Our Grandparents

Ross's grandparents on his father's side were John and Frances Callaghan, and on his mother's side, Isaac and Clara Tyson.

Kathy's grandparents on her father's side were Harald and Andrina Andersen, and on her mother's side, John and Eleanor Jones.

You can read about all four sets of grandparents below. 

We''ll start with Ross's grandparents.

Jack Callaghan's parents: John and Frances Callaghan

John Henry (Jack) Callaghan was born on the 23rd August 1875 in Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland.  His father was Patrick Callaghan and his mother was Elizabeth (Lizzie) Long. 

Patrick Callaghan was born in 1847, in the middle of the Irish potato famine. (1845-1852). His parents were John Callaghan and Jane Mackin, and he had an older sister Anne (born 1846). It is unusual that John and Jane only had two children, given the size of families in the day and that they were Catholic. In 1859 (after the famine) John and Jane Callaghan left Ireland for New York, but did not take either of their children with them.  They did have another child, Catherine, who was born in 1860 in New York. Patrick was 12 and Anne 13 when their parents left Ireland.

Anne Callaghan married in Carlingford, Louth in 1863, had 11 children, and remained in Ireland all her life.  

Patrick married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Long in April 1875 in Templeton, Louth and John Henry was born in August 1875, 4 months later. When John Henry was 8 months old his family traveled to New Zealand on the Orari. They arrived in 1876 and settled in Gisborne. John Henry's 8 siblings were born in NZ.

Patrick Callaghan died in Gisborne of tetanus aged 58.

Little is known of John Henry's life, and the family rarely speak of him. He died on the 11th of April, 1945, the day that his son Jack's boat returned to New Zealand after the war. This meant that Jack just missed out on seeing his father after his war service in Egypt. 

Frances Lucy (Fannie) Riddell was born on the 8th of March 1889 in Gisborne.  Her father was John Riddell, and her mother was Bridget Sullivan. 

John Henry (jack) and Fannie married on the 10th of June 1914 in Gisborne and they settled in Takapuna, Auckland.  They had four children: Marion Lucy (Mollie) (17 May 1917 - 24 August 1989); John Riddell (31 August 1919 - 4 June 1991); Margaret Helen (11 October 1921 - 27 June 2009), and Tui Maureen (14 April -).


            Frances Lucy Callaghan (Nana)                             Mollie, Jack and Margaret 1925                                Nana as I remember her

  • Mollie never married and lived with Nana for many years.  She was a business woman and regularly went on cruises throughout the world.
  • Jack married Madge Tyson in Runanga Presbyterian Church on the 12th May 1945, and they settled in Takapuna, Auckland, close to Nana's place.  Madge and Jack had two sons, Ross (that's me!) and Brian.  See Jack and Madge Callaghan
  • Margaret married Kenneth Alfred Sydney (Ken) Pipe and they had four sons: Robert, John, Richard and Philip.
  • Tui married Douglas Rex (Rex) Morse and they had three children: Peter; Joanna, and Paul.  Tui was a famous potter and produced some amazing ceramic works.

Callaghan family gathering 1990. Back row: Auntie Norma, Debbie, Kathy, Ross, Joanna Baynes (cousin) and Clare, Auntie Tui, Uncle Rex

Front row: Jack (Grandad), Madge (Grandma), Phil, Sarah, Auntie Margaret and Sarah Baynes.

Fannie, our Nana, was lovely.  It was great having her live close by to where we lived in Takapuna.  It meant we could stay at her place when Brian and I needed baby-sitting, and we could visit her on our way home from school.

Later in life she fell and broke her hip. We often visited her in Middlemore hospital and I have an enduring memory of this as there was a little girl there who sang all day long: "Sad movies always make me cry."  After she recovered Nana could no longer live in her home and shifted to a small flat in Royal Oak.  She died on the 1st of August 1970.

Madge Callaghan's parents: Isaac and Clara Tyson

Isaac Tyson was born on the 18th August 1882 in Cockermouth, Cumberland, in the beautiful Lakes District of England.  His father was William Moses Tyson and his mother was Frances Moore.  Isaac traveled to New Zealand in the early 1900s and settled on the West Coast where he was a coal miner.  

Clara Jane Graham was born on 24th December 1878 in Whitehaven; also in Cumberland, England.  She settled in Lamplugh, not far away.  Clara's father was John Graham and her mother was Agnes Annie Sowerby.  

