Sunday, 29 March 2009

John Fitzhenry - a Mills and Boon Novel (1920)

Following on from the Valentine's Day post about romantic novels containing characters called Fitzhenry, here's another.
The rather acidic review comes from the satirical English journal "Punch" (July 28th 1920). I wasn't aware that Mills and Boon had been publishing for so long...

John Fitzhenry (Mills and Boon) is one of those pleasant stories about people who live in big country houses, a subject that seems to have a particular attraction for the large and ungrudging public which lives in villas.
We have already several novelists who tell them very ably, and I feel that some one among them has served as Miss Ella MacMahon's model. The tale deals with the affairs of a showy fickle cousin and a silent constant cousin who compete for the love of the same delightful if rather nebulous young woman, and moves to its dénouement, against a background of the great War, which Miss MacMahon has very sensibly decided to view entirely from the home front.
It contains some fine thinking and some bad writing (the phrase telling of the middle-aged smart woman who "waved her foot impatiently" gives a just idea of the author's occasional inability to say what she means), some quite extraneous incidents and some scenes very well touched in. The people, with a few exceptions, are of the race which inhabits this sort of book, and, as we have long agreed with our novelists that "the county" is just like that, I don't see why Miss MacMahon should be blamed for it.
They've read it for us, so we don't have to. Marvellous.

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Thursday, 19 March 2009

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

It’s been exactly two months since I promised more information about Edwin FitzHenry’s service in the Civil War. I hope you will agree that good things come to those who wait.

Edwin is currently featured on the Civil War Interactive Recommended Blog, Crossed Sabers. The blog is a great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the Regular cavalry regiments during the Civil War. I was thrilled to find Edwin’s name listed in the Company B, 6th Cavalry Roster.

After contacting Don, the blog owner, he graciously agreed to do additional research on Edwin’s service. I am very grateful for his efforts!

Don’s report corrects my earlier assumption about the identity of the second man in the Civil War photograph. We now believe it is Francis Riggs Chapman, another solider from Company B. However, I still do not know the fate of Hiram Cunningham as referenced here.

Please visit Crossed Sabers to read the article. If you’re so inclined, leave a comment and tell Don “thank you” from the FitzHenrys.


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Sunday, 15 March 2009

A South African Fitzhenry writes....

Alan Fitzhenry has written to the Blog from South Africa. He is currently residing in Cape Town but his family are originally from Indwe in the Eastern Cape. He would be interested in corresponding with any other Fitzhenrys, and his email address is:

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Monday, 9 March 2009

Some photos from Mike Volante

Mike Volante has sent me some great photos of the Fitz-Henry branch that we are both descended from. I'll put two of them up here for a bit and see if anybody recognises them. If they're gone, I've moved them to the FitzhenryDNA website as we've got more space there! Click on the pictures for a larger version.

The first is of my great-great grandmother Caroline Thompson (1847-1924) who married my great-great grandfather John Fitz-Henry (1844 - 1924) and her eldest
daughter Caroline "Carrie" Gilburns nee Fitz-Henry.
Carrie was the second child of this family (born 1872), the first being my great grandfather Thomas (born 1870) and a subject of a previous post. My dad tells me that apparently they were inseparable. Despite being from a poor dock-working family, their father paid for Thomas and Carrie to have an education at a "Dame School", where a single teacher would teach children the basics for a weekly fee. It is said that once the children had given their money to the dame on a Monday, they would bunk off school for the rest of the week.

Carrie married Thomas Gilburns, an Irishman who was also living in the Katharine Buildings tenement, in 1898. They had one daughter Teresa Caroline Gilburns born in 1900, the same year that Thomas Gilburns died of tuberculosis aged 29.
This was the second time in a year that tuberculosis had struck this family, as one of Carrie's younger brothers, Edward, died at the Royal National Hospital for Diseases of the Chest on the Isle of Wight in October 1899. The older Caroline may be dressed in black mourning clothes for that reason.

Mike's grand-father was Henry Fitz-Henry, Thomas and Carrie's younger brother (born 1882) and his picture is at the top left of the second photo. Mike says that when Henry was a young man he fell, breaking his nose and cutting his lip. He didn't like his photo taken after that and they have very few pictures of him. If anyone recognises this very smart gathering and any other people in it, please let us know. There is a woman amongst all the men - you can just make out her face in the bottom left hand corner.

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Tuesday, 3 March 2009

William Fitzhenry and Louisa Coward - New Zealand

Wendy Rutter sent me a gentle reminder that the William and Louisa that I had found populating New Zealand with Fitzhenrys in the New Zealand BMD site were in fact her great-grandparents.

They are featured as Family group 20 on the FitzhenryDNA site. Here is some information that Wendy sent me about William and Louisa. If you recognised any of these people and want some more information, send us an email and we'll pass it on to Wendy.

