The Irish in America


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Well, He Finally Did It!

My dad, Jim McCormack, finished his book: The Ballyedmond McCormacks in Ireland and America. I am proud of him and in awe of the achievement.

The Jimmys having a laugh outside the old house

The author and his cousin sharing a laugh outside McCormack cottage in Ballyedmond

What I am most impressed with is how Dad went the extra mile to tell the stories of ALL the McCormacks who came from Ballyedmond, near Rathdowney in County Laois, Ireland. He could have told the story of his grandfather and great uncles who came to America in the 1870s through the 1880s. That would have been enough for most family historians and genealogists.

But Dad included the stories of the McCormacks who came to America the generation before his grandfather. This is such a well-researched book. It seemed as though every few months Dad would say he had just met a new cousin. He got to know so many cousins, learning their stories, identifying photographs, and filling in the gaps. The book explores the strong links between the American and Irish branches of the McCormack family – links I have talked about on this blog.

What Jim has to say about the book…

This labor of love was almost 20 years in the making. I drew on resources in America and in Ireland, including family oral tradition and memoirs, verified wherever possible, church and civil records, newspaper accounts and a few secondary sources. The result was a 240 page volume including about 300 photos and charts.

Click here to view the flyer.

If you would like to order a copy, send me an email and I will put you in touch with Jim.

Nice job, Dad!

 

 

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Belfast City {more than just} Sightseeing Tours

Have you traced your Irish roots to Belfast, Northern Ireland and are now planning a visit to the old homestead? Aidan McCormack and Belfast City Tours are at your service!

crumlin-road-gaol-254x134

Belfast City Tours is much more than a sight-seeing bus, circulating through Belfast, providing entertaining commentary, and pointing out historic buildings. Of course they do those things very well, but Aidan and his team also create personal genealogy-based itineraries. Aidan says:

We have an intimate knowledge of our local areas and already work closely with local genealogists and PRONI to deliver bespoke tours to families and small groups.

Simply go to www.BelfastCitySightSeeing.com and take a look at what they offer. An impressive range of tours are listed on the website, in addition to some unique options which will make planning a trip to Northern Ireland a breeze:

  • Day trips to Derry, Giant’s Causeway, and more
  • Airport pick-ups
  • Hotel reservations
  • Boat cruises
  • Walking tours
  • Group activities

Belfast City Tours is a great option for all of your travel needs in Belfast and beyond. Their comprehensive services are unique and their attention to detail is fantastic. They would love to hear from you and get started making your visit to Northern Ireland one you will never forget.

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CHECK THEM OUT ON TWITTER

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Pride & Place Pictures of Ireland + A Special Offer Just For You!

Old House in Mayo Mountains - photo courtesy of Pride&Place Pictures of Ireland

Old House in Mayo Mountains – photo courtesy of Pride & Place Pictures of Ireland

It is my pleasure to introduce you to an exciting new venture – Pride & Place Pictures of Ireland. Now, this is a fantastic idea!

Paul Mulligan is an Irish photographer who believes there is something very special about Ireland – its landscapes and seascapes, its villages and people. Paul knows that many people all over the world share this passion for Ireland. Some have emigrated and miss home, while others have memories of an amazing holiday spent in Ireland. There are also those who have never even visited Ireland, but feel an affinity to the place of their ancestor’s birth.

Whatever the case, Paul can bring that special piece of Ireland home to you. From the Pride & Place website:

All over the world there are many Irish exploring their roots or working abroad

It might be very important to you to have a photo of home where you live or work.

What better than a photograph of Ireland that is dear to you and reminds you of home.

Dundalk Bay - courtesy of Pride&Place Pictures of Ireland

Dundalk Bay – courtesy of Pride & Place Pictures of Ireland

There are many photos of Ireland online that you can choose from ,however they tend to be much of the same.

The service we offer is simple and the end product can be amazing for you.We Take the picture you want us to take. You Pick. We Click.

It could be the tree you climbed when you were young, maybe you carved your name on it. It could be the church where you, your parents or grandparents got married. Anything or anywhere specific to you, your memories and roots in Ireland.

Pride & Place Pictures of Ireland is offering The Irish in America readers a special discount – when you contact them, mention the code “irishamerica” to receive 20% off your order! Don’t hesitate to get in touch – Paul would love to hear from you and as he says, “It’s free to talk!”

