Ancestry Class – February 18, 2018

59’ers Jump into Ancestry event on 2-18-2018

by: Patti Poirier

It was a beautiful day for a really wonderful experience. Julie Bartimus was an excellent presenter, and her hand out contains a great deal of information for beginners, and advanced family historians as well.

Jerry Donahue brought copies of documents from his family history, and Joan shared her journey of several years, (and a lifetime of ???) to find her father’s father, her grandfather of course. It was a very special “piece of the pie” to discover.

Cathy’s brother, Phil, shared a wonderful audio interview that he did while taking a class. He interviewed their Aunt many years ago for the class. She gave so much history and “story gift” in the huge collection of audio interviews they did some decades ago. He played about 10 minutes for us. It was almost like listening to the radio, all over again. (Remember listening to everything on the radio??? I loved listening to stories, and dramas on the radio when we were young.)

My daughter, who suffers from RA and has had a very bad winter, came to glean as much as she could. She’s been actively involved in Ancestry for 2 years, and loves the connection to the history of migration that she’s learned. Her husband is from Mexico, and she’s learned that Irish settlers from the early days migrated to Mexico and participated in the Mexican war.

According to what Jenny has researched, there was only one battalion that switched sides to fight for Mexico. When the war was lost they were charged with treason and either executed or given life in prison. To this day there is still a Commemorative Plaque in Mexico City at San Jacinto Plaza for the Soldiers that were called Batallón de San Patricio (Saint Patrick’s Battalion) and on September 12th there is a remembrance of the St Patrick Battalion with full Military honors at Plaza San Jacinto – at least that is what Tony, Carlos’s brother, told me.

Also in the 18th century several bureaucrats and officers who represented Spain in Mexico were Irish or of Irish descent. Dublin born Hugh O’Connor was the founder of Tucson, Arizona and the governor of a region of Texas and commander of the Northern Frontier for Mexico. There were several other Irish leaders that settled In Texas creating Irish communities and creating laws that favored Irish immigrants. James Power contracted with Mexico to bring Irish settlers to colonize the Texas area and was able to organize roughly 600 Irish immigrants that settled the area. Most immigrated because of the potato famine.

The settlements grew as more Irish immigrants that landed in America faced prejudice and were unable to find work moved to the Mexico.

Jenny learned this researching Carlos’ family last year.  So when we celebrate Cinco de Mayo I really can.

Eight of 16 Christmas gifts for my children and grandchildren were Ancestry DNA kits this year. Results are coming in, and it’s really fun. A step into history, social studies, and a promise to involve us even more fully in the knowledge of who we are and how we are so alike. It started when my first son, who is adopted, did his, and connected with his birth family. The number of people in my DNA match list who are adopted is noteworthy. I’ve been very blessed to return to this miracle in our lives, to draw healing, strength and affirmation. God always blesses with truth.


FROM JERRY DONAHUE: “Julie Bartimus did a great job of outlining how to best approach the topic whether you’re a beginner or have experience working on the ancestry issue.”



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