Friday, January 02, 2009

The Search For My Irish Roots, Part 3

Then I got lucky

Meanwhile back in Canada I had searched for many years with out finding that magic little record that would tell me what Irish County my William Massey was from. Then one day in a most unexpected place, I found it. In a Cemetery record of all places. I had seen my William's tombstone many times and had searched for an obit to no avail, but then at the Archives of Ontario I found the interment records of the cemetery on microfilm and there it was. Wicklow Ireland. The strangest part was that my William was not even originally buried in that cemetery. His body had been moved after the original cemetery he was buried in was closed. So it was just blind luck that someone had recorded his place of birth.

Now you would think I would be happy with this new found info, lots of people never find this much, and I was happy, for about 10 minutes. Then like most genealogists I started thinking about what I still did not know. Where in County Wicklow was he from? Did they mean the town of Wicklow? How will I know where to start looking? So it was at this point that my one name study of Irish Masseys started to pay off. For one of those little pockets of Masseys was located in County Wicklow. In a little place called Delgany Parish.

Now I know what you are thinking, that it is hardly proof that my William Massey was from Delgany. And you are right, it was totally circumstantial. But I just had a feeling that I was on the right track. So I made a big leap of faith and started to concentrate my efforts on Delgany.
So I started to learn everything I could on Delgany. What records were available, the history of the parish, the geography. I read everything. I even spent hours looking at the place on Google Earth. It was during this search to learn everything I could about Delgany that I came across a lady by the name of Jenny Self. Jenny was an Australian living in England, who had done some research on her own lines in Delgany. Now Jenny and I are not related so she had no Massey info, but I found her work so interesting that I dropped her a quick email just to thank her for taking the time to put all her hard work online. Well to make a long story short this led to a correspondence and Jenny offered to do some looking in the Delgany Parish records on her next trip to Ireland.

I was very excited at the prospect of Jenny taking a look in the Parish Records as these records are only available in Ireland. But you can imagine how happy I was when a few months later Jenny sent me all the Massey Births, Marriages, Deaths and Burials for over 200 years. It was a fantastic windfall and I am still grateful for the hours of work that she put in to help someone who was basically a stranger. But to my disappointment William was not there. Of course at this point some people would have moved on but I still felt that Delgany was the place. And I would soon find more evidence to keep me looking in Delgany.

Sometimes you don’t find the next clue, it finds you.

To be continued.......

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