My maternal grandmother told me we had Irish, English and Scottish ancestors. The Torpeys, the O’Regans and the McSweeneys were Irish, the Knightons were English and the Cooks were Scottish.
On my father’s side I always knew that his ggrandfather, William Patrick Fanning, Big Bill, came out to Australia on the Enmore in 1841 and eventually settled at Bulla north of Melbourne. I was lucky enough to know that he came from Thurles in North Tipperary. The Fannings rented land and were relatively well off, so have been easier to track than the other branches of my family. They were mostly farmers but some were shopkeepers and publicans. This has meant I have been able to find them in directories and other documents.
I knew that Daniel Torpey came from Kings county, his wife from Queens county, and their first child, Maria, was born in Sopwell Co Tipperary. Maria was baptised on 29 August 1852 in Borrisokane parish.
As with most Irish surnames they were spelt phonetically and in different ways. The most common spelling is Torpey and Torpy. But I have come across Torpie, Turpey, Tarpey, Tarpy, Thorpe, Torphy, Turphey and Torphey. It just depended on how the person writing the record thought the surname should be spelt. Kilkeary was also spelt in a variety of ways from Kilkeary to Kilcary to Kilkerry to Killcary.
I have recently done some searching for Kilkeary records. In the Tithe Applotment books there was a Roger Kilkeary in Sopwell townland about 1824.
In Griffiths Valuations all the Kilkearys were in one area of Ireland in North Tipperary, up in the northern most area around Borrisokane. However in the townland of Sopwell there were no Kilkearys or Torpeys in 1851. However there were lots of Torpeys in Tipperary and surrounding counties.
I think it is more than likely that Sopwell was where Ann Kilkeary was born and raised. I did come across a baptismal record for an Anne Kilkeary born Sopwell, Borrisokane, 15 Nov 1823. Mother was Catherine Nolan but the father was Roger Kilkeary. On Ann’s death certificate her father was listed as John but this could easily have been a mistake although none of her sons was named Roger but one son was named John.
I have also read that the Torpeys were actually of older Irish stock than the Anglo-Norman Fanning family.
The name Torpey is an Anglecized form of the Gaelic O Tarpaigh. Tarpey and O’Tarpey, O’Torpey are all variations on the surname. They held a family seat in Cork and are said to be descended from the ancient tribe of Erainn stock. The O’Tarpeys were also associated with Sligo Co.
I also did an Ancestry DNA test and a match came up for me for a Margaret Cavanagh nee Torpey. This has led me to find the home and townland, Lissadonna, in Co Tipperary, that Daniel Torpey my gggrandfather came from!! Unfortunately the baptismal records for Daniel and his siblings were in the Parish records for Shinrone. All Shinrone church records earlier than 1843 have been lost or destroyed.
In the Tithe Applotment Books 1823-1837 a Daniel and a Michael Torpy are separately listed as living in the townland of Carrig Lisadona & Boston, in the Parish of Ballingarry in Co Tipperary. They are listed in 1831 and 1834. In 1834 Daniel has three acres of second class land and three acres of third class. Michael has a little over one acre of second class land. A Patrick Kilkeary is also listed in this townland.
In the 1841 Census Dan Torpy is living in the townland of Lissadonna in Ballingarry Parish Co Tipperary. In the Valuation Office Books, 1831-1856 Daniel Torpy is living in Lissadonna in 1846 and 1848. Daniel Torphy appears in Griffiths Valuation records about 1852 in Lissadonna. He has a house, offices and 17 acres of land.
Michael Torpey does not appear again and may have been Daniel’s father deceased or brother.
I pick up the trail of the Lissadonna Torpeys in the 1901 Census. Michael and Mary Torpey are at House 2 in Lissadonna. Their grandson Richard Liffey is with them. Michael was my ancestor’s brother. In 1901 Census the children of Michael are listed (Torpey) as living at house 1 in Clucka North in King’s Co. John, MaryAnne, Johanna, Michael, Henry, William and Elizabeth Torpey are all listed.
The 1911 Census records show that the parents, Michael and moved from Lissadonna to the Clucka North property. In the 1911 Census Michael and his wife Mary and Henry and William their sons were living in House 1 Clucka North Kings Co. John Torpey and his wife Kate Cleary moved to Lissadonna and were living there in 1911 with their two children: Maureen and Michael and nephew Joseph Liffey.
