Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A to Z Challenge Preview

I'm in Washington now, limited to 30 minutes at the hotel computer, but I haven't forgotten my commitment to the A to Z Challenge.  I have prepared.

Through the month of April, every day but Sunday, I will be blogging about a topic beginning with a letter from A to Z.  Here is a taste of what's coming up.  Hope you will be back to read them:

  • This being a genealogy blog, the first post is going to be "A is for Addiction."
  • Stay tuned for "B is for Bannia" where I'll share a summary of the parish census from Bannia, a frazione of the Comune di Fiume Veneto in the Friuli region of Italy.  The census is from 1895.  Friends and family from Sault Ste. Marie will recognize many of the families.
  • "C is for Caherolickane" -- it's not just hard to say, or even a pretty background picture.  Writing this blog helped me figure out a bit more about one leaf on the family tree.
  • "D is for Devon" -- that's Devonshire, where the cream comes from, and my favourite Burrows gents.
  • "E is for Ellis Island" -- if you're researching your family tree in North America, chances are you'll find one of your peeps coming through Ellis Island.
More to come.  I'm still deciding if F will be for Fano, where my grandmother was born, or for Uncle Frank's first marriage.  What do you think?  G is definitely genetti cookies (thank you Aunty Anna).  And there is much more to come about the Moynihans, Burrows and others in my family tree.

If this A to Z challenge intrigues you, please check out some of the other 800!! bloggers also covering A to Z through April.  You can find links to their sites on the Tossing it Out blog.

And any of you who ever have to pack a lunch or feed a little one, please check out Kim's blog The Lunch Box.  I first learned of the Challenge on Kim's site.  I can't wait to see what delicious and practical suggestions she'll have for us through the A to Z Challenge. 

So long from Washington.  Come on back Friday, April 1 for the beginning of my genealogical take on the A to Z Challenge.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Gene-O-Rama, April 1-2, Ottawa

Next week, the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is holding the 28th Gene-O-Rama, "Ancestors on the Move" at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario.  It starts Friday at 7:30 (registration opens at 7:00) and continues Saturday from 9:00 through 4:30, plus a banquet at 7:00 where Lesley Anderson will speak about new projects at Ancestry.

I'm really looking forward to this year's Gene-O-Rama, though I will miss the Friday night Pat Horan Memorial Lecture as I'll be out of town.  Fawne Stratford-Devai will be speaking about tracking migrants leaving Ontario.  You may remember seeing Fawne on Ancestors in the Attic.

On Saturday, there will be a number of sessions including:  using Family History Centre resources, military records at Library and Archives Canada, immigration records on Ancestry.  I'm particularly looking forward to Kyla Ubbink's session "Artifacts in Genealogy" and Doug Hoddinott's "Merging On-Line Data into Family Tree Maker."

In addition to the main conference, you can sign up for a beginners course in genealogy which runs Friday afternoon.  Oops, make that "you could have signed up".  The beginners course is already full.

Go to the Ottawa OGS site for more information on Gene-O-Rama.

See you there!

Let's be Realistic

Did you see the episode of Who Do You Think You Are with Rosie O'Donnell?

It was rebroadcast on March 18.  If you missed it, Rosie's family history included a young mother who died after a gas lamp exploded while she was holding her baby and Rosie learned of family members who lived in a workhouse in Ireland during the Famine.

That was an episode The Bean asked to stay up past her bedtime to watch.  She really liked it.  The Bean says it was cool.  For her, it was amazing that that mother was able to save her baby.  And she was struck that in the workhouse, two year olds were separated from their parents and children were kept in the coldest part of the building.  We don't know how many of our relatives died during the Famine in Ireland, but The Bean says she wants to learn.  She asked me to tell you that she loves genealogy.  And she even knows how to spell it!

Like The Bean, I thought the Rosie episode was a good one.  So I was surprised to learn that wasn't everyone's reaction.  I was on Dear Myrtle's site and saw her blog post Take off your rose-colored glasses.  One of Myrt's readers found the Rosie episode depressing, and a waste of time.  I share Myrt's view:  not many of us have royal roots like Brooke Shields and we should take off the rose-coloured glasses if we're going to look back on how our ancestors lived.

Dear readers who are Moynihan, Bertolo, Burrows and Kazuke relatives:  you won't find me writing too much about kings and queens.  In our families, if there was a royal involved, we were most likely fleeing from him. 

From the research I've done to date, we have come a long way from the poverty our ancestors experienced.  If you own your home, have a full belly, and CAN READ, then you should be very, very grateful.  And maybe you should thank those ancestors for having come to Canada when they did.  I do.

I encourage you to watch Who Do You Think You Are -- it'll give you a taste for the addiction that is genealogy.  By the way, see my post next Friday, April 1st for more on that addiction.  Once you've got the bug, read Dear Myrtle.  Myrt knows what she's talking about.  Her site  has lessons and organizational tips for new and old genealogists. 

