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Location: Arizona, United States

My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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29 November, 2007

A Genealogical Christmas Wish

Dear Santa,

The article I'm supposed to write for this month's edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is on "Wish Lists". I have so many wishes this Christmas! But since this is a genealogical Carnival, I'll focus on my Genealogical Wishes (what a concept!). I think the first genealogical wish I have is to finally get off my tailbone and order marriage and death records for my grandparents. I don't think I'll find birth records ... oh wait, I might for Gramma (DOYLE) O'ROURKE, as she was born in 1906, and birth records in PA were mandated, I believe, in 1905.

Anyway, if I'm ever to hope to "jump the pond" to find my great-grandparents' birthplaces, I'm going to have to start ordering records. Though I must thank my cousin Mike for sending me copies of the birth records for grandma's father and his sister. They were born in Birkenhead, England! Too bad they don't list the location of their parents' births.

Another Wish I have is to somehow save or win enough money to take my genealogy vacation. I want to go to Frontenac, KS to see where my paternal grandmother was born, then to Niagara Falls, NY where my brothers and I and my mother were born; to Pittston and Nanticoke, PA where both paternal and maternal lines were born; and finally to Atlanta, to visit my living brother and his family. I think at this point I'm going to need to win the lottery, because things keep coming up financially!

Finally, a Wish for something intangible. I've "talked" many times on this blog of my dad's sister, Aunt Maryann, who had Down Syndrome. I've always regretted that I didnt' know much about her. Though through my dad and his cousin Tom, I have gleaned some things about her; like her affection for people and her affinity for Liberace. Through pictures of her -- and there are many -- I gather she loved animals (particularly dogs), had a sense of humor, and was confident in who she was, something I know many people think those with cognitive disabilities never are.

So this final wish is this: I'd like to gather stories about my ancestors from those who knew them. I'd like to know about their likes, dislikes, quirks, affinities, etc. Something that will make them more than just a name and a date. I'd love to know where I got my somewhat morbid sense of humor; did I get that from the Doyles? The Hodicks? O'Rourkes? McHughs? Or all the above? Where did I get my nervous stomach from (I think I know this one)? What parts of my personality are nature, what parts culture, what parts nurture (what's left after nature and culture are figured out, I suppose).

So, Santa, my wish is for written stories about my ancestors. I think that would further my connection to them, just as the cousins who "found" me through my research have helped me feel connected to my family's past. Genealogy is a fun venture, but the research itself pales in comparison to the feeling I get whenever a "real life" connection with my ancestors' children develops. It really does have a "history repeats itself" feel to it.

Thanks for listening, Santa. I hope you got Izzie's letter, too; he has a lot of real cool wishes.

27 November, 2007

Flags of our Ancestors

Lisa and Jasia posted a neat article at their blogs. They posted about a website entitled We Are Multicolored which allows you to choose three countries that have affected your life somehow and then to manipulate the shapes of those countries' flags to make one of your own. Here is my flag:This is in part speculation, really. The obvious needs no explanation. The Green/White/Orange flag is that of Ireland, from where my McHUGH, GRIFFIN, DOYLE, O'ROURKE, KEARNS, and DONAHUE came. The Red/White/Blue on top is the flag of the Czech Republic.

The Czech flag is the one which causes the confusion. My father's maternal HODICK line, as I'd always thought, was from Bavaria, Germany. However, when I started this research, every single U.S. Census record I found has Justina (NAHODIL sp?) HODICK born in Czechoslavakia and Edward HODICK born in Bohemia. A cousin of mine stated there was a town of Fuenfkirchen in Austria that was listed in a Bible as Justina's birthplace.

So I don't yet know what flag belongs on top, but for now I'll follow the Census records.

It is definitely time to start ordering vital records. Though the only one I'm likely to find anytime soon is a death record for Justina and Edward, who died in the 1950's in Western New York.

25 November, 2007

The Role of Culture in America

I was reading a post by Jasia of Creative Gene in which she described her experience at Mazowsze, a Polish Dance Troupe. Her post reminded me of an experience I had in a college culture and ethnicity course, in which comments made by anyone other than a person of color were pretty much dismissed. The hidden message behind the shun was, in my and others' eyes, was 1) that white people couldn't possibly understand what people of color have gone through and continue to go through, and 2) that white people had no culture.

It wasn't the first message that bothered me, because I pretty much agree. On the same token, I don't think anyone can truly understand another person's personal experience in any situation; that's what makes the experience personal. However, we can hope to listen empathically and appreciate others' experiences for what they were -- good or bad -- and learn from them. As for the second message, well that was just downright wrong.

To the left are my mother's father's parents and daughters:

James O'ROURKE and Mary KEARNS, along with Mary/Mae, Margaret/Nellie, and Elizabeth/Betty. Both James and Mary's parents were born in Ireland.

In this repeat picture, sitting center in the second row from the bottom, are my mother's mother's parents, John and Jane (McCUE) Doyle. While John was born in England, his parents were from Ireland, as were Jane's parents.

This is Mary GRIFFIN-McHUGH, my father's father's mother. She was born in Ireland, as was her husband, my great-grandfather Dennis Joseph.

These are my father's maternal grandparents, Edward and Justina (NAHODIL sp?) HODICK. Family lore had them born in Bavaria, Germany; however it is now believed that he was from Bohemia (all census records identify that as his birthplace, so we're investigating this) and she was from Fuenfkirchen, Austria (census records have her birthplace in Czechoslavakia, which given the political changes in the region, might make both beliefs true). At any rate, she was from Eastern Europe.

