2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,500 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

quick update

I updated the Hegarty page to incorporate sources. I removed some more speculative aspects so that what’s there is more likely to be accurate now. (No guarantees!)

Eventually I hope to work through the rest of my pages in the same fashion, but semester/holiday crunch time is upon us, so don’t hold your breath.

Also, I nested the pages and surname list to group related families.

Brooklyn represent!

I’ve been very busy with professional responsibilities lately, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but is why this blog has been quiet.

My eventual plans for this site are:

  • rewrite the family pages to incorporate better sourcing, which will force me to analyze the material I have and hopefully clarify my next research steps
  • scan some more photos
  • read more relevant history

I am not really pleased with Ancestry.com’s new Irish databases, since they are mostly barebones indices. Many of them replicate information I already had from FamilySearch.org (because it’s the same info being indexed). I think I’m eventually going to have to join one of the Irish-specific sites, and probably also seek professional guidance, but that’s further down the road.

Today I just went through my “people with hints” list on ancestry.com, and discovered that some Deasy ancestors lived right here in Brooklyn! I love it when things get local!

Circling around Irish parish records online

The latest Ancestry.com newsletter featured a great article by Juliana Smith on their new collection of Irish Catholic parish registers, which are said to be digitized versions of holdings at the National Library of Ireland. I am pleased to have these records as an integrated database and have already located a great-grandfather in them, but the fact is that I had already found the identical record at the Irish government’s free Irish Genealogy site.

I would love to see a clarification of the relationship between these two sets of records, both apparently emerging in digital format under the aegis of a government initiative. Are they the same collection? Or do they just overlap? I thought the Irish Genealogy site was stalled in its digitization project due to the economic problems in Ireland. The site says it anticipates adding more records on October 4th, which is almost as exciting to me as the new iPhone release :)

In a related point of interest, the Irish Times reports that the National Library of Ireland is making legal inquiries into the release of these Irish records on the UK branch of Ancestry.com, with concerns that there are copyright violations. The report says that a private company digitized the records on behalf of the library. Is this private company by any chance the company Irish Genealogy Ltd. that is mentioned on the government’s Irish Genealogy site? Because that would imply that these are the same set of digitized records, wouldn’t it?

I don’t know if these are good questions or stupid questions, because I feel like I am just beginning to learn how to research Irish ancestors. Smith’s article links to the Irish Ancestors site sponsored by the Irish Times newspaper. She was linking specifically because the site reflects John Grenham’s work on civil parishes versus Catholic parishes. But the site also features a surname search, with links to surname histories, bibliographies, and link lists.

Naturally I typed my surnames Hegarty and Costigan into the little search box. Imagine my surprise when I found the Irish Times site linking to me! And not even to this site but to my now defunct Earthlink site. I was so disheartened; it is like when Ancestry.com tells you there are new hints but the hints are only people who have linked back to you. I don’t know whether to email the Irish Times and give them my new URL or not. I don’t feel I am an expert, but apparently no one else is researching these names — or if they are, they’re not doing it online. (N.B.: There is another Costigan researcher listed — she is my 3rd cousin with whom I traveled to Newfoundland. The other Hegarty researcher is working on the Donegal branch, not only not mine, but a whole different region.)

An unrelated linkage note: Now that Google+ is open to everyone, I am there. There are a lot of genealogists networking on Google+, though I also use it for academic stuff. Feel free to follow me!

Newfoundland book review: Galore by Michael Crummey

GaloreGalore by Michael Crummey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Galore combines history and folktales with a bit of magical realism to tell the fantastic and cryptic stories of several generations in a fictionalized Newfoundland outport called Paradise Deep. I loved how this book created a sense of tradition all around the eruptions of the weird. The characters were great. The dialogue was perfect. The writing was beautiful.

I am working on a genealogical/family history project tracing Newfoundland ancestors, and I felt like the specific issues I see there show up here in this novel, so maybe that made it more plausible for me: all the religious rivalry, the disowning, the shunning, the interwoven families. The melodrama of personal feuds in a small isolated village is intense in reality, and intense in this book. Crummey grounds everything in a detailed historical sense of place, so that the beliefs and actions of the characters are seen in their context of extreme deprivation and poverty.

For all of that, there’s a lot of humor, even when it’s dark humor, but I think that’s cultural too.

View all my reviews

Hegarty update: details, details, details

1. You may recall that in March someone complained about Hegarty inaccuracies, specifically that Hanora Hegarty (b. 1878, Cork City) had not married but had instead perished in the Titanic disaster. However, that unfortunate Nora is a different person who was born in 1894 and lived in Whitechurch, not Cork City. So that’s one question settled.

2. A new question arises about Ellen Cronin (b. 1852) who married Michael Hegarty. I have very solid evidence for her place in my tree: family narratives, her marriage registration, and baptism records for her children. However, someone on Ancestry.com has contacted me to inquire because they have the same woman married to an Ahearn in the same parish, complete with marriage record and baptism records for the subsequent Ahearn kids. It’s not a second marriage because my Ellen Cronin is still having little Hegartys after the Ahearn/Cronin marriage date. So, it seems that there were two Ellen Cronins with fathers named Cornelius living in the same parish at the same time. Right now I don’t have enough information to resolve the question so I am just placing a big question mark here for now.

question mark3. Also in the Hegarty tree is Julia Foster (1898-1977) who married William Libby. They are listed in the 1930 census in Dedham, Massachusetts, but I didn’t know anything more about William Libby. Well, the “hints” function on Ancestry.com pointed me at the 1920 census too, where they are listed as the family of William Lebowitz. William shows up with his Hungarian parents in the 1900 census in Utica, NY as Wolf Leborvitch. So that’s why there weren’t any Libbys showing up; “melting pot” name changes.