Simple Minds

I can build my own computer. I can fix a laptop. I can set up a home network. I like Linux. But building this website is giving me a headache.

I am not using one of those simple web-builder softwares because the site hosting me doesn’t offer it. I have not done this before, so it is totally new. I have a wysiwyg editor but what I see isn’t always what I get. Hmmm…

I am not afraid of this process, but I am frustrated. I want what I want when I want it. I have grand plans for this website – news aggregators, a new home for my blog, a gallery, a family wiki for the trees and notes to be posted. Oh yes – this is going to be some site – once I figure out where the any key is.

Site Specific

I am building a website. I thought I would go beyond the basic blog and add some photos, family trees, and various stuff. I don’t know how it all works so it will be a process – as are all the things I’m trying to do right now.

But I can’t complain. I have a website that is registered in the lovely island territory of New Zealand – Tokelau ( That was free. then I went to 000webhoast and they were kind enough to give me free hosting. I get the feeling I will be paying for a website, what with all the stuff I want to add, but small and free seems to be a good place to start.

Updates will follow.

More request for comments, ideas interest…

WikiTree free family tree wiki
+ more … join me @ WikiTree

Any Thoughts?

Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: Genealogy & Family History

My uncle the Ocker

The Bennetts of Kenmare Kerry and ultimately Brooklyn NY told a few family stories that have turned out to be true. The great great grandfather was Matthew and lived in Kenmare, Kerry Ireland. He was indeed a tailor and his son created Richard Bennett Custom Tailors. He eventually sold the name and it still exists in a few stores out in the Mid West. Kinda cool.

Then there was the story of Uncle Harry who went off to Australia. Just a story, until I was able to find Uncle Harry in the birth and baptisms of Kenmare. That got me thinking. If Harry was indeed the brother of Richard the tailor, then what was to prevent him from having emigrated to Australia?

Lo and behold Ancestry Australia must have heard my thoughts and offered a free weekend of birth, marriage and death records. And there in the Marriage records was Harry marrying Jane Fraser. That included her parents names: Edward and Elizabeth. There were no marriage records for them, or a birth record for Jane, so that leads me in the direction of emigration from somewhere else – Scotland (given the surname) or perhaps England.

Additionally, there were death records for both Harry and Jane. They both died in 1931. Oddly, the transcription didn’t include dates, just a year. So I am left wondering if they died together or separately – did one die of a broken heart or was it a tragedy in which that they both died together? It will probably be some time before those records are digitized, if ever.

It’s just a wonderful puzzle, chasing down these ancestors.

I’m a rambler, I’m a gambler…

I found my great great grandfather’s kids in Kenmare, Kerry today. They were all right there on I was reading a blog (don’t remember which one) and there was an article about the confusing locations that Irish records are currently found. I was pointed to several sites and lo and behold the Bennetts of Kenmare, County Kerry Ireland were right where one would expect them to be. There certainly were a bunch of them.

I admit this little victory, not as a ‘look at me’ type of thing, but rather as an admission of guilt that I have no real plan to search out my ancestors. I don’t mind the fiddling around with the trees – are the uploads in sync with the stuff on the laptop etc etc. It’s the deciding who I will look for on any given day.

Today, I was in the middle of email reading, which sent me to a blog, which sent me to a website, which had me spending an hour or two on the Bennetts and then finally back to the mail. No plan. A fly by the seat of my pants approach is stimulating, but doesn’t really make me much of a genealogist.

I watched a video today on getting organized. Interestingly enough, I was pretty much in sync with the presenter on how my own genealogy files are arranged. Now, I have to find one that will help me make a genealogy plan. And one that I can stick with.

As successful as the day was, I feel like a rank beginner.

There are places I remember…

I was raised learning the place names of my grandmothers original neighborhood. Swanlinbar, Lisnaskea, Derrylin, Thompson’s Crossing and other places – oh of course we can’t forget Enniskillen – of which there is a song about the braveness of their Fusiliers.

