Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Diaspora - Homecomings and Gatherings and Shortcomings

The ties that bind have friendship as well as tourism potential

I dabble in genealogy so I often meet members of the Diaspora. One of the big things that sets them and me apart is the spread of their root origins. Should I look back two centuries I would find very few ancestors who were born more than ten miles from that chair in the Bushmills Inn; Diaspora roots often spread for thousands of miles and through many countries and states; I feel very rooted; they often have a strong desire to locate their roots; my roots may be local but my connections are global - thanks to modern media.

In these parts we are rich in scenery and in hospitality but we are poor in records, especially their availability and accessibility; what records we have could be used more as a tourism attraction than simply as a source of tourism or genealogy income.

Lyle was here recently from Pennsylvania but didn't have enough time to link-up with his distantly-related cousins or 'freens', as they are known locally. He bumped into a friend of mine and the latter passed on some details to me by email. There was enough detail for me to see that Lyle and I were related by various marriages, if not by blood. When I mentioned the detail to a shared relative the latter produced a violin, a violin that was made by Lyle's grandfather - his name and year of making are visible inside the body! Some modern media connections have since been established and I'd imagine it won't be too long before some particular members of the Diaspora turn up on these shores.

Lyle's reaction: "The pictures of the fiddle really got to me as growing up my grandfather Daniel was always working on making them! He made 4 that I know of and his sons have them. He would go out into the woods (he picked to live here in the woods and hills of Robesonia PA because he said it always reminded him of home, just without the sea), pick a tree, cut it down, make boards, and start the year long or so of hand carving and such. They all play beautifully. .. All my Uncles are also very excited and we all want to get together and go over the things I've found out as none of them knew!"

Lisa and I haven't met but we are now Facebook friends. She is from British Columbia, was recently at a Clan Maclean gathering in Scotland and then popped over here to have a look for her McLean roots; Fergus McLean, a weaver, who left from Coleraine in 1775 was the father of Judge John McLean; locating Fergus' roots will be a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Lisa's reaction: "I feel that the best discovery of all is new acquaintances."

The Links tab at the top of the blog contains links to numerous genealogy and other sources.