Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saving The History Of Our Ancestors

You all know how I feel about history. Specifically family history and the immigration experience. And not just my own family’s. Although they will always have a special place in my heart. As they will always have a special place in the history of emigration to the new world.

My family research has provided me with tons of stories but I won’t bore you with all of them. I will share just a bit.

Many in my family would travel from their homeland to make a new life somewhere else. The Irish diaspora would scatter its seeds in many places. Mostly England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. They contributed, worked hard, fought discrimination and made an absolutely indelible mark in their adopted countries.

I am here today because my Granny came to work in New York City in the late 1920s. As luck would have it my Granda was also working in Manhattan. They were married at St. Ignatius Catholic Church (Park Ave & 84th) and were blessed with four children. Then they returned to Ireland where they would welcome three more children. It wouldn’t be until my Dad came back to the States and met my mom in the 1960s that would seal the deal for me. And my siblings.

My maternal grandparents were also immigrants. They also both came to America to work. Met, married and raised their family here.

I am sharing so you understand that my family worked, loved, worshipped, and my siblings.

My maternal grandparents were also immigrants. They also both came to America to work. Met, married and raised their family here.

I am sharing so you understand that my family worked, loved, worshipped, and created families in this wonderful country of ours. Just like many other immigrant populations. Cities and towns all across America are filled with neighborhoods that bear testament to this.

But a lot of it begins in New York City. For so many families from all around the world.

A month ago I received an email with a petition attached. The fellows that started it had hopes of preserving three buildings in Lower Manhattan that were once part of a neighborhood called “Little Syria.” One of the goals is to have these Washington Street buildings designated as landmarks.

I immediately fell in love with the project! One of the buildings was a church that also housed an Irish pub for many years. Another a community center. And a tenement. I scanned the old census reports. Living on this street were Irish, Italians, German, Austrians, and others.
But mostly this street was home to Syrians, Lebanese and Turks. They were cobblers, peddlers and bakers. Hardworking folks just trying to make a life in an unfamiliar new place. I could smell the baking. And hear the Arabic language. In my mind I envision how it was back then.

It was also a place of literary importance. The place where the first Arab American author, Ameen Rihani lived. And where Khalil Gibran lived for a while and where he died.

Due to massive construction the inhabitants all moved away. Most headed to Brooklyn. And other places. But they were there. These buildings are their footprint. Their indelible mark. The place is teeming with their rich history. But if these buildings are demolished or not preserved then there will be nothing left. No reminder of this.

If any of this strikes a chord with you then do me a favor and sign this petition. Then pass it along. Wherever you live. Whatever country. Because maybe you left your country. Or maybe someone in your family left home. Maybe your people even came through New York. Once upon a time.

Everyone has their place in the history of this country.Here is the link for the petition

Thankyou to our guest writer Mary

Monday, November 28, 2011

Wills, Northern Ireland

Wills are a very good source of information. They can give the home address and occupation of the testator. The names of the beneficiaries and some times their address and occupation. All of the members of the immediate family may be named.
They may have the details of the property and goods of the testator and the names of the executors and witnesses to the will who may also be related to the testator.
Wills can therefore give a complete picture of a family,how they lived and evidence of their wealth and social status.
For those of you searching for information on wills in Northern Ireland may just be lucky and find your ancestors in the online wills calendars at Proni.Try different searches when looking at the data bases,try full names,or surnames only with the name of a townland.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Elizabeth Laverty

When i first started my family tree i was most interested in finding out about my Grandmother, my fathers mother.
The only thing that i knew about her was that she had been a laverty before she married my Grandfather Michael McMullan. She came from a farming family, who had land near to the McMullans. This i knew as the only time that i visited 'Family Farm' my Father showed me the land that had once belonged to his Grandfather John Laverty..
I was thrilled to find out that she was named Elizabeth Grace Laverty ,born 1893 to John and Margaret Lavery,in the little townland of Dunturk. Dunturk was a townland of 561 acres,in the parish of Loughinisland, County Down. Her name first came from two sources, my uncle Alan McMullan who also gave me the names of his McMullan Grandparents.The second source was the 1901 Irish Census, Elizabeth was listed with her family in Dunturk as an 8 year old. e
I found her marriage record to Michael McMullan on the web site Emerald
Ancestors. They were married in 1914 at Drumnaroad Roman Catholic church. I have a copy of the marriage certificate,Elizabeth was 21 years old and her name is recorded as Lizzie.
Lizzie would have 9 children 7 boys and 2 girls. They lived on the farm that had been left to Michael McMullan in the Townland Drumnaquoile. I hope she was happy,she would have been a busy lady with so many children. Sadly she died young of TB , an illness of the time and conditions. She died in June 1933 when my father was 10 years old. Finding my Grandmother in the records was very thrilling and that was the begining......

