome, suggesting that Niall may be the ancestor of one in 12 Irishmen.

In the study scientists found an area in northwest Ireland where they claim 21.5% carry Niall’s genetic fingerprint, says Brian McVoy, one of the team at Trinity. The same area of Ireland has previously been the subject of anthropological study…and has shown a strikingly high percentage of men from Haplogroup R1b (98%) versus 90% in southeast Ireland. According to McVoy this area was the main powerbase of the Ui Neill kings, which literally translated means "descendants of Niall". McVoy says the Y chromosome appeared to trace back to one person. Following the genealogists' trail McVoy comments: "There are certain surnames that seem to have come from Ui Neill. We studied if there was any association between those surnames and the genetic profile. It is his (Niall's) family."

Modern surnames tracing their ancestry to Niall include (O')Neill, (O')Gallagher, (O')Boyle, (O')Doherty, O'Donnell, Connor, Cannon, Bradley, O'Reilly, Flynn, (Mc)Kee, Campbell, Devlin, Donnelly, Egan, Gormley, Hynes, McCaul, McGovern, McLoughlin, McManus, McMenamin, Molloy, O'Kane, O'Rourke and Quinn. Family Tree DNA

If our DNA result is any indication, they may need to add the name FitzHenry!

My next post will take us back to where it all began. Joining the discussion will be the lovely Princess Nesta, King Henry I, the current Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) and my new acquaintance, Niall.

In theory, anything is possible………………….

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South African Connection??

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Whilst trying to track the descendants of George Fitzhenry (the son of the Brompton lady) - William, Annie (Puddle) and George, I came across the following outgoing passenger entry, that suggests that the younger George migrated to South Africa.
Name: George Fitzhenry
Date of Departure: 13 October 1930
Port of Depature: Southampton
Destination Port: Cape
Destination Country: South Africa
Date of Birth: 1875
Age: 55
Occupation: Lithographer

Others travelling with him were Daphne and Laura Fitzhenry.

The ship was USARAMO of the Deutsche-Ost-Afrika line. and the ships ultimate destination was Durban, Port Natal, South Africa.

I had heard that there were Fitzhenrys in South Africa, but wasn't aware of how they might connect to the other Fitzhenry groups.

If you have a South African connection, why not drop us a line, and fill us in on this mysterious branch??

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Road Trip - the Brompton Cemetery

I spent most of last week in archives of one sort or another in the south of England. It's given me enough material to write several posts, so this is the start of the "Road Trip" series.

I regard a cemetery as an archive too - all your ancestors are neatly filed away there and if you're lucky they are also indexed correctly on the headstone above them.
I went to the Brompton Cemetery in Kensington, West London in search of the grave of Joseph Henry Fitzhenry.

Joseph was well known in his later life as an extremely wealthy art collector. In fact, he used the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as an overflow storage facility for his huge collection of silverware and fine art, much of which can still be seen at the museum today. But his origins are shrouded in mystery and even his obituary in The Times of London could only hazard a guess that he had been born in France. He never married. I didn't have a date of birth for him, but I did have his Times obituary, and armed with that I made my way to the cemetery.

For those who haven't been to Brompton Cemetery, it's well worth going even if you haven't got a grave to visit. Established in the 1850s to relieve the overcrowded inner London burial grounds, this 16 acre Victorian cemetery is now managed as one of London's Great Parks and is a haven for wildlife, as well as being beautifully atmospheric and fully of lovely architecture and history. The official website for the cemetery is here, and a selection of the photos that I took on that day are here in one of my Picasa webalbums. (Editor's note April 2015 - I've fixed the broken link to this album, but you may have to be logged into your Google account to view it)

Jay, the wonderfully helpful chap in the cemetery office, was able to look up Joseph FH on his computer database and drew me a map - Joseph was buried in the highly desirable inner circle of the burial ground. Jay also found me two other Fitzhenrys that I hadn't been expecting and ran me off their details too.

I don't really know what I had been expecting for Joseph's gravestone, but certainly something more elaborate and "arty" than the very plain flat grave cover that I found. But at least it gave me that all important birthdate detail that I was looking for.
In lead lettering on granite, the text read:

DIED 14th MARCH 1913
If any of you art lovers out there have any more information about Joseph Henry Fitzhenry, then please drop me an email.

