Posted on March 17, 2017
Ireland came to America because, deprived of liberty, deprived of opportunity, of safety, of even food itself, the Irish believed, for decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp, we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore. We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America… Enda Kenny, Taoiseach
Maybe because some of us tend to forget our ancestor’s journey, is the reason why history repeats itself.Maybe with each successive wave of immigration, we should remember our own history. While many demand that certain groups stay out, or assimilate faster, it would be a good time to recall that it took generations for our families to complete the journey.
My ancestor’s left Ireland during the Famine. They made their way to New York and to the marble quarries of Westchester County. Later, they moved a few miles into Yonkers and made their living at the Alexander Smith Carpet Mill. Here in Yonkers, branches of my family tree joined together. My great-grandfather, after several years in the carpet factory, was the first to leave the labor field for a desk job selling insurance. Fifty years later, after World War II, my grandfather, 3rd generation Irish, left the enclave and reinvented himself in Washington, D.C.
Three generations of quarry labor and factory work. Three generations before my grandfather broke away. From serving in the Coast Guard, he discovered his love of radio and love of performance. He landed a radio job in DC, which led later to television and advertising. My father, fourth-generation, was the first to go to college.
As the Taoiseach says, the Irish came here because they believed in the shelter, compassion, and opportunity of America. They worked hard for generations in order to provide for their families. It took generations to move out of the neighborhood from which all was familiar, to leave the remnants of Ireland behind.
Posted on December 10, 2010
What it says on the base of the stand is “Kilroy was here,” a popular World War II reference. Get it? Kilroy, pregnant girl-doll?
According to my grandmother,Rita, the doll is supposed to bring fertility to the newly married couple. Gertrude has been passed down through each generation since to married couples in the Lamb family. She’s had an almost-perfect success rate.
The question everyone asked: Why was this little doll named “Gertrude?”
It took a little bit of research through the census records (minus a Nova Scotia glitch) to find the answer.
In 1905, Jimmy and Rose Lamb had their first daughter, Gertrude. By 1910, she was gone, one of the first of three Lamb/Heffernan children to pass away in this particular generation.
Unfortunately, between 1910 and 1920, they lost their second daughter, Anastasia. In 1924, Rose was gone as well – taken by tuberculosis. I wonder why the doll is Gertrude’s namesake, as opposed to her mother Rose or her sister, Anastasia? Whatever the reason, giving the doll her name, opened the door to learning previously unknown history.
|Rose Glennon Lamb with Gertrude
(in back, white blouse)
My father remembers Jimmy Lamb as “grumpy,” (who could blame him?) but didn’t know why. Jimmy remarried, and his second wife, Mae, raised all of Rose’s children – the five who survived to adulthood. My grandfather referred to Mae as his mother, although he always kept the photo of Rose Glennon Lamb, who died when he was five. No one ever spoke of Gertrude or Anastasia.
Yet forty years after the death of his first child, Great-Grandpa Jimmy Lamb remembered his daughter Gertrude.
When families don’t tell their stories, the stories become lost. History is hidden. As sad as it is, there is something to be told, that can’t be forgotten. Historically, Rose and Jimmy worked at the Alexander Smith Carpet Mill in Yonkers and were directly impacted by the Industrial Revolution. Lives were lost due to tuberculosis. Out of this, is the story of a man who survived incredible loss to rise up and become a community leader and local politician…all stories that will be continued after Tanners and Quarrymen, as part of the Famine series.
Posted on December 9, 2010
For those of us involved in historical research, the advent of online primary source documents has been a godsend. At least for me. Microfilm reels make me queasy.
Or pay a fee. Yes, I’m that poor Ancestry.com.
|Maria Lamb, 1905 Census, Yonkers, New York.|
The Beta site has many more resources than the main site. Family Search site contains1880 census records, social security documents and user-input birth and marriage records. The Beta site includes more obscure census data, such as the New York State 1865, 1892 and 1905 records. And I’m only talking New York.
Records are available for numerous states and countries – browse by location or document type. These include census, marriage and birth records, death records, military, migration and probate court. Year span ranges from pre-1700 to the present. Outside of the United States, the majority of records exist for North America and Europe. Still, there are a few for Africa, Asia and the Middle East. New Zealand and Australia lie somewhere in between. The downside is that not all of the collections have browse-able images. Many do, but not all. Due to privacy laws of various countries, some information cannot be displayed.
Beta also has a great online tutorial with lessons for beginning research, creating a family tree, and a list of all the LDS centers where you can get research help in person. FamilySearch is created and maintained by the LDS church.