Monday, March 28, 2011


It is pouring snow outside!  It may do damage to the buds that were tricked into budding over the last week because of warm weather, but it will help tremendously towards abating the wildfires that are threatening our state (and its budget).

Two weeks ago my elder brother called to ask me to subscribe to and to do some work on our family tree.  It seems my other brother told him that I could "make a computer sing!"  and that sounded good to him since he could get nowhere with the family tree.

I am a person who has almost insatiable curiosity.  That is a positive way of saying that I am incredibly nosey.  So, delving into a family tree has been lots of fun - and a huge time eater!  I got all the way back to the Revolutionary War on my mother's side - my Great-Great Grandfather.  I found pictures of the tombstones of this Great-Great, and his wife, my Great-Great Grandmother.  I found a photo of my grandfather who died long before I was born and my mother never really spoke of.  He was a wildly successful business-man - which I didn't know.  My brother told me that my mother never talked about him because he left them penniless when he died unexpectedly and she had a terrible time with that.

I am the descendent of a long line of huge families - my mother was the youngest of eight.  He mother was the youngest of ten.  I am the youngest of five.  These parents were still having children when they were past forty.  My grandmother was 42 when my mother was born.   So, my family is very very old.

Anyway, my point is not to advertise for (but this could be an unsolicited advertisement because I have been amazed by what I could find there), but to tell you what most struck me.

Out of all these lines of family, there was a single little Catholic who came from Ireland in the early 1800s.  My Paternal Grandmother's great grandfather.  So, this line contained the only Catholics.  My grandmother was a Catholic who married an Englishman - Anglican.  My grandfather emigrated from Birmingham to the US in the late 1800s.  He had traveled the world and continued to do so.  When he traveled the world, he found Catholic Churches everywhere he went - and they were all the same everywhere (in Latin).  He converted because of this.

My father was raised Catholic (two of my uncles were priests).  He married a non-catholic.  My mother converted after their marriage.  So, five of us were raised Catholic, and remain so.  Two of my brothers married non-catholics - who later converted.  Their children are Catholic.

I'm not sure I am articulating what I am trying to say.

As I looked at all of these people, I felt like I saw one little seed, sewn 150 years ago, which has now grown into quite a garden!  I hope it continues to flourish.


  1. Try and find out the whereabouts your grandfather was born/lived/worked in Birmingham and I'll photograph it for you and get any info I can.
    How exciting for you, discovering about your ancestors!!!

  2. Mary Christine,
    This was fascinating - thanks for sharing it with us. I am the curious type also (yes, I mean nosey). My brother traced our family tree back to the middle ages - a very time consuming task but well worth the effort he put into it. What makes us all laugh is that he found out my father came from nobility while my mother came from a line of peasant farmers which is what they had told us all along so I guess sometimes family stories that are passed down are true. We used to tease my dad when he claimed to be a descendant of a duke only to find out he was right!

  3. You will find you can spend hours and hours on ancestry. We even connected on FB with relatives we never knew after finding them through ancestry. We have documents from Ellis Island, birth/death records, sale of properties, etc. Amazing tool.

  4. Ros, Thanks so much! It costs more to get the documents from outside of the US, so I don't have any of that, but I have a feeling I will spring for the additional cost. And I will let you know what I find out!

    Mary, Wow, I think everyone dreams of finding they have nobility in their family tree - how fun for you!

    Kathy, My sister and I visited Ellis Island to try to find the record of my g.f.'s entrance. We had no idea why we couldn't find him. I found out through that he arrived in Key West via Cuba!!!

    And I have found civil war pay documents, burial receipts, etc., etc. Too fun.