Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


In Uncategorized on October 30, 2010 at 8:58 AM

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I was reminiscing yesterday with my sister about Hallowe’en when we were kids, this would be the 1970s and 1980s.  How we’d take our pillow cases and go door to door, usually with a group of my friends, and dad.  When we came home our pillow cases were often soaked through (it rained most Hallowe’ens), but that was no matter.  We’d excitedly dump our loot out on the floor and the trading would begin…”I’ll give you two of these, for one of those”, etc.  I always wanted the chocoalte bars, which were rare in those days.  Neither of us seemed to want those (horrible) “Hallowe’en Kisses”…no, not as in nummy Hershey Kisses.  Hallowe’en kisses, mollassess icky candy.

There were Kraft caramels, with me, of course, wanting the dark (chocolate) flavoured ones.  And those candies, I believe they were called “Bats”…like a flat caramel on a stick…mmmmmm.  The dentist who lived in the neighbourhood always gave out toothbrushes and/or apples.  Well, what could we do, we couldn’t just skip his door, although in our minds we may as well have.  Apples were such a disappointment.  Anytime I would ask if there was dessert after dinner (and there never was to speak of), I was told to “have an apple”.  Heartily disappointing.

One year we trapsed up this big hill to go trick-or-treating.  Very few kids ventured up–it was a steep hill with relatively few houses.  But at the top, man did we score!  Full size chocolate bars!

Of course, it wasn’t ALL about the candy, just mostly.  Dressing up is something I loved doing (still do, come to think about it).   Few could afford to buy costumes so we got to raid the closets at home and be creative.

In the pre-Hallowe’en excitement, I would start to decorate.  For a few years I even did a full scene in our of windows, with dress dummy and floating ghost, carefully lit.  I enjoyed doing that immensely.  Even if we did only get a handful (6 or 7) of trick-or-treaters venture up our long steep driveway to enjoy my careful work.

Now I finally live somewhere where there are no such barriers to discourage the trick-or–treaters and my decorating can be appreciated by all who pass.  And I give out the “good stuff”…not just one or two chocolate bars, but a little baggie for each kid, with chocolate, candy and a little toy (for those, like my nephew, who can not have the traditional candy or chocolate).  I give out stuff that I would’ve loved to have gotten.  And what fun it is!

Happy Haunting everyone!


Non-Tombstone Tuesday

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Well, I was just thinking.  What happens when all the recent family members decide not only to be cremated, but also to not have a final resting place…ashes scattered on the water, in a garden, etc.  Philosophically I understand this–leaving the least impact on the earth as one can.  But genealogically, this could be interesting for future researchers.

I have one set of grandparents who were cremated, but then the ashes buried under a gravestone in a small plot.  It is, I have to say, rather nice to have somewhere to go “visit” them.  My mother, and others I suspect, do not understand why we need a place and/or a stone marker.  Perhaps that’s part of my romanticism as well.

My other set of grandparents are scattered to the wind.  Well, the water actually, but same idea.  No permament stones, no memorial plaques, nothing to record what happened to their remains.  The funeral home records will only indicate that they were cremated and their remains picked up by family.  There are no official records of that day when the family gathered to say goodbye to grandma’s ashes.  Nor of the day when grandma said goodbye to grandpa’s ashes.  We won’t go into the legality/illegality of the whole thing.

I have an aunt, uncle and dog whose ashes were buried, without much ceremony and rather claudestinely under the cover of dark, in a garden outside their beloved apartment.  As they would have wanted.

As for my own wishes, well I’m torn.  Being a family historian, I’d like to have a big stone that depics all my family history research (okay, it’d have to be a very big stone).  I too wish to walk gently on this good earth and don’t necessarily want to have a plot of land in perputuity for my bones.  Green Burials aren’t yet legal or available here, but perhaps by the time I go they might be.  Though, generally, they eschew the permament marker.    I guess, given my current choices, I’d like to be buried standing up, in a wool sack, so that all I am will biodegrade and feed the earth.

Anyways, there are my ramblings on not having a tombstone.

Mc and Mac’s on Ancestry searches

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2010 at 12:37 PM

So I learned something this morning.  Many, many, many of Ancestry (’s transcriptions have Mc and Mac names as “Mc” space “remainder of name”.  So, for instance, McQuillan was found as “Mc Quillan”, but ONLY when I did a specific search that way.  Searching  “McQuillan” did not bring them up (at least not in the first 10 pages of results).  Searching on “Quillan” brought up mostly “Quillan”, but also some “Mc Quillan”, but no “McQuillan” (again, within the first few pages of results).  I discovered this when I knew exactly what location and page I wanted to see in a census, and an earlier search had brought up no results.  Yet there they were–McQuillans! (Yes, I submitted a correction to ancestry).

