52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #22 – Mary Fitzgerald 1832-1905

My 2x great grandmother was Mary Fitzgerald. Mary arrived in New South Wales on board the ship Maria in 1850. She was one of approx. 250 Irish Famine Orphans who had also arrived on the Maria.

I have a copy of the book, Barefoot and Pregnant? Irish Famine Orphans in Australia and it lists Mary on the index as being 18 and was was from Stonehoyle, Limerick. Her parents were John and Johanna. Her mother was living at Stonehoyle and she was Roman Catholic.

There is no Stonehoyle in Limerick but there is a Stonehall. So my guess is Stonehall in the parish of Kilcorcoran is the parish that Mary was born in. Kilcorcoran was in the Rathkeale Poor Law Union

On the 10th August 1850, she was sent to Maitland. (source: Immigration Correspondence 501659, NSW State Records)

Around 1851, she married Dennis McCormack. There is no trace of the marriage in the NSW Birth Death Marriage Indexes.

I believe Mary lead a simple life, though hard at times, in particular when her first born son William died after falling into a fire. You can read about William’s story here.

Mary died on the 6th July 1905 at Cessnock and is buried at the Roman Catholic Cemetery at Branxton. A few years ago, I did go to the cemetery but could find no trace of her grave.

From her death certificate, her parents are listed as John Fitzgerald and Hanorah O’Shaunnessy. Her name is also recorded as Mary Ann Agnes. I am in two minds about her mother’s first name. The shipping records says Johanna, her death certificate says Hanorah. Mary did name her second eldest daughter Honorah, so I can’t help but think it’s more likely Honorah or something similar.

I previously tried to find Mary’s baptism on Roots Ireland to no avail. This week though I had another look and found the following:

Name:    Margaret Fitzgerald             Date of Birth:        01-Mar-1830Parish/District:     KILCORNAN & STONEHALLCounty   Co. LimerickDenomination:     Roman Catholic

Father:   John Fitzgerald     Mother: Margaret Shaughnessy


I also found the below for a Maria Fitzgerald, with the mother’s surname also being Shaughnessy

Name:    Maria Fitzgerald   Date of Birth:        26-Feb-1826Address:                                Parish/District:     KILCORNAN & STONEHALLGender:                 Unknown               County   Co. Limerick

Denomination:     Roman Catholic

Father:   John Fitzgerald     Mother: Elizabeth Shaughnessy


Also, another for a John Fitzgerald, also with the mother’s surname of Shaughnessy

Name:    John Fitzgerald     Date of Birth:        04-May-1831Address:                                Parish/District:     KILCORNAN & STONEHALLGender:                 Unknown               County   Co. LimerickDenomination:     Roman Catholic

Father:   John Fitzgerald     Mother: Ellen Shaughnessy


Could they all be related? With a name of John Fitzgerald, there is a possibility that there was more than one in the parish at the same so maybe two different families or could this be the same family but the mother’s first name recorded incorrectly? I have not been able to find a marriage between a John Fitzgerald to either a Margaret, Elizabeth, Johanna or Honorah Shaughnessy.

Further reading:





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