- the girl from Galway and her five husbands -
Catherine Gorman was born in Galway about 1830, according to her death certificate. She
gives her parents names as Patrick Gorman and Catherine Torpy numerous times
throughout her life. No baptism record has been confirmed at this time.
Immigration: A probable arrival is Catherine Gorman aged 20 who arrived on the Inchinnan
13th February 1849. The Inchinnan was one of the ships carrying Irish famine orphan girls or
girls from the workhouses. Catherine stated her parents are Patrick, deceased, and Mary,
living. Her native place is Tenagh [probably Tynagh] Galway, she is Roman Catholic, a house
servant, she cannot read or write and has no relatives in colony. The Irish Famine Memorial
website states Catherine was from the Loughrea or Ballinsloe Poor Law Union [workhouse] A
note in the minutes of the Ballinsloe Poor Law Union minutes discuss the costs of sending the
immigrant girls to Dublin with a porter accompanying them. [Galway County Council Digital
Archive website] The following notation also appears in the Irish Famine Memorial database:
Register No.1011, 12 Nov 1849 Wollongong cancellation of indentures. Appendix K Goulburn
30 Nov 1849. This would indicate that Catherine was originally indentured to someone in
Wollongong but it was cancelled. She may have then been sent to Goulburn.
First Marriage: We next find record of Catherine when she is recorded as the mother at the
baptism of Bridget Karney on 3rd July 1854 at St Mary of the Angels Geelong, Victoria.
Bridget's father is recorded as being Richard Karney. I have not found a marriage for
Catherine and Richard, but she is recorded as being a widow when she marries again in 1856.
Richard Karney/Carney: Richard Karney is possibly the convict per Asia who arrived in 1820.
His native place was Liverpool England, He was a tailor by trade. He was sentenced at
Middlesex on 6th April 1820 to seven years transportation. His year of birth was 1805. He was
5 foot 3 inches tall, with fair complexion, light brown hair and blue eyes. He received an
additional sentence of 1 year by the court of general sessions in Sydney on 7th June 1826.
He was issued a certificate of freedom on 15th April 1828. This was 'torn up' on 9th October
1829 when he was charged with a felony. He was charged again in 1835 and sentenced to 7
years to Norfolk Island. The Sydney Gaol Entrance book describes him as a 'troublesome
character' [Ancestry - date not given] He is released in Sydney in 1842 and then his trail goes
Second marriage: On 31st January 1856, Catherine Gorman married James Fitton at St
Francis Catholic Church Melbourne Victoria. Catherine, aged 27 was a widow for
approximately 2 years with one child living [Bridget]. She was born in County Galway and
gives her parents as Pat Gorman, a labourer, and Catherine nee Torpy. She gives her address
as Bunyyong -sic [Buninyong] Catherine made her mark rather than signed. Witnesses were
Thomas Metcalf and Bridget Corby.
James Fitton was a labourer aged 40 from Goulburn River. He was a bachelor born County
Cork, parents James Fitton, a waterman and Ann Looney. Records show that James Fitton
was an ex-convict per Henry Porcher 1834. He was convicted at Chester Quarter Session and
sentence to 7 years Transportation. The ship Henry Porcher departed on 29th August, 1834
and arrived in NSW on 1st January, 1835. James was issued with a Ticket of Leave in 1840 for
Bathurst. His Certificate of Freedom was issued in 1842 at Bathurst.
Children: The newspaper report of James Fittons death says he leaves a wife and 2 children.
When Catherine marries for a third time she declares she has one child living and one child
dead. As she later records Bridget among her living children, the second child must be James
Fitton's. No record of its birth [c1856] or death [before 12th January 1857] as been found.
Death: James Fitton died on 16th September 1856. An inquest was held which gave the cause
of death as 'accidental intemperance'. The Bathurst Free Press dated 24th September 1856
reported the inquest under the surname 'Fitkin'.
Third marriage: On 12th January 1857 [less than a year after her previous marriage]
Catherine Fidden [sic], married Thomas Quinn at St Michaels Catholic Church Bathurst.
Catherine was a widow with one child living and one child dead, She was aged 28, born
Ireland, parents Patrick Gorman a farmer and Catherine Torpy. Her current address was
Cowra. Thomas Quinn was a farmer aged 30, born Ireland, parents Michael Quinn and
Bridget Bourke. Both Thomas and Catherine made their mark. Witnesses were John Halpin
and Honora OBrien.
Children: Thomas Quinn [junior] was born at James Park Cowra about 1858 although no
record of his birth or baptism has been found. Thomas Junior gives these details at the time
of his marriage.
Death: No record of Thomas Quinn's death has been found, but Catherine would give the date
25th June 1858 when she married for a fourth time. No further trace of Thomas Quinn has
been found and his origins and subsequent death or departure remain a mystery. In 1889,
Catherine's last husband makes a statement in court that at the time of his marriage to
Catherine in 1874, Thomas Quinn was still alive but he only became aware of this in 1882.
Research is ongoing.
After losing three husbands in a short space of time, it is no wonder that Catherine comes
upon hard times.
Child: Catherine Quinn nee Gorman gives birth to an illegitimate child Catherine Quinn on
3rd September 1860 at Cowra. No father is named. Catherine gives her age as 33 and her
place of birth as Portadown Ireland. NOTE: Portadown is in County Armagh Northern Ireland,
contradicting all of Catherine's previous claims of coming from Galway. Is it possible she
meant Portumna about 10 km from Tynagh? In 1862 Catherine claims that a man named
Henry Carvill is the father of baby Catherine. Baby Catherine has died by 1871 when a new
daughter is given this name. [NOTE: Not Catherine Quinn ref 2789/1864 daughter of
PATRICK and CATHERINE who died at BATHURST 1864. There is a corresponding birth for
Continued page 2
I am indebted to John, a fellow family historian and descendant of Catherine Gorman and
Thomas Quinn for all the work he has done over many years in untangling the life of Catherine
and her children. My own research is merely building on the valuable foundation that he has
laid through his hard work and dogged determination. Thank you John.