A travel blog of Ireland, Europe, and New Zealand

William Annan

FamilySearch Code L5BK-T9R

William (1841 – 1897) lived with Mary Flanigan from about 1872 until his death, fathering 9 children, one of whom predeceased him. Although they were not married, they lived together as man and wife and Mary Flanigan was always known as “Mrs Annan”. Her eldest son, Peter John Love, was brought up as an Annan and in fact appears on William’s death certificate as William’s eldest son, even though his birth predates William and Mary meeting up.

We know very little about William, other than what is on his death certificate.

This has him born in Glasgow with his father, also William, a blacksmith. His mother’s details are left blank. He is recorded here as arriving in New Zealand in 1867. As the provider of this information would have been Mary Flanigan, we must assume that it is accurate.

We have searched for him, first, on MyHeritage. A good starting point is the 1851 census when he would have been 10 years old, very likely still to be living with his parents. He may not have been born at the time of the 1841 census and he may have left home and travelled out of Scotland by the time of the 1861 census.

A search of MyHeritage shows that a William Annan (1814-1887) and Mary Primrose (1816-??) had a son William born in 1841 in the Gorbals, Glasgow. One family tree, run by Lulu Ben Hassine, shows this to be “our” William. However, another tree on FamilySearch shows him [MM9B-NRZ] living in England in 1881, with at least two children who have the middle names of Primrose. This is much more likely to be the Annan/Primrose son than the one who lived with Mary Flanagan [L5BK-T9R], so he can probably be discounted.

The next one on the MyHeritage list is William Annan, aged 11, an errand boy, who is living with his married brother John. Further follow-up has not succeeded in finding him after that.

Third on the list is William, born about 1838, who is living with his grandfather, William. Probably the DOB is too early, and that, at the moment, means his origins remain a mystery. Given that he is not a blood relative of Peter John Annan, it is not so critical to find him, but it would still be nice to know. The file remains open…

Colonial life in Auckland in the 19th century was tough for the lower classes so it is perhaps not surprising that they took to drink, which led in turn to more heinous crimes such as those falling under the Malicious Injury to Property Act!