O’Regan Family History from Limerick to Emerald Hill Melbourne

Map of irish Counties 2
Irish Counties Showing Co Limerick and Co Cork

The O’Regans are part of my mother’s family. Thomas Dobbins O’Regan is my ggggrandfather.

Thomas O’Regan and Grace Dobbins were the parents of Thomas Dobbins O’Regan. On his son Thomas Dobbins O’Regan’s death certificate his father’s occupation was given as teacher.

Thomas Dobbins O’Regan was born about 1819 in Co Limerick Ireland. He came out to Tasmania Australia about 1838.  He married Johannah Walsh in 1842 in Melbourne Victoria Australia in the Parish of St Francis.  At this stage Victoria was a part of NSW. Elenor and Michael McNamara witnessed their marriage.

Thomas Dobbins O'Regan and Johanna Walsh Marriage 1842_croppedagain
Marriage Certificate of Thomas Dobbins O’Regan and Johannah Walsh 1842

 

Johannah Walsh was born in Co Cork Ireland and had spent 38 years in Victoria at the time of her death. She must have emigrated about 1840 at age 20. As yet I haven’t been able to find any immigration records for her.

Thomas and Johannah had nine children:
William Augustus born 1844 and died in 1883 in Prahran Melbourne;
Cecilia Agnes born 1846 and died the following year after an accidental scalding;

Thomas Joseph born 1848 died 1899 in St Kilda Melbourne; John born 1859; Sarah Ann born 1851 South Melbourne and died in Prahran 9 May 1895; Edmond born c1853 died 17 Dec 1876; Annie born c1857; Grace born c1860 and Mary Anne. At the time of Johannah’s death in 1878 Mary Ann, John and Edmund were deceased.

Johannah O’Regan nee Walsh died age 58 in 1878.

Johannah O'Regan 1878 Death Certificate
Death Certificate of Johannah O’Regan Emerald Hill Melbourne 1878

Thomas Dobbins O’Regan died in South Melbourne on 20 May 1888 .

Thomas Dobbins O'Regan Death Cert 1888_cropped
Death Certificate of Thomas Dobbins O’Regan May 1888 Melbourne

His occupation is given as gentleman. He was wealthy and lived off the rent from The Australia Hotel in Bourke St in the center of Melbourne.  He spent five years in Tasmania and forty five years in Victoria. He must have came out to Tasmania at about age 19 around 1838. Family stories say he owned a silver mine in Tasmania. He married Johannah Walsh shortly after moving to Victoria in 1842.

When Thomas Dobbins O’Regan died in 1888 his estate was valued at 14,641 pounds. He was an extremely wealthy man. His marriage certificate has very few details and no occupation. He was listed in The Victoria Post office Directory of 1869 as living in Emerald Hill (South Melbourne) but no occupation. He was in Victoria during the Gold Rush which started in 1851 so he may have made his money then.

In the Australia Directory for Port Phillip 1847 Thomas O’Regan is listed as a farrier in Wrights Lane. Wright’s Lane extended from Lonsdale St to Little Bourke Street and was named before 1847 after an early settler. It was later renamed Hardware Lane.

O'Regan's Shoeing Business Moves Argus 12 Feb 1858 CR
O’Regan’s Shoeing Business Moves Notice in The Argus 12 Feb 1858

In the same directory is Peter McSweeney (listed as Peter M’Sweeney) a cooper working in Bourke St. Peter McSweeney’s son John Vincent married Thomas O’Regan’s daughter Sarah Ann.

The O’Regans and McSweeneys both lived in Emerald Hill in later years, so again there is a connection. In the Electoral Roll for Victoria 1856  Thomas O’Regan, a farrier, is registered to vote. His residence is a freehold and is off Bourke St in Melbourne in St Patrick’s Division.

On his daughter Sarah’s marriage certificate 1871 his occupation was given as veterinary surgeon.

At the time of his death  in 1888 he owned The Australia Hotel on Bourke St in the center of Melbourne which returned a rent of 350 pounds annually. It was leased to a Mrs Honor Bennett at the time of his death and valued at 14,000 pounds. Whether he was a publican himself we don’t know. There is no occupation given on his marriage certificate. He lived at 16 Bridport St South Melbourne in 1888 with his unmarried daughters Annie and Grace. He also owned this property which was valued at 650 pounds.

Australia Hotel
The Australia Hotel 62 Bourke St West Melbourne First of the right with horse and carriage in front. c1869

His will which can be seen at PROV Probate and Wills Online. The beneficiaries of his will were his children and two grandchildren. His grandaughter Hannah Ann Teresa McSweeney daughter of Sarah O’Regan was my ggrandmother. She was called Annie.

There is much more on the McSweeney family from Co Cork Ireland in this post.

