Accentuate the Positive 2017

Family History

Opportunities for positivity

Once again Aussie Geneablogger extraordinaire, GeniAus, has offered us her traditional New Year challenge “Accentuate the Positive” from our research over the past year. This is my response.

  1. An elusive ancestor previously unknown relative I found was my mother’s cousin, Hugh Moran.
  2.  A great newspaper article I found was Hugh Moran’s personal descriptions of life in Prisoner of War camps in Italy and Germany during WWII.

    3.  A geneajourney I took was a revisit of Murphy’s Creek and perambulations on the Darling Downs. Also, my first trip to the Gold Coast since 1992, to attend the excellent Footsteps in Time Conference.

    4.  An important record I found was a mudmap of the Oughton Cottages in Courtown, Gorey where my Callaghan ancestors lived. It was hiding among the newly released 1847 Quarto books from Griffith’s Valuation and enabled me to track the homes of my ancestors.

    5.  A newly found recently-reconnected family member shared the christening gown worn by my grandmother and all her siblings c1870-1890. Such a treasure to see and hold. Another treasure was receiving a modern photo of Hugh Moran (see above). Another cousin regularly sends me family photos from her heritage collection. Some cousins have also very generously shared their DNA with me, enabling me to pin down new connections – with more to be unravelled.

    6.  A geneasurprise I received was a phone call from my 2nd cousin who I hadn’t seen since we were pre-teens. We’ve loved reconnecting and I’m grateful she found me, and that we live relatively close by!

    7.   My 2017 blog posts that I was particularly proud of were: the stories I’ve wanted to tell about my father’s life and work; and uncovering the war-time experiences of Hugh Moran.

    8.   I made a new geminate, Katherine R Willson, when we shared an Uber with her and the Legal Genealogist en route to the Post-Roots Tech bloggers’ gathering in February. We had an absolute hoot in the car. She has a heart that encompasses so many.

  3. 9.  A new piece of technology I used was Graphing DNA using Excel tools shared by Shelley from Twigs of Yore. I can see the usefulness of it and will learn more from Shelley during her presentation at Congress 2018. Meanwhile I’ll keep plugging away at my DNA matches and genealogy software.

    10. I joined the Caloundra Family History Research Group and re-joined the Genealogical Society of Queensland (GSQ) where I started my research back in 1986.

    11. Genealogy events from which I learnt something new was Footsteps in Time and the Unlock the Past Roadshow in Brisbane.

    12. A blog post that taught me something new – so many offer new insights, it’s difficult to single out just one.

    13. A DNA discovery I made was confirmation of the suspected link to the Reddan family of Gortnaglough, Broadford, Clare.

    14. Along with geminate Fran aka the TravelGenee, we taught Caloundra genimates the practical basics of how DNA testing works and how it might help them.

    15. A brick wall is still standing – My truly elusive ancestor, James McSharry aka Sherry continues to defeat me. So far, DNA hasn’t solved this dilemma as I’d hoped it would.

    16. A great site I visited was the Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques Facebook page – I use it constantly to (try to) learn.

    17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Looking Over My Shoulder by Patrick O’Brien about the O’Brien family from Carrownakilly, near Killaloe in East Co Clare.

    poster-147876118. It was exciting to finally meet Dirk Weissleder and learn more about German research and new collaborations.

    19. I am excited for 2018 because there are going to be so many learning opportunities at Congress 2018 and an opportunity to meet “old” genimates and make new friends.

    20. Another positive I would like to share is that I participated in various blog memes, gave presentations through the year, and helped friends begin their family research.

Thanks GeniAus for the chance to reflect positively on our achievements over the year.

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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