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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's in a name?

So what's in a name? I'm not just talking about a family surname. I'm talking about the use and reuse of first names in a family line. I can see trends that lead to additional clues that people may be related.

Take my Flanagan line for example. The original first names that I know of from maybe around 1700 were James, Patrick, and Peter. That's the last generation where you see James. Maybe it was not a favorite name of Patrick's wife or maybe he was not a favorite. Peter must have been because down my Patrick Flanagan's line you see Peter. You also see Patrick, John, Richard, Michael, and Nicholas. Those seemed to be the male names of choice for several generations until maybe the mid 1900s. Some of those other typical Irish names like Kevin, Seamus, Sean, Liam, or Declan, don't appear here. I often wonder if Irish first names were also more regionalized. That's something that I'll have to look into.

On my McLaughlin/Maxwell side of the family the typical names are Thomas, James, Dennis, Joseph, Francis (or rather Frank), Hugh, Michael, and some others like Maurice (pronounced Morris). The name Thomas really dominates my McLaughlin line. There are at least 10 Thomas McLaughlin's on my tree. I have to admit that I've always really liked that name. It was our boy name if I'd had a boy the first time. I have two girls. I did not know all of this family tree history when I was pregnant so I find it kind of coincidental that we'd picked the name Thomas. I digress......

My McLaughlin's and Maxwell's also loved their last names and you can tell that they did not want to see those names die out. You have McLaughlin's with Maxwell as their middle name. I even have and aunt who never married whose given name was Ellen Maxwell Flanagan. Her brother's name was John Maxwell Flanagan and they called him Max. Talk about not letting the last name die out. It won't for a while if you use it as the middle name of some of your children. I can see Maxwell as middle names for other McLaughlin relatives too. Personally, I think that is cool. However, let's not stop there. There's at least one Maxwell with the middle name of McLaughlin. I've also found Gartlan used as a middle name on my McLaughlin line.

A funny thing can happen when you don't spell names correctly for people taking official records or the name gets transcribed wrong. I have a Thomas S. McLaughlin on my tree. He's my great-grandmother's brother. Church records from Battle Mountain, Nevada, have his middle name spelled as Gheffrey. Thus forward, I've found his name as Thomas G. McLaughlin. Let's not assume it's Geoffrey but people have. I am 99% sure it is Shaffrey making him Thomas Shaffrey McLaughlin. Shaffrey was his grandmother's maiden name. As you can tell, names can really get obscured over time and that's just a middle name.

My uncle emailed me the other day about something and mentioned that is so confusing when everyone's name is Johann Henrich. I've noticed that on my German family line. I have not gotten into that line. I'll let my uncle figure that out. :-)

And a funny story depending on how you look at it. My grandmother's given name was Josephine but it was supposed to be Johanna after her own mother. Her godfather has been blamed all of these years for blowing it at the baptism. However, I've also heard that maybe it was the priest or actually her father who might have been a little tipsy from toasting early that day. Who really knows? It's a story that should be handed down, however. I totally like the name Johanna.

There's probably some sort of relational sociology to the first and middle names people receive. It still exists today even though people have gotten more creative with names to say the least.

Managing My Family Tree on

With over 600 people on my McLaughlin/Maxwell Family Line, I am starting to find the size of this tree almost unmanageable. I have thought of splitting it up into two separate tree lines but there are a few marriages within the two families and I think the clarity of this tie between the two families would be lost if I split the tree up. I am presently going through each individual to check for accuracy as best as I can.

Reviewing each person on my family tree is no easy task. I am doing a couple of things that are time consuming but should help me increase the accuracy of my tree. Here's my checklist if you will:

1. Set each person out on the Family Tree Option. I find that this populates more "hints" along the way. This option is on the green bar above the tree itself in the Family Tree View next to the Pedigree button. I work my way up the tree and across the tree starting with the home person. If I review the tree bit by bit, person by person, I can find more hints and make corrections along the way.

2. The second thing that I do is go to the Family Tree Overview Page, under Tree Summary; I click on the first word "People". This lists everyone who is on my tree. I scan the list for things that don't make sense or for duplicates. Trust me, I've found duplicates.

3. Also, using the list of People, I go into each person and make sure that there are no new unreviewed member connects.

4. I go to the Home page to review all of the recent member connect activity. I've found lots of pictures and stories here in the recent past that I've then been able to link to my own tree.

