Sunday, March 30, 2014

52 weeks of genealogical records - Week 9 - Inquests

This week is week 9 of  Shauna Hicks challenge for 2014.  Shauna said that this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.

For me this challenge is an attempt to blog regularly. I'm not sure how well this will proceed as I am a few weeks behind already.

As I don't live in a capital city it is sometimes difficult to access some records. Yes, many are available online but others still require a visit to an archive or paying a researcher to do the work for me. Personally I prefer to discover things for myself. However, perhaps I should out source some work if it's something I really want.

I have information about several inquests in my family, mainly from newspapers but a few are official primary documents. I have previously written a series of blog posts about family members in my extended family who have died young.

These include :



I do, however, have more information regarding the unfortunate death of John McInerney, my great, great, great grandfather who arrived in Melbourne with his wife an family aboard the Truro on 31st January 1854. Eighteen years later, on 14th December 1858, aged 37, he was dead.

He came by his death in the act of felling and cutting up a tree and that such death in our opinion must have been instantaneous and was purely accidental. (Foreman at the inquest)

John McInerney's son John who was aged 12 was required to give evidence.

I am the son of the deceased John McInerney, (labourer). I was yesterday cutting wood with the deceased (my father) and my two brothers, between Alberton and Port Albert at about four o'clock P.M. I was working about a hundred yards away from where my father was. I went over to him for a drink, and I thought he was laying under a log asleep. I went up to him and I asked him "was he dead" and he did not speak, he was sitting down, with his heels in the ground, and a limb of a tree was across his back and another across the back of his next. I took up the axe which was lying before him and chopped off the limb of the tree which was over his neck, and I raised up his head and it fell down again, and I immediately ran over to my brothers who were where I had been working. Mr Charles Tyers was with my brothers when I went back and I told them that my father was dead they came back to where my father was and found him dead. I had not been about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour absent from my father who I then saw alive, until I returned and found him dead. Before I left my father (when he was alive) he had felled a tree which was resting against another tree, and a stump, and when I came back, the tree which my father had felled, had fallen and crushed him. I went home as soon as I could with my brothers. 

John was further questioned by the Coroner.

What property do you know the deceased to be possessed?

I know my father to possess two pigs and thirteen or fourteen cows, a few fowls, a house on half a acre of ground, which he leased at one time but I think he bought it.

Are those milking cows?

No there are six milking cows, four ? and three suckling calves.

Do you know whether your father has ?? on those animals for debt?

I do not know.

How many in family ?

Eight children.

Mr Charles Tyers also gave evidence.

..... I reside at Sea Bank, near Port Albert. At about four o'clock yesterday afternoon (the 14th instance) I was talking to two younger brothers of the last witness, when the last witness, John McInerney came and told me that his father was dead. I went over to the spot where he showed me, his father, the deceased was in a kneeling position with the toes on the ground, there was a limb of a tree across the back of the deceased and one which was across his neck was cut through but not ? I lifted the tomb off he ?? and found that he was dead. I immediately went and gave information to the ?

John McInerney's wife, Mary was to give birth to their ninth child, Thomas 6 weeks later on 28th January 1869. How much harder was life to become for her?

From re reading this inquest there are some further investigations for me to follow up.


  1. Did John McInerney own the house which his son mentioned?
  2. Where was this property?
  3. I need to investigate further local history of this area as it is one with which I am not familiar.
  4. Visit archives to collect more information about other inquests.






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