Genealogy, for me, has always been a search for meaning: Just who am I? Where did my family come from? I have found so much more than I imagined since I began the journey into researching my family history and started the process of sharing my stories with others here on this and my other genealogy blogs.
I named this spot on the web A Light That Shines Again in honor of my forgotten Boston Irish-immigrant ancestors whose memories were left behind as we, their descendants, "became American". They were nothing to speak of, in the world's terms. Poor, desperate, acquainted with deep suffering. Yet their lives were a miracle: four of my great-great-grandparents survived baby-hoods in Ireland during the Great Famine. They made their way to form a new life in Boston's North End, South Boston, Waltham and eventually in Dorchester and Quincy. My life is a tribute to their incredible steadfastness, and their ability to overcome great odds.
|The McCue family settled and remained mostly in South Boston; |
the Tierney family settled in Boston's North End,
and moved out to Quincy around the turn of the 20th century
So it is for my famine-surviving great-great-grandparents Francis McCue and his wife Catherine (Rogers) McCue, and Patrick Tierney and his wife Catherine (Kennedy) Tierney, for their ancestors and their descendants that I celebrate the sixth anniversary of this blog. It hasn't always gotten as much attention as my other genealogy blogs, but I have poured as much passion into what I have written here, if not more. In honor of my Boston Irish ancestors - my "emigrant Irish", I share this touching poem by Irish poet Eavan Boland. "Their lights" are the inspiration for this blog. Their "patience, fortitude and long-suffering in the bruise-colored dusk of the New World", this genealogist's continued motivation.
The Emigrant Irish
- Eavan Boland, from An Origin Like Water
Like oil lamps, we put them out the back,
of our houses, of our minds. We had lights
better than, newer than and then
a time came, this time and now
we need them. Their dread, makeshift example.
They would have thrived on our necessities.
What they survived we could not even live.
By their lights now it is time to
imagine how they stood there, what they stood with,
that their possessions may become our power.
Cardboard. Iron. Their hardships parceled in them.
Patience. Fortitude. Long-suffering
in the bruise-colored dusk of the New World.
And all the old songs. And nothing to lose.