Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The 1200 year old Irish Joke:

So it seems that the Christian Philosopher John Scotus Eriugena (John the Irishman) was after havin' a bit of drink with Emperor Charles the Bald one day….

When up says the Emperor if you please:

"Tell me John, What separates the Irishman from a fool?"

…and don't you know John Scotus says to the emperor bold as you please:

"Only the table Charles me boy, only the table."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Costly Christmas Donybrook Affair:

We have booked our Airplane tickets for October and purchased a Bed and Breakfast package. As we build our Itinerary I have been searching my best friend Steve's Ancestry to see if we can visit parts of Ireland where his people come from as well as mine and my brother's.


Last night I found an interesting item about Steve's ancestor Catherine Kennedy in a transcription from the Troy Daily Times August 6th 1860:

- Elizabeth STOKES and Catherine KENNEDY, disorderly conduct; two small girls; lectured and discharged.


I found it on GenWeb and while I was on I decided to search my father's family in Lenox Mass.

This is what I found there:

The "County Atlas of Berkshire, Massachusetts. From actual survey by and under the Direction of F. W. Beers, Published by R. T. White & Co., 36 Vesey Street, New York, 1876."

These Maps are Beautiful! And guess what I found in the upper right hand corner of the map of Lenox!

My Father's Father's Father's Father's
Place of Business on Hubbard Street!

His home was down on Church Street.

I'm gonna have to go get some colored ink to print this whole map out and have it framed for my wall along with my Killaloo maps!


Then I began searching The Berkshire County Eagle for anything relating to My Father's Father's Father's Father: James O'Brien.

I came across this article dated Friday Morning January 1 1858:

West Street is located in the lower left of the map
and can be seen by clicking on the link
to the Lenox Map provided above.

This reminds me of a scene from my father's favorite movie "The Quiet Man". I wonder if they were "..talking a little treason..." and tippin' a wee bit o' Poitín...

The episode concluded with this indulgence under the heading of "Local Intelligence" in the Friday Morning Jan. 15th, 1858 issue:

$51.07 was ALLOT of money in 1858; but I guess that's what you get when you Celebrate Christmas in the afternoon with a Donybrook!


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Age: 20, height: 6'3", Complexion: Light, Eyes: Gray, Hair: Brown.

On or about 4/15/08 I received from my 3rd Cousin Barbara Ledbetter, Copies of James Gilmour's military papers from the National Archives and Record Administration.**

This one in particular grabbed me right away:

(Click for a larger view)

The description of James fits several Males in my family tree! My Son Devin is 6'3" tall, his hair is Lt. Brown and he has blue/gray eyes...

My Son Devin as a Child.
(Blue eyes, Lt Brown hair.)

My older Brother Kevin James O'Brien, who was my son Devin James O'Brien's God Father, was 6'3" tall, and had blue/gray eyes...

Kevin James O'Brien

This is a carte de visite of our Great-Great-Great Grandfather Robert Gilmour circa 1870?:

Here is a Circular Parlor Photo 6" in diameter I know to be Robert Gilmour:

Robert Gilmour

This photo is hand painted and the eye's are (...You guessed it...) Blue/Gray.

So I know all this and it's rumbling around in my head at work the day this new information arrived. The first thing I did when I got out of work that afternoon was go to the Library and start looking at carte de visites that I know are contained in the Time-Life Civil War Series and labeled as unknown etc. etc.

Thats where I found this:

This isn't a great scan, its from a xerox of the printed carte de visite, but it could well be our James Gilmour. Here is why I think it is: Hight, Coloration of the hair, Similarity of the facial bone structure and the Pistol.

No less than three of James' letters to his Brother Robert mention the "Pistle" that Robert purchased for him when he went off on his "Sojourn in the South" and the apparent loss of said
"Pistle" as a Gambling dept, or through some other carelessness never fully explained but eventually resolved between the two of them as regrettable and unfortunate.

A section of a Poolsville Maryland letter;
dated August 24th 1861: that mentions his
(Later letters hint at another story other than the one mentioned here.)

Here's a transcription, the spelling is James':

"I received

your litter from Lieut. Beard he said that

he could scarcly get rid of you you were

so glad to see him he gave me the

cartriges but as I lossed or rather got

my pistle stolen from me I

was sorry that you troubled yourself

but the[y] will be of service to Frank as

he has his yet but you need not find any



While I was there looking through The Time-Life Civil War Books, on the same oversized bookshelf contained the book "Out of Ireland" by Kerby Miller. So I picked it up and placed it on the table, and it opened up to a letter from Ireland! From one "William Dever" of Donegal....

As it happens, I have a Dever ancestor from Donegal named Sarah, who had a Father named John, whom I believe was the brother of this writer!

So was I there to find the
carte de visite or was it this letter?

...gunna have to sidetrack through Donegal on the way to Killaloo this Fall at any rate!!!


I have been reading and studying "How the Irish Saved Civilization." by Thomas Cahill of late. "Emigrants and Exiles" by Kirby A. Miller is next. (Based on his extensive historical research of Irish Emigrant letter's.) All 648 pages of it.

I wonder who I'll find in there!


[**and I started to write about it back on the 15th, but I've been working on Mom's side (the Southern Catholic/Irish Contingency) for Mother's day. Time was consumed, blogs have been backlogging...it happens...]