5. During the above steps, I try to have my own paper reference material handy to check too.

So at present, I'm still on step one. Of course as I go through my new hints I find more people. My tree keeps having babies, quite literally!

This will take a while plus I need to finish reviewing and updating "the 34 page document". I'm currently on page 24. I'll be pacing myself!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Finding my McLaughlin/Maxwell Cousins

Another quick post for the day.....I am continually pleasantly surprised when I find cousins from my McLaughlin/Maxwell line. It amazes me how many cousins on this line are interested in our family tree. It's fun and let's hope that someday I get to meet some of them in person.

My Family Surnames Part 3

So every couple of posts, I plan to put this list of my surnames out here to keep the momentum going. Feel free to let me know if any of the names strike a cord.

1. Flanagan - Co. Louth, Ireland; Napa, California; Corning, California

2. McLaughlin - Ringowney, Parish of Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York; Austin and Grass Valley, Lander County, Nevada; Napa, California

3. Maxwell - Shancarnan, Parish of Moynalty, Co. Meath, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York; Austin and Grass Valley, Lander County, Nevada; Napa, California

4. Shaffrey - Dunshaughlin, Parish of Moynalty, Co. Meath, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

5. Gartlan - Co. Monaghan, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

6. Fox - Co. Monaghan, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

7. O'Brien - Castleconnell, Co. Limerick, Ireland; Australia; Napa, California

8. Hickey - Whitegate, Co. Clare, Ireland; New York City (Greenwich Village)

9. Coughlin - Co. Clare, Ireland; New York City, Long Island, and Rye, New York

10. McGuire - Co. Fermanagh; New York City (Brooklyn, Greenwich Village) and Long Island, New York

11. Bellew - Co. Louth, Ireland

12. Kirwan - Co. Louth, Ireland

13. Campbell - Co. Louth, Ireland

14. Maguire - Co. Louth, Ireland

Private Trees On Ancestry

Are you hiding out on Ancestry? Or rather are you hiding your tree, keeping it secret, or flying under the radar undetected? Those cautious family tree seekers crack me up. I am all for privacy settings and keeping living people's identity super top secret. After all, there is too much identity theft out there in the world today. However, I'm not sure how much can be stolen from a family tree full of those who have passed on. Ancestry is excellent about keeping living people's information private.

I can totally understand if you want to play your cards close to the vest but setting up a private tree and then networking with others does not really pay off. It's nice if we can see your tree when you ask if we are related. Even with all of this privacy technology, your private tree can be reviewed via member connect options if enough information matches up. This only applies to those who have passed on, of course. Living individuals are still protected by privacy.

So what is everyone afraid of out there? As I've indicated in my previous posts, networking is part of your key to success in finding your ancestors, especially further up the line. I admit to separating out my family tree lines into exclusive public trees. It makes it easier and less confusing for everyone to view and search for people. I also admit to privatizing one of my trees because it is so incomplete and has errors. I am, however, not actively networking with others about those family lines.

What is the right thing to do here about tree privacy settings? Well, I guess some etiquette would best. If you have a private tree and start networking with others, don't hold back in your message to others or make your tree public for viewing, or both is wonderful. I am all for more information.

Like I've said in another post, networking and getting help from others is definitely the way to succeed in your family tree search plus it can be so much fun to meet new people and relatives. So share what you can!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Networking and Message Boards on

When I initially joined, I did not fully make use of all of their networking tools. I had peeked at their message board system and found it to have way too much information posted in a rather unmanageable, unsearchable way. I skipped it for the time being.

Now, "member connect" on the other hand, I've been trying to utilize that since I spotted it on individuals on my tree. It's a great way to connect your tree into another without using the "hints" on Ancestry. In fact, there may not be a "hint" but member connect may show another tree with matching information. I try to take advantage of all hints including emailing those who appear to have family in common with me. I am cautious on those "hints" because they are not always correct information or even a match to my family.

About a month into to my subscription, I decided to start using the message board. I made posts about my family surnames. I have networked with a few people but for the most part it is not my first choice to network on Ancestry. That is something that could use some improvement.

I've also used another area within Ancestry to search for those seeking the same surnames. Under "My Account", "Edit Your Profile", "Research Interests", I've clicked on the little pencil to edit my interests. I had been using this area to search for those with common surname interests by clicking on one of my surnames. It looks like right now it has been disabled. I did find this was a great way to network but it looks like no more.