Annie McSweeney cropped
Annie McSweeney daughter of Sarah Ann O’Regan

Below is the will of Thomas O’Regan who died in 1888.

O'Regan Thomas Will 1888 page 1

O'Regan Thomas Will 1888 page 2 O'Regan Thomas Will 1888 page 3 O'Regan Thomas Will 1888 page 4

16 Bridport St South Melbourne
Bridport St South Melbourne 2011 middle house likely no 16 where O’Regans lived

Thomas and Johannah O’Regan were buried in Melbourne General Cemetery.

Thomas O'Regan Melb Cemetery
O’Regan Family Grave Melbourne General Cemetery

In the O’Regan family grave these members of Thomas Dobbins O’Regan are buried with him. His son Edmund who died in 1876 aged 25, his wife Johanna aged 58 buried Mar 1978. Thomas Dobbins O’Regan himself buried May 1888, Sarah McSweeney his daughter buried May 1895 and his great grand child Babe Cook stillborn buried August 1904. These are all in Compartment D grave no 354.

In Compartment D grave 355, which I am assuming is in the same family plot shown in the photo, are buried William A O’Regan aged 38 buried on 5 Sept 1883, Thomas Dobbins O’Regan’s daughters Annie O’Regan aged 56 buried on 24 April 1918 and Grace O’Regan aged 86 buried on 16 Nov 1943.

Sarah O’Regan married John Vincent McSweeney, a school teacher, in about 1869 in South Melbourne and they had one child, Annie Teresa in 1872 in Camperdown Victoria.

In 2012 an O’Regan descendant commissioned research into the O’Regan family in Co Limerick. The researcher tried to find Thomas O’Regan who married Grace Dobbins. She wasn’t able to find anything conclusive but some of her observations were interesting. I have summarised below her observations and findings:

Apparently the birth dates given in census, marriage and death records are often incorrect, as people in the nineteenth century were often unsure of their age and year of birth and so ages were guessed at.

Illiteracy and human error could affect the accuracy of all information given on nineteenth century records and especially the recording of names involved. Even by the mid-nineteenth century less than half the population could read or write in Ireland. It seems that the priest recording names would not ask the family to spell the name but would guess at the spelling hence the variations in surname within the same family.

O’Regan could be recorded as Regan, Reagan, Reaghan, Reygan or Reegan. The prefix O’ was arbitrarily added and dropped on records within families. Also due to the use of the cursive script Regan could be mistakenly transcribed as Rynne, Ryan and Ruane. Dobbins could be recorded as Dobbin, Dobbyn, Dobins or Dubbin. The surname Dobbins and the christian name Grace would be quite unusual in nineteenth century Limerick.

It was not possible to find a baptismal record for a Thomas O’Regan born to Grace Dobbins and Thomas O’Regan in Limerick from 1814-1823. A considerable number of baptisms were not recorded or the O’Regans could have been living in a parish which does not have surviving records for this time.

There were also no records found of other children born to a Thomas O’Regan and Grace Dobbins in Co Limerick.

A search for the marriage of a Thomas O’Regan and Grace Dobbins also proved negative but there is a marriage record of a William O’Regan and a Grace Dobbins in Limerick City in 1811 which took place on Wed 3 July 1811 in the Roman Catholic parish of St Mary’s in the Diocese of Limerick in Limerick city. It is possible the priest mistakenly recorded the groom’s christian name as the name Grace Dobbins is so rare in Limerick records. The witnesses to this marriage were named as Mathew Bowin and John Power.

The researcher then tried to track Thomas O’Regan senior using the information given on his son’s death certificate that he was a teacher. In Bassett’s Directory of 1884  Limerick city she did come across a Mr O’Regan listed as an arithmetic and calligraphy teacher at the Jesuit’s Sacred heart College at the Crescent.

It was not possible to find any baptismal or death records for Thomas O’Regan or Grace Dobbins.

Thomas O'Regan Descendant Report Sept 2015

McSweeney Family History, Cork to Emerald Hill, Victoria Australia

Map of irish Counties 2
Map of Irish Counties Showing Co Cork where Peter McSweeney came from

Peter McSweeney was the first of this family to come out to Australia. He was born in Co Cork Ireland about 1801 and came to NSW in 1838. He was a cooper. His father Michael McSweeney was described as a master cooper on Peter’s death certificate. The surname was often written as Sweeny and occasionally Swiney.

Peter McSweeney married Hannah Meehan on 7 June 1838 in St Patrick’s Parish Cork City Co Cork Ireland. The witnesses were Joseph and Mary O’Keeffe.

