Like my Mum's family I've managed to get as far back as the 'great great' line. The interesting thing is that my great grandfather married twice. His first wife Sarah McGee was my grandfather's mother. It looks like the marriage was short and not sure what happened to Sarah. It's something I'll have to find out. By the time my grandfather was 5 my great grandfather re-married Mary Moy and went on to have another 6 children. I managed to find Mary's family from the census and I'm hoping that the documents I'm waiting for will take me to the other 'great great' line.
The census information was useful but I think Sarah McGee came from outside Cruit Island so I need the marriage paperwork to check this and already sent for.
A story I remember hearing about my grandfather was that he spent some time in America - apparently it is possible to check passenger lists for the early 1900's so another task in hand.
Of my Dad's brothers and sisters they all spent time working away from home and returning in the summer. The kind of work they got was fishing; farming; hotel work; labouring and working on the scottish hydro development. Lots of men from Donegal worked on the hydro development and I remember that other uncles had been involved too.
My Aunt Catherine, whom I've already written about, also earned money from knitting. Indeed my mother considered Catherine "a great knitter" and it was she who taught me - and that is another story.
Well this is my first progress report on the task in hand. I've concentrated on my Mum's side of the family. I'm going to try and insert below a picture of the tree so far:
Apologies for the size of text and as you can see I've managed to get as far back as 'great great' which is amazing since most Irish records beyond the mid 1800's do not exist. I do have a number of (?) besides names so a lot more digging yet to do and defintely a work in progress.
Help has come in the form of the Donegal Genealogy Resources:
where lots of people have put in great time and effort in pulling information together. It was thanks to them that I found out when and who my maternal great grandfather married because someone had taken the time to make connections and notes to the 1901 Irish census.
I'm in the process of sending for documents to check the great great connections and I will keep you posted.
So what did I learn well I already knew my maternal grandfathers were farmers and certainly going back managing the land is the main trait along the male line. My maternal grandmothers and great grandmothers raised families and added to the household by earning from knitting and carpet weaving.
My maternal grandmother died very young only 38 and when she died she left 18 month old twin girls. My Mum was born before the twins and she was 3 when her Mum died.
My maternal great great grandmother who was 84 at the 1901 census would have survived the Irish famine of 1845 - 51.
This was life and living not for the feint hearted.
Memories for this blog have made me think about the line of people I come from and so I'm going to try and put together a family tree. At the moment I don't have one - I have family but relying on memory only takes me back to my grandparents on my mother's and father's side.
First things first is to dip into the memories of aunts and uncles which sadly is an ever decreasing number. Some memories confirm my own others confuse mainly because of the way people use names to remember whose who and which family of the same name they belong to since I'm blessed with having 2 of the most common names from the area of my parents birth. Sweeney and O'Donnell.
For instance my grandfather (on my Mum's side) was known as Mickey - Johnny - Sean; which gives his father and his grandfather's name in succession. The names don't always follow a pattern however as my father was always referred to as Francie - Shealagh; which was his mother's name. Well again it was and it wasn't. She was always known as Shealagh but her baptismal name was Cicely.
I hope I'm painting a picture of the challenge ahead and I'll keep you informed of progress, frustrations and any 'well I never' moments as well as how far I manage to go back.