Looking for Descendents and Ancestors of Thomas O'Neill
My great great grandfather, Thomas O'Neill, was born about 1837. According to his death certificate he was born at Ballyrock, County Down, Ireland. Unfortunately there is no "Ballyrock" in County Down). But according to his enlistment record he was born at Rathfryland, County Down, Ireland.
Thomas came to New Zealand in March 1856 as a member of the 65th Regiment of the Foot. He was discharged 31 August 1865 at Otahuhu, New Zealand and remained in New Zealand for the rest of his life.
On Thomas' death record his parents are listed as Thomas O'Neill and Isabella O'Neill (nee Campbell). He married Sarah Jane Robinson on the 12th August 1869 in the dwelling house of James Robinson, Sarah's father, at Bombay, New Zealand.
There are a few of us, Thomas' descendents, who have been bitten by the genealogy bug, and we have a pretty good record of most of Thomas and Sarah's children and grandchildren, although there are still gaps to be filled (Mostly on my Walker side!). But we have reached an impasse with Thomas' Irish roots.
Family legend has it that shortly after Thomas' death in 1909, two Irish men came out to New Zealand looking for their brother Thomas. They believed that our Thomas was their Thomas. However, Sarah Jane, not knowing whether he was their brother or not, sent them away none the wiser.
Locating Thomas' Irish roots is difficult because we don't know the townland or even the parish in which he was born. The "haystack" seems insurmountable but we shall endure...