Isaac returned to Cumberland in 1912 where he met Clara Graham. They were married in Lamplugh on the 9th July 1913, and soon left for New Zealand.

                                                                                Isaac and Clara Tyson (Grandad and Grandma)

Isaac and Clara lived in a small house on Mills Street, Runanga, about 10km from Greymouth on the West Coast.  They had three daughters: Madge (23 May 1914 - 5 May 2001); Joan (27 April 1918 - 1 March 2006), and Norma (27th August 1920 -).

These were the famous Tyson girls!

Clara, Norma, Madge, Joan and Isaac Tyson 1921.

It was pretty tough living on the West Coast but the Tyson girls had a happy childhood.  They attended Church regularly and enjoyed special outings whenever there was a Church picnic.  Madge (my mother) did well at school and was dux of Runanga Primary School.

Isaac became Mine Manager (or as he liked to call it "the boss"!). Clara was quite strict as a mother and enforced very high standards on the girls. She gradually lost her hearing and became somewhat isolated from others as a result.  She had a great knack of catching flies!

After the Second World War the girls all married and left home

  • Madge married Jack (John Riddell) Callaghan in Runanga Presbyterian Church on the 12th May 1945, and settled in Takapuna, Auckland. Madge and Jack had two sons, Ross and Brian Callaghan. See Jack and Madge Callaghan
  • Joan married Bob (Robert Edward) Williams on the 11th December, 1940 and settled in Greymouth, and later, Timaru. Joan and Bob had a son, Lex, and a daughter, Pauline.
  • Norma married Mick (Boyd William) Bayly on the 4th May 1946 and settled in New Plymouth.

The three Tyson girls were very close right throughout their lives. They wrote to each other regularly, visited each other, and went on overseas trips together.  All were wonderful Christian women, an inspiration to their families, and were very much loved.

                                                                                 The Tyson girls: Joan, Norma and Madge  1996

When Isaac retired, he and Clara moved to Christchurch and settled in a little house in Oram Ave, New Brighton.

Clara died on the 13th February 1965, and from this time on Isaac lived with his daughters in Greymouth, New Plymouth or Auckland. He became quite blind but remained cheerful, especially enjoying his talking books.

Isaac died on the 19th May 1974 in New Plymouth.  He boasted at the end of his life "I'm not known to the police!"

The Tysons were all very long-lived.  Clara, Madge and Joan all died when they were 87.  Isaac died when he was 91 and Norma is 96.

We interviewed Isaac Tyson on his 90th birthday in 1972. You can listen to this enlightening interview by clicking on the link below, then clicking on 'Download' on the page that opens up.

Isaac Tyson aged 90 

Kathy's grandparents

Eric Andersen's parents: Harald and Andrina Andersen

Harald Oskar Andersen was born on the 2nd of May 1881 in Nannestad, Norway. His father was Anders Mikkelsen and his mother was Karen Dorthea Kristoffersen.

Andrina Louisa Gertrude Sandison was born on the 8th of July 1894, in Wanganui. Her father was Andrew Arthur Sandison, and her mother was Louisa Williams.  

Harald and Andrina Andersen

Harald and Andrina married on the 13th of October 1916 in Auckland.  They lived in a number of places way in the bush, including Raurimu and Mangapehi and moved a great deal.  Later in life they moved into 'town' (Te Kuiti) and then in the cities of Auckland and HamiltonThey had six children, all registered in Te Kuiti:

  • Dorothy Louise Andersen (12 May 1916 - 16 January 1996) married William Andrew Card in 1937. They had 5 children: Rose, Grace, Bill, Doris and Terry.
  • Harold Andersen was born and died 31 March 1917.  He only lived 14 hours.
  • Eric Oscar Andersen (7 September 1918 - 19 October 1987) married Joyce Margaret Jones on the 7th September 1943 in Tonbridge, Kent, England and they had six children: Patsy, Sue, Mike, Karen, John and Kathy (that's me!). See Eric and Joyce Andersen, and the Andersen family
  • Olga Barbara Andersen (21 November 1921 - 10 October 2004).  In 1945 Olga married her first husband Leslie Clifton Kay and had 3 children, Barbara, Harold and Jenny .  We knew him as Uncle Curly because of his curly hair.  He died in 1957 and Olga brought the children up on her own.  Later she married Arnold (Arnie) Edwin Derecourt, and they lived in Hamilton on Cobham Drive. 
  • Frederick Andrew Andersen (22 September 1924 - 24 August 2004) married Gwendoline Olwyn (Jordan) Johnson in 1956.  Apparently Gwen had  several children but only kept one, Wesley, to live with her in this marriage.  Fred and Gwen had 2 children, Adele and Louisa.
  • Thomas Keith Andersen, known as Keith (3rd July 1935 - 14 January 2002) married Alyce May in 1975 (aged 40) and settled in Te Aroha.  They had no children.

