Why the name? – Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family…
On 13 May 1855 a 19 year old County Clare colleen was fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, aboard the Nashwauk, when the “bride ship” foundered off the coast of South Australia. How I loved the colourful stories of my Susan’s dramatic entry to Australia, especially that of the girls being carried ashore on the backs of the sailors, and so began my love affair with my maternal Great Great Grandmother Susan Kelleher. A chance visit to County Clare, in 1994, triggered my determination to seek out Susan and discover her fate. Who did she marry? How many children did she have, apart from my Great Grandmother? Where did she live? Where did she die? … So many unanswered questions. So I began “Seeking Susan”.
It was on a return trip to Ireland the following year that my quest widened and led to me “Meeting Marie”, my dad’s mum Marie Ogilvie. My aging father, distressed that no family members could find any sight or sign of his childhood home, in Yorkshire, would mutter “34 Mossman Street, Windhill OFF CRAG ROAD!! Shipley … it has to be there!!!” ~~~ So, after landing at Dublin Airport, I took a ferry across to England, a bus to Leeds and a train to Shipley intent on bringing back photographs to give some peace to dad in his declining years.
Easier said that done!!! With every muscle aching in the trudge, yet again, up that interminably long and steep Crag Road I began muttering about “… a wild goose chase” and entertaining thoughts of giving up when there I “met” Marie. Don’t ask me how I knew it was the spirit of Marie Ogilvie which came with encouragement and confirmation that I was on the right path . Drawn to an old corner hotel I peered hopefully at the road sign and along the street. Nope, not Mossman Street, but Marie’s affirming presence was SO strong! … Further investigation showed that the house, and Mossman Street, had been just one street over and removed in the 1960’s renewal project.
For some 20 years the spirit my maternal Great Great Grandmother, Susan Kelleher, and paternal Grandmother, Marie Ogilvie have travelled with me in “Finding Family”, wherever they may be.
Retirement and the digitisation of many records has been so hepful in my quest which has been full of fun & laughter, as well of moments of bitter disappointment, soon to be surpassed by the discovery of an unknown relative, like my Auntie Annie Ruby Crout, and the excitement of emailing with a living Ogilvie relation and discovering that he moved from the UK to Victoria, Australia in the 1960’s. With a snippet of information from John Ogilvie, discovering which of my dad’s Auntie’s emigrated to Western Australia was fantastic and there’s now the exciting possibility of locating more living relatives in the West.
I’ve now begun transferring all this data into stories, which locate the individuals within the social and physical environment of the time, to share with family. Most are not terribly interested in trawling through names, dates and places but are fascinated with the lives of their Ancestors. This has led to the setting up of this blog.
My aim is to not only tell the family stories but also share the journey and the resources I’ve found useful, particularly those relating to South Australia. If you care to join me that would be fun.
Copyright (c) 2012 Catherine Crout-Habel