Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Having a knowledge of my Irish heritage was one thing. Having specific information about it was another thing entirely. I began seeking details about my Irish ancestry as a young lady in the form of questions to my grandparents. Later my research became more formal and serious - I wanted to learn the details about my family's history.
One particular piece of information that I sought was the specific locality in Ireland of my ancestral villages. Where in Ireland was I from? I wasn't content just to continue researching my family on this side of the Atlantic, I wanted to know where in Ireland I would need to visit when I finally planned my long-awaited trip.
It was many years after my initial queries to my grandparents that I finally learned the county of origin of one of the branches of my family. My great-great-grandfather Patrick Tierney's name had been lost to our family for at least two generations. After discovering his name and piecing together data from census records, city directories, vital records and newspaper clippings, I was able to gain an overview of his life - from young boy living through the Great Famine, to Irish immigrant, to husband, father and laborer in Boston's North End. It was the Declaration of Intent within his naturalization papers, which I received from the National Archives in Boston, that gave me the clue to his Irish county of origin. Handwritten clearly on this document was the phrase "County Tipperary, Ireland".
Learning this news was very exciting to me - now I could at least hone in on one county in Ireland. No matter that it was a very large county: it was my family's ancestral home.
After learning this exciting news our family had a little celebration of sorts, complete with the singing of a round of the favorite: "It's a long way to Tipperary". It certainly had been a long way to Tipperary. I had been in search of specific knowledge about my family's origins in Ireland for so long, and now I was finally able to hone in on one county. Well, for at least one branch, that is. Now to narrow down my roots within Tipperary, and start working to confirm the Cowhey family's roots in Cork and/or Limerick, starting with my immigrant ancestor Patrick Cowhey. Then I've got work to do on my Donnelly, Foley, McGonigle/McGonigal, Graham, McCue, Rogers, Kennedy and O'Neill lines. I detailed my research plans for a few of my family's branches during an earlier edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture.
So many avenues for this one Irish genealogist to pursue! Now to find some cousins interested in working along with me. Just imagine once I find all of these ancestral villages, what a long and wonderful trip I'll be taking to the homeland of my ancestors!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
For a light look at some interesting and personal comments in otherwise dry record logs, take a few minutes to visit Rachel's article.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
If you have found your ancestral county or village in Ireland, just how did you find your way there? What resources led you to learn the original county or townland or your ancestors? Tell us how you did it and what your feelings were when you made the exciting discovery.
If you have not yet found the area where your ancestors made their homes in Ireland, tell us about the resources that you hope to use to find out. What records and documents do you hope will lead you to that information? How do you plan to go about the search?
If you have always known the place or places where your family hailed from, tell us about them. What draws you there and what else have you learned throughout your search for family history?Share with us your Irish genealogy success story or your plans to "get back to Ireland" within the upcoming 11th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture.
Deadline for submissions to the My key to Ireland edition is Sunday, January 18, 2009. This edition will be published over at Small-leaved Shamrock on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. See you there!
Never participated in a blog carnival before? For a step-by-step tutorial, see Miriam Robbins Midkiff's How to Submit a Post to a Carnival on the Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers blog.
Image thanks to kaboodle.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Hugh O'Brien, the city's new mayor in 1885, was the first of many Irish politicians to lead the Boston area in the coming years. It was a turning point for Boston, which had already seen Roman Catholic Irish outnumber native Boston Protestants for several decades by 1885. Mayor O'Brien, according to Mass Moments, was "a well-spoken, mild mannered, successful businessman... [who] defied all the Yankee stereotypes of Irishmen. During four terms as Mayor, he widened streets, planned the Emerald Necklace park system, and built the new Boston Public Library in Copley Square, all the while cutting taxes. Popular among both native- and Irish-born Bostonians, Hugh O'Brien paved the way for the better known Irish mayors who would follow him— 'HoneyFitz' Fitzgerald and James Michael Curley."
For more on this turning point in Boston's history and the coming of the Irish into local politics, visit the Mass Moments website or read Thomas O'Connor's The Boston Irish: A Political History.
Image of Mayor Hugh O'Brien from Celebrate Boston website.