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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mixed Feelings and Research In Napa - Part 1

I hesitated (maybe for just a second) to post anything about my research visit to Napa, California in December.  First and foremost, my hesitation does not come from anyone that I already know.  My husband and I met with our friend, the Professor, and his wife.  The Professor, as I will refer to him as since he is a living individual and I respect privacy, was visiting Napa on a mission to discover more about my Flanagan Family.  He will be writing a book about Irish immigrants who traversed the world from Ireland to Australia and then onto the United States.  I can't wait to read his book.  He is a professor of history and seeks out the truth, fact, and proof of the lives of people.  This time he seeks the history of Irish families like my own.

We have both been to Ireland and both visited with my Flanagan relatives who still live on the same farm just north of Dublin where the family has lived for generations going back to the 1700s.  It truly is a majestic place especially when you consider what information my family holds right in their hands.  They probably have more information about the life of the Flanagan Family in Napa in the late 1800s and early 1900s located in Ireland, than we have here in California.  When you piece together the information from Ireland and from Napa, you have quite the collection. 

The Professor, his wife, my husband, and I, met at a quaint coffee shop in downtown Napa.  Over some coffee and computers transferring information to each other, we had delightful conversations about family history.  We even drove out to the Flanagan Ranch to find the house renovation has been completed.   What a sight to see even in the winter when almost all of the trees are bare of leaves.  My mom and her cousins delight in seeing that the two palms trees still standing that guide the way to the front staircase of the house.  The new side staircases and wraparound porch are 2012 additions to the house.   

Side view of the Flanagan Ranch House - Carneros, Napa, CA c2012 zelsersk
While we could not get out to the Stanly Ranch on this fine Saturday, the Professor and his wife had been there earlier in the week for a visit with the current owner, Starmont (owned by Merryvale).  They accommodated the Professor with a tour of the Stanly Ranch house which is up on blocks.  Now that's a piece of history that I will want to go see someday in person.  It sounds like it will need to be on a weekday.

Now, my mixed feelings about Napa started a while back when the Professor said that he wanted to go to the Napa Historical Society to research information about the Flanagan's.  I recall briefly telling him that what he would find was probably information provided to them by my grandfather, Richard J. Flanagan.  I was not confident that any other information would be found.  I probably did not offer a strong warning but did heed my mother's thoughts and expectations.

While I do think the historical society, and any for that matter, do try very hard, some succeed more than others. Napa probably has a lot of successes but our visit was met with mixed results.  I had been prepped by my mother and expectations set.  To be honest, they were low expectations.  The Professor was certainly hoping for more.  I certainly cannot blame him for that.

To be continued........................


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