Monday, July 30, 2012

Women of Strength

I was thinking today about how we view ourselves as women these days as strong and powerful compared to women of the past who had fewer rights and many more restrictions in their lives, and you know I think actually the women of my past were far more powerful and must stronger women than I am.

From the great great great Grandmother Sarah Ann Abbott ,who outlived a husband and lived through the deaths of 8 of her children, to Margaret Rea  who followed her husband from Ireland to KatiKati, only to end up living with her family of 4 young children  in a grass hut while her husband worked industriously trying to cultivate a farm out of previously untouched land.

Take Mary Ann Gleeson as an example. She left Ireland alone  at age 16 and sailed on the “Broddick Castle” – a trip that  started on the 7th Octover 1875 and didnt end till the ship reached Auckland  on March 25th 1876.

She was but 16 years old, alone and travelling to a new land to stay with an Uncle.

Within a few years she had met and married James Goodwin, a railway worker. Within 18 years she had 10 children, and within 4 years of the youngest being born, her husband had died, leaving her alone with a newly leased farm to run and manage.

Such strength Im afraid I know I dont possess, though I hope some modicum of it has passed down the gene pool to me should I need to call on it some day.


Mrs Mary Ann Goodwin 63 Years in Waikato
Mrs Mary Ann Goodwin, widow of the late Mr, James Goodwin, who died at the home of her daughter, Mrs, R.J.Maisey, Allen Street Morrinsville on Sunday,aged 82 years, had been a resident of the Waikato for the past 63 years.
After spending her early life in Dublin, Mrs,Goodwin came to New Zealand in 1876 on the well known passenger ship, Brodick Castle, to an uncle in Te Awamutu. In 1880 she married Mr Goodwin, whose parents were very early settlers of the Auckland Province. Mrs and Mrs Goodwin lived at Te Awamutu and Hamilton, Mr Goodwin being employed on the railway. In the early eighties he was one of the men engaged in the construction of the railway bridge over the Waikato as a preliminary to the extension of the railway lines to Morrinsville, Te Aroha and Tirau.
In 1897 Mr Goodwin made plans to go farming as his sons were growing up, but he died after a brief illness as the result of a chill. His widow was left with a family of nine children the eldest being only 16 years of age. With courage typical of the pioneering generation in the Waikato, Mrs Goodwin and her sons carried on a farm at Newstead for many years until the family had grown up.
For Some years Mrs Goodwin lived in retirement at Morrinsville. She enjoyed fairly good health and retained her faculties until the end. Of a retiring nature, Mrs Goodwin was always please to chat about the pioneering days in the Waikato , and possessed a splendid memory of those critical times when prices for produce and also wages were very low, and the task of bringing up a large family was very hard. Mrs Goodwin’s eldest son, William was killed on active service during the Great War. A daughter also predeceased her. She is survived by six sons and one daughter who are: Messrs, James Goodwin(Auckland), Philip Goodwin (Wellington), Percy Goodwin( Dargaville), George Godwin, (Papatoetoe), Lionel Goodwin (Hastings), Norman Godwin( Manurewa) and Mrs R J Maisey ( Morrinsville).
The interment took place at the Piako Cemetery yesterday, The Rev G A Naylor conducted the service



Im very excited about your upcoming Family History Month at Digital Scrapbook Place.  Many of our members began scrapping to share their family history stories, many want to learn the best ways to discover a  new hobby in Genealogy. If you are at all interested in either you should definitely pop along to DSP and check out the wonderful community we are developing amongst Genealogists and Scrappers alike.

We will be hosting chats several times a week in our chat rooms, and have lots of ideas to get you started, and discounts on products that will make creating a wondeful visually beautiful display of your research.


  1. My great grandmother was aboard the Brodick Castle when in left London in early October 1875 and lost it's mast in the Bay of Biscay a few days later. See

    She was also Irish and aged 17. By the time the ship was towed back to Plymouth she had had enough so went back to Ireland, eventually making it out to Auckland a couple of years later.

  2. I didn't realise how common it was for single girls to emigrate . Seems like a huge thing by todays standards. I bet our ancestors knew each other!! It certainly sounded like an eventful journey ..thanks for the link.