After this John Torpey died in 1948 his wife Kate sold their house at Ballylina and she and her daughter Kate emigrated to New Zealand. A number of this Torpey family ended up living in New Zealand and are buried there.
After the property was sold Kate had a clearance sale.
Kate and her daughter emigrated to new Zealand in 1952. Kate the mother is buried there dying in 1962. Her brother in law Michael Torpey had been in New Zealand since around 1914.
Michael returned to Ireland in 1950. This was reported in the local press.
He died in New Zealand in 1969.
The six daughters of John Torpey became Catholic nuns although some left.
There are Torpey descendants living in and around Borrisokane today.
I have been looking through Irish newspapers and have come across a number of interesting articles involving Henry, William and John Torpey and also the Cavanaghs who were cousins also and a number of court appearances.
The Torpeys start appearing in the papers on 31 Jan 1907.
This sets the scene for what follows with Michael’s sons.
The next year Henry Torpey and others are before the court for trying to prevent the Ormond Hunt.
Freemans Journal 6 Jul 1909
Henry and William Torpy were charged with assaulting various individuals at Cloughjordan railway station on Jan 14 1910. The Torpeys and others were returning from the court case of William Cavanagh who was also accused of assault but had the charge dropped. Cavanagh of Ballingarry was the son of Wm Cavanagh, the blacksmith and the Torpey’s aunt Margaret Torpey. William Cavanagh had a threshing machine and had been asked by members of the Irish United league not to thresh for certain people, to boycott them. Cavanagh refused.
The Torpeys were fined 10 shillings each and costs. In 1911 Henry Torpey was the secretary of the Shinrone Branch of the U.I.L. In yet another court case this time for slander against Henry the judge stated “I had more trouble with Shinrone than with any other part of Ireland” and the reporter referred to the “many lively and rather troublesome episodes in this area”.
Margaret Torpey and William Cavanagh, the parents of the William in the above article, were married in 1859. William was the blacksmith in Ballingarry and was a Protestant. Margaret would have been born at Lisadonna and was the daughter of Daniel Torpey and Mary Ryder. She was the sister of my grgr grandfather. Margaret was Catholic, so it must have been a love match. There would have been considerable opposition to such a marriage. In the 1901 and 1911 Census records Margaret is listed as Catholic but William and all their children are listed as Protestant. The Torpeys and Cavenaghs were cousins.
I came across an interesting article related to the Cavenaghs in the Nenagh News:
In Nov 1911 the Torpeys are back in court. This time for fighting with the Clearys, who were most likely cousins as well.
There are no more mentions of the Torpeys in the papers until 1939 when Henry Torpey expresses his opinions. Henry and John Torpey were involved in the North Tipperary Committee of Agriculture in the 1940s.
Henry and John Torpey both died in 1948 months apart. Henry in April and John in October.
The first related Torpey to come out to Australia was Daniel Torpey. He was born around 1830. I recently came across their emigration record. Daniel and Anne and their baby Maria arrived at Geelong in Victoria on 17 Jan 1854 aboard The Prince Alfred. There was also a Mary Ryder on board who might have been a cousin to Daniel.
His father was also Daniel Torpey, a farmer at Lissadonna Co Tipperary and his mother was Mary Rider.
I recently came across a Baptism record for his brother, Patrick Torpey. He was baptised in Dunkerrin Parish, Kings County (Co Offaly), on 28 Mar 1830. His godparents were Michael Torpey and Honor Cleary.
Daniel Torpey, my grgrgrandfather, was 59 when he died of hepatitis in Melbourne Australia. He was married to Anne Kilkeary in Ireland about 1850. She came from the next county, Queens Co, now Laois.
Anne and Daniel had seven children. Their first child, Maria, was born in August 1852 in Co Tipperary Ireland in the parish of Borrisokane.
I had difficulty finding Maria’s birth/baptism record as her father’s name was written as Turpey!
Tim Brennan was married to Margaret Ryder. I suspect that she was
Mary Ryder’s sister. Some DNA test connections support this theory.