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stranraer Ferry To Close

The closure of the Stranraer ferry at the weekend brings to an end an historical link that lasted for around 150 years. Stranraer became an official ferry port for Ireland when the railway line arrived and eventually went all the way to the harbour.
It was appointed as an official Royal Mail port securing its future,sailing to Larne in County Antrim.
The end of this ferry run came because it had become increasingly uneconomical to use. With high fuel costs and small ship's the amount of freight was limited so it was time to make a change.
New large ferries and a brand new 80 million port will replace the old port and ferries. The new Loch Ryan Port ,built by Stena Line is close to the mouth of the Loch and this will reduce the travel time.
Progress yes but still a little sad when you think of our Irish Ancestors leaving and returning to the homeland.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How To Get More From Your Ancestors Search

The Best free site for finding your Ancestors has to be Family When ever i use this site i always seem to find something new.
New records are being indexed all the time.
Most people though who use Family Search do not get the full benefit of their search. If the name of the person does not show up using the search fields,then they leave the site. Users need to remember that there are over 300 million names that have not been indexed.
To view this Collection return to the home page and use the Browse only images.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Manchester Research

If you have research in the the Manchester area, then you may find this interesting. I came across 'A Manchester Researchers Tale' as i was looking for information for Hulme. The path the researcher takes may give you some new ideas.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Zealand Family Records Your New Zealand Ancestors Free

In no particular order these are my links for helping you find your New Zealand Ancestors.
Ancestry has 20 million records for New Zealand. These include The New Zealand Army Reserve WW1 1916-1917. Nominal Rolls 1914-1918.

Gallipoli is a good resource for researching the New Zealand Army Co

Free BMD Records exchange Australasia is a free genealogy resource to share vital information.

Free Electoral Rolls New Zealand. The 1881 Electoral Roll Covers North Auckland, Auckland Metropolitan and South Auckland areas in to the Waikato. It is the nearest equivalent to the British Census but only lists males .

BMD Records New Zealand. You can order Birth, Death and Marriage records from The Department of Internal Affairs BMD Registers.

Free BMD Records New Zealand. To protect privacy only historical records are available. Birth records from 100 years ago, Marriage records from 80 years ago and Death records from 50 years ago.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Grange Over Sands

In the early 1800's Grange over sands was quiet little town in Lancashire. It was the coming of the Railroad by the Furness Railway Company that would put Grange on the map.
The railway company also built the Grange Hotel in 1866. This Hotel would cater for the wealthy visitors now arriving in Grange to sample the "genteel" surroundings and the sea air.
For the past 50 years the Grange has been a family run Hotel, with its present owner taking over in the 90's.
I visited the Grange Hotel on a recent holiday in England. It was very pleasing to see the Hotel looking so splendid, a modern day luxury for visitors to Grange over sands.
The Grange and i share a part of history, i used to work there. Take a look with the link.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Modern History At The Imperial War Museum

While i was on holiday in London recently, i visited the Imperial War Museum. It was a realistic window into our modern history.
I found the Holocaust Exhibition to be the most interesting and moving. Starting with the rise of the Nazi Party the exhibition tells the story of the mass extermination of a race of people. Personal letters and photos were among artifacts from the extermination camps.
If you live near London or will be visting soon,then take the time to visit this Museum, entry is free.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Save Washington Street

Washington Street ,Lower Manhattan holds a place in the history of Immigration from all over the world.
Lebanese,Syrians, Palestinians, Greek, Turks, Armenians, Slovaks, Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, Lithuanians, and the Irish would call this place home. Now, not a great deal of the neighbourhood remains. 'Save Washington Street' is a web site that remembers the history of the area and asks that you consider the loss of heritage if the remaining buildings are knocked down.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Irish History Lectures

For researchers of Irish History who are unable to visit Proni,you can now listen to the Lectures online at You Tube.

The ist lecture is about exploring Local History and can be found at

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Scotish Census Records

For Researchers of Scotland new records have been added to 'Scotlands People' These free to view lists cover the main Streets in the Towns and Cities.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Family History At The Imperial War Museum

Having just got home from a trip to London and the United Kingdom i have just looked at the website for the Immperial War Museum. It was a place that i enjoyed visiting ,also a good sorce of imformation for the family resercher. Online they have information on Tracing Merchant Navy Ancestry,Army Ancestry.West Indian Service Personel.

Irish Baptismal Records For Waterford

Co. Waterford Church Baptismal Records Now Available

The Irish Family History Foundation's Online Research Service (ORS) are pleased to announce the availability of an additional 535,000 church baptismal records from the Waterford Genealogy Centre for Roman Catholic parishes in Co. Waterford.

To view these records use the following link.