The name O’Dea

freemans_journal
The O’Deas on my maternal side came from County Clare. This piece below, now published on several websites, appeared in The Freeman’s Journal of 1882. The journal was first published in June of 1850 with a focus on Catholic and Irish issues. It continued with this title until a name change in 1932.

O’DEA
The O'Deadhadhs, or Deas, are of Milesian extraction, springing from Aenghus Cinnatrach, fifth son of Cais, of the race of Oliol Ollum, King of Munster. The O'Deas were formerly chiefs of Triocha Cead Cinal Fermaic, otherwise Triocha Ougbterach, or the upper district, and Diseart ni Dreadbadth, now the parish, of Dysart O'Dea, in the barony of Inchiquin, and county Clare, comprising about 24,000 acres statute measure.

The chiefs of this territory are thus mentioned by O'Heerin is his topographical poem:
With due respect we first treat
Of the higher lands of Triocha Oughter;
O'Dea is the inheritor of the country
Of the nut producing plains.

In very early—times a branch of this family removed to the county of Tipperary, where, in the barony of Slieveardagh, they became possessed of an extensive estate, as we are informed by O'Heerin m these lines —
Slieve Arde of the fair lands
O'Dea inherits as his estate.

The O'Deas had several castles in their original territory of Cinel Fermaic, the tribe name of this family, where at the present day some ruins of their castle of Dysart may be seen. The following notices of the O'Deas are collected from the "Annals of the Four Masters," and various other sources : —
A.D. 1106, Raghnall O'Dea died.
A.D. 1151, Flaherty O'Dea was slain at the battle of Moin Moir, in the county of Cork.
A.D. 1311, Lochlin Riavach, or the Swarthy O'Dea, was slain by Mahon son of Donal Conochtach, I.e., the Conacian O'Brien.
A.D 1400, Cornelius O'Dea, Archdeacon of Killaloe, was consecrated Bishop of Limerick in this year, and obtained possession of the temporals of the see in the year following. He resigned his sacred office in 1426, and lived in seclusion until his death, which took place on the 27th July, 1434. He was entered in the cathedral, where a monument of black Marble was erected to his memory by his worthy successor, John Mottel, Canon of Kells.
A.D. 1588, Mahon O'Dea, son of Lochlin, son of Rory, son of Murrogh, son of Mahon Boy, lord of Cinel Fermaic, died.
A.D 1589, Dermod O'Dea, son of Dermod, son of Denis, son of Dermod son of Conor, son of — I.e., the Bishop of Limerick— son of Murrogh-an-Dana, died, and was interred in the church of Dysart-Tola, in the town of Dysart.

To some of our readers it may seem strange that Conor O'Dea, being Bishop of Limerick, should have a son ; but to the reader of ecclesiastical history this is a matter of no surprise, several of the religious establishments in their country in Ireland are the foundations of kings; princes, and chiefs, who to leave their names inscribed on Fame's emblazoned roll when Glory's proud fane blazed brightly from afar, wasted their patrimonial estates, and shed the life-blood of some hundreds of their subjects in useless strife ; and now, when the fire of youth, the heat of passion, or the love of revenge had ceased to burn in their bosoms, and their beloved consorts, the parents of their joys and sorrows, are called to their last resting place, their younger sons are scattered over the land, and the eldest son takes a stranger's daughter to wife, and entrusts her with the government of his ancestral hall, the old chief lays aside the glittering armour stained in many a well-fought field, and takes the habit of a friar in some time honoured convent, endowed by his ancestors, whence he is taken in the course of years, and invested with the episcopal dignity.

A.D. 1548, Dermod, son, of Edmund, son of Rory O'Dea, of Tully O'Dea, was slain by the insurgents of the country of Clare, in the month of July, in this year. ODEA.

In the countries of Clare and Limerick the name O'Dea in the Irish is erroneously pronounced as if written "Dha;" in the county of Galway it is correctly enough pronounced "Dhia" and Dhea. The O'Deas were hereditary standard bearers of Thomond, where numerous families of the name are to be met with at the present day.

1862 'O'DEA.', Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), 26 March, p. 2. , viewed 20 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115762909



114 years ago

A troubled life

On this day 114 years ago John Francis Benedict O'Dea died in the Parkside Asylum in Adelaide, South Australia. An article in Trove alerted me to the reason why his death may have taken place there.  He had been wrestling with his demons for several years before being committed as a patient in January of 1900.

