Accentuate the Positive 2016


My good friend and genimate GeniAus reminds us each year to be positive about what we’ve achieved. Initially I felt like I’d achieved little in 2016, perhaps mainly because my blog languished for much of the year, and even my 7th anniversary went past unacknowledged but not forgotten. It seems that retirement and relocation require adjustment which somehow is yet to reach a balance…being the family travel agent has also taken a lot of time. However, Jill is quite right and once I focused on remembering the positives, they outweighed the dearth of blog posts, so here is my list. Thanks Jill for giving me a boot to:

Remember to Accentuate the Positive 

1.  An elusive ancestor I (haven’t) found was…still on the trail of James Sherry who continues to elude me. Did he die, do a runner from his family, emigrate back to Ireland, or perhaps New Zealand…or outer Mongolia. He was the primary reason for my DNA testing.

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Patrick Callaghan (left) who was drowned off Dublin.

2.  A precious family photo I found was a serendipitous discovery of my great-grandmother’s brother. Patting random cats in genealogical areas can lead to all sorts of genearosity, companionable conversation and sharing of photos and stories.

3.  An ancestor’s grave was elusive. We visited the Offaly graveyard where my Martin Furlong is buried but could not find his grave among the many others…perhaps we were just too tired.

4.  An important vital record I found was the Irish civil registration which confirmed that my 2xgreat grandmother was born Anne Callaghan as well as being married to a Callaghan (pronounced Callahan in Ireland). Now…where did she come from?

5.  A newly found family member came from DNA matches which confirmed paper trails. I also discovered that a long-term local history colleague is a cousin…very exciting.

6.  A geneasurprise I received was being greeted by the librarian at the Clare Local Studies Library in Ennis like a Rockstar, and his supportive comments on my Kunkel family history book. I had forgotten about this until my friend Fran, the TravelGenee, reminded me the other day.

462-church-and-graveyard7. My 2016 blog post that I was particularly proud of was My Gratitudes because in 2017 I want to focus more on the positives and be less critical of myself and others. I started a meme called Monday Memories (so long since I’ve done one, I’d forgotten) – good posts were Milne Bay and Old Time Courtesies. My A to Z theme this year was “how to pursue an interest in genealogy/family history”…this was my third year, so I’m not sure if I’ll go round again.

And in December 2016, my blog had its seventh Blogiversary…I’d been thinking it was only six.

8. I made a new genimate who was courageous in making her first public presentation on Irish valuation records in company with some well-known Irish experts. Lots of good info in her talk. Congratulations Bobbie Ede!

9. A new piece of software I mastered was…learning more each day about genetic genealogy using Gedmatch. It will be a long time before I feel I can say I’ve “mastered” genetic genealogy though, hence why DNA talks feature heavily in my Rootstech 2017 schedule.

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was Facebook. Every day I connect with and learn more about genimates around the world. I love how it builds our community!

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was Judy Russell’s sessions in Brisbane – thanks to Unlock the Past; and the GSQ seminar featuring Irish history gurus Drs Perry McIntyre and Jennifer Harrison.

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at the Clare Roots Conference on the Diaspora of the Wild Atlantic Way in Ennis in September. I was able to present the findings from my East Clare Emigrants research to an Irish and wider audience. Thanks to those from the Clare Facebook Group who shared their photos of their East Clare ancestors for me to include in my presentation.

I was so chuffed that Broadford local history guru and cousin, Pat O’Brien, commented so positively on what we are all doing writing and researching about our Irish ancestors – returning them to their Irish homes and their community’s history.It was such a pleasure that my cousins Mary and Eileen came along to hear my talk – thank you ladies and while I missed subsequent talks the special time we spent together was simply “gold”.I was also thrilled to meet Tulla researcher, Jane, who manages the Tulla Reaching Out Facebook page and another researcher who has interests in Broadford.

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I also had a new experience which I thought went well… my first-ever radio interview on Clare FM about my talk and the conference. If this works, you can hear it here…be warned it’s a large file. .

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was…nada, nil, zip….

14. I taught a friend how to…don’t know that I did, but I helped a friend of a friend who knew nothing about her parents’ background.

15. Complementary genealogy books that taught me something new were Blaine Bettinger’s well set out Family Tree Guide to DNA testing and Genetic Genealogy and Genetic Genealogy in Practice by Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Park Wayne. If you want to unravel the mysteries of DNA testing these are the tools you need.

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The joys of archives succinctly stated at Donegal Archives.

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was The Donegal County Archives in Lifford where Mr Cassmob explored the Board of Guardian minutes in the hope of tracing his Famine Orphan, Biddy Gallagher.

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Damian Shiels’ The Forgotten Irish in the Civil War. This is a superb book and I highly recommend it to anyone with ancestors who fought in the US Civil War and/or have Irish ancestry – it shows just what can be done with what might seem like dense government records. You can read my GoodReads review here.

18. It was exciting to finally meet genimate Judy Russell aka the Legal Genealogist on my home turf along with my local genimates. We had a great time introducing her to the joys of the local area with its amazing seafood and just getting to know each of them better.

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The shrine at Bedlam, Donegal near Gortahork.

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was a three week jaunt to Ireland in September with Mr Cassmob, visiting libraries and archives, walking the ground, exploring home places and visiting the place where my grandson’s other line comes from in Donegal. Thanks to my genimate Angela aka The Silver Voice for her help and tips along the way.

20. Another positive I would like to share is …having Queensland Family History Society recognise my eleven Pre-Separation Queesland ancestors. You can obtain forms here if your ancestors arrived in what is now Queensland before Separation in 1859.

What a wonderful community we have among genealogists around the world – some blog, others Facebook, some work at local libraries: whenever and wherever we meet we share something truly precious – a little of ourselves, a lot about genealogy and the passion for this obsession of ours. I have made great friends through this network of genimates and treasure you all.

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I love Donegal’s wide open spaces and wild scenery. In some strange way it reminds me of Australia, but don’t be lulled into thinking it’s always sunny.

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19 thoughts on “Accentuate the Positive 2016

  1. I’ve sent the family packing and have had time to digest your superb post. I’m not usually one for schmaltzy sentiments but I am chuffed that you used my geneameme as your first post after your sabbatical from blogging. I have missed you. BTW you had a fab year – no woder you haven’t had much time to blog.

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