Sunday 7 November 2021

Mrs W. Fitz-Henry's trunk

I was absolutely delighted to receive an email from Dodi Turney in North Carolina containing photos of a metal trunk which she had recent acquired. Dodi has an Esty shop for her antiques and collectables business, and more photos of the trunk are also featured on her Instagram account.

Dodi wondered if the Mrs W. Fitz-Henry, whose name was painted so elegantly on the front of the trunk, could have been Barbara Morrison, wife of Captain William Fitz-Henry of the 60th Royal Rifles Regiment (see this post here), and owner of this beautiful beetle-wing dress
It would have been brilliant if this had been possible, but unfortunately "Griffiths, McAlister Ltd. of London & Liverpool" the company who made the trunk wasn't formed until 1880, three years after Barbara's death.

Barbara and William's eldest surviving son Dr William George (or George William, he used the names interchangeably) Fitz-Henry married Isabella Cooper and spent some years in Lyttleton, New Zealand. 
They had four children and the eldest son William Cooper Fitz-Henry spent his professional career in the British Colonial Service in the former Rhodesia. William Cooper Fitz-Henry married Mary Christine ("Lassie") MacDonald in London, England in 1919 and I believe this trunk belonged to Lassie during her posting in Rhodesia. I have previously written about Lassie and William in the "Out of Africa" series.

Lassie and William had one child, Mary Isabel Christine ("Christine") Fitz-Henry, who married George Prendergast in Surrey, England in 1941. The Prendergasts subsequently settled in Charlotte, North Carolina. Christine either took the trunk with her, or inherited it on Lassie's death in 1971. Christine died in 2012.

If any of the Prendergast family wish to contact me with more information about the trunk or wish to be put in touch with their Fitz-Henry cousins in England and Canada, please contact me directly or leave a comment below.

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Friday 23 April 2021

Barbara (Morrison) Fitz-Henry's beetle-wing dress: a Webinar 20 May 2021

If you wish to know more about Barbara Morrison's Beetle-Wing dress (referenced in the previous post about William Fitz-Henry's sword), there will be an on-line discussion at 2pm BST on the 20th May 2021 with a panel of fashion experts, historians and Cath Jones (great great grand-daughter of William Fitz-Henry and Barbara Morrison) whose mother donated the dress to the museum.

Tickets can be obtained from Eventbrite. The price is a donation to the West Highland Museum (minimum £1)

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Sunday 11 April 2021

William Fitz-Henry of the 60th Royal Rifles Regiment: what became of his sword?

The first blog post for a verrrryyy long time, and we open with a mystery and an appeal for help locating a sword.

William Fitz-Henry of the 60th Rifles Regiment has been featured on this blog before here (putting together his families from two marriages) here (records from the Surrey Record Office) and here (finding his grave in Winchester). His background is a mystery, as so far I haven't been able to locate his parents or any Fitz-Henry relations which would connect him into any other branches. 

His army records relate that he was born 1 March 1830 in the St Mary's parish of Dublin. But this is before Civil Registration in Ireland, and there is no corresponding baptism for a William Fitz-Henry (or any Fitz-Henry family) in the St Mary, Dublin Church of Ireland parish registers.

William worked his way through the ranks from private in 1847, to Quartermaster with the honorary rank of Captain in 1867. (1867 Gazette Issue 23270 published on the 5 July 1867. Page 4 of 68)
He was presented with a sword in 1867, presumably to commemorate this promotion.

This sword may have been part of the effects which William left to his eldest son Dr George William Fitz-Henry:

I give my watch & chain and all my jewellery and my set of camp furniture and military chest of drawers with their cases and all my Guns & Rifles to my said son George William

And somehow it found its way into a sale of military ephemera in Sheffield in 2017 (there's a photo too!):
A Victorian Presentation Sword, to W. Fitzhenry, 3/60 rifles, 1867, 321/2" blade by Wilkinson, steel hilt (gold plated), blade dull, minor discolouration, in nickel plated scabbard, which may be replacement.

Where had it been in the past 150 years?
And where it is now?
And why are we trying to track it down?

Currently the West Highland Museum is participating in a virtual exhibition "Highland Threads".
A dress belonging to William's wife is one of the key exhibits. This dress is a marvel of 19th century Indian workmanship, bought when William was stationed at Bellary in what was then the Madras Presidency, and Barbara accompanied him as an officer's wife. 
The actual museum exhibition will also feature a replica of William's mess uniform created by Jo Watson, and having a photo of his sword would complement the exhibit.
The staff of the Regimental Museum for the 60th Royal Rifles are also involved with William's military history.