So who were the other Fitzhenrys buried at Brompton Cemetery? The details that are held in the cemetery registers are entered below. Both women were buried in common graves rather than private plots. This meant that their family paid for the burial in the cemetery, but didn't have exclusive right to the plot, and in theory up to 8 people could be buried in the same plot. It also meant no headstone, so there were no further details to be found about them.
Elizabeth Fitzhenry of 38 East Street, Red Lion Square, Parish of St George the Martyr, Holborn.
Buried 4 April 1877 aged 65 years.
Ann Fitzhenry of 61 Duffield Street, Battersea, London.
Buried 3 May 1889 aged 53 years.

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Monday, 17 November 2008

Wexford to Liverpool to Forest Creek Australia - another Fitzhenry migration

Sandra Fuller has written from Australia with her Fitzhenry tree (welcome Sandra!) She would be very pleased to hear from anyone who recognises any of the people below.
As usual, responses can be made by leaving a comment to this post, or send me an email and I'll forward it to Sandra.
She writes:

My AUSTRALIAN Fitzhenrys originated from Edward born in Wexford IRE around 1797 where he married Ellen Kavanagh who was born around 1804.
One of their 10 children, Stephen (my great great Grandfather) was born 1826 in Liverpool ENG. He came out to Sydney, NSW, Australia in approximately 1850, most probably as a Merchant Seaman but not sure. We think he was the only child from the family to venture out of England to Australia.

Stephen married Mary Davies in 1851 in Sydney, Australia. Mary was born in Dennyloanhead, Stirling, Scotland in 1853.
Soon after marrying Stephen and Mary went to Forest Creek, Victoria, Australia in search of Gold and what would be very harsh conditions in which to live.
My Great Grandfather Edward was born
in 1853 at Forest Creek Vic, Australia. His mother and my great great grandmother Mary Davies is a mystery with not a lot of information on her family or how she arrived in Australia.

My great grandfather Edward Fitzhenry married Eliza Mary Reed in Sydney NSW in 1874. My grandfather, Daniel Fitzhenry was born in 1889 in Ultimo, NSW, Australia but died in 1922 of pernicous anaemia. He was one of 10 children. My Father, Frank Fitzhenry was born in 1919 in Drummoyne, NSW, Australia.

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Another "deviant" spelling and hello to the Volante family.

I was very pleased last week to get an email from Michael Volante, the son of Mrs Betty Volante, the lady who had contacted Bev Kronk all those years ago.
Mrs Volante herself is not on email, so we're conversing via Mike at the moment (thanks Mike!) but she sent me an entry from the 1851 census that I hadn't already got.
The reason I hadn't got it is due once again to the notoriously bad transcription on the Ancestry site.

So at 9 Griggs Court, St Mary's Whitechapel London we have:
Mary Fitzhenry head widow
aged 60 laundress Ireland Kilkenny
James Fitzhenry son married
aged 32 gunmaker St Georges East, Middlesex
Caroline Fitzhenry daughter-in-law married aged 30 Bishopgate Street
Thomas Fitzhenry son of head umarried aged 26 cigar maker Wapping Middlesex

Source Citation: Class: HO107; Piece: 1546; Folio: 24; Page: 42

If you want to see the census sheet for yorself on Ancestry, you have to search under Fitchenny and poor old James is transcribed as Jane.

But at least that clears up where Mary was in the 1851 census - I had speculated in a previous post that she may have been the unmarried house-servant in the house of Rebecca Loosnig, lodginghouse keeper and claiming that she was 53 years old. But this is definitely the right Mary, my great-great-great-great - grandmother.

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Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Thanks to a kind volunteer in Indiana I had this magnificant photo in my email today.
Allen FitzHenry was the grandson of Enoch FitzHenry (the patriarch of most American FitzHenrys) and the son of William Fortune FitzHenry. You might recall (or not) that William Fortune was the only relative Enoch ever saw once he left Ireland. Enoch named one of his children, William Fortune FitzHenry, in his honor.
William Fortune FitzHenry married Delilah Anne Pierce on June 12, 1827. According to my records William and Delilah had 10 children. Allen was born November 21, 1840. He married Sarah Elizabeth Wormoth. She died at the age of 39. They are buried in the Valley Cemetery in Jefferson, Indiana.
If anyone has additional information about this branch of the FitzHenry family tree, please contact us.
I love surprises!
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Sunday, 9 November 2008

DNA Results!

