Mary Brown, ex Panama
Mary Brown advised the Immigration Agent, on arrival in Sydney on the Panama, that she was age 16, and a Roman Catholic. It was recorded that she was from ‘Ballyna’ (Ballina), that her parents, Anthony and Bridget, were both dead, and that she could read and write.
Ballina is in the Catholic parish of Kilmoremoy, where registers for baptisms and marriages began in 1823. These registers record the birth of Mary, to Anthony Brown and Bridget Reap, on 26 June 1834, with her baptism on 29 June, and sponsors Michael Reap and Mary Reap.
The family was living in ‘Pharanoo’ (Farannoo), a townland about three kilometres north of Ballina town.
Further searches in the registers reveals that Mary Brown had an older brother, John, born 21 March 1832, and baptised on 1 April, with Michael Gaughan and Bridget Meran as sponsors. The register shows that at John’s birth the family was living at Bohernasop, which is in Ballina town itself.
The only marriage record found was for Anthony Brown to Catherine Reap, of Garden Street, Ballina, on 17 February 1830. Whilst the location, the date, the two surnames, and first name of the groom, would indicate that this is the correct marriage record for John and Mary Brown’s parents, the incorrect first name of the bride leaves a doubt, and is symbolic of the inherent problems in locating and using Irish records.
It is known that after her arrival on the Panama in January 1850, Mary Brown was first employed by W.A. Wright of Pitt Street in Sydney. However, by October of that year Mary is recorded as having been sent to Bathurst (see the Famine Orphan Girl Database). It is not known what happened to Mary after this date, and ascertaining any information is hampered by her very common name.
© Barbara Barclay (2015)