So how do you effectively network on Well, it keeps changing for me. I do wish Ancestry would improve their methods of networking and manage the message board more effectively.

I'll admit that I am a real go-getter when it comes to networking online. I do recognize appropriate etiquette, of course. Networking does produce results in researching your family tree. I have found that out with awesome results in some cases. One can't really do it on their own.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gartlan with a "D"? You tell me.

James McLaughlin married Mary Ellen Gartlan on January 6, 1838, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Newport, Herkimer County, New York. I also have a Hugh Gartlan marrying Mary McLauglin on November 28, 1850, at St. Patrick's Church, Newport, Herkimer County, New York. Were they all related? You bet! Mary Ellen and Hugh Gartlan appear to have been brother and sister. Their parent's were James Gartlan and Hannah Fox. James and Mary McLaughlin were cousins. It's kind of funny how that works out. Irish marrying Irish in an Irish Settlement in upstate New York was not uncommon. Also, it didn't hurt that they were all Roman Catholic. So enough said about that....My real issue here is it "Gartlan" or "Gartland"? Well, maybe it's both.

I have come across a limited number of individuals on Ancestry who appear to link into my family tree under my Gartlan line. However, they spell the last name as Gartland. I had a person indicate to me that they did not think we were connected despite some overwhelming information. Really?! Maybe they're correct. I did not spend a lot of time analyzing their tree. I could have sworn that I found them in Herkimer County, New York. I could be wrong and really need to get back into my Gartlan line to look more carefully.

I have created a public family tree on Ancestry for my Gartland with a "D" family tree with 28 people. I deliberately limited the McLaughlin's on the tree to see if I could find connections for the Gartland's with a "D". I found one rather confused person who appears to have over 10,000 people on their tree and can't find where they have Gartland's "tree'd". (By the way, I use "tree" as a verb, adjective, adverb, and noun. How about "tree'd", "tree'ing", or "tree"? I particularly enjoy, "Why does this person tree this way?." I digress.) But for 10,000 people I highly recommend breaking down your tree into specific family lines. Plus this individual said that the lines were all messed up in addition to being private. I'm not sure that they realize their privacy settings are set as such but they are "penlu". Hey "penlu", sorry to call you out in my blog but I'm really making a "shout out". Maybe I can help you or at least help you work through what you have without recreating the wheel!

My supposition here is that Gartlan sounded like Gartland and, thus, over time became Gartland. There were definitely some great census transcribers in the early 1800s that did preserve the name of Gartlan in the various Census. I applaud them. I am also assuming that they spelled the name correctly.

So...I remain at that point of if it is Gartlan or Gartland. Oh but wait a minute, I found Gartlan's in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, Ireland. No "D" on the end of the last name. Let's further explore that I have some notes that my James Gartlan was born 1777 in Carrickmacross.

In our great melting pot of the USA, can you imagine a surname being changed or simply obscured? Of course! I love Disneyland but can you imagine it spelled Disneylan? I think someone must have said, "Let's just add that 'd' on the end to make it look better".

LDS Family History Library

I made two recent visits to the LDS Family History Library near my home in Sacramento. The hope of researching further back on some of my family lines is always on my mind when it comes to my family tree. I was not sure what to expect from the library but was very interested. During my first visit, I just intended to stop by and check the place out. A volunteer helped me by answering some of questions and giving me a quick tour. The place is pretty small but they have computers and microfilm/microfiche equipment in a separate room. They have fairly broad hours of operation (not open on the weekdend) and the library itself is free. They can order microfiche from Utah for you to view onsite. The cost is $6 and then it is there for you to view for a 3-4 week period of time. You can't take the film home with you. I'm not sure why you'd want to since the readers are located there. You can copy information off microfiche and they even have the ability for you to send the file to a computer in the room to upload the information onto a USB drive. My first visit gave me some hope.

My second visit was about a week and half later. I walked in ready to look up information in their card catalog and order some microfiche. I guess I should not have been so excited. Disappointment can run rampant in your search for your family tree. Sometimes I forgot that with all of the luck that I've had. A volunteer started to help me locate the available microfiche for my various families. The first thing that she had me do was go to From there she had me look up the specific locations that my Irish families were from in Ireland. Searching by location does make a lot of sense. What I found was that the information only went back to the mid 1850s. The volunteer seemed pretty tapped out on ideas after that. I started wishing that the original gentleman that I had spoken with was there. He wasn't there that day.

