Researching the Irish Ancestors of Thomas Masterson & Mary Keirnan who Arr. in New Zealand Jan 1848 :: Genealogy
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Researching the Irish Ancestors of Thomas Masterson & Mary Keirnan who Arr. in New Zealand Jan 1848

Query by Patchor

My Gr-gr-gr Grandfather was Thomas Masterson who came from Ireland to Auckland, New Zealand as a recruited Fencible (defence force). He and his wife Mary Kierman/Kiernan arrived in January 1848 aboard the ship Clifton. Their base was in Panmure, Auckland.
I hope someone might be able to help me towards knowing where these two were born, married and buried and who their parents and family were. I am keen to gather any and all the information I can of this couples history.

by Patchor Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2013-08-11 05:34:49

Patchor has been a Family Tree Circles member since Aug 2013.

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by ngairedith on 2013-08-11 06:31:40

hi Patchor,
I believe that (freight) ship was the CLIFTON which left Gravesend 18 August 1847 (leaving Galway 26 Sep 1847) with 75 NZ Fencibles, 70 women & 130 children and arrived in Auckland 23 January 1848. There were 53 deaths on board - 3 men, 4 women & 46 children and 432 cases of disease, 153 typhoid fever, 102 bowel complaints, smallpox, scurvy and others!

Thomas was listed as Thomas Masterton, born 1803 from Ireland (County Cavan, Ulster) and his wife was listed as Mary nee KIERMAN

On 26 June 1851 Thomas bought at Public Auction, Section 3, Lot 10, at Panmure, comprising 1 acre of land, for ?4 (todays equivalent would be about $500). He paid a 3rd instalment
Yet, I believe his children, or some of them, may have been born in Napier?

by ngairedith on 2013-08-11 06:32:50

sorry ... (leaving Galway 26 Sep 1874)

by AncestrySisters on 2013-08-11 08:01:13

Hello Patchor

I have done a lot of research on the Irish and one of the single biggest clues you can use to figure out who Thomas' parents were is by analyzing the naming pattern of his children.

The first born son was named after the baby's paternal grandfather, and the 2nd born son after the maternal grandfather. The 3rd son is named after the father. The opposite is true for females. The first born daughter is named as the maternal grandmother and the 2nd named after the paternal grandmother.

Also, write down every sponsor of his children, if you can find the baptism record. Sponsors are usually siblings.

by Patchor on 2013-08-11 08:37:13

Brilliant ! That's fantastic knowledge to have ! My warmest thanks.

by Patchor on 2013-08-11 09:12:01

Ngaire, my warmest thanks to you for the excellent information. (My apologies for the error with the ships name.... that was carelessness on my part and should never have happened)

County Cavan Ulster ..... who'd have thought? I have been searching the depths of Longford District to no avail.

Napier huh! That's a wonderful clue ! I do understand that he and Mary Kierman had two children Ann (3 Dec 1848), and Edward (19 May 1850) probably in Panmure as Thomas was bound there with his duties. Later he had three more children to Mary Reilly/Reily : Catherine (who is my line and was born in Panmure 25 June 1852) Edward (21 June 1957) Jane (18 Oct. 1858) Thomas's seven years contract would have been up before Edward and Jane were born...... they may have gone to Napier for a while.
You wonderful person ! Thank you indeed !

by Gina71 on 2014-04-18 05:26:10

Hi Patchor.

Thomas Masterson is also my Gr-gr-gr-grandfather! I have the following information - Thomas and Mary's daughter Jane married William McCallum in Napier. I understand she died in 1914 and he in 1917.

They had a daughter (not sure of any other children) Isabella Annie McCallum, born 1894 in Port Ahuriri, Napier. She married John Wood (born 18 Dec 1888 in Wanganui, New Zealand) on 14 October 1912 in Napier. Unsure of date of death. John died November 1969.

They had a son,(only child) Ormand William Wood, born 21 April 1914 in Napier. He married Nancy Magdalene Parish (b. 14 April 1914, Walton on Thames, England, who just celebrated her 100th birthday) on 13 April 1944 in Stafford County, England during the war.

They had 3 children Richard John Wood (b 10 September 1945, Doncaster, England, d 25 May 2005), Timothy William Wood (b 21 April 1948 in Napier - this is my father) and Jane Anna Wood (b 22 June 1950, Napier)

A lot of the historical information I have is from my Grandmother, Nancy, who as I mentioned just this week turned 100. She thought Thomas's wife was Mary O'Reilly born 1828 in Galway Bay, Ireland, arrived 1847 in Auckland, died 1875 in Napier. Her parents were Bernard O'Reilly and Margaret Wisely.

Do you have any more information on the second wife Mary - we have O'Reilly and you have Reilly? Any other family information you have would be great - I am just starting on this venture!

Kind regards
Gina Buchanan (nee Wood)

by Patchor on 2014-08-16 02:01:17

Hi Gina.
Shame on me, I am late in sighting your fascinating response. I do apologise.

My line comes from their daughter Catherine(Kate)Cuff (nee Masterson). She had sixteen children (so there's a lot of data there to start with).
And something of note for a Fencible's daughter,I am delighted to have found that she was one of the first eight females in the world to vote in an election too.

I have assorted (though confused) information that you could be interested in... best transferred by email I think as I doubt that it would much interest those who follow this site.
Could you maybe email me at

So very good to hear from you Gina!
Kindest regards,

by sarah970ken on 2016-02-04 02:18:12

Hi guys thank u for your info im just readig thomas is my line to jane masterson and william mccallum I was going to put up looking for this family but I found this post thank you very much

by sarah970ken on 2016-02-04 02:44:14

Hi patchor I would also b very intersted in your info to specially if there sny on jane and william mccallum

by sarah970ken on 2016-02-04 03:08:40

My email address is kensarah@hotmail.

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