Hello, it’s been a while. I have erased 2011 from my memory as much as I can and have begun a beautiful 2012.
Something happened genealogy-wise recently which is what brought me back here – a good something. When doing family research one tends to accumulate a lot of data about people long passed on, which of course is interesting, but a huge perk is finding living family members about whom you knew nothing whatsoever. This has happened on both sides of our family through the years and has garnered us relatives all over the world and right in our own back yard so to speak.
We had a great-aunt-by-marriage who passed away about 30 years ago. She was Isabel, married to our great-uncle Jim, Nanny (King) D’All’s brother & they had a daughter Patsy. Many times I had looked for Isabel & Jim – I did find Jim on a passenger list in 1927 coming to Montreal, his contact was Nanny. Dan & I knew Uncle Jim as children and in later years Dan bought some property from Auntie Issie (she & Jim were long separated). Patsy I recall visiting our house but it is all very vague.
One big problem was that I had no idea of Isabel’s maiden name until about a month ago when a search for Patsy turned up her birth record – Isabel was a Skillen. Repeatedly I searched but only found a passenger list with an Isabel Skillen coming to Montreal from Ireland in 1930 – unfortunately there was no contact name other than a lady who would be her employer and without her parents’ names I was stuck.
Then last week I was chatting with a friend who does research & who has enviable contacts with those in charge of records. A mere 15 minutes later I had Isabel & Jim’s marriage record from 1932 complete with both sets of parents’ names added in the margin by a conscientious church staffer – gifts like these are rare.
So, now to search for Isabel Skillen’s birth in and around Belfast with parents John Skillen & Sarah Black.
I still have trouble believing what followed.
Immediately a family tree popped up for a couple with identical names, in the correct area, in the correct era but with a daughter Annie born in 1906 – no sign of an Isabel in 1908. Regardless, I sent an email to the tree owner – it turns out that his mother-in-law is the daughter of Annie Skillen – she is called Isabel after her aunt who emigrated to Canada in 1930 – she has a daughter Trish, married to the tree owner, who is named after Isabel & Jim’s daughter Patsy! Which makes Trish our second cousin J
All this in less than two hours. I have to say that this has been the exception to the norm. Finding family can take years even if you have all sorts of pertinent information & I certainly don’t want to give the impression that family research is a constant string of exciting events – it is not – but I think all of us who do it hope for things like this.
Till next time