The first twelve markers are in!

Unfortunately, the two FitzHenrys in the study are not related.

However, the results tell us that there are at least two unique instances of the FitzHenry surname.

I'll have more on the subject once the DNA results are complete.

In the meantime, encourage your FitzHenry male relatives to consider DNA testing. Please click on the Fitz-Henry DNA Project on the sidebar for more information.

Who knows what we might discover!

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"Orphan Entry" Patrick Fitzhenry marriage 1750

While searching for other things I came across this lone entry for a Fitzhenry marriage...can anyone claim him or know anything about the couple??

Married at St George's Chapel Mayfair, Hyde Park Corner
3rd January 1750 Patrick Fitzhenry and Mary Burt, of St Giles in the Field, Middlesex

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Lest we forget - the Fitzhenrys who fell in the Great War

As we approach Remembrance Sunday, we remember with gratitude those Fitz(-)henrys who died in battle and as a result of wounds received in the First World War. Each Remembrance Sunday, we will publish the story of another soldier and their name will link to their story on this blog.

My source for the first thirteen casualties is the excellent Commonwealth War Graves website with extra details referenced. The names are in alphabetical order.

Sapper Arthur Fitzhenry
18684 of the Australian Engineers ( 8th Field Company) died 14 October 1920 aged 25, buried at Sydney Waverley General Cemetery.

Private Charles Edward Fitzhenry 1126, of the Australian Infantry,A.I.F died 21 August 1918, buried at Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport. He served as DOYLE. Son of Michael Herbert and Elizabeth Fitzhenry. Native of Richmond River. New South Wales.

Serjeant Charles Joseph Fitzhenry 5905 of the Royal Fusiliers, died 14 November 1916 aged 26. Commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial for the missing soldiers of the battle of The Somme. Son of Harry and Martha Mary Ann Fitzhenry, of 7 Satanita Rd., Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.

Sister D A Fitzhenry of the South African Military Nursing Services died 1 December 1918. Buried at the Dodoma Cemetery.
(From the "Great War Forum" website, her forenames were Daisy Aletta)

Private Edward Fitzhenry 10285 of the 4th Battalion of the Worcester Regiment died 28 April 1915 at Gallipoli and commemorated at the Helles Memorial, Turkey.

Private E Fitzhenry 41581 of the Yorkshire Regiment died 5 April 1917 and is buried at
Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Belgium.

Private John Fitzhenry 9956 of the King's Shropshire Light Regiment died 25 September 1916 aged 26. Commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial for the missing soldiers of the battle of The Somme. Son of John Fitzhenry, of Welshpool, Montgomeryshire; husband of Elizabeth Lila Smith (formerly Fitzhenry), of 6, Southalls Buildings, Willow St., Oswestry, Salop

Sapper J Fitzhenry 5964 of the Canadian Railway Troops died 4 April 1917 and buried at the Highland Cemetery, Roclincourt, France.

Gunner James Fitzhenry
13140 of the Royal Field Artillery died 5 April 1917 aged 30 and buried at Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery, Arras, France. Son of Thomas and Mary Fitzhenry, of Fair Gate, New Ross, Co. Wexford.

Private Michael Fitzhenry
4423 of the Royal Irish Regiment died 8 May 1915 aged 21. He is commemorated at the Menon Gate Memorial at Ypres, Belgium. The son of Edward and Margaret Fitzhenry, of Kilmannon, Cleariestown, Co. Wexford.

Rifleman Patrick Fitzhenry
7395 of the
6th Royal Irish Rifles died 6 August 1915 at Gallipoli and is commemorated at the Helles Memorial. Husband of Catherine Fitzhenry of 11, Banner Street., St. Helens, Lancs. (He is mentioned in the Wexford casualty list as being from New Ross Wexford.)

 Private Peter Fitzhenry 7246 of the Australian Infantry AIF, died 4 October 1917 and is commemorated at the Menon Gate Memorial at Ypres, Belgium.

