Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Payn Headstone- how things can change

Sometime early in my genealogical discoveries, I found out that the grave of my great-grandparents Frank Payn and Johanna Scettrini, was in Hokitika Cemetery, and I went there and found it.
It was a very simple headstone.
I might yet find I have another photo stashed away- though at the time I took fewer as they all had to be developed and paid for!- but it seems that I may have totally 'ignored' the fact that their son John F Payn, who died in France in WW1, had a plaque underneath his parents. This is visible in this online photo on the Westland Cemeteries site.
At the time I visited the cemetery it took me sometime to find the grave, so I drew myself a little 'map' for future visits. This might help some other visitors, but on a return visit my wayward use of left and right still had me muddled for a while even with my 'map'!
In the last couple of years Maurice Payn of Nelson, Frank and Johanna's grandson, and my mother's first cousin, has taken it upon himself to do something about renovating some of our original pioneer headstones. He arranged to have Frank and Johanna's grave redone to include more information about them, and here is what the headstone now looks like.


(And yes, the Arthur Thomas Payn in the next grave, is another grandson.)

Thanks are due to Maurice Payn for his efforts in taking care that these pioneer graves will still be able to tell their story to future Payn-Scettrini generations.

Next up- I must write some sort of summary of Frank Payn's life. 'Papers Past' has lots of bits about him...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Etaples Military Cemetery

I am nearing the end of collating all the information I have about James Riordan, fourth and youngest son of Patrick Riordan and Mary Burke. I've previously written about where he was buried in France. But I realise it might be useful if I describe how exactly to find his grave site, in case any family members want to visit the grave to pay their respects.

He is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery, just a few kilometres north of the town of Etaples, south of Boulogne-sur-Mer along the Pas-de-Calais coast.
screenshot from Google Maps
The cemetery is huge- overwhelming. I cried when I saw it.

Luckily I had a map from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that helped me quickly identify which section of the cemetery to head for.

James Riordan's final resting place in France lies in Section VII, C.1.
We will remember them.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

James Lalor- South Beach

To respond to questions from a new family genealogist, my Lalor folder was opened.... so I am sharing here some of the info I have about James Lalor.

James LALOR was born in Co Kilkenny, Ireland, circa 1837-1838 to John and Mary Lalor.

On 14th September 1871, he married Catherine ROWLAND in the Roman Catholic Chapel, Greymouth, when he was described as a bachelor and a miner. He dwelled in Greymouth District, with a stated ‘length of residence’ of 2 ½ years.

Catherine and James had six children. Their first daughter, Margaret Jane, was born 22 August 1872, while they were residing at South Beach, and subsequent children were named John, Mary, Robert, James and Thomas.

James mined for gold at South Beach.  On the Westland electoral roll of 1911 James Lalor, of Paroa, is listed as a miner, and in 1914 on the Westland supplementary roll he is listed as “6182 Lalor James, senr. South Beach, miner.”

In April 1883 James is listed as one of four men applying for a lease of 8 acres of land at South Beach, for a period of 15 years, to be worked by ground sluicing. The company formed was to be called “The Rising Sun Gold-mining Company”. One of the other company members was Robert Delaney, who had been named as a witness in James Lalor’s wedding 12 years earlier.

In 1886 when a public meeting was held about leasing of South Beach lands, James Lalor was one of those involved in the discussions, and he proposed a motion “That Document2a petition be presented to the Waste Lands Board, and a copy forwarded to the Honorable the Minister of Mines, showing that by the sale or leasing of any land within the Paroa district that the miners would suffer severely, inasmuch as their very costly dams and water-races would become valueless, which should be viewed as a calamity to be averted.”

In 1890, James applied to the Warden’s Court for four month’s protection for an extended claim at South Beach, and this was granted.

In his later years James also became a “Parliamentary Messenger”. An article in 1901 in ‘New Zealand Free Lance’ described him in favourable terms, noting that among the messengers in the recent session of the House of Representatives ‘there was one at least who bore a historic name and is a blood relation to two men who have achieved celebrity. The writer told us that James Lalor was a modest man: “Yet, Mr James Lalor, who came up from Greymouth to wear the livery of Parliament and who has just got back to the Coast this week to resume his avocation as a gold miner could boast of his family connections if he were not far too modest a man to say anything about himself at all.”  The writer then said that James Lalor was a ‘full cousin’ of the celebrated Irish orator, Richard Lalor Sheil,

James was active in community affairs on the West Coast. A search of the “Papers Past” website gives many examples, recorded for the most part in the ‘Grey River Argus’.

Paroa School committee. In 1886 he was chairman of the school committee when a farewell presentation was made to a Head Teacher at Paroa school who was leaving the district. Three years later, in 1889, there was clearly a heated annual meeting at which there was a clash over whether the head teacher of the time should be retained or removed. James Lalor was elected onto the committee during that meeting, with the highest number of votes.

Paroa Licensing Committee. In 1882 James Lalor is listed as being a member of this committee at the annual meeting, which considered a request for reduced licensed fees. In 1885 we read that he was successful in elections for the Paroa Licensing Board.

Parnell collection.  James Lalor clearly did not forget his Irish origins either. In 1881 it is recorded that he gave 5 shillings in the South Beach collection for the Parnell Defence Fund.

In 1992, my aunty, Edith Lemon (nee Lalor), showed me where the old residence of James and Catherine Lalor stood at South Beach. It was rather derelict, but was still standing in the midst of an industrial site on the southern end of modern Greymouth.

