Following my invigorating research trip to the Hawkesbury NSW in June/July 2019, I felt inspired to plan a P[r]endergast family reunion and coordinate a “go fund me” and heritage grant to raise funds to restore the family Vault at the old Catholic Cemetery Windsor during 2020.
The Whitsundays where I live is a very long way from the Hawkesbury so I knew that I would have the ideas but need a great team of experts on the ground to bring the plans to fruition.
I met with Michelle Nichols OAM, a local Hawkesbury expert, regarding coordinating a Prendergast family reunion in 2019. I emailed Katie Hicks of the National Trust in regard to restoring the P[r]endergast family vault at Windsor. I then emailed a contact that I have in Ireland, Dr. Ruan O’Donnell a senior lecturer in History at the University of Limerick. I invited him to come to Australia for a 220 year commemoration of the arrival of the first convict ship “Minerva” with an Easter service at the Martyrs wall, Waverley Cemetery. I felt confident that my dreams could become a reality.
But, as the expression goes “the best laid plans of mice and men …” So sadly, like many other people world wide, my plans were thwarted by the outbreak of Covid 19 and subsequent lockdown.
Undeterred and not knowing how long Covid would curb my plans, I decided that if I couldn’t coordinate a family reunion and Vault restoration, that I would further my studies in family history.
Several years ago I had been told of the brilliant Utas diploma of family history and after further investigation and comparison with similar University courses, I decided to enrol in the Utas diploma of family history.
I cannot speak highly enough of the course. I loved every minute of it. It was wonderful!
Although, due to the fact that like all Universities world wide, on campus study had to be converted to on-line study for all students, I felt the staff at Utas did an amazing job under very difficult circumstances.
In January 2019, I travelled to Sydney to conduct genealogy research into property owned by the Prendergast family in the Hawkesbury district of NSW. The records were held at various Repositories in Sydney, Kingswood and Wollombi.
I wanted to locate records at the repositories and then visit the land of my forbears to get a sense of how my ancestor John Prendergast and his wife Catherine would have felt as first settlers on that land.
With Barry’s technical assistance, I plan to document these blocks of land on an interactive map, recording them for future generations.
I chose Sydney University Village as my base for the first visit in January because it was centrally located, there was plenty of public transport available and it was reasonably priced.
I visited the New South Wales land Registry Services to obtain maps of the Prendergast properties in Lower Portland, Kurrajong, Windsor, Pitt Town(formerly Mulgrave place) and Wollombi.
By pre-booking the documents that I wished to view during my Mitchell Library visit, I was able to discover which properties were crown grants and which ones were purchased by the Prendergast family.
I am back in the Whitsundays and constantly in awe of the amazing trip I enjoyed to Ireland in May/June this year.
Visiting the National Archives at Kew, I changed trains at Turnham Green Station. This is the very area where King William 111 would have been assassinated had it not been for my ancestor Sir Thomas Prendergast, 1st Baronet. I did not know this at the time but found out a few days later about the Jacobite plot with the intended ambush of his coach at Turnham Green on Saturday 15 February, 1696 and Sir Thomas Prendergast’s role in preventing the murder.
At the National Archives Kew I was delighted to read the details of Sir John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker, Baron Kilarton of Gort, sixth Viscount Gort, and the role he played as Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary force at Dunkirk.
Lord Gort’s promotion to Governor of Malta and Gibralta in 1942 was exciting to read with the often hand written documents and mention of the Prime Minister of England Sir Winston Churchill, Louis Mountbatten and King George V1
Every little girl dreams of being a Princess in a Castle. We grow up with stories of Snow White and Cinderella but no one really believes that they can live in a Castle – even for a short time.
Today I felt like a Princess. As I watched the tables being laid, the flowers being arranged, the food being plated up and people running to and fro to ensure that everything was ready for my High Tea to take place in Enniscorthy Castle, I felt like a Princess.
John Prendergast, my 5x Grandfather died intestate in 1833. In Windsor, Australia, shortly before his death, he distributed all of his possessions to his children. Why did he die without leaving a Will? Was it to save his family the expense of paying death taxes? Was it so that he could distribute his property in the way that he was assured that each beneficiary would receive what he wanted them to inherit? Or, as a United Irishman who was transported to Australia for his involvement in the 1798 Rebellion, had he memorialized a Will in Ireland prior to being arrested in 1799. Was he afraid the authorities would tie his Australian Will to his Irish Will had he left one in Australia?Continue reading “Interesting discovery in Dublin and at the National Archives of Ireland”→
Clans and Surnames Conference, Nenagh, Tipperary Ireland
Last year with the help of the lovely Rachel Spano, Senior Archivist of the State Library of Queensland, Australia, I was able to pass on techniques for Preservation, Conservation and Restoration at a Workshop that I conducted where Rachel Spano participated in an outreach skype session.
When I held the Workshop at the Whitsundays Regional Council Library in Cannonvale little did I realize that just 4 months later, Cyclone Debbie would cause catastrophic damage to the Whitsundays and demolish the Cannonvale Library and the Whitsunday Family History Library in Proserpine. Continue reading “The importance of taking care of your family history”→