#52Ancestors: I’d Like to Meet

I’ve decided to give Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors” challenge another go this year. Hopefully I can get a little further into it than last year. I’m hoping to start building up my One Place Study this year and I really need to build up my writing skills and get back into the swing of it all again.

The first week’s topic is “I’d Like to Meet”. It’s tricky narrowing down an ancestor I’d like to meet. There are those who have passed who I’d love to spend time with all over again. There are those I only have few memories of because they passed when I was young like my grandpa, my great-granny and my Nana. My mother’s father is always the person I’d love to spend more time with. Not because we didn’t spend a tonne of time with him growing up, more because he was one of my favourite people and my hero.

Stepping away from immediate family, I would love to have met the great-grandparents who died when I was either very young so I don’t have any memories of them but also those who I missed completely. I have stories of them and photographs, but it would be nice to sit and have a cup of tea and a conversation with them.

The brick walls in my tree are from the births of children where there’s no record of the father or where the parents never married. I’ve an adoption in my tree at great grandparent level, one question of who the father was at 2x great on each side of my tree, one 2x great whose parents never married but it was the mother’s death that’s left confusion. I would love to sit down and ask both the parents questions about their families because I’m still finding picking out the DNA from each side really tricky (though I have identified two of the mothers who I couldn’t have definitely pinpointed without DNA).

I’d love to find out more about my Irish family since the records are more tricky to work with (though they are definitely not impossible). Having a Patrick Murphy in my direct line whose father was, you guessed it, Patrick Murphy, has left me with a brick wall I can see but won’t look at for the moment. I know I have branches from Cork, Kerry, Mayo and Westmeath. I lived in Ireland as part of my university studies and I’ve always felt so drawn to being there since I was a child. In primary school, we had to write a project on a country from anywhere in the world. The boy next to me chose Brazil, one boy in the class chose Antarctica, but I chose Ireland. Finding out more about why they left Ireland to come to Wales, England and Scotland would be really interesting as they all left at different points in the 19th century.

My list of ancestors I’d like to meet could go on and on. Away from my direct family though, I’d love to meet more cousins who share the same passion I have for family history so we can work together to uncover more fascinating stories. I’ve met some great ones since starting researching with my mum in 2009. DNA helped me to identify more cousins. I’ve a cluster of cousins who I keep in contact with regularly. We’ve never met in person, we’re spread across the world in the UK, Australia and Canada. They share the same passion which is amazing! I met another cousin in 2021 through our DNA matching. We spoke for just under a year and shared stories with each other. We planned to meet up but just as I was messaging her to say I would be in the area for a week if she was available, her daughter emailed me to tell me that she had passed away in July 2022. I’m heartbroken we were so close yet so far.

Ancestors, cousins but researching needs FANs. I’d love to make more genealogy friends. I actually am so blessed that I have a wonderful network of online friends who are researching their trees from across the UK, Ireland, USA and Canada. They’ve been inspirations to me. They’ve become like a second family. I’ve adopted some of them as family because we’ve become so close during lockdown and through courses we’ve taken together and social media events. I’d love to meet up with all of them for a cup of tea and cake! In Ireland would be ideal, but anywhere in the world would be amazing.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2023 is a better year for all of us.