I am repurposing this blog to focus on my family history research. I am not related to David Bowie but here is a photo of him anyway, in honor of his protean energies.
Covid-19 shut down my college on March 10th. Since then, I’ve been working from home. I was already teaching a couple of online courses, but now my formerly on-campus courses are meeting over Zoom. It’s been a scramble trying to sort out the technical details, trying to assist students with access issues, and, to be honest, managing my own anxiety. For now, I am healthy and hope to remain so. The semester runs until mid-May so I need to find my work-from-home pattern and stick to it. I’m not going back to campus until September at the earliest.
Here is a map (from the NY Daily News) that purports to depict infection levels around the city. I live in Bay Ridge, the yellow slice at the southern edge of Brooklyn, where infections are fewer (so far). My neighborhood seems quieter than usual, except for ambulance sirens and drag racers taking advantage of the light traffic to speed around the local streets. Local restaurants are closed but still delivering takeout. Local grocery stores are open, and I’ve been able to buy everything I need except for disinfectant cleaning wipes. I am home more than usual, but the silver lining here is that my cranky rescue cat is happy to have my increased attention.
I am working through a grading backlog for work, but soon I will catch up and can turn to other diversions. I’ve finished Star Trek Picard now; what other shows or movies should I watch? My To Be Read pile is literally filling multiple bookshelves, so I won’t ask for more book titles, but I do need to work on my playlists; so what music should I hear? What vegan recipes should I cook? What embroidery patterns should I try? I welcome suggestions in the comments.
And of course, there’s my genealogy to work on…
I hope all my readers are safe and well.
Relatives still living and/or working in Cambridge expressed curiosity about exactly where our ancestors lived in the early 20th century, so I made a Google map. These home addresses were taken from censuses, birth records, draft registrations, news articles, etc. Both the Hegartys and Murphys immigrated from Ireland to Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Murphys moved over to Somerville and, in their later years, the Hegartys moved to Brighton. Click through and be ready to zoom in or out as necessary.
I ended up restarting my academic blog on WordPress.com, so no more academic complaints in this one. This will be the personal blog with cats!
Part of the reason for my lack of posts has been a recent state of cat crisis. I lost two beloved cats in the past two years. Both were senior cats with cancer who had lived with me for over a decade. I was heartbroken, but looked forward to enjoying life with no litter box and no vet bills.
But as the months went by, I found missed not just my cats but cat presence! So in late February, I adopted Chauncey from Street Cat Alumni Rescue. She is about 7. She had lived on the streets for years until someone or something cut her tail off and she needed tending. You can read her rescue story at Meow AF. She is healed up now (at least physically) and is smart and funny, although also bitey and scratchy when displeased. She is afraid of the sound the USS Enterprise-D makes in Star Trek: TNG when it swoops through space with a galactic SWISHHHH that I guess sounds like a hiss. She has just sauntered out to demand dinner, so I will leave you with a cat picture since it’s Caturday.
United States soldier
Infantryman Thomas Philip Murphy, my great-uncle, was wounded eleven times during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France, and died in the evacuation hospital there in October 1918. He was 23. He was eventually buried in Arlington, Mass. in 1921. My father used to tell a poignant story of Thomas’ mother going to meet her son’s casket at the train station and welcoming him home.
British soldier (from Newfoundland)
My first cousin twice removed Bernard Cleary enlisted in the Newfoundland Regiment and died along with almost the entire regiment at Beaumont-Hamel on 1 July 1916. If you get a chance to see the exhibit “Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou” at The Rooms in St. John, definitely go.
British sailor (from Ireland)
My great-great-uncle Timothy Deasy lied about his age to join the British Royal Navy in 1897 when he was 15 years old. He served in the Royal Navy until he died with about 900 other people aboard the HMS Defence, an armored cruiser sunk during the Battle of Jutland in 1916. The wreck of the Defence has since been found by divers in the North Sea; it is currently protected as a war grave under the British Protection of Military Remains Act.
Cambridge World War I Memorial Plaques, Cambridge Public Library. Digital images. Digital Commonwealth: Massachusetts Collections Online.
Deasy, James. Family history and ledger. 1895. Privately held.
Death notice for Thomas P. Murphy, Cambridge Chronicle, 16 July 1921, p. 3. Digital image. Cambridge Public Library, Historic Cambridge Newspaper Collection (http://cambridge.diconsulting.com : accessed June 2015).
England. Admiralty: Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services. Access via “Discovery.” Database with images. The National Archives.
Glavine, James. Our People . . . Our Church: Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Harbour Main, Newfoundland, 1857-1982. Harbour Main, Newfoundland, 1983. 112.
“HMS Defence (1907).” Wikipedia.
United States. World War I Military Cablegrams, Main Series, War Department to AEF HQ, #2683. National Archives. Database. Footnote.com. (Which has since become fold3.com)
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I said a final goodbye to my cat Bridey today. She was 11 and had been feeling poorly for the past month, but last night she took a turn for the worse, and there were no more treatment options, despite the great kindness of everyone at One Love in Bay Ridge. Bridey was a rescue cat I adopted from @nyanimalrescue when she was 6 months old; she reached thru the bars of her cage and grabbed my shirt. She was a bright light and I will miss her. #rainbowbridge🌈 #loveneverdies
2 thoughts on “Family History Research”
I am thankful to Mia for the question, but I am now going to turn off comments on the Family History Page. I know from previous websites that a comments section gets rapidly out of control. PLEASE DO FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME WITH QUESTIONS THOUGH! See the Contact Page. It is also OK to comment on blog posts because they move down the page. What I don’t want is a Family History Page with a long string of comments, half of which are side conversations.
Ultimately I hope to add more Family History pages with sketches of each family.
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Yesterday I said a tearful goodbye to my wonderful cat Fredrika. Although she was still her snuggly self with many tuna requests, she had lost half her body weight and had several different cancers. She was 12. I am grateful to the @aspca where I adopted her 11 years ago, and to everyone at One Love Animal Hospital. #loveneverdies #lovecats 😿
- All Hail the Defiant Fictional Weirdness of Queen by Robert Repino at Tor.com – An exploration of the use of Queen’s music in science fiction films, and science fiction themes in Queen’s music. He left out Freddie Mercury’s contributions to the soundtrack album for the 1986 West End science fiction musical Time, which was a sort of Dr. Who-ish thing involving Dave Clark, Cliff Richard, David Cassidy, and the videotaped head of Laurence Olivier.
- “LiveJournal represents social media without borders” – Discussion on Metafilter of the implications of LiveJournal’s servers physically moving to Russia. Tl;dr: This probably affects Russian users more than North American users, but it has caused a steady stream of people to port their accounts over to Dreamwidth.
- “Fish and Brewis is the dish that Newfoundlanders yearn…” – Great piece on a national dish and its World War I history by Larry Dohey at Archival Moments.
- I participated in the local March Against Hate on MLK Day that the Village Voice profiles in “A March Against Hate Shows Bay Ridge Grappling with Trump’s America”. It was pretty positive.
- Philip Kennicott at the Washington Post reported on the apparently deliberately offensive choice of 19th-century American painting by George Caleb Bingham to serve as an inaugural backdrop.