8 Terry Brighouse’s Family History


The following article is an abridged version of the story I have compiled about the two Brighouse brothers who came to New Zealand in 1859, their ancestry in England and their descendants in New Zealand. In the original version there is a lot of detail about where the Brighouses lived and what conditions were like when they lived there which I have removed but which will be included in the book to be produced in conjunction with the family reunion in September 2009.

To also keep this article to a reasonable length I have only recorded the names of the first two generations born in NZ. All the names and details I have of all the generations of the Brighouses are recorded in an ancestry database (Family Tree Maker).

Any further information about the early generations in NZ would be greatly appreciated.

Terry Brighouse

The Brighouse Family In New Zealand and its origins in England.

The name Brighouse is of Anglo-Saxon origin meaning ‘house by’, or ‘house on the bridge’. The name probably first appeared when a wooden bridge was built over the Calder River at the southern foot of the Pennine Ranges in Yorkshire in 1275. When one or two houses were built nearby they became known as ‘Bridgehouses’. So Brighouse is a corruption of ‘bridge’ and ‘house’. The family name Brighouse is mentioned in court records in 1275. The history of the town of Brighouse, in the area just to the south of Halifax and Bradford and on the banks of the Calder River, and the history of the Borough of Brighouse is recorded in the official guide to the Borough. Although the town of Brighouse was essentially a child of the Industrial Revolution it had deep roots in the past. In Roman times its importance was due to the fact that a Roman road between Manchester and York passed through the district, and was guarded by the Roman camp at Kirklees. When the power of Rome waned, the district witnessed the infiltration of the Anglo-Saxon invaders, and later of the Vikings, and by the time of the Norman Conquest the indigenous people occupying the Brighouse district were an amalgam of the ancient Britons, Angles and Vikings. (The Anglo Saxon invasion and conquest of England took place over the period 449 to 613 AD and slowly destroyed the Roman civilisation in England.)

At the time of the Norman Conquest, the Brighouse district comprised the townships of Hipprum, Clifton, Rastrick and Southowram, and suffered much at the hands of the Normans, who lay waste the settlements as a punishment for their resistance to the Conqueror. Gradually, however, the district recovered, and developments in local government, religion and trade took place, developments which were to shape the history of Brighouse.

The Brighouse-Rastrick manorial court served as the administrative centre of the area, and there justice was dispensed, trade regulated and orders made for the maintenance of the roads. It was at this time too, that the beginnings of industry began to take shape. Two corn mills were operating in the twelfth century; coal was being mined; leather tanning was being carried out and stone quarries were common throughout the whole area.

In the sixteenth century the real industrial growth of Brighouse began and it was initially based on spinning and weaving wool. As a town though, Brighouse was a late starter, the total population of the whole area around 1750 being between three and four thousand and most of these lived on the surrounding hills at Southowram, Rastrick, Clifton and Hipperholme, only 370 living in Brighouse proper. By the time of the Industrial Revolution in the middle of the eighteenth century the Brighouse district was well equipped to take advantage of the new inventions that were revolutionising production.

Bonegate Hall, an ancestral home of the Brighouse family, which now stands at the junction of Bradford Road and Bonegate Road is believed to have been built by a Henry Brighouse in 1653 and occupied for 300 years.

From information supplied to me in 1989 by Guy Brighouse of Derby in England, who requisitioned research into his family’s history and my own research, I have constructed the following record of my Brighouse ancestry in England.

The earliest Brighouses to be found in the English church records were recorded in and around Halifax and Bradford in Yorkshire. Johannes de Brighouse and Roger de Brighouse were living in this area in the 1300s in the village of Brighouse. The following are the earliest recorded Brighouses with approximate dates;

Johannes de Brighouse (c) 1375

Roger de Brighouse (c) 1387

John Brighouse 1420

(?) Brighouse 1450

John Brighouse 1470

Richard Brighouse 1505

Richard Brighouse 1535

All of these are recorded as being of Brighouse in County York.

Around 1550 records indicate that branches of the Brighouse family had become established in Lincolnshire and in Lancashire in addition to those around Brighouse in Yorkshire. The members of the Lincolnshire branch were land owning gentry with some French influence, which was fashionable at the time, evident in their Christian names. Names like Carrie, Martyn, Benjamin, Girlington, Francis and Ursula. Martin Brighouse of this branch was granted a Patent of Arms on 1st December 1590 by Elizabeth I. It seems that some members of this branch moved to Devon and then on to London but by the mid 1600s records cease which suggests that this branch died out.

The Lancashire branch of the Brighouse family were yeomen and tradesmen with rather more mundane country peasant names such as William, James, John, and Ann. As time went by this branch developed into many families. There is no clear evidence that the Lancaster Branch and the Lincoln Branch were related but one might assume that they both descended from the group to the north in Yorkshire.

The line of the family in Lancashire that is of interest to us is as follows;

Peter Brighouse Spec. 1550

Peter Brighouse 1570

John Brighouse 1596

James Brighouse b.1637

The English Brighouses that are linked to the New Zealand Brighouses were found in Derbyshire and were baptised at All Saints Church, Derby.

James Brighouse, christened his children in Derby in the 1720s. Research shows that this James was living in Derby with several women by the name of Brighouse. Three of these were daughters of a John Brighouse and are believed to have been James’ sisters.

Nancy Gordy of Washington State, USA, who is also a descendant of the Derby Brighouses, (specifically of John Brighouse b. 1771 in Spondon, who married Sarah Bloor) has researched the family’s roots and has found evidence that our mutual ancestors in Derby are descended from Brighouses who lived in Wigan, Lancashire.

Two Brighouse sisters (believed to be sisters of James Brighouse b.1702, Derby) were actually born in Wigan. It would appear that Ellen Brighouse b. 1694, in Wigan and Margaret Brighouse b. 1696 in Wigan were the same Ellen and Margaret Brighouse who died in Derby. Ellen is listed as having a baby (Eliza b. 1718, d. 1720) out of wedlock.

Nancy Gordy found several Settlement Certificates referring to women with the surname Brighouse. At the time we are considering persons were not allowed to enter parishes other than their birth parish without permission as their new parish did not want to assume responsibility for their care if they were in need. One reason a person could move to a new parish was if they were granted an apprenticeship there and another reason was if a person could show that they had sufficient income to care for themselves. A Settlement Certificate could be issued by a parish to a person who had come from another parish. Nancy found a Settlement Certificate issued to Ellen Brighouse in 1718 (the year her baby was born) by All Saints, Derby, and listing her as being from Wigan, Lancashire. Then again in 1723, Ellen, (again listed as b. Wigan) was issued with a ‘Removal Order’ wherein she was told to leave All Saints, Derby. Since her baby had died in 1720 it seems the parish was not prepared to support her any longer.

If the above is correct then John Brighouse (b. 1671 in Wigan) who I believe married Frances of All Saints, Derby, had daughters Ellen (1694) and Margaret (1696) born in Wigan but then had James (1702) born in Derby. This indicates that our ancestor John Brighouse (b. 1671) moved from Wigan to Derby between 1696 and 1702.

