Bridget Christina Burns and the Burns Family Co Galway Ireland and Victoria Australia

Bridget Christina Burns 1859-1944 was the daughter of Bryan Burns and Mary Canavan from Co Galway Ireland in 1857. Bridget Burns married Thomas Mackey in 1882 and had nine children. Her daughter Ida married Francis Collins Fanning. Bridget is buried in Fawkner Cemetery Victoria Australia.

Bridget Mackey nee Burns
Bridget Christina Mackey nee Burns Melbourne Victoria Australia

Bridget Christina Burns was born in Sunbury Victoria 1859 and brought up in Echuca which is two and a half hours north of Melbourne on the Murray River, bordering NSW.

Her parents were Bryan (Bernard) Burns and Mary Canavan both from Tuam, in Co Galway, Ireland. Bryan’s name was Anglicized as Bernard.

Mary Burns Signature

Mary Burns’ Signature

Mary Burns nee Canavan’s father was Patrick Canavan and her mother was Bridget Connor. Bryan and Mary were married in Kilrahan near Tuam in Co Galway when she was aged 20. They came out from Ireland in 1857 on the Ebba Brahe from Liverpool England.

Ebba Brahe 1857
Ebba Brahe 1857 Byrne passenger details

With Bryan, aged 29, came Mary his wife, aged 24, and their two children, Margaret aged 3 and John an infant. None could read or write. Bryan was to be employed for two months with a Mr A Nicholson of Upper Plenty, on the outskirts of Melbourne. Wages of 65 pounds.

This may be Bryan Burns

This photo to the left may be of Bryan Burns. Perhaps he is wearing his railway blazer. If anyone recognizes this man I’d love to hear from you. This photo was taken by Alfred Wren in Echuca some time between 1870 when Wren was in Melbourne and 1879 when Wren died in Echuca. If this is Bryan he would have been between 39 and 48 years old.

A timeline of the Burns family movements in Victoria Australia:

  • If you follow the time-line of the history of the railways in Victoria it co-incides with Bernard’s employment with the railways from 1859 through to the time of his death in 1881.

In 1859 the railway from Melbourne to Sunbury was opened, this was when the  family       was living in Sunbury their daughter Bridget Christina Burns was                             born there in 1859.

In 1862 the Melbourne to Bendigo railway line officially opened at Castlemaine,                  the family was living at Campbell’s creek near Castlemaine at this time. Michael                  Andrew Burns was born there in 1862.

In early 1863 tenders were called for the construction of the railway line from                   Bendigo to Echuca, the work began in late 1863. The family was then living in                     Porcupine near Maldon. Mary Jane Amelia Burns was born in 1864 at Porcupine.

The railway line from Bendigo to Echuca opened in late 1864. The family possibly            moved to Echuca around this time. In 1866 Thomas Burns was born in Echuca.

Bernard was still working for the railways at the time of his death in 1881 and                    living in Echuca. His death certificate states his occupation as Railway Gate         keeper, the family were living in a house supplied by the railways.”

(Source: Teresa Fairbairn,  great granddaughter of  Bridget Burns)

Bryan Burns & Christopher Constable Death 1881
Sudden Death of Bryan Burns & his son-in-law Christopher Constable 1881


Burns Headstone Moama Cemetery
Burns Headstone Moama Cemetery Victoria

Bridget’s parents Bryan (or Bernard) Burns and Mary Burns nee Canavan are buried in Moama Cemetery, near Echuca in Victoria.