I have a dilemma tonight.   Who Do You Think You Are is on, but so is the hockey game.  Steve Buscemi's family will have to wait till I can watch the recording.  Go Sens Go!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Design Changes at the Jim's Girl Family History Blog

If you're back for a repeat visit, you will have noticed that I've changed the design of the blog.  I set the blog up last week, in the early hours of last Saturday morning, using a simple blog template.  Literally, it was called "Simple."  Having viewed a few other blogs, I wanted something a little more personal for my blog.  This morning I was able to spend some time personalizing the design.

I hope you like the new look.  If you're wondering about the picture, it's a shot I took in Ireland in 2008 from my cousin's property in Caherolickane, a townland in West Cork.  Wouldn't you love to see that sunset every day?

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Surname Saturday -- Iop

If there are other genealogy bloggers out there blogging the Iop family name this Saturday, I sure want to meet them.

Iop is a difficult name to research online.  Do a Google search for Iop and you get a lot of computer references, among other things.  The last time I searched for Iop on Ancestry, I got a lot of references to Arthafad Ap Iop, born  in the year 885 (and no, I'm not missing a digit).  But I'm not looking for any Welsh Ap Iop.  My Iop relatives are from the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region in Northern Italy.

My great-grandmother, Maria Iop, was born in 1879 in Pescincanna, a frazione of the Commune de Fiume Veneto, now in the Province of Pordenone.  The village is close to the city of Pordenone.  Her parents were Francesco Iop and Marianna Sutto.

Maria married Giuseppe Bertolo of the nearby frazione of Bannia.  In 1908, Giuseppe left Italy to go to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, where his brother Mino had established himself.  Maria appears to have been pregnant as he left; she had her fifth child, Elena Bertolo in 1909.  One baby had died very young, so Maria Iop was raising four young children without her husband.  Giuseppe later returned to Italy, at least for long enough to father Olivo, who was born in 1912.  In that same year, Giuseppe returned to Canada for good.  Then in April 1913, Maria and her children (Luigi, Francesco, Alessandro, Elena and Olivo) left to join Giuseppe in the Sault.

Maria and her children set sail from Le Havre on the S.S. La Provence on April 12, 1913.  They landed at Ellis Island in New York City on the 19th.  Maria's passport indicates that she was illiterate in Italian.  She was 33 and travelling with five children who ranged in age from nine down to a mere eight months.  Imagine.  At least she had her brother-in-law, Olivo Bertolo, on the voyage with her.

Maria and Giuseppe quickly established themselves in Sault Ste. Marie, where they had several more children:  Mariana, Amelia, Ontaria and Assunta.  Life wasn't all wonderful.  Shortly before Christmas in 1921, Marianna died at the age of seven and a half, of convulsions.  In 1932, Giuseppe died of stomach cancer.

Maria herself lived until 91 years of age.  I wish I remembered more about her, but I was a small child when she died.  And because I didn't speak Italian and she spoke little English, we didn't spend much time together.  I recently looked at the four-generation picture taken with her, Luigi, mom and me when I was a baby.  Boy, they looked proud.  That I remember.

Maria Iop never returned to Italy.  To my knowledge, none of her family came to Canada.  We have a couple of pictures and memorial cards with Iop relatives in them.  But we've had no contact with the Iop family since Maria left in 1913.  From the Italian White Pages online, it looks like there are a few Iops still in the area.  Maybe they're looking for us?

Benvenuti, famiglia Iop!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2011

I spent my bus ride into work this morning brainstorming future blog topics to share with you.  This evening, while checking out the Lunch Box blog I noticed that Kim has signed up for the "Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2011."   That sounded intriguing.

Arlee Bird's Tossing It Out Blog is promoting the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge for the second year.  The idea is that each day but Sunday through the month of April you blog, eventually covering topics from A to Z.  I like the sounds of that.  Since my brain was already in brainstorming mode, within an hour or so, with the help of Sweetie and the Bean, I had ideas from A to Z.

I hope you'll join me through the month of April for Family History from A to Z.

Poem -- The Story of a Family

Back when I was in high school, one year for English class we had to write a short story.  For whatever reason, I wrote a poem to go with mine.  Having just started my family history blog and with St. Patrick's Day coming up this week, I thought I might share this with you.   It may not be my best work, but it tells you a bit about why I have this blog today.
The Story of a Family

I long for a land that's not truly my home.
The land of my fathers,
The land of the stones.
The land which has beauty
In forms so abstract
Made concrete in leprechauns, shamrocks and grass.
This land has endured
What many could not:
The Penal Laws, the Famine, the battles they've fought.
They've lived through it all,
Held firmly to custom.
They know where they're going, and where they have come from.
And let us remember each St. Patrick's Day feast
That Ireland's the place we'll find happiness
At least.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

What do you call your grandparents?

If you're like me and of mixed ethnic origin, the answer is , "a lot of things."

Here in Canada we called my Irish grandfather Grampa -- though the Irish tradition would have been Granda. 

