Although not recorded anywhere it is strongly assumed that the 5 Guerin siblings migrated to Australia in response to the Irish potato famine crisis that was at its worst in 1846. Family history has the parents were John and Catherine/Bridget (nee Ryan) but no other information. It may be that they sent the children off for a better life or worse that the parents succumbed to the famine. Despite many searches there has not yet been any information turned up on the parents' life in Ireland.
Where the family lived in Ireland also remains under doubt. While County Clare has been cited in a number of places the town they came from is less certain. Broadford and Scarriff are two places that have been mentioned but given they are only 16kms apart they could just be cited as a local centre. The siblings all appeared disposed to a farming life so it is assumed they had a rural upbringing in Ireland. Unfortunately records in Co. Clare from this time are scant so searching is difficult but many descendants continue the enquires from Australia and on the ground in Ireland.
The siblings left on the barque "Hooghly" on the 3rd July 1846 from Plymouth. Although listed on the Passenger List there was no record of their origin as was commonly done. The five siblings traveled for free under bond to the Australian Mining Company, although there is no record of any of them working or being released from a bond.
There has been considerable time and effort in exploring local records (parish and land-title) to try and find some clues as to the family's life in Ireland. The name Guerin, and its various different spellings, is not uncommon in Ireland so while it does come up in searches tracking further details usually has a dead end. Many of the poor rural people of that time were illiterate so record keeping and written family details are sparse. However Ireland is increasingly digitizing early records so it is worthwhile keeping up the search as new information is released.
The use of DNA technology to link related people has taken off for ancestry searches. As more people are added to databases the chances of getting a match of an Australian Guerin to a relative in Ireland increases. Unfortunately databases are not shared so the more Companies used the greater chances we have for an Australian link to a descendant in Ireland. If anyone is interested in putting themselves on a database please contact this site so we can spread our DNA data wider in the search.
We currently have one Guerin descendant with a DNA link to a Guerin in Scarriff, Co. Clare which will be exciting to follow up.
There have been some interesting information/leads coming through recently. The link http://www.ourlibrary.ca/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=95 through the Co. Clare Library has the details which is all being followed up currently. It appears as more old records are being digitized and put on-line we may yet discover the Irish origins of the Hooghly Guerins of 1846!