Monday, 4 January 2021
Friends of Irish Research is a genealogical research organization based in Brocton, Massachusetts. A member of the Donegal Diaspora, Joyce Cannon Curran, explained how they helped in her search for her Donegal roots:
'At the Cultural Centre, I found friends who could help me research my anonymous background. Today, some of those same people are the “friendsofirishresearch.” It took quite a while to find the right John Curran, a common name in Boston. My second great-grandfather must have loved his Donegal because he listed his former place of residence as Carrownamaddy, County Donegal, on his naturalization papers. Today, it's called Carnamaddy. Very few people list their townlands on these documents. I was lucky. Since I had never known an “up close” Curran, other than my father, who passed away in 1972, my search was primarily a paper trail. What made things even more difficult, was that my grandparents separated very early. Now I had to chase a phantom, as my grandfather seemed to vanish. I was however fortunate that nearly all of the women in my family cited their maiden names on most legal documents. My grandfather’s sister, Lizzie Stearns, was listed in the 1900 US census at the same address as my grandfather'.
'In 2008, myself and my husband spent the summer in Ireland and we had time to check out Creeslough. It was one of those great accidents of history that led us to my Curran family. We stopped at a pub in Dunfanaghy on our way ; we've always found it's easier to obtain information over a pint, when everyone is relaxed and talkative! Sure enough, one of the local men directed us to where the Curran family lived – at least the one he knew'.
'We're not the type to drive up to anyone's house and invite ourselves in, but we did want to drive through the area. Of course, we lost our way, but my husband saved the day. As we were driving into a small forest, he said he was sure he saw a pub in the woods. It was hot that summer and I thought the heat got to him, but he was right, there it was nestled in the trees in Creeslough. After explaining my story, and without telling us, the local bartender called the local Curran's and they invited us over. Sure enough, we found the house of the ancient Currans@
'There really are no words to express my joy. Since then, our Irish Curran family visited us and we had a great family reunion. Northwest Donegal, the Bloody Foreland, with its majestic vista overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and Sheephaven Bay in the Dunfanaghy area are breath stealers. Creeslough, the village of my ancestors, was our favorite place. When I was young, I used to hum “they'll be cutting the corn around Creeslough today.” There really is serendipity in our world.
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