Accentuate the Positive 2019

GeniAus has once again challenged us to think positively about what we achieved in our family history during 2019.

Here are my responses to her questions (unnumbered since it was being temperamental)

Glasgow Evening News, March 26, 1888, page 3.

* An elusive ancestor I found was: a link to my David Callaghan’s parents, thanks to a DNA match and correspondence with the owner of the tree.

* A surprising newspaper article I found was my great-grandfather’s letter to the editor detailing his days in jail due to not vaccinating my grandmother, Catherine McCorkindale.

* A geneajourney I took was to visit Backrow farmhouse at Bothkennar, Scotland, home for many years to my Sim family. I’d seen it from the road several times and always wanted to “walk the property”…many thanks for the kindness of the current residents.

* I located an important record at the National Records Office of Scotland with the clues from cousins and help from genimates: the (non)vaccination record for my grandmother, Catherine McCorkindale and her younger siblings.

* Newly found family members were discovered and shared stories, photos, and documents (Kunkel, Melvin, McCorkindale, Callaghan).

Backrow farmhouse

* A geneasurprise I received was thanks to @HistoryLady2013 who found a reference to my great-grandfather’s imprisonment due to not vaccinating his children…it confirmed oral history and the date led me to the newspaper story! Thanks Sylvia!

* My 2019 social media posts that I was particularly proud of were the story of little Lizzie Brophy; the courage of my Callaghan ancestors at sea; and Finding the Fass in Bavarian Newspapers.

* I met new genimates at DNA Down Under (and had tons of laughs), and renewed some friendships-at-a-distance at RootsTech London. I also got to meet new cousins in Edinburgh.

* A new piece of technology or skill I mastered played with was DNA Painter.

* I joined (finally) the Irish Family History Society while at RootsTech London.

The stables courtyard at Backrow.

* Genealogy education sessions and events from which I learnt something new was Waves in Time 2019 on the Sunshine Coast, DNA Down Under, and RootsTech London.

* A blog post that taught me something new was this post on Kissing Cousins: Marital Dispensations, Consanguinity, Affinity.

* A DNA discovery I made was a connection to my Callaghan ancestors from Wexford.

* I helped a genimate (cousin) to navigate through the starting phases of their research and got them addicted to family history.

* A brick wall I demolished was …”wishin’ and hopin’”…..

* A great site I visited often was the Irish Genealogy page…it has been pure gold for Irish research.

* Three new genealogy/history books I enjoyed were “On Chapel Sands” recommended by my friend FamilyTreeFrog; “Downsizing with Family History in Mind” by Devon Noel Lee and Andrew Lee; and “The Exile Breed” by Charles Egan.

* It was exciting to finally meet the knowledgeable and delightful Blaine Bettinger in Queensland and Sydney, and Sylvia Valentine who helped me with my vaccination discoveries.

* I am excited for 2020 because there’s always something new to learn that will stretch (or boggle!) my mind…and who knows, maybe break down my Sherry/McSherry/McSharry brick wall.

* Another positive I would like to share is …my A to Z series 2019 which documented some of my early days as a young woman in Papua New Guinea. I hope it will be something my descendants might be pleased to discover on Pandora one day. I’m always pleased, too, when cousins tell me how much they still get from my Kunkel family history.

Thanks GeniAus for making us all reflect and perhaps realise we’ve achieved more than we thought.

A surprising New Year ‘s Eve

This is a similar-ish lamp to the one in the story.

Once upon a time, several decades ago, a young woman was living with her husband in the small town of Alotau in Papua New Guinea. She was six months pregnant and for some reason thought it would be a good idea to celebrate their first New Year’s Eve together with friends.

At the time, the town only had eighteen hour power with the hours between midnight and 6am requiring alternative strategies. Waking up early to get started on the party preparations seemed like a good idea so she headed to the lounge room where she lit the rather lovely antique glass and brass lamp she’d given her husband for his 21st. She struck the match and started to turn to the kitchen. Kaboom!

The lamp had blown up and kerosene, green glass and flames spread across the lounge room floor….the ignition had travelled to the bottom of the wick and set off this mini-explosion. The young husband came rushing from the bedroom, startled by the noise, and perhaps a shriek. The flames were all he could see – no sight of his wife. She in turn was in the kitchen with her nylon nightie stripped off – it had partially caught fire and melted in the flames. She’d had a lucky escape being half-turned away when the fire took hold -no other injuries.

The young couple walked down the street to the bloke who served as a hospital assistant, and were reassured that all was well with their baby. In the small town the reactions to the explosion differed: “someone’s shot his wife”, “someone will call to tell me if I’m needed” and “why are they walking down the street at this hour in dressing gowns”. The party was cancelled after all the drama.

All’s well that ends well, but memories are long and another New Year’s Eve has never been planned by the couple.

I’d like to wish all my readers a very happy New Year with many wonderful things ahead in 2020.

Image by Samad Khakpour from Pixabay