I asked if the LDS Church was connected in any way to the Kolob Family Research Center in Utah that houses the Irish Records Extraction Database. They said that they did not know what that was. I can see this pop up as a result from searches for certain Irish surnames on

I stayed for about half an hour. Two volunteers tried to answer some of my questions but not much came from my visit. I have to admit my disappointment was not just with the lack of finding information but with their services. I am still suspect that they have some information that would help but do not know they have it. I do think that the LDS Family Libraries may be for beginners. If you're just getting started and only need to go back 100-150 years, they can probably help you. They do offer free classes on genealogy too. Maybe if I find some free time, I can go to one.

At least I can say that I explored this research option.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Family Surnames

So every couple of posts, I plan to put this list of my surnames out here to keep the momentum going. Feel free to let me know if any of the names strike a chord.

1. Flanagan - Co. Louth, Ireland; Napa, California; Corning, California

2. McLaughlin - Ringowney, Parish of Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York; Austin and Grass Valley, Lander County, Nevada; Napa, California

3. Maxwell - Shancarnan, Parish of Moynalty, Co. Meath, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York; Austin and Grass Valley, Lander County, Nevada; Napa, California

4. Shaffrey - Dunshaughlin, Parish of Moynalty, Co. Meath, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

5. Gartlan - Co. Monaghan, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

6. Fox - Co. Monaghan, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

7. O'Brien - Castleconnell, Co. Limerick, Ireland; Australia; Napa, California

8. Hickey - Whitegate, Co. Clare, Ireland; New York City (Greenwich Village)

9. Coughlin - Co. Clare, Ireland; New York City, Long Island, and Rye, New York

10. McGuire - Co. Fermanagh; New York City (Brooklyn, Greenwich Village) and Long Island, New York

11. Bellew - Co. Louth, Ireland

12. Kirwan - Co. Louth, Ireland

13. Campbell - Co. Louth, Ireland

14. Maguire - Co. Louth, Ireland

34 Page Document Part 2

While populating my Maxwell tree, I was also able to start populating my McLaughlin tree. Other people had input several McLaughlin's on Ancestry that linked to me. What helped was my Maxwell tree because there were two marriages between the families in Newport, New York. What wondrous things come from connecting with others on Let me tell you.....

My great-grandmother, Mary "Minnie" Elizabeth McLaughlin, had siblings, of course. Well I found a cousin. I found "simplygib" on Ancestry plugging away on his McLaughlin Tree. I emailed him and it turns out that he is a descendant of Mary's sister Anna McLaughlin. What came next was unexpected. Not only did he used to live nearby where I am in Sacramento and had recently moved north out of state (small world), he sent me this 34 page document detailing the descendants of Thomas McLaughlin. I don't just mean Mary and Anna's father either. It's back to the mid 1700s Thomas McLaughlin from Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, Ireland. George Capes was the researcher. I poked through "the box" that my mom had brought to me and found a letter that George Capes had written to my grandparents in Napa asking about the family line in 1990. They had apparently corresponded with him at least on one or two occasions. This was just more proof that this is my family tree line.

I have to admit that between my Flanagan and my McLaughlin/Maxwell family tree lines, I have found so much information in the matter of 2 1/2 months. The more I research just a little bit, the more I find up my mom's side. My Flanagan tree has 331 people and my McLaughlin/Maxwell Tree has 558 people. I have those trees separated out because it is so hard to manage them and be accurate with them combined.

Anyway, I am on page 16 of my detailed review of that 34 page document. I have more people to add to my McLaughlin/Maxwell tree from it. I've emailed some individuals plugging away on Ancestry that connect into this line with some interesting responses. I think some people work on their tree here and there. I'm trying to be consistent and open to networking with other relatives. I have to thank "simplygib" and "JPMaxwell" for all of their assistance. I'd love to talk to George Capes. I wonder if he is still around. He's on the document and I think he is my mom's age so he probably is. I have a big thank you for him!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

34 Page Document "The Descendants of Thomas McLaughlin"

My Maxwell line has always been a bit of a mystery for my family as has been my McLaughlin family line. I knew that my great-grandmother, Mary McLaughlin, was born in Austin, NV in 1870, moved to Napa, CA, and married Jack Flanagan. I also had her father's name, Thomas McLaughlin but not much in the way of information beyond that. I started my search on that line in Napa, CA. I found Thomas and Ellen (Maxwell) McLaughlin living in the Salvador area of Napa. I wondered if I'd found the right people.

