mad in pursuit notebook


Week in Review

All systems "go" for our Ireland adventure. Our preparations this week alternated with dealing with cable company nonsense (no phone, no internet) and with social hours with old friends. The weather is finally warm; hope we bring that to Ireland with us, since they are having their own cold, wet spring.

Family research. I can't help sinking myself into the details of Irish family connections -- I spent an crazy amount of time last weekend copying out every resident of Rushestown, Ireland in 1911, from Ireland's National Archives.

  • 51 dwellings
  • 217 residents
  • 20 Michaels, 24 Patricks, 38 Marys, 23 Bridgets
  • 15 Crehan families and 6 Cunninghams
  • 94 were children under 20, but there were only 13 people in their 20s -- indicative of the severe out-migration from the villages in that era, some 50 years after the Great Hunger had ended.

Dash 2.0But when all the geeky work is done, it's the social aspect of family research that makes it pay off, whether comparing facts and hypotheses with fellow nerds or sharing a gem with non-nerds. My analysis of Rushestown re-energized my correspondence with one Tony Martyn, who lives in England and whose father was born in Rushestown. As a result he's going to join us in Mountbellew with one of his cousins from the area to continue with our effort to sort out the Martin family.

I've met so many cool cousins by doing my family research in public -- rewards of an interesting hobby.

Social. Maria came over for happy hour on Tuesday and gave me the rundown of all the workplace nonsense -- the kind of talk that makes me glad I left there when I did. On Wednesday, artsy old out-of-town friends stopped by -- friends we hadn't seen in at least 10 years. Hank and Lourdes were big fans of Jim, because he helped them build their collections of Japanese and African art.

Imagination. I actually began a short story, taking my cartoon character Dash and turning her into a real person, who has taken to the road in search of "authenticity," living out of her rolling suitcase. She makes her way by hanging out in libraries (family history sections) and antique shops and helping people reconnect with their ancestors. At the moment, it appears that Dot lives in Dash's iPhone and when Dash puts on her headset, Dot sings to her. This is more or less my starting premise. I actually do have a little plot... but more about that later when I actually finish it.


May 5, 2012