Tag Archives: Irish

Primary Source

Today’s installment will begin with an update.  If you have been following along , you know that my stepdad Roy requested me to find his family.  It was a huge success.  I am now committed as a faciltator in bringing them together after an an amazing 78 year lapse. I have communicated personally with Roy’s half brother and sister and also cousins that are now interested in a reunion. They have never met each other.  All of this was made possible by my research from the 1940 census and www.findagrave.com .  As you can imagine they are very interested in meeting yet there are jitters in regards to finally coming face to face with  relatives you have never met.  Communication is much different for their  generation than ours.  As my 90 year old step dad Roy would say, “We are not used to things so fast like the current generation.”  So for now as of this writing a first meeting is set up for October.  What’s a couple of months? Right?  I will just say I am chomping at the bit!

Below is a picture of their  grandfather Will Fulmer from Alabama who died in 1901:

Will Fulmer. He was married three times and managed to outlive them all and still died a young man in his 40’s.

Here also is a link to Roy and his siblings’  father who died in 1967 with additional pictures that I posted on his memorial–http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=93761880.

My second update is on my Dunbar line from Kentucky.  This particular family line is from my father’s maternal side.  My cousin Sandra who lives in Kentucky and myself have been conducting a thorough study of our Dunbar ancestors.  We have run into road blocks along the way, but recently discovered a  primary source document from our cousin Linda. Primary source documents are papers that were created at the time of the event.  Linda volunteers her time in studying her ancestors as well as helping others.  In some loose papers that originated in what we believe to be the Caldwell county courthouse in Princeton, Ky where my ancestors were from some of their naturalization paperwork was found.  We are still working to corroborate the information but it indeed looks like citizenship paperwork for our great great great grandfather and his father.  I know the Dunbars came from Ireland, but this is the first time we have been made aware of their port of entry. It appears that the Dunbars actually came through Buffalo, New York in 1830!  In researching this incredible find,  its possible the actual ship that they were on may have come through a  port in Canada.  They would have then had to walk to America by way of  Niagara Falls across a bridge.  In the 1830’s there were no “borders” where you would have your passport checked.  YOU just walked until you got where you wanted to go.

As you read the following document be aware that Ireland was under Great Britian’s rule and my ancestors had to renounce any obligations to the monarchy at that time who just so happened to be Queen Victoria:

This document appears to be written by someone in the court system in Kentucky and then signed by my ancestor.

As I read through this important document many more questions popped into my head.  I have a ways to go to fully understand my Dunbar line and some of these thoughts came up and I believe if you are a family researcher yourself you might find  this to be helpful:

1.  After obtaining such documents as above-make notes and evaluate the results of this new information.

2.  Ask yourself does this new information answer original questions for you or does it conflict with what you may all ready have or know?

3.  If new information conflicts with existing information, you will have to decide which, if either, piece of information is more likely to be accurate. Is one from a primary source and the other from a secondary source? Is one from a more authoritative or believable source? The more time you spend doing genealogical research, the more skillful you will become in deciding these difficult questions.

A third update comes all the way from Belguim.  My husband’s family members have all shown interest in the studys I have conducted on their ancestors in particular two cousins of my husbands. They emailed me that they were going on a business trip to Europe and indicated to me that they may look for their grandpa’s home.  Their gramp DeSomer emigrated at the age of four with his family from Belgium to Ellis Island in 1913.  We found primary source emigration documents that revealed an address in Antwerp, Belguim that could lead to a 100 year mystery of where my husband’s grandfather’s family lived.  It was all a long shot for sure.  Here are the documents that our cousins had in their possession:

You will see on line 27 our grandpa Alexander DeSomer who was four years old and if you look straight across above to line 20  where Alex’s dad’s name is which is Alfred, you will see his fatherinlaw’s address written.  It was quite a surprise to me that this was on the document, but there it was to my delight.  In followup with my husband’s cousins they were able to make it to Belguim but ran out of time to really conduct a thorough research of this area.  In my mind though it is just such a success that they made it to Belguim to see the countryside that they originated from…What enjoyment and deep satisfaction there is in walking on the soil of where some of your ancestors came from.  I appreciate the fact they contacted me and had a heart to make the attempt to follow through.  I do want to make a shout out to them on here: Adam and Bob you made my day in just contacting me on your expressed desires to find your ancestors.  Bob is the editor of Arizona Highways if anyone of you readers enjoy great photos and stories follow along with him at http://www.arizonahighways.com/  .

Here are a few pictures of the ship that gramp DeSomer came on called the U. S. S. Finland:

USS Finland in all its glory.

