Our Family History

John Joseph French in Queensland, Australia 1917 John Joseph French in Queensland, Australia 1917

The French's

26 March 2010 By John Ironmonger
French was the name of my maternal grandfather and I have finally had a chance to look into this side of my family. The immediate reaction is "wow, what a lot of children."

Surname Origin.
  • originally coming from, or belonging to France
  • ethnic name for someone from France, Middle English frensche, or in some cases perhaps a nickname for someone who adopted French airs
  • variant of Anglo-Norman French Frain
John Patrick French immigrated to Queensland Australia in 1855, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland with his wife Margaret Welsh and four children, even though they left England with only three. What an effort it must have been for Margaret to prepare for and take this voyage while pregnant and go through the whole birth experience at sea on a crowded ship. While the voyage is listed as lasting 111 days I have not yet found any indication as to when during this voyage their son was born.

John Patrick was born in about 1816 in co Wexford Ireland. He immigrated to Liverpool in England in about 1840 after marrying. It is not clear, at this point, if his parents and siblings all immigrated with him or it was just John Patrick and his wife Margaret. While in Liverpool, Catharine Mary Ann, John Joseph and Luke Lewis were born. What motivated the next big move for this French family is unclear, but they boarded the Ship Sabrina in the middle of 1855 and arrived in Queensland, Australia, November 27, 1855. During the voyage Joseph Henry was born.

John Patrick's children all had many children of their own. Catharine May Anne married Nathaniel Hemmings and had 6 children. John Joseph married twice. With Mary Maguire and then Ellen Gertrude Gregory he had at least 14 children. The last (but not least) of these, Frederick William French, is my grandfather. Luke Lewis married Susannah Abay Robinson and had at least 10 children and Joseph Henry married Mary Jane Ring and had at least 10 children.

On the 1851 UK Census, while living in Liverpool, John Patrick's occupation is shown as Warehouse Porter. On his sons death certificate John Patrick's occupation is shown as Carpenter. Training he could have received in Australia. Both John Joseph French and my grandfather Frederick William French were carpenters.

The family name French seems to be prominent in co Wexford, Ireland and there are numerous references to this on the internet. Something to follow up on later. There are also lots of descendants of the 34 known French children from John Patrick's family and while I have met only a few of these, it provides lots of places to go researching.

If you have family history on this French family and want to share it with me please use the Contact button on the left to send me an email.

21 March 2014
by John
RE: The French's

Hi Theresa

My Great Grandfather was John Joseph French, Catherine Mary Anne French's brother. I guess that makes us 2nd or 3rd cousins. If you have family information that you would like to share please send me an email using the contact button on the menu and send me an email
28 February 2014
by Theresa Caldwell
RE: The French's

Hi John, Catherine Mary Anne French who married Nathaniel Hemmings on 29 August 1860 in Warwick Qld Australia is my great great grandmother.
4 February 2014
by John Ironmonger
RE: The French's

Hi Madonna, I have additional information and photos of Minni Brady but I could not verify most of the information I have from family input for her, so the information is not visible. Please sent me an email using the contact option on the menu and we can share and update
4 February 2014
by John Ironmonger
RE: The French's

Hello to all the French connections. I really would like to get any additional information you might all have on the French family. While I do not work on this site everyday, I get back to it when I can and do updates. It you would like to share the family history you have with me please use the Contact option from the menu and send me an email. That we we can exchange information without our email addresses being published on the internet. All the best. John
4 February 2014
by Madonna Cullinan
RE: The French's

Hi Again, following on from my first msg, I just realised, going by the information that my Aunty Betty told me this morning (Elizabeth Brady daughter of Minnie Brady nee French) that if you are Frederick William French's grandson then you must be Estelle's son? due to the terrible tragedy of the two boys? in that case we are 2nd cousins!
4 February 2014
by Madonna Cullinan
RE: The French's

Oh John!!! I cannot thank you enough for this incredible site! I have tears rolling down my cheek...I feel like I am desperately trying to capture my darling mum's ancestors' stories - she died suddenly in June (82) and I am aching for her . Her older sister (87) is still alive and I have been calling her every morning. She told me only today of their sadness when their cousins drowned in perth - I quickly scribbled their names as I am trying to pin everyone together and found Peter and John French on your incredible site. Not only did i prove her story but...I found a picture of my darling mums mother Minnie Brady ( nee French) I was only 5 when she died and I cried when i saw her pic. Anyway the pic of Frederick French is so much like My uncle Herbert ( Minnie's son) that its ridiculous. I have lots of information on Minnie Brady's family if you are ever bored and want it. Thank you Madonna Cullina ( daughter of Kathleen Brady, daughter of Minnie Brady, daughter of John Joseph French and big sister to Frederick French)
18 July 2013
by Denis Floyd
RE: The French's

My Great Grandmother was Abey Floyd nee French born 1885 - 1987 mother Susannah and Luke Lewis.
Spelling of Abey varies on Queensland Birth Death Marriage which now has free basic searches
10 April 2013
by warren robinson
RE: The French's

hi john my great grand father was Thomas Robinson Susannah's dad.
14 February 2012
by carol french
RE: The French's

Hi John,
Looking again at the information we have. Looking at Luke Lewis french and his marrage to Susannah Aboy Robinson. Where? and I am interested in the Aboy,seems like they named a child Aboy. Is it asisn?

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