Private T Fitzhenry 7110 of the Irish Guards died 18 August 1918 aged 22, and buried at Vevey (St. Martin's) Cemetery, Switzerland. Son of Annie Carty (formerly Fitzhenry), of 3, Johns Gate St., Wexford, and the late Robert Fitzhenry. Under an agreement with the neutral Swiss government, some wounded prisoners of war from Britain, France and Germany were interned in Switzerland. A total of 88 British and Dominion service personnel are buried there. (From the "Irish Guards in the Great War" website, his forename was Thomas)

And from the United States (American Battle Monuments Commission)
Lewis F. Fitz-Henry 1st Sergeant US Army
101st Infantry Regiment
Entered the Service from: Massachusetts Died: November 6, 1918
Buried at: Plot A Row 19 Grave 12 Suresnes American Cemetery Suresnes, France

If there are any other Fitzhenrys that I have missed, please let me know so I can update this posting before Sunday.

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Sunday, 2 November 2008

Ann Fitzhenry - convicted at the Old Bailey and transported to Australia

So far all the Australian Fitzhenrys I've met have been descendants of British or Irish emigrants who went to Australia of their own free will.
I've now also found Ann Fitzhenry who was transported to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) in 1826 at the direction of Her Majesty.
Ann was convicted
of being a pickpocket at the Old Bailey (officially called the Central Criminal Court) in London. The Old Bailey website has a great searchable index and the information about her case is here.

On 6th April 1826, she stole:
1 half-crown, 13 shillings, and 6 sixpences, the goods of Thomas Ashton , from his person.

At her trial on 26th April, she said in her defence that her husband gave her the money (but no husband is recorded as speaking up for her) and her age is given as 40 years. She was sentenced to seven years transportation.
Ann had previous "form" - she was up before the judge on the same charge in 1809, but was acquitted at this trial.
She was transported on the
ship "Sir Charles Forbes" which sailed on 31st August 1826, and until then was held in Middlesex Gaol. Some of the women transported with her had been waiting almost a year in prison before transportation.
Her fate is recorded in the "Nominal Return for Female Convicts shewing how each is appropriated for the year ending 31st December 1832" and similarly for 1833.
Ann Fitzhenry is convict number 53, and in the "How appropriated" column is written "Married to Joseph Burns". Married seems to have been a fairly common fate awaiting these women. The other options listed are died, freed (rare!), missing, "House of Correction" and the most common "assigned to (insert man's name here)" presumably as a servant.
I've not found the record of Ann's marriage to Mr Burns yet, nor her death. Can anyone help out with this?

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Edward and Mary Fitz-Henry (Ireland to London)

Bev has also sent me the details of a couple of letters she received from a Mrs Betty Volante back in 1998 who was also researching the Fitz-Henrys. It turns out she was looking for information on my branch, so if Mrs Volante is still researching this tree I would be very pleased to hear from her (or from any other person who recognises these Fitz-Henrys).

Edward Fitz-Henry was born in Ireland in about 1788, place unknown. He is my great-great-great-great-grandfather. He was a labourer according to the marriage certificate of his son Michael (my great-great-great-grandfather) or a carpenter according to the death certificate of his wife. He died in the Whitechapel workhouse (London) in 1833 and was buried in St Mary's graveyard in Whitechapel according to the website parish records collection.

Edward married Mary (surname unknown) some time between 1804 and 1816 according to Mrs Volante's letters. Mary apparently was born in about 1790
and came from County Kilkenny. Mrs Volante was looking for the death of Mary in Australia, as family legend had it that her son Thomas went to Australia and was shot dead there.

I have Mary in the 1841 census living at Fives Court in Mansell Street, St. Mary's Whitechapel with two sons James (a gunmaker) and Thomas (a cigarmaker). Both sons are born in Middlesex and Mary is recorded as being Irish. She is a charwoman and has a given age of 45 years, although in this census the age was rounded down to the nearest 5 years. This would give her birth year from 1791 to1796.

In the 1851 census I have a Mary Fitzhenry, a servant unmarried aged 53 born Sligo Kilkenny.
She is living at 22 Craven Street, St. Martins in the Fields in the house of Rebecca Loosnig (widow) lodging house keeper. This is gives her year of birth as 1898. This may or may not be the correct Mary but it would fit with her previous occupation as a charwoman and her assumed place of birth. She may have told her employer she was younger to make it more likely she got the job!

Mary died in the Wapping Workshouse on 6 May 1859, the widow of Edward Fitzhenry, carpenter. Her age was given as 73, which puts her birth year around 1786.

There are four sons from this marriage that I know about:
John born before 1810.
Michael born 1813-1816 - my ggg-grandfather. At least 12 children!
James the gunsmith born 1818 died December 1858 - one son James survived infancy. I don't know what happended to James junior.
Thomas born about 1823 - emigrated to Australia - a Thomas Fitzhenry fitting his description was admitted to the Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum in 1881 - no known marriage or children.

