26 May 2023

No longer Doubting Thomas

Chart demonstrating some O'Dea DNA relationships

At the end of April 2023 I was still unsure if I had the correct Thomas O'Dea as the son of my gt -gt. grandparents Patrick and Mary O'Dea who arrived in South Australia in 1854.

Now through the wonders of DNA I have confirmed this connection through not just the two DNA matches found with his descendants through Ancestry, but also another one found through MyHeritage. 

The diagram above was created in  Word using the hierarchy SmartArt feature to demonstrate the relationship of some of my DNA matches to myself. I found this video by Julie Cahill Tarr useful.

The black labels at the side down to 3rd cousin level indicate relationships across each line. 

The last two black labels indicate relationship to me.  DNA match 1 and DNA match 4 are indeed 4th cousins to each other, but they are my 3rd cousins once removed, meaning they are one generation away from me.

Whilst on the subject of DNA matches I see MyHeritage has some new "Theory of Relativity" matches. There they use existing family trees to suggest the way matches may exist. I have managed to confirm a few of these matches but several rely on an incorrect identification of my mother's grandmother. Some indeed are just "theories."
With a wide range of DNA tools available to the researcher it is indeed an interesting time to further extend one's family tree.

MyHeritage now displays that I have 879 people in my family tree who have a common ancestor and hence share DNA with me. Of these 879 just a few have taken DNA tests.

MyHeritage chart

This post first appeared on earlieryears.blogspot.com by CRGalvin

5 May 2023

Sugar, coal and coast

The long road north
After 42 years since a last trip north there was much to see on the route Rockhampton to Mackay. No more putting hands on the windscreen to avoid the stone chips that flew into us all those years ago. Now a decent highway with B-Doubles by the dozens, the road freight trains that substitute for Australia’s lack of adequate train networks.

Our first stop after passing through rugged cattle country with few signs of habitation along the way, was at the Waverley creek rest area. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere but specifically 170km from Rockhampton, still 160km distant from  Mackay this is a well cared for and much needed roadside stop in a long stretch. We were easily amused seeing these promotional icons outside the hotel Koumala.

Further along a short turn off the highway saw us in St Lawrence. A small community with some interesting older buildings.
A beautifully maintained Isaac Shire Council building

A view of times past and present - general store

Clairview is on the water, further up the coast and here we saw colourful conveniences. The community appears to be about 90 houses spread along the foreshore with many large sheds for boats and fishing gear.

Before Sarina we turned off the highway hoping to see Hay Point, the huge bulk coal port. The outlook is closed but from various spots along the road we could see the lengthy coal trains pulling in to the gigantic loaders. We counted at least 24 bulk carriers standing out to sea.

Approaching Sarina sugar canefields appear. The mill dominates the town. Travelling north of there any flat land is covered in kilometres of waving sugar cane.

Walking in central Mackay I managed yet again to put my thumb in front of the camera when photographing one of the bridges that cross the Pioneer river.

At Slade Point, we had fabulous views from Lambert’s Lookout, 360° out to the Whitsundays and south to Hay Point.

To complete the day we visited Mackay Harbour and Marina dominated by a giant breakwater wall and marina accomodation towers. The hundreds of huge catamarans and others in marina indicate the wealth of this area and its reliance on the tourist trade. 

24 April 2023

Doubting Thomas

No, not the biblical Thomas, he who had doubts. 

My doubts centre around Thomas O’Dea. 

He was a brother of my gt grandfather John who arrived in South Australia with his parents Patrick and Mary on the ship Time and Truth in 1854. On the passenger list, Thomas’ age is given as 21 which provides a birth estimate of 1833 or 32 depending on the date on which the list was assembled..
His brother John was listed as 19 and sisters Mary 17 and Margaret 8. 

I have plenty of DNA matches down the descendant lines from John, Mary and Margaret but at this stage none that I can identify as descendants of Thomas. Perhaps I have the wrong Thomas in my tree. Could it simply be that none of his descendants have taken a DNA test? Probably not. 

Back to the drawing board to investigate several of the other Thomas O’Deas who were in South Australia in the same period.

But which Thomas O’Dea is he? 

First step, I eliminated all the Thomas O'Deas who did not have a Patrick listed as father.
I eliminated those who were born too early or far too late to fit  a five year time frame of birth from 1829 - 1834 given that ages were often indeterminate on shipping, marriage and death records.
From 25 Thomas O'Deas  in South Australia, I was now down to a list of three.