So this makes me of 6/8ths Irish descent and 2/8ths Eastern European descent. Yet in that class, this ethnic make up of my being was pushed aside; my skin was white, therefore I was American, aka culture-less.

I resented being left to feel like my heritage was irrelevant and my culture non-existent. But at the same time, that class did make me realize that, without a doubt, I am an American of Irish and Eastern European descent. I carry traits of those who came before me. I am constantly learning that things I believe or acts I partake in were part of my ancestors' lives too, and are therefore a result of my heritage. And yes, a result of my culture.

22 November, 2007

Have You Ever Thought About

Just what all goes into making you look like you? I mean, I think we all think we know, but do we really? My niece Kelley is a perfect example: I can only see the McHUGH side of her unless I see her with her cousin on her mother's side. Even with her mother (my brother's ex-wife), I see McHUGH. But with her mother's niece, I see that line in Kelley. It's the only time I can see that side of her family.

The same goes with me: in my brothers and I, I see O'ROURKE or DOYLE, not McHUGH or HODICK. Of course, up until recently the only McHUGH I had to compare ourselves to was our dad, and I didn't have that many HODICK relatives to compare us to, either. However, I was looking through pictures again today, trying to find inspiration for a post. I came across a recent photo acquisition of a newly-found second cousin, James McHUGH, his siblings and nieces. I won't show the picture of his nieces, as I do not know if the family would want that or not. But I did find this picture of myself and my brothers when we were about 6,8, and 10:

So I'll invite my cousin Jim to look at it (you may be able to click on it for a larger view; not sure as Blogger doesn't seem to be consistent about this feature) and determine if/how he sees the McHUGH influence. This picture was taken in our back yard in Niagara Falls, NY well before we moved to Arizona.

On this Thanksgiving day, I'll close with two wishes: A Happy Thanksgiving to all, and a hearty welcome to the world to my latest grand-nephew, Lennix (Lennox?) Parker, born last night at a healthy 9+ pounds. Congratulations, Jessica and Jay.

19 November, 2007

The 161 Meme

The latest Meme going around the Genealogy Blog-world is to open the current book you're reading to page 161 and post to you're blog the 6th line, as well as posting that same line as a post in the sender's blog in the form of a comment. Bill of West in New England tagged me for this Meme.

Currently, I'm reading a James Patterson book, entitled Cross. I'm currently at page 128 so I hope I don't give something up to myself ;). Line 6 reads:

"Our perp was clearly a discerning and self-..."
Well, since this is James Patterson and it is a suspense/thriller/murder-mystery, it is no spoiler to say the perp is a discerning and self-....anything!
So now I'm supposed to tag 5 other bloggers. As Bill said, most other genealogy bloggers have responded already, so some of mine may be other-topic bloggers.
I'll start with Donna, of Waiting for Lauren Elizabeth (if any readers are in the midst of adopting a child from a foreign country, you have to read her blog).
I'll tag Jennifer of JacksBox4You
Next up is Cubby of Cubby Goes Digital
Okay, Lola, since I've gone to the dogs, your turn over at Jackman Avenue!
Last but not least, the Army of Four!

18 November, 2007

Beating a Dead Horse

Sometimes, when we run into a brick wall, we have to take a step back, forget about it for a while, and try again when something trips our memory. Back in August, I pondered whether a snapshot of someone sitting in a living room chair was my great-grandmother Jane (McCUE) DOYLE, as the photo was labeled "Ma Doyle". My great-grandmother was known to be referred to as "Ma Doyle". You can re-visit that post HERE.

I compared this picture with another one also labeled "Ma Doyle" to determine if the two women were the same. I had some interesting comments indeed, including one from Terry, who did some manipulating to see what he could find

Then in September I revisited those old photographs after hearing from a cousin who thought maybe the more formal of the two pictures was Johanna DOYLE, my great-grandfather John's sister, who was also referred to as Ma Doyle. This post, viewable HERE, included a picture that included who is known to be Johanna DOYLE.

Then, while reviewing posts from my early days of blogging, I found this picture:

My cousin who sent this picture of the DOYLE and TIGHE families (on Union Street in Pittston, Luzerne County, PA) also sent me a listing of everyone in the picture. Sitting down in the middle of the second row (from the front) are my great-grandparents John J. and Jane (with the white hair) DOYLE. (for some reason, the feature that allows you to click on an image to see a larger view is not working on this photo, though it is on other pictures on this page. You can return to THIS POST to see the same photo and click on it for an enlarged view). It's pretty clear to me that the woman sitting in the second row of this picture is the same woman as is in this picture:

The question remains, is this Ma Doyle the same person as this Ma Doyle?

10 November, 2007

Thank You Veterans

From my family to yours, past and present, Thank You veterans for serving.

One of these men, perhaps the one in the middle, is thought to be Anthony McHugh, my paternal grandfather's brother.

A newspaper article sent to me by my second cousin on my paternal McHUGH line. James McHUGH, above, is the son of my grandfather's brother Francis.

Eddie Williams, married my maternal grandmother's niece from her sister Blanche (DOYLE) TIGHE.

The man in the picture on the left above is James (Jimmie) O'ROURKE (1929-2005), my mother's brother. No one seems to know who the man on the right is. The picture was among those found of my Uncle Jimmie, above left, so it might have been a friend. It might have been a relative. Regardless, he served, and that's what the point of this post is, to thank all those who served, not just the ones in our family tree.

Maryann McHUGH, 1930-1978

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