I found them in Austin, NV, too. Census information from those "hints" on Ancestry led me to the correct people. Also, there were not a lot of people living in Austin, NV, in the 1870s, although there are probably less now. It's considered a ghost town in Northern Nevada off Highway 50. Thank goodness I knew that my great-grandmother, Mary McLaughlin, went by the nickname of Minnie. I also knew some of her sibling's names but not much more. Oh, but I did have this hand written family tree that my sister had to do for school. It must have been in high school. There are no dates on the tree but there are names including last names. I found Ellen Maxwell on a passenger list as a young girl immigrating via Liverpool, England, from Ireland. I was not sure if it was her so I put it in my Ancestry "shoebox" for future reference. That "shoebox" is handy as it does not attach the document to anyone in particular plus you can get back to it without having to recreate the wheel of research.

As I was adding people to my McLaughlin/Maxwell line, I kept having a "JPMaxwell" tree pop up as a hint for my line. I peeked at his tree and wondered if they were my relatives. I had some doubt because, what were the chances? His tree was quite extensive including photos of Joseph Patrick Maxwell who emigrated from Ireland. I sent him a message over Ancestry. His response to me was that I was part of the long lost family who went west to Nevada and California. He also said that there was extensive history in Newport, New York for my McLaughlin's of which he is not related but knew of them. So maybe I am a doubting Thomas but I thought maybe..... I sent him a message back letting him know that I was going to ask my mom more about our Maxwell's and Mclaughlin's. (So seriously, at this point, wouldn't you bet it was true since we've got not just one side but both?)

Anyway, my mom came up to my house the next week and brought "the box" in which my grandma had been gathering information for years. She had collected information and documents for my Grandpa Flanagan's family. The majority of the contents of this large box are related to our Flanagan's. However, I found a manila folder in the box with McLaughlin written on it. The folder contains family worksheet pages for both McLaughlin and Maxwell. There are a few letters too. Apparently, the information originates from a few previous researchers - my Aunt Ellen Maxwell Flanagan, George Capes, and Thomas Malloy. Once I reviewed the family tree worksheets, I realized that Joseph Patrick Maxwell is my ancestor from Ireland. There was a worksheet in the box for him and Judith Shaffrey with their daughter, Ellen Maxwell plus all of the other children. What a find and we had the information all along. My mom admitted that she just never had the chance to look it over. How exciting! I reconnected with "JPMaxwell" and started populating and sourcing my tree.

Now, another interesting find came out of all of this. A location back east called the Irish Settlement in Newport, Herkimer County, New York, has proven itself as a link to the past for my family. More in the next post.....still need to get to that 34 page document!

Starting on

Back in April I got motivated by that NBC show to hop online and add my family tree. I had added 283 people in one day. With those "hints" circling around that little leaf next to several of the names I'd just entered, I had to subscribe. I so wanted to see those hints. I paid for a full year and the hints just kept coming.

Many of them came from my uncle's tree. He's been working on our Vienop and Borchers line for years. His tree kept popping up as hints for mine. I accepted all of them and used the member connect to get his attention. Sure enough, I got a phone call from him. By the way, he's not a stranger. We used to get together with that side of my family on every holiday up here in Northern California whether it was in Pleastant Hill, Antioch, Pittsburg, Brentwood, or most importantly and frequently, Napa, CA. My uncle is pretty funny. He said that is not what he would recommend for maintaining a family tree but it has merit as a research tool. I had a former co-worker allude to this too. Anyway, he told me not all of the tree information on Ancestry is correct for our Vienop's and Borchers'. He's had to correct some information along the way. I've left what I have out there but have made that tree private for now. I need to get together with him to coordinate that family line. He's back further into the 1700s apparently and has been working on our Jackel (pronounced Yackel) family line this year. It should be interesting to see what he has for my German family.

The main line that I entered was Flanagan from previous information that I'd written down and from a digital photo that I'd taken from one page of the Flanagan's bound book located at their farm in Ireland. That family tree photo has so much information on it. If I did not have that digital photo, I would not have much of anything about the Flanagan's.

