Category Archives: My Life

Following Trails

Rabbits in my yard and I have been going down a rabbit hole. I don’t mean I am diving into rabbit dens. I have been traveling down a twisting passage following the trail of my ancestors’ lives. I have found a lot and not quite enough, birth and marriage records, towns where they lived, even some old addresses. It was exciting to see names on passenger lists of ships and trains. Names mentioned in newspaper obituaries confirming names of children. A great-uncle’s name mentioned on a train passenger list told me he lived in Montreal. A great-grandmother’s journey traced from her marriage in England to her death in California. I have come to realize that these are only the tracks and traces of lives. It makes me wish I could find their diaries so I could really get to know them.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. “Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “start with a noun.” Start your post with a noun, and write about whatever it is. Have fun!”

Featured image ‘Great Northern Railway’ of Canada via Wikimedia.

Shades Of Green

600px-Color_icon_green.svg via Wikimedia

Green, green, my pool is green. We lost our pool guy a few months ago and being not too handy at pool maintenance ourselves our pool has gradually turned a deeper shade of green. I checked out the 38 shades of green listed on wikipedia to determine a match and it was a bit overwhelming. I like some of names of the colors like asparagus. Cal Poly Pomona green,  and dark moss green might be close.

Moss_covered_rocks,_Beddgelert_Forest_-_geograph.org.uk_-_542866

Moss covered rocks by Philip Halling

I had to pick Cal Poly Pomona green because I live in California for gosh sakes. There’s even a Slytherin green, cool! Just added 2 packages of Shock this morning and did some quick research on pool care. I think we need to hire someone to take care of the pool again. It might cost us some money but I am yielding due to our lack pool cleaning capability.

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Green Lacewing

Haven’t seen any of these lacewings lately. I will have to monitor my pyracantha when it starts to bloom again.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘mon’. Color chart via wikimedia. Green lacewing by Gilles San Martin on Flickr.

Putting Leaves On The Tree

Passive is not my modus operandi when doing genealogical research. I have been doggedly pursuing leads on various free genealogy websites. I did not think I would find anything about my maternal grandmother’s family. I did not see much in Canada at first. My first attempts in Scotland came up empty. One reason was my grandmother always said she was from Glasgow. I couldn’t find any mention of my great-grandparents in Glasgow. There was one local genealogy group there that charges money to find your relatives. The idea of paying online in a different currency and using a credit card made me nervous. So I didn’t do that. Then I discovered FamilySearch.org, a free site run by the Mormons. And recently I found Scotland’s People.gov.uk which provides a bit of info free and will charge you if you want more. There are also some English and Canadian Archives. Family Search will give you access to documents like some death certificates, marriage and birth records, census records, and ship’s passenger lists.

SS Hesperian via Library and Archives Canada

Getting back to the hunt. I found them in Staffordshire, England and then traced them with Scotland’s People to Lanarkshire (Scotland), located documentation of my grandmother’s and one of her sister’s birth, found her two older sisters were married in Scotland, then traced most of the group to Halifax on ships’ passenger lists (so exciting!).  Turns out my grandmother was born in a parish not too far from Glasgow. Knowing the married names of the two sisters helped me find them in Canada. I discovered my great-grandmother’s maiden name, and I think I located her family in Staffordshire as well. I found my maternal grandparent’s marriage record in Nova Scotia and traced them to British Columbia where I discovered my mother living at 4 years old along with my great-grandmother. I found my maternal grandfather’s family in Nova Scotia and traced some of them to the US. It gets hard to locate people after the mid-1900s or so other than my immediate family records. The last published census in Canada is 1921. There was no census taken in England during the WWII years. There is an English register for 1939, and I found some info there. Ireland was the hardest with no verifiable information on my family.

This research is interesting, and it makes me feel a bit closer to my ancestors. I can imagine some of their hardships like traveling across the Atlantic in a ship with a baby without your husband, or as a little girl. Looking through lists of people’s families I saw that many people in those olden days died young. I wondered if there was an epidemic or did people die from hardships like overwork or not enough to eat. I wondered if some of my family were rogues.

Well, if they looked like Johnny Depp that might be ok.

Or were the places where they came from kind of dumpy.

I don’t want to be judgemental about any of my family. Let’s face it we probably all have skeletons in our closets.

I just realized today that Family Search.org automatically populated my family tree with A LOT of names I had spent time looking up by myself and on top of it they have birth dates and death dates which I had not found. I just haven’t discovered anyone who is still alive in current times.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt words ‘passive/aggressive.’ Featured image of Norman Rockwell Family Tree via Lori on Flickr.GIFs from Giphy.com

Castle Keep

A keep is a tower used as a dungeon or fortress. Nenagh Castle keep is what is left of many towers that were part of the original castle built in 1216 by Baron Butler. He was given this land by the King of England, who was a Norman king. The castle was built in O’Kennedy territory, John F. Kennedy’s ancestors.