This 1897 article provides a glimpse of his difficulties and of the family's efforts to deal with those issues. In 1897 he was about 27 years old, his father John was 62 and his younger brother Patrick mentioned here had not yet turned twenty.

1897 'MONDAY, JULY 26.', Bunyip (Gawler, SA : 1863 - 1954),
30 July, p. 4. ,  viewed 12 Jan 2017,
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article97578089

Monday, July 26,
[Before Messrs W. H. Cox and J. W. R. Croft, J.P.'s.]
John Francis O'Dea, of Hamley Bridge, a young man, was charged with being a dangerous lunatic. 

John O'Dea, the father of defendant, said his son was very dangerous at times, and caused his parents anxiety. On Saturday last he invited him to wrestle with him. 

Patrick O'Dea, a brother of defendant, said the latter was always talking to himself and was very violent on Saturday night, when he struck witness. 

Alex Kain also gave evidence. Defendant asked him to come outside and said 'Would you like me to be murdered?' 

Dr. Maher said that 'defendant was quite rational in his replies to witness's questions. In the conversation he showed no signs of irritability. He complained of loss of memory, which he attributed to a time when be lifted a heavy weight. He could not believe he had done it. Did not think that was a sane man's statement. Attended him about three years ago for melancholia and this might lead up to the conditions that the witnesses described. Melancholia might lead to insanity. Dismissed.

I cannot help but wonder if the loss of his playmates, a young brother aged 5 and sister aged 3 in 1878 may have contributed to his melancholia. He was only 8 years old when they died within twelve days of each other.

On his admission form to Parkside in January of 1900 it is noted that he was 31 years of age, a farm labourer, single, Roman Catholic and well nourished. It is stated that his first attack had taken place at age 25. Further details are added that he claimed "others want to injure him and are plotting against him." In subsequent years he was transferred to the Adelaide Asylum on North Terrace but when it was closed in 1902 he was rehoused back in Parkside.

John wrote numerous letters during his time in the institution, often rambling with a mixture of concerns over matters governmental, religious, family and law related.  Inside Glenside: A history of mental health in Adelaide provides a glimpse of this life.

The Glenside Hospital Historical Society provides a doorway to the records and I am grateful for their assistance in providing John's records which fall outside the 100 year quarantine period.

How sad his family must have been that their eldest son did not recover and died on Jan 16th 1903. Their sentiments were expressed in the death notice and several In Memoriam notices in the years that followed.


John was buried at Pinkerton Plains on January 18th, 1903. His parents John and Maria (my great-grandparents) were also interred there in 1922 and 1929.






Where did they get those names?

This photo of my maternal grandparents in 1907 displays a wedding party of siblings of both the bride and groom. The attendants ranged in age from 41 to 16 years. It also provides some clues to the names that the bridal couple would give to their children in the years that followed.

ODea Bennett wedding 1907
Left to right: Margaret I. O”Dea 41 years, Michael James O’Dea, 26 years, the groom Patrick Joseph O’Dea 29 years, the bride Georgina Ellen Bennett 17 years, her brother James George Bennett 16 years and Hannah Teresa O’Dea 37 years.

The groom’s family – children of John O’Dea and Maria (Mary) Crowley

The eldest O’Dea sibling, Bridget Elizabeth born in 1864, had married Coleman Kain in 18911 and by the time this marriage took place in September of 1907 she was 43 and had given birth to seven children.
Next in line Margaret, was born in 1866 followed by Hannah Teresa in 1869. In 1870 son and heir John Francis Benedict arrived. Michael was born in 1873 followed by Mary Anne in 1875. Patrick Joseph entered the world in October of 1877. Tragedy struck in  May 1878 when both Michael now 5, and Mary Anne 3, died within 12 days of each other2. The next son born in 1881 was also given the name Michael James.
John Francis Benedict O’Dea born in 1870, had led a troubled early life and was committed to the Parkside Asylum where he died at the age of 33 in January of 19033. Margaret and Hannah remained unmarried and cared for their parents. Michael James married James George Bennett’s widow Ethel in 19184.