I separated out my Flanagan Tree online to make it as exclusive as possible to that Family line. There are over 330 people on that tree back to 1670. The Flanagan's in Ireland have access to the tree on Ancestry. They actually sent me a DVD from 2004 that has a PowerPoint on it discussing our specific Flanagan Family tree. The DVD was authored by a descendant who apparently works for the Irish government on genealogy type projects. I so want to talk to Donald Murphy! I'm sure he's a very busy person. The DVD has a PowerPoint presentation that includes a discussion about it in the background. It's fascinating to sit and watch the DVD, listen, take notes, and review my family tree at the same time. There are some very interesting facts on that DVD that I did not know. It is long least 2 hours. There are some pictures on the DVD including one of my great-great-grandfather, Patrick Flanagan, who emigrated from Ireland via Australia/New Zealand to Napa, CA.

The information that I have about the Flanagan's is quite a lot including letters and other documents plus that DVD. I decided to focus on some of my other lines in April. My husband reminded me that I would probably not have a similar experience with the level of detail and information that I have for the Flanagan's. I started to get my mind set with some realistic expectations.

And then.......My hubby was wrong, at least on one of my other time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Where to begin with all of those Surnames...?

I'm not sure where to begin with all of those family surnames. I am wondering how much information to post and who might be reading looking for this info. I guess I will try and blog this information in spurts. I have some interesting information and yet probably have some very boring information. How can I make my own genealogy interesting for others to read? I'm working on it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Family Surnames

Another post so soon? Yes, I've decided to put my Irish family surnames out here with the locations stateside and in Ireland where I know they lived.

1. Flanagan - Co. Louth, Ireland; Napa, California; Corning, California

2. McLaughlin - Ringowney, Parish of Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York; Austin and Grass Valley, Lander County, Nevada; Napa, California

3. Maxwell - Shancarnan, Parish of Moynalty, Co. Meath, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York; Austin and Grass Valley, Lander County, Nevada; Napa, California

4. Shaffrey - Dunshaughlin, Parish of Moynalty, Co. Meath, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

5. Gartlan - Co. Monaghan, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

6. Fox - Co. Monaghan, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

7. O'Brien - Castleconnell, Co. Limerick, Ireland; Australia; Napa, California

8. Hickey - Whitegate, Co. Clare, Ireland; New York City (Greenwich Village)

9. Coughlin - Co. Clare, Ireland; New York City, Long Island, and Rye, New York

10. McGuire - Co. Fermanagh; New York City (Brooklyn, Greenwich Village) and Long Island, New York

11. Bellew - Co. Louth, Ireland

12. Kirwan - Co. Louth, Ireland

13. Campbell - Co. Louth, Ireland

14. Maguire - Co. Louth, Ireland

Do you see a pattern of sorts? I'm a little Irish but there are a lot of family names from the same locations or who ended up in the same locations stateside. Yes, they followed each other. The Newport, New York location should bring some questions from people, I hope.

Around the early 1800s, many Irish immigrants came through Canada and ended up in what is known as the "Irish Settlement" in Newport, Herkimer County, New York. It is fascinating and I think that I've only touched on the tip of the iceberg in finding out what life was like in this location. I have a full tree of McLaughlins and Maxwells. My Gartlan's, Fox's, and Shaffrey's fit in there too.

I also have Irish family names of McManus, McGrath and Byrne. I have little to no information about those names.

My other non Irish family surnames are Romaine (pronounced Roman), Vienop, Borchers, Koch, Jackel (pronounced Yackel), and many more German names.

People not interested in Genealogy

So where you came from, or rather who you came from, can explain a lot about you. While your immediate family unit has the most influence over you while growing up and moving into adulthood, those extended family members are usually involved too. I have come across people who are not interested in their family tree because of past experiences with their immediate family unit and extended family. When bad things happen within the family, sometimes people shy away from their relatives. I can only imagine how people feel when multiple catastrophic or even uncomfortable events occur. I do say that exploring your family tree is a personal choice. If you explore back far enough and then drop down into cousins and other relatives, you may actually find some distant cousins that you do want to be around.

