A Kiwi in search of her ancestral tribes

Annie (Collins) Brosnahan ~ Sunday’s Obituary

This entry is part 6 of 18 in the series The Brosnahans of Temuka
Obituary, Mrs Brosnahan, Temuka - New Zealand Tablet, 22 May 1902

Obituary, Mrs Brosnahan, Temuka - New Zealand Tablet, 22 May 1902



Yet another of the fast diminishing numbers of early settlers has passed away in the person of Mrs Brosnahan, relict of the late Mr James Brosnahan, whose death (says the Temuka Leader) at the age of 86 is announced. The deceased lady was a resident of the district for the past 36 years, having settled here on her arrival from the County of Kerry, and was well known and highly respected. During the last 12 months her once familiar figure has not been seen about as frequently as of yore, owing to illness. The late Mrs Brosnahan was the mother of Mr John Brosnahan, of Arowhenua,  Mrs M Gaffaney and Miss Brosnahan (Temuka), Mrs Gaffaney (Dunedin), and Mrs Bryant (Christchurch). She leaves altogether one son, four daughters, 41 grand-children, and 20 great grandchildren. Previous to her illness she was hale and hearty, and was often to be seen walking to or from Mr Brosnahan’s to her own house in Temuka preferring to do so than drive.1

Annie Collins was my 3 x great grandmother.  She was born about 1816 in Co. Kerry, Ireland to Patrick Collins and Ann Seeler(?)2, and married James Brosnahan around 18383. Their son John and daughter Margaret (my great great grandmother) emigrated to New Zealand in 1862, and Annie and James followed a few years after with the rest of their family.

This obituary helped me to follow up the rest of my great great grandmother’s siblings. I knew about Catherine, who had married Francis Gaffaney, the brother of Margaret’s husband, Michael Gaffaney.

This photo is apparently of Catherine and Francis:

Catherine (Brosnahan) and Francis Gaffaney, Dunedin, NZ

Catherine (Brosnahan) and Francis Gaffaney, Dunedin, NZ

They married on April 16th, 1874 in Timaru, South Canterbury, and made their home in Dunedin, Otago.4

From Annie and James’ death certificates, I knew they had one son and four daughters living at the time of their deaths. After going through old photographs with my father, he told me about Annie Brosnahan, Margaret’s sister, who lived next door to the Gaffaneys – she was nicknamed “Queenie” and where she lived was called “The Queen’s Paddock”.

Caption on reverse: The Queen's Paddock, Queenie being Annie, next door to Belper House

Caption on reverse: The Queen's Paddock, Queenie being Annie, next door to Belper House

I wonder who the other woman is in the photo? Taking a closer look:

Annie "Queenie" Brosnahan, second from left

Annie "Queenie" Brosnahan, second from left

I wonder if this could be Annie’s mother, Annie Collins? From what the younger Annie is wearing, I’m guessing maybe the photo was taken early 1890s..? Annie Brosnahan never married, and is buried with her parents in Temuka Cemetery.5

So then I just had one remaining daughter to find: Mrs Bryant.

I found an Ellen Brosnahan who married Daniel Bryant in 18706, and found a few references to them, but haven’t been able to confirm anything so far – that may require ordering a certificate or two.

Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. “Obituary”, New Zealand Tablet, Vol XXX Issue 21, 22 May 1907, p 20; digital image, Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand (http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast : accessed 20 Nov 2010).
  2. New Zealand, death certificate of Annie Brosnahan, 15 May 1902, Temuka; photocopy, citing 1902/5750, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  3. New Zealand, death certificate of James Brosnahan, 23 Sep 1890, Temuka; photocopy, citing 1890/4316, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  4. Gaffaney Family Tree, compiled by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; GEDCOM supplied to author, 2006.
  5. Timaru District Council, “TDC Cemetery Database”, database, Timaru District Council (http://www.timaru.govt.nz/cemetery-database2.html : accessed 2010), database entry for Annie Brosnan, Timaru  (ref 13936, row 203, plot 203, buried 30 Dec 1944).
  6. NZ Department of Internal Affais, “Marriage Search”, database entry for marriage of Daniel Bryant and Ellen Brosnahan, 1870/8022, NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages.
Series Navigation<< John Brosnahan in the CyclopediaWhere there’s a Will, there’s a way ~ Amanuensis Monday >>


John Brosnahan in the Cyclopedia


Where there’s a Will, there’s a way ~ Amanuensis Monday


  1. Sharron Marsh(nee Kaahu)

    Did the family marry into Kaahu’s of Temuka . If so please e mail me at above address thanks.

    • Maggie

      Hi Sharron – so far I haven’t found any links to the Kaahu family in Temuka, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any! Good luck with your research, and let me know if you come across anything.