Harald, Kathy's Grandfather, was born in Nannested, Norway 2 May 1881. 

He was a seaman and 'jumped ship' at Auckland in 1904.  Unfortunately he stole a suit (perhaps to have civilian clothes) and was caught.  The result was a 2 month prison sentence in an Auckland jail.  This photo is the police 'mug shot' taken in 1904 and is the earliest photo we have of him.  None of his family knew about this.  It was only discovered in 2008 when Harald's Naturalization file was requested from the National Archives in Wellington.  He was sensitive about his past and his wife and children never knew about it. His application for Naturalization was approved in 1936. His first application in 1914 was suspended awaiting the outcome of WW1.  He never returned to Norway and therefore never saw his family again. Harald was a very hard working man.  He worked on building the main trunk line in the early days of his marriage and later he worked as a bushman out from Te Kuiti.   As I was only 6 when my grandfather died my memories are limited to a lovely white-haired man with a strong accent.  He died in Te Kuiti on the 18th of June 1962.

We have recently learnt that Harald had children in Norway before he left for New Zealand. I wrote to a local newspaper in the Nannestad area where Harald lived to see if they were interested in a story either about him or about me trying to find my Norwegian roots.  I included the article from the NZ Genealogist. The editor said "Yes" and passed the story onto a reporter to write and publish. What happened next is incredible! 

The reporter got a call from his cousin, who had seen the article, telling him that
their great grandfather had the same name, date and place of birth.  Could this possibly be the same man?  They started searching records and found that indeed their great grandfather and my grandfather were the same man!!  So not only was the reporter a relative, but we have now discovered a whole new family in Norway!  We didn't know they existed and they didn't know we existed!

It appears that Harald had 2 children before he left Norway: Marie Karoline Haraldsen, born 7th October 1901, and Johan Oskar Haraldsen, born 1 November 1902.  Their children and grandchildren thought that he had 'disappeared' in 1903 and no one knew what happened to him. 



                                                                                                                   Johan Haraldsen and family, around 1949. 

The norm for the day in Norway was to base the next generation's surname on the father's first name. Harald's father was Anders Mikkelsen so his surname was Andersen (children of Anders). Harald's children in Norway (Marie and Johan) had the surname Haraldsen.  This did not apply in New Zealand so Harald's children (Dorothy, Harold, Eric, Olga Frederick, Thomas) had his surname Andersen.

We then came on another interesting aspect of the story. One of the older Norwegian family members told them something that had never been mentioned before.  Apparently Harald's son had said that Harald and 3 other men had got in a fight in 1903 and a man had died.  Harald got scared and got a job on a ship and so 'disappeared'.  As it turned out the man died from hitting his head and no one was charged, but Harald had already disappeared.  No-one in Norway knew where he went and he (to our knowledge) never contacted any family, not even his mother.  Harald's Certificate of Discharge tells us that he ended up in NZ and that he jumped ship in 1904.

Harald married Andrina, my grandmother, in 1916 and they had 6 children (including Eric, my father).  Harald had not married the woman with whom he had the children in Norway so he was not a bigamist!  What a fascinating story! 

Click here to read Ross's novel 'Tomorrow I'm going to disappear' about how Harald came to New Zealand in 1904.

Andrina Louisa Gertrude Sandison (known as Rene), my grandmother, was born 7 July 1894 at Wanganui.  Her mother Louisa Williams was born in Melbourne. Australia (to parents born in England and the USA).  Her father Andrew Arthur Sandison, was born in the Shetland Islands. Her parents married in Melbourne but came to New Zealand immediately after marriage and settled in Wanganui.  Her father worked on the seawall at Castlecliffe, Wanganui. Rene had a brother Arthur born Jan 1896.  Unfortunately her father Andrew died of tuberculosis in Feb 1896, when Arthur was only 6 weeks old.  Then little Arthur died in August that year aged 8 months, so all in all was a sad time for her mother Louisa.  Louisa eventually took Rene back to Australia where she met and married Frederick James Hay Etheridge.  The couple came back to NZ and settled in Auckland and had 4 children, Linda, Nellie, Frederick (died before 1 year) and Eric, who were half siblings to Rene. 


