Saturday, December 11, 2010

     Hello and welcome to my blog.  The name that appears on my birth certificate is Ellen Mary, but most people call me Ellie; I live in upstate New York, near Rochester with my husband, youngest son and two nutty Yorkies.  I'm researching among others:
  •  Ryan and O'Dwyer County Tipperary
  • White and Keyes possibly County Limerick or Tipperary
  • Gunn and Brown County Kerry
  • Power and Crotty County Waterford
  • Hore/O'Hore County Carlow
     As you can see, I have half of Ireland covered.  This blog will be about my obsessive never-ending search for any scrap and I mean ANY scrap of  information about my long departed relatives, hence the name, Ellie's Ancestors.  My main focus will be on Irish ancestors and Irish genealogy along with upstate research and resources. 
     Since it's Friday I think we'll start with something I like to call "Funerary Friday", and Lord knows I've had some interesting experiences in that department.  For instance, St. Patrick’s Cemetery is located in Macedon, a small NY village on the Erie Canal where many Irish settled.  St. Patrick’s is an old Catholic cemetery perched on the side of a steep hill; more like a cliff actually, holding around 340 terraced graves. From a grave at the very top, their priest watches over his former parishioners.  

     The photo above shows the foothills of Mt. St. Patrick.  They were mostly poor Irish immigrants and as the Catholic Church was not well established here in the 19th century, this piece of property was probably all they could afford.  
     I’ve spent many hours in this particular cemetery; it’s filled with tombstones any genealogist would give his or her hanging files to find, those giving a place of origin.  Envy the descendants of Mary Clavin Casey buried next to her husband John, her stone reads, born Mitchelstown, Co. Cork Ireland, died Mar. 30, 1897, 50y.  Why do my relatives never have stones like that or a stone at all half the time?
     Though located on the edge of the village, there are no houses near this cemetery and it is surrounded on one side by deep woods, (of course).  Never one to let anything as mundane as personal safety dissuade me, I often go there alone.  One summer I was going almost weekly to photograph stones when I noticed something decidedly odd.   About halfway up the hill, (cliff) is a plot about 10 X 10 feet, surrounded by a low iron railing.  As I approached I saw something laying on one of the graves.  Upon closer inspection, (you didn't really think something lying on a grave in a deserted cemetery would cause me go in the other direction did you?) I found it to be a cushion from a patio chaise lounge.  Strange place to sunbathe I thought, but as no one was in sight I went about my photographing.  The next time I visited, creepy plastic flowers and mosquito netting had been added.  

     Now I was getting a little nervous.  Actually I was pretty freaked out, but I had a job to do.  A few days later, still more creepy flowers were in evidence along with an excavation in which the chaise cushion now rested, the netting arranged over it.  Someone had been digging!  That was too much for even a dedicated genealogist such as myself; and while I would welcome a ghostly visit from an ancestor, provided they filled in some gaps for me, I had no desire to meet a living ghoul.  It was a very long time before I returned to that cemetery, but when I did...well that’s a story for the next Funerary Friday. 

      I invite you to join me on the trip while I share my genealogical finds, tips and photos; I hope you find them helpful.