Saturday, October 28, 2006

Is it really a small world?

Go ahead, laugh. I'm going to ask something totally ridiculous. I did a lot of blog reading today and started to think about how much I relate to some of the people whose blogs I read. They feel like such kindred spirits and we've all read about the 'fact' that many Anglo-Saxon/British Isles people are linked a few generations back. I could point you to my family history which contains quite a bit of data, but I suspect that the name Gleeson is the most likely to produce a 'hit'. I've copied the following from the family history and I wonder if there might be a Welsh or English connection within my own little blogging circle?

My mother's grandmother, Esther Stanley, was born to an affluent Irish-Protestant family. My mother passed along a story about Esther as a young woman, going to a fortune teller. Esther was engaged to be married at the time and so was quite doubtful when the fortune teller told her "You're not going to marry the person you think you will marry. You will marry someone with the initials T.G." Sure enough, poor Esther was 'left at the altar', and eventually she did marry someone else - Thomas Gleeson.

Thomas brought another set of problems into Esther's life because he was Catholic. The Irish of my great-grandmother's time were even less tolerant than they are today. Esther's family disowned her when she married Thomas and then she was tormented by Catholic priests urging her to convert to Catholicism. They would visit her when Thomas was away from home and tell her that any children she had would be considered illegitimate if she didn't convert. Family history goes that when Thomas heard of this he became so irate that he left the Catholic church and eventually became an Anglican minister. My grandmother was one of Esther and Thomas' children. I think she was born in Liverpool and the family spent part of the year in Liverpool and part in Llandudnow, Wales where Thomas had a summer ministry. My grandmother was also named Esther and she had sisters Constance, Amy and Edie. Those four sisters and their mother ended up in Canada after Thomas' death. Thomas is buried at Llandudnow. There was most certainly at least one other child (quite possibly more) because my mother had a favourite cousin named Harry Gleeson who was English-born and came to Canada later.

So Skint, Clare, anyone?


At 2:38 AM, Blogger Jan said...

Could you not write this Family History into a story?? You have so many details to twist, to elaborate...

At 6:00 AM, Anonymous clare said...

I'll have a look next time I'm over in Llandudno, Susan - there is a rather splendid graveyard on the edge of the high peninsular on an area of land overlooking the Irish sea. Thomas Gleeson is an unusual name so I could well find him.

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Maxine said...

I am not aware of anyone I'm genetically related to emigrating to Canada, Susan. I have a lot of Welsh relations called Jones and a lot of Irish (southern) ones called Ward, both of which are exceedingly common surnames in the countries concerned, as Skint will attest.
However, my sister Delta is married to a Ferguson, and they have extensive Canadian branches to their tree. A bit "shady", some of them (not in the tree sense).

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Minx said...

My family tree dates back to 1498, rooted in Devon, England. During the 1850's the Cornish branch of the family moved to Michigan to follow the mining. There are sme wondeful stories that are just aching to be written down, maybe one day?

At 5:50 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Thank you for the responses!

Jan, I'm glad you visited. I'm not a writer so my clan will most likely remain unsung!

Clare, that's very kind of you! I've only been to Llandudnow once but I thought it was lovely. If there is such a thing as a 'racial memory' it was certainly triggered for me in Wales. Oddly, I had no such feeling for Ireland. I couldn't look for Thomas when I was there, so if you are ever able to find him I would be so thrilled!

Maxine and Minx, it's so interesting getting these details on people we've 'known' via blogs for a while! Do you know any of your Michigan kin, Minx?

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Marie said...

Both my mum and dad's family are Greek and come from Cyprus, but I do know that on my dad's side my great grandmother's family were from Venice and there's French somewhere in there as well. I would love to find out more but it takes up so much time.

When I was a child (I was born in England) my dad was thinking of moving to Canada. Sometimes I wish that he had!

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Marie said...

Ooops, that sounds wrong. I meant that my dad was going to move us all to Canada, not just himself.

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Susan said...

I loved that, Marie! Sometimes the very best jokes are the ones we fall over, aren't they? Your hasty explanation made it even funnier!

At 11:47 PM, Anonymous crimeficreader said...

You may this link interesting and of use in the future:

At 12:09 AM, Blogger Susan said...

Thank you very much, Crimeficreader! It looks like a very interesting link.

At 5:52 PM, Anonymous crimeficreader said...

I'll let you know if I see any updates to that.


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