Saturday, 3 November 2012

Cavan to Victoria

The newspaper announcements that became more frequent in the second half of the nineteenth century complement and in some cases add poignancy to the records of births, marriages and deaths.

I have written previously of Thomas and Eliza (nee McGovern) CONDRON, who were married in 1823 in Kildrumferton, Co. Cavan, Ireland, and who made a new life with their family in the state of Victoria, Australia. Their eldest children, Maryanne (b. 1824), Catherine (b. 1826) and Martha (b. 1829) emigrated to Australia first, arriving aboard the "Wallace" on 3 Nov. 1844. The rest of the family - parents Thomas and Eliza, and children Elizabeth (b. 1831), John (b. 1833), Robert (b. 1836), Jane (b. 1838), Thomas (b. 1841), Isabella (b. 1844) and William (b. 1846) - are recorded as living in Kirkdale, Lancashire, in the 1851 census of England, and most of them appear to have arrived in Australia aboard the "Runnymede" on 3 June 1852.

The marriage records for the state of Victoria give supporting evidence to a number of family trees uploaded by members to It appears that Maryanne married Robert WHITE in Melbourne in either 1846 or 1848, Martha married  James Nall MARRIS in 1848, Eliza married John DICK in 1854 and Jane married James McILROY in 1861.

From 1862 we start to find mention of the family in the announcements column of The Argus newspaper published in Melbourne. (These are available online at Trove.) In December of that year, the paper records the recent marriage of "Isabella, sixth daughter of Mr. Thomas Condron, Fitzroy, late of the County Cavan" to Joshua MOONEY. In April 1872 it records the death "through an accident" of "Thomas, the third and beloved son of Thomas and Eliza Condron, of Brunswick-street, Fitzroy, aged 30".

Youngest son William married Margaret Annie RAINSFORD in 1870, but the death of "Margaret Annie, the beloved wife of Mr. William Condron of Brunswick-street, Fitzroy" is recorded in the paper two years later. William is described as a "corn merchant", and the couple appear to have had no children. The death of Thomas CONDRON senior at his residence, 390 Brunswick-street, Fitzroy, is recorded in The Argus the next year. William remarried, this time to Louisa Agnes ARNOLD, in 1874, and The Argus carries the joyful announcement in July 1875 of the birth of a daughter to the "wife of W[illia]m Condron, produce merchant". Sadly, in February of the next year, the paper announces the death of "Eliza Evaline, the only and beloved child of William and Louisa Condron, aged six months", and further tragedy follows in March with the announcement of the death of "Louisa Agnes, the beloved wife of Mr. William Condron, aged 26".

Meanwhile, William's elder brother Robert had married Margaret E. BOURKE in 1855, and had three children, including William (b. 1856). Margaret died in 1860, and Robert married Caroline PEACHEY in 1863. The couple had seven children, but Caroline died in 1876, aged 32 years. The Argus for 2 May 1876 announces, "The friends of Mr Robert Condron are respectfully invited to follow the remains of his late wife to the place of interment, Coburg Cemetery". The first five of Robert and Caroline's children - Sarah Jane (b. 1863), Robert (b. 1865), Mary Ann (b. 1868), Elizabeth Henrietta (b. 1869) and James (b. 1871) - were born in Pentridge, while the last two - Susan (b. 1874) and James (b. 1876) - were born in Coburg. Robert appears to have married a third time, in 1876, this time to Mary QUINN. They had one son, Fredrick (b. 1877), who married Ethel Kate PHILLIPS in 1900. Fredrick and Ethel had five children, all born in Coburg: Ethel May (b. 1901), Mary Lillian (b. 1903), Elsie Freda (b. 1907), Robert Charles (b. 1909) and Fredrick (b. 1912).

Eliza CONDRON senior died in September 1881: "at her residence, 386 Brunswick-street, Fitzroy, Eliza, relict of hte late Mr Thomas Condron, aged 78 years".

The births, marriages and deaths records for the state of Victoria record a further marriage of a William CONDRON to Rebecca Ann SHEARER in 1877. Several of the online family trees state that this is the third marriage of William, son of Thomas and Eliza (i.e. after his second wife Louisa died in 1876). This may well be correct, but for now I can find no definitive evidence to decide whether this is indeed the correct William or whether perhaps it is William, son of Robert and  Margaret, who was born in 1856 and who therefore would have been of marriageable age by 1877. William and Rebecca had eight children, most of whom were born in Fitzroy: Ada Eliza (b. 1878), May Eva (b. 1880), Maud Margaret (b. 1882), William (b. 1883), Lottie (b. 1885), Harry (b. 1887), Mellie (b. 1890) and Nora (b. 1891).

What of the other two children of Thomas and Eliza CONDRON? Online trees indicate that Catherine, who had emigrated with her sisters in 1844, married a William CLARKSON in New South Wales in 1845. As for John (b. 1833), quite probably he is the John CONDRON of Wangaratta mentioned in my previous blog post, "Australian Gold!".

The above details are pieced together from the newspaper announcements and from the indexes of births, marriages and deaths for Victoria. Perhaps the living descendants of Thomas and Eliza CONDRON have copies of the actual certificates, or other records of family history that add definiteness or further information to what I have found. I would be delighted to hear from them: Condran[AT] (replace the "[AT]" with "@").

Please note that, as usual, the above birth dates could be off by one year because the year given is that in which the birth was recorded or, in some cases, is derived from census ages or baptismal dates.


Michael Thompson said...

Thank you to Alan Condron for pointing out to me that I had misspelled "Fredrick" (I had put in an "e"). I have now corrected this in the post. Alan also points out that Pentridge and Coburg are in fact the same place, Pentridge having been renamed as Coburg in 1870. I'm very grateful to him also for sending me a wonderful group photograph of Fredrick and Ethel Kate and their five children as adults.

Michael Thompson said...

In saying that John CONDRON (b. 1833) was the John CONDRON of Wangatta mentioned in my previous Australian Gold! blog post, I did not mean to imply that this John was necessarily the man who shared in the discovery of the Poseidon nugget. Indeed, I now know that he definitely is not.

Thanks to a lead provided by correspondent Karen following this post, I have now been able to identify the John CONDRON of Poseidon nugget fame, and to start constructing his family tree. I shall post about this in the near future.

Michael Thompson said...

Thank you to Frank Marris for pointing out that I had misspelled the middle name of James Nall MARRIS who married Martha CONDRON (I had put in an "i"). I have now corrected this in the post. According to information from Frank, James MARRIS's maternal greatgrandmother's maiden name was Sarah NALL.