The inscription reads:

Erected by

Mary Burns in

memory of

her beloved husband

Barnet Burns

who died Oct 10 1882

aged 50 yrs

also their



aged 5 mths

and their grandchild


Beloved Wife of the Above Mary Burns

Died 12th May 1904

Aged 70 years

Bridget, aged 23, was married to Thomas Mackey, aged 29, on May 1, 1882 at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Echuca, Victoria.
Bridget Burns & Thomas Mackey 1882 Marriage_cropped
Marriage Certificate of Bridget Burns & Thomas Mackey 1882

Bridget and Thomas had nine children: Thomas born 1883, Eileen “Sis” born 1884, Victor 1886, Mary 1888, Ida, my grandmother,1890, Edmond 1893, Christopher 1894, Alfred 1896 and Doris 1899. Ida Mackey married Francis Collins Fanning in 1915.Most of their married life they lived at 102 McPherson St Essendon. Bridget Mackey was affectionately called “Ma”. On her wedding certificate her occupation is a dressmaker and on her daughter Ida’sdeath certificate she is listed as a Department Store employee.

I have been told that my mother was very fond of her and that Ma approved of my parent’s marriage wheras my grandmother was opposed to their marriage on the grounds that my mother’s mother, Grace Collier, was a divorcee.

In 1891 Bridget Mackey signed the Women’s Suffrage Petition (as Mrs Mackey) and was living in McPherson St Essendon. Women went door to door to collect 30,000 signatures in favour of granting women the vote. It was presented to the Parliament of Victoria. The vote for women was granted in 1908. Bridget Mackey and Annie Meehan (nee Collins) were the only women in my family who signed this petition.

Bridget Mackey nee Burns died at Glenroy on December 18, 1944, aged 86. She is buried here with her husband Thomas Mackey who died on the first of June, 1926, aged 73.

Mackey Grave Fawkner Cem.
Bridget Mackey nee Burns is buried in the Mackey Family Grave Fawkner Cemetery Victoria Australia

Bridget Mackey,Ida Fanning and Eileen Mackey Bridget's grandaughter

Bridget Mackey nee Burns, Ida Fanning nee Mackey and Eileen Mackey, Bridget’s granddaughter.

Burns Family
William Bernard, John Thomas, John Francis Burns all seated. Standing: Victor Gerald and Michael Patrick Burns outside “Roeander”. Before 1933



This photo includes John Thomas Burns the brother of Bridget Mackey nee Burns and some of his sons. John Thomas Burns died in 1933 so it hasto have been taken before then.

The following detailed genealogy reports trace the ancestors and descendants of Bridget Christina Mackey nee Burns from Ireland to Victoria Australia.

Descendant Report Thomas Mackey 2015
Descendant Report Thomas Mackey 2015

The Fanning Family from Lisdonowley, Co Tipperary, Ireland

The genealogy of the Fanning family from Lisdonowley Co Tipperary Ireland from 1731.

A branch of my Fanning family, the descendants of William Fannin and Sarah Ryan of Lissaroon, live in Lisdonowley in Moyne, Co Tipperary, Ireland.

Patrick Fanning (1809-1895) was a first cousin of my gggrandfather William Patrick Fanning, “Big Bill”, who emigrated to Victoria Australia in 1841 and settled at Bulla.

Patrick Fanning was the son of William Fanning and Hanera Cormick and was born about 1809 and died in 1895. He married Margaret Cantwell. I believe (can’t be 100% sure as parents’ names were not included in marriage records) that she was the daughter of Anthony Cantwell and Bridget Carroll of Ballyerk Moyne Co Tipperary.

Patrick Fanning of Lisdonowly




1901 Census for Lisdonowley James Fanning_0002
Census Return for James Fanning Lisdonowley 1901
1901 Census Lisdonowley Johanna Fanning nee Shanahan_0001
1901 Census Return for Johanna Fanning nee Shanahan Lisdonowley

In 1911 Johanna Fanning nee Shanahan was still living with her brother and his family. She was married for two years and had one child deceased. She was a domestic servant.

MICHAEL FANNING, farmer of Castletown. Father: William Fanning, also a farmer, married JOHANNA SHANAHAN of Lisdonowly in the Parish of Moyne on Feb 15 1885. Her father, a farmer, was John Shanahan. Witnesses were William Maher and Ellen Shanahan.

