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Writing About Your Ancestors #52Ancestors

I have to admit that a week ago you couldn't see the counter.

Well, I did it! I pretty much got the closet back into shape. I do, however, have a pile, but I should be able to handle the items there. I've spent most of the week catching up on some accounting as well, so I haven't done much research.

One of my resolutions was to write. I discuss this frequently in my blogs and there are lots of different types of writing. I can't say it's my favorite thing to do, but I've found the more I write, the better I understand my research. When I first started doing client research I would have a 10 hour assignment and would research for 9 hours, then sit down to write the client report. As I wrote the report, all sorts of questions would jump into my head and I'd end up doing more research. It would likely take me another 10 hours to write the report (so the job wasn't very profitable).😀 I quickly learned to write as I went along.

I'm sure you know the story about the shoemaker's children...well that's where I am in my personal research. I've been so busy doing other people's research that my own has become just additions from hints in various databases. I haven't been writing on my family. I've therefore decided to participate in Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Wow, that's a big commitment, but I'm going to give it a try. As Amy says, there isn't a "52 Ancestors Police" so you can write, make a video, discuss a picture...whatever. It doesn't have to be an could be you or any relative. So here's my first story. My youngest daughter is an Episcopal priest and this is the story of the Stole we gave her for Christmas along with the story of her fourth cousin who made it.

Kelly's Stole

For the past few years while in Ireland, I’ve looked for an Irish Linen Stole, but have been unable to find one. This year I spoke with a priest at Christ Church and asked her where she got her stoles. She indicated she ordered them online for the UK or US (not helpful). Her suggestion was to purchase the linen and have it made. Since we had your ordination stole made, I thought that might be a good choice. I started to look for a place to buy linen in Dublin and was told, I really needed to go to Banbridge in County Down for the linen. Since Belfast was at the end of my trip and I had a few extra days, I thought I’d visit then.

On my trip north, I visited with a cousin of Dad’s, Anita Gallagher, who planned to take me to the place where Dad’s grandmother, Bridget Beatrice King (known as Dodsey) was born. Anita and I connected about five years ago. She picked me up at the Newry Rail Station, but needed to stop in Castlewellan to drop off a birthday present to her sister, Claire. Claire owns a gift and craft shop called Blue Beans and specializes in beautiful custom made linen christening gowns. I thought she might be able to suggest where to buy the linen, and after some discussion, she said she could make the stole. Claire is your 4th cousin as you share 3rd great grandparents.

When Claire made the offer to make the stole, the stealth plot began. I wrote John Ohmer with a subject, “It’s a Secret,” and asked him to take a picture of your red stole and to provide its measurements. Since Claire had never made a stole, that is what provided her pattern.

There are other connections. In the 1901Census of Ireland, Bridget (Dodsey) King (Dad’s grandmother), who was 12 years old (although listed as only 10) worked in the linen factory in Drumgooland. Nanny Moughty used to talk about what a wonderful seamstress she was. Her education was limited, and although she and her sisters (but none of her brothers) spent some time in school, it was limited. The King sisters would walk 5 - 6 miles to get to the linen factory where they sewed shirts.

For my side of the family, the Moags were farmers from an area of County Down, not far from Drumgooland. It was likely that one of their crops was flax which was used to make the linen, so the connection to the linen trade is on both sides of the family.

I went on in my story to explain the symbolism of the Celtic Cross and the Claddagh surrounded by the green shamrocks. Is there more to the story? Yes. The reason I met Claire was that her sister was taking me to the King house (ruin) where Dodsey was born. That's another part of the story.

The ruins of the house where Bridget (Dodsey) King was born.

Might you be able to find the house where your ancestor lived? It's possible and one of the reasons you should plan to visit Ireland. Registration is open for the 2020 Research Trips and they are starting to fill up. You can check out the information here and download the brochure and registration form. To find out more about the trip you can follow the 2019 trip on my blog (scroll down to October). Here's the blog about the day I spent with Anita visiting the King (and O'Loughlin) homesteads in County Down.

Happy Hunting!

Register now for the 2020 Ireland Research Trip to either Dublin or Belfast (or both). Registration forms can be found here.

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Don't know if I'll ever get to writing but thanks for the encouragement. My comment, however, is that the stole (and your daughter) are absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful gift!

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