It would be great to hear from anyone who has these people in their tree, or has any more information about them . Edward and Mary are my brick wall!

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Yet another Jumnetta!

Bev's "Jumna" passenger list for that maiden voyage has turned up another baby girl born on board.
A baby girl was born to Samuel and Agnes McKinstry on 23 September 1886, two days after the Jumna left port in London.
This child must have been the one that was mentioned in the cutting from the Brisbane Courier, as (you've guessed it) she was also named Jumnetta by the time the family embarked.
Her birth registration was sent back to London in an earlier report than the other three babies that we've already found.
That's three Jumnettas from one voyage.

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Friday, 31 October 2008

More on Jumnetta Fitzhenry and naming your children after ships ...

In the last post, I mentioned how Bev's grandmother had been named Jumnetta after the ship "Jumna" that she was born on during the family's migration to Australia.
I found the record of three babies born on that sailing:
An unnamed girl to James and Mary Roberts on 15 October 1886
An unnamed boy to Charles and Louisa Searle on 30 October 1886
And our Jumnetta (as yet unnamed) born to Samuel and Margaret Fitzhenry on 7 November 1886

Bev sent me a cutting from the Brisbane Courier of the 18 November 1886, about the arrival of the Jumna in port which included the following:
A few days after leaving London, the first birth, that of a girl, occurred and it was announced that she was to be christened Jumnette in honour of the ship.
Bev asked: Her gran was born in Australian waters at the end of the voyage, but surely there couldn't have been two Jumnette/Jumnettas born on this trip?

It appears so - when I put in Jumnetta Roberts into the Ancestry search engine, it gave me Jumnetta Seva (or Sieva) Roberts resident in Brisbane and on the electoral rolls in the 1910s.

A few years ago when I was going through the "British Births at Sea" Registers at the National Archives (in the pre-digital days), I was struck by just how many of these children had been named after the ship that they were born on. If anyone knows whether there was an incentive to the parents, made by either captain or the shipping line, to name the baby after the ship, I would be most interested to hear about it.

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Wednesday, 29 October 2008

More Irish-Australian links

I've three reasons to be eternally grateful to Bev Kronk in Australia who has sent us several emails over the last week.
Firstly she's sent us lots of good stuff, which she has given permission to reprint here in the hope that she will discover some more links to her family.

Secondly there's some fantastic Anglo-Irish items which I've added to our database.

And thirdly (which made me jump up and down in a very un-English sort of way), she found one of my very own strays - Thomas Fitz-Henry, my great-great-great grandfather's brother, who emigrated to Australia in 1852, worked as a shepherd, and ended up being committed to the Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum in 1881. Up until now I had no idea that I needed to look for him in Australia.

Back to Bev's family. Here's what she wrote, starting with her great-great-grandparents:

James Andrew Dobbin FITZHENRY and Frances FITZHENRY. Not sure if this couple would have been related or not. They appear in the index to the Marriage Licence Bonds for Ossory and Ferns – LDS Micro Film No. 0100870, for the year of 1818. Frances died in Ballickmoyler in 1879. I have not found a death for James as yet.

I have been able to trace 7 children from this marriage, all born in Ballickmoyler, Queens County, Ireland.
Frances [c1851-1921]
Maria [1852-1920]
Daniel [1854-1924]
Samuel [c1855-?]

James [c1860-1940]
Susan [c1862-1934]
Henrietta [1864-1867]
The six surviving children immigrated to Queensland at various times in the 1880’s.

Samuel FITZHENRY married Margaret Jane NELSON in Manchester in 1881. Their daughter Jeanetta FITZHENRY was born in 1886 on board ship in Australian waters near Thursday Island close to Cape York, the most northern point of the state of Queensland. She was registered as Jumnetta FITZHENRY, named after the ship “JUMNA”.

Jeanetta/Jumnetta Fitzhenry is Bev's grandmother. Bev would be very pleased to hear from any other researchers linked with this family, especially if they knew any family link between her great-great-grandparents James Andrew Dobbin Fitzhenry and Frances Fitzhenry (apparently nee Fitzhenry). You can leave information in the comment section below, or send an email via us and we'll pass it on to Bev.

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