Sunday 9 January 2022

2021 in Review – Accentuate the Positive

So, yet another year has passed. Looking back, using fellow blogger Jill Ball's annual meme and prompts, here are some of my 'positive' genealogy experiences in 2021.

My main focus was on DNA. I've been happily analysing my DNA matches, and those of my extended family too. It is a great way to discover forgotten branches on my family tree and locate those I couldn't trace with paper records alone. It hasn't led to any 'new' ancestors YET, but I'm sure that's only a matter of time.

For example, last year, with the help of genetic genealogy, I discovered and wrote about a great-great-granduncle Thomas Carroll in New Zealand, and a great-great-granduncle James Byrne, a bottle-maker, in Dublin.

A lovely genea-surprise I received was this picture of Grandda Wynne, with some of his children. Isn't it fab?
I remember it as a tiny snap, much the worse for wear. But Aunt Bernadette had it restored and generously got copies made for everyone she thought might like one. It's of Kevin Wynne, with his daughters Frankie and baby Dympna on his knee, and Bernadette holding their hands. Colm watches from his seat on the windowsill.

They are out in the yard at the back of their home, 3 Lower Jane Place, Dublin. It must have been the summer of 1957. They're wearing their summer clothes and Dympna, who was born in April 1956, looks about a year old. The twins look about four years old.

Thank you again Bernadette, I love it.

A Facebook Group that helped me during the year was Old Malahide History, where members share their old photos of Malahide, Co. Dublin. Here I came across many previously unseen pictures of my Dad as a child and of the townland where we grew up - see Amazing family history to be found on Facebook.

My 2021 social media post journal article that I was particularly proud of was about my maternal third cousin once removed, Frank Teeling, an Irish Volunteer. It was published in The Irish Genealogist, the well-regarded journal of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.
Frank Teeling participated in the Irish War of Independence and was captured by the British on Bloody Sunday in 1920. He was imprisoned and sentenced to death by hanging, but escaped from Kilmainham Gaol, in this country's most dramatic jail-break. My article uses Frank's story as a case study demonstrating how the descendants of key players in modern Irish history, as opposed to the State, keep their memories alive, and in so doing, write the public history of Ireland and define Irish national identity.

I finally found Margaret Parsons, née Carroll six feet under. Margaret was my great-grandaunt, who I tracked to Gateshead, England, where she married Christopher Penrose, in 1923. I lost all trace of her after that. Now, her great-granddaughter has turned up in my DNA results and helped solve the mystery.

Margaret married Martin Parsons in Romford, in 1943 and moved to Yorkshire, where she lived to be some 80 years of age. She was buried beside her husband Martin, at Driffield Cemetery, East Yorkshire, in July 1974. Her great-granddaughter sent me this picture of their grave. Thanks again, Maria.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my readers for their support, for reaching out to me, for helping me research our ancestors, for leaving comments on my blog, for liking and sharing my posts and generally for taking an interest in my family-history research.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

So excited to see what discoveries next year brings!

Happy New Year!


  1. Thanks so much Dara for joining and giving this challenge an Irish flavour. Congratulations on your successes, I can see how proud you are of your journal article - and so you should be.

    1. Thank you for initiating the challenge each year Jill.

  2. You're welcome, Dara! Enjoyed reading your posts last year and the overview today. You followed your title to a T. Happy New Year.

  3. What a wonder to have that beautifully restored photo and know the names of everyone in it. Plus you broke a few brick walls last year! Wishing you a happy, healthy, and rewarding 2022.

  4. Thank you, Marian. & wishing for another few brick walls to fall for us all this year too! 😉

  5. All in all, a successful year! Keep up the good work, I love reading your blog. The picture is beautiful!

    1. Thanks a million Ellie, you spin a good yarn yourself.

  6. Happy New Year Dara. That's a great photo and well done on your piece on Frank Teeling. Looking forward to reading what you're up to in your blog.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!