MOYNE CEMETERY:1.Erected by MARGARET FANNING of Castletown to record the death of her dear husband WILLIAM FANNING who died 27th of January 1874 aged 78 years
the above Mrs Margaret Fanning who died Sept 10(?)_ aged 70(?)
and also her daughter JOHANNA FANNING
who died 2_th March 1871? Aged 28 YRS
her son MICHAEL who died October ? aged 48 Yrs ???0
and her son THOMAS who died 13th? Jan 1911? aged 72
her son PATRICK died 6th February 1919? Aged 38

2. Erected by JOHN SHANAHAN Lisdonowly in memory of his father JOHN SHANAHAN died 18th May 1869 Aged 3(?)6 Yrs
and his mother MARY died 20th March 1881 Aged 68 Years
His brother MICHAEL died 20th June 1886 Aged 25 Years
And two sisters who died in religion
MRS JOHANNA FANNING NEE SHANAHAN died 5th Feb 1930 Aged 77 Years
Also MATHEW SHANAHAN died 12th March 1934 Aged 82 Years
The above JOHN SHANAHAN Died 23rd Jan 1937 Aged 80 years
His wife MARY died 30 March 1946

I don’t know if the Michael Fanning that Johanna Shanahan married was a related Fanning. I will follow this up as it is possible as the Lisdonowley Fannings were close neighbors.

1911 Census Lisdonowley_0002
1911 Census Fanning Family Lisdonowley Co Tipperary Ireland
Loughmore Cemetery Co Tipperary Ireland James Fanning Lisdonowley (2)
Grave of James Fanning of Lisdonowley, his wife Anne Hogan and their children Richard, Hanorah and Mary. Loughmore Cemetery Co Tipperary Ireland


Sheehans of Quarry St Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland Family History

Sarah Fanning 1816-1888 born Thurles Parish,Co Tipperary Ireland and married John Sheehan 1815-1881. She lived in Quarry St Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland and worked as a grocer and publican. She was my gggrandfather’s sister.

Sarah Fanning born 1816 was my gggrandfather’s sister.

After a puzzling lack of DNA matches with a known Sheehan descendant I checked Sarah’s Baptism record and discovered the priest had placed a cross next to the entry. This usually meant the priest did not believe the father married to the mother was actually the father of this child. Sarah’s brother Patrick’s entry also had a cross.

Sarah Sheehan is buried in St Mary’s Church graveyard Thurles Co Tipperary. She and her husband John Sheehan had a grocery/pub in Quarry St Thurles.

Thurles Site of John and Sarah Sheehan nee Fanning's Shop
Site of John and Sarah Sheehan nee Fanning’s Grocery Shop and Pub in Quarry St (renamed Mitchel St) Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland 2012
Sarah Sheehan’s Shop in Quarry St, now Michel St, Thurles in 2018 looking worse for wear.

Quarry St was later renamed Mitchel St. Quarry St ran parallel to Pike St which was renamed Kickham St. The two streets were linked together by Lime Kiln Lane later called Ikerrin Rd. Pudding Lane also known as Jail St is now known as O’Donvan Rossa St. Quarry, where Sarah Sheehan lived, refers to a small area east of the town of Thurles. It was also known locally as The Pike.

St Mary’s Protestant Church was erected in 1820. The original entrance to the church was in Lime Kiln Lane. Both Protestant and Catholics were buried in St Mary’s graveyard.

Thurles St Mary's Graveyard Sarah Sheehan's Gravestone (3)
Thurles St Mary’s Graveyard Sarah Sheehan’s Gravestone
Thurles St Mary's Graveyard Sarah Sheehan's Gravestone (6)
Thurles St Mary’s Graveyard Sarah Sheehan’s Gravestone

Below is the inscription on the grave:

Erected by Sarah Sheehan of Thurles in memory of her beloved husband John Sheehan who died 3rd August 1881 aged 66 years. Also to the memory of their dearly beloved daughter Sarah Sheehan who died on the 31st May 1886 in the 24th year of her age sincerely regretted Here also are deposited the remains of the above Mrs Sarah Sheehan who died 10th Oct 1888 aged 72 years Also Mary Ellen Ryan nee O’Donnell died 21st Dec 1916 aged 34 years.