Peter McSweeney Arrival 1838
Arrival of Peter and Hannah McSweeney on the Calcutta 1838 NSW Family Search.org Card

The above card is from the records of The Latter Day Saints. Through Ancestry.com I found the passenger lists for the “Calcutta” and some of the information is different. Hannah’s maiden name has always been given as Meehan and I suspect Newboldt is a transcription error. Below are the ship’s list entries for Peter and Hannah McSweeney.

Hannah McSweeney Ships Entry The Calcutta 1838cropped
The “Calcutta”Arrived Oct 1838 Sydney NSW
Peter McSweeney Ships List Calcuttacropped
Entry for Peter McSweeney on the Calcutta Oct 1838 Sydney

The Calcutta’s passengers were all highly skilled bounty immigrants, their fare being 15 pounds each. Their occupations ranged from blacksmiths, plasterers, carpenters to one farmer. There were no laborers on this ship. Peter McSweeney was a cooper.

“Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden staved vessels of a conical form, of greater length than breadth, bound together with hoops and possessing flat ends or heads. Examples of a cooper’s work include but are not limited to casks, barrels, buckets, tubs, butter churns,hogsheads, firkins, tierces, rundlets, puncheons, pipes, tuns, butts, pins and breakers.

Traditionally there were four divisions in the cooper’s craft. The “dry” or “slack” cooper made containers that would be used to ship dry goods such as cereals, nails, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. The “dry-tight” cooper made casks designed to keep dry goods in and moisture out. Gunpowder and flour casks are examples of a “drytight” cooper’s work. The “white cooper” made straight staved containers like washtubs, buckets and butter churns, that would hold water and other liquids, but did not allow shipping of the liquids. Usually there was no bending of wood involved in white cooperage. The “wet” or “tight” cooper made casks for long- term storage and transportation of liquids that could even be under pressure, as with beer.”  Wikipedia

He married Hannah Meehan in Cork about 1834. They had seven children in Australia: Mary, Catherine, John, John Vincent, Eugene and Hannah. They lived in Emerald Hill now called South Melbourne.

The Australia Directory for Port Phillip 1847 has him listed as Peter M’Sweeney a cooper in Bourke St Melbourne. In the 1866 Victoria Post Office Directory he was living at Three-chain Rd Emerald Hill. The 1869 Post Office Directory of Victoria has him listed as a cooper in Emerald Hill.

He owned some property and in his will he is described as a gentleman. His estate was valued at 788 pounds. He owned land in Bridport St Emerald Hill and also two two storey houses of six rooms each. He also owned land in Gold St Collingwood and a four room cottage 17 Albert Rd Emerald Hill.

Peter McSweeney died on 7 Mar 1872, aged 70. He resided at 17 Albert Rd. South Melbourne and is buried in Melbourne Cemetery.

Peter McSweeney Death Cert 1872 cropped
Death Certificate of Peter McSweeney March 1872 Melbourne

In his will Peter McSweeney left his two houses in Bridport St South Melbourne to his daughter Hannah.

Peter McSweeney’s Will Mar 1872

His wife Hannah died the same year shortly after her husband.

Hannah McSweeney 1872 Death cropped
Death Certificate of Hannah McSweeney nee Meehan 1872 Melbourne

In Hannah’s will five living children are mentioned, Mary married to Frederick Pearce, James, Catherine, John and Hannah. So it appears that Eugene is deceased by 1872 and perhaps Micheal James is being called James. Money is given to John Vincent, Mary and Hannah. Michael James, Catherine and Eugene are not included.

Peter & Hannah McSweeney 1872 Melb Gen Cem.
Gravestone of Hannah and Peter McSweeney and their son John Vincent McSweeney Melbourne Cemetery

Their son John Vincent McSweeney married my gggrandmother Sarah Ann O’Regan on June 4 1871 at St Peters and Pauls Catholic Church in Emerald Hill. She was 19 and John 21 and a teacher.

John Vincent McSweeney and Sarah O'Regan Marriage 1871cropped
Marriage Certificate of John Vincent McSweeney and Sarah Ann O’Regan 1871 Melbourne Victoria Australia
St Peter and Paul's Catholic Church South Melbourne
St Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church South Melbourne where Sarah O’Regan and John McSweeney Married
St Peter & Paul's Church Interior
Interior of St Peter & Paul’s Catholic Church South Melbourne

Sarah McSweeney nee O’Regan died of breast cancer in 1895 she was 43 years old. She is buried in Melbourne Cemetery with other O’Regan family members.

There is much more on the O’Regan family in O’Regan Family History from Limerick to Emerald Hill Melbourne.

Thomas O'Regan Melb Cemetery
Sarah McSweeney is buried in the O’Regan Family Grave Melbourne Cemetery
Sarah McSweeney 1895 Death cropped
Death Certificate of Sarah McSweeney nee O’Regan 1895

They had one child Ann Teresa in 1872 in Camperdown Victoria in the Western District between Geelong and Warnambool. She was often called Hannah although she later called herself Annie.