Nancy believes that up to 5 generations of our ancestors lived in Wigan prior to John Brighouse moving to Derby. If this is so then it is a very long time since our Brighouse ancestors lived in the town of Brighouse in Yorkshire – at least 400 years!

James (1702) baptised his son John in Derby in 1726 and this John and his wife Ann (nee Walker), in turn baptised their sons John and William at All Saints Church, Derby, in 1747 and 1748. Nancy Gordy also found a Settlement Certificate issued to John and Ann Brighouse of Derby and their children.

By the time William (1748) baptised his children in the 1770s he had moved to nearby Spondon with his wife Elizabeth (nee Johnson). Their son John was in turn baptised in 1771. Some time after the birth of their son John, William and Elizabeth moved further east over the hill to Ockbrook.

There is a record of John Brighouse being apprenticed to John Grundy of Dale Abbey in 1791. While records don’t show the baptisms of John’s children there were seven or so of them living in Ockbrook and raising families. Both Spondon and Ockbrook were thriving little agricultural communities and there were also trades-people there involved in the hosiery trade.

John’s fourth son (born 1811) was named Samuel after his grandfather and he was the father of the two Brighouse brothers who were to emigrate to New Zealand.

On the 29th August 1831, Samuel Brighouse married Ann Mills in the Duffield Church, Derbyshire. Earlier in the same year (21st February 1831), James Brighouse, (probably Samuel’s brother) had married a Judith Mills. (She was possibly Ann’s sister but this needs verifying.) James and Judith had 10 children and their names appear regularly in the 10 yearly census returns for Kirk Hallam and West Hallam. (Many of the details of those with the surname Brighouse in these census returns etc. have been provided to me by Joan Hardy of Derbyshire.) In the 1841 Census for Kirk Hallum there are listed:

Samuel Brighouse, aged 30, Hosier,

Ann Brighouse, aged 26,

Thomas Brighouse, aged 8,

Jane Brighouse, aged 7,

Edmund Brighouse, aged 5.

On the 17 December 1848, in St. Peters Church, Derby, four children of Samuel (labourer) and Ann Bridghouse (actual spelling) of Park Street, Derby were recorded as being baptised. They were Thomas, Roby, Edwin and Jane. They are recorded in the church register in that order by R.T. Hope, Curator.

Again in the 1851 Census for the Parish of St. Peters in the Borough of Derby the following are listed as living at 46 Canal St. Derby;-

Samuel Brighouse, aged 40, Roadmaker, born Dale Abbey, Derbyshire.

Thomas (son), aged 18, Netmaker, born Heafe, Derby.

Jane (daughter), aged 16, Dressmaker, born Ockbrook, Derbyshire.

Edwin (son), aged 15, Errand Boy, born Ockbrook, Derbyshire.

Roby (son), aged 8, Scholar, born Kirk Hallum, Derbyshire.

From the birthplaces listed it seems that the family lived in the country areas to the east of Derby until at least 1843 when Roby was born and it was between then and when they were baptised in 1848 that they moved into the town of Derby.

There is no mention in the 1851 census of Samuel’s wife Ann living at 46 Canal St. but in the information sent to me by Joan Hardy of Derbyshire, she notes that in the 1851 Census return for Smalley there is listed, as a visitor, Ann Brighthouse, aged 39, Dressmaker, born Belper and her 2 year old son, Samuel, born St Peters. Is this Samuel’s wife? – the age is about right and she has a son with her called Samuel. If so we might assume that there was an additional child born to Ann and Samuel. Joan’s information also shows an Ann Brighouse as having died in Derby in the March quarter of 1857 and a Samuel Brighouse as having died in Derby in the June quarter of 1861. In correspondence from the Longward family in England to my Great-aunt Rowena they state that a Samuel Brighouse, with a son Thomas who emigrated to New Zealand, married a Harriet Austin (or Astin, the handwriting is indistinct) and that this Harriet was later to re-marry to Henry Longward. Perhaps after Ann died, Samuel married Harriet but died himself soon after and she in turn remarried.

From about 1840 many towns became transformed as factories began to multiply and the population expanded. New industrial districts also mushroomed, often around villages usually due to the discovery nearby of coal or ironstone or from the development of rail or canal links as in the case of Derby. In the 1830’s and 1840’s industrial workers lives were pretty miserable with low wages and the mills were described as dark, satanic places, regulated solely by the will of the master and his overseers.

It is little wonder that with such economic pressures and hardships faced by those working on farms or in the mills that so many decided to leave behind their friends and relatives and emigrate to the other side of the world.

Park Street and Canal Street where my ancestors lived, are just west of the Derby Midland Railway Station and the houses here were called ‘Railway Cottages’ though they were all joined together in one long street frontage building. (When Elaine and I visited Derby in 1995 we went to both these streets to see if the houses were still there but they were all gone and the land was either vacant or had industrial buildings on it. Back in Taupo I was talking to a fellow veteran golfer, Roy Coulson, and he mentioned that he grew up in John Street, the next street to Canal Street and he said the houses in many streets were demolished in the 1930’s because they were sub-standard – outside toilets etc.)

On the 17th December 1857 Thomas Brighouse married a Sarah Ward at Ripley in the District of Belper. (I am indebted to Shelly Magee, a descendant of Thomas and Sarah Brighouse, for researching the details of this wedding and other information about Sarah’s family.)

The details on the marriage certificate say that Thomas was a 25 year old gardener of Sacheverel Street in Derby and that his father was Samuel Brighouse, an asphalt road maker. Sarah was described as a 26 year old spinster of Alfreton and her father was Richard Ward, a smith and bell ringer. From Sarah’s death certificate we find her mother listed as Jane Ward nee Broughton.

However in the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 Census Records it appears that Richard’s wife is Elizabeth. This anomaly in the name of Richard’s wife however can be explained by a handwritten note I found in the old Brighouse family bible that has been handed down to me. The note was hard to read but I spent some time deciphering it and it reads;

Dear Mothers Stone at Bilborough

Erected to Perpetuate The Affectionate Remembrance Who was suddenly called away of Jane Ward the Wife of Richard Ward on the 20th April 1835, Aged 36 Years. Also William son of the above Feb. 7th 1836, Aged 10 months and 18 days.

Be Wise nor make Heavens highest blessing, Oh be wise nor maketh a curse of immortality.

Bilborough is just to the north-east of Spondon and Ockbrook and as is recorded below Thomas Brighouse and Sarah (nee Ward) called one of their twin sons Richard Ward Brighouse. All this is very strong evidence that Richard and Jane Ward (nee Broughton) were Sarah’s parents. Jane it seems died (probably while giving birth to her seventh child, William) in 1835 and Richard subsequently married Elizabeth. About 1839 Richard and Elizabeth had a daughter they also called Jane.

After their marriage in 1857 and before they emigrated Thomas and Sarah had a daughter whom they called Harriet.

