• Ireland
  • May21

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    'Bessie Egan' is written on reverse.'The girl in this Irish photo from our family albums is still a mystery to me, even with a named written on the reverse of the photo: “Bessie Egan.” No one on in that part of the family on either side of the Atlantic has yet recognized the name, although my Grandmother did have a daughter Elizabeth that remained in Ireland until at least her early teens. However, later known photos of Elizabeth don’t really look like this girl to me.

    In any case, even with her unknown identity, it is one of my favorite family photos.

  • Dec13

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    While researching my grandmother’s family, I thought it would be interesting (and important) to learn more about the religious order her sister Kathleen had joined in Ireland.

    Sister Attracta (the name she chose when taking her vows) is recalled fondly in our home via her letters to my parents and a New York visit in the 1960′s.

    Sister Attracta Photo CollageLast year I posted a photo collage of Sister Attracta , and over the last year I’ve learned a bit more about her from a cousin in Ireland as we compared research.

    After many years of service in China and Hong Kong, she retired to the Columban Sisters home in County Wicklow Ireland.

    I found a bit of history on the Columban Sisters site that begins…

    “The first group of Sisters set sail on September 13, 1926 from Cobh Harbour in County Cork. The 13,000 mile journey ahead of them would eventually take them to China. After many weeks travelling the Sisters finally arrived in China at a place called Hanyang.”

    The small family stories I’ve heard of her mention the sisters being taken captive during the war, and their status as doctors and nurses was the one thing that saved them from certain terrible experiences.

    Maybe a Second Spring - book coverThe history page references a book entitled “Maybe A Second Spring: The Story of the Missionary Sisters of St. Columban in China”, which they will send you for free if you pay shipping. (I purchased mine at Kennys.ie)

    I received the book last night and am looking forward to start reading it tonight – but I couldn’t resist a flip through right away. Near the beginning it describes “…dozens of (missionary) women would, in time, go to the heart of China. They would face a civil war, bandits, war lords, Communist Geurillas, and Japanese invaders, to say nothing of opium addicts, lepers, floods, famine, and plague.”

    Photo: Sister Mary Attracta with patient in NanchegAnd what do I find in the center section of the book? A cache of photos, including one of Sister Attracta! Quite exciting – I also see her mentioned in at least one section where the sisters are heading off to found the mission at Nancheng.

    Once again, reading is good.

  • Nov21

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    In a previous post entitled WWI Army Pay Card I spoke about using the veteran burial record for my great uncle to find his Army Serial Number (ASN). I used that info to finally successfully order his WWI records from the National Archives.

    The source I used was the U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962 database on Ancestry.com. Great uncle Michael died in 1936, so I was very glad when that database went online- I had every other piece of information on Michael short of his ASN and his shoe size, but NARA kept replying to my records requests with “not enough info.”

    Just a month or so later, a researcher in Ireland contacted me about my grandfather’s first wife, Sabina Gilroy, whom he found in my tree. This cousin of my cousins has shared a great deal on a part of our tree that was bereft, which has been wonderful.

    It turns out Sabina’s brother Michael was also a WWI veteran, but he died in service a few weeks before the war ended.

    So, you’d think the Interment Control Forms database would be out since he died 10 years before 1928, no?

    No. It turns out that groups of veterans were disinterred from their original burial places overseas and reburied back in the US.

    Michael Gilroy was moved from a cemetery near the battle in Meuse-Argonne back to Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn some time after 1928.

    So, now we have his interment card, his ASN and a way to now find his records at NARA.

    National Veteran's Cemetery Interment Card for Michael Gilroy

  • May22

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    Another non-genealogy post, but after watching this with my son, I have to heartily recommend the stunningly animated movie – The Secret of Kells to all.

    There are bits that are quite scary so I would recommend it for children around 9 and up, depending of course on their scare factor. My son is almost 9 and although he loves all types of crazy and spooky stories, when he seems to feel a real connection to the characters the scariness within the story affects him much more. While he loved this film, I could feel him getting near the edge and moving closer to me during the Viking attack scenes and those with Ouroboros.

    But, the film is wonderful and all of the scenes fit into the story perfectly. View the trailer below, or you can watch the entire film over at Hulu for free.

    For an added bonus, head on over to Comixology.com for a free Prequel comic that you can download to your PC, iPhone, iPad or Android devices. There is also a full 112 page complete story for sale there for $4.99 that I’m eyeing for my son’s birthday. (I hope he’ll let me read it.)

  • May3

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    While searching through the 1901 and 1911 Irish census today, I looked at the “Age + or – 5 years” search field and thought, “Hmm.”

    Because, that’s the sound thinking makes.

    I wondered, who was the oldest person enumerated in the entire census?

    The winner is John McDonough of House 7 in Drimmeen, Errislannon, Galway who was 122 years old. Assuming his age was correct (ahem), he would have been born in 1779.

    John McDonough, 122 Years Old in 1901 Irish Census

    But don’t worry about old John – he’s got his 90 year old wife and 95 year old sister-in-law to take care of him.

    There are:
    9 people between the ages of 112 and 122

    227 between the ages of 101 and 111

    6,146 between the ages of 90 and 100

    Various occupations of those not retired are “Labourer”, “Jobbing, Gardiner”, “Begging”, “Nurse”, “Farmer” and “Optician.”