Welcome

Tá fáilte romhat.  Haere mai.  Welcome.

I have set up this site so that I can share my historical work more easily.  Please feel free to download the files provided here and use them to inform your own research.  All that I ask is that you acknowledge your source if you do use something I have written.

I’ve cheekily called it The Brosnan because I was appointed Ceann Fine or clan chieftain by the world gathering of Brosnans (and Brosnahans) in Castleisland in June 2013.  This doesn’t really give me any powers or privileges but I am very proud of the honour.

I used to work for a couple of English aristocrats and they had the privilege of signing their names with just their surname.  Lord Carrington’s personal surname was Carington as I recall so there’s a nice precedent for embracing two forms of your own name.  And so, without wanting to offend any other Brosnans, I’m heading this web page The Brosnan.

Of course all of us are really O’Brosnacháin (or Ní Brosnacháin for the girls) anyway.

Regards

Seán Brosnahan

Dunedin, New Zealand

Seán Brosnahan

Seán Brosnahan

23 comments on “Welcome

  1. Phillip Bell says:

    Hi Sean
    Do you know anything of the story of Mary Sullivan who married Hughie Tim Brosnahan? She is buried in Temuka with her mother Catherine Sullivan, not far from her brother Eugene. The only info I really have is from the photo in your book with Hughie Tim and her children. I am curious to know why she is not buried with her husband. I imagine the Sullivans an Brosnahans were close, coming from a similar area in Ireland and moving to New Zealand at a similar time and settling in the Kerrytown area.

    Best wishes
    Phillip Bell

    • thebrosnan says:

      Sorry to be so long in replying Phillip. I was waiting for a chance to dredge through my old research material. Meantime, another Sullivan descendant has gotten in touch with me and they have lots of the family history all put together. Just checking with them for permission to forward it to you, then you can hopefully link up and share your Sullivan interests.

      Cheers

      Seān

  2. Bernard Hempseed says:

    Here is a link to Youtube for a song about the Brosnan family in Kerrytown, South Island, New Zealand.

  3. Daniel Brosnan says:

    Love that you set this up. Any thoughts as to when the next Clan Gathering is going to be?

    • thebrosnan says:

      Thanks Daniel. I’ll be putting up more info and more photos from time to time, trying to build and share knowledge about our Brosnan/Brosnahan forbears. As for a Clan Gathering, I see that last year’s planned East Kerry Roots Festival was cancelled so I guess these events are pretty hard to stage. In 2012 there was an Irish government programme, The Gathering, to entice diasporic Irish home for events like the clan gatherings. Our Brosnan one was chosen to be one of the Kerry families highlighted as a Gathering event. If it succeeded in its aims, there might be a repeat of the government programme in years to come, though whether that would include a Brosnan Clan Gathering is harder to say. I think it would be down to the ‘home people’ who did such a marvellous job of the last one. When we came back to New Zealand in 2012 there was quite a bit of enthusiasm among the New Zealand contingent for a New Zealand gathering event, for all the Brosnan/Brosnahan branches out here. I felt a bit of responsibility to organise such an event but soon realised it was more than I could manage at this stage of my life. The website was my alternative way of being of service to the clan and I hope it is fulfilling that purpose. Meanwhile, the field is wide open for anyone who wants to organise gatherings here or elsewhere.

      Cheers

      Seán

  4. Christine Brosnan says:

    Hi Sean
    I am from Wgtn NZ I am related to the Brosnan’s of Leamydoody and have been researching the family for a number of years.
    Do you know of anyone else that is researching this family

    • thebrosnan says:

      Dear Christine

      I don’t know of anyone researching Brosnans from Leamydoody but hopefully if there are, they will see your comment on this website and get in touch with you directly. You might also address the question to the Brosnan Clan Gathering Facebook page. It has a lot more ‘followers’ than I do.

      Best wishes

      Seán

  5. Barbara M S Smith says:

    Just found your website as I have been researching my great grandmother Margaret Mahoney nee Brosnan, daughter of John and Johanna Brosnan of Castle Island, Co. Kerry. She and Daniel came to New Zealand on the Edwin Fox and married in Wellington in 1875. They had many children, the youngest son Timothy Richard who died January 1956 being my grandfather. Daniel and Margaret eventually settled in Canterbury and are buried at Linwood cemetery in Christchurch. Margaret’s brother was Timothy John Brosnan who married Catherine Deen in 1881 and I think there may have been another family in Ashburton. Any help would be greatly appreciated about the rest of the family

    • thebrosnan says:

      Dear Barbara

      I’m sorry to have been so long to acknowledge your query. Put it down to the long holiday break and being away from my research material. I have been looking through notes and letters from other people in response to my book, some of which date back to the early 1990s. I thought I had some material on some Ashburton Brosnans, and the name Deen sounded familiar. Alas there is no such reference in my old files. I do remember, however, being contacted by an Ashburton genealogist called Judy Smitheran who had Brosnan connections as I recall. I don’t know if she is still there but she might well be able to cast some light on an Ashburton family for you from her local knowledge. Part of the reason for launching this website is so that people can read it and offer further information. That has already happened in a number of cases so perhaps someone connected with your family will see your comment here and get in touch. I hope so anyway.