James Lalor died at South Beach on 3 October 1916, of malignant disease of the throat. In the Argus he was described as ‘well and favourably known throughout the West Coast’ and a ‘true and devoted father’.

He is buried in Karoro Cemetery in Greymouth, together with his wife Catherine, and two grandchildren who died as infants.

This info was compiled by Margaret Riordan in February, 2010. I haven’t included source footnotes here, but please e-mail me via this blog if you want details.

NOTE: The only info I hold about James Lalor’s parents comes from his death entry where his parents are named as John and Mary Lalor. I have seen James mother described as “Margaret Gorman’ on the MyHeritage website but don’t have any documents myself that indicate this. If you happen to know more, please contact me! I would love to search more in the Irish parish registers for James forebears, but just knowing "Co Kilkenny" is too broad a brush!


James and Catherine Lalor- Karoro Cemetery

Sometimes someone asks me something about one or other line of the family and I go searching for old info I haven't looked at for a while. In this case a fellow Lalor descendant in Greymouth has become interested in genealogy, and found that the grave of our mutual great-grandparents, James Lalor and Catherine Rowland, had been recently restored. So she asked Rhodes Monumental who had organised it, and they contacted me, and I contacted her...

This is what the grave looked like on the last day of December 2016, with arum lilies growing profusely out of the base, and the lettering mostly quite difficult to read.

I decided to get the grave redone, and Rhodes Monumental masons have done a superb job. This next photo shows what it looked like at Easter time this year.
It was nearly finished...
And just a few days later it was finished, and I was e-mailed this final photo from Rhodes Monumental in Greymouth.

Now the lettering on the headstone of these original pioneers of ours has been renewed for more generations to come to read. Rhodes Monumental have done a great job.



Saturday, July 22, 2017

James Riordan

The plan is ... to stick to a plan! I am going to collate all the information I have about James Riordan, who died of wounds incurred near the Somme during the battle of Flers-Courcelette in WW1.

Today I found a map of where the battle of Flers-Courcelette took place, on a NZ History website. James Riordan was wounded in action on 22 September, 1916.
Map produced by Geographx with research assistance from Damien Fenton and Caroline Lord.
It originally appeared in Damien Fenton, New Zealand and the First World War (Penguin, Auckland, 2013).


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Malone great-grandparents

Yes, I know I should be more 'disciplined' and should stick to some sort of research plan for doing my genealogy- but..... Sunday afternoons are great for random explorations. And especially now that the National Library of Ireland, and National Archives of Ireland have digitised access to so many more records... So somehow I found myself on the National Archives of Ireland census search page.
And here is the 1901 census entry for my Malone great-grandparents: Jeremiah Malone and Margaret (nee Riordan) his wife. I love that they spoke "Irish and English".

By the time of this census my grandmother Margaret and her sister Bridget were in New Zealand. Also another brother Patrick was known to be in New Zealand- but another day I will have to 'chase him up' to find out more about him.

The family are in house #2 of this house and building return- in Ballinadrideen, the place of my grandmother's birth.
Thanks to National Archives of Ireland for this information. I hope one day to get to Ireland to find Ballinadrideen, somewhere just south of Charleville.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

James Riordan- WW1

James Riordan was the fourth son of Patrick Riordan and Mary Burke of Charing Cross, Canterbury, and he was born in 1887. He enlisted for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, arriving in Etaples, France, in mid-August 1916. He was wounded in action on 22 September 1916, and subsequently died of wounds on 11 October 1916. He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, about 27 kilometres south of Boulogne, Pas-de-Calais.



Last year, 2016, the New Zealand government commemorated the centennial of the entry of NZ troops into the Battle of the Somme, near Longueval, and the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery. As I read news accounts about this, I realised that James Riordan was killed around this time. I knew that he had died of wounds in a military hospital, but as the Etaples Cemetery was a long way from Longueval, it did not seem likely to me that he could have been in this battle. Still, the timing was close.

A few weeks ago at the NZSG conference I spoke to one of the historians at the NZ Defence Force stand. He checked the details on James Riordan's casualty form with me, and when he looked at the date he was wounded, and the fact that James was a Rifleman, he said it was quite likely that James Riordan did take part in the Battle of the Somme. He also told me that because he was wounded in the thigh he possibly got gangrene from bacteria and died as a result.

The historian told me that the Somme was a huge long battlefront, but that the battle the New Zealanders entered was at Flers-Courcelette. He gave me a brochure with the web address where I could check the unit's history. I found the website, then the NZ history link, leading to a WW1 link, and then to a link for the NZ Rifle Brigade history.  This history detailed the battle around Flers that the Rifle Brigade was involved in from September 15th. There were heavy casualties, and James Riordan must have been wounded in action as part of this battle, before being moved back to a military base hospital at Dannes-Camiers, near the Etaples Military Cemetery.

Coincidentally, John Joseph, another Reardon from Darfield, the son of Bartholomew and Maggie Reardon, was killed in action in the same battle, and is buried at the Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial. Both men are listed on the cenotaph in Darfield, Canterbury.



I have visited the grave of James Riordan in Etaples Cemetery, and hope I might return there one day. It is comforting to read, from the NZ Tablet, 26 July 1917,  that the graves of many of the NZ soldiers were visited by their comrades, including the grave of James Riordan.
From the Papers Past website, NZ Tablet, 26 July 1917.
Lest we forget.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."
~Laurence Binyon