Saturday, 16 January 2016

My genealogy highlights of 2015

As 2016 begins, it poses an ideal opportunity to reflect on the year just passed. Wendy, one of my blogging pals, writing at Jollette Etc., recently shared her ‘Five top Five’ achievements, which got me thinking. Looking back, 2015 was a difficult year for my family; nevertheless, for Black Raven Genealogy there were many highlights.

Best Discoveries
While I’ve known for quite some time my second great-grandmother was Maryanne Donovan, I had trouble proving her maiden name was Coyle.  Oh, I had my suspicions, except no solid connection could be found. So, last summer I began a genealogy quest, retracing my footsteps and following up on all potential leads, no matter how small.

I was just about to admit defeat, once again, when I struck gold and found the long-sought after ‘evidence’. A burial register in Glasnevin Cemetery contained the names of fifteen people interred in a family plot and helped prove Maryanne Coyle was my ancestor.

This unexpected discovery gave me renewed hope that someday my other elusive ancestors might make themselves known too.

Another significant discovery I made was finding the death register for Jane (Daly) Byrne, who died in New York in 1901.  This led to her obituary, her gravesite, and even more amazingly provided the names of my third great-grandparents, William and Hannah Daly. Some further research on William and Hannah back in Dublin revealed Hannah’s maiden name was probably Dillon.

It was also fun to find our show-biz cousins – The Martell Sisters  those juggling colleens who performed circus acts.  No doubt, my great-grandfather, Patrick Wynne, who was a bit of a snob by some accounts, thought he had the antics of these nieces well and truly brushed under the carpet.  Just shows, the truth will come out, eventually!

Best Connections
By far the best new connection I’ve made this year was with my mother’s first cousins, the grandchildren of said Patrick Wynne and his wife Teresa Carroll, via their daughter Nora. These new found cousins have promised to share with me their first-hand memories of my great-grandmother, as well as some Wynne family superstitions. Could it get any better? So, if you’re reading this – Hint, Hint!

It is also always a pleasure to meet other researchers and quite a few contacted me during the year to share information and memorabilia. The connection that stands out most though was a young father. He casually ‘googled’ his grandfather’s name and happened upon my blog. His grandfather played football with my great-grandfather in 1914. He was absolutely delighted to receive a photograph of the team and its intrinsic link to his past.

Best Blog Posts
The blog posts resonating most with readers in 2015 or, those that received the greatest number of hits and comments were:

  1. Snippets from the life of a Grandfather I never knew
  2. Three little vignettes: ghosts, apparitions and porter (which was actually mostly written by my Uncle Colm)
  3. Cousin Violet
  4. A day in the life of my great-grandda
  5. The cartoonist, Bobby Pyke 

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and provides feedback on the posts. It is very much appreciated. Here’s to 2016 being kind to us all and a year filled with many more genealogy highlights.

© Black Raven Genealogy

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