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Gloucester's Lyn Stewart to launch her self-published book at Gloucester Bookshop
Kate Schwager
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Gloucester's Lyn Stewart to launch her self-published book at Gloucester Bookshop

From the Gloucester Advocate story by Anne Keen

Gloucester's Lyn Stewart had a niggling interest in researching her family history.

Like many Australians, her family tree has a range of convicted criminals, which was partly what first piqued her interest. But it was chasing down that tale of her great great grandmother, Margaret Murphy which inspired her to write a book.

She started researching her relative by first acquiring Margaret's death certificate as it provided details of her date of death, the date and location of her birth, and the names of her parents.

"It said she was 81 when she died in January 1884. She was from Tipperary (Ireland) and her parents were James, a hotel keeper, and Elizabeth," Lyn explained.

But it was still too little to go on.

Then she had a break-through when she found out a distant relative of hers was in possession of a family document that Margaret had brought with her to Australia.

"It turned out to be the legal agreement for the marriage of Margaret's parents. It was an 1801 document written in English on vellum or calf skin," Lyn smiled.

The document was a goldmine of information detailing many names of relatives on both sides of the marriage, as well as the location of the groom's family business, the Glengall Arms Hotel in Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland. This information inspired Lyn to take her research to the source and board a flight to Ireland in 2014, which would end up being one of three trips across the globe in search of her family tree.

During her first visit, she found the hotel once owned by the Murphy family, and made contact with a local historian. Just before she was due to come home, she learned there was a stash of Murphy family artifacts in an old Gregorian home which was in the family until 1975 and saw the last remaining Murphy pass away.

Determined to find out what was stored in the house, Lyn ventured back to Ireland in 2016, and with much persistence, gained entry into the home and to the collection.

"The contents of a large box were laid on the table. It was unbelievable. My jaw dropped. I was speechless."

Lyn managed to convince the owner of the house to donate the documents to the county's archives, and in 2018, she made her final trip to Ireland, where she spent a week sifting through all the material.

When she returned, she set to writing Searching for Margaret Murphy, from Tipperary to New South Wales, a Murphy family history, which she self-published in June. On Wednesday July 24, Lyn is having an official book launch at the Gloucester Bookshop at 5.30pm, where the books will be on sale.

But her dilemma is about how to let all the Murphy family descendants know about the book. Her first point of call will be at a Murphy family reunion in Burren Junction, west of Narrabi on Saturday, August 17. For more information about the reunion or the Murphy family history email lynstewart@netspace.net.au or elizabeth@powellfarms.com.au.

Full Story  https://www.gloucesteradvocate.com.au/story/6256596/a-quest-for-family-history-captured-in-a-book/


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