      Regards

      Seán

  6. Liz Shaw says:

    Sean, I am sure we have had contact many years ago. My GG Grandmother was Deborah Brosnan married Patrick Bowler. They had two boys called John 1) 30th may 1849 2) 26 may 1850. A son Patrick ( my G Grandfather) 11 July 1852. Michael 15th November 1854 and Margaret 11 November 1857. There is a photo I have of Deborah Bowler nee Brosnan taken in Hobart where her daughter Margaret was a nun. I have also found a marriage record for a Margaret Bowler to a John Brosnahan in 1871 which makes Margaret 14 years old. All records i have are from the Parish records in Firies. Did Deborah and Patrick ( he was dead by 1859) ever come to New Zealand? Margaret joined the convent from New Zealand where her parents were farmers. So she said when she joined the convent. BUT Deborah is in Ireland in the 1901 census living with her daughter Mary Hussey and Marys son Patrick. If Margaret married then why would she enter the convent in her maiden name?? Why is she buried facing AWAY from the church in Tasmania?? Did she confess something we don’t know about? So many questions. Any help greatly appreciated.

    • thebrosnan says:

      Dear Liz

      I think it unlikely that Patrick and Deborah Bowler came to New Zealand from Kerry pre-1859. It’s possible, of course, but unlikely given the small number of Irish immigrants coming to the country in that period. If Deborah came after Patrick’s death, she presumably brought the children with her and might show up in immigration records. These survive to a greater or lesser extent depending on where in New Zealand they might have arrived. Immigration was not organised centrally in that period but was a provincial responsibility. Are there any indications in your material of any specific locations in New Zealand? Libby (above) mentions that Margaret’s two brothers both came to Wanganui and that is in the North Island. I’m not very familiar with that region’s immigration history I’m afraid. It was a war-torn area for key periods in the nineteenth century. It could have been linked to both New Plymouth and Wellington as immigrant destinations. Perhaps someone reading will know more.

      regards

      Seán

      • Liz Shaw says:

        Hello Sean,

        Thank you for your reply,

        No they didn’t come that early, I am sorry if I gave you the impression I thought that. I do know one of Deborah’s son’s John B 26 th May 1850 in Kerry Ireland ( I am sure it was you who found the records for this family for me in Firies parish church) came to NZ as follows
        Name: John Bowler
        Event Type: Immigration
        Event Date: 23 Dec 1879
        Event Place: Otago, New Zealand
        Gender: Male
        Marital Status: Single
        Nationality: Kerry
        Occupation: Farm Labourer
        Departure Port: Clyde
        Departure Place: Clyde
        Departure Date: 1879
        Arrival Port: Otago
        Arrival Place: Otago
        Digital Folder Number: 004412133 , Image Number: 00016

        Deborah’s daughter, ( who later became Sister Vincent in Tasmania) came earlier:
        Name: Margaret Bowler
        Event Type: Immigration
        Event Date: 22 Aug 1875
        Event Place: Canterbury, New Zealand
        Gender: Female
        Nationality: Kerry
        Occupation: housemaid
        Departure Date: 1875
        Arrival Port: Canterbury
        Arrival Place: Canterbury
        Digital Folder Number: 004412107 , Image Number: 00031

        Their brother Patrick also came to NZ but I can find no record of him arriving. John and Patrick both settled in Taranaki. Margaret ( sister Vincent) went to Tasmania and I have a picture of her mother Deborah taken in Hobart, which must mean she went there. Margaret entered the convent from NZ and said her parents were farmers in New Zealand. Deborah is back in Ireland without Her husband Patrick or possibly John in 1901.

        Census Ireland 1901
        Deborah Bowler
        75
        Abt 1826
        Head
        Town/Street – Gearha
        District Molahiffe
        County Kerry
        Deborah 75
        Mary Hussey – daughter – 50
        Patrick Hussey – grand son – 27

        As you can see both John and his sister arrived in Canterbury and I feel there must have been a connection to the Kerrytown Brosnans. I have also found a POSSIBLE marriage for Margaret to John Brosnan??

