• Ruminations
  • Jun1


    Last year I was lucky to get reconnected to several first cousins that we hardly knew about, much less met.

    Tierney siblings, Jamaica, NY circa 1929

    Tierney Siblings: Michael, Sabina and John, Jamaica Queens, 1929

    The short short version of the story is that my grandfather John Tierney (sounds familiar) married Sabina Gilroy and had four children. Sadly, he lost his wife and 3 year old Winifred in the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic in New York.

    The next year he married my grandmother May and several years later they had my father. By all accounts their marriage was stormy and not good for the kids. After my grandfather died in 1935 the family drifted apart and my father apparently had very little contact with his brother and two sisters. (All half siblings to him.)

    More than a dozen years ago I started to get interested in genealogy, but worked at it sporadically. However, I kept adding to my findings and kept them on an Ancestry tree that was discovered last year by my father’s brother’s grandson’s wife. (Got that?) Read More | Comments

  • May13


    This is not genealogy in any way, but is a bedtime conversation I had with our 4 year old daughter tonight as she fell asleep.

    I don’t want to forget it, so posting it here for posterity – my apologies to the 4.5 readers of my blog for going off track for a minute.
    Lily: Daddy, are you rich?
    Me: Not with money, honey, but I am rich with Love.
    Lily: Oh, I get it! You have lots of Love! Everybody is rich with Love!
    Me: Well, I don’t know if everyone is, but I know I am because of you, Miles, & Mommy.
    *Extended Quiet*
    Lily: Well, I’ll tell you who’s not rich with Love. The ancient Indians – they’re dead.

  • Apr7

    No Comments

    Hey, go read this good post on Serial Entrepreneurship and Genealogy over at the digicopia blog. That post was in response to this Geneabloggers post.

    I agree with his assessment of the field – and since my comment kind of turned into almost its own blog post, I thought I’d post it here for posterity as well.

    I agree wholeheartedly that the serial entrepreneurship as of late is a very good thing for the genealogy community.

    These entrepreneurs are almost by definition smaller, fast moving or working outside of “comfort zones” – while they may not be adding the great numbers of records the Big Gorillas do, these innovators are the ones that could most likely come up with most useful next generation tools that provide better ways to find and visualize connections.

    The exceptional thing about the effectiveness of entrepreneurship in this realm is that genealogists are more than willing to use multiple resources, tools and methods to ferret out information. The result is that new sites can really get their tires kicked by a vocal and experienced community.

    If the downside of entrepreneurship is genealogists having to deal with splintered resources, weighing the value of multiple subscription charges and, as you stated, the potential for sloppy research, the upside of the combination of the fast growing Big Gorilla datasets and innovative tools is almost certainly big fat plus for genealogists who are going to need all the help they can get as more data goes online.

    Finally, as with any field, it is only a matter of time before the at least some of the chaos of entrepreneurship is incorporated into the Big Gorilla’s arsenal – either through assimilation or emulation.

    It is a terrific time to research online!

  • Aug10


    When I recently began getting more serious about my genealogical research after several years of dabbling, I began to think about possible blog names to document my journey. As an information technology professional with expertise in information security, Hacking Your Ancestors first occurred to me as a potential blog name.

    Then it also occurred to me that that name was slightly more homicidal than I’d intended.
    Plus, my good axe is just now at the cleaners.

    I may still use that blog name if I decide to write more on techniques and tools and how some tactics of an infosec professional mesh nicely with those of the genealogist.

    But, in this blog I hope to focus more on the journey of discovery that almost inevitably occurs when researching one’s own family and how they fit into history. It likely helps when you have only limited clues to much of your family history, making the search that much more surprising and interesting.

    Group Photo: Egans of Creggan, Ferbane, Ireland on Flickr As I find more documentation of the lives of my forebears I feel a strangely stronger sense of the parallel linearity of theirs and mine. While I cannot claim that records and documents give a clear insight into our ancestors’ personalities, there is a glimpse of dreams or, at least, hope that this new country held promise beyond their original ken.

    Such a trip requires a vehicle, whether it is ridden or written. The sadly late poet John O’Donohue’s poem Beannacht, or Blessing offers some solace from the pulling weight of the land, the dimming vision of time and leads our boat, or Currach, on a protected path home with a healing cloak of wind.

    Listen to his words below.

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    Beannacht recited by John O’Donohue on NPR’s Speaking of Faith

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