Adoption; now, that can be a different story, especially if you are the child of a parent who was adopted. That does make it hard to trace that line in your genealogy but hopefully not all lines. I do know someone who was adopted and as an adult she found her real parents. She has been able to find out why she was put up for adoption, their medical history, and actually build a relationship with them. That is amazing to me and wonderful. Her adoptive parents are still her "real parents" by the way.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Researching the World on

So as I was saying in my last post......Searching the world for family within the deluxe version of is challenging. While searching stateside has proven to be exceedingly easy, looking for ancestors outside of the USA on appears to be futile. I have an extensive Irish family history on both sides of my family. I've yet to find my Irish families living in Ireland on Ancestry. Their webinar about finding your Irish roots in Ireland does lead me to believe that Ancestry does not think that they can get to that information either. I've given them constructive, polite feedback. I have no idea if they have read it as they don't let you know with a reply. All I can figure is that Ancestry is so overwhelmed with new customers right now as a result of that NBC show "Who Do You Think You Are?", that they can't respond.

I have found limited information online via Griffith's Valuation and various Google searches using the family last name and location in Ireland where I know they are from. I've found a little bit of information. I've had lots of helpful people offering suggestions as to how to research my family by using the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census or the 1864 Griffith's Valuation. The catch for me is that I'm back further than these dates. I have one family line back to 1670 in Co. Louth. That is an exception situation since most people would not have such great resources. The family is still there in Co. Louth and maintain the private family records. I must say though, they have shared these records time and time again with historical societies and researchers. The next time I communicate with them, I will need to ask them if the records have been shared with the Irish Archives. Now, that is somewhere needs to be connected!

At any rate, I am currently stuck when it comes to researching most of my lines including the Flanagan's in Co. Louth back to the 1670's. It's tough communicating long distance via email when they may not read their email very often. Plus the family genealogy may not be their first priority. At least I know that the Flanagan's enjoy discussing the topic. Then there's people who are just not interested in genealogy. post......

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just like the Google search engine, is "the" search engine and research tool for genealogy. At least it's the most popular. I have to admit that I completely agree that searching for United States records for those individuals and family members who immigrated and lived in the U.S. is made so easy on Ancestry. I have had no problem finding relatives in a Census (at least one or two out of three year's worth of census). Sometime names are spelled completely wrong and that may throw the whole search off but then I'll try another year census and find the family and/or individual. Searching in NYC specifically has posed many challenges. I'm not always thrilled with the result but that's because there are so many Patrick Hickey's and Frank McGuire's for the timeframe that I'm searching. I suppose NYC was the most populated location in the U.S. circa 1870-1880.

So Ancestry is all that!? Well, maybe it is. I have had challenges searching using the world version. More in my next post.......

Monday, June 14, 2010

It begins with where you came from.

It begins with where you came from. Right? Well sure. You came from your parents after all. Where did they come from? The simple answer might be "their parents". As we all know this builds on itself and follows a line backward in time. The line also splits off to others, creating more branches. I suppose that's why it's called a Family Tree. Genealogy is more than that. In my opinion, it is the network of family histories that builds on each other. It can allow us to discover our national origins and others who are distantly, or not so distantly, related to us.

I am seeking to discover not just my family tree but a network of family who may be scattered across the United States and beyond, or who might be living in my neighborhood. Sometimes it disappoints me how family can lose touch over time. In another instant, I start to think about my own situation and how "busy, busy, busy" I am in my daily life. I run out of time to keep in touch, I suppose. Or is it a choice? Personalities can sometimes interfere as can life's experiences some of which are not so kind. They can really split up a family despite individual's best efforts to remain close. I see that in my own family line going back and find that some days I am confronted with it in my own expanded family dynamic.

Anyway, I thought I'd start a blog of sorts about genealogy called "Mine, Yours', and the Other Guy's Genealogy". I've been working on my family tree off and on since about 1990. In the past, whenever I had an opportunity to grab onto to some information, I took it. At the age of 19, I recall sitting at my grandparents dining room table in Long Island, New York, asking them about their parents and on up the line. I wrote the information down as quickly as I could on one sheet of paper. I remember my grandmother correcting my granddad on facts of his family line. It was pretty funny to witness. They knew each other very well along with all of those family members which they really weren't in contact with any longer. For various reasons, everyone seemed to have gone their own way. Maybe some individuals or families moved away, passed away, or just got "busy, busy, busy".

My mother recently gave me the sheet that she'd held onto for the past 20 years. It had some definite "hints" on it that I'd forgotten. I only wished that I'd asked for more information and written more down. On that day in the summer of 1990, I did receive a gift though......a gift of finding out where my dad came from. At least it was a start.