Saturday, September 19, 2009

Family Roots Run Deep

This past Labor Day weekend was an incredible, jam-packed few days with many memories made. The main event of the weekend was the beautiful wedding of Maggie and Mike. As with so many of our family events, cousins came from far and wide to gather together for the wedding. The family member who came the farthest was our new found cousin, Michele Kneafsey O'Sullivan!!!

Our family history from Ireland has been largely un
known. My Aunt Teresa and I went to Ireland in 1978 and tried to find information, but without much luck. On our last day there, we did find Patrick Rice, whose family name was Kneafsey. Kneafsey was the name of my great grandmother, Ellen.

I did not know my great grandmother as she died shortly after I was born in 1949. However, I felt as though I knew her because of all of the wonderful stories I heard about her over the years. I think that our Aunt Teresa must be very much like
her--kind, caring, a deep faith, and seeing the good in so much. Ellen lived to be 96 years old, which was amazing 60 years ago.

Not much was known about her life in Ireland. We knew that she lived in County Mayo. We knew that her last name was Kneafsey, although it was not spelled this way. So many immigrants had their last names misspelled when the entered the United States and did not know how to read or write. I have asked Teresa why we didn't know much and she said she doesn't really know why. I think, and this is just my opinion, that when a young person left Ireland in those days, it had to be almost like a death. The poverty and conditions were so poor that the only choice they had was to start a new life in the U.S. Leaving in 1879 would mean no further communication with family as there were no phones. My great grandmother was also illiterate so writing letters would not be possible. Maybe the only way to get on with a new life was to try to forget the memories and the family left behind. I cannot even imagine this.

Ellen went to live with her sister, Catherine, in Pennsylvania. There she married Matthew Roughan, who came from County Cork. My great grandfather was a miner and they moved to Leadville, Colorado. From Leadville they moved to Bisbee in 1903. My grandparents, Edward and Katherine Scott, moved to Douglas in 1912 from Leadville. My grandfather worked for the railroad.

Ellen lived in Douglas after the death of her husband
and her son. She worked as a midwife there. My mother and her brothers and sisters were so fortunate to have her in their lives and I know that they knew that. I know from the way that they talked about her that they loved her dearly.

A year ago last summer, there was a comment left o
n my blog from Michele Kneafsey O'Sullivan. It was on a post where I had retyped a letter that Teresa wrote to the family soon after our trip to Ireland in 1978. Michele and I connected and we have been in contact through email ever since. It was a post entitled "Thirty Year Old Memories."

I asked Maggie and her mom, Marion, if they would inv
ite Michele to the wedding and they did. We had a wonderful visit and it was so exciting for all of us to actually have this connection that goes so far back. How we are related doesn't matter!! Kneafsey is not a common name and Michele's family is also from County Mayo. There is no doubt in my mind that she is our cousin!! I believe that there is even a family resemblance. One of Marion's granddaughters thought that Michele was her Aunt Teresa Ann!!

We had a wonderful visit and it was so great for everyone to meet her. Sunday, Michele went golfing with all of the young guys in the family. She
was Jeremy's partner and had such nice things to say about him--I agree. I understand that she held her own with all the guys and did quite well.

On Monday, we took her down to see southeastern Arizona. We stopped in Tombstone and then Bisbee. We went to visit the graves of my great g
randparents, Ellen Kneafsey Roughan and Matthew Roughan. We stayed the night at 858 in Douglas so that she could see the family home. We even took her over to Agua Prieta so that she could say she went to Mexico.

Tuesday night we took her to Rustlers' Rooste to eat rattlesnake. There was a storm all around the valley and the view from the restaurant was unbelievable. Michele went back to Ireland on Wednesday after a whirlwind week in Arizona.

There were so many connections--many members of her family in Ireland are educators. Her parents and brother were doctors, as is Michele. Even though Ellen wasn't educated, she was a midwife and delivered many babies in Douglas.

Michele said something that I think is so true. When parents sent their children to the U. S. from Ireland in those days, it was the ultimate gift of love....

I think my mom and in particular my Uncle Matt and cousin John Edward, would have been so thrilled to meet Michele and find out about our roots in Ireland. I know that I am. I am glad to have found our cousin, Michele. She is absolutely delightful!! I look forward to visiting her in Ireland and having her come back to Arizona.