I have been doing a little research on a part of Tipperary, Ireland which was the last known residence of a cousin and the supposed birthplace of my paternal grandparents. The address for the cousin was Ballinamoe New Town Nenagh Tipperary. I couldn’t understand all the names in the address.  Turns out it breaks down to Ballinamoe as townland,  Newtown is a hamlet, part of the barony of Owney and Arra, the civil parish of Youghalarra, Nenagh is the largest town, in the county of Tipperary, in the Provence of Munster. Reading some of the history of baronies and all these other designations has been mind-boggling. Nenagh Castle is a historic site in Tipperary. I once read that my father’s surname Barry was Norman, which now makes sense if this was once Norman territory.

So enough with the history and geography for now and I only skimmed the surface. It has been disheartening to try to trace my father’s family in Ireland. There is no record online of my grandfather’s birth. There was one entry for someone with a similar name to my grandmother but no way for me to verify it was her. The dearth of information could be because some church records have not been digitalized, the Irish revolution that occurred in 1919-1921, and a fire during the Battle of Dublin resulted in archives being lost. Many records may still be in churches, and the only way to find them is to go there. The history of my father’s family in California is easier to trace although I did not find anything about his Uncle Joe and descendants.  I can research newspaper archives in Ireland, but I have to pay a subscription of 30 (pounds) a month, currently $42.45 US. I can pay someone to the do the research for me and that sounds even more expensive. The most recent Irish census information available is from 1911. In that census I did find a name of a girl who could be my cousin but how to verify it? and that person had sisters. I had a letter from my paternal aunt (now deceased) who gave me some names and birthdates. She told me my grandfather had brothers and my grandmother had 3 sisters and one brother. My grandparents emigrated to the US with their baby son in 1902. They lived through the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. My aunt corresponded with the cousin in Ballinamoe. She indicated the family in Ireland probably died out with that cousin but not sure. Two of my paternal grandmother’s sisters emigrated to Canada. Haven’t started looking for them yet.

My mother’s parents came from Canada. My maternal grandmother was born in Scotland. I found a record of my maternal grandparent’s marriage in Nova Scotia and possibly my maternal grandfather’s family of origin. My mother and her sister lost touch with these relatives. It is sad to think about all these people who have disappeared without a trace. It feels like I have lost part of my family all over again.

We should keep more than our towers.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The “Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “picture.” Write about, or theme your post on the first picture you see when you sit down to start writing. You don’t need to describe the picture necessarily–you can even put yourself in it if you’re not already there.”

Featured image of Nenagh Castle by Regina Hill via wikimedia.org

Rainy Day Rabbit

I have mentioned my backyard visitor before and how hard it is to capture him/her with my cell phone camera. Usually, it spots me at the window and hops off. But today I was able to get several pretty good photos of the little guy. We had steady rain this morning for over two hours at least, which is great for us in my section of Southern California. I spotted the rabbit taking shelter from the rain under one of our succulent plants. Then after the rain stopped, it came out and munched on the assorted ground cover for a bit. I have seen it hop about 2 feet up to a retaining wall in the yard, but today I have photographic evidence of this ability.

So Far

From her 1971 Tapestry album, Carol King turned 76 this February. The year 1971 was when I started Nursing School at UCSF.  Seems far away now. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” Then sometimes it seems like yesterday.  Now the lyrics make me think of my daughter who lives in Northern California. I look forward to seeing her face at my door soon.

20151010_131409  A Beautiful Butterfly

Beautiful Daughter

 


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt is ‘so far.’

Tiger Tale

I read that Chile has banished Tony the Tiger as part of their campaign to change the dietary habits of their country. I grew up with Tony the Tiger, Frosted Flakes, and other too sweet cereals myself. I can’t blame Tony for any bad eating habits I have acquired over the years.

Tony the Tiger via giphy.com

There were so many choices when I was growing up: Sugar Pops, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs. But I wasn’t “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”,

via giphy.com

or even for Lucky Charms and the Leprechaun.

But the ads probably do influence kids. I remember the commercials were shown during the times when kids shows were on, like Saturday morning cartoons. I do think I miss Tony the Tiger saying “Frosted Flakes are GRRRREAT!!!! And that’s the end of my tale.

Did you have any favorite, too sugarly, cereals when you were a kid or even now?


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt words: tail/tale. Use one or both. Featured image ‘tiger meme’ by Meme Binge on Flickr. Gifs via giphy.com