If you were the lucky buyer of this sword, or if you were the seller in 2017 it would be marvellous if you would either contact me via the blog email address (below) or contact the Curator at the Regimental Museum at the Peninsula Barracks in Winchester, Hampshire, the place where William spent many years of his army career. 
We would love to know the journey the sword had taken and a photo of the very sword would be amazing.

Edited 4 May: link to auction catalogue with photo

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Monday 2 April 2018

The GDPR is coming...

This is a very dry and dull post, but necessary because of the change in data protection legislation coming in next month.
From 25th May 2018, any business, organisation or group holding personal information about living people in the UK or European Union, will have to conform to the General Data Protection Regulation. This is to prevent misuse of personal data.

During the time I have been co-ordinating the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris One Name Study and DNA project, I have acquired quite a lot of data about living people. So I am going to tell you how I come by that information, how I store it, how I share it, and how you can find out what I hold about you. I hope you think it is an acceptable way of managing a global family history study..

Please note this legislation only concerns living people. So if someone died a hundred years ago, or yesterday, they are not covered by this legislation. However I will be sensitive to the information I release on the more recently deceased when it may affect their surviving family.


1. The website and the genealogy database contains all the information I have collected over nearly 20 years of conducting this study. The information generally comes to me in 3 ways:

1.1 It is information in the public domain, and I have found it in newspapers and websites and other public areas. Examples are birth notices, obituaries, reports of news events, sporting achievements.
What do I do with this information?
I enter it into the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris database for each individual it pertains to.
This helps me build up a picture of the population of people carrying the name Fitzhenry and Fitzharris, and which lines may have died out.
If a person writes to me with an enquiry about their Fitzhenry or Fitzharris ancestors (see below), I can use information about the present day families to link back to their ancestors.
Sometimes I use it as the basis for a Blog entry (see here for when I wrote about the author Lindsey Fitzharris) or the congratulating people on their achievements (the Devon branch of the Fitz-Henry family swimming the channel).

1.2 People have written to me or emailed me and asked about tracing their Fitzhenry or Fitzharris ancestors. In the course of this, they will have told me things about themselves and their immediate family to start the search. Obviously the person who has written to me knows that they have shared the information, but the people they have mentioned may not know.
What do I do with this information?
I save all emails relating to the one name study.
The information which is given to me is entered into the Fitzhenry/Fitzharris database.
If it is sensitive information (whether about a living or deceased person), it is marked as Private, meaning that is is not for sharing with others or for putting on the website or discussing in the Blog.
If it concerns a living person or people, that individual is marked as Living and it does not get uploaded to any online family tree that I may use. 
At the time of writing this I have editing rights to Wikitrees, the FamilySearch database and my own online database at 
I also expect to upload my entire database for permanent archiving to the Members Website Project at the Guild of One Name Studies.

1.3 Data collected from Genealogy database sites (such as Ancestry, FamilySearch or Find My Past).
These sites contains data sets which will sometimes contain details about living people, although this may be under review because of the GDPR.
What do I do with this information?
It is entered into the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris database.
As noted above, living individuals are marked as Living and those details are not shared further on my published databases.


2. The Fitzhenry and Fitzharris DNA (FHDNA) study at FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA).
I have been project co-ordinator for this study for 10 years.
Genetic genealogy has revolutionised how we can show kinship with people descended from a distant common ancestor and link seemingly disparate Fitzhenry and Fitzharris lines.
There are 4 categories of people (testers) who have their DNA and other personal data under the umbrella of the FHDNA study.

2.1 Testers who had already taken the test, then have joined the FHDNA project. 
I can see their results and match lists.
I have basic contact details for them which they entered on their FTDNA profile.
I send them a "Welcome to the project" email, but no further communication if they do not respond.
If they leave the project, I can no longer see any details about them or their test results.

2.2 Potential testers who ask my advice about DNA testing in regard to their particular Fitzhenry and Fitzharris family line before ordering a test.
As for (2.1), plus I treat all information gathered through these communications as per (1.2 - direct communication)

2.3 Tests I manage on behalf of other people.
As for (2.1) and (2.2) plus managing incoming enquiries or ordering supplementary tests.
Enquiries are always passed to the tester involved to deal with, or for me to reply to after discussion with that tester.
Supplementary tests are ordered after discussion with that tester regardless of who is paying for them. The person who the DNA belongs to makes the final decision on this.

