A Kiwi in search of her ancestral tribes

Tag: Burke (Page 1 of 2)

Rest in Peace, Martin Burke

Way back in 2018 my aunt Joan and I finally found our ancestor Martin Burke’s gravesite in Sydenham Cemetery.  It’s that green patch that looks like a walkway.

Burial site of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ. [Block 22B, plot 63]

Burial site of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ. [Block 22B, plot 63]

We’re not sure why Martin doesn’t have a stone to mark his grave – perhaps there was no money, or some ill-feeling amongst the family.

His wife Ann had died on 13th March 1895 at the age of 53 and was buried in St Joseph’s Cathlolic cemetery in Darfield, Canterbury, alongside his brother John who had died two months earlier.  Their headstones, along with those of their daughter Mary and her husband Patrick Riordan, are quite prominent.

Gravestones of Ann Philp and John Burke, St Joseph's Catholic cemetery, Darfield

Gravestones of Ann Philp and John Burke, St Joseph’s Catholic cemetery, Darfield

A group of us cousins decided to pitch in and get a headstone erected for Martin.

We got slightly distracted by a global pandemic, and it stayed on the ‘To Do’ list for quite some time, until I realised that 2024 would be the 160th anniversary of Martin, Ann and Mary’s arrival to New Zealand. They had travelled on the Mermaid which sailed into Lyttelton Harbour on 16 Feburary 1864.

I asked a local genealogist for the name of a monumental mason she could recommend, and contacted Decra Art in Christchurch to ask about the cost and timing to get a headstone erected for someone buried in 1918 in Sydenham Cemetery.

There are certain requirements when getting a headstone erected on an historical grave, and Suzanne was extremely helpful. For a pre-1950s plot at Sydenham the council only allows one type of memorial. I had visions of a large green marble Celtic cross, but this was not to be! The type allowed was a 300 x 200 x 25 black granite panel, set into a concrete and plaster desk and base. The cost would be $1125 plus $75 for the council permit.

Normal turnaround time is 8-10 weeks from the council permit being issued until installation (longer for rural/remote cemeteries). We were aiming for the anniversary date of 16th February, and Suzanne suggested getting it all arranged before Christmas due to the holiday break and staff unavailable over January.

The council permit has to be filled out, and sent back to Decra Art who then handle the application for you. The fee last year was $75 for a new monument/plaque. (For additional lettering on an existing stone the fee was $32.20, and for renovation work the fee was $42.60.) You need authorisation to install a monument – if the owner of the plot is deceased then the immediate next of kin must give permission for a memorial to be erected. In our case, my father signed as a great grandson.

You email the wording you’d like and are then provided with an obligation-free layout to show you how it would look. A week later we had a layout back from Suzanne. We made a few changes to the wording and finalised it at the end of September last year.

At some point during this process, a couple of us had a mad idea to organise a family reunion to commemorate the arrival of Martin and Ann. And so we did.

As part of the family gathering weekend, we asked Father Simon Eccleton from Christchurch Cathedral parish if he could bless Martin’s gravesite for us.

Fr Simon Eccleton from Cathedral parish, giving a blessing at Martin Burke's gravesite, Sydenham Cemetery ~ 17 February 2024

Fr Simon Eccleton from Cathedral parish, about to give a blessing at Martin Burke’s gravesite, Sydenham Cemetery ~ 17 February 2024

On Saturday 17th February 2024, 160 years after Martin set foot on New Zealand soil, around thirty of his descendants gathered to visit his gravesite and give thanks for his arrival.  I didn’t expect the blessing to be so moving – it was a very special moment and wonderful to share it with cousins.  My cousin David Bell recorded the occasion for posterity.

Gravestone of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery [photo: David Bell]

Gravestone of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery [photo: David Bell]

Hopefully the stone will remain intact and legible for many years and many more of Martin’s descendants to visit.

The (genetic) force is strong in this one ~ Ann Philp of Fife

Back in March I got to hear several presentations from Angie Bush, and I loved the way she presented DNA matches in charts using Lucidchart. So, I thought it might be interesting to try it out on one of my father’s family lines where he has quite a few matches.

Keep reading »

Burial site of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ. [Block 22B, plot 63]

Martin Burke (1840 – 1918) ~ Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch

While I was in Christchurch last June for the NZSG conference, I was determined to finally discover the resting place of my 2 x great grandfather, Martin Burke.  (There’s a picture of Martin in an earlier blog post.)  My first attempt with my aunt back in 2012 was not successful.  From Christchurch City Council’s cemetery database…

Keep reading »

Ann Philp and Martin Burke, with their daughter Annie Burke

Martin Burke & Ann Philp ~ Canterbury settlers

This is a copy of a photograph that was shared with me by my third cousin, Margaret. The couple are our great great grandparents, Ann Philp and Martin Burke. But who is the girl with them? Ann and Martin had three children: Mary (born 1863), Anne (born 1865) and Thomas (born around 1866), so presumably…

Keep reading »

Five year blogiversary

What a cracking year it has been for me, but perhaps not for this sadly neglected blog!  I have been busy finding ancestors, writing IHGS assignments, as well as attending genealogy events and a family reunion. I think my absolute favourite discovery was the gravestone of my  3 x great grandparents, Michael Burke and Bridget…

Keep reading »

The Arrival of my Ancestors ~ Waitangi Day

Today is Waitangi Day in New Zealand. It commemorates the date the Treaty of Waitangi was formally agreed between the Māori tribes of Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Queen of England way back in 1840. For all the Treaty’s faults, it helped pave the way for my ancestors to emigrate and settle in New Zealand. So,…

Keep reading »

My Genealogy Year 2013 ~ Accentuate the Positive!

February already and I’m only just getting round to my first post of the new year. Too late to join in GeniAUS’s Accentuate the Positive geneameme?? I hope not! Last year Jill came up with this great way to celebrate the genealogical highs of the previous twelve months, rather than dwell on any lows. Here’s…

Keep reading »

My Genealogy Year 2012 : Accentuate the Positive!

Jill from Geniaus came up with a wonderful idea to celebrate the high points of 2012:  Accentuate the Positive 2012 Geneameme, rather than concentrate on what we didn’t achieve during the year. So instead of feeling a bit depressed over all the things I didn’t quite manage to do this year, I get to feel…

Keep reading »

What, June already? ~ (Very Un) Sorting Saturday

I don’t seem to be doing very well on blog posting lately!  I’d love to say that it’s because I’ve been concentrating on my IHGS assignment work, but that’d be a big fat lie.  There has been some family history research going on though, however not much filing and recording. Most of the research I’ve…

Keep reading »

Arohanui, Christchurch

On February 22nd 2011 at 12.51pm (NZDT), an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude hit Christchurch, New Zealand, causing the deaths of 185 people. These postcards are from the album of my grandmother, Agnes Majella (Burke) Gaffaney, who was born, raised and buried in Christchurch.  

Keep reading »

Text & Images Copyright © 2011-2024 iwiKiwi

Adapted from a theme by Anders Norén