                Nana in 1920's                                            the 1950's                                                the 1960's

The most remarkable thing about my grandmother Rene was that she had only 1 leg. She used to tell us that she ran in front of a car! Actually she had polio when young and the story was that she asked for the leg to be removed when she was a young adult - with the story being it happened on the kitchen table!! Of course this was unlikely! She brought up her children and once back living in town she ran a number of businesses.  She was a boarding house proprietor and ran a number of large establishments such as the Windsor Hotel and Empire Hotel in Hamilton.  She was also an excellent cook and  had a number of bakeries.  She died 12th of August 1965 in Hamilton.


Joyce Andersen's parents: John and Eleanor Jones

John William Jones was born on the 18th April 1891 in Newton Common, Lancashire, England.  His father was Maurice Jones and his mother was Margaret Rawlinson. Both his parents were born in Wales and spoke the Welsh language. 

Eleanor Orr Askew was born on 25th June 1892 in Millom, Cumberland, England. Her father was William George Orr and her mother was Mary Askew. 

John and Eleanor married on the 27th May 1915 in Blackburn, Lancaster, England.  They had four children:

  • William (Bill) Jones (23rd January 1920 - September 2008) married Ruby Williams, and later lived with a woman called Phyllis.  Bill and Ruby has 1 son William (Bill) Stanley Jones.  Bill and Phyllis had a daughter Wendy, who died in her 20's of multiple sclerosis.
  • Joyce Margaret Jones (21 January 1922 - 9th December 2004) married Eric Oscar Andersen on the 7th September 1943 in Tonbridge, England and they had six children: Patsy, Sue, Mike, Karen, John and Kathy (that's me!). See Eric and Joyce Andersen, and the Andersen family
  • Arnold Jones (8th December 1923 - 13 August 2003) married Vera May Penaluna in 1944.  They had one daughter Maureen who died aged 42. 
  • Kathleen Mary Jones (14th March 1928 - 19th April 2009) married Joe Skinner in 1988.  They didn't have children
John and Eleanor lived in Lancashire in their early marriage and Bill was born there, but they moved to Burton Salmon, Yorkshire around 1921. My mother was born there in Jan 1922.  Mum, Arnold and Kath were all born in
1 Poole Row, Burton
Salmon.  Life was tough but my mother said they had a happy childhood in Burton Salmon.
                     Granddad, Bill, Nana and Joyce (my mum) in 1922                                             1 Poole Row, Burton Salmon in 2007

Unfortunately I never met my mothers parents. My mother went back to England in 1975, which was the only time she saw her parents after leaving for NZ in 1944.  My mothers sister Kath lived with Granddad and Nana.  She did not marry until after their deaths.

John (Jack)Jones apparently had a rather difficult relationship with is father Maurice Jones and ran away from home aged 14.  His mother Margaret (nee Rawlinson) was known as a wonderful, kind person.  At 17 he joined the army and was sent to France where he was seriously wounded.  He lost his left forearm, 2 fingers on his right hand and injuries to both legs. His work opportunities would have been limited because of his disabilities but he did the best he could. He was known in the district for his ability to roll his own cigarettes on his stump!  He died on the 9th of June 1979.

Eleanor (Nell)would have grown up with the stigma of being illegitimate.  Her mother did not Marry until Nell was and adult. She lived her childhood at Muncaster in Cumberland.  My Grandmother was a wonderful woman and adored by her children.  She had to cope with many challenges that come with having a husband who was badly affected by war.  My mother says her mother was a very quiet person, who was known for her wonderful cooking.  She was proud of her family. She missed my mother terribly but kept in touch with us all in New Zealand through letter writing.  She died on the 3rd of February 1976.


      Granddad and Nana Jones                                    My mother with her parents in 1975.                              Granddad in his latter years.
                                                             Far left Ann Jones (wife of my cousin Bill Jones)
& children Stephan and Kevin

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