2.4 DNA tests of deceased participants
A few of our FHDNA project members have died since the project started. Most of these expressed the view that their results should be used to further Fitzhenry and Fitzharris research, for which I am very grateful and I continue to manage their tests according to their wishes. For those deceased people who expressed no such wishes, the test results have lain dormant. 

ISOGG (the International Society for Genetic Genealogists) has put their position statement on their website. I believe I fully comply with the standards contained in this statement. For the privacy statement I use in the FHDNA study, please see slide 12 of the ISOGG powerpoint presentation.


3. Data Security
3.1 I use strong passwords for access to my laptop on which my genealogy software and the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris database are installed.

3.2 The Fitzhenry and Fitzharris database is stored in cloud storage (Dropbox) which is also password protected. 

3.3 The Fitzhenry and Fitzharris database online at is password protected. 
There is no information about living people uploaded to this online database.
Guest users see the minimum of information held on deceased people (birth, marriages and deaths).
Approved subscribers have access to full information about deceased people in the database.
I hold contact details for the approved subscribers which they entered when applying for access to the database. In addition they optionally enter which Fitzhenry or Fitzharris line they are related to. 
Neither the genealogy database nor the subscriber database is searchable by bots.

3.4 I freely share information about deceased people with people who legitimately enquire about their family history, and other historical researchers.
I will not divulge information I hold on any other living person, unless that information is already in the public domain (See section 1.1) or that person has given me express and unrevoked permission to share specified information.
If I am asked for contact details of a living person, I will not supply them. 
Instead, I will ask the enquirer if they agree to me forwarding on their own contact details, and do that when permission is expressly given.


4. How do I find out what information you hold about me?
I am very happy for you to email me at
I will respond to you within 48 hours, giving you a time frame for when I will be able to supply you with the information. (I co-ordinate these projects single handedly, and I may be away from access to the databases and hard copies of information).

Well done with staying right to the end!
If you have any general queries about how this legislation affects your contact with the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris study, please use the comments section and I will try to answer them within my understanding of the GDPR.

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Monday 16 October 2017

The Butchering Art - Lindsey Fitzharris' new book out tomorrow

There are several of the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris clan who I will freely admit are more literarily (is that a word?!) prolific than me.

One of these is the medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris, profiled on this blog previously for her You Tube series "Under the Knife"

Now she has a new book out tomorrow "The Butchering Art", a history of 19th century surgery. (Pub. Allen Lane, £16.99 from all good bookshops)

And a great interview in today's Guardian "Have you seen the maggots yet?"

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Thursday 21 September 2017

The Fitzhenry Schoolmasters of Coolroe, Co. Wicklow: Part 2

The first post in this series featured Thomas Fitzhenry and his son Enoch, both teachers at the Coolroe, Tinahely school in Co. Wicklow.

I found an earlier version of the reference book which I had used for this previous post 

Report of the Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland Reports 8-11 
[1820 - 1823]

and this had the same Thomas Fitzhenry at Coolroe school, along with his son Edward.

Eighth report 1820
No Fitzhenrys are mentioned in the report.
In the list of teachers awarded gratuities, a Thomas Paslow is named at the teacher for the "Tinnahely" school, and the school patron was the Rev. R. Symes. 

Ninth report 1821
Edward Fitzhenry was admitted for training at the Seminary of the Society in Dublin between 7th November and 30th December 1820. He had been recommended for training by the patron of the Tinahely school, Rev. R. H. Symes (the same patron who would recommend his younger brother Enoch for training in 1827. Edward was 18 years old, a Protestant, and had started teaching in 1820. There were 40 boys and 23 girls at the school.

His father Thomas was not listed amongst those teachers given gratuities during the year to reward their good work.

Tenth Report 1822
This report described the expansion of the training of school-teachers, including the setting up of model schools and the training of female teachers.

One Moses Walsh was recommended by a Mr W. E. Fitzhenry [pages 42 and 43] from the school at Newtown in Co. Carlow. He attended the training school from 13th November 1821 to 12th January 1822. Moses was 34 years old at the time (born c. 1788) and he had started teaching in 1804 when he was 16. He was a Catholic.
This W. E. Fitzhenry was William Evanswho had married Mary Fitzhenry the daughter of William Fitzhenry of Ballymackessy, Co Wexford. He had taken the Fitzhenry name at the behest of her father. This made William Evans Fitzhenry the brother in law of Jeremiah Fitzhenry, one of the leaders of the 1798 uprising.