        Marriage of John Brosnahan and Margaret Bowler 4th February 1871
        Name JOHN BROSNAHAN MARGARET BOWLER
        Address GEARHA NR
        Occupation NR NR
        Father NR BROSNAHAN NR NR
        Mother NR NR NR NR
        Further details in the record
        Priest NR
        Husband Age NR
        Husband Denomination RC
        Husband Marital Status NR
        Wife Age NR
        Wife Marital Status NR
        Husband’s Father’s Occupation NR
        Wife’s Father’s Occupation NR
        Witness 1 PATRICK BOWLER
        Witness 2 MICHAEL MCAULIFFE
        About the record
        Book Number Page Entry Number Record_Identifier
        N/R 101 N/R KY-RC-MA-44774

        Margaret died 9th dec 1919 in Tasmania and is the only nun buried with her feet facing the church? Could this possibly be because she confessed on her deathbed to having a living husband? But that is not my question here, I have looked everywhere I can think of to find a record of her parents leaving Ireland to come to NZ or even Tasmania. But nothing at all.
        Possible siblings for Deborah based on her sponsorship of various children and as witness to marriages and cross referencing the sponsors for her own children are:
        UNKNOWN BROSNAN are:

        2. i. DEBORAH2 BROSNAN, b. Abt. 1826, Gearha Co Kerry Ireland.

        ii. MARY BROSNAN.

        3. iii. JEREMIAH BROSNAN.

        iv. BRIDGET BROSNAN.

        v. MICHAEL BROSNAN.

        vi. TIMOTHY J BROSNAN.

        4. vii. CATHERINE BROSNAN.

        viii. HONORA BROSNAN.

        5. ix. CORNELIUS BROSNAN.

        x. MATHEW BROSNAN.

        xi. BARTHOLOMEW BROSNAN.

        I know the Brosnans ( and most Irish) repeated Christian names which makes searching for the right people a nightmare, but do you think there may be a connection to the Kerrytown Brosnans?

        Cheers Liz

        P.S. The Libby you refer to and I are both descended from Deborahs son Patrick and we have been trying to get this lot sorted out since about 1998

      • Liz Shaw says:

        Hello Sean,

        Thank you for your reply,

        No they didn’t come that early, I am sorry if I gave you the impression I thought that. I do know one of Deborah’s son’s John B 26 th May 1850 in Kerry Ireland ( I am sure it was you who found the records for this family for me in Firies parish church) came to NZ as follows Name: John Bowler Event Type: Immigration Event Date: 23 Dec 1879 Event Place: Otago, New Zealand Gender: Male Marital Status: Single Nationality: Kerry Occupation: Farm Labourer Departure Port: Clyde Departure Place: Clyde Departure Date: 1879 Arrival Port: Otago Arrival Place: Otago Digital Folder Number: 004412133 , Image Number: 00016

        Deborah’s daughter, ( who later became Sister Vincent in Tasmania) came earlier: Name: Margaret Bowler Event Type: Immigration Event Date: 22 Aug 1875 Event Place: Canterbury, New Zealand Gender: Female Nationality: Kerry Occupation: housemaid Departure Date: 1875 Arrival Port: Canterbury Arrival Place: Canterbury Digital Folder Number: 004412107 , Image Number: 00031

        Their brother Patrick also came to NZ but I can find no record of him arriving. John and Patrick both settled in Taranaki. Margaret ( sister Vincent) went to Tasmania and I have a picture of her mother Deborah taken in Hobart, which must mean she went there. Margaret entered the convent from NZ and said her parents were farmers in New Zealand. Deborah is back in Ireland without Her husband Patrick or possibly John in 1901.

        Census Ireland 1901 Deborah Bowler 75 Abt 1826 Head Town/Street – Gearha District Molahiffe County Kerry Deborah 75 Mary Hussey – daughter – 50 Patrick Hussey – grand son – 27

        As you can see both John and his sister arrived in Canterbury and I feel there must have been a connection to the Kerrytown Brosnans. I have also found a POSSIBLE marriage for Margaret to John Brosnan??

        Marriage of John Brosnahan and Margaret Bowler 4th February 1871 Name JOHN BROSNAHAN MARGARET BOWLER Address GEARHA NR Occupation NR NR Father NR BROSNAHAN NR NR Mother NR NR NR NR Further details in the record Priest NR Husband Age NR Husband Denomination RC Husband Marital Status NR Wife Age NR Wife Marital Status NR Husband’s Father’s Occupation NR Wife’s Father’s Occupation NR Witness 1 PATRICK BOWLER Witness 2 MICHAEL MCAULIFFE About the record Book Number Page Entry Number Record_Identifier N/R 101 N/R KY-RC-MA-44774

        Margaret died 9th dec 1919 in Tasmania and is the only nun buried with her feet facing the church? Could this possibly be because she confessed on her deathbed to having a living husband? But that is not my question here, I have looked everywhere I can think of to find a record of her parents leaving Ireland to come to NZ or even Tasmania. But nothing at all. Possible siblings for Deborah based on her sponsorship of various children and as witness to marriages and cross referencing the sponsors for her own children are: UNKNOWN BROSNAN are:

        2. i. DEBORAH2 BROSNAN, b. Abt. 1826, Gearha Co Kerry Ireland.

        ii. MARY BROSNAN.