Here is a second shot of the U. S. S. Finland after it was utilized in WWI and damaged:

As I love the storys of emigration and the great ships that our families came on I also would like to share with you a great family adventure you could have if you live near an area that does this.  The Navy is known for showing off its ships in different areas of the country..Here is a link to check this out and if you live in Seattle or Milwaukee you definitely want to look at the dates for this:  http://www.ourflagwasstillthere.org/

As I close out today’s blog entry I want again to thank you for following along and reading.  I hope you have also enjoyed the actual documents and pictures I have shared with you . Until next time here are a few more ships our ancestors came on:

The first ship is the Rhatia that great great Opa Voy travelled on from Germany and the second ship is the sailing ship the Dorette that our great great grandpa Kreklow travelled before he moved to Fort Atkinson, WI. Grandpa Voy also live in WI as well as Chicago, ILL.

I want to thank my resources that are my genealogical buddies throughout the country,my family, and the armed forces, and you my readers who follow along with me on my journey.  Until next time..

I took this picture in April 2012 after my recent New York trip. This is in the cemetery of St. Paul’s Church-one of the oldest churches in Manhattan.

Oh the Luck of the Irish or NOT!

Installment five:

History is a funny thing. You either really like it or you don’t. I happen to really like it. Grandmother Myrtle Dunbar Jenkins and the Dunbars are who I want to introduce you to now in this installment. She was 4th generation Ulster-Scot or Scotch Irish. Census records from a rural area of Caldwell County, Kentucky places her great, great grandfather from Antrim, Ireland. The story goes that around 1825 or so when he was 12 years old he stowed away on a ship headed to South Carolina. The other version of the story is that he came with his parents and siblings. I tend to believe the second story, however, it does make for great adventure reading to think he was a stowaway!

As always, I enjoy learning all I can about who I am researching. So I picked up Notre Dame Professor Jay P. Dolans’s book The Irish Americans. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Irish-Americans-History-ebook/dp/B003RRY3TM/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2 .

When I began to understand that a huge part of my roots was Irish, it became evident I needed a little history lesson. Mr. Dolan does a wonderful job of retelling the Irish American experience in such areas as faith, labor, and love and it is written in such a way that you can see why the Irish excelled at assimilating to the American experience.

My particular family was that group of Irish that were protestant. and they were farmers in rural Kentucky. As far as I can tell this particular group has not been studied as much as the Irish Catholic or the Irishman that moved to the big city. It is actually a sad story to tell in regards to events before World War II because so many of my family members died due to lack of three important medical breakthroughs. These all pretty much were the top public health achievements in America of our time. They were sanitation, vaccinations, and medications.

It was truly a miracle if a family was spared a family member dying in those days. My grandmother witnessed much sorrow and death as a child in those early days. She was one of 12 children born to William Wesley Dunbar and his two wives that happened to be sisters. My grandmother’s mother was the second sister who married William after her sister and his first wife died. Out of the 12 siblings, five of them died. All the boys died. Seven girls were left. The leading cause of death was consumption or what we know as TB. However there was death from simple things as an infection and diarrhea. It was a horrible set of circumstances that would kill off your family member back then. Below I share a picture of four of the seven girls that lived to adulthood: Bessie, Virgie, Myrtle (my grandma), and Pearl from left to right.


To me the underlying story of The Dunbar Girls is there ability to be tough. Today everyone thinks you have got to be tenacious in our times of stressful jobs. These girls had to be strong and resilient watching people they loved around them dying. There is nothing that can compare to that in my opinion. These Irish girls became mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers because of modern changes in our health care..They could still live in rural Kentucky and finally get treatment when they needed it for these basic needs. Below you will see a photo of my grandmother who like all her siblings started a family very young. She was 16 years old when she married my grandfather Willie Jenkins:


But at this same time as she began to raise a family- she saw her own mother die at the age of 40 from another ailment that it seems no medical doctor could explain in 1926. Below you will see a picture of her with my great grandfather and then 6 months prior to her dying.



Why do I share such a story? In reality I had a hard time bringing myself to it, but as my husband has said I need to talk about this part of my family like I have written about other family lines. I want you to know I loved my grandparents. I came very late in their lives and in fact was one of their last grandchildren. I am very proud to say I am part Irish. Today all these 7 wonderful ladies are gone, but they all lived long lives and paved the way for their daughters and granddaughters. In this picture below I remember this being taken as the sisters were together in 1977 for the first time in 53 years on the farm they grew up on.


I hope you will take the time and look at the stories of these women in my link below I am providing. The link is of their father and then as you read his story, you can then click into each of his children and see pictures of them..


And now I bid you farewell in Irish. Until my next installment: Slan!!!!