My Grandmother, BRIDGET REYNOLDS (known in New Zealand as Agnes)the daughter of MICHAEL REYNOLDS AND BRIDGET (BEEZY) HART of Ballynahowna, Parish of Kilmacshalgan, Dromore West, Co Sligo, Ireland. Michael Reynolds was the son of Martin Reynolds and Nan Kiely of Co Sligo, and Bridget (Beezy) Hart was the daughter of a Mr Hart and Honor Conway. Michael died on 1 Apr 1909 at the age of 76 and Beezy died on 15 Jan 1919 at the age of 83. (Death Certificates held by Kevin McKenna). Details of the family are recorded in the 1901 Census.
Bridget was born in the family home at Ballynahowna on 1 Jan 1866, with Ann Reynolds, her older sister also present supporting her mother. Bridget left Ballynahowna, Co Sligo, Ireland and sailed for New Zealand in Feb 1887 on the "ARAWA". The trip took 6 weeks and called at Tenerife, Capetown, Hobart and Wellington to Christchurch where she disembarked. She paid a fare of 16 pounds of which she provided 10 pounds and the (New Zealand?) government 6 pounds. Kevin McKenna has a copy of the ship's passenger list with her name on it. She was in Cabin 17 which the records show she shared with Annie Breen, Bridget Doherty, Eliza Hannaford, Catherine Moroney, Elizabeth Russell, Selina Walker, Sarah Wilson and Emma Wofforn. Her age is shown as 20 and her occupation as "Domestic Servant". I have a diary for a voyage on the ARAWA written by Kirsten Lauridsen, who travelled from Denmark to Plymouth to join the ship. She came from a farm near Ringkobing and was travelling to join her fiancee, Hans Ries, at Norsewood. Hans Ries was later a Pastor in the area. Interestingly, Ringkobing was the town where Morten Christieson, an ancestor of Marlene Clinton (Kevin McKenna's 1st wife) came from.
Brigid had 5 sisters and 1 brother. Two of her sisters (Mrs Hannan and Mrs Anne Flannelly) also came to New Zealand. were in Christchurch with her. Another sister called Honor was also in New Zealand and died quite young. Kevin McKenna has a photo of the two sisters.
Anne Reynolds 1 1856
Bridget (Agnes) Reynolds 2 1/1/1866
James Reynolds 3 8/5/1868
Honor Reynolds 4 Abt 1860
Sarah Reynolds 5 23/11/1873
Margaret Reynolds 6 21/3/1876
Jane Reynolds 7 16/8/1870
Moving to NZ’s capital city of Wellington, Bridget worked for Sir William Pember-Reeves and then at St Patrick’s College, Wellington. Fr Power (later Msgr) brought her with him to in the small Taranaki town of Patea as his housekeeper and that is where she met her future husband. She married Edward McKenna, who had come the New Zealand in 1873 from Co Clare, in Patea, on 12 Feb 1895. Their marriage was the first Nuptial Mass celebrated in Patea.
Edward McKenna from Ogonnelloe, Co Clare married Bridget Reynolds from Ballynahowna, Dromore West, Co Sligo, in Patea, NZ, on 12 February 1895. They had ten children:
The 10 children of Edward McKenna and Bridget Reynolds
Name Birth Date
Michael Joseph McKenna1 25/1/1896
Mary Agnes (Molly) McKenna2 13/4/1897
Edward McKenna3 1898
Gertrude McKenna4 16/1/1900
Nora Annie McKenna5 1901
Ellen Theresa (Nell) McKenna6 1903
Margaret Mary (Peggy) McKenna7 18/1/1904
Winifred Maud McKenna8 1905
Kathleen McKenna9 12/10/1906
John Stuart McKenna10 25/10/1909
The farm at Ballynahowna that Michael farmed is still in the hands of the Reynolds family - Michael-Joe and Eileen Reynolds and their family live there. The cottage that Michael and Beezy raised their children, including my grandmother Bridget (or Agnes as she chose to call herself in NZ), is still standing and I saw and photographed it in April 1997.