The mysterious death of Elizabeth Pendergast(nee Dwyer)

John Pendergast, son of John Prendergast Snr. married Elizabeth Dwyer on 1st June, 1824.

They produced 10 children.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Cornilius and Harriett Dwyer.

It has always puzzled me how Elizabeth died. Records show that Elizabeth died on December 6th, 1847 and was buried on 8th December, 1847. Her oldest son Thomas died one week later and was buried 14th December, 1847.

The rumour was that they both died in a fire. What sort of fire? Was it a house fire or a bush fire?  It could have been either at that time of the year in Campbelltown.

When I visited the Vault of Mrs Pendergast, wife of John at St. John’s cemetery, Campbelltown, I was puzzled by the inscription on the side of the Vault.

It read “It is a Holy and Wholesome Thought to pray for the Dead that they may be loosed from Sins” Maccabees X11. 46. I have never seen this on the side of a Vault before and am wondering what the significance of this might be.

It is so sad that they both died before Christmas 1847, a time that would normally be filled with joy and excitement for the other 9 children.

It is even sadder when you discover that John Pendergast was one of those named on a Grant to build the St. John’s Catholic Church and Cemetery at Campbelltown the year before on 31st March, 1846. Little did he know that his darling wife and precious son would be one of the first to be buried there the following year!

To research Elizabeth further I visited the Campbelltown Library on my 2019 visit to Sydney but could find no information related to Elizabeth or Thomas’s death.

Vault of Elizabeth Pendergast (nee Dwyer) and Thomas Pendergast her son.

Wording on Elizabeth Pendergast(nee Dwyer) Vault.

Following the Prendergast trail down the East Coast of Australia.

The Quest to find Prendergast family continues.

Genealogy begins with you! To ensure that no stone is left unturned, we begin the challenge of putting the family history pieces together with the information that we already know but may not have collated about our family. Our siblings, parents and grandparents are our most immediate source of information.

We then move on to the next generation who by the time we commence our genealogy research may have passed on and we are relying on discovering details of their lives through older living relatives or at the various on line sites or at various repositories.

The most accurate way to gather information is to visit your living relatives and in a relaxed atmosphere, talk about their memories of family members. Along the way they may dig up documents to show you that you can then photo copy and add to your research. Nothing beats sighting a primary document.

It is always a good idea to let your relatives and the various repositories know of your plan to visit well in advance. Tell them what you are hoping to discover and enlist their valuable help. Once you have set your dates ask them to keep these dates free so that you don’t miss seeing them as they have prior engagements for these dates. This saves a lot of time and disappointment in not seeing that very special person that you really want to find that important detail from!

And so, the quest to find Prendergast family continues.

I decided that the fastest, most accurate and fun way to piece together the missing parts of my Australian branch of the Prendergast family is to visit them, sit down over a cup of tea and chat about what they know of the Prendergast family.

I have let them know that I am coming to visit through other relatives, emails and telephone calls. I have advised the dates that I will be in the region and when booking accommodation in these regions have let the owners know of my quest to find Prendergast family. Already I have had success!I have a team of very enthusiastic Prendergast family members, Archivists, Librarians, Conservationists and even local Mayors awaiting our visits. This is so exciting.


As you can see from the Map above this will be one epic journey. We will travel through 4 states, stay in 12 locations and stop every two hours while we are driving. We will cover more than 6,000 kilometers in 27 days and we will stay in 12 different types of accommodation. Everything from Riverside cottages, City Executive Apartments, B&B farm stays, Self catered duplexes, country homes, grand country homes to hotels and Motels. Continue reading “Following the Prendergast trail down the East Coast of Australia.”

Sydney Family Genealogy Research


Visit to State Records of New South Wales.

Friday 4th November, 2016.

Excited to be visiting the New South Wales State Records today, I was running on Adrenalin. I had wanted to visit State Records for so long to conduct research. I needed to check out some details that did not make sense.image16

My walk to Town Hall station was very enjoyable as the weather is just beautiful. Warm and sunny with a gentle breeze – a perfect spring day. My train trip to Penrith from Town Hall went very smoothly. Continue reading “Sydney Family Genealogy Research”