Sepia Saturday: Windows and heritage

sepia Sat 7 June

A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside. Denis Waitley, American author. (

nora bodyke

This beautiful lady is Nora, my third cousin once removed. Over forty years ago, she visited the home of her great-grandmother (my 2xgreat grandmother’s sister). The home was in the townland of Ballydonaghan, near the town of Bodyke in County Clare.

It was thanks to an oral history tip from a Kunkel cousin that I learned about Nora and her sister in Sydney. I was lucky enough to visit them while on work trips initially and more recently on any trip to Sydney. Over the years Nora has shared so many family stories, provided me with photos and funeral cards, and linked me to the US branch of our O’Brien family. I am truly indebted to her, and for this reason I asked her to launch my Kunkel-O’Brien book in November 2003.

Nora was a trail blazer in her career as a woman clerk with the New South Wales public service as well as serving with the WRAAC Citizens Army Force, eventually rising to be a Captain. This is her entry in the Australian Women’s Register. She is as smart as a whip as well as being a kind and generous person, and I’ve been privileged to have her in my life.

NORA STUFF 097 (2)

Nora’s Irish cousins and mine. We’ve been lucky enough to meet a couple of times when our travels have taken us to Ireland. If you’d like to read more about Hanora(h) Garvey nee O’Brien, you might like this blog post.

The Garvey family in Sydney remembered their ancestors in a stained glass church window at St Peter’s in Surry Hills.

Garvey windows crop
Nothing on this window gives a clue that John and Honora Garvey lived and died in Ireland.

Keep creating new windows from which to look at your world. Never accept your current view of the world as the only view. Let new awareness help you to alter your view and motivate you to be the force of change in your life. Don Shapiro.

Why not pop over to see what other Sepians have found when they’ve peeked out their windows?


21 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday: Windows and heritage

  1. An intersting life – no wonder she has stories to tell. I suspect that Nora had a special birthday celebration last year. Is she the cousin you visited before you caught your flight home last year?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I do like than Dan Shapiro quote – very insightful. What would we do without our cousins indeed. And that stained glass window is beautiful. Now – some dumb questions….what does ORA PRO mean before their names and is it OB or DB meaning date of birth before the dates?


  3. Stained glass windows I had completely overlooked them as a possibility for this weeks prompt. I have several relatives commemorated in the artwork of church windows. It’s so easy to forget these memorials as they are not common like a gravestone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How fortunate to have such a cousin so willing to share family information! And how equally fortunate to have had the chance to meet her and see her on more than one occasion. Very special.


  5. I can fully understand what a marvelous feeling it is to make contact with a relation, to meet and share photographs and stories. I too have been lucky through my blog, to be contacted by a third cousin who lived just 50 miles away. We discovered we even went to the same primary school at the same time , though classes apart! He has given me such a tremendous boost to my family history activities, especially my blog – as in this post, featuring hairdresser Elsie/Elise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Serendipitous meetings are a real bonus aren’t they? How surprising to have been at the same school. When I started high school, on Day 2 a fellow classmate came up to me and told me we were cousins..she’d recognised the Kunkel name but I’d had no idea of my grandfather’s relatives with whom he’d become separated.


  6. I love this post! The opening photo is a perfect match for this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt, and ending with the stained glass tribute and Don Shapiro quote brings it all home. So wonderful you were able to connect with your cousin and your O’Brien family members. These family connections are what make our ancestor quest so worthwhile!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. It’s funny how I can think I have nothing relevant and then the lightbulb comes on 🙂 when we start our family history we have no idea of the journey we’ll travel and the unanticipated benefits, like finding kin.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A very interesting post…good narrative and connection with windows and quotes…but mostly glad to hear of your cousin’s connection and family history. That’s great.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.