Cork Ancestral Archive &  Genealogical Research

 
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Edward Bransfield, the first man to successfully discover and chart a very small proportion of the inhospitable landmass then claimed and  named the ‘New South Shetland Islands’ forming a part of the previously unknown Antarctic Continent; was said to have been born circa 1785, Ballinacurra, a small industrious village and harbour serving Midleton. Whilst this has so far never been proved, he was without question one of Midleton’s sons, and born somewhere within the surrounding district. Regrettably, his parentage is unknown. However, his brother William's unnamed children of Midleton were beneficiaries of Edward’s Will upon the death of Ann, his then widow.

The Bransfield clan of Ireland were once and still are predominately of County Cork; in particular, of Midleton and surrounding areas. From here seemingly branching east to Cork City, and west to Youghal, Waterford and beyond. Without any doubt the highest concentration of this family remains Midleton to this day, and well respected members of the community. The earliest recorded mention of the name may be found within the parish registers dating from 24th September 1819, held at the National Library. Prior to this date the registers were apparently deliberately destroyed, so it is said.

Midleton Parish Register

Of the Tithe Applotment Books, circa 1825/30s, the Bransfield named county of Cork only appeared in Ballymartin north of Midleton and Ballywilliam north of Cobh. This was then followed by Catholic Parish Census of 1842, reproduced by Canon Berty Troy, Midleton’s deceased Parish Priest, and may be found at the Local History section of the City Libary. Much of his work, sadly, has gone unrecognised, who was an important local historian and antiquarian.

Throughout the 1800s until the mid 1900s many were traders, three of whom were in Main Street, Midleton; and two in Ballinacurra. This fact is borne out by the Griffith’s Valuation of 1852, and subsequent Valuation Books held at the Valuation Office Dublin. The following edited extracts for ease of reading of Ballinacurra dated, documents that in 1847, number 12 East Street was occupied by William Bransfield who was very probably Edward’s brother. The next entry for 1850 has William now occupying number 13 and Edmund at number 11.

To return to Edward Bransfield; it is generally accepted he was three times married. His first was to Mary Harris, 21st August 1813, by Licence, St Andrews, Plymouth while he was ‘Master of His Majesty’s Ship Goldfinch.

First Marriage

The same parish register records her death, 1st September 1814. The next record of a marriage found listed within the register of "Vicar General of Canterbury", to Carolyn Matilda Bath, 8th February 1817, full details of which cannot be confirmed unless actual entry has been located. Edward finally married Anne whose maiden name is unknown.

The next record of the couple was the 1841 census for South Bersted, Upper Bognor Road, Sussex, at 1 Spencer Terrace. Then year before Edward’s death they were at 61, London Road, Brighton. It is not believed they had any children.

He died here, 31st October 1852. In accordance with his Will, his Estate was left to Anne, and as already stated; after Ann’s death his instruction to Captain Thomas Porter, his sole executor was; "I Request him to pay the sum remaining in his possession to the surviving children of my brother William Bransfield in equal parts"

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