        3. iii. JEREMIAH BROSNAN.

        iv. BRIDGET BROSNAN.

        v. MICHAEL BROSNAN.

        vi. TIMOTHY J BROSNAN.

        4. vii. CATHERINE BROSNAN.

        viii. HONORA BROSNAN.

        5. ix. CORNELIUS BROSNAN.

        x. MATHEW BROSNAN.

        xi. BARTHOLOMEW BROSNAN.

        I know the Brosnans ( and most Irish) repeated Christian names which makes searching for the right people a nightmare, but do you think there may be a connection to the Kerrytown Brosnans?

        Cheers Liz

        P.S. The Libby you refer to and I are both descended from Deborahs son Patrick and we have been trying to get this lot sorted out since about 1998

      • thebrosnan says:

        Dear Liz, sorry I never replied to this final question last year. I suppose that’s because I really don’t know the answer. It seems likely that since all the Brosnans and Brosnahans came from pretty much the same place in Ireland,news about New Zealand as an emigrant destination would have spread among them from letters sent home by those who had come out here. In that sense, there would be a connection between all of them. Closer familial relationships are much harder to pin down. But hey, we’re all Brosnans/Brosnahans, so why not let’s assume so?

  7. Tom Brosnan says:

    just browsing through your website again Sean, it is getting more impressive by the day. Hope you and Ray and family are doing well and recovering somewhat from the passing away of Ray’s wife.
    I found the correspondence on Poff and Barrett very interesting as the Barretts lived about a half mile from us in Dromulton about 100 years ago. A number of years ago Paddy Daly a descendant of them erected a memorial in Dromulton to them. Slán go tamall,

    Tom Brosnan

    • thebrosnan says:

      Thanks Tom, appreciate the feedback. I’ve meaning to add some more but struggling to find the time. Dad was doing well but then he broke his hip. He’s gradually regaining hi mobility but that’s quite a setback. Great to see you linking up with someone with Kerry information via this web page. Makes it all seem worthwhile.

      Seán

  8. Denis Brosnan says:

    I am the son of Denis Brosnan from Castleisland (1924)
    My daughter honored me and all of the Brosnans by naming my grandson Brosnan Patrick …..
    We live on.

  9. Matt Pomeroy says:

    Hi Sean,

    We are working on a project that aims to publish a photograph of every member of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force that served overseas during WWI (we currently have over 22,000 portraits of the approx. 97,500, so a long way to go!) We were wondering if you may know of any photographs of the 6 Brosnan men and 19 Brosnahan men that served?

    You can see more on the project at http://www.onwardproject.co.nz

    Also by chance, you wouldn’t happen to be the Sean Brosnahan that curated the “Wall of Memories” display at Toitu in 2009?

    Kind Regards,

    Matt Pomeroy
    The Onward Project
    onwardnzef.book@gmail.com

    • thebrosnan says:

      Hello Matt, yes that was me and I remember you been very helpful on numerous occasions. I was aware of your project and had been meaning to get in touch about the images I have. You will see the Brosnahan ones I have in the photos section of this site. Feel free to use any of them – or will the files be too small? If so I’d be happy to send them to you by email. It just so happens that my next posting here is going to be about Clan Brosnan members who served in WW1. I’m hoping to solicit more information from any readers that I might have about Brosnans/Brosnahans both her and overseas who served in the war. I have just been on a tour of the WW1 battlefields in Gallipoli and along the Western Front for the Museum making AVs about the Otago troops for our forthcoming exhibition about Dunedin and the war “Dunedin’s Great War”. The post will have a link to the blog I kept through that journey too.

      Cheers

      Seán

      • Matt Pomeroy says:

        Hi Seán,

        We would very much like to use the Brosnahan/Breen pics you have. As they are all full length portraits, it would be great to be able to get larger files by email. We have a standard format where we crop to a head and shoulder composition, so with the full length shot we start losing definition with smaller files.

        If it helps at all, we have recorded the following newspaper photographs of Brosnan/Brosnahan’s who served in the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force:

        11/742 Michael Joseph Brosnahan – Otago Witness 29/9/15
        6/3639 Timothy John Brosnahan – Otago Witness 30/8/16
        45060 Arthur William Brosnan – Auckland Weekly News 3/1/18
        6/858 Reginald Kenneth B. Brosnan – New Zealand’s Roll of Honour 1915

        Cheers,

        Matt
        onwardnzef.book@gmail.com

  10. Neil Brosnan says:

    Comhghairdeachas dhuit, a Cheann Fíne. Well done, Seán. I look forward to keeping tabs on you.

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