Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Catherine found at last

Our 3xgreat grandmother Catherine has proved to be something of an enigma.

When she died on 3 May 1878, 2xgreat grandfather Thomas Henry Suddaby was just sixteen months old, so he must have had very few personal memories of his mother. Even the possibility of hearing stories about her was cut short when his father Henry died just a few days after Thomas' fifth birthday.

Nevertheless when Thomas had a daughter in 1897, he gave her his mother's name, Catherine Corry Suddaby. With just one exception each of the Suddaby's 8 children had their maternal grandmother's family name as a given name.

It would be more accurate to say that that the children had a name that Thomas believed to be that of his lost mother. It seems that the source of his information was a record of the marriage in 1888 between Henry Suddaby and Catherine Corry. Unfortunately almost all the other evidence is conflicting.

When Henry registered the details of Catherine's death at Quilpie, he stated that she was the daughter of James Currie and Mary O'Donnell of County Armagh, Ireland. There is no record that either of these people were ever in Queensland, so Catherine must have been an immigrant. But there are numerous possibilities including a Catherine Corrie born at sea and even a Catherine Coary.

Henry provided one other piece of information in recording Catherine's untimely death. It was that she had lived in Queensland for approximately 3½ years.

The continuing program to index the migration records held by the Queensland State Archives has now made available (in csv files) lists of all assisted immigrants from 1848 to 1912. That opens up the possibility of some brute-force genealogy. I could download all migrants with names at the beginning of the alphabet and filter that list to extract all females with family name C*, who arrived May 1874 to April 1875 aged 17 to 19 years. After that, all it should take would be a line-by-line examination …

Unfortunately the downloaded file does not have a gender field and there were 284 young adults immigrants in that year. Adding a filter of C* for given name reduced the list to just 9 people including four Catherines - Carty, Connelly, Corrigan and Curry.

So there she was: one of the 89 single female passengers on the Gauntlet that arrived at Maryborough on New Years Day of 1875. They had sailed from London on 4 October 1874 under the supervision of the Matron, Miss Collins, along with 87 single men and just 16 family groups (7 of whom lost a child on the voyage).

Now the speculations can be swept aside and Catherine given her true history. But how should I record the spelling of her name from among the myriad options? That is an easy choice. She is Catherine Corry, just how Thomas wanted his mother to be remembered.

1 comment:

  1. My Corry from Ireland became Curry in Austalia so a Curry he is.


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