My interest in genealogy was sparked by my husband who, while waiting for his Australian Residency status to come through, began his family journey.  This spark stirred old ember memories of my father sitting at his teak bureau with large sheets of paper writing out his family tree.  With my father’s handwritten tree as a beginning guide the spark caught alight and I began the search for my family.


Eighteen months later I have found many family members, both alive and dead who I never knew existed.   I now wish I had listened more closely to family stories, they are such a source of knowledge ~ full of hints for researching the past.  If you have older members of your family now is the time to pick their brains!   Once they are gone, so goes with them a wealth of information that can never be retrieved.  Many, many times as I have sat for hours at my computer searching census material and ‘Googling’ I have thought of my dad trying to put together his family tree from memory.  He would have loved computers.






My father’s line, has been researched along my maternal grandmother’s line as my father never knew the name of his father.  Even on her deathbed, his mother would not reveal who he was.  Of course, family rumours are rife but the truth is we will never know until we meet on ‘the other side’ and maybe, just maybe someone will tell us.  So for now, I have to be content with researching one line. McNally Coat of Arms.


Granny Mac died in 1965 when I was five years old so unfortunately I have no memories of her, but here are some photos of her.  Granny Mac   I have often wondered what kind of a woman she must have been.  For a twenty eight year old Catholic woman to keep and support a child born out of wedlock in 1922 must have taken considerable courage.  We share the same birth date of July 5th. 


My father, Henry John McNally was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England in 1922.  His mother Jane worked as a waitress to support them both.  Their house was a small ‘two up two down’ next to the Mersey River.  The rows of houses have long since been torn down.  Like many others of his generation who lived alongside the Mersey River watching the ships of the world come and go, he joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor at age 13.  Photos of dad  Dad served in the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy for many years.  Service Record.  For an interesting rescue story told by Max Horton, regarding my father, you can find it here.  He died two months after his sixty-second birthday in 1983, twelve thousand miles from where he was born.


My grandmother Jane was one of the six children of Henry McNally and Jane Farrell.  Her brothers were William, Edward and Michael and she had two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary.  From what I can gather Jane was close to William (known as Billy) and he took my father under his ‘wing’ while he was growing up.  Dad often talked fondly of him. Henry McNally was born in Birkenhead in 1854 and worked as a Dock Labourer.  He married Jane Farrell (b. 1860) on October 25, 1881.   Jane’s father was named Michael but alas I can find no further information on either of them.


Henry’s father was Terence McNally (b. 1817) and his occupation was as a French Polisher.  Henry’s mother was, I believe, Bridget Cunningham (b. 1824).  Both came from Ireland sometime before 1846. I know this (if anyone can know anything in genealogy!) as John, their son, was born in Lancashire in 1846. They had five children I know of:  Henry (my great grandfather), Hannah, John, Mary and Michael. 


It is at this point that the MCNALLY line comes to a grinding, thundering halt.  Irish genealogy is fraught with difficulty.  Records are few and far between and no passenger/immigration lists were kept between Ireland and England.  I am hoping that one day some kind soul will pop out of the woodwork and tell me where in Ireland Terence and Bridget came from.  Once I have that information I will be able to continue the search……….




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