Getting ready for Ireland 2015

Qld CoA online version mono  nw447

Once upon a time, in eighteenth century Ireland, a man stood helplessly watching his beloved uncle, Father Prendergast, a highly respected Catholic Priest being hanged from the gallows for no greater crime than performing his duty in ministering the Sacrament of Confession at a Rebel Camp to the sick, dying and those preparing for battle. He was not a Soldier, merely a Priest. By hanging him, this man was being made a scapegoat to warn all other Rebels of their fate should they continue to fight for their rights for freedom to practice their Religion and to prosper in their own beloved country. The blood boiled in this man’s veins and he answered the call to arms and he became an active member of the United Irishmen.

National 1798 Rebellion Centre
National 1798 Rebellion Centre

The role he played, as a member of the United Irishmen, in the early skirmishes of the 1798 Rebellion landed him in hot water. He was arrested and released several times and following several arrests he was finally transported to Australia. He arrived in Sydney on 11th January, 1800. He died in Australia on 27th January, 1833 and is buried in Windsor N.S.W . He never saw his beloved homeland again.

This man was John Prendergast. My 5 x Grandfather  and this is his story. A story I aim to confirm or dispel in my quest to solve the Prendergast family mysteries during my research visit to Ireland this year.

This ambition I share with other Irish Rebel descendants, many of whom I hope my research in Ireland will assist in confirming or dispelling their family myths.

The Prendergast Motto is Vincit veritas which translates to “Truth conquers”.

So sit back, pour yourself a tipple and relax whilst you read my story. I’ll put in the hard yards for you and when I return we will get together and learn more of what I have found during my research journey to Ireland this year.

My application for the Rural Arts Development Fund (RADF) grant of $2500 that I applied for through Arts Queensland  in partnership with Whitsunday Regional Council for my Family History Research trip to Ireland has been approved!  I couldn’t be more thrilled! Thank you Arts Queensland and Whitsunday Regional Council. I will put your money to good use.

My holiday planning has taken longer than expected. I have had to decide how to best utilize my time. After all, it is a long way to travel to Ireland and at considerable expense. I want to learn as much as possible about my Prendergast family while I am there so that I can add generations to our Prendergast family tree and put “flesh on their bones”. I hope to get to know who our family members are by breaking down the walls that have barred this knowledge for over 200 years. I also hope to help anyone else through my research who has the yearning to discover their Irish roots also.

With the Irish privacy laws changing last year to allow more freedom of information to be released, my job is much easier than my mum Lorna’s was 30 years ago when she put in all the hard work to discover our Prendergast family history.

Also with the advance in technology it is becoming easier to trace family members past and present around the world.

Cork uni (460x640)

I am so excited about commencing  the University College Cork (UCC) Genealogy Summer School on 28th June.  This is the Schedule for the Summer School and I will be adding to it daily. The course will be “full on” but worth every minute of it. This course will be followed by the Dublin Archives visit that has been organized by Lorna Moloney and her team of Genealogists which will commence on 6th July and end on the 8th July. I intend to remain at Trinity College in Dublin until the 11th July so that I can firstly pay a visit to St. Nicholas of Myra Church to thank Sarah, their Archivist for sending my 5x Grandfather John Prendergast’s Baptism Certificate. And secondly to visit Glasnevin Cemetery to pay tribute to many of my Prendergast Ancestors buried there.

Then, the big question “How do I fill in my time between the 11th July and the 1st of August when the 1798 Rebellion re-enactment takes place in Enniscorthy”?