Elizabeth Fitzhenry was awarded a gratuity at theTanderagee Female school, Armagh, where she was in charge of 100 pupils (as was her colleague John Cuthbert at the male school) 
Thomas Fitzhenry (141 pupils) was awarded a gratuity for his work at Coolroe, which was a separate school from that at Tinahely where Thomas Paslow (169 pupils) was still the master.

Eleventh Report 1823
Gratuities were awarded to:
Elizabeth Fitzhenry (110 pupils) and John Cuthbert (124 pupils) at the Tanderagee schools
Thomas Fitzhenry (Coolroe, 140 pupils) and Thomas Paslow (Tinahely, 147 pupils)

I also found the Coolroe Fitzhenrys in this most excellent book by Michael Seery, which online in Google books:
Education in Wicklow: From Parish Schools to National Schools

Seery gives a very thorough background to the history of education in Ireland, and it's a very good read. He explains that the Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in Ireland was also known as the Kildare Place Society, and that the more local Wicklow Education Society was set up with the aim of building the actual schools. The schools that are of interest to us were the new schools built at Tinahely, Coolroe and Kilpipe by Earl Fitzwilliam, the largest landowner in Co. Wicklow.

"There was a second school in [the Parish of] Cross Patrick, in Coolroe. This was built by the Earl Fitzwilliam as the parish school. According to the Wicklow Education Society, the school..."is conducted on the improved system of education, by Mr Fitzhenry and his son; it has been well attended this season , and is likely to be of great benefit to the neighbourhoodBefore this building was opened, an old one was taken down, and in the interim, the school was held in Mr Fitzhenry's cow shed. Fitzhenry's son Edward attended the Kildare Place Society training school in 1820...By the time of the 1825 report, Mr Thomas Fitzhenry was still master at Coolroe... Edward had a this stage moved onto another Fitzwilliam School in the parish of Kilpipe"[extract from the book, page 60]
Page 62 shows a plan for the Kilpipe school.

The next post will look at what happened to Enoch and Edward


Report of the Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland

Report 8 - 1820

Report 9 - 1821

Report 10 - 1822

Report 11 - 1823

Education in Wicklow: From Parish Schools to National Schools
Michael Seery
Creathach Press, 2014

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Sunday 10 September 2017

The Fitzhenry schoolmasters of Coolroe, Co. Wicklow Part 1

This will be the first of a series of posts about Thomas Fitzhenry and his two sons, all schoolmasters.

I was idly googling various Fitzhenry themes, which led me to this digitised volume on Google books:

Report of the Society for Promoting Education of the Poor of Ireland (vols. 12-14)

As suggested by the title, it was the annual report of the charity with a list of subscribers, but also more importantly, listed the schools and schoolmasters and mistresses which the charity supported.
Rather confusingly the title page is for the Twelfth report dated 1824, but the rest of the volume refers to the Fifteenth Report of 1827, the Sixteenth Report of 1828 and the Seventeenth Report of 1829 which are all bound together.

It claimed to be a non sectarian charity, established in 1811 supporting those who were professed Christians but not differentiating between Catholic or Protestant schools. Their aim was to "educate Protestants and Roman Catholics in the same schools in a bond of peace and harmony"

Fifteenth Report (1827)
Appendix 5 (page 60) is a list of the "Teachers to whom gratuitaries have been paid during the past year, such Teachers appearing, from the Inspectors' reports of their schools, of being deserving of encouragement"

On page 65, is one Thomas Fitzhenry, the teacher at Coolroe, Co. Wicklow and his teaching assistant Enoch Fitzhenry.
For that year, there were 97 scholars on the roll, and the patron was the Rev. J. M. Symes (appendix 6, page 102)

The Sixteenth Report (1828) continues on from the end of the Fifteenth Report in this volume.
Enoch Fitzhenry was noted to be one of the trainee teachers who had passed through the Society's model school in Dublin from 3rd March to 9th June 1827. He had been recommended by the Rev J. M. Symes from the Coolroe school in County Wicklow. His age was given as 19. He had commenced teaching in 1826, and he was a Protestant. (pages 42 and 43).
Neither of the Fitzhenrys were mentioned in the Gratuity list.
The Coolroe school patron was now the Rev. P. Mooney and there were 98 pupils on the school roll.

