Meet the O’Reillys
Ellen O’Reilly is pictured here with her husband John and nine of their children about 1900. It seemed a simple task to identify the children in the photo as many were already known to the family. Not so, much confusion followed. Ellen died in 1933 and her death certificate revealed she and John had born thirteen children with one male and three females having died before her and John, who sadly died in 1907. Lillian, the youngest daughter was not born until 1902 and helps date the photo, so who’s who?
From Ellen’s death certificate we find she was born Ellen O’Sullivan about 1859 in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. She died aged 74 years and was buried at Rookwood Cemetery, NSW. Ellen married John about 1877 when she was 18 years old in Tralee, Ireland. She had been in NSW for 55 years so must have arrived here about 1878, soon after they married. The children were shown as John F. aged 52, Ellen 49, Mary 47, James 45, Joseph 43, Frances 40, Peter D. 37, Stephen 34 and Lillian 30.
After much searching through birth and death certificates, grave and cemetery records and dealing with name variations it appears Ellen O’Reilly’s family is: Front row: (L-R) a boy-probably Joseph, Mary Ellen holding orchids, their father John with Steve, Peter next to their mother Ellen, Frances the girl seated & a boy-probably James. Back Row: (L-R) Ellen (Nell), John & Johannah (Hannah). That’s all 9 children!
Next, a visit to Rookwood Cemetery helps to reveal who the missing children are.