I am told that genealogy comes second in the most searched for websites, the number one being ….. well, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that. I am also led to believe that most people researching their family tree are hoping to discover links to the landed gentry or at the very least to someone who has been recorded in history for a deed, good or bad. For me it wasn’t like that at all. Upon learning that we had an ancestor from Cork with the name Patrick McEvoy I felt a sudden swell of pride. ‘We have Irish blood’ I told anyone who made the mistake of lingering in my presence. ‘I’m going to find him and when I do, I’m off to Ireland’. Quite what I had in mind I’m not sure.
I’ve been to Ireland, well Dublin to be exact but that was before I knew about Patrick. I had hopes of retracing Patrick’s steps (not literally) and finding his home town or village but it’s still work in progress. Cork is a huge county and I still don’t know where Patrick comes from. I only know that he came from Ireland to England in the late 1840’s or early 50’s.
All the information about tracing your family tree tells us to firstly ask the elders in the family what they know. My mother had no information about the Irish link and at that time I was focussed on that alone. She’s gone now and I really regret not asking her about all the other rellies, I realise now just how important they are when building up the bigger picture. My Aunty Frances, Patrick’s informant so to speak, had no other details other than he came from Cork. At the time I thought, right, I’ll go there then not realising that Cork is like Yorkshire, a huge county. Much later I spoke to my father about my endeavours and he volunteered ‘Lizzie Jane told me that her family came from Northern Ireland.’ Lizzie Jane was my Great Grandmother née Elizabeth Jane McEvoy, Patrick’s granddaughter. He didn’t know from where in Northern Ireland and had no further information. By then it was too late to return to Aunty Frances and query this news as she had passed away.
I bought books and joined both Ancestry and Genes-Reunited. Before long I found Patrick via the Census forms online. I was able to build a family tree linking Patrick to my mother. Sadly from his first appearance in the 1851 Census, I can’t trace him back any further….. yet!