Since my last two posts have focused on the new search for my biological family, I thought it appropriate to focus on my parents (my real parents). This is the story of my adoption, and what family and family history mean to me.
When anyone in my family thinks of St. Paddy’s Day, they always and automatically think of Grandpa. Michael John Flanagan’s proud Irish heritage never shone brighter than on St. Paddy’s Day each year. Knowing absolutely nothing about his immediate or extended family, Michael clung desperately to his Irish roots.
My great grandmother Sarah Kennedy Flanagan has been extremely difficult to research, mainly due to her children being orphaned at a young age, and her children being split up and lost to each other. Yet even the records I have been able to find offer conflicting information. I also have not identified a single other descendant who is actively researching Sarah or Sarah’s line, with whom I could collaborate on this tough woman.
My grand uncle Harry. J. Flanagan is the only sibling of my grandfather’s for whom I cannot confirm parentage. Both of the parents he claims were married to their first spouses at the time of his birth. And he is the only sibling for whom I cannot locate a birth or baptism record.
Leonard was the middle brother of my grandfather. I never met him. I know almost nothing about Leonard. I did not even know Leonard existed until I found that very first lead about my grandfather’s family history, the 1930 U.S. Census record.
Since my visit to the Family History Library this past February during the 2014 RootsTech conference, I have been focusing more on researching my maternal grandfather’s Flanagan and Kennedy lines. These lines have always been problematic for me due to my grandpa being orphaned as a young toddler and then separated from his older brothers. Until June of this year, I had been unable to find Sarah Kennedy or her children on the 1920 Census.
I did not even know the name of my second great grandmother until March 2012, when I discovered the marriage record for her daughter. My second great grandmother Catherine Darnley appears to have had at least a complicated history of marriages.