Author Topic: convicts families arrivals in Australia  (Read 12220 times)

Offline Chatso58

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Re: convicts families arrivals in Australia
« Reply #45 on: Monday 26 July 10 21:23 BST (UK) »
         Hi MERLIN
Thank you. this Catherine doesn't seem to match up
                         Chatso58

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Offline Chatso58

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Re: convicts families arrivals in Australia
« Reply #46 on: Monday 26 July 10 22:45 BST (UK) »
       Hi MERLIN
I was hoping you could give me some more information about the
Catherine and Honora McMahon  arriving in Sydney 3/10/1836
on the Duchness of Northumberland.
Catherine aged 20 years
Honor aged 17
you found them some time ago. Catherine's age matches up with her death certificate, I am unsure now about the name McNamara it could be a mistake by the newpaper. as on Catherine death certificate it give her name as McMahon or may be the family didn't know
                              Robyn

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Offline neil818

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Re: convicts families arrivals in Australia
« Reply #47 on: Tuesday 08 January 19 14:14 GMT (UK) »
Re John Donnellan, you most likely know by now that a file on John Donnellan is available in the UK National Archives at Kew, see http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C12629143. The file summary states that a petition was signed by 10 members of the jury, who wished their verdict to be set aside in view of the marriage of the accused and complainant, and that the wife of the condemned John Donnellan wished for her husband to be returned from Australia.

This file was created 5 years after John Donnellan had been transported, and as such it is clear that his wife, Catherine McMahon, had not joined him in Australia until a number of years after conviction. It also confirms that the complainant/wife's name was McMahon, not McNamara, as reported in the press.

The article quoted by a contributor from the Freeman's Journal is interesting in that it states that John Donnellan, and the complainant, were married in the Grand Jury room while the jury was deliberating. There is, however, a record of the marriage in archives of St Mary's Parish, Limerick, for the 5th of March, 1833. You probably haven't been able to find this because the Register throws a spanner in the works and describes the groom as 'John Donnelly'. However there is no doubt that this is the same man as the trial took place on the 5th of March, the same date of the marriage entry in the register.

I have found his prison records and he was consigned to the charge of Limerick prison on the 5th of March 1833 and the sentence of the Court for hanging was scheduled for the 20th of April 1833. He was reprieved to transportation for life on the 15th of March.

The entry in the Parish marriage register states as follows:-

'A dispensation in the closed time of Lent being granted by the Very Rev. Dr. John Hanishan (?) V.G - John Donnelly to Catherine McMahon were married by Rev. Fr Conlay (?), witnesses William ? and William Gibson'

This dispensation was given by the Vicar General of the Diocese of Limerick to allow the marriage during Lent, and would only have been granted in the event of a grave emergency. The names of the Vicar General, the officiating priest and witnesses are not legible as the scan is at the end of the page and heavily shadowed. If you send me your email address I will email you a copy of the parish entry offline.

There are, as noted, a number of inaccuracies in the primary and secondary sources. In the first instance the Freeman's Journal incorrectly names the complainant as Catherine McNamara. Secondly the Parish record incorrectly names the groom as John Donnelly, but the bride is accurately recorded as Catherine McMahon. Finally the entry in the record at Kew records the trail year as 1832, not 1833. However, as I say, these are clear inaccuracies which have probably led you off track.   

Another report of the trial can be found in the Belfast Newsletter on March 15, 1833, which in summary repeats the basics of the report in the Freeman's Journal, and also names the complainant as Catherine McNamara. An identical report as that in the Freeman's Journal also appears in the Kerry Evening Post dated Saturday, March 09, 1833. As such, therefore, it appears that this news was syndicated and erroneously repeated the name of the complainant in all reports.