Oddly enough, while we knew these places, we never knew about her family there. I don’t automatically assume that it was a bad family – or at least worse than any other – or if it was a terrible scrabble for survival, or if my grandmother just had her sights set on someplace other than there. But the place names have lingered, while the family names did not.

The other day I blogged that I figured out her mothers maiden name through a conversation with my Dad. I then was able to creep back a generation through searching on and finding her mothers maiden name on an Irish birth record index from the 1620-to the 19th century some time. It helped that she had a somewhat uncommon name – Rose Anne – but it didn’t hurt that I was able to recollect the old neighborhood and see the Rose Anne who was born in Lisnaskea.

While I may be the first person to find (or even look for) Rose Anne Martin and her mother Bridget McManus, I know that others out there have felt the same elation when yet another layer is uncovered in the family quest.

House cleaning

Decorating is really closer to the mark – knick knacks…

Anyway, I was on Second Life the other day. I had read a Dear Myrtle blog entry and she described a little genealogical space that exists there. So on I went and met her ‘live’. It was a nice experience and I was given a calendar of genealogical events that happen on Second Life (SL).  I attended one.

I met two people and one of the things we discussed was place names – archaic and modern. (I told you I’d get back on this.) Their recommendation was to list the place as it existed when the person lived there and put a note in the Notes section as to what this place is known as now.

I am sure that this is not the only answer on the subject that I will discover, but it is the first. I’ll let you know about the others as they come along.

And another thing…While my current visit count is zero and I’m not sure that will change at any point in the life of this blog, IF someone were to want to use any part of this blog to make a point or show how not to do something, they are welcome to do so – just don’t forget to attribute. I was reading another blog about the idea of plagiarism. I suppose this material is copyright me. But I’m a pretty generous guy, so attribute and use what you will. Just be nice and don’t take things out of context. We all look like idiots when that’s done.

Carry Me Back to Old Fermanagh

I was able to find my paternal grandmother’s (the then Maggie Murphy) immigration papers on A great site if that’s where your family entered the US. One of the pieces of paper was the immigration form – as opposed to the ship’s passenger list. It gave me her closest living relative’s contact information – her mother, Rose Annie Murphy.

Surprisingly enough, there were a few Rose Martins in the lists I checked, but only one Rose Annie. While there is no guarantee, she is born in the right time frame(early 1870s), lived in the right town (Derrylin) and was a Martin – which was the name of my grandmother’s aunt, whom she sponsored from Ireland in 1940. (The Auntie Maggie of the other day’s post.)

Just an update: I am still foiled by how to indicate a place name – either by its modern or historical appellation. I’ll find out though.

Auntie Maggie

Last night, I spoke with my Dad. He’s 91 and has all those memories from way back that are quite before my time. I had peeked at the 1940 census, pretty much convinced that I knew everybody in the household back then. All my aunts and uncles that were children of my grandmother and grandfather. Little did I suspect…..

There at the bottom of the list of occupants was a Margaret Martin, aged 50. Hmph. I didn’t know of any Martins in the family. I didn’t recollect any references to her in my chats with family members. So, I asked my Dad.

A pause…blankness – I could see his face. Then a dawning light – he laughed – Auntie Maggie! he says. My grandmother was born in Ireland in 1898. She was a Murphy from Manorhamilton, County Fermanagh, in what is now Northern Ireland. She was committed to giving back as she was taken care of when she wanted to emigrate to the US. She had needed a sponsor and a cousin who had come before gave her the chance. She did the same for Auntie Maggie – sponsored her and gave her a stable residence to satisfy the US immigration authorities.

Thus Auntie Maggie.

If I understand correctly, as an unmarried sister to my great grandmother, I now have her maiden name, Martin. I don’t know for certain, but perhaps she also commenced her time on this earth in Manorhamilton. It’s a starting point, where before that conversation with my Dad, I had nothing to go on. Even my Dad appreciated my excitement at finding that piece of the puzzle. (Much more so than my girlfriend will ever do.)

So, look out Fe’ar Monach, here I come.