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The sept was settled in County Clare in the Burren. In the medieval period the stone fort of Cahermcnaughten was a well known school where literature and language was taught. In the 17th century Cahermcnaughten became known as O'Davorens town. Davern is now more common than Davoren but apparently in the irish brogue the pronunciation still sounded like Davoren.
Hence on the birth certificates of Williams children their surname is spelt Davorin. The recording clerks wrote the name as it was pronounced.
The family history of the Davern side of the family has so far been traced to the early 1800s. William Davern married Catherine Taylor approximately 1820-21, and lived in Tipperary in the parish of Anacarty. William and Catherine had 5 daughters and 5 sons between 1822 and 1844.Their sixth child destined to be our ancestor was William, baptised on 6 April 1831 at Donohill, Tipperary. No more information on this family is known until William entered the army.
William enlisted with the 58th regiment on 7 June 1852 at Jersey as private 2776. His records state his age as 20, but according to his baptismal date, he was 21. It was around this time that William married Elizabeth Catherine Mara, daughter of Jeremiah O'Mara. Elizabeth was born in Tipperary.
While in Jersey they had a son, Thomas who died as a baby in 1852. The couple embarked at Cowes on 7 March 1854 and sailed to New Zealand on board the "Egmont", arriving in Auckland on the 26 June 1854. A month out from New Zealand their daughter Catherine was born.
The family settled at Albert Barracks in Auckland. Unfortunately Catherine had convulsions and died on 6 July 1854 aged 2 months. William, their second child was born approximately September 1856, but died on 2 Jan 1858 aged 2 years 4 months from water on the brain. William senior signed the death certificate with an X, proving that he was unable to write.
On 31 August 1857, William received discharge from the army by purchase. William and Elizabeth then moved to Panmure where they were blessed with 8 more children. After 1871, the family moved up to Northern Wairoa settling in Te Kopuru where they found employment in the mills.
Elizabeth was well known as a midwife in both Te Kopuru and Aratapu. The fashion was to have a "Granny Davern" knot after birth.
On 5 October 1890 William died in Te Kopuru from heart disease, after suffering for 3 years, aged 59. He had worked as a millhand. He was buried with his children, Catherine and William at the Symonds St cemetery.
Elizabeth was to survive William until 15 May 1906, when she died of a stroke aged 76. Elizabeth was buried at Mt Wesley in Dargaville. There is no headstone to her memory.
William and Catherine had the following children:
MARY JOSEPHINE,(1858-1930) married William Ringrose. They lived around Toka Toka Dargaville area. They had eleven children.
WILLIAM,(1859-1910) was a millhand and married Katherine Thomas. William died of a heart attack and was buried at Mt Wesley. His descendants are presumably in Auckland.
JEREMIAH,(1860-1908) married Sarah Jane Smith. Jeremiah was a milkhand and was married in Te Kopuru. 2 of his grandchildren lived in Thames and Paeroa.
CATHERINE VINCENT,(1863-?) married a Greek, John Moros. They had 2 children, Angelika, who married into the Gabriel family, and George.
MICHAEL,(1864-1939) married Annie Ellis at Tom Smiths house in 1899 in Te Kopuru.The couple moved to Ponsonby, then St Heliers. In 1910 they separated, Michael moving to Devonport with the children. He is buried at ONeills Point cemetery.
JAMES PATRICK,(1867-1902) was a millhand, working at Aratapu. He died of pneumonia and was buried at Mt Wesley along with Thomas Fernandez and James Edgar Smith. Did not marry.
ELIZABETH ALICE,(1869-1939) married Thomas Fernandez.They had 10 children 5 of whom died in childhood. Descendants live in Auckland.
MARGARET,(1871-1941) married Thomas Smith of Whangaroa. They had 12 children, including twin girls. The family remained in Te Kopuru until the mills closed after the war, moving to Horotiu, Putaruru, then finally to the mill at Ngongotaha near Rotorua. They returned to Auckland before 1940 and stayed with one of their daughters in Remuera. Tom died of a heart attack, and Margaret died at St Josephs hospital in Ponsonby in 1941. Descendants live in Northland and Auckland.
Formerly a flourishing Thormond Sect, the O'Davorens have now dwindled to small numbers but are still found in Clare and the adjoining county of Tipperary. They are described as formerly a learned Brehon family seated at Lisdoonvarna, where they had a literary and legal school, among the pupils of which was Duald MacFirbis, the most distinguished of that celebrated of Irish Antiquities
The Four Masters record the death in 1364 of Gillananaev O'Duibhdabhoireann-so the name was originally spelt-chief brethren of Corcomroe: it was first anglicised as O'Duvdaren and later shortened to O'Davoren.The "Wars of Torlough" mention Coradh mic Dhabhoirenn i.e Davorens weir near Corofin, in 1317. The O'Davorens had a mortuary chapel in the now vanished church of Noughaval in north County Clare.