Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in New Zealand

Edward McCormick was born in 1838 at Castle Pollard, Westmeath, Ireland.  He and his two brothers, John and James, joined a special force recruited in Ireland to keep law and order in the Australian gold fields.  Stationed at Ballarat and Bendigo the Force was run on strict military lines and was headed by St. John Branigan, also an Irishman, and became known as “Branigan’s Men”.

In 1861 when gold was discovered in Otago, the New Zealand Government, anticipating an influx of thousands of men and realising that the Police would not be able to cope, asked the Victorian Government to recommend an experienced commissioned Police officer.  The position was offered to the highly recommended St. John Branigan.  He arrived in New Zealand on the “Oscar” in August 1861 with two men and promptly sent back for two more companies. 

Conditions and rates of pay became a problem and many men left the Force after the compulsory one year’s service including the three McCormicks.  James remained in Otago later dying unmarried in 1865 and is buried at St. Bathans.  John and Edward followed the gold rush to Westland in 1865. 

Edward did quite well in New Zealand and when he had over 2000 Pounds he decided to return to Ireland to his father’s home on the “sunny side of Drummins Hill”.  When passing through Canterbury on the way to catch a boat he said that land was selling at 2/6 an acre.

He married Catherine Bennett and returned to New Zealand in 1874 with Catherine, her sister Jane and her husband Barney Heslan.  A small daughter died on the voyage and a son, John was born.  He was so tiny he was bathed in a soup tureen but he lived to 82 years and had a longer life span than any of his siblings.

The Heslans bought a farm at Kokatahi adjacent to the Longford Hotel.  The McCormicks went to Goldsborough town where Edward once more went gold mining.  They lived at Takero Terrace in the bustling township although by 1874 the rush days were over.  Older members of the family remember their father coming in from work with his chamois bag and weighing the day’s takings on his gold scales.  Another remembrance was Catherine’s sewing machine, the first in Goldsborough.  It was so unusual that the school children came to view it.

Catherine died suddenly of a heart attack and Edward was left with a family of six, the youngest 18 months.  The eldest, Martha, was 13 and from then on was the housekeeper and mother to the little ones.

Realising that the gold fields was not the place for his family, Edward bought a farm of 100 acres at Upper Kokatahi nearer the Heslans.  His three sons all went to the North Island and when he reached old age no-one wanted to return to the Coast.  Eventually John, the oldest, went to Kokatahi and took over the farm.  He sold it in 1948 to his brother Edward Jnr who returned from Wanganui and when he died in 1953 the farm was sold. 

It was the beginning of amalgamation of small holdings in the country areas and today three of the original farms are now included in one block.  It lies between the Browning and Whitcombe passes and the tourist route running up the Kokatahi Valley around Mt Graham to Lake Kanieri.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 1838
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Catherine Bennett


  • I believe my 4x great-grandmother is Eleanor "Nelly" McCormick b.c. 1780 m. John Hassen (Hassen, Hassan, Hafsen, O hOsain, Hassett) b.c.1780.  I did have a document, which seems to have disappeared from my Ancestry documents, that Nelly McCormick m. John Hafsen (Hassen) on 16 May 1795 in Collinstown, Westmeath.

    I do have the baptism document for Ann Hassen, born to Nelly McCormick & John Hassen in Clonmellon Parish, Westmeath, on 12 Mar 1803.  I have a total of 7 children for Nelly & John Hassen: Peter, Phelim "Felix," Hubert "Hugh," John 1801-1805, Ann, John 1805 Westmeath - 1881 USA, & Thomas.  Though there are Hassetts in this area of NY, we have yet to find any DNA matches to our Hassetts.  I'm hoping to verify McCormick ancestry.  

    Son John Hassett (Hassen, Hassan, etc) b. Dec 1805 Brownstown, Castletowndelvin, Westmeath, Ireland - Clonmellon RC Parish, Co. Westmeath & Meath m. Catharine Battersby b.1803 Co. Meath.  There are several John Hassetts born about the same time illegitimately by a John Hassett(s) with various mothers hence I'm not sure.  We would very much like to find a DNA match for proof.  I & my relatives are tested on Ancestry & FTDNA, & I, & some of us are on GEDmatch.  Thanks. 


    Thursday 13th June 2019 01:57PM
  • I would love to find out if my Cormick/McCormicks are related too. My ggg grandmother was a Cormick who would have been born around 1805. She married Fox and they had a daughter Anna in 1827.


    Saturday 17th December 2022 12:30PM
  • I would love to find out if my Cormick/McCormicks are related too. My ggg grandmother was a Cormick who would have been born around 1805. She married Fox and they had a daughter Anna in 1827.


    Saturday 17th December 2022 12:30PM
  • He looks very similar to my Great Great Grandfather who was born in Westmeath circa 1837 - 1839. His name was Joseph John McCormack and he was married to Sarah Hughes. They lived in Kilbeggan . I cannot see how I can attach a photograph, but I wonder if they were brothers?


    Monday 16th January 2023 06:18AM
  • Lilly, I've seen the name for the same family/person as McCormick/ Cormick/ McCormack/ Cormack. Anything is possible. I have quite a bunch of DNA matches in Australia! Barnes is one, I believe. My 2x great-grandmother Mary Hassett was very obese (sometimes an emotional response to living a time without adequate food). I've seen pictures of another woman in Australia whose surname was Hassett and I thought she looked just like her, but the woman who owned the picture was insistent that they didn't look alike. I felt she was being quite defensive for unknown reasons. The local McCormicks here in Upstate NY have a very good tree but it begins when they enter the US. I apologize, I don't have time to look it up right now because I have to leave for a college class across town in a very few minutes. I think the name of the eldest in this tree was John but I need to verify that. Thanks for keeping up the research! Lizzy


    Monday 16th January 2023 06:17PM
  • The only way to find out if there is a relationship in our families is DNA testing.  I am tested on Ancestry, FTDNA, 23&me, Geneanet, and am registered on GEDmatch - A462726.  If you aren't tested, do test!  Contact  me if you want to compare our DNA properly.  I use a pseudonym here.  

    The nearby McCormicks locally - I've worked their tree back to Patrick McCormick 1808 Collinstown, Co Westmeath - 1873 Genesee County, NY, USA married Margaret "Peggy" Hughes
    c.1820 Ireland - 1870 Genesee County, NY.

    They had 8 children, born in Ireland I believe: Felix, Anna, Thomas, John James Sr., Mary Ruth, Elizabeth "Betsey," Margaret "Maggie," and Ellen "Nelly," (same as my possible ancestor, but a generation or 2 closer).  John James Sr. is the line which remained locally at present, & may be a cousin of my 2x great-grandmother Mary Hassett Moore whose family also settled in Genesee County and would have attended the same Catholic parish.  Cheers to all! 



    Friday 27th January 2023 04:23AM

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