Thursday, June 24, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Old photos found

The other day I came across a little grey box I hadn't seen in some time. Inside, to my delight, I discovered these little photos which I had forgotten I had. They were taken in a photo booth at the Dublin Airport when I was thirteen. Our flight home to Canada was delayed, and then cancelled because of mechanical problems. Our family, including lots of aunts, uncles and cousins were in the airport for almost twelve hours. I was really happy about the delay because it meant I had more time with my Irish cousins. Several of us went off in search of something to do and found an old photo booth. The photos feature my cousins Angela and Eithne, their friend Veronica, and me. Finding the ones with just my cousin Angela and me are very special to me now because Angela died from cancer a couple of years ago.
Clockwise: Eithne is 6 o'clock; Angela is nine; Veronica is 12, and I am 3.
Angela, on the left, and me

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Myler MacGrath: "Scoundrel of Cashel"

This wall tomb, in the cathedral at the Rock of Cashel, is reputedly the final resting place of Myler MacGrath, a clever man who managed to live a dual life. He was a Franciscan priest who, by 1565, was made Catholic bishop of County Down. Shortly thereafter (1567) Queen Elizabeth I made him Anglican Archbishop of Cashel. He held both the Catholic and Protestant bishoprics at the same time for a period of nine years.

It is alleged that he held as many as four bishoprics and several benefices, out of which he provided well for his wife Ane O'Meara, whom he had married in 1575, and their nine children. In 1580 the Catholic church removed him as bishop of Down for "heresy and other crimes". He died in 1622, having lived almost 100 years. His monument in the wall of Cashel cathedral bears an epitaph written by himself, giving his detractors reason to believe this was not his tomb.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

1911 Census: Two girls named Mary Angela Fitzpatrick

Recently I received an email from Joe who indicated that his grandmother had a sister named Mary Angela Fitzpatrick. Joe asked if my Mary Angela Fitzpatrick and his Mary Angela Fitzpatrick were one in the same. Turns out they are not; however, in the 1911 census of Ireland if you search in all of the counties in the entire country there are only two girls identified in the census who bear the name Mary Angela Fitzpatrick. I thought it might be interesting to consider what life might have been like in 1911 for Joe's Mary Angela and for my Mary Angela.

Joe's Mary Angela Fitzpatrick

In 1911 Joe's Mary Angela was nine years old. She was born in 1902 in Mountmellick, Queen's County (known today as Laois, pronounced leash). The area was shired in 1556 by Queen Mary and then named Queen's County. Laois was christened with its present Irish language name with the founding of the Irish State after the War of Independence.

The mother of Joe's Mary Angela was Annie Fitzpatrick. Annie gave birth to 9 children, 7 of whom were alive in 1911. In addition to being a wife and mother, Annie has a listed occupation of Dressmaker. Mary Angela's father was named Patrick; his occupation is listed as Tailor. Although the census lists the home as a private dwelling, I understand from Joe that Patrick and Annie ran a tailoring shop out of their home. Patrick Fitzpatrick was born in Queen's county, as were his wife and all of his children.

According to the 1911 census the family of nine, including Mary Angela, lived at 39 Moore Street, Mountmellick Urban, Queen's County. Prior to Mary Angela's birth, according to the 1901 census, the family lived at 17 Pound Street, Dangans, Mountmellick Town, Queen's County. On census day 1901 the only members of the family were Patrick, Annie and their 5 month old son Joseph.

Take a look at the 1911 census for Joe's Mary Angela Fitzpatrick:

My Mary Angela Fitzpatrick

In 1911 my Mary Angela was 16 years old. She was born in Dublin City, County Dublin in 1895 and in 1911 lived with her family at 180.1 Townsend Street in a house they shared with two other families, a total of 21 people. Mary Angela's family of 7 occupied 2 rooms.

