Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ireland: Day 8: Why Discovering Our Family Roots Takes Us Down A Notch

A typical scene in Ireland.

We survived the night at the Davenport  (which really wasn't all that bad after they upgraded our room) and had a sunny, warm day to begin our trek to the Irish Heritage Center across town. We weren't sure what we would find there or if indeed this was the right place but we were pleased to find out it was and we were directed to our very own official genealogist who patiently spent about 2 hours with us going over family names, birth and marriage records.

The Fitzpatricks (my father's side of the family) were from Garrymore in Ballinagh, Cavan. Not sure what that all means but we were able to find the family (we think) and the lot numbers (there were two, one big, one tiny). By April of 1911 it appears my grandfather John had emigrated to the US according to the census. He was the only one in his family to do so. His father's name was James as was my father's and his mother's name was Anne Keegan. Other sibling names were Mary, Anne, Bridget, Philip as of 1901. I think there might have been more children born later but we couldn't find anything.  We found my grandfather's birth certificate and will check out the church records when we get to Ballinagh. We were also able to get a photocopy of a map of the land from the early 1900s.

Birth records for both grandparents...maybe!
The Devaney (or Devanney) side of the family (Bridget Devaney, who my grandfather married in the US) from Galway is still a bit of a mystery. I do have a birth certificate for a Bridget Devaney from Tuam in Galway. Her mother's maiden name was Burke, a name that's definitely in our family. She'll need a bit more research.

The McDermotts on my husbands side (from County Tyrone) have been pretty thoroughly researched by his cousins and we didn't really find anything new here because after 1921 the records were moved to Belfast.  We are meeting some Irish cousins of his on Saturday in Tyrone and will probably get some great photos and information then.

The only distressing thing about all of this was that both families (The McDermotts and Fitzpatricks) were labled 'third class'! The genealogist sniffed a little in a cheeky sort of way when he broke the news to us. The McDermotts, recently of Waterford, third class?  Had he heard about our faux pas at the castle? Was there to be no end to our humiliation?

The research was completed by 2:30 PM and we walked back to an area of Dublin called the Temple District which has the hip ambiance of Greenwich Village or Soho....lunch at the Temple Bar and a visit to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the most impressive library at a college I think we have ever seen.

We're more than halfway through our trip and we've noted a couple of really important things.
  • First, a true travesty.... there are no pretzels in Ireland (not a great call for them we were told)! It appears the Irish enjoy a good 'chip' for a snack. I'm telling the Pennsylvania Dutch when I get back.
  • We haven't come across Irish soda bread anywhere but a delicious brown bread is served with almost every meal.
  • Corned beef and cabbage? Not so much as a mention on a menu!  We think CB&C is to Ireland like chow mien is to mainland China!
  • There are lots of palm trees in Ireland because of the Gulf Stream which keeps the temps temperate all year long. Kind of weird to see.
  • 'Go mall': Words frequently seen on the highway are not a rallying cry for shoppers but means 'slow' in Gaelic.
  • The Georgian area we're staying in in Dublin has the loveliest doors. I attached some of the photos to torture my children. I like to change the color of my front door occasionally and will use these as my guide. Hey kids, how about that bright yellow?

    Tomorrow we leave for Cavan and another castle stay in Kingscourt (Cabra Castle). We'll be checking out the Fitzpatricks and will inform the local magistrate of our 'elevated' status in the U.S. Third class? I don't think so!

1 comment:

  1. Haha that's where our love of hard work comes from - it's in our ancestral blood!

    My door vote is hot pink (since I don't live there anymore!) haha!