Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Regret to Inform You...

Randy posed a question on his blog that was posed previously by Mark Fearer:

"I'm teaching a beginner genealogy class, and I'd like to help people avoid the mistakes we made when we started out. I have my own list, but I'd like to get an unscientific poll from this prestigious group of the three things you regret the most, when you started (i.e. not citing sources, etc.)."

I'm afraid my regrets will be much the same as others' were. First, I regret that my grandparents had all died before I'd completed my childhood. I know, I couldn't have prevented this, but I still regret that my maternal grandfather, James O'ROURKE (1902-1963) died the year before I was born.

My paternal grandparents, Mary (HODICK) McHUGH (b. 1906) and Joseph McHUGH (b. 1902) both died when I was 12 years old (Mary on Valentines Day in 1976 and Joseph in Sept. of 1976). While we visited them often, I was at a developmental stage where their growing up years just didn't interest me.

In the late summer of 1977, my family had moved from Niagara Falls, NY to Tempe, Az when I was 13. My maternal grandmother, Regina (aka Jean) died 2 years later. Again, though I was closest to her and wrote her often after we moved, I never thought to ask about her own history.

As a result of my grandparents' deaths when I was still a more-or-less self-centered child, I don't have a single recollection of stories from them about their families and hometowns. And this, I now feel, is very, very sad. At least I have memories of them, which offers some comfort. And I do have many photographs, especially of Grandma Hodick-McHugh.

While no regret will top the lack of stories I have about my ancestors, I, as many other genealogists as well, regret my lackadaisical methods of citing my sources. For my speculations that I included in the "notes" section of my genealogy database, I think I did a pretty good job of citing the sources that led me to those speculations. But I know I need to go back and review a whole lot of the information to re-discover the sources.

Lastly, to keep with the question of "three" regrets, I'd have to say that I regret that I take a long time to make good on my promises to cousins to send updated information and pictures. I won't make excuses. I'm just horrible at getting things out in the mail.

You might have noticed that I did not post a picture of Gramma (DOYLE) O'ROURKE. That's because I was saving hers for the end. I think I posted this picture once before a long time ago. It's a picture of my grandmother DOYLE on either her first communion day or her confirmation day. I'm guessing she was about 8 years old, which would date the picture around 1913. The original photograph is oval shaped (though not a bubble picture, like the original of my paternal grandparents' wedding in 1925) and is in very poor condition. So poor I advised my niece who now has possession of it to never take it out of the frame again, as it is crumbling on the edges (it was mounted on cardboard of some sort). Anyway, a friend of mine managed to get a decent digital photograph of the picture which I took to a local photography shop. They were able to change the background. I intend to bring it back someday and ask them to put a bit lighter-shaded background on since she looks rather ghostly in this one (I think the digital version wound up making a double image, as they told me it had one). However, it is still among my most treasured possessions, which I thought I'd never have since we kids would have wound up in arms over who gets it had the decision been left to us. Thank God for technology.

Here it is, Regina (Jean) DOYLE ca 1913.

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