Finding & Remembering the Little Ones.
At Rookwood Necropolis, I arrived armed with a spreadsheet listing all the O’Reilly’s I wanted to find and a map of the Catholic Section showing Section Mortuary 1, where the babies were buried. Nowadays, it’s so much easier. If you click on the online deceased search results it should give the details of those who are buried in the grave & those nearby, so you don’t have to look up each one. My search found Michael Riely, Mary Riely, Agnes M O’Rielly & baby Mansfield together in Section Mortuary 1 Area 6 Grave 97 with Finley/Finlay in Grave 96 & Mannix/Sadlier in Grave 98. Unfortunately, many of the headstones in this area were missing so we had to come back after compiling a map of the existing graves, looking them up online & working out which were the closest graves. Sometimes you can just find the numbers on the graves, but not this time.
Phillip Johnson was buried in grave 99 in 1894 , while grave 37 is the next one still standing, with Patrick Healy (11 months) who died in 1888 & Marjorie Healey (3 years) who died in 1895. The rest is grass but at least we have a rough idea where they are. Now they are remembered again and we feel for Ellen and her family who lost three little ones. Baby Michael survived the journey all the way from Ireland in 1879 but unfortunately, died accidentally within a few months of their arrival.
The inscription on Grave 700 for the sorrowing mother of John Cornelius Crowley McCauran/ McGovern who died in 1882 (age 2) reads:His little Johnnie in heaven above On earth short was his stay Because the Lord thy soul did love He soon took thee away.
Today, we counted our blessings and were glad to find most of the baby O’Reilly’s big brothers & sisters who survived into adulthood, were not too far away and also buried at Rookwood.