The Sheehan gravestone has been updated and Johanna O’Donnell nee Sheehan added.

James Dwyer was married to Ellen Sheehan, daughter of Sarah Sheehan nee Fanning, sister of William Patrick Fanning, my great great grandfather. (Sarah and Sally are used for each other.) She would have been his niece.

James Dwyer of Thurles
James Dwyer 1859-1888 Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland

James Dwyer and Ellen Sheehan were married in Thurles Parish on 23/01/1883. He was a shopkeeper and his father William a farmer. Ellen’s father John Sheehan was a shopkeeper and her address is given as Quarry St Thurles. James Dwyer lived in Main St Thurles. Witnesses were Michael Dwyer and Sarah Sheehan. James Dwyer died young of Phthisis (consumption or tuberculosis), after being ill for four months. (The death record has him being 30 at time of death.)

James Dwyer probate from The Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1920
James Dwyer probate 1889 from The Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1920

A few years later Ellen married her second cousin, Tom Fanning of Clondoty, Loughmore. They were married on 1/02/1891. Thomas Fanning was a farmer and Ellen Dwyer nee Sheehan a shopkeeper at 112 Quarry St  Thurles. Witnesses were Michael Fanning and Ellen’s sister, Josie Hogan.

Tom Fanning died in 1897 and is buried in Loughmore Cemetery.

Obituary for Thomas Fanning The Nationalist 18 Sept 1897 page 6


Ellen is listed on the 1901 Census at Quarry St Thurles as a grocer. She is age 45. In the household there are her nieces Sarah Hogan age 14 and at school, Josephine Hogan age 24 and a scholar and Mary O’Donnell age 20 and also a scholar. She has a son William Fanning aged 6. On the 1911 Census she is living with a servant who is a shop assistant. Ellen is described as a widow with one living child and her marriage as lasting five years.

1901 Census Quarry St Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland Ellen Fanning_0002
1901 Census Quarry St Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland Ellen Fanning
1911 Census Quarry St Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland Ellen Fanning_0002
1911 Census Quarry St Thurles Co Tipperary Ireland Ellen Fanning

Ellen died in 1943.

Ellen Fanning nee Sheehan death Irish Press 23 Oct 1943
William Fanning Quarry St Irish Examiner 10 Nov 1915
William Fanning Mitchel St Thurles death notice Irish Press 30 Dec 1947
William Fanning Mitchel St Thurles premises sale Irish Press 10 Jul 1948





Johanna O’Donnell nee Sheehan

Johanna was the daughter of Sally Sheehan nee Fanning. She was born in 1853 and died in Thurles in 1932. She married Thomas O’Donnell in Thurles on 8 Feb 1880.

Thomas O’Donnell Fethard 1856-1924
An older Johanna O’Donnell nee Sheehan 1853-1932


James Ryan & Mary Ellen O’Donnell

Mary Ellen O’Donnell, 1881-1916, was the daughter of Thomas O’Donnell and Johanna Sheehan of Fethard. She was the granddaughter of Sally Sheehan nee Fanning. She married James Ryan, 1881-1923, on 5 Oct 1909 in Thurles.

A mystery photo. Told it was Patrick Mary O’Donnell with a Hogan cousin and his wife. Not sure exactly who the couple are but struck by the woman’s resemblance to the above O’Donnell/Sheehan women.


Obit of Bridget O’Sullivan the daughter of Thomas Hogan died age 86. She was the sister in law of Mary Sheehan daughter of Sarah Sheehan nee Fanning.