Thursday, October 25, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday: He Came From Ireland

The blogging prompt for today is to look in the Treasure Chest and see what's there that might tickle a fancy. This is one is easy... and I really do need a prompt today to get me going after my trip back East to see Mom!

I always go for the photos. To me they are the most evocative bit of family history and beg a story if one can be had. So here's my treasure to share with you.

What you see here is the tombstone of my 2nd GGF, John Kelly. When Mom was just beginning the long 40-year task of constructing our family tree, this is one of the places she started. The family knew little about our John Kelly who was born in Ireland and died in Eckhart, Allegany County, Maryland. There was his tombstone, an Irish cross, for all the world to see up in St. Michaels Cemetery in Frostburg. Hard to read, it was, but Mom went again and again trying all the usual tricks of water and sunlight. Finally the rock revealed all it had and Mom recorded it.

John Kelly was born 22 June 1829 in Shannonbridge, Clonmacnoise (the parish name), Ireland. He died 28 June 1891. He married Bridget Cockrane, born Dec 1830 and died after 1910 but we have no good record of her death.

Shannonbridge is in Offaly County, Ireland. In 1854 Kelly was the 9th most common name in the county. And I'm willing to guess that there were more than one John Kellys about the countryside! Am just glad we're not Egans as they have 47 households in Offaly:)

Then in the 1980s Mom and Dad and I went to Ireland and visited Shannonbridge and the historical site of Clonmacnoise. They were just then putting the local parish records on computer and so we had to go see the priest for a permission note to view them. A long climb up a flight of stairs to the place were they were working on the files was paid off with our John Kelly's father's name: John Kelly born about 1800. He married Bridget Brown also born about 1800. And that's our brick wall because records back before that were burned in a fire. More's the pity.

The historical site of Clonmacnoise on the Shannon River.

I chose this as my treasure because it is the most tangible real object that connects me to Ireland. Without it I don't have any idea what I'd do on St Patrick's Day;)

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