      • Ger Murphy

        I am researching the family of Samuel Seeler and Ellen Crimeen born c.1850 Co.Kerry Ireland that were living in Temuka.

        • Maggie

          Hi Ger – ah, that is interesting! Do you know when they arrived in NZ? And did they marry in NZ or in Ireland?

  2. Maureen

    record as Bryan instead of Bryant would do some checking of last name.

    Ellen Brosnahan married Daniel Bryan is 1870.

  3. Tim Brosnahan

    I too am seeking information about Ellen Brosnahan. My g/g/g/grandfather was James Brosnan, who was the father of Ellen. In his Will he gave money to Margaret, Catherine and Ann, but not Ellen. Ellen had married a non-Catholic and perhaps he didn’t approve???

    I would love to swap any information with you.

    • Maggie

      Thanks for your comment, Tim! I haven’t followed up Ellen and Daniel’s family, but her marrying outside of the faith is a likely reason she was left out of the will. Also left out were the the children of James’ daughter Mary, who predeceased him.

      Will be in touch! 🙂

  4. Gail Costa

    Hi does anyone know the parents or siblings of Ann ( Collins) BROSNAHAN. My great grandparents were Collins from county Kerry settling in Timaru arrival about the mid 1870’s. Michael Collins and his wife Margaret ( nee Drew)

    • Maggie

      Hi Gail, Ann’s death certificate gave her parents as Patrick Collins and Ann Seeler/Sieler. Ann’s sister Margaret also married a Brosnahan (Michael) and came out on the Carisbrook Castle in 1874, along with a Patrick Collins and his family – he may have been Ann and Margaret’s brother. (Margaret’s death certificate gives her parents as Patrick Collins and Margaret Leeler/Seeler, so a bit of confusion regarding their mother’s name.) There are quite a few Brosnahan/Collins descendants who have tested with AncestryDNA, so it may be worth going down that route to help confirm a connection.

    • Leanne Stevenson


      I’m just wondering about your Michael Collins you mentioned. My g grandfather John Collins had a brother called Michael & their father was Patrick Collins. John’s grandparents were Patrick Collins & Margaret Seeler. John moved away from Temuka & I don’t know anything about his 2 brothers & 2 sisters. Do you have any idea if Michael was John’s brother ? They came out on the Carisbrook Castle in 1874 with Margaret & Michael Brosnan. It has been suggested that Margaret & Patrick we’re brother & sister ?

      Hope to hear from you


      • Maggie

        Hi Leanne – on rechecking the passenger lists, Patrick and Catherine Collins (both 40 years of age) brought the following family members with them: Michael (15), Margaret (13), Mary (10), John (7), and Margaret (20 – possibly a cousin?). Is this your John Collins? Listed directly underneath them in the register is Michael Brosnan and his wife Margaret and their family. From correspondence with other family, I think Margaret Brosnan and Patrick Collins were brother and sister.

  5. Leanne Stevenson

    Thanks Maggie,

    That is my John Collins but I haven’t found any DNA matches to Margaret Brosnan which confuses me as I see from a previous post that her birth certificate shows the same parents ? Hopefully a match will come up sooner or later.

    Kind regards


    • Dorothy Dowgray

      Hi Leanne, I think you and I match with Margaret Brosnan née Collins, through ancestry DNA.
      Dorothy DOWGRAY

  6. Hi Maggie,
    your 3 x Great Grandmother Annie ( nee Collins) is my 3 x Grand aunt according to my tree with ancestry.com. My 3x great grandmother was Margaret Seeler who married Patrick Collins and their daughter Margaret Collins married Michael Brosnahan. My Great-grandmother Johannah Brosnahan married James Poff. Finding the links between Brosnahan/Brosnan and Seeler families is an ongoing study for me right now. A DNA test last year, through ancestry.com has helped me uncover many links. The photo you have above of the lady you thought might be Annie Collins senior looks very like the my Great-great- grandmother Margaret Brosnahan nee Collins, her niece. May I add a copy of those ladies to my tree please?
    Cheers, Dorothy Dowgray

    • Maggie

      Hi Dorothy, of course! I read your wonderful article about the Seelers, Collins and Brosnahan families – my father forwarded me a copy. Let me know when it’s published. Annie Collins in the photograph I think is Margaret Collins’ sister, and they do look alike (maybe it’s the bonnet?). Just checked and I see you’ve come up as a DNA match with my father – your fourth cousin?
      – Maggie

      • Dorothy Dowgray

        Hullo Maggie, lovely to meet you in Auckland last Sunday at the Expo. Sorry I didn’t get to talk with you further about our family connection. I hope we might be able to catch up at another time.
        Kind regards, Dorothy Dowgray

        • Maggie

          And so lovely to meet you in person at last, Dorothy! Next time we’re in the same city, we’ll have to organise a proper catch-up. 🙂

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