Camperdown Mt. Leura and Mt. Sugarloaf, c1890
Camperdown Victoria c1890

 

Annie McSweeney Birth Certificate 1872 cropped
Birth certificate of Ann Teresa McSweeney 1872 Camperdown Victoria

John Vincent McSweeney died in 1916 at age 68.

John Vincent McSweeney 1916 Death cropped
Death Certificate of John Vincent McSweeney 1916

I have not been able to find John Vincent McSweeney on any electoral rolls. Below is a timeline for him:

1849 Born Melbourne

June 1871 marries Sarah O’Regan. He is 20 and a school teacher and resides in Emerald Hill.

7 March 1872 His father Peter McSweeney dies.

4 April 1872 Birth of daughter in Camperdown Victoria Teacher residing in Camperdown.

11 April 1872 His mother dies. John Vincent McSweeney is residing at Purrumbete Camperdown.

21 August 1888 In his father-in-laws will Sarah his wife is living at Blessington St St Kilda and he is described as from Sydney NSW.

1893 daughter Annie marries Robert Eason Cook. She lives at Inkerman St St Kilda and her father John Vincent McSweeney is described as a gentleman.

1895 Wife Sarah dies at 101 Union St Prahran where his daughter and her husband are living. On her death certificate Sarah is listed as living 2 years in Qld, 2 years in NSW and 39 years in Victoria.

1908 Daughter Annie marries for the second time, to Rupert Collier. Her father’s occupation was listed as civil engineer.

Sept 1916 John Vincent McSweeney died at 8 Woodside St Fitzroy. His occupation given as school teacher.

April 1919 His Annie daughter dies. His occupation was listed as civil engineer.

It seems that he spent some time in Qld and NSW but I can find no trace of him in electoral rolls, newspapers or teacher’s records. Strange that he wasn’t registered to vote.

Annie McSweeney cropped
Annie McSweeney

Their daughter Annie McSweeney married Robert Eason Cook in Armadale in Melbourne on 24 Jan 1893. He was 19 and a law clerk and Annie was 20. Annie is my great grandmother on my mother’s side.

The Scottish ancestry of the Cook family is covered in another post Easson Family History.

Annie McSweeney and Robert Cook Marriage cropped1
Marriage Certificate of Annie McSweeney and Robert Eason Cook 1893 Melbourne

They had four children: Grace Annie Francis born in 1893 in Prahran, my grandmother; James Alexander Thomas Eason born 1896; John Walter Clemont born 1901 and a stillborn child born in 1904.

Their marriage broke down at some stage and Annie married Rupert Owen Croxton Collier. (What I have on the Collier family is in another post still in draft, Collier Family History.) She had a child to Rupert Collier while still married to Robert Cook.

Robert Eason Cook died suddenly at age 34 in Brisbane Queensland. What he was doing there is unknown. His occupation was given as indent clerk. The informant on his death certificate was his brother Thomas Cook who usually resided in Perth Western Australia. What they were both doing in Brisbane at this time is a mystery.

Annie McSweeney married Rupert Owen Croxton Collier in

Annie Cook and Rupert Collier 1908 Marriage cropped
Marriage Certificate of Annie McSweeney and Rupert Collier 1908

Rupert and Annie had five children: Esther Helena in 1906; Winifred Mary in 1908; Inez Lorna c1911; Rupert Croxton c1913 and Nellie Constance in 1914.

Annie Collier Electoral Roll 1909 Hawthorn cropped
1909 Australian Electoral Roll
Annie Collier 1914 Electoral Roll 2
1914 Australian Electoral Roll
Annie Collier 1919 Electoral Roll 2
919 Australian Electoral Roll

I can remember being told that my great grandparents died in the Spanish Flu Epidemic 1918-1919 after the Second World War in which about 12,500 Australians died. Rupert Collier died in 1916 of broncho pneumonia aged 36 and Annie died in April 1919 age 43 from influenza, her youngest child was 4 years old.

She left three Cook children, my grandmother Grace being the eldest and at the time of her mother’s death. From her second marriage to Rupert Collier she left five children. I was told by my grandmother that the younger children by Rupert Collier were put in an orphanage and after my grandmother married Ernie Wilson she looked after them all along with her own children, a total of eleven children.

Annie Collier McSweeney Death Cert 1919 cropped
Death Certificate of Annie McSweeney 1919

Annie is buried in Springvale cemetery Melbourne with her second husband Rupert Collier.

Springvale Cemetery Annie McSweeny
Grave of Annie McSweeney and Rupert Collier Springvale Cemetery Melbourne

Michael McSweeney Descendants Sept 2015