The Book of Me: Prompt 7 – Grandparents


I’ve decided that Prompt 7 of the Book of Me, Written by You series will be largely a private post, partly because I’ve written on this topic before, and partly because I want to draw out further nuances with my family alone. Julie provided us with these dot points for discussion:

What were their names?
Where were they from?
Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
Where were they born, another Country or state/area?
Photos
What did they do?
Did you know them?
What was your relationship with them?
If you didn’t know them have you researched about them?

My maternal grandparents (top row) and my paternal grandparents as young people (bottom row)

My maternal grandparents (top row) and my paternal grandparents as young people (bottom row)

Over the last few years I’ve often posted on my grandparents, especially those who lived next door to us. I was pretty lucky as I knew three of my grandparents into my teens or early adulthood and while my maternal grandmother died youngish, I still have faint, fond memories of her. Sometimes I wondered if they were figments of my imagination but on further discussion with my mother it turns out that I had indeed remembered the stories correctly even though Grandma died before I turned four. Her photo was always on display in my parents’ bedroom too, so it always seemed she was part of my life.

I wonder how many people are fortunate enough to know their grandparents well. Certainly in Darwin’s transient population many children grow up seeing their grandparents only a couple of times a year, or more rarely. Our grandchildren are among the fortunate few who have their “oldies” on tap.

So a very brief synopsis of my grandparents’ origins:

Irish Catholic  +  formerly Methodist, 2nd/3rd generation Queenslander (Scottish/English background)

2nd/3rd generation Queenslander ex-Catholic (Irish-German background) + Scottish Presbyterian.

Grandparents origins

Can you see there might be potential for religious and national tensions there? There is a common thread among the men, though, with the railway being the link.

Origins Great grandparents

I thought I’d put this together in a graph as it makes it more visual, and then because I couldn’t leave well enough alone, I also drew out their ethnic background.

You might want to read my earlier stories about my two grandfathers Denis Kunkel and James McSherry.  I haven’t written as much about my grandmothers, Catherine Kunkel and Laura Melvin, but I did write about Laura’s sister, Emily, who served as a de facto grandmother to me in my childhood.

I also wrote about my grandparents as part of the Fab Feb Photo Collage, another reason for not duplicating what I’ve written. And no, nary a cousin or relation among them…one of the advantages of all that migration perhaps. Even though I knew each of them I’ve also done a lot of research on them over the years.

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