Seventeenth Report (1829)
In appendix 5, both Thomas and Enoch were granted a gratuity for their work during 1827 (page 81), and this time Enoch was listed as a teacher. Thomas was listed separately for his gratuity in 1828 (page 82), and Enoch seemed to have moved on from Coolroe.
The patron of the school was still the Rev. P Mooney, and there were 89 pupils.

An Eliza Fitzhenry also appeared in both the Sixteenth (page 57) and Seventeenth (page 58) Reports, working in the Female School at Tanderagee, County Armargh. She also received a gratuity for her work., as did the teacher for the Male school James Gracey. Together there were 295 pupils at the schools, and their patrons were Lady Mandeville and William Loftie Esq. At present, I don't know where she fits in our Fitzhenry trees, and she will be the subject of another post.

References (all three volumes are reached by the same Google Books link)
The Fifteenth Report of the Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland
To which the accounts for the year ending January 5th 1827... are subjoined.
Printed for the Society by Bentham and Hardy, Cecilia Street 1827

The Sixteenth Report of the Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland
To which the accounts for the year ending January 5th 1828... are subjoined.

Printed for the Society by Bentham and Hardy, Cecilia Street 1828

The Seventeenth Report of the Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland
To which the accounts for the year ending January 5th 1829... are subjoined.

Printed for the Society by Bentham and Hardy, Cecilia Street 1829

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Monday 21 August 2017

Nancy FitzHenry died Newfoundland 1807 - and her two memorials in Ireland

I was very pleased to receive this message from John Cullen of Newfoundland.
It relates to a group of three Fitzhenry gravestones in St Mullins graveyard in County Carlow which I wrote about in 2010, and the memorial on one of them for a Nancy Fitzhenry who died in "Lambay, Newfoundland"

John wrote:
Nancy Fitzhenry remembered on an old headstone in St Mullins Graveyard, Co Carlow as having died in Lambay, Newfoundland in 180?
I believe this to be Torbay, just north of the city of St Johns.

Anne Fitzhenry (Nancy being a pet name for Anne) from Adamstown Parish, Co Wexford married Timothy Fogarty from Torbay, Newfoundland in St. John's on 10th October, 1805. Timothy was born in Moath Hill, Waterford.
Sponsors:  Wm. Brien, Philip Hickey and Catherine Coghlan

Anne, (Nancy) according to the headstone in St. Mullins died in 180? which ties in perfectly with the fact that Timothy Fogarty of Torbay married again in 1813, and in his will of 1826, mentions his then wife as Mary Ellis. There is no mention of any offspring from either marriage.

There is one Fitzhenry in the Tithe Applotment Books for the Parish of Adamstown. Walter Fitzhenry in 1834.  This may be the father or brother of Anne and son or grandson of Edward Fitzhenry who died in 1796 and is on the same headstone as Nancy (Anne) and who then is possibly the grandfather of Anne.

If all this adds up, then when the news reached Adamstown of Anne's death they must have decided to remember her fondly using her pet name on the old family grave in St. Mullins

Thought you might be interested.
I am a life long student of Irish settlement in Newfoundland, originally from Adamstown, maternal grandparents buried in St. Mullins and living now in Newfoundland.

In the book "St Mullins and St Michaels Tombstone Inscriptions" (pub. St Mullins Muintir na Tir 1988) Nancy's inscription read:
Also the Body
of Nancy Fitzhenery who died
At Lambay in Newfoundland Feb'y
19th 1807 aged 85 yr.

Two things struck me about this now that we have the extra information from John. Firstly, it is very unlikely that Nancy's body is actually in that grave in St Mullins if she had died in Newfoundland. Secondly, it is also very unlikely that she was aged 85 if she left a husband who went on to get married again a few years later, so perhaps she was younger and time had taken its toll on the inscription.

And then I had another look through my collected photos, and found another transcribed version of the same gravestone memorial...  no attribution or citation on the photo (slaps self on wrist), but I took it from a printed book in November 2010 ...  and it looks very much like a Brian Cantwell* transcription typescript in the way it is set out:
Also the body of Nancy Fitzhenry who died
at Lambay in Newfoundland
Feb'ry 9th 1807 aged 33 yrs.
Requiefcat in Pace
So that seems more like the age we are looking for

And then I remembered that I had seen a similar inscription, when I had been at Rossdroit churchyard with my good friend Gretta Browne poking around amongst the brambles in the old Catholic graves side of the church (the church itself is Church of Ireland, and the Protestant graves are all on the other side in a very neat lawn).
Here lies ye body of Mary
alias Doyle dep'd
March 7th 1809 aged 73 yrs
Also the body of Nancy
who died at Tarbay
Newfoundland Febry the 9th
1807 aged 33 yrs
So it would seem that Nancy had connections with the Fitzhenry familes buried both at St Mullins (the Templudigan family) and at Rossdoit (probably the Courtnacuddy Fitzhenry family living just west of Enniscorthy town).
And they both thought it would be nice to remember her. 

