Many readers know that I based my “Rose Of Skibbereen” series of novels on some family history research, although I embellished the bare facts quite a bit. I got obsessed with finding out the truth about my great-grandfather Peter O’Farrell’s life and although I never did find out everything about him (like where he came from in Ireland), I found enough to quell my obsession for a time.
Once the genealogy bug bites you, though, you’re never completely free of the desire to learn more of the story of your family’s past. My project now is to research a different part of my family tree, and I got a shock last week when I logged on to Ancestry.com and saw a picture of my mother’s maternal grandmother in someone else’s family tree. Ancestry sends you a link to another family tree if there’s a connection to your tree, and it’s a great help to your research efforts.
Anyway, this person not only posted pictures from my great-grandmother’s family, she also had a short essay about my great-grandparents that sounded like it could have been written by me. You see, I’m always interested more in the stories than just the bare facts of genealogy, and my mother told me stories about her family that I always remembered. Like, that her great-grandparents were of two religious denominations: Baptist and Roman Catholic. She said that the Baptist father would not allow newspaper reading on Sundays, and he was also opposed to dancing and card playing. He did like ice cream, however, and he and his wife went out for ice cream every night in the summer.
Those kind of details had to come from someone with a strong connection to the family! I dashed off an email immediately, and sat back and waited.
And waited. I’ve had no answer yet, but maybe the person just hasn’t checked their email for a while. I do hope they check it soon, because I’m dying of curiosity.
I’ll let you know what happens.