First on the list is a Thomas O'Dea of Canowie who in 1881 was returning to his farm from Jamestown when he fell out of his cart and was killed. (1) He was listed as being 52 years old and married. This would put his birth about 1929. Reading other articles about the O'Deas at Canowie, three brothers are listed on adjacent farms, Patrick and John being the other brothers. 
Our Thomas did not have a brother Patrick and I know for certain that his brother John was living at Pinkerton Plains much further to the south.

The second Thomas under consideration died at the age of 45 in Adelaide in 1874. He was not married., and the land title later in this post eliminates him from consideration.

I am left with Thomas O'Dea who died in 1914.
This Thomas O’Dea married Bridget Hill in Kapunda on 4 November 1856 where Thomas was listed as age 24 with his bride 18. 

His obituary in 1914 records:

Mr. Thomas O'Dea, sen., an old resident farmer of the Terowie district, died recently at the age of 85 years. The deceased was born in Clare, Ireland, and arrived in South Australia about 60 years ago. From Bagot's Station he went to Pinkerton and Alma Plains, and engaged in farming operations. Thirty-seven years ago he took up land near Terowie, and later removed to Nackara, where he stayed until the death of his wife, 11 years ago, when he returned to Terowie and lived with his daughter (Mrs. T. O'Dea). About eight months ago he had an attack of paralysis, and had been an invalid ever since. Four sons and five daughters survive. (2)
  • The Pinkerton Plains beginnings fit as his brother John moved there with his wife just after their marriage in 1863.
  • Being in the colony for 60 years also fits the 1854 arrival.
  • Age at death - 85, a small discrepancy. I have been unable to locate a birth record for him in County Clare.
  • This land title places Patrick with his sons Thomas and John on a block of land of 81 acres, numbered 300 in the Hundred of Mudla Wirra in 1864. (Pinkerton Plains)

Further down the land title gt gt grandfather Patrick is listed as having died in June or July of 1867. 

According to the 1914 obituary above,  Thomas moved to Terowie with his wife Bridget and their growing brood of children about 1877. At that stage his brother John already had 5 children too, so more land would have been needed to support the growing families.  The last 4 children born to Bridget and Thomas have Terowie as their birth location, so perhaps the move was made in 1875.

The children of Thomas O'Dea and Bridget Hill

  1. Margaret 1858 - 1938 married (another) Thomas O'Dea in 1878
  2. Catherine Therese 1862 -1936 married Thomas Gabriel Fogarty in 1886
  3. Bridget Rose 1864 -1918 married John Stephen Eddy in 1889
  4. Patrick Henry 1867 - 1902 married Catherine Hegarty in 1891
  5. Ellen  1869 - 1947 married Thomas O'Connell in 1890
  6. Mary Anne 1871 - 1872
  7. John 1873 -1923
  8. Thomas Gerald 1875 - 1926 married Florence Lawn in 1911
  9. Martin Vincent 1877 - 1935 married Esther Ruth in 1906
  10. Frances Alice 1880 -1964 married William Edward Wilson in 1904
  11. Michael Joseph  1883 - 1938
Their mother Bridget, Thomas’ wife died in 1902. 
O'DEA.—On 8th September, 1902, at Terowie, Bridget O'Dea, wife of Thomas O'Dea, near Nackara, aged 64 years—fortified by the last Holy Sacraments. R.I.P  (3)

If you are a descendant of any of the above mentioned and have taken a DNA test, I would be delighted to hear from you. Perhaps you may be a 3rd cousin if I have indeed identified the correct Thomas O'Dea. 

I have a condensed list of descendants with the names of any of the living removed for privacy if you are a descendant of this couple I am happy to share the information. Any errors are mine and I await correction by a diligent researcher.

I hope to have a DNA connection on this line to confirm whether I have identified the correct Thomas O’Dea. My contact details can be found on the About page.

1. 1881 'JAMESTOWN, March 10.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 11 March, p. 6. , viewed 23 Apr 2023, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article43166366

2. 1914 'CONCERNING PEOPLE.', The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), 20 May, p. 10. , viewed 23 Apr 2023, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59400255

3.  1902 'Family Notices', Petersburg Times (SA : 1887 - 1919), 12 September, p. 2. , viewed 23 Apr 2023, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124971283

This post first appeared on earlieryears.blogspot.com by CRGalvin

No longer Doubting Thomas

Chart demonstrating some O'Dea DNA relationships At the end of April 2023 I was still unsure if I had the correct Thomas O'Dea as t...