Google map for Hegartys and Murphys in Cambridge

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.


One blog for everything

black ball point pen on white notebook
Photo by Pixabay on

I have returned to using this blog for everything. Splitting them all up made me feel atomized and a little paralyzed. (And a little scandalized by the WordPress fees!)

Doris Lessing’s novel The Golden Notebook (1962) has had an enormous influence on me. I so admire and long for the perfect notebook system — or blog system — with clear textual boundaries for separate subjects. I always forget, though, that the topics of the notebooks overlapped, and that in the end unifying them into one golden notebook was necessary for an integrated healthy mind/life.

Chauncey, a new cat

I ended up restarting my academic blog on, 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.


Valuable committee work

The department governance committee has sent me a stern note about the weekly schedule on my film syllabus. I left days blank because it seemed to me obvious that we would be continuing with the unit started on previous days, but that is apparently not sufficiently explicit, and going forward I must be more prolix in the weekly schedule section. To my knowledge, no one complained about my syllabus; they say they are spending committee time reviewing all the syllabi for all classes in the department. So great that they found something wrong to justify all that effort.

In other committee news, today was my last day of service after 2+ years as department representative on a college committee, and I am so relieved it is over. More time to make my syllabi good enough, right?

Winter Storm Avery


Winter Storm Avery was not a surprise; it was in the forecast. So why was there no salt? No plows? It took me almost 4 hours to get home from work. (Usually 60-90 minutes.)

As a stress-recovery activity, I added sources to the last family history entry.

WW1 casualties in my family tree

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.

My great-uncle’s portrait from the Cambridge World War I Memorial Plaques.


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.

Ignatius Furey & Bernard Cleary
My cousin Bernard Cleary (right) died at Beaumont-Hamel. Ignatius Furey (left) died at Gallipoli. I am related to a Newfoundland Furey family, but I’m not sure if I’m related to Ignatius, but I am loathe to crop him out of the photo. So there he is.


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.

HMS Defence in 1907 (photo from Wikipedia). I don’t have a photo of Timothy Deasy but here is the ship he died on, and apparently still rests with at the bottom of the ocean.


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 ( : 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. (Which has since become

Goodbye Bridey

Family History Query about the LaCour family

2 thoughts on “Family History Research”

  1. Dear Emily, thank you for your research 🙂 I am helping a neighbor (your distant cousin, I suppose!) with her family tree. Her father was from Newfoundland and she has Edward de la court (Lacour) #102 and Mary Hicks in her tree. I was wondering where you found the reference to his parents? Many thanks!


  2. Hi Mia,
    I don’t have a reference to Edward LaCour’s parents. He and his wife Mary Hicks are recorded twice in my ahnentafel because two of his daughters ended up in my tree — it’s a small fishing town with a lot of interconnections. Edward LaCour’s 1790 wedding to Mary Hicks was recorded at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Harbour Grace. Harbour Main didn’t have a church at that time. I also relied on entries for Edward LaCour’s land claims in the Harbour Main section of the Plantation Book from the late 1790s to the early 1800s.

    I don’t know who Edward LaCour’s parents were. There is a section on the De La Cour family of Jersey on the ThisIsland wiki, but I can’t link Edward directly to it.

    I’m glad you asked this question because I haven’t looked at this branch of my tree in quite awhile. I’m horrified to see that some incidents are relying on OneWorldTree for a source, or just various Ancestry family trees. I need to firm up these sources. I am seeing connections to Furey and LaCour families in my AncestryDNA results, so it’s probably correct, but I need better sources.

    Good luck with your research!
    – Emily

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.

Farewell, Fredrika

Con report: LunaCon 2017

Last weekend I went to LunaCon. It was smaller than the last time I went (2014?), but I had a good time anyway. There was some speculation in the con suite as to whether it was so small that it would not be able to continue, but that remains to be seen. I would hate to see the con end as it has such a long history in the region. I don’t really have a network there, though, so there’s nothing personal in these remarks.

On Friday night I attended the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers reading which was 2 hours of good to great fiction. I would like to get more involved with them if I could get my act together to actually write stuff.

On Saturday I went to a panel on “How Star Trek Shaped My Identity.” This was a good panel with interesting panelists. Topics ranged through career pursuits, cultural assimilation, feminist awakening, gender transitioning, and emotional balance. Eventually the conversation devolved into cautious optimism about the supposedly forthcoming new series Star Trek: Discovery. [For those not following Trek news: Caution is warranted because the new series has already been postponed several time and changed show runners; furthermore it will only be available on CBS’s new subscription streaming channel. (I am personally annoyed because the show is set in the near far future, before the original series. We already explored that in Star Trek: Enterprise which was my least favorite of the series.)]

Later on I went to a panel on New York Fan History. In September, there was a great fan history panel at the Star Trek: Mission New York con which emphasized the role of New York fans in getting the Trek fandom rolling. However, that panel was comprised of mostly women. This panel was comprised entirely of older white men who talked about the longstanding feuds of various NY fandom clubs and where everyone’s apartment was back in the day. Sometimes they would mention a great event and then say, “Oh yeah, [woman’s name] did that.” But none of these women were available for this panel apparently. Once someone started talking about the attractiveness of college-aged female fans who were too young for him, I left.

I bought a very pretty ring in the small Dealers Room from Janet Kofoed.

Finally I went to a poetry workshop run by my colleague, poet Christina M. Rau. It was called “Erasing Sci-Fi and Fantasy: Creating Found Poems.” We used selections from random science and fantasy texts and wrote through them to create new poems from their language. It was fun, and there were colored pencils and crayons. I used two pages from a science textbook explanation of genetics and wrote this poem:

Clone Poem

This is the law:
Segregate independently
to any other combination.

we now know the logic of this law
inherited, determined by

Yellow seed
Green seed
Round seed
Wrinkled seed

Rye wry rue roux

It is now known that
the presence of many mistakes
tend to be in groups.

Fragments extracted from any tissue
Using restriction a number of times
The blotting paper membrane splits.