Their second child, Patrick, was born in 1855 in Hawthorn Victoria Australia. So they immigrated between 1852 and 1855 and may have come from an area on the border of all three counties.
Anne and Daniel Torpey had seven children: Maria 1852-1873, Patrick 1855-1858, Katherine 1858-1930, Daniel 1861-1924, Margaret , my great grandmother, 1863-1896, John 1865-1931 and Annie 1868-1950. On his daughter Katherine’s marriage certificate his occupation is given as cab proprietor.
Death Certificate for Anne Torpey nee Kilkeary 1907
Marriage notice for the wedding of Maria Torpey and Llewellyn Trask
Maria married Llewellyn Trask on the 9th of July in 1872 in Hokitika New Zealand. She was 21 and Llewellyn 22. Llewellyn was from Merriott Somerset Shire in England. He and his family had emigrated to new Zealand.
I have always found it strange that Maria should be married in New Zealand or what she was doing there.
Hokitika experienced a gold rush in the 1860s. The population of 1,000 had swelled to over 50,000 by 1866. Many of the prospectors came from Melbourne and it was described as a “suburb of Melbourne”.
She was also not married in St Mary’s Catholic church in Hokatika but in the home of Thomas Tully, a butcher and his wife Bridget, in Fitzherbert St Hokitika. They were married by Father A Martin, the Catholic Parish Priest.
Maria Trask nee Torpey died nine days after giving birth. She is buried in the Torpey family grave in Melbourne Cemetery Victoria Australia.
Her child was reared by the Torpey family. Llewellyn Trask went to Cleveland Ohio where he settled and remarried on Feb 4, 1876. There do not appear to have been any children from this marriage. Annie was the daughter of Francis Norton and Christiana Lawrence and was born in Merriott in Somerset shire England in 1856.
Annie and Llewellyn came over to Australia in 1887 and Llewellyn junior went back with them and lived and worked as a butcher until his father’s death. He then came back to Victoria and settled.
Llewellyn died on 3 September 1890, aged 39, from congestion of the lungs, which seems to have been after an operation. His death was reported in the New Zealand paper The Colonist on Nov 7 1890.
He lived at 1428 Pearl St Cleveland where he worked as a butcher. He is buried in the Riverside Cemetery.
His brother Francis was Mayor of Nelsen on the south island of New Zealand.
Llewellyn Trask junior married Catherine Miller (1875-1954). Their children were Llewellyn Trask born 1901, Francis Reuben born 1904 and Veronica born 1906. Llewellyn Charles born 1873 died in 1942 aged about 69. He is buried in Fawkner Cemetery in Melbourne.
His son Llewellyn married Selma Salisbury in 1930. He died in Hampton, Melbourne in 1976, aged about 74.
Daniel and Anne’s second daughter Katherine married John Horan in St Ignatius’s Church in Richmond Melbourne on 28 April 1886. She was 26. Her husband John Horan was born in Collingwood in 1860 and died there in 1931 aged 71.
Daniel Charles Torpey married Gertrude Gardiner Woolley. They lived in Abbotsford, Collingwood.
He died in Kew in 1924, aged 63 and is buried in Boroondara Cemetery Kew Melbourne with his wife Gertrude.
Their third daughter was my great grandmother Margaret.
Margaret married William Charles Knighton in 1893. On her marriage record her place of birth is given as NSW which is mysterious or perhaps a transcription error. On the actual document it is Camperfield Sydney Rd. Hence the mistake.
William Knighton was a tram employee at the time of their marriage and Margaret a servant. They were both 28.
They had two children Mary and James, my grandfather. See the Knighton Family post for more on this side of my family.
Margaret died after the birth of her second child, Mary.
Annie Torpey, the youngest child of Daniel and Anne, was married to Thomas Leahy in 1915 (1864 -1924). They lived at 104 Ford St Ivanhoe Melbourne. In the 1903 census she is listed as a saleswoman. She was living with her mother and brother John at 29 Baker St Richmond Melbourne. John was a driver. In 1914 he was living at this address with Llewellyn Charles Trask, a butcher and his nephew. Annie was 84 when she died in Ivanhoe, a suburb of Melbourne, in 1950.