In his book “The Immigrants” Tony Simpson states that from the mid 1850’s the British economy appeared to boom for two decades but in reality there were severe slumps in 1857, 1862 and in 1868. The living conditions for the common people in England at this time were rather dreadful and there was little hope of them being able to better themselves unless they emigrated. In an age when security came from one’s surrounding family and small local community and when few people moved far from the environs of their birthplace, undertaking a sea voyage of 12,000 miles to a little known land on the other side of the world from which it was unlikely they would ever return must have been a fearsome and courageous decision. A decision that must have been greatly influenced by the hopeless conditions of their lives in Britain.

In 1859 records show that a Thomas and Sarah Brighouse and their daughter Harriet and also another listed as Thomas Brighouse (almost certainly Roby Thomas Brighouse) emigrated from England to New Zealand and began branches of the Brighouse family in New Zealand. In Thomas and Roby’s death certificates it is stated that they were born in Derbyshire and their mother was Ann (nee Mills). Thomas’ certificate however says his father was Thomas Brighouse while Roby’s says his was Roby Brighouse. I am sure that these were mistakes by the grandchildren in NZ who would have had little knowledge of their grandparents in England when providing the information for the death certificates.

Nancy Gordy of Washington State, USA, is also a descendant of the Derbyshire Brighouses and she has researched the family roots. I am indebted to her for passing her research information on to me. She has found evidence that the Derbyshire Brighouses in turn are descended from Brighouses who lived in Wigan, Lancashire.

Thus from information obtained from several sources I have assembled the line of descent for the NZ Brighouse’s which is as follows:

Peter Brighouse  1570 of Wigan m. Catherine ?

4 boys, 4 girls

John Brighouse, b.1596

m.1619 Martha Bawker

no known children


m. 1621 Ellen Norris

5 boys , 4 girls

James Brighouse, b. 1637

2 boys, 1 girl

John Brighouse, b.1671

m. Frances (of All Saints) 1 boy, 4 girls

James Brighouse b. 1702, in Derby

m. Ellen Morton 4 boys, 3 girls

John Brighouse b. 1726, in Spondon

m. Ann Walker 2 boys, 1 girl l b. Wigan

William Brighouse b. 1748, in Spondon

m. Elizabeth Johnson, 1768, 3 boys, 3 girls

d. 1783

l d. 1783

John Brighouse b. 1771, in Spondon, Derbyshire 5 boys, 2 girls

m. Sarah Bloor 1799

Samuel Brighouse b. 1811, Dale Abbey, Derbyshire

m. Ann Mills, 1831 4 boys, 1 girl

d. 1861, Derby.

1. Thomas Brighouse b. 1833, Heafe, Derbyshire

m. Sarah Ward, 1857, Belper 5 boys, 2 girls

b. 1834 in Belper, Derbyshire

d. 1918, Kaeo, NZ

d. 1896, Kaeo, NZ

And 2. Roby Brighouse b. 1843, Kirk Hallam, Derbyshire 4 boys, 4 girls

m. Mary Johansen in 1873, in Havelock Nth

b. 1851, in Christiana, Norway.

d. 1931, in Dannevirke

d. 1900, in Dannevirke

We now return to the emigration of Thomas and his family and Roby to New Zealand. Assisted immigrants, who made up the great majority of passengers on the boats that carried them half way round the world, were accommodated in the ‘tween deck and strictly divided – single men forward, married couples and young children amidships and single girls aft. The berths occupied each side of the ‘tween deck and were about two metres by two metres in which four people were accommodated. On most ships a couple not only had another couple or children above or below them, but a second couple within arm’s reach on either side.

Curtains could be suspended from the sides and end of the bunks for privacy but these were often too stifling to use in the tropics. In the centre of the decks were tables that ran fore and aft with fitted forms on either side. This was the only living area for all steerage passengers and was organised into messes of eight to ten people, each group being responsible for their own cooking and cleaning.

Fresh meat was served as long as it would last. The livestock that was carried on deck was principally for the cabin passengers and when that ran out they too had to live on salted beef, barrelled pork, tinned mutton and preserved potatoes. Since the ships did not usually call at any ports between Britain and New Zealand there was no opportunity to obtain fresh meat, fruit or vegetables.

Ships from London usually berthed in the docks in the Thames and were towed downstream to Gravesend to pick up their passengers. When all passengers were aboard, the ship would be towed out into wider waters. As the lines parted the music of bands and gun salutes often mixed with cheers of farewell from ashore. Before long the vessel would be swung through 360 degrees to correct the compass for magnetic deviation. Any distortion caused by the magnetic field of the ship and cargo was corrected by adjusting iron balls on either side of the compass. Ships from Gravesend were then towed by a small steam tug to anchor near Dover Point. From here they would await a favourable wind before setting sail for the Isle of Wight or Dartmouth where the pilot would be taken off.

Ships heading for New Zealand usually sailed south from Britain to the Canaries or Cape Verde Islands where they picked up the north-east trade winds which pushed them south-west across the Atlantic towards Brazil. After crossing the equator they swung south-east to head down the latitudes and around the southern tip of Africa to pick up the winds called the “Roaring Forties” which drove them in a great arc through the southern oceans and around the southern coast of Australia and then up to New Zealand.

Bad weather, especially early in the voyage, would have been terrifying to those in the cramped dark quarters below. Conditions would have been worsened by the stench of seasickness, slopping putrid bilge water, wet bedding and the impossibility of cooking. Candles and cabin lights were not lit during stormy nights for fear of fire. However as the ships neared the equator the passengers would have become more accustomed to life at sea and during fine weather passengers could go on deck and enjoy the sun and fresh air.

Generally the ships swept well south around the southern tip of Africa to pick up the persistent westerly winds of the southern latitudes. While these winds could usually be relied on to give a speedy passage for sailing ships across the southern ocean they could also bring icy cold and wet conditions which would make life a misery for both crew and passengers. There was also the fear of icebergs suddenly looming up out of the mist and fogs in these latitudes so there would be great relief when the ships had sailed far enough west and could swing north again to their destination ports in New Zealand.

In the Auckland Library archives there are copies of the local newspaper of the day, the “Southern Cross”, which contains reports of the ship arrivals, the passenger lists and some details of each voyage to New Zealand. The following information comes from articles published in this paper relating to the voyages of the ships on which my ancestors came to this country:

On Wednesday 15th June 1859 the ship the “Matoaka” under the command of Captain Stevens of London sailed from Gravesend on the River Thames estuary bound for New Zealand. Among her 210 passengers were listed Thos., Sarah and Harriet Brighouse. (The “Matoaka was built of timber in New Brunswick, USA in 1853.She was owned by Shaw Saville and Co. and her Registration Number was 14702.She was listed as 1323 tons gross but in the book “NZ Shipwrecks” she is reported as being 1092 tons.)