Thank you John for helping me tie up that puzzle.

* Brian Cantwell was an avid collector and transcriber of "Memorials to the Dead" in the 1970s, mainly in Co. Wexford. As time takes its toll on the engraving and stonework, his transcriptions are now more important than ever. I have quoted his works in previous posts, and if you type Cantwell into the search box at the top of the page, you will get a list of all the posts.

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Thursday 1 September 2016

Online launch: Irish birth, marriage & death registers: 8th September

Oh my! 
This is going to be epic.
My thanks to Clare Santry of the Irish Genealogy News blog for bringing us this news (and to Debbie Cruwys Kennett of the Guild of One Name Studies for passing the news on on the Guild facebook page)

Clare writes:
"Next Thursday, 8 September, will be a red-letter day for Irish genealogy.

The General Register Office's historical birth, marriage and death registers will be launched online on that date, joining the GRO Index and a collection of church records on Further details will be released early next week. For now, this is all the information being made public.

When this move was first mooted, back in July 2014, it came with an assurance that these records would be accessible free of charge. Subsequent intervention should also have made us quite certain that the records will be subject to the 100-75-50-years rule ie only those births more than 100 years old, marriages more than 75 years ago, and deaths 50 years ago.

I'll bring more news when it's available."

For an Irish based One Name Study, this is fantastic news. All those Fitzhenry and Fitzharris BMD entries which will now be available online... for free.
If you haven't already visited the website, it is fantastic. The quality of the church register scans is excellent (and in colour).
And well done to the Irish Government for doing this. It's really about time the English GRO registers were opened up in the same way...

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Charles Fitzhenry of the 9th Battalion AIF - a search for living decendants

I was very touched to receive this essay as a comment to our post about Charles Fitzhenry of the 9th Battalion AIF and the graffiti he left in the caves in Naours.
It was written by Lucie Greff, aged 13, who wrote it as part of her school project, and I thought it was so good that it merited a post of its own. 
Lucie would like to get in touch with a member of Charles' family, so please do contact her by leaving a comment below.

Hello !
My name is Lucie, I live in France (Somme).I’m 13 years old. I live near Naours and its Cave. With my college, I have a project called “Soldats Voyageurs”. The project is about the Australians during the 1st world war. We are 20 in this club and we are all volunteers. I must take a photo about an Australian’s graffiti. Found in Naours’ caves. I have 2 soldiers’ name: Alister Ross (probably known by Charles Edward Fitzhenry if they were not friends) and Charles Edward Fitzhenry/William Doyle. My mission is a lot of information, search all the things about him during the war and contact a person from their family. My project won 2 prizes, one in France (3rd prize) and in Australia (1st prize (Sadlier Stokes)).

I saw an article about Charles’ tree, I was very interested. I have taken 2 graffitis in photos written by Charles, one with his real name and another with William Doyle.
Charles’ history:
Charles was born the 23rd of February 1888 in Casino, near Lismore, Australia. His father was Michael Herbert (he died before the war) and his mother was Elizabeth Doyle/Fitzhenry. He had many sisters and brothers who had wives and husbands. Charles was Roman Catholic. Physically, he had dark hair, he was suntanned or had a black skin and he had bluish eyes.
Before the war, Charles worked for the Australian Naval Force for 3 years. His service number was the 865. He was an ordinary seaman. He served the ANF only 3 years because he was discharged.
After that, he was shearer and lost his little finger on his hand.
The 21st of September 1914, Charles joined the army known as William Doyle, the reasons of its modifications are unknown. Doyle was his grand-mother’s family name. His service number was the 1126. He went to the 9th Infantry (like Alister, my second soldier who moved to Lismore with his brother).
During the war, Charles was sick, but, it wasn’t serious. Charles fled the trenches during the New Year and was punished. He was in captivity for 168 hours and wasn’t paid for 20 days. But, the 12nd of august 1918, Charles was wounded at his head and was unconscious. His friend, called Mister Carr, saw Charles and helped him. Charles was admitted to a very big Australian hospital but stayed unconscious and died the 21st August 1918. He hadn’t got any children. I’ll go to Le TrĂ©port to see Charles’ tomb and take photos.
If anybody has more information, can he or she write a comment please? And, of course, can I contact one person in his family?
Many thanks with advance,


Sources: national archives of Australia, Australian War Memorial and your blog.

