‘Downey, Ellen. Can not read. Roman Catholic, three years old. Corresponding boxes in the 1911 census: a brief entry, but no less precious due to the connection felt to my grandmother, whose mother the census recorded, and details are now in front of me, eagerly sought and tenderly watched by me. move along the information as if bringing her back to life for a fleeting second. I wish I knew more about her.
n April, the 2022 Ireland Census will provide a space at the bottom of the form, a “time pane” where people can, if they wish, leave a message for their descendants after 100 years from now. It’s an innovative idea in an age of growing interest in genealogical research, aiming not only to document life in 2022 for relatives, but also for historians to document. reflect social change from census to census.
As someone interested in the study of relationships, this is certainly an interesting concept. The online censuses of 1901 and 1911 are invaluable research tools for supplementing ancestral knowledge of genealogical trees. They are aptly named, as each one appears, a different bloodline will appear on the chart, uncovering and unlocking family secrets, some with backstories that are so compelling that it’s hard to believe. may not reminisce about time travel; to try to belong, to go beyond the grave.
Poet Damian Smyth describes it best in his poem ‘The Cure at Knock’ in the book Recording downr: “The flow of blood zigzags like that / that now finds me with them on the street…” he writes, bringing his connected dead to life, as he accompanies the reader along the way. follow a route from Claremorris to the temple in 1880 to seek treatment for the subject’s seven-year-old daughter.
My own search has produced many surprises. Of course, I knew about my great-uncle Joe Cahill, and his role as chief of staff of the IRA, although I didn’t know that I was also related to a commander in the British army. My mom is amazing
uncle, Captain Clyde-Kirkwood Weldon, cuts a dashing figure in the photographs, standing in the sepia shade next to other army officers and their horses, twirling around with their belts. Imagine a conversation between those two men at the dining table…
The Cahill can be traced back to the Fenian movement, although in the early 1800s my fourth great-grandfather, Peter Cahill, moved from Lancashire to Newry, spawning later generations moving to Belfast. Other ties have been councilors in the UK for the Labor and Tory parties. My paternal grandmother, born to a Protestant mother in a mother-and-child home, was raised Catholic, and became a republican as she grew up. Her biological relatives, from Derry to Ballymoney, are a mixture of the Church of Ireland and Presbyterians, some of whom signed the Ulster Covenant in 1912.
My great-grandfather Edward Moloney served in both the Irish and British armies, as did his father and brother. His other brother Joe is a respected town sergeant in Longford, a discovery that led to me meeting my lovable cousin Nuala last summer. My grandmother was born in Cork, and her mother’s family, the McCarthys, moved into a house in Moriarty Alley after previous occupants died of Typhoid in 1847. An old newspaper described the alley as “filled with the most toxic liquid rubbish”.
One journalist described the scene: “The first thing that catches your eye is a small white coffin on the floor… by a few jars lying next to a man, a man, a woman’s clothes, skinny limbs are thrown out. Near the poor father were two children – miserable, miserable children – who were cowering. Somewhere in the corner, in a pile of straw, and covered with a layer of rags, was the mother of those dying children. ”
Who do you think You Are? It would take a whole series to decipher the diversity in my ancestral lineage, which often leaves me spinning in my head. Last week, BBC presenter Stephen Nolan took historians deep into his family, uncovering the origins of the Ulster Scots. There is a heartbreaking scene as he walks among the stele, leaving a wreath at an unmarked burial ground containing some of his relatives, too poor to have their memories marked. granite sign.
There are very few of us who are not related, who crossed the sea from Scotland in Ulster Plantation in 1609, or who fled. or die in the Famine, or have fought or lived through world wars, or conflicts in Ireland, North and South. No one has a monopoly on history, and just as our family ancestors are embedded in our DNA, so does our collective ancestral history; weave heritage and lineage, creating a culture that is both binding and divisible.
This prompts one to reflect on the current constitutional debate surrounding the future of this country, which at times brings out the worst of human toxicity, vents hatred, has been held in prisons for years. a bar chair in a like-minded company, now randomly roaming the internet.
“Planter”, “Hun”, “Fenian”, “Taig”. The words are commonly used, mostly by those who have no clue about the history, but will pass a degree of sectarianism with flying colors. It doesn’t do any harm if people examine their family history, study all of its intricacies, and determine when political or religious views were formed, not just by recent events. events around them, but by chance, or simple birthing accident.
American novelist Wendell Berry wrote in his essay Long-legged house: “The endless wonder of this encounter is what causes the mind, in the inner freedom of an icy morning, to turn around and question and remember. The world has many places. Why am I here? ”
To create a better future, to learn from the past, we must understand it. Perhaps the message and legacy we can leave for our children and grandchildren is to acknowledge and respect our personal and shared history. The only possible alternative is the further alienation, root relocation, division of cement. As the late Maya Angelou once said: “History, no matter how painful it is, cannot be without end, but if faced with courage, there is no need to live again.” Amen.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/facing-our-shared-history-would-ensure-we-never-have-to-relive-it-41389320.html Facing our shared history will ensure we never have to relive it