Elizabeth Cronin & John Silk

Elizabeth Cronin was born in Ireland to Catherine (née Sullivan) & Patrick Cronin in 1829.  When she was about thirteen she emigrated with her family to Australia.  In Australia, Elizabeth met a blacksmith, or shoeing smith, named John Silk and the couple married in 1850.

Who was John Silk?

Death Notice for James Cronin (Catherine’s brother)
The Sydney Morning Herald p4 Saturday 22 January 1859
this definitely ties John Silk, shoeing smith, to the Cronin family.  It also confirms Patrick Cronin, Elizabeth’s father, most likely had the Surry Hills Hotel, Crown & Campbell streets.


Marriage of John & Elizabeth Cronan
NSW BDM Index – 414/1850V1850414 98
Curiously, there is also a record for John Silk marrying Catherine Cronan in 1852; what’s the go with that!?
Did Elizabeth die and he marry her sister?  I don’t see a sister named Elizabeth, who else would be Catherine Cronan … surely he didn’t marry Elizabeth’s mother!? I don’t think so, maybe there was another John Silk…?  NSW BDM index shows there were a number of men by the name ‘John Silk’ who married between 1840-1860.


births of children to John & Elizabeth:
John has a step brother, Richard Murray. This notice also appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Is this the same Richard Murray?  The timing is about right.
According to NSW BDM index, Richard’s parents are John & Catherine.
John Silk died 2 August 1897 according to the Sydney Morning Herald
According to NSW BDM, John’s parents were Catherine and William Silk.
Catherine appears to be the common parent, but which marriage came first? Murray or Silk?
Maybe the births for each will tell.  John was aged seventy one according to his death notice, making his birth about 1826.  Richard’s birth appears to have been registered in 1831.screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-5-28-08-pm
Looking for the marriage of Catherine to John Murray, I left the parameters wide open using Murray, John & Cath* as the criteria between 1800 and 1860.  Catherine Ryan seems the most likely, being around the right time, but does ‘Ryan’ fit at all?  Could it possibly be a mis-transcription of Browne?screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-5-37-52-pm
Maybe there is some information on TROVE
This is a start, perhaps Ancestry has some criminal records relating to Catherine’s arrest?
I need to remind myself what I am looking to find as it is very easy to become sidetracked.  I’m still trying to work out where John Silk came from and if this Catherine is his mother.  I then want to find out what happened to his William Silk that she could marry John Murray.  This article seems to tie in Murray and Silk as surnames for Catherine.  The criminal register entry below is dated after the above article but I think it is the same person.  If it is, it reveals a number of things about Catherine.  The first being ‘F.S.’ which is an abbreviation for ‘Free by Servitude’ indicating Catherine was a convict.  The ship she arrived in the colony in is the ‘Woodman’.screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-6-24-00-pm
Another entry, this time in 1851screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-7-12-22-pm
An entry from 1838screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-7-42-25-pm
And an entry that records her as ‘Browne’
Marriage of William Silk & Catherine:
I’ve not found any record of the marriage on NSW BDM, the only record appears to be the convict record where they sought permission to marry.
Children born to William Silk & Catherine
Birth of John Silk:
798/1826 V1826798 125
655/1826 V1826655 127
673/1826 V1826673 128
Birth of John’s brother William
542/1824 V1824542 125

Catherine Sullivan & Patrick Cronin


Patrick Cronin was born in Dromcolliher, County Limerick about 1807 to Elizabeth Sweeny and James Cronan.  Both Patrick’s parents were deceased in 1842 when he emigrated to Australia.  He was able to read and write so possibly attended school in Ireland.

I assume Patrick married Catherine Sullivan in County Cork around 1827 as the eldest child who emigrated with them was born around that time.  Catherine was born in County Cork to Johanna Fitzgerald and James Sullivan around 1810; both her parents were still alive when the couple emigrated to Australia in 1842.  Their immigration documents indicate their children were born in County Cork and the family were Roman Catholic.

There were five children born in Ireland, James b1827, Elizabeth b1829 (you can read her story here), Mary Jane b1831 (Scott’s ancestor), John b1838 and Johanna b1839.  The family emigrated to Australia in 1842 with their next son, Daniel, born on the voyage.  The ship’s records show his name to be Sydney but the NSW BDM index shows they had changed their mind by the time his birth was registered in Australia.  Their youngest child Julia was born in 1844.

Where did they settle?

Did they have the Surry Hills Hotel, Crown & Campbell Streets? Yes, & it was on the south eastern corner of the intersection.


Death Notice for James Cronin
The Sydney Morning Herald p4 Saturday 22 January 1859