Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in Australia

My Irish orphan ancestor Jane O’Leary, my great great grandmother, was one of the orphans sent from the Skibbereen workhouse to Port Phillip, departing Liverpool December 31st, 1849.

She married an English exile, Thomas Constable in 1852 and eventually had 7 children.

Jane O'Leary and Thomas Constable

She told her family that when emigrating, she thought she was going to America with her brothers (who presumably were also in the Skibbereen workhouse.)

She said she was separated from her brothers in the confusion on the wharf and thought she must have got on the wrong ship. 

Sadly there is no record of the brothers Christian names, however as I have DNA matches to people in Louisiana, I assume the brothers' ship arrived in south eastern USA about March 1850 (assuming a 3 month trip from Plymouth to USA (it may have been quicker than 3 months.)

Jane O'Leary Headstone

Unfortunately, orphan Jane didn’t know her parents' names or even how old she was.

The Skibbereen workhouse records were destroyed in a fire.

I have been to Ireland twice, searching for information, to no avail.

My question is:  Are there any more recently discovered records that might help in my search for her parents or relatives names?

Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 1834 (circa)
Date of Death 9th Aug 1914
Associated Building (s) Skibbereen Workhouse  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Thomas Constable


  • Hello!

    You didn't mention Jane's brothers' names. Do you know them?  I have a GGG aunt, Ellen Sullivan, who married Cornelius O'Leary. They emigrated to the US from County Cork with her mother Nora, wife of Denis Sullivan, her brother John Sullivan and her four sisters, Hannah McSweeney, Ellen Murley, Mary and Catherine Flynn (or Flinn). Do those names look familiar?


    T. Beckman



    Wednesday 7th July 2021 06:58AM
  • I'm sorry I neglected to say that they emigrated about 1845-1850.

    T. Beckman


    Wednesday 7th July 2021 07:00AM
  • Hello O'Leary's!  My Mother is an O'Leary from Hinsdale Massachusetts.  The local region was a center for the Marino wool industry in the 1860's.  My GG Grandfather Denis O'Leary emigrated from Co. Cork and settled in Hinsdale.  My Mothers DNA is available on several sites, and I would be interested in checking for matches to any other O'Leary descendants.  Jim





    Friday 26th November 2021 02:00PM
  • This Immigration scheme to Australia from the Workhouses was very formalised and regimented. It was run by the Colonial Land and Emigraition Commissioners and there is no way that Jane could have got on the wrong ship. Thanks for posting, howver. Irish-Australian Famine and Immigration historian, Perry McIntyre

    Perry McIntyre, Historian of the famine workhouse orphan girls to Australia 1848-1850

    Sunday 12th June 2022 07:37AM

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