Mary Angela's mother's name was Mary. Mary had given birth to 7 children, 5 of whom were alive in 1911. Mary Angela's father's name was Thomas; his occupation is listed as Coal Labourer. Mary Angela's parents were both born in Dublin City. Four of their seven children were born in Dublin City; two were born in Liverpool, and the birthplace of one child I do not yet know. According to the 1901 U.K. census, prior to living in Townsend Street Dublin, then six year old Mary Angela and her family, which included her five year old brother Joseph, had moved out of Ireland and were living in Great Howard Street, Liverpool. My Fitzpatricks moved back to Dublin sometime before 1907, and by that time little Joseph was dead.

Take a look at the 1911 Census for my Mary Angela Fitzpatrick:

These Fitzpatrick families may be connected to one another in some way of which I'm not currently aware. I think it's really interesting to note that these two girls, the only two in the 1911 Irish Census who were called by the name Mary Angela Fitzpatrick, share a number of similarities. Both were Roman Catholic. Both had families in which two siblings had died. Both had brothers named Joseph; each girl was born within a year (either before or after) their respective Joseph. My Mary Angela lived in the capital, Dublin City. Joe's Mary Angela lived in Mountmellick, a town in the country. I guess we could call them the city Mary Angela and the country Mary Angela. It's interesting to think about these two girls with the same name existing in the same dimension of time, but in many ways living very different lives. I wonder what they dreamed about.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sometimes we inherit things we'd rather not have

Hi Everyone,

As you may know, based on the history I've shared about my paternal grandmother Anne Magee Geraghty, close to the end of her life, and as a result of diabetes, Anne was blind. While I count myself very fortunate for not having inherited diabetes, recently I received a diagnosis from my ophthamologist which indicated that if I did not have surgery I was in danger of losing my eyesight. In addition to being researchers, many of us are writers and photographers, and our eyesight is so very important to us. Honestly, because I had lost my dad to cancer I thought that I might have to face something like that at some point, but I never imagined that I could lose my eyesight. Every day since my diagnosis I have found myself staring at the most mundane things wondering what it would be like if I could no longer see, and truth be told, it terrifies me.

Yesterday I asked Carol at Reflections from the Fence if she would include me in her prayers. Of course she said yes, and, while respecting my desire for anonymity at that time, invited others to join in. I have never met Carol in person, but I can honestly say I love her for her generosity and positive attitude about everything she faces in life. I am so grateful for these prayers that I do not have the words to adequately express my gratitude to you for them. Thank You seems so inadequate, but I Thank You so very much.

This morning I met with a second specialist for a second opinion, and although the outcome is the same and I still must have the procedure (it's now scheduled for July 5), I feel more comfortable with this physician, and know that I am going to get the best possible outcome he can give me.

If anything good can come out of this it is to encourage everyone to have an eye exam. I'd never had any sort of trouble with my vision, other than the typical reading glasses that came along once I hit my late thirties, so I encourage everyone to visit their eye doctor just to make sure things are okay. There's no certainty about what's ahead for me, just as I guess there's no certainty for any of us, but I'm going to stay positive, and keep looking at and taking in everything this wonderful world has to offer.

Cheers! Jennifer

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tomorrow June 3, 2010: National Archives Ireland 1901 Census materials will be online!

I realize this is my second posting for today, but I'm so excited I just couldn't wait until tomorrow to share this info with you. Family historians with Irish roots will be able to explore the country’s 1901 census online for the first time starting tomorrow after the completion of a major digitisation project by the National Archives of Ireland (NAI).

The complete set of census returns, containing details of four and a half million people, will be available to browse free of charge at The records will be fully searchable and, just as the 1911 census before it, will feature a wide range of personal information including: name, location, age, occupation, religion, and marital status.

The release of this data will prove particularly valuable as the 1901 and 1911 surveys are the only full surviving censuses for pre-independence Ireland. The website, which already features returns from the 1911 census, will also be updated over the coming months with background information and a series of contemporary photographs.

“The 1911 census website has received almost 260 million hits since its launch in late 2007, and we expect the 1901 data to attract a similar level of interest,” says the National Archive Ireland’s Catriona Crowe. “Because this census can be searched by name for the first time, people who have found it impossible to locate their ancestors will now have a very good chance of doing so.”

I'm so excited; I can't wait!!!
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