The bride’s family – children of George Bennett and Bridget Helen Kelly

Georgina’s only sister Mary Olive had married Daniel Casaretto in October of 19065 and their first child, Catherine Mary6 was only 2 months old at the time of this wedding. Georgina’s youngest brother Albert Victor Ronald7 known as Ronald was only 5 years old. Young brother James8 was her supporting sibling in this otherwise older O’Dea wedding party. He had just turned 16.
In the following 11 years Georgina and Patrick O’Dea had a family of six children. They used a variety of family names as seen here.

Margaret Monica 1908 – names from Patrick’s sister and grandmother
Mary Ellen 1910 – his mother’s name and Georgina’s second name
Hannah Olive 1912 – his sister’s and her sister’s names
Patrick John 1914 – his name and his father’s name
Michael James 1916 – his brother’s and her brother’s names
Ronald Patrick 1918 – Her brother’s and his names

Popular family names from the past wax and wane through the years. A new crop of Hannahs appear and two of the younger members of the extended family now bear the name brought down through their great-great-grandfather’s sister – Hannah Teresa.

Anyone for an Olive? My mother Hannah Olive O’Dea really disliked her middle name, (initials HOOD until she became Horgan, HOH) but when we view this historical context of naming patterns, it is clear that the name Olive was important to her mother Georgina.


1. 1891 'Family Notices', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 21 February, p. 4. , viewed 10 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article26772482 2. SA Death registrations Michael O’Dea 12 May 1878, Book/Page: 87/489, Mary O’Dea  24 May 1878, Book/Page: 88/187
3. 1903 'Family Notices', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 21 January, p. 4. , viewed 10 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4917225
4. SA Marriage registration Michael James O’Dea, Ethel Bennett 19 October 1918 Book/Page: 277/538
5. 1906 'Family Notices', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 21 November, p. 6. , viewed 10 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5114732
6. SA Birth registration Catherine Mary Alice Casaretto Book/Page: 786/47
7. SA Birth registration Albert Victor Ronald Bennett Book/Page: 693/339
8. SA Birth registration James George David Bennett Book/Page: 505/358

Accentuate the positive 2016

christmas offerings 1894
Christmas offerings 1894 - Sts John and Paul Church, Tarlee, SA
scanned by CRGalvin from original 6 Sept 2016
The year has passed and postings here have been infrequent, however prompted by Jill to Accentuate the Positive I look back at 2016 and find I have much to be positive about in my genealogy endeavours throughout the year.

An elusive ancestor I found was my husband’s unknown grandmother Louisa May Lawson via Trove Government Gazettes where she was granted Letters of Administration in the estate of his grandfather. This led me to acquiring those records through NSW Archives.

A precious family photo was given to me by my brother  - a photo of Smyth household at Alma Plains showing gt-grandmother Hanora Horgan and my father as a small boy. Post to come in 2017.

Ancestor's graves  - I had the opportunity to photograph several in Pinkerton Plains and Navan cemeteries in South Australia.

An important vital record I found was – probate files for my husband’s grandfather which included copies of birth certificates for his children.

A newly found genimate shared – records of Walmsleys and Tonsons some of my husband's ancestors. Thank you Jenny Scammell.

A geneasurprise I received was being able to view some early church records with details of contributions made by members of a parish on various occasions.

Some new pieces of software I mastered wereOpen Live Writer for blog posts. and Google Photoscan for digitisation of photos.

A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was – Facebook in particular South Australia Genealogy and the Australian History Bloggers group.

I am pleased with the presentation - I gave at Noosaville library on Internet resources for family historians during Family History month in August.

I taught some friends -  how to use Google Keep for extracting text from images.

A genealogy book that taught me something new - Organize your Genealogy by Drew Smith.

A great archive I visited  - I made my first visit to State Records of South Australia, Cavan where I found school enrolment records for my father at Alma South School.. Helpful staff with a clean well –equipped quiet research area. I must also mention the Riverton History Centre where helpful volunteers directed me to some fascinating finds.

A new genealogy based story  I enjoyed was Kindred by Steve Robinson. Read to find out whether or not he discovers the identity of his father.

It was exciting to finally meet up again with siblings and a wide range of nieces and nephews and their children at a family wedding in September.

Another positive I would like to share is the feedback and encouragement I have received from my siblings re my explorations of our common ancestors.
Thanks Jill for the prompt to look back at achievements through the past year.