My Italian grandparents were called Ma and Babbo (Italian for daddy) because of a generation overlap.  You see, my eldest cousins were living in the same house as my grandparents and my youngest Aunt.  Naturally she called her parents Ma and Babbo.  And so did my cousins.  So... we all did.  Ma was Ma to her great-great-grandchildren.  We called Ma and Babbo's mothers Nona.  I know proper Italian is "nonna."  Was Nona a spelling from Furlan or the Marciagian dialect?  Or were we just uneducated?

Whatever the reason, Nona lives on.  When my daughter, "the Bean," was born, we decided that she would call my Sweetie's father Grampa, since her elder cousins had set that in stone.  And my parents would be Nona and Granda.  The Granda thing didn't stick.  It's hard for the North American tongue.  Granda became Grandad.   For a while.  Then the Bean started talking.  Her vocabulary started to flesh out at around 20 months.  That Christmas, my parents were Goo and Gung.  At that point, Gung meant Granda, Grampa, guy with gray hair, and a pink Beany Baby bear (who knows?).  Eventually though, my mom became Nona.  And Gung got narrowed down to my dad.

My brother's since had his own sweet little girl, "Little Woman".  He tells her that our parents are called Nona and Grampa.  We'll see.  The Bean says he's Gung.  And I can already tell Little Woman has a mind of her own.

What do you call your grandparents?  And why?

Fabulous Friday Finds -- Patrick Moynihan

OK, I'm a little late on the Friday find.  I might as well have stayed up last night to write this because I tossed and turned all night thinking about it.  I couldn't resist any longer and am now blogging about family history.  My first post is about a series of little finds last night about my great-uncle Patrick Moynihan

All I knew yesterday about Patrick was that he had left the family farm at Shantullig North (often spelled Shountullig) to go to America and had later returned to Ireland.  Apparently when Patrick returned, great-grandad wanted Pat to get the family farm, rather than my grandad who was the only child to stay in Ireland, but great-grandmother said, "NO WAY."  Seems that cause quite a rift between Pat and my grandad, as you can imagine.  I knew Patrick had married and had two girls, but didn't know if that was in the States or in Ireland.

So, last evening I started surfing while watching the hockey game (it's what I do).  I tried to figure out when Patrick left Ireland.  The 1901 Irish Census told me that by March 1901 Patrick had left the family home.  I searched for other Patricks of the same age and didn't find any likely matches for my uncle.  That made me pretty sure that he'd left for Ireland before 1901.  [Notice that "pretty sure," I'll come back to that later.]

Next stop, American immigration records on Ancestry.  I found what looked to be my Pat (a man from the right area, with the right name for his father), but this ship's manifest was from 1907 and it said this Pat was an American citizen.  He was going to Andover, MA and I know a lot of the our Moynihans went to Andover.  But I was expecting to find him in New York, where I knew his brothers went.  Was this my Patrick?

Next I found a naturalization record for a Patrick Moynihan of Andover and the birth date matched what we have from my dad's search of the parish records.  That made me pretty sure that the Pat who travelled in 1907 was my Pat.  Then I got my next clue.  I found another ship's manifest from 1898 with a Patrick of the right age, from the right area heading to Andover to his uncle William Harrington.  By the way, the manifest shows Pat had but $2 in his pocket when he arrived.

OK, so now who is William Harrington?  If I can't connect him, maybe I have the wrong Pat.  So I looked at Pat's paternal aunts to see which married a Harrington.  Turns out we didn't know anything about two of Pat's Moynihan aunts and the third stayed in Ireland and married a Hurley not a Harrington.  I looked and looked for a William Harrington in Andover with an Irish born wife of the right name, but nothing.  Hmm, maybe it was his mother's brother Pat went to in Andover?  But I didn't know anything about his mother's siblings.  Did one of her sister's marry a Harrington?  And if so, why didn't he say he was going to his Aunt? Then the light bulb went on!

TIP:   Never assume the name's been spelled right.

Pat's mother's maiden name was Harnedy, not a common name -- anywhere.  On a hunch, I searched for a William Harnedy (rather than Harrington) living in Andover, MA in the 1900 U.S. Census.  Bingo!  There was Patrick Moynihan "nephew" living with William Harnedy, born in Ireland.  Then I knew it was my Patrick.

TIP:  Always ask "how do you KNOW that?"

Copying info from someone else's tree can waste your time if you don't check the facts.  Ask people for their sources.  Ancestry makes it easy to ask.  Look at the source records.  Do they give you enough facts to be you sure you've got the right person?  I'll admit, genealogy programs like Family Tree Maker, which I use, don't seem to give you much flexibility to mark possible relatives.  Find a way to keep the possibles to one side before you copy their info in holus-bolus.  Save yourself the hours it took me to delete my Uncle Floyd's "relatives" after I realized the pedigree I'd copied had children older than their parents!

I don't hold myself to the high standards of proof of a professional genealogist.  I'm not a professional, I'm just passionate.  But try to find more than just the name and age to connect people.  Look for those uncommon names, full birth dates, specific location.  Then, you'll know.

Hope you liked this first post on the Jim's Girl Family History Blog.  See you again soon.