Two days after leaving Gravesend she dropped her pilot at the Isle of Wight on the southern coast of England and then sailed down the channel and passed between the Canary Islands and Africa. She crossed the Equator on Sunday the 17th July and passed to the south of the Cape of Good Hope on Tuesday the 9th of August and headed east across the southern ocean in the “Roaring Forties”. ie. the latitudes between 40 and 49 degrees south. Her first sighting of a New Zealand landfall were the Snares Islands off to the south of Fiordland and from that we can assume she sailed up the east coast of the South Island. She arrived at the Port of Wellington on Tuesday the 13th September after 90 days at sea and there some 100 passengers disembarked. Three days later she set sail up the east coast of the North Island bound for Auckland. However on Sunday 18th September off Castlepoint she experienced a heavy gale from the north-west which split several sails and forced her to heave-to for 12 hours. During this time she shipped a large sea which stove in her main hatch and lee bulwarks. This must have been a frightening experience for her remaining passengers including the Brighouse family who after having survived the rigours of sailing halfway around the world were in danger of being wrecked on the coast of New Zealand on the last stage of their journey. The storm however passed on, the ship resumed her voyage and rounded East Cape on Wednesday the 21st September and at 9 am on Saturday 24th she was off Rangitoto Island where she picked up her pilot and sailed into the Waitemata Harbour and the town of Auckland where Thomas, Sarah and Harriet were to begin a new life in the young colony. As the ship anchored many Maoris would have come out in their canoes selling flax kits of fish and kumara. The passengers were reported as being healthy on arrival though 5 (including 2 children) had died during the voyage. On the other hand there were 3 births.

A recent New Zealand TV programme series called “Epitaph” had an episode where the ‘Mataoka is mentioned. The story was about a Rev. Thomas Campbell who arrived in Otago in July 1863 on the ‘Matoaka’ after a stormy journey out from England. This Reverend was to be the first headmaster of Otago Boys High School but after transferring to a ferry to sail up the harbour from Port Chalmers to Dunedin on a dark wet night the ferry was run down by another vessel and the Campbells and their 5 children were drowned along with several other passengers.

The “Matoaka” was to later disappear on a voyage from Lyttleton to England in 1869. The ship left Lyttleton on the 13th May 1869 with a cargo of wool and gold and with 45 passengers and a crew of 32 on board. The ship was never heard of again.)

Just one month prior to the voyage of the Matoaka to N.Z. with Thomas’ family on board another ship the “Sir George Pollock” sailed from the port of Cork on the south-east coast of Ireland on Sunday the 15th May 1859. This ship of 630 tons was under the command of Captain Withers of London and Queenstown and listed among her 155 passengers one Thomas Brighouse whom I am certain was Roby Thomas Brighouse. The “Sir George Pollock” enjoyed favourable weather as far as Madeira which she sighted on Tuesday the 24th May. She crossed the Equator on the 18th June and experienced fine weather round the Cape of Good Hope, the meridian of which she passed on the 19th July. A heavy sea subsequently struck the ship when it was in latitude 42-50′ south breaking the deadlights and filling the cabin. In running across the southern ocean the ship had variable winds from NW to SW with occasional light easterlies. When off Cape Lewin on the South-west corner of Australia, North-west winds pushed her into latitude 44 south obliging her to pass to the south of Tasmania rather than her intended route through Bass Strait. She then altered course and headed for the northern tip of New Zealand. On Wednesday the 31st August at 11pm she was off Cape Maria van Dieman and the following morning sighted the Three Kings Islands. She experienced fair weather down the East Coast of Northland to arrive outside Tiritiri-Matangi on Friday 2nd September and anchored the same evening at 9pm off Rangitoto. She entered the Waitemata Harbour and anchored off Judge’s Bay after dark on Saturday the 3rd September after being at sea for 113 days, a week longer voyage than that of Thomas and Sarah who were to arrive three weeks later at Auckland.

The Captain of the “Sir George Pollock” reported no deaths and three births during the voyage indicating that conditions on board during the voyage must have been considerably better than for many other voyages during that period.

There is a story mentioned amongst the older members of my family wherein it was said that one of the brothers who was to emigrate to New Zealand changed his mind at the last minute because his wife had become pregnant. Perhaps this was Edwin with his place on the ship being taken by the younger brother, Roby. Roby was rather young at the time to undertake such a voyage on his own being less than 18 years old, but perhaps he took his older brother Edwin’s place. There was also a suggestion that there was a third brother, Jack, who emigrated but the facts do not support this and I have discounted it.

Another family story has it that one brother stopped off in Samoa and married a Samoan girl of high rank. My research however shows that this Brighouse, (Thomas Wilkinson Brighouse) did not arrive in Samoa until about 1900 which was some 40 years after Thomas and Roby came to New Zealand. In fact the early immigrant ships came across the Southern Ocean from the South Atlantic and so did not go near Samoa. This Thomas Brighouse came from Liverpool and married a Samoan girl of high rank and many of their large family of children were educated in Auckland and some stayed in NZ which perhaps gave rise to the story.

In regard to the other children of Samuel and Ann, Joan Hardy of Derbyshire could not find any trace of Edwin after the 1851 census but there is a record of a Jane Brighouse marrying in 1850 but the details are not readable. A Samuel Brighouse of the right age to be the youngest son however appears in the 1881 and 1891 Census records with a wife Kate and four children.

In 1859 Auckland was a bustling young town with a population of around 20,000. (NZ had around 80,000). Numerous inns and shops – all made of wood – lined the sides of Queen Street and Shortland Crescent and the spire of St. Pauls Anglican Church rose above Fort Britomart. A jail and gallows stood at the corner of Victoria and Queen Street. The Ligar Canal meandered its smelly way down Queen Street serving as a drain for rain water and sewerage. The roads had a firm surface and there were carts, buggies and gigs everywhere. Down at the waterfront of Commercial Bay ships rode at anchor and Maori canoes ferried goods back and forth.

We now move on to what happened to Thomas and his family and to Roby in their new lives in New Zealand and we will deal with Thomas first.


Thomas, Sarah and Harriet appeared to continue to live in Auckland for some years after their arrival as the records show the following children were added to their family there;

Thomas, born 16:7:1861, Freemans Bay, twin.

Richard Ward, born 16:7:1861, Freemans Bay, twin.

Elizabeth Jane, born 17:2:1865, Bayfield.

John Edwin, 5:8:1867, Bayfield.

Freeman’s Bay in those early days was located where Victoria Park is now situated after the bay was filled in. There was a large Kauri sawmill in the bay and others in the adjoining bays. The Kauri Timber Company’s mill at Freeman’s Bay was one of the largest in the Auckland Land District.

The last two children of Thomas and Sarah however are recorded as being born at Shortland, the early name for Thames.

Edwin Roby, 21:5:1869, Shortland.

Samuel John, 23:10:1871, Shortland.

(Originally there were two townships near the mouth of the Waihou River in the Firth of Thames – Shortland which had port facilities on the Waihou River and – Grahamstown. In 1870 these two were merged into one town known as “the Thames”. Initially the only means of access to Thames was by sea, until in the early 1880’s when the first roadway was constructed between Thames and Te Aroha. The rail link from Te Aroha to Hamilton was opened in 1898.)

