We genealogists recognise that the thrill of the chase is an exciting and addictive experience. Many of our fellow genies are Iceberg Genealogy Researchers who indulge from the comfort of their homes while sitting at a personal computer screen.
Family Historians who undertake geneajourneys and travel across the street or across the world to satisfy their geneappetites reap even greater rewards.
Tears rolled down my face recently as I left Cobh, Ireland on a six-star cruise ship with a band playing on the wharf and enthusiastic locals waving from the dock. I was transported back to January 1825 when my ancestor, Patrick Curry, was leaving Cobh bound for an uncertain future in the Colony of New South Wales. I cried for Patrick and the very different journey facing him and gave thanks for the sacrifices he made for me and my fellow descendants in an unknown land.
A visit to ancestor John Tucker’s butcher shop and home in Datchet, Berkshire and being able to sit at a table made by a Kealy carpenter ancestor in a farmhouse in Ballyfoyle,Kilkenny, Ireland created further spine-tingling moments. Even if one does not uncover such gems just wandering along the paths trodden by our ancestors and standing in the churches where life events were solemnised creates an unbelievable sense of peace and belonging. I feel so ‘at home’ in Ireland.
It took me nearly thirty years to discover the details of the crime for which my ancestor Eleanor/Ellen Moore was also transported to New South Wales. I had to travel to Limerick, Ireland and consult a microfilm copy of an 1824 Limerick newspaper, The Limerick Chronicle to learn the details of Eleanor’s dastardly deed. On a similar excursion to the John Gray Centre in Haddington, Scotland last year I was rewarded with a slew of newspaper articles and references to Gowans family members. If one wants to view the majority of records that are not available online one must go beneath the tip of the iceberg and travel. We owe it to our ancestors to seek out their full stories and preserve them for the future.
Genealogists should be lifelong learners. While the online opportunities for genealearning are growing exponentially there is nothing better than actual face to face learning in a shared physical location. For this reason I am a bit of a conference junkie who travels to local, regional and overseas educational events each year. I love learning and networking with fellow enthusiasts.
Sometimes the most suitable educational opportunities can be far from home. I was so excited when Kirsty Gray announced THE Genealogy Show 2019 as it gives me an opportunity to further my learning and indulge in more research in ancestral lands. THE Show has great appeal with an international flavour that provides opportunities to hear speakers like Janet Few, Gill Blanchard and Aiden Feerick whom I may never get to hear in Australia.
Of course I am combining my trip with some research. I have a list of documents to consult at The National Archives in Kew and the attached Familysearch Centre, we are travelling to The Fulbeck Moravian Church, Settlement and Museum in Yorkshire where we will visit the graves of some ancestors who died in the mid 18th century (a shoutout to the wonderful Fulneck archivist, Reverend Hilary Smith, who will be guiding us to grave sites.) I am sure that in the next four weeks before I leave home this list will grow…but there is always the next trip which is already planned!
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow”. – Anita Desai
Written by Jill Ball