Don’t know where your ancestor’s came from in Ireland? The Irish in America can help you sort that out – take a look at our Services page for information on hiring us to do some genealogical digging. For a special rate of $35 The Irish in America will complete a general search on the origin of your surname in Ireland. Then, you will have something to go on when you contact Pride & Place. If you wish to go a little deeper, one of our other research packages may be of interest. Click here to send us an email!

House in the Connemara Hills - courtesy of Pride&Place Pictures of Ireland

House in the Connemara Hills – courtesy of Pride & Place Pictures of Ireland

Pride & Place…a great way to remember home, dream of a favorite vacation spot, or honor your ancestors who left Ireland all those years ago. Visit Pride & Place Pictures of Ireland to see more gorgeous photos and for more information.


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Remembering Donald

They say that one of the first steps to learning about your family history is to talk to your oldest living relatives. They actually knew the people behind the names in your family tree print-out. These relatives have stories to tell, memories to share.

Nearly ten years ago my mom and I set out to learn more about our family and arranged to meet two of my grandpa’s cousins – Donald and Gerald Regan. The brothers taught us much more than we thought possible about my grandpa, the entire Regan family, and growing up in Clontarf, Minnesota .

Donald passed away last month, one day shy of his 96th birthday. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather, a proud Navy veteran of World War II, a successful businessman, and a former mayor of DeGraff, Minnesota. Donald was friendly, outgoing, and charming. He loved to be in the mix and hear the latest news. Donald’s brother Gerald said he inherited these traits from the “Regan side” of the family. I will miss Donald’s delightful gift for storytelling and am grateful I had the chance to listen.

Donald and his sister, Kathryn.

Donald and his sister, Kathryn.

The first time I met Donald in early 2004*, he brought my mom and me on a driving tour of Tara Township. As we drove out from Clontarf, with what seemed to me to be an endless expanse of land on either side of the road, Donald began telling us who lived and farmed each section, beginning with the original nineteenth century settlers through the present-day owners. From the front seat, his brother Gerald filled in the gaps. I was in awe – I didn’t even know the names of the forty other residents of my condominium!

As we slowly rounded a corner, Donald pointed out a grove of trees set off from the road, and he stopped the car.

“Can you see a house in there? That’s where John was born. Let’s see if we can’t get closer.”

John was my grandpa and Donald’s first cousin. Donald and Gerald grew up across the railroad tracks from my grandpa in Clontarf. Donald took a sharp turn into the “driveway” – a muddy springtime mess of rocks and decaying twigs. I was certain we would get stuck, but Donald knew what he was doing. We got out of the car and walked up to the house. Donald made sure we didn’t get too close, it wasn’t safe. There was my grandpa’s birthplace, glass gone from the windows and walls gently caving in, but still standing thanks to that grove of trees.

Several years later, when Donald had moved into the Manor in Benson, he navigated his scooter down to the Whistle Stop Cafe to meet us for lunch, with the same purpose and confidence with which he drove up to Grandpa’s house that Spring day. I liked how Donald maintained his independence – with a touch of determination. Mom and I came to town a couple of times a year, meeting Donald and Gerald for lunch and a chat about “old times”. Without fail, Donald and Gerald dazzled us with entertaining tales of life in Clontarf.

At each meeting with the brothers, I waited patiently for Donald to break out his “Annie voice”. In a high-pitched tone he would say, “Oh, Sonny!” mimicking my great-grandmother Annie Hill Regan’s chastising her son for some transgression or another. I simply loved how Donald scrunched up his nose and exclaimed this phrase with a twinkle in his eye. This meant the world to me, and I think Donald got a kick out of it as well.

Donald helped fill in the gaps in our family history left by my grandpa’s early passing. My mom and I were a captive audience as Donald and Gerald reminisced about old times. As Donald helped me get to know my grandpa through his memories, he gave me a special glimpse into his own life. The Donald who was a protective older brother to Kathryn, a boy earning a little extra money sweeping out the furnace at McDermott’s in Clontarf with his brother Gerald, and Julia’s youngest son. We were lucky that Donald was so generous with his memories, his time, and his friendship. Rest in peace, Donald.

*I am sure I met Donald in the 1980s at a Regan Family picnic, but I didn’t get to know him until Spring of 2004 when my mom and I first visited Clontarf together.