My Great Aunt Rowena says the family settled in Waihi but up until at least 1867 the children were born in Auckland suggesting they were still living there and their last two children were born in Shortland in 1869 and 1871 suggesting they were living in or near what was to become Thames at that time.

It should be remembered that during this period there was considerable unrest in New Zealand with many Maoris protesting about their treatment and the alienation of their lands which culminated in the Maori uprising from 1864 to 1867. During this period there would have been considerable attraction for a Pakeha family to remain within the safety of the town of Auckland. There is also the fact that the gold mining in the Coromandel Ranges did not really get under way until after 1867.Since the 5th child, Edwin Roby, was born at Shortland (now Thames) we can assume the family lived there around 1869.

Although gold was discovered at Coromandel in 1852 it was not until 1867, after the Waikato Wars with the Maoris had ended, that negotiations were completed with the local Maoris for mining rights in the south-western reaches of the Coromandel Ranges. The first major strike in the area was on 10th August 1867.Within three years a town known as Shortland (Thames) had sprung into being with a population of over 20 000, almost double that of Auckland at that time.

The Ohinemuri Goldfield opened up in 1875 and the first major strike in nearby Waihi was in 1878. Development at Waihi however did not really begin until 1881. If in fact the family did move to Waihi then it would appear that there was little reason to do this till at least the late 1870’s.

Exactly when did the family move to Kukuparere near Kaeo in North Auckland? This I have been unable to establish so far. The Parliamentary Roll for Whangaroa District shows no Brighouses in 1869 but in the 1887 Roll there are listed;

Richard Ward Brighouse, Kaeo, Settler, and

Thomas Brighouse, Kaeo, Settler. (This could be either Thomas the father or his son – Richard’s twin brother.)

In the old family bible handed down to me I found a rates notice dated December 1st 1876 from the Kaeo Highway District. It is to Mr T. Brighouse (Thomas?) for rates for the year ended 30 June 1876 for allotment 35 of 79 acres with an estimated value of 118 pounds. The rates for this were 1 penny in the pound and thus amounted to 9 shillings and 10 pence.

The Kaeo Road District Valuation Rolls for 1886 and 1889 also list Thomas Mills Brighouse as a landowner, his son Richard and either the father or his son Thomas as lessees of land as follows:-

Brighouse, Thomas Mills, Settler, Kaeo, Pt of Lot 35, 2 acres, Valuation 6 Pounds.

Brighouse, Richard Ward, Settler, Kaeo, Owner, Thomas Hayes, Kaeo, Pt of Kemp Grant, 1 acre Rateable Value 25 Pounds.

Brighouse, Richard Ward, Owner, Wesley Hare, Kaeo, Pt. of Lot 187, 10 acres, Rateable Value, 16 Pounds.

Brighouse, Thomas, Settler, Kaeo, Owner, Wesley Hare, Pt. of Lot 35, 77 acres Rateable Value 130 Pounds.

From this it can be seen that the family had settled near Kaeo by at least early 1876 and since their last son, Samuel John, was born at Shortland (Thames) in October 1871 it must have been between these two dates that they moved north to the Whangaroa District.

The family presumably moved to Kaeo as part of wave of settlement by bushmen and timber contractors who came to harvest the magnificent stands of Kauri forest which cloaked the hills surrounding the Whangaroa Harbour.

The great trees were laboriously felled with axes and crosscut saws and cut to manageable lengths, then hauled along the ridges by bullock teams and then sent down to the harbour via wooden chutes or by being rolled into the creeks and driven down them by a wall of water when upstream dams were tripped. On one occasion the harbour was said to be so full of floating logs that it was possible to walk on them right across the upper harbour. The logs were either sawn at one of the three mills that were built on the shores of the harbour or were rafted or shipped to mills in other ports to the south or shipped to Australia.

Later on the harvesting of the magnificent Kauri in this region was the catalyst for the setting up of another major industry on the shores of the harbour. In 1870 two young boat builders, William Brown and Thomas Lane, rowed a small boat 40 miles up the coast from Opua in the Bay of Islands to Whangaroa to build a boat for trading up and down the coast. They called the 17 tonne schooner they built at Kaeo the ‘Sunbeam’. The building of this boat and another called the ‘Alert’ was so successful that the two men set up the ‘Lane and Brown’ shipyard across the harbour at Totara North and it became for a time the largest shipyard in Australasia.

The following quotations and references to Kaeo come from the book “Whangaroa – A Singular and Beautifully Romantic Place” by E.V. Sale;

“By the 1880’s – in spite of its late start and its continuing poor road access – Whangaroa had become one of the most prosperous and heavily populated areas of Northland. This status did not make any of its villages a city, but it was a dramatic change, and it created a mosaic of late nineteenth century life that rebuilds into a living picture.

The catalyst for change was Kauri – and to a lesser degree – Kauri gum. Only much later, when roads were improved and freezing works developed, did farming set its aim much beyond supplying the logging teams. The bush still stretched over the hills, packed with majestic timber. And it was mainly for this timber that the new wave of immigrants flooded in.”

In the above mentioned book on Whangaroa by E.V. Sale there are several photographs of members of the Brighouse descendants at picnics around the harbour and one of the Brighouse Band leading a church parade down the main street of Kaeo. The text states, “When the Brighouses arrived in Kaeo they came with a complete family band – a great asset to a small community. Each member had their specialist instrument: for instance Richard Brighouse played the drum; Douglas the cornet; Harriet the tenor horn; and John the euphonium as well as cornet.”(Coincidentally the town of Brighouse in England has been famous for many years for the quality of its brass band).

When the era of Kauri logging – and its associated Kauri gum – started to decline, the Whangaroa district along with the rest of the far north began to decline too. North Auckland still had no network of usable roads and this combined with the poor soils, lack of fertiliser, and no meat processing works until 1920 made farming a very difficult proposition. The main road through Kaeo from the Bay of Islands to Mangonui, which the Public Works statement had described in 1876 as “fairly passable for horsemen” had improved to “just passable for wheeled traffic” by 1900.

Thomas Mills and Sarah Brighouse

Thomas died of chronic nephritis and oedema of the lungs on the 19 September 1896 at Kaeo aged 64 years and was buried in the Wesleyan Cemetery in Kaeo. His wife Sarah (nee Ward) was buried alongside her husband. Their graves are recorded in the cemetery records but there is no headstone marking their graves.

The following deals with each of their children.

Harriet Ann Brighouse (born Abt. 1856) married William Bobbet a butcher in Thames. A letter in the old Brighouse family bible which appears to be signed by Harriet is dated 1882 and it seems she was living in Thames at that time. She died on 12 February 1898 and William died a few weeks later on 20 March 1898.

Thomas Brighouse (twin, born 16 July 1861) married Henrietta (?)

Richard Ward Brighouse (twin, born 16 July 1861) married Mary Ann Gates on 30th July 1885 at Kupupuru and they had eight children.

