Sunday, March 18, 2012

Margaret McLoughlin - Sodwalls/Bathurst

Margaret McLoughlin Communion Memento

"Where does the time go?" I ask myself on numerous occasions, as no doubt, do you...

Do you remember your first Communion?

I remember mine...but only because it was relatively recent i.e. as an adult in my mid thirties.  Crikey!  That's nearly twenty years ago now....

Anyway, back to Margaret McLoughlin's first communion.  

The picture above shows a rather quaint treasure that I inherited from my mother.  I'm not quite sure how she came about it but it is kept in a drawer of her old desk with a bunch of photos and other stuff I have accumulated over the years.  

I am intrigued by it because it shows the date of her death.  

I have so many questions about this.  Who created this memento?  I suspect Margaret.  Maybe a grown-up helped her with the lettering.  Who filled it in after she died?  Is this usual?  Who kept it?  Probably her poor parents who then probably passed it on to one of her siblings.

So who was Margaret and how was she related to me?  

Margaret was my great-grand-aunt.  She was one of seven (I think) children born to Patrick McLoughlin and Margaret Flan(n)agan. 

Patrick and Margaret married in Portico Chapel, Eccleston, Prescot, Lancaster England 
15 November 1858. Patrick's father on the marriage certificate is Owen McLoughlin - a labourer.  Patrick and Margaret placed their marks on their marriage certificate.  They could not read or write. 

I haven't found out much about Eccleston but the Gazeteer on Genuki tells me that at the time "The increase of pop. in Eccleston township between 1851 and 1861 arose from the erection of cotton factories."

Annie, Patrick and Margaret's eldest child was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire according to the 1861 Census entry I found for them on FindmyPast.  By then the family were living in Chapelry Birkenhead.  Patrick was a Labourer.  Patrick was 26 and Margaret was 25.  Annie was 18 months old.  There were four families living at 58 St Anns Street then - the Mcloughlins, the Grimes, the Molowneys and the Brogans - 8 adults and four little girls.  The Grimes had two daughters Penelope aged 2 and Bridget aged 4 months.  The Brogan's had a little girl Susan aged 14 months.  All the families were from Ireland.  All the men were labourers.   

 The McLoughlins moved to Australia in the next few years.  We're still a bit fuzzy on the details though they may have come via Brisbane on The Light of the Age in 1864.  The spelling of the name is a bit of a trick.  Sometimes it gets spelled McLaughlin rather than McLoughlin.  

Margaret's other older siblings were Patrick and Mary and John.  The latter, John,  was my great grandather - my grand-father's father.  So maybe John gave the communion memento  to Thomas and Thomas gave it to Barbara who gave it to me.  

Anyway I ordered Margaret's death certificate in the hope that it might shed some light on her life.  It didn't give me terribly much information.  
It took a bit of finding because it was indexed under McLaughlin which is not the way we spell the name.  But we all know about the lack of rules in family history when it comes to spelling.


The certificate confirmed that she did die 21 August 1882.  She was 13 years old and died at home in Russell Street, Bathurst.  She had been suffering from "Morbus Cordis" (heart disease) for 8 months.  She was buried the next day at Bathurst.  The same man who signed her communion memento, Joseph P Byrne, was the same person who officiated at the burial.  Thomas Dempsey and David McSorley witnessed the burial.  Her doctor was Dr T.A. Machattie.  Margaret was born at Sodwalls in New South Wales.  


I had never heard of Sodwalls until I saw her death certificate.  When you google Sodwalls and McLaughlin you also come up with this.  


Now I am kind of interested in this too because I think Clara Jane McLaughlin must be related somehow given that she was born at Sodwalls too - albeit thirteen years earlier.  I am also interested because we lived at Glebe in Toxteth Road when I was in my teens.  Clara was credited with founding Toxteth Park at Glebe and the Convent - St Scholastica's - there.    Clara Jane's father John is described as an Innkeeper.  Sodwalls Inn celebrated its 150th birthday a few years ago. 


I'm also puzzled because Clara Jane's father is said to come from County Mayo whereas Patrick was meant to come from County Sligo.  I need to investigate further.....


Clara was described as having "a large heart and a great fund of common sense, which allied to a remarkable ability in administration, spelt success for everything she touched.'  What a great commendation.


Poor Margaret's heart was not so strong but she will be remembered nonetheless.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Week 9 - Cemeteries - 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

Week 9 – Cemeteries: Genealogists understand the full value of cemeteries and appreciate them in ways most others can’t see. Share a cemetery or cemetery experience for which you are most thankful. What makes this place special? What does it mean to you and your family history?

Tingalpa Cemetery 2009

Now this was a difficult challenge this week because there are so many cemeteries that I like and have found over the years. Tingalpa Christ Church (Anglican) Cemetery though will always hold a special spot in our heart because it was the location of my first real break-through in family history at a young age.

Thanks to my family history society's Cemetery Room index, I found that my husband's great-grandfather and his wife and their children were buried here.  I remember traipsing all over the cemetery looking for their grave, only to discover that it was the biggest monument in the whole cemetery just about!!

The cemetery looks absolutely beautiful these days which is not something that can be said for all cemeteries I'm afraid.  My sister-in-law Pat and I went traipsing about Balmoral Cemetery last year looking for an ancestor and it was so sad seeing so much destruction and decay in such a large and old (by Australian standards) cemetery.

The Tingalpa Cemetery is beautifully maintained by the hard-working and dedicated Friends of Tingalpa Cemetery Heritage Group.  I think it helps that the cemetery has a cute-as-a-button chapel that can be used for weddings.


The day my sisters-in-law and I went to visit the Cemetery back in 2009 it looked absolutely beautiful.  We thought we were going for a special day but we arrived late - a day late to be precise - silly me - I got the date wrong.  The cemetery was beautifully decorated and looked a picture.


Someone had added this information about the Daw family though I am intrigued by their ability to give a death date for Robert James Daw as I have never been able to find out what happened to him.

We were also impressed by the Gode family plaque.  The Godes are related to the Daws by marriage.  Thomas Daw's brother Edward married Alice Sophia Gode after whom Robert's Aunt Alice is named.

Here are some links to other posts about other cemeteries that I have visited over the years.

Last but not least here is my advice for what it is worth for visiting cemeteries:

  1. Take water
  2. Take a hat
  3. Wear sunscreen
  4. Make sure you have the phone number for the sexton/local Council so you can call them on your mobile to check position of graves as they are often unmarked.
  5. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged!
  6. Take your camera and make sure you have spare batteries or it is fully charged
  7. Take a companion to help you look for the grave
  8. Reward yourself with lunch afterwards  - it is thirsty work
  9. Don't forget to stop and take in the view and reflect..
  10. Support local heritage groups to maintain the cemetery