I’ve just finished watching the documentary One Million Dubliners, which at it’s simplest is a study of Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, the “home” to 1.5 million people of all sorts, including people like Michael Collins and Daniel O’Connell.
While I am sure some may find the delivery of the film to be slow, I found the the pace of the film and the multifaceted approach to telling the story were very well done, incorporating both historical and everyday figures, the creation and restoration of the cemetery itself, and perhaps most importantly the inclusion of the more mundane aspects of running a cemetery and the thoughts of those involved.
While this latter information may fare only slightly higher on many peoples’ lists than watching paint dry, the people interviewed in these daily roles of the cemetery each show a different angle of the goings-on and in sum provide an almost surprisingly philosophical treatise on the process of death and the power surrounding one’s final resting place.
However, the thread that holds this film together, without question, are the stories and perspectives of the cemetery’s historian Shane MacThomáis. His love of the historical subject matter and of Glasnevin itself is apparent. His wonderful interactions leading cemetery tours for both young people and adults truly draw us in with humor and pathos.
As you are reading this review on my genealogy blog, it is highly likely at least part of many a day’s thoughts are taken up by the interaction of history, family, lost stories, loss itself, and the task of trying to find meaning in their conjunction. If so, I highly suggest your taking the time to find and watch this film.
A word of warning: I began watching without any prior knowledge of the film beyond a recent mention online. When soon after I found it available on Hoopla Digital (streaming offered free via my local library), I thought that I had to give it a shot.
As I got to the end of the film, I truly was more than a bit M. Night Shyamalan-ed. I do not want to say more.
I would suggest if you know no more than I did, Do Not research the cemetery and names I mention here – just watch. You can always go online later and learn more.
Yesterday during lunch I was perusing the New York City Municipal Deaths index (as one does) and happened upon a pair of records that appear to be relevant to a particularly elusive branch of my wife’s Irish Duffy family. Of course, as is usual for this branch these records are not only conflict with each other, they also conflict in a few other ways. So, that will be the subject of a future post as I try to hammer out the dents in my timeline.
To help me clear things up, I immediately ordered the death certificate. But, as any genealogist knows, one can not easily sit still after ordering a record. Especially when afflicted with a bad case of conflictionitis. Luckily, the death index noted the person of record was buried at Calvary cemetery in Queens. It also included a burial date, which is needed to inquire about the plot at Calvary’s office.
So, a quick lunch time field trip to the cemetery was in order. While at Calvary, I always like to wander a bit and investigate any interesting grave markers. I also always seem to find an unrelated Tierney grave when I visit. (I assume unrelated, as my Tierneys are somewhat mysterious in their own right.)
The real surprise in John McCain’s family tree: His grandfather was his own father!
I suppose the Finding Your Roots team may have done this for clarity when using photos along with the need to pan across the screen, but it made my brain vibrate as it did. Click on the image for a larger view.
My cousin Jana in the Czech Republic recently found another cousin from her part of the tree. She recalled that I had emailed some photos to her a few years ago, and that one of them included this “new” cousin’s grandmother as a young woman, so Jana asked if I had a higher resolution scan to send her to share.
It took me awhile to find the photo, as it was squirreled away in a triptych album in one of our boxes. While looking, I realized that I had completely forgotten about two very large envelopes full of old photos from my Czech side of the family, so I guess I’ll be breaking out the scanner and uploading to The Flickr again.
Flickr is a great tool for us all to see and comment on the photos – I’ve learned who many unknown family were via my cousins in Ireland and the Czech Republic going through them and asking around over there.
One photo I found last night really stood out for me – an absolutely beautiful little girl, all dressed up with a necklace and flower. So far, we don’t know who she is, but she is wonderful to look at.
As I have discovered more evidence of my family’s immigrations and documentation of their lives, I have become entranced by the idea that while we live in different times we often travel similar paths. Read More