None of this would have happened if I hadn't started blogging--WOW!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Wedding of Maggie & Mike and More.....

This past Labor Day weekend was so much fun and had so much to write about. It started last Thursday with the arrival of our cousin, Michele Kneafsey O'Sullivan, from Donegal, Ireland. That is an incredible story in itself which I plan to share in the next few weeks. Michele came from Ireland to meet our family at Maggie's and Mike's wedding.

Friday night, Michele, Teresa, and I attended the rehearsal dinner at Bill Johnson's Big Apple in northwest Phoenix--a fun night.

Saturday was the big day for Maggie and Mike. The wedding took place at St. Mary's Basilica in downtown Phoenix, the site of so many family events. It was a beautiful mass!!

The reception followed at Holy Spirit in Tempe. We had such a great time at the reception visiting with family. Maggie looked absolutely beautiful, as did all of the cousins in the wedding. Marion and Ron put on quite an event!!

As always so many of our cousins were there. What a tribute to the original seven Scott siblings, as well as our grandparents and great grandparents!!

Sunday brought fun in the sun at Wild Horse Pass with dinner at Rawhide. Monday, Kerri, Cameron and I took Michele on a quick trip down to southeastern Arizona and our roots there. More on that to come.

Maggie's incredible older brothers, Marty, Scott, and Nathan, did the most hilarious skit for the wedding. I have put it on You Tube and I am putting it on the the blog. In order to hear it, turn the music off on the music player on the side of this blog. It is priceless!!! I have laughed over and over again when I have viewed it. All of the videos can be found on You Tube under TequilaCheela.

All and all, it was such a memorable weekend and I have so much more to share!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy, Happy Birthday, Jean & Jan!!!

Today, September 7, is the birthday of my twin cousins, Jean and Jan. Jean and Jan are my Aunt Dot's daughters and two of six children which include two sets of twins!!

Some of my favorite memories of growing up are associated with Jean and Jan. They are just a "bit" older than I am and I absolutely loved to spend time with them. It seemed that we always went to Sacramento to visit them in the summers and they came to Douglas for Christmas and many other times.

I remember the summer of 1963 when Cecilia and I went to visit them in Sacramento. I was the youngest cousin and they included me in all of their activities. I loved the time spent with all of my cousins that summer!!

As adults, I value the relationship that we have. They are not just my cousins, but my friends. I love getting to visit with them and spend time with them, especially at their cabin in Truckee.

Jean and Mike have one daughter, Tracy. Tracy has two beautiful daughters, Sarah and Megan. Jan and Tim have one son, Jeremy, who is an attorney in San Diego. Both Jean and Jan are now retired after both working in school districts.

It was great to see them this weekend at Maggie's wedding. As always, I wish we had more time to visit. I hope this birthday is wonderful for both of you!! I love both of you very much!!! Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The "Hearth" of the Family!

I have a lot to write about for this weekend, but that will have to come later as we have a lot going on over the next few days. Our cousin, Maggie, is getting married in a few hours and we are getting ready to go into Phoenix to St. Mary's Basilica. So many of our wonderful family members are here for this weekend.

For those of you who have followed my blog over the past year and a half, you might recall that because of my blog, I found a cousin in Ireland. Her name is the same as my great grandmother's, Kneafsey, and her family is from County Mayo where my great grandmother came from. Well, she is here for this weekend for Maggie's wedding and to meet our Aunt Teresa and all of the family.

Michele brought pictures from Ireland and a lot of information about our roots. I intend to write much more about this in the next few weeks, as well as write about the wedding. However, I wanted to post this with a picture until I have more time.

It has been wonderful getting to know Michele. She is delightful!!

This picture is from the old Kneafsey homestead in Foxford, County Mayo. It is a picture of the hearth, the heart of the family cottage. This is unbelievable to me for so many reasons.....

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cameron's 11 Today!!

Wow!! It is hard to believe that eleven years have gone by since that joyous day, September 1, 1998. Cameron turns 11 years old today. We are celebrating with his classmates today for lunch with pizza and drinks. He is in fifth grade this year and is doing very well! I am proud of him and so glad that he comes to Gilbert El. He is playing the tuba in the band, is the cameraman for our Tiger Town News each morning, and is his class representative for student council. He is growing up in so many ways because he has had so many people at school and our family care and nurture him. So happy birthday, Dear Cameron. I love you!!