Sunday 11 September 2016

All about Nora

There was huge excitement in the world of Irish genealogy this week – millions of our historic copy birth, marriage and death registers were published onlinePlus, they are available for free. Just think how many family mysteries I’ll be able to solve now! The first record I consulted was the marriage of my grandfather’s first cousin, Nora Wynne.  Nora’s granddaughter and I are currently swapping stories and photographs by email, so she was on my mind.  

John Fogarty and Nora (Wynne) Fogarty, Dublin, 1927
John Fogarty and Nora (Wynne) Fogarty, Passport issued in 1927

Nora was born on 27 September 1895, at 14 Heytesbury Street, Dublin, the eldest daughter of James Wynne and Christina Kavanagh. By the time of the 1911 census, she was living with her mother and four siblings in Sycamore Street, in Dublin. Her father had already moved to England where he worked as a brush maker, while Christina remained in Dublin to raise the family.

Pat Fegan was the source of much of our knowledge about the Wynne family. She was Nora’s cousin. She told us that when Nora grew up, she married a tailor and moved to Australia. I had not found proof of this. But, like so much of our family lore, for the most part, Pat's story turned out to be true. Pat said Nora was the daughter of her uncle John, rather than her uncle James, but I’d already suspected this wasn’t the case

John Fogarty & Nora Wynne, Dublin, 1920, Copy Marriage Register
John Fogarty & Nora Wynne, 1920, Copy Marriage Register

On 12 September 1920, Nora married John Fogarty, a tailor, in St. Kevin’s church on Harrington Street. They had two children in Dublin, a boy and a girl, before applying for their passport to leave the country. On the eve of Christmas in 1927, the young family boarded the steamship ‘Orvieto’ at London docks, and embarked on a long journey towards their new life. No doubt, it was a fiercely exciting time, but one also tinged with a deep sadness. One thing was certain - where they were going - Nora would likely never see her family and friends again.

Thirty-one days later they all arrived safely at the quarantine station in Freemantle, on the west coast of Australia. From there, they made their way to Melbourne, where John worked as a tailor and Nora was a homemaker. Two more sons were born in Melbourne, and the family settled into the Australian way of life.

But, like most families, the Fogartys had their up and downs. It seems they had a particularly hard time in the 1940s. John and Nora separated in the early years of the decade. Then, they lost their fifteen-year-old son, Terence, to leukaemia in 1944. And their eldest son was badly injured during World War II. It must have been a truly dreadful period for Nora, so far away from home.

After this, Nora moved to Sydney, where she spent the remainder of her days. She died in 1971, at the age of seventy-five years. She is remembered fondly by her grandchildren.

Image credit: Copy passport courtesy of Nora's grandchildren in Australia
© Black Raven Genealogy


  1. What beautiful photos, and for passports no less! Would that my passport were that complimentary. It makes me sad to see them at the moment of such hope and anticipation long before their lives would crumble.

  2. With all the new 'rules' governing passport photos now, I agree, they're getting more and more like mug shots!

  3. Dara, have fun with those new online records!

    1. I am Colleen. and our National Archives released a mountain of new records today too - it's hard to know where to begin!!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!