Family History Mysteries

My cousin Liz went on a three-week long study abroad course to Belfast, Northern Ireland this summer--and she brought me back this book.

I should probably explain. I appointed myself the family historian.

This is for a couple of reasons: 1) I love history. 2) I'm a masochist (hehe) and 3) Since I basically have to explain my ethnic origins every ten minutes, I might as well know as much about them as I can find out.

I can already tell you that I'm not ready to write a family history any time soon.

The earliest ancestor I've been able to trace (mind you, this is almost all on the Irish side of the family because I can't read Japanese and those records aren't online anyway) is Peggy Mulroy, born in 1791, death date unknown. She's my 4th great-grandmother.

Otherwise, I've been able to trace a few cousins, at least out to the third degree.

But the fact is, I don't know a lot about any of my ancestors beyond a certain point (so, my great-grandparents, who all died before I was born), as happens to us all. I know names, some dates and how I'm related to these various (and mostly dead) people but stories? Pictures? Nope.

There are things I'd like to know more about, though. My grandmother's mother's family, for instance, were my first ancestors to set foot on American soil. My great-grandmother Annie was born in New Jersey--but her parents both died before she was six years old.

Supposedly, we have cousins in Australia. Who are they, why did they go there? I'm not sure what branch of the family they're from.

I still don't know what my ancestors were up to during the Potato Famine.

We're related to Father Flanagan somehow. How? Don't know.

I've decided that all Irish family trees lead back to a Peggy, Biddy, Mary, Thomas, or Paddy. But I've been pleasantly surprised by the several women named Sabina and Honora back in my tree.

I am thinking of how I can fit all the people I've traced onto a poster or something and drag it with me to Christmas dinner.


  1. ^_^ A poster would be awesome!

    That's great work that you've done. My mom has gotten as far as what boat her great great times a couple more or whatever grandfather came over on from Scotland! She had him and his Irish wife tracked from Scotland to Yorkshire to Canada to North Carolina. It's pretty fascinating. She put a lot of information in scrap books for us a few years ago. Pictures of great great grand-folks and such on both sides of the family with names! It's quite exciting. :)

    I don't know if we have family outside of the country, though you would think so. That's really cool that you know you have some in the Outback!

    1. I'd done a poster for Easter, but it only covered our direct lines and I have some records I'd like everyone to see. So it's a matter of deciding how to do that.

      That's really cool what your mom dug up!

      We have distant relatives (like, third cousins or something) in England and Ireland, but nobody close there anymore. And I'm not sure who went to Australia, so I don't know who is still there.

  2. My family is huge back in Vietnam. I don't think I could ever trace my family back if I wanted to. They don't keep very good records and then with the war and stuff, it kind of makes it difficult.

    1. Japanese records aren't online and I can't read Japanese anyway. On that side, I met one of my great-grandmothers. Toward the end of his life, my grandpa told us a little about his grandmother, who raised him, and we found some old family pictures of his side of the family.

  3. How fun!! I wish I could trace my family.
    I've always wanted to know how my ancestors lived, what they did, etc. And it's great that you are doing this! To know as much about your family as possible :)
    Sadly, natives and Spaniards kinda went after each other instead of keeping tabs of who mixed with whom, etc. Then there's a little hint of French we can't rule out, but we all know the Pueblanos ran them out before writing down their partnerships.It's so weird to be a mix of people who hated each other. And another thing, my mom's town isn't big on writing things like this down.

    1. It might be interesting to try a DNA test on you, just to see what the percentages are.

      Irish Catholic records can be a bit sketchy. I can't go back much further than I already have, because my family is from a very rural part of Ireland and they didn't necessarily write things down all the way through. Plus, add in English conquest and being Catholic and records get a bit sketchy. If my family was Protestant, the paper trail could take me back further.


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