FITZHENRY was born around 1839 in Oulartwick, Wexford Ireland to John FITZHENRY and Eliza ATKIN. Oulartwick is a few miles east of the town of Enniscorthy.
He arrived in Victoria Australia in Nov 1862 aboard the “Shalimar” and started working as a miner in the gold fields with his elder brother Hercules Atkin
FITZHENRY who had emigrated to Australia a few years earlier.

After the death of Hercules, he married
Louisa COWARD on 5 September 1865 in St. James' Church, LaTrobe Street, Melbourne, Victoria, the daughter of Jonathon COWARD and Sarah COWLEY. Louisa was born around 1843 in Mere, Wiltshire, England.

A "W.
FITZHENRY aged 26, single, born Ireland", left Melbourne on 13 Jun 1866 on the “South Australian" and went to the gold fields of Hokitika, on the West coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Was this our man?
Louisa joined William in New Zealand and they settled at 55 Gloucester Street, Linwood, Christchurch. They later lived at 54 Gloucester Street. Their children went to Christchurch East School on the corner of Barbados and Gloucester Streets, and were all christened as Protestants.

William and Louisa had 7 children:

Ernest Edward
FITZHENRY (13 October 1867 - 30 January 1935) married Alice PHILLIPS in Dargaville, North Island, New Zealand in 1901. Alice died in 1957 in Dargaville.
They had 4 children
  1. Norman Leonard 1909 – 6.2.1930 Picnic Island (accident)
  2. Beryl 1915 – 1973 aged 58 Dargaville (never married)
  3. Gordon Oriel 1906-1988 Whangara married Eileen May Nash (c1910 – 1990) in 1933
  4. Kenneth Ernest 1912 married Linda Pearl McCrackenc 1912 – 1992

Fanny Maud
FITZHENRY (18 February 1869 - 5 May 1948) married Frederick William BORRELL in 1901
They had 4 children:
  1. Jack Fitzhenry married Merle Paynter
  2. Dorothy Fitzhenry 1904 – 1986 married 1961 Jim Anderson
  3. Frank Fitzhenry 1906 – 1970 Cook Islands
  4. Kathleen Louise (known as Louise or LuLu) married 1929 David Blair

FITZHENRY (12 May 1871 - 8 April 1947, Christchurch) married Agnes HENDERSON (d. 23 May 1961, Christchurch) in 1908.
They had 4 children
  1. Eileen May (born c1911) married 1936 to Vivian Whitta WILSON
  2. Phyllis Clare c1912
  3. Keith Oscar (1913 – 26 November 1969, Christchurch)
  4. Runa Frances (born 1918 ) married 1940 to John Thornton BETHELL

FITZHENRY born 11 February 1877 moved to Australia

FITZHENRY born 25 December 1878 moved to Australia

FITZHENRY born 29 April 1880, never married, died 1965 age 84 Christchurch

Edgar FITZHENRY born 6.9.1883 moved to South America

Louisa died on 28 July 1906 at 54 Gloucester Street, Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand and was buried on 3 Aug 1906 at Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch.

William was a storeman from 1893 through to 1925 when he was listed as Retired Storeman. He died at his residence of 404 Gloucester Street, Christchurch on 2 October 1929 age 90. He was buried at Linwood Cemetery.

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Sunday, 1 March 2009

Saint Patrick and the Marauder Among Us

Many people in the United States celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with 24 hours of green beer, corned beef cabbage and proclamations of “Kiss me. I’m Irish.” Everyone wants to claim a little Irish heritage on March 17; especially if it yields a discount at the local pub. But before you order your favorite brew, did you know that your ancestors may have played a role in the origins of Saint Patrick’s Day?

As one of Christianity’s most well-known figures, Patrick didn’t begin his journey as a saint, but as a slave. At the age of sixteen Patrick was taken prisoner from his parent’s estate in Britain by a famous Irish raider, Niall Noígíallach. Readers of this blog may recognize Niall from a previous post. DNA results indicate that at least one branch of the FitzHenrys descend from Niall. Thus, fellow clansman, it’s your marauding ancestor that set Saint Patrick’s Day into motion.

While Patrick was enslaved in Ireland, he turned to God for comfort and strength. His tremendous faith helped him endure six long years of captivity. After hearing God’s voice in a dream, Patrick fled his captors and escaped to Britain. After uniting with his family, he experienced another vision in which the Irish people begged him to serve their island as a missionary.

Patrick eventually returned to Ireland as an ordained Bishop and began preaching the Gospel. He knew, however, he would need the King’s support to bring the Word to the masses. To this end, Patrick sought out Laoghaire, the High King of Tara and son of Niall Noígíallach. Patrick convinced King Laoghaire that he didn’t challenge his authority, but wanted to spread Christianity throughout Ireland. The king consented and Patrick preached across the country for forty years driving out the “snakes” of Paganism. After a very hard and impoverished life Patrick died on March 17, 461, the day we hail as Saint Patrick’s Day.

This year when you toast the Patron Saint of Ireland, tell the barkeep that without you Saint Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be possible.

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