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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Interesting read about the light skin color of European's........

The light skin of the Irish.....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all from Northern California!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all 
from Northern California!

I spent the day photographing some 6 year olds at my daughter's school as they sought to find their local leprechaun named "Winky".  It is quite the tradition at the school for Kindergarten.  The first graders set leprechaun traps in hopes of catching Winky.  Again, another fun experience in honor of the day. 

Below is Winky.  He turns to stone when he has been found.  I'm not sure how much that fits in with Irish tradition but it is fun for the kids. They all wore green today.

In the grand tradition of Ireland, or at least according to the support beam at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin......

A special greeting to my Flanagan and Hickey Relatives in Ireland who sent messages today. 

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit 
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat. 
Go raibh cóir na gaoithe i gcónaí leat. 
Go dtaitní an ghrian go bog bláth ar do chlár éadain, 
go dtite an bháisteach go bog mín ar do ghoirt. 
Agus go gcasfar le chéile sinn arís
go gcoinní Dia i mbois a láimhe thú. 

I hope that everyone has a great day!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Patrick Hickey and Loughatorick

Patrick Hickey was my great grandfather but this was also the name of my 3rd great grandfather, too.  Let me not forget to mention that when I research my great grandfather, Patrick Hickey, in NYC, I find 3 others around the same time.  I also kind of get the feeling that I'd find at least 3 (or more) additional Patrick Hickey's in County Clare around the same time that my Patrick Hickey was there.  Chalk it up to Patrick and Hickey being a common name in the Western part of Ireland and in NYC circa anytime from 1850 to say 1950.

To find out more about my Hickey roots, I took a long break from my research.  Recently, I started thinking about the specific location of my Hickey's.  I have actually been in brief contact with distant Hickey relatives via email who refer to Loughatorick as "going home for a visit" even though they don't live there any longer.  They do still live in Ireland.  Relative to the USA, it is not a very big place.

I decided to Google Loughatorick.  I'd didn't find Hickey's and instead found the following.

Hayes Ruins, courtesy of romali231

Ruins of Hayes family cottages and outbuildings abandoned circa 1922.

Loughatorick South, Co. Galway, Ireland. Ruins of the Hayes family houses 

and outbuildings abandoned in 1922.

Patrick Hickey, my 3rd great grandfather was born in 1819, Loughatorick, Galway, Ireland.  Woodford is also mentioned somewhere in the history that I have about the family.  Anyway, Ellenora Hayes was his wife, my 3rd great grandmother.  So, maybe just maybe, I found the old family farm.  It's ruins in this day and age.  That is not unusual, I suppose.  I rather like the fact that the Irish leave their ruins in place. 

In my review of additional search results for Loughatorick, I find it as being in County Clare.  I have previously written about my ancestors living on the border of Counties Clare and Galway.  The Griffith Valuation altered the border in the mid 1860s.  The Loughatorick of my ancestors prior to the 1860s was in County Galway but it may actually be in County Clare these days.  Needless to say, it is the same location.

I hope to find more someday.  Reality is that I may not be able to find out any more of my family tree beyond Patrick Hickey (b.1819) and Ellenora Hayes.  I'd be okay with that for now.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

In Search Of Your Irish Heritage - McMahon's Location

Lately, I've been consumed by my children's activities, some of which I lead.  It does take away from my blogging in my online journal about my family tree.  That's how life goes sometimes but I still have this nagging desire in the back of mind to keep on.   The search for my family does live online a bit without me pursuing it daily or even weekly.  I continue to receive emails, comments to my older blog posts, and message board posts on

The latest few message board posts on seem to have come from people who might have had more time around the holidays than I did to work on their family tree.  To be honest, I have to take a break in December because my children are home and off from school during the last 2 weeks of the year 24/7.  That's a great thing as I get to spend some quality time with them.  They are 6 and, soon to be, 9 years old.

Back to the latest message board posts.....I received no fewer than three posts since December asking about my McMahon's.  Now, I must admit that I have found my specific McMahon line back to my Patrick McMahon of Revale, Ballyvannon, County Clare, Ireland.  He lived from 1810 to 1885.  He attended church at the Bodyke Roman Catholic Chapel and his wife was Mary McNamara.

I've got the proof and am thankful for it.  My father's cousin pursued the information and the Clare Heritage Centre found them.  That was no small task as McMahon is an extremely common name in this part of Ireland.  It worked out so well because she went in looking our Coughlin's, had her grandmother's full name, date of birth, and her parents names plus had all her siblings names.  There were a lot of siblings.

It is so hard to grab onto your Irish family tree sometimes.  I am always hopeful that my McMahon line can be traced back further but this may be as far as I can get.  Yes, it would be nice to see the line traced back to Brian Boru but that will probably not avail itself anytime in the near future.  DNA may not even work out since I'm female and it seems disappointing and dismal to attempt any sort of hopeful linkage to my past ancestors going back hundreds of years.  Apparently, male DNA produces the results you need by and far.

Aside from the practicality of the whole thing, it is still fun to come across a "discovery".  The Bodyke Roman Catholic Chapel records indicate my McMahon's, Coughlin's, and McNamara's as being from Reveal or Revail.  One of the message board posts indicated that it is "Revale".  Now, I am no foreigner to Irish church registries.  Some are written in chicken scratch and some of the people who recorded information could have cared less about spelling.  When spelling really counts, people seem to blow it.  So, Revale it is.

A little detail, like the name of the property designation/location of your relatives, can be the difference between you finding them and not finding them.  Simply knowing (or being told down the line) that your Irish relatives came from Clare, is not enough.  You've really got to be willing to dig a bit harder.  Paying a small fee to locate your ancestors is well worth it.  Before paying a fee, I highly recommend you do some digging of your own.

Jumping across the pond to Irish records too soon can be short sided.  You need to do your homework.  Your Irish immigrant relative is the key (with their own marriage record information stateside and death certificate, for example).  They were born in Ireland but passed away in their adopted country.  In my case, I have many Irish immigrant relatives in this circumstance.  Mind you, I am not finished proving my various lines.

I leave everyone with this thought.  Location, location, location comes up in so many aspects of our lives as an important factor.  It is so true in family tree research.  In fact, your specific location, location, location is even more so in proving your line.