The family at this stage owned a house on a small block of land at Kukuparere, just to the south of Kaeo, and this still stood on the site in 1995, though in a state of disrepair. The house could be seen from State Highway 1. As you travel south from Kaeo you pass the turn-off to Waiare after 2 km, continue on SH 1 for another 2.5 km and as you climb the long hill go slow and keep an eye out on your left and amongst some big trees and overgrown shrubbery you should see the old house about 50 metres from the road (if it is still standing). I have tried to look up the old land titles for the section the house is on to see when the family purchased it but the current title documents do not go back that far and the file in the archives that should have the information is missing.

Mary was buried in the Kaeo Wesleyan Cemetery in plots 46/47 in May 1946. Richard died in 1948 and was buried on 2 June 1948 alongside his wife.

Elizabeth Jane Brighouse (born 17 February 1865) Elizabeth never married and was a nanny to the Bobbet children. She died on 26 July 1930 in Kaeo and is buried in the Wesleyan cemetery in Plot 6.

John Edwin Brighouse (born 5 August 1867)

Edwin Roby Brighouse (born 21 May 1869) On the 13th January 1892 Thomas and Sarah’s fourth son married Elizabeth Hare at Kaeo. They had 7 children, the second eldest being Minnie Juanita, my Grandmother, who was to later marry her cousin Edward. The first reliable records of the Hare family occur in the 1800’s. The honourable Henry Hare was sent to Ireland to inherit the Macroon estates in southern Ireland. His uncle was Richard Hare – 1st Earl of Bantry, Earl of Listowell and Baron Emaismore. The Hare family are recognised as introducing the Seventh Day Adventist doctrine to N.Z. Elizabeth’s mother Hannah funded the building of a number of sailing ships on the Kaeo River. In 1892 the Hare brothers built the first petrol engined craft, the “Neptune” at Kaeo. The Hare family, as traders, owned several of the Lane and Brown built ships including the schooners, “Minnie Hare”, “Gisborne”, “Waiopu”, “Awatea”, “Hercules” and the “Kaeo”. The story of Joseph Hare and his family has been written by Jill Johnson, one of his descendents.

Samuel John Brighouse (born 23 October 1871) was usually called Jack and he married Lillian Bramley and they had one daughter they called Mona. Later he married Agnes Mabel Shepherd at Kaeo and she was buried in plots 33/34 in the Kaeo Wesleydale Cemetery on 26 May 1943. Jack moved to Waiuku and is buried in the Waiuku cemetery.

The Grandchildren of Thomas and Sarah:

From William and Henrietta Bobbet:

William Bobbet (born 23 May 1893).

Jane Amie Bobbet (born 30 July 1894). Jane died on the 1st August 1934.

Mary Bobbet (born 4 February 1898).

From Thomas and Henrietta Brighouse:

No children listed

From Richard Ward and Mary Ann Brighouse:

Edward Spencer Brighouse (born 18 June 1886). Edward (Ted) married his cousin Juanita (Nita) Brighouse at Kaeo on 31:7:1912.They moved to Parapara for a while and then further north to Kaingaroa near Kaitaia. The most northerly kauri timber mill was here at Kaingaroa where ships could come through the narrow entrance into the Rangaunu Harbour and then up a stream to near the mill to load the sawn timber. Ted and Nita had 5 children, Leonie, Stanley, Eila, Eric and Elma (Teenie). Ted worked in the bush and also guided vessels up the local estuary to load timber but eventually the bush began to run out and they decided to move south to find work. About 1927 they moved to Waiuku with Nita going on ahead with the children. Their second son, Eric, was at that time recovering from polio. Meanwhile back at Kaingaroa Ted accidentally burned down their house.

At Waiuku Ted found work with the County Council while Nita supplemented the family’s income by taking in boarders and exercising her great skill in dressmaking. There were many women in Waiuku who were married in a wedding dress made by Nita.

Ted suffered from Pulmonary thrombosis or blood clots in the arteries and lost both his legs before dying on the 9th May 1958 at Pukekohe aged 71 while Nita lived on until she died aged 92 on 3rd May 1987 in Auckland. They are buried in the Pukekohe Cemetery.

Agnes Broughton Brighouse (born 15 January 1888) married Albert Kenny on the 4th September 1907 and they had two children, Mary and Joan. Agnes died 19 August 1985.

Sarah Mary Brighouse (born 5 October 1890) married William Bramley in 1911 and they had one daughter, Belle.

Thomas Heald Brighouse (born 7 December 1892) married Nellie (?) and they had two children, Aileen and Theo.

Ettie Edith Brighouse (born 21 June 1894) never married.

John Roby Brighouse (born 26 August 1901) married Jill Gillibrand in 1923 and they had one daughter Shirley.

Douglas George Brighouse (born 29 November 1904) married Frances (?) in 1930.

From Edwin Roby and Elizabeth Brighouse:

John Stanley Brighouse (born 2 May 1894) married Prudence Eliza (Sis) Clark in Kaeo in 1919. John died 26 December 1969 in Whangarei.

Minnie Juanita Brighouse (born 12 February 1895) married her cousin Edward Spencer Brighouse. See his records for details of their children. Died 3 May 1987 in Auckland, buried Pukekohe.

Harriet Edwina Brighouse (born28 September 1897) married Albert Humphries in 1919.

Richard Taylor Brighouse (born 1 July 1900) married Ruth Gwendoline Smith and they had 7 children. Richard died 13 August 1984 in Auckland.

Joseph Ward Brighouse (born 2 May 1902) married Irene Elsie Burr in 1922 in Auckland. Died 1980 in Auckland.

Dulcie Elizabeth Brighouse (born 30 April 1909) married Leonard Blackler in 1930.

Rowena Mary Brighouse (born 10 May 1911) married William Rack in 1932.

From Samuel John and Lillian Brighouse:

Mona Lillian Brighouse (born 15 May 1898)

Roby (More details needed for this side of the family)

At some stage after his arrival in New Zealand Roby moved to Hawkes Bay where he married Mary Johansen on the 8:10:1873 at Havelock North. In the records of the Norwegian passengers on the ship “Olaf” which came to NZ in 1866 there is listed a Marie Johansen 29334. (See www.norwayheritage.com/ships) This was probably Mary, Roby’s wife to be as she is recorded as being born in Christiana, Norway. From various sources (many provided by Nancy Gordy) we can follow Roby and Mary’s movements over the years as they went from Napier to Havelock North, to Waipawa and finally to Dannevirke.

From 1866 there were advertisements in the Hawkes Bay Weekly Times by Brighouse & Co., Shakespeare Road, Napier, manufacturers of ginger beer, lemonade and soda water. In 1867 there was an article to the effect that ‘Brighouse sold his interests in the Napier factory to the Torr Brothers and moved to Havelock North to open a factory where there was no other opposition. This new venture appears to have been in conjunction with a roadmaking and asphalting business. He sold a full range of cordials, bitters and spirits. Again in 1872 there is listed ‘Brighouse & Co., Aerated Water and Cordial Manufacturers, Havelock.

