Friday, July 2, 2010

Have you ever wondered where you came from??

Not the location so much, but the family? I had not until about 15 years ago when events led to the discovery of previously-unknown-to-me family living in my own city. Strange, but it happens more often that you imagine. Many people, although certainly not all, know where they were born and who their parents were, and a lot have had the pleasure of having known and loved their grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. I thought I knew of all mine, but as it turns out, I did not.

The task of compiling one’s family history can be at times ~ exciting ~ joyous ~ frustrating ~ surprising ~ satisfying ~ sad ~ a whole welter of emotions come into play. Our family story has been my preoccupation since that day and I thought it might be interesting and perhaps illuminating to describe events of all emotional bents, not the mechanics of the research, but the unexpected.

It continues to amaze me each time I uncover something new or realize that the family “stories” I have heard all my life are either simply not true or have become slightly warped over time.

When I began, all that I knew of outside our immediate family were the names of Dad’s grandparents, his aunts and his mother’s brother; as for Mum I had little more, even though I knew her great-grandmother’s name, being a Davies in Wales is akin to being a Smith elsewhere. Not to mention being a Linehan in Ireland. Dad had passed away in 1988, Mum was to follow in 1997 after I had developed my interest. Were I to offer one piece of advice to anyone embarking on a study, it would be to talk to the oldest member of the family before they are no longer there with their wealth of knowledge to impart.

Over these years down the research road I have accumulated data back to 1850 or so for Dad’s family and to the early 1700s for Mum’s. Oh, by the way, if you get the urge to travel this same road J live by the Boy Scout motto ~ BE PREPARED ~ you will amass reams of paper, if you do not have a spare room to use as an office, stay away from the dining room at the risk of losing it!!!

For clarity’s sake, ‘we’ are the three surviving offspring of Annie Linehan & Harry D’All; Dan & I were born in England as was our late sister Teresa, who died in infancy. Dan now lives in the USA and I am in Montréal as is my son Liam. Our baby sister Maggie was born in Westmount, Québec; she lives in Pickering , Ontario with her sons Tim and Tyler as well as her “Golden” boys Joe and Sam.

Our Dad’s family is of Scots (Dundee,Angus) & Irish (Cavan/Antrim) descent and Mum’s of Welsh (Glamorgan) & Irish (Cork).

I need to say this, the people I have “met” in the genealogy community, particularly Nancy in Iowa and the marvelous inhabitants of the Glamorgan mailing list, are amongst the most generous with their time, knowledge and expertise that it has been and continues to be my pleasure to know.

When recounting family history, the word “tree” comes into play with great regularity. This is a picture of my absolute favourite arbre which resides in the garden of our Late Aunt Peggy’s beloved Bryn Awel in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Behold my very own Faraway tree …


  1. Beautiful job, Helen! What a wonderful labor of love you have created!

  2. I am going to enjoy getting to know you more with your weekly postings...thank you for sharing yourself with us