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Monday 20 June 2016

Ballycanew, County Wexford: A potential hometown for Enoch Fitzhenry?

The title is just a teaser for many of you Fitzhenrys who can trace your line down from Enoch. But there may well be some mileage in this supposition. Excitingly, this is where DNA testing and good old fashioned paper research come up trumps together.

To recap:

The Fitzhenry-Fitzharris DNA surname study has given us several interesting leads:

The descendants of Enoch Fitzhenry (huge family in the US, number 002 in my database*) have provided us with 4 DNA tests now - these have tested the lines of four of Enoch's nine sons. They all match up showing that this is reliable data for this family. However it is unknown precisely where in Ireland Enoch had come from or anything about his Irish family.

The DNA pattern from Enoch's tree also matched up with a Fitzhenry family now resident in Australia, whose most distant ancestor was John Fitzhenry born about 1800 and who lived in Oulartwick, County Wexford (this is group 020*).

Oulartwick is to the north eastern side of Enniscorthy, County Wexford. This caused us great excitement when the two family groups matched DNA patterns in 2009. As we said then, Group 002 and Group 020 were historically Protestant rather than Catholic.

Then last year, we had a further DNA test result from a Fitzhenry family whose most distant ancestor was a Samuel Fitzhenry born around 1799 (Family group 075*). He married Mary Anne, the daughter of a Methodist minister, the Rev. Robert Banks in 1832 and had a large family which continued to be Methodist.
The descendant of Samuel had a DNA pattern which matched that of both Enoch (group 002) and John (020). But ... we didn't know where Samuel came from either. We had inferred his birthdate from his age of death of 65 years in 1864 in the Lismore registration district in Waterford, but hadn't seen a birth or baptism record.

So up until now we had three Fitzhenry families, with only one attached to a geographical place.

Until I found these couple of lines in a little known Irish newspaper, The Pilot:

In Athy, Samuel FitzHenry, of Ballycanew, county Wexford, Esq., to Mary Anne, eldest daughter of the Rev. Robert Banks of Athy.

The Pilot [Dublin, Ireland] 14 Nov 1832 page 4 - FindMyPast online newspaper archives

The fact that Samuel was called Esquire in the announcement hinted at money and status, rather than a simple farm labourer. It was also in a national rather than provincial newspaper which indicated that one or other of the families wanted the marriage to be widely broadcast. And also implies that Samuel was "Protestant enough" (either Methodist, or at the very least Church of Ireland or converted Catholic) to have the approval to marry the eldest daughter of a Methodist minister. Samuel became an auctioneer with his own auction house in Waterford.

Ballycanew is on the North East side of Enniscorthy less than 9 miles from Outlarwick, heading more northeast on the road to Gorey. So did the wider family come from Oulartwick or Ballycanew, or somewhere in the vicinity?

Not only is this finding very exciting, but there is another Fitzhenry family associated with Ballycanew, which is as yet untested for the DNA study. 

This is family group 025, whose earliest known ancestor is a John Fitzhenry who married Ann Jane Cranwill at St Mogue's Church of Ireland Church in Ballycanew on 27 December 1819. Ann Jane was born in 1790, so I'm assuming a similar birthdate for John. The Cranwills (or Cranwells) were established members of the Church of Ireland congregation in Ballycanew from the old Vestry records which are online. There are no Fitzhenry mentions in the Vestry records, but if John was from another parish originally, he settled and had property in Ballycanew by the 1853 Griffiths' Valuations (a house in the village and farmland) and his three children (Jane Elizabeth 1821, John Cranwill 1823 and Mary Ann 1826) were baptised at St Mogues. The two younger children emigrated to Fulton, Illinois, United States. 
I've not actually seen the documentary evidence for the marriage of John and Ann Jane myself, but I used the evidence from the excellent Hollygardens website ( which has a very well documented genealogy of the Hollingsworth family, of which the Cranwells are a part, and a pdf link to John Beatty's transcription of the Vestry Books of St Mogue 1760-1819

Are there any male Fitzhenry descendents of John Fitzhenry and Ann Jane Cranwill who would be willing to discuss joining the Fitzhenry surname DNA study to positively link this Fitzhenry branch into these other three Fitzhenry branches? Please get in contact!