In 1873 Roby married Mary Johansen and in 1874 their first son Samuel was born in Havelock North. (Later reports say that Samuel was educated in Waipawa and then ‘bought up to the butchery trade’ in Dannevirke around 1890.)

In 1874 in the Hawkes Bay Almanac Roby is again shown as being a manufacturer of drinks and doing asphalting on roads etc.

Roby and Mary’s daughter Josephine was born in Waipawa in 1877 and then in 1878 there was a report that says that Roby “established a branch business in Waipawa which could well have been the branch that Bowman had been operating in that town”.

In 1880 it was reported in the Hawkes Bay Herald that Mrs R.T. Brighouse of Waipawa had “found a dead body in the surf” though I don’t know at which beach. Mr R.T. Brighouse of Waipawa is listed in 1881 as being the agent for Sth British Fire and Marine Insurance.

It was reported in the Hawkes Bay Herald, dated September 1892, that ‘A man got off very lightly at the Dannevirke Police Court on Monday. It appears that this man, Anders JOHANSEN, went to the house of a resident named BRIGHOUSE on Friday last, and made use of filthy language to the inmates and then on the following Sunday was again abusive. A fine of 3 pounds and costs was inflicted, the alternative being a months hard labour’. (Was this Johansen a relative of Mary’s as her maiden name was Johansen too?)

Roby died 13 September 1900 of fatty degeneration of the heart, aged 59, and his grave, and that of Mary, who died in 1931 aged 80, can be seen in the old cemetery (Settlers Cemetery) in Alexandra Street in Dannevirke. Their descendants are now scattered throughout many regions of New Zealand.

The children of Roby Thomas and Mary Brighouse:

Samuel Murray Brighouse (born 3 August 1874) married Betsy Green and they had nine children.

In the “Cyclopaedia of New Zealand” in the section on Dannevirke under the heading ‘Meat Trade” there is the following article:

BRIGHOUSE AND PAWSON, Butchers, Barraud Street, Dannevirke. This business was established by the present proprietors in June 1901. The premises consist of a fine brick building, on a concrete foundation, and were specially erected for the firm. The shop is large and scrupulously clean, and at the back there is private office, a manufacturing room, (fitted up with a gas engine and other appliances(, and a curing room. There is also an asphalted yard and a cart shed at the rear. The supply of meat is bought locally. A good and increasing trade is maintained, and three persons are constantly employed.

Below the article is a photograph labelled Mr. S. M. Brighouse. Then the article continues:

Mr. SAMUEL MURRAY BRIGHOUSE, senior partner in the firm of Messrs. Brighouse and Pawson, was born at Havelock North on the 2nd of August 1874. He was educated at Waipawa, and brought up to the butchery trade, under Mr. Rasmussen, at Dannevirke. For nine years subsequently he was employed by Mr. McPherson and also worked for a short time for Mr. James Allardice, before establishing his present successful business in conjunction with Mr. Pawson. Mr. Brighouse also conducts two dairy farms – one of seventy acres of first class land at Oringi, and another of one hundred acres at Mangatera – in conjunction with his business. He also deals considerably in live stock. Mr. Brighouse is a member of the local Anglican Church, and is also connected with the Dannevirke Lodge of Oldfellows. He married Miss Bessie Green of Porangahau, and has three sons and three daughters.

Samuel died in 1936 aged 61 and his wife, Bessie in 1933 aged 59 and they are buried in the old cemetery in Dannevirke.

Edwin Brighouse (born 10 June 1876)

Josephine Sarah Ann Eliza Brighouse (born 16 June 1877)

Mary Brighouse (born 16 June 1879)

Roby Brighouse (born 25.11. 1880) married Ada Taylor and they had two children.

Joseph Brighouse (born 13 August 1883)

Alice Jane Brighouse (born 14 January 1887)

Emma May Azalea Brighouse (born 31 July 1889)

The grand-children of Roby and Mary Brighouse:

From Samuel Murray and Betsy Brighouse:

John Stanley (born 1894)

William Thomas Murray Brighouse (born 1897)

Alice Mary Brighouse (born 1898)

Ethel Brighouse (born 1900) married … Murdoch

Clarence Henry Brighouse (born 23 September 1902) married Wai Kaninamu and they had … children

Samuel John Brighouse (born 9 November 1904)

Elsie Brighouse (born 1905)

May Brighouse (born 1911) married Jack Craven. Later married George Wood.

Cyril Roby Brighouse (born 2 June 1917) was never married.

From Edwin and ? Brighouse.

From Josephine Sarah ?

From Mary ?

From Roby and Ada Brighouse:

Roby Thomas Brighouse (born 5 March 1907) married Grace Williams.

May Brighouse (born Abt. 1916)

From Joseph and ?

From Alice Jane and ?

From Emma and ?

Edward (or Edwin?)

Nancy Gordy also unearthed a couple of interesting snippets of information about an Edward Brighouse in Hawkes Bay. On the 8th April 1881 it was reported in the Hawkes Bay Herald that “Edward Brighouse was charged with being illegally on the premises of Mr R. Neagle, Taradale. Prisoner said he was drunk at the time and did not know what he was doing.” And again on 27th September 1882 in the R.M. Court “Edward Brighouse – drunk.”

Who is this Edward? Roby’s children are too young for it to be one of them. Thomas’ children in Kaeo would also be barely old enough. So it raises the intriguing question of whether he could be Thomas and Roby’s brother Edwin. Could he have followed his brothers to NZ? So far I have not unearthed any records of Edwin’s later life in England so the possibility of his having emigrated needs to be explored.

It seems that every time we put into place another piece of the jigsaw of our family history we found out there is another piece missing!



  1. nancy gordy said,

    Terry… this is overwhelming.!!!!

    While I have stacks of papers of family material, I have never worked it in a story, altho I plan to continually.. somehow I find it more fun to collect, than to write.

    I see you came to the same conclusion I did.. that we did not descend from the “French” sounding names… Martin, Ursula, etc.. We are from the John, James, William side.

    John Brighouse, b. 1771, was apprenticed when he was abt 19… (this is in my FTM I can’t open yet), to a man in Dale Abbey.).. This is why he went there.. I had assumed it was a rather poor place… but when I Googled it, it is lovely, with a fascinating history.

    From there the family disbursed… my John to Hathern Leicestershire, your Samuel to NZ, others not too far away, ie Spondon…

    I thought my John would have lived in Spondon, but now I know he did not… just went from Dale Abbey to Hathern.

    He was said to have married the “prettiest” girl in the village… I guess that was the big draw for moving.

    Thanks for writing such an interesting article.. but my gosh… imagine being on a ship that sinks… or disappears.. nancy

  2. Helen Reeve said,

    Dear Terry,

    My father-in-law has just found your website.

    This is a fascinating read, although I have only skimmed it so far. My mum-in-law, Jackie was a Brighouse prior to marriage. With the help of her brother, Guy (now residing in Switzerland) and their Mum, Catherine Brighouse I have compiled a family tree, with probably the same information you have obtained, although you may have more detail.

