So Where Did Edward O’Keeffe Come From? And Why?
Part of why I got interested in doing genealogy was to find out when my ancestors came to Australia, and more importantly, why. Many years ago, my father gave me a handwritten family tree of his family, the Wilds, which went back to Henry Kable & Susannah Holmes – First Fleet Convicts. So it wasn’t hard to figure our why they were here – they were at His Majesty’s Pleasure! But what about the others; the one’s that had decided to come here themselves. What was the reason for making that momentous decision to travel half way around the world?
Mum’s brother, Uncle John, had a bit of an interest in family history. I knew that he had made a trip to Ireland and had been to Fermoy. Back in the early 2000’s, he was going to stop and stay the night at Mum’s, on one of his many treks south from Brisbane to Melbourne and Tasmania to visit his kids. So I asked Mum to ask him what he’d found out, so I could do a bit more research. The upshot was that it seemed that Uncle John hadn’t really found out anything very much – and during the trip had managed to lose some papers that Aunty Judy had given him that she had salvaged out of their father’s possessions when he died (their mother Gladys had told Judy to throw it all in the bin, but she squirreled a few things away). Judy said that John must have left them behind in a hotel room. What I wouldn’t give to know what those papers were (deep sigh). Anyway, Mum gave me this note that John wrote for her, of what he knew:
Who was Ellen Mary O’Keeffe? I wanted to know about Edward Snr – what was this all about? Who was this 18 year old girl that had drowned? I suppose she must be a relative of some sort with that name. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting, so I just filed it away with all my stuff and didn’t look at it for the next 10 years. In hindsight, it’s extremely lucky that I didn’t chuck it (which did cross my mind), as this piece of paper became the key to me unlocking the whole O’Keeffe saga.