Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bits and Pieces....Odds & Ends...Better than doing laundry

Ah, the vacation is grinding to a close. How can I tell? A sense of sadness at being forced to return to a schedule with rulers I don't respect is wrapping around me like a wet blanket. Oh, I'll be fine. I just wish some days I was independently wealthy. :)

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Spent most of the week working on the family tree....thus the title. You work on a branch, run into a snag, move over a branch. Pruning is not allowed. This week was the Ireland and Scotland dig. Good news... I found a book online published in 1938 dealing with a branch I know came from Ireland but is believed to originate in Scotland. Bad news...although I was able to confirm family back to County Antrim, Ireland in 1732, the book's author claimed he could not determine which of the 3 original Torrance brothers who came to America was my relative's kin. Sigh.

That's okay, I'm determined. No one family has sole claim to the gene for stubbornness. :)

What complicates matters in my tree is an annoying, yet lovingly meant trend that is a genealogical nightmare: the passing on of family names. It's not a problem when one of the boys inherits say his mother's maiden name as a middle name. It's easy to follow Grandad is Dwight Moody, Dad is Joseph Moody and brother is Marcus Dwight. There's a nice symmetry there and I can easily determine who's who without checking the birth date or name of spouse. The problem in my family tree is that when Hugh has 4 sons, the one named "Hugh" is always the one I'm descended from. Not James, John or Robert. No, I always end up with the one named for dear old Dad. Some families skip a generation but you still have to pay attention: John begat George, who begat John, who begat Samuel Sr., who began Samuel Jr. until we hit the 1890s and guys started receiving their own first name with the middle name commemorating a previous relative. Could be worse. Hubby's family has a branch where there are 5 generations of alternating Georges and Nicolases.

I'm beginning to believe that female spouses were merely there to help with the "begetting" and to serve as a visual marker for their generation.

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We interrupt this walk down memory lane to thank the following folks across the pond for their aid in my research: Susan at Stony River Farm for being my Irish connection and patiently answering my questions. You people know how curious I am, therefore question answering is a huge task when it comes to me. Thank you for your offer to aid in my search. You know I'll take you up on it.

Then in the Scotland contingent I begin with Rachel. No, I haven't really tortured her yet with questions explaining words [what's a "kirk" when one is discussing being buried at the Kirk of Torrens?]. Let's just say she provided me with some touchstones that brought Scotland closer to me...a reminder hanging just above my computer reaffirming that nothing is impossible. Then there's Professor Shug, who provided a most fascinating history lesson which has merely encouraged me to look harder. Given my work this week, am I the only one who sees the irony in your name being Hugh?

Thank you, my across the pond invisible friends. Don't worry Ken, I'll think of something to ask you as well.

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Hubby made a comment today, out of the blue, about how odd it must seem to people today here in the 2000s [that looks weird!] that both of us had at least one grandfather born in the 1800s. No, we're not THAT old. His grandfather was born in 1884 and mine in 1898. Hubby was 12 when his grandfather died, I was 14 when mine passed on. Unlike my hubby whose family was military and had to depend on the occasional visits home, the first 8 years of my life I'd lived next door to those grandparents. As the first grandchild, I'm sure no one spoiled me. ;) Both men lived a long life: hubby's Grandpa until he was 85, mine until he was 75. The odd part, as I sit here typing into cyberspace, is to realize our grandfathers went from horse and buggy to automobiles, radio to television to witnessing men walking on the moon. All in their lifetime. Wow. Wonder what I'll look back on in amazement?

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I end with the silly. Several years ago hubby's Mom and sister went to Ireland. Yes, like my Mom, the Irish genes are the ones considered God given and able to rise above all others. His Mom asked what we'd like as a souvenir of the trip. I laughed and said a 4 leaf clover. Hubby wanted a leprechaun...to lead him to that illusive pot of gold. I got a beautiful pair of Celtic Cross earrings. This is what hubby received....


Smokey isn't sure if it's a chew toy or the shortest person in the house.
So far, no sight of that pot o' gold.
I would, however, loved to have seen
my Mom-in-law carrying that little guy onto the plane.
:)

1 comment:

Susan said...

I loved this post: my family tree does the same! For two centuries running, my father's male ancestors share just two first names.

My grandparents were all born in the 1880s and '90s, and you're right, I'm NOT that old! LOL But I am the youngest child of parents who were younger siblings themselves. Still, the difference in our world and theirs is tremendous.

Good luck with the research, and the getting back to work.