Having some Irish and Scottish lines I’m tracing, this came as a big surprise for me.  I’ve been searching variations on names, but never considered putting a “space” between the Mc/Mac and the remainder of the name.

I’m sure Ancestry has some reasoning for doing the transcriptions this way (even if they aren’t strictly transcriptions as they do not match precisely the original source).  I just wish they had worked their search engine to understand that McQuillan as the same as Mc Quillan.

Well, back to searching..who knows what new things this might turn up!

Feystown Cemetery, Co. Antrim, North of Ireland

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2010 at 7:22 AM

I’ve noticed that folks who do a google-type search for Feystown keep landing at my home page.  It’s not completely ludicrous, as I do have a couple of postings, including photos, about Feystown.  However, those postings are in the archives and do not show up on my Home page.  So, if you’re one of those folks, I’ve added a Search bar tool at the bottom of my home page.  Just enter “Feystown” and you should find all my entries on it.  Currently it will take you here.  I’d love to hear what you folks know/learn about Feystown as there really isn’t much “out there”–please leave me feedback under Comments!

Olympic Torch Relay

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2010 at 11:26 AM

I’m going to break with my genealogy theme for this entry.

Last night the 2010 Winter Olympics torch arrived in my town.  The Olympics are an interesting thing.  When I first heard Vancouver/Whister were bidding for them I was quite excited.  When we won the bid I was even more excited.  I thought how I would get to see world-class figure skaters in my own area instead of just on tv.  I thought of how I would volunteer.  That was a decade ago now.

The reality is a little different.  With figure skating tickets starting at $175 (plus fees & taxes) it seems I can not afford to attend, even if I had the required Visa card (being a sponsor, it’s the ONLY way to pay) to order them.  If you want one of the best seats for the Opening Ceremonies, it will cost you $1000 (plus fees & taxes).  As for the volunteering…well, it turns out I moved away from the Lower Mainland a few years ago, so now the commute to participate is too much.  It would’ve meant a 5-6 hour drive each way to attend an interview, and if I passed that, then to attend at least one training session, and then of course again for the times I  would be volunteering.  I have to say I am disappointed.  I had hoped to feel so much more involved, to participate in these olympics.  But it seems it’s not to be so.

So while I knew the Olympic Torch was arriving here yesterday, I felt disenchanted and wasn’t sure I’d go out to see it.

After much hmmm’ing and haw’ing, I decided it would be good to get out for some air if nothing else.  I put on a red scarf (they asked us to wear red to support Canada) and headed out.  Within two blocks I started to meet up with other people walking on the street, some wearing the olympic red mittens (sold out), some team jerseys and various other bits of red.  So one became five, and then on a street corner at a light, we became 15.  Another block later we were a swarm of 20.  By the time we were just outside the park where the celebration was to take place we were a steady stream of people–families with children, seniors, young teens and singles like myself.  There was a building excitement just in that.

Inside the park a big stage with a huge screen was set up and thousands of people were packed in front of it watching local musicians.  Food stands Imini-donuts!) lined one side of the audience, and sponsor vehicles lined the other (with lineups at each one, as there were things to be seen or freebies to be had).  There definitely a certain feeling in the air.  It was about an hour until the torch was to arrive.

The stage show’s host did all he could to “pump us up” with excitment.  I imagine the poor man had done this every evening for the past almost three months.  And then I realized, as I looked about and saw everyone enjoying themselves and waving their flags and little glo-light torches, that my depression was once again stopping me from feeling it.  Disdain was what I felt towards that show host, thinking he was trying to whoop us up like we were some mindless idiots.  Realizing why it was emotinally I was not engaged, I made myself line up with the others along the route the torch would take as it entered the park.

I got quite a good photo of the torch and runner as they came down the path.  And then it was gone, and up to the stage where it lit a “community cauldron”, which I assume will burn until the games are done.

I found myself feeling overwhelmed by all the people, everywhere thanks to my social anxiety, and no excitement whatsoever about the torch.  Finding a bench I sat down and tried to control my breathing (panic) and my sadness at the lack of joy I could feel.  It was one of those times, becoming all too frequent, where I almost got “stuck”.  “Stuck” is when I’ve found a little pull-out from the crowds to rest and recuperate, and find myself unwilling, afraid in fact, of re-entering the crowd, even to get myself home.

So I came home, glad that I had gotten out for some air at least,  wishing I could have felt some joy.  I’m not sorry I went out and saw the torch.  It is an honour and really a once-in-a-lifetime thing.   I know this intellectually if not emotionally.

On February 12th, I will begin to watch the 2010 Winter Olympics, on my tv, as if it were happening half a world away.