    My husband’s great great great grand father was James Brighouse, born 19/10/1806 and married Judith Mills, whom you mention. James and Judith had 12 children, with our line following from the 5th child, Joseph Brighouse who’s second marriage was to Caroline Thomson. Joseph and Caroline had Guy, David (my husband’s grandad) and Barbara.

    I have been trying to work backwards from Caroline Thomson, who was originally a Horner and my husband’s nan (Catherine Brighouse, nee Thomas) has said the family goes back to the Millers, who were a very wealthy family from Scotland. If any one can shed more light on this element, I would be most grateful!

    Kind regards,
    Helen Reeve

    • Terry Brighouse said,

      Hi Helen,
      I would like to get some more details regarding your husband’s ancestry back to James Brighouse (1806) and Judith (nee Mills). Can you email me at e.t.brighouse@xtra.co.nz.
      Terry Brighouse

  3. Paul Brighouse said,

    Hi Terry

    Fasinating stuff! I come from the yeoman & tradesmen side of the family in Lancashire!

    We have our tree going back to 1810, I really do need to do more work on it!

    If you are interested we have a facebook site I manage called “If your surname is Brighouse” with 41 Brighouse’s from other the world – including some you probably know in NZ!

    My Mum & Dad are going over in Nov this year for 6 weeks, I’m so jealous!

    Paul Brighouse

    • brighouse said,

      What are your parents names and do they want to meet other relatives from NZ

    • nancy gordy said,


      I tried to find you on facebook…. I wrote to one Paul Brighouse, but it might not be the correct one….

  4. Dianne Stone (Hopkins, McIntee) said,

    Hello – I am attempting to find some information on our family history but I am having a very difficult time finding anything about my mother’s family. My Mom’s name was Muriel Hopkins (McIntee)…daughter of Ernest Arnold McIntee and Mona Annie Brighouse. I found a wedding announcement in some Canadian records that shows the following:
    ” 21320-25 Ernest A. McINTEE, 18, painter, Niagara Falls, same, s/o Price McINTEE, b. Haldimand Co. & Jennie MURPHY, married Mona Annie BRIGHOUSE, 18, Isletlet 18 Fig–? South Sea Islands, Niagara Falls, d/o Thomas BRIGHOUSE & “does not know”, witn: Mrs. William & William McINTEE of Niagara Falls, 3 March 1925 at Niagara Falls”.

    The story I had heard from my gramma Mona is that her father married someone from Samoa but this lady died giving birth to my gramma (born about 1906). My gramma didn’t remember her mother’s name. My gramma was then sent (at a young age) to live with an aunt in England (I don’t know any info on this) but when that aunt passed away, she was sent to live with another aunt in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    I read the following story in your history and I wondered if there could be any truth to this afterall:

    “Another family story has it that one brother stopped off in Samoa and married a Samoan girl of high rank. My research however shows that this Brighouse, (Thomas Wilkinson Brighouse) did not arrive in Samoa until about 1900 which was some 40 years after Thomas and Roby came to New Zealand. In fact the early immigrant ships came across the Southern Ocean from the South Atlantic and so did not go near Samoa. This Thomas Brighouse came from Liverpool and married a Samoan girl of high rank and many of their large family of children were educated in Auckland and some stayed in NZ which perhaps gave rise to the story.”

    If you have any information about my gramma’s history – I would really appreciate your help.

    Thank you so much!

    Dianne Stone
    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

    • brighouse said,

      Hi Dianne

      I am sorry I cannot add any more information to what Terry has posted about the Thomas who reputedly went to Fiji. We had always thought he was a brother to our ancestor but he left England much later. there was a website a year or 2 ago about a reunion of the Brighouses in Samoa but I cannot find it now. I thought some of them may have been able to help you. I will send you the email of one of the descendants of Thomas that I have and she may be able to help.

      • Janet Brighouse said,


        Hi Dianne

        Some of the Samoan Brighouses are intending to gather in Samoa in July of 2010. These are the descendants of Patrick Brighouse, who was the son of Thomas Wilkinson Brighouse. The above is the web-site which is being prepared for the registration (not yet open), so you may like to keep your eyes open for this happening.


        Janet Brighouse (wife of Rex Brighouse, son of Patrick Brighouse)

  5. Garth HOULTHAM said,

    Great site. I am descended from George GATES who was the brother of Mary Ann GATES who married Richard Ward BRIGHOUSE.

  6. Martyn Rudduck said,

    Douglas married Frances Lillian Stevenson b. 1908 d. 1980. Frances was my great aunt (grandfathers half sister). My mother remembers visiting them in Wellington

  7. Neville Haydon said,

    I am new to searching, but blown away by the information available. Am wondering if you located a photo of the Sir George Pollock, on which my great-grandfather and family came to NZ in 1861. Best wishes, Neville

  8. Patricia Mills said,

    I too am descended from George Gates who was the brother of Mary Ann (Polly) Gates who married Richard Ward Brighouse. Very interesting to read about the Brighouse family. My Grandmother was Elizabeth Gates who was a daughter of George and Margaret Gates.

  9. desiree coles [ nee brighouse] said,

    Hi to all brighouses ! I’ve been on facebook a year and thought this would be a good place to research my family tree on both sides of my grandparents starting with william brighouse who married grace lillian tomlinson,I have two brothers currently living in Derbyshire,my father passed away 21years ago I have an uncle- micheal sydney brighouse, living in Sydney,Australia….

  10. Bill Willcox said,

    Hello to All Brighouse

    Whilst doing ancestry research I came across this:

    James Holland: born 1695 in North Meols, Southport, Lancashire

    On 23 february 1730 in Aughton, Lancashire, England —- Married

    Jennet Brighouse ( I have no details for Jennet, not even her parents )

    it would ne nice to try and find those details to see if her ancestors link back to the Brighouse of Yorkshire. Any assistance to verify this would be deeply appreciated. I truly like what you have done with your site and i too am putting together our ancestral history for future generations as we all need to know were we came from.

    Best Wishes

    Bill Willcox

    Originally from Liverpool but now retired. Live between Singapore & Melbourne

    • brighouse said,

      Hi Bill
      I have not masterminded this site for ages but thanks for your comment. I will pass it on to Terry who has done most of the research on this family. Best wishes and hope you have found all your family details.

  11. Bill Willcox said,

    Hi Susanne

    Great to hear from you

    James was also married to Catherine Halsall and married 3 Jan 1714 in Ornskirk

    James married Jennet Brighouse 23 Feb 1730 in Aughton

    We think Jennets father may have been Robert Brighouse but not sure and have details for him. Any information you have for Jennet and her parents and ancestors would be great

    Thank You


  12. brighouse said,

    I will pass on your message to Terry Bill as he may be able to give you some answers.

    • brighouse said,

      Hi Bill
      Terry suspects that this must be a different branch from our known relatives as he knows nothing of them.

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