Donald W. Regan

Benson
September 14, 1917 – September 13, 2013

Donald W. Regan, 95 of Benson died Friday, September 13, 2013 at Meadow Lane Nursing Home in Benson.  Mass of Christian burial will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, October 5, 2013 at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in DeGraff.  Burial will be in the church cemetery.  Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday at the church with a rosary at 4:30 p.m.  Visitation will continue on Saturday for one hour prior to the service.  Funeral arrangements are with the Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar.

Don_0Donald William Regan was born on September 14, 1917 in Clontarf, the son of Patrick and Julia (Duggan) Regan.  He attended Clontarf Elementary and Benson High School, graduating in 1936. After his schooling he entered the U.S. Navy where he served his country during WWII.   On December 27, 1945, Don was united in marriage to Margaret Helen Coy at the Catholic Church of Visitation in Danvers. They made their home in DeGraff where Don managed the DeGraff Lumber Company. They were able to share in 57 years of marriage before Margaret’s death on July 27,2002. Don enjoyed traveling, dancing, watching sports, especially Notre Dame football, Vikings and Twins.  He was the Commander of the Hughes-McCormack Post of the American Legion until his death, was a member of Knights of Columbus and had served on the school board, city council and was mayor of DeGraff.

Donald W. Regan died Friday, September 13, 2013 at Meadow Lane Nursing Home in Benson at the age of 95. He is survived by his children, William Regan of Benson, Julia (Everett) Richardson of Surprise, AZ, Dr.Timothy (Michelle) Regan of Santa Rosa, CA, Patrick Regan of Mpls, Duggan (Cindy) Regan of DeGraff and Daniel Regan of Blaine;  7 grandchildren; 3 step-grandchildren and 6 step-great-grandchildren.  Don was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret; son, Bruce; siblings, Clarence, Howard, Catherine, Agnes and Marjorie.

– from Harvey, Anderson & Johnson Funeral Home


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Dublin St. Patrick’s Week: Family History Centre

findmypast-logoIf you will be in Dublin next week and are curious about your family history, then you are in luck!

As part of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Festival and in conjunction with The Gathering Ireland 2013, the folks at FindMyPast Ireland are hosting the Family History Centre on March 14-18. This is an exciting event, with lectures, exhibitors, and FREE access to FindMyPast.ie. This is what they have to say about the event:

80 million people worldwide claim Irish ancestry – are you one of them?

The Irish Family History Centre runs throughout the week of the St. Patrick’s Festival and allows you to discover your Irish family history.

Free access to millions of online records from findmypast.ie will give you an insight of what life was like for your ancestors hundreds of years ago in Ireland. Learn how to search for information using the free computers and chat with experienced staff who can answer your questions.

StPatricksFestivalWe can all use some expert advice when it comes to our family history research. So, if you are headed to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day, why not stop by the Family History Centre – click here for more information, including map and opening times.

Here is a list of the exhibitors at the Family History Centre. For a full list of lectures and exhibitors, please click here.

 IGRS – Irish Genealogical Research Society 

Irish Family History Society

Genealogical Society of Ireland

Ancestor Network

Flyleaf Press

North of Ireland Family History Society

The Military Archives – Thursday & Friday only

Looks like fun! As if there weren’t enough reasons to visit Dublin this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s another. Hope it is a great success!

And if you need more help tracing the American branch of your family tree after visiting the Family History Centre, look no further…The Irish in America can help! We have had great success finding American cousins for Irish clients. Check out our Find Your Cousins page for more information – click here!


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The Woman Behind Irish Lives Remembered

My sister Regan and I just returned from three weeks in Ireland. It was a great trip with the perfect blend of business, sightseeing, family, and relaxation. In upcoming posts I will share all the details about the fantastic folks we met and places we visited.

Our first stop was Dublin, where we met up with the lovely Eileen Munnelly, the managing director of Irish Lives Remembered genealogy magazine and website. It is great to meet face-to-face with someone you have emailed and tweeted with for months. Within minutes I felt as though I had known Eileen for years. Thanks for the great day in Dublin, Eileen.

With Regan and Eileen at the National Library in Dublin.

The October issue of Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy Magazine is available now. Click here to take a look. This month’s issue features an article by Jayne Shrimpton – Investigating Irish Family Photographs – a crash course in identifying and dating those family photos in your collection.

Ancestors from County Sligo? Turn to page 28 for the special section with an article on tracing your Sligo roots, a story on the Sligo town that died, and information on the Gathering 2013, Sligo-style. And don’t forget to check out my article exploring my great-grandmother’s connection to Manchester, England on page 50.

Click here to view the October issue!