Dear Paul,

My grandmother’s maiden name was Fetherstonhaugh and I have spent many years researching the family. I have come to the belief now that we are descended from Theobald Fetherstonhaugh of Mosstown B.1808 . My enquiries however have him marrying Jane Barlow in 1849, and AJ Fetherstonhaughs book has him desribed as a coroner in Westmeath.

I have a death certificate from a William Fetherstonhaugh (B. 1840 Westmeath Ireland) who was my G.G.G.Grandfather. His parents were Theobald Fetherstonhaugh and Mary Kelly. The occupation listed for Theobald on the cert. is Sugar Planter.

I have many reasons for believing these to be one and the same person, not the least being that he is the only Theobald in the right place at the right time to have been the father of this child (William). Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh’s “After many days” talks about a “house full of pretty cousins” who were Kellys, I wonder if this is where Mary fits in? Further to this, Theobald was 41 years old before he married Jane. I wonder what he was up to prior to this?

Mary Kelly was born around 1821 so was quite a bit younger than Theobald but I doubt that this was uncommon. She married John Murphy and came to Australia with her husband and William (17) and his young wife Mary Tone.

I can only imagine two possibilities for her having a new husband and a child by a different father.

1. She and Theobald were married and then he disappeared presumed dead. This was my first thought because his occupation of sugar planter would have taken him overseas. Perhaps he was one of the Fetherstonhaugh men described in After Many Days who left for Eldorado in 1853.

2. She was seduced by an older and powerful relative (Theobald) and was left holding the baby, so to speak. An unmarried mother might think that leaving for Australia would be a good solution.

I have had no luck in finding

Birth records for William

Marriage records for Theobald and Mary Kelly

Marriage records for Mary and John Murphy or

Marriage records for William and Mary Tone

Can you shed any light on this. I have no doubt, given the family names that we are descended from the Mosstown family of Fetherstonhaugh but I am frustrated beyond belief that I cannot prove this one last link.

Any direction that you can offer would be most appreciated.

Yours faithfully,