After much research I have decided to join a “C.I.E” 9 day guided tour travelling throughout the beautiful Northern Ireland to learn about their history.I have heard that C.I.E. is a very good company to travel with having been operating for 83 years in Ireland and having won many travel industry awards. I am especially looking forward to staying our first night at the magnificent Cabra Castle in Kingscourt pictured below.2903654

On my return to Dublin I will fly to Paris on 19th July and commence a Uniworld boutique 8 day River Cruise sailing to Normandy and returning to Paris to visit Art Galleries and Museums.This tour is dedicated to historians and Art lovers interested in learning about the Normandy landing beaches of World War 2 and also about the Impressionist Artists, their Art and their lives. Then I will fly back to Ireland for the 1798 Rebellion re-enactment in Enniscorthy.

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  1. Hi Jennifer,

    I am really interested to discover what you found on your trips. John is my 4x Great-Grandfather. I have never been able to find any information about his life in Ireland, so very interested to know what you found and where you found the information about his uncle etc.

    Would love to hear from you!



  2. Hi Jennifer
    I am doing ancestry on the partner who is the pendergast of Benambra and I believe are relate to you.
    I on and Im trying to head as far back as I can…who far back have you done and do you have a public act at all.

    Thank you for you time and all the fabulous research..what a ride hey
    Chats Kylie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My ancestors are Wood on one side and Pendergrass on the other. Have seen these two families in the same locations in the southeastern United States dating back to 1790s and wondered if you have found them associated in your searches.


    • Greetings from the beautiful Whitsundays,
      Although I am married to a Wood, my maiden name is Prendergast, spelt variously in 30 different ways, including Pendergrass. I would love to hear more about your ancestors dating back to the 1790s as I have not found any ancestors in Southeastern USA dating back to that time. This doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. I just may not have found them yet. Please tell me more. Jennifer.


  4. Great blog and I hope your trip was amazing and informative .I am also following John Pendergast. My connections follows down through his daughter Bridget who married Patrick Reed (NSW AUSTRALIA). I will be heading to the Windsor family vault early 2017. Hoping to hear and see more in the future.


    • Thank you Mel. It is great to hear from another Prendergast/Pendergast family member. I plan to also visit the family vault in Windsor again in February next year. If you are around then, you might like to meet up for a coffee.
      My plans for the next Genealogy research visit to Ireland in May are well under way, so I hope to post blogs as the trip unfolds.


      • Hello Jennifer. Your recent travels sound amazing. Is there any way to contact you personally. (E-mail)


  5. Hi Jennifer

    Did you find family links in Leixlip?
    I’m a Prendergast with links there 1850 at the earliest to 1940ish.

    I’d be interested to know if we’re on the same tree and if you managed to trace the family back further.


    • Hi Teresa
      Thank you for your comment. I did not find any links with the Prendergast family in Leixlip 1850 – 1940s. This is a little late for me as my Ancestor arrived in Sydney 1800. I would be very interested if you would like to tell me which country you live in and what links you have found for your Prendergast Ancestor in Leixlip. I have managed to trace the Prendergast family in Dublin back to the 16oos and further back in other parts of Ireland.


      • Hi Jennifer

        Might be hard to link links so.

        We have a William (1793ish – 1863) married to Catherine (1800ish – 1880).
        They and their children are buried in Leixlip as are their grad and great-grandchildren.

        I know that William rented a shop on the main street from the 1850 Griffiths valuation but can’t document the generation before them. Family stories have it we are Wexford Prendergasts but the link is not clear.


      • Hi Teresa,
        I am sorry my reply has taken so long. I have found the 1850 & 1851 Griffiths Valuation that records William renting a house and yard from Arthur Guinness (2nd) for 5 pounds 5 shillings situated in the Main Street Leixlip. I have found a number of Prendergast children with the parents William and Catherine (Mahoney) baptised in Tralee. Observing the naming order, these children are John, Thomas, William, Catherine – all popular Prendergast names. Could this family be your Ancestors?


  6. Hello, just wondering if your John Prendergast was transported as John Pendergast later m’d Jane Williams, if so, could you please tell me where you found the information about his Uncle being a priest, as I have read much info. on John Pendergast but have never come across this. Good luck with your research in Ireland, sounds like the trip of a life time.


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