* The family group numbering system is purely the order in which they were assembled in my database, my own family being Group 001. It does not imply any degree of hierarchy or preference, and is purely there for convenience as a shorthand when discussing the different trees. I currently have 117 trees comprising some 9000 individuals.

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Monday 11 April 2016

Johanna: An unexpected third wife of William Fitz-Henry of Arklow

I was being creative with my search terms in the Find My Past newspaper collection last night, and turned up this entry:

April 1, at Arklow, Johanna, the beloved wife of Mr William FitzHenry, after a long and protracted illness, which she bore with Christian resignation anf fortitude, sincerely and deservedly regretted by all who knew her.

Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail 6 April 1844 page 7

This was unexpected, as the Arklow Fitz-Henry family were a small tight knit group, who were affluent enough to have nice gravestones and regular mentions in the local newspapers. The OCR hadn't originally picked up the surname Fitzhenry, so I found this by querying "Fitz Henry" and "death". Splitting the name helps if the Henry part of the name has been orphaned onto the next line.

So... there was only one candidate for the bereaved husband. He was William Fitz-Henry (1788 - 22 Oct 1859), merchant of Arklow. 

He married his first wife Sibbella (surname unknown) before 1812. They had at least 5 children and she died 21 July 1832, and has her grave in the Old Kilbride cemetery near Arklow. William was buried with her.

Then there was a puzzling 12 year gap, and 56 year old William remarried to the 33 year old widow Mary Jenkinson in May 1845 by who he had another 6 children. Mary and two of their infant children are buried in another grave in Old Kilbride cemetery.

But what of Johanna?
More creative searching  - "Johanna" in the first name box, "Fitz* " in the surname box, and "Arklow" in the keyword section, turned this up:

Yesterday, at St Andrew's church, by the Rev. Mr. Nevin, William Fitzhenry Esq., to Johanna, widow of the late Thomas Smyth Esq, both of Arklow.

17 January 1834 - The Pilot - Dublin

Which nicely fills William's apparently unmarried period 1833-1845. The OCR had made Henry into Henrv, which is why it hadn't been picked up before.

I have no more details about Johanna, her age, maiden name, whether she had any children with William, or indeed where she is buried.

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Monday 23 February 2015

Online genealogy resources for Cincinnati, Ohio

I'm working my way round the Fitzharris family of Cincinnati at present.

I've found two online resources which are outside my usual range of "go to" collections to search.

The University of Cincinnati has a Digital Resource Commons website, including (yay!) index cards from the Cincinnati (Ohio) Health Department (Births and Deaths 1865-1912). Eleven Fitzharrises in there (put "Fitzharris" in the "global search" box), which dovetail nicely in with...

The St Joseph New Cemetery Association (records from the opening of this Catholic cemetery in Cincinnati  in 1854). The search page is here, and don't forget to search on parents' names too. And also don't forget to read the section on the history of the cemetery.

Overall I couldn't find any Fitzhenrys at all in Cincinnati in the 19th century (from my usual record sets and including these ones) and from what I can see, most of the 20th century too.
For those who have found the new green look to the Blog a bit startling - yes, it surprised me a bit too. I may have to tone it down...

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Sunday 22 February 2015

The FamilySearch blog: keeping up to date with new collection releases is a fantastic resource for genealogists everywhere. Not only is it free to search (and often links to the actual document images) but it covers countries worldwide. There are the big sexy record collections such as the US censuses, and smaller collections which a commercial company might think not worth their while scanning and indexing.

But how do you keep up with the new collections which are published or updated on a regular basis? How can you find out when images have been added to what was previously an "index only" collection?

The FamilySearch blog.

By subscribing to blog updates by email, you will get all that is new in the world of FamilySearch: research tips, news from big events such as RootsTech, and really usefully, lists of new record collections.

The screenshot below of the "collection update" post from 20th February shows the variety of collections which the LDS church are still adding to FamilySearch. The underlined titles in blue are clickable links straight to that collection (not in this image but in the post itself). You don't have to be a Church member to subscribe. You also don't have to be a Church member to participate in indexing projects which not only give a bit back in return, but also gets the next collections ready and indexed more quickly!


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