Today I would like for you to meet Colleen Murdoch of Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches. On her blog Colleen takes us with her on her journey back in time as she traces her ancestors and researches the counties, cities and towns where they lived.
Colleen takes a glimpse into her ancestors’ lives, stories and the times in which they lived; all in an effort to learn about their “Dash'”! On a Mystery Monday blog post, Colleen shared the poem “Faces Without a Name… THE DASH” :
“I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of his friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning – to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the second with tears,
but he said that what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.”
Colleen, tell us a little about yourself:
“I was born and raised in Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. In 1971, just a few days after my tenth birthday, my family immigrated to a small town in Ontario, Canada. Two years later, due a family tragedy, we returned to Northern Ireland to live in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim – my paternal family’s hometown. I loved living there with my paternal grandparents “just up the road” and my maternal family, a relatively short car ride away. It was wonderful being surrounded by my family once again. Just two short years later we, once again, were making the transatlantic trip to Canada – something I would have much preferred not to do!
“In 1981, just before my 21st birthday, I ventured out of the family home and small town Ontario for the “big city” of Ottawa. I love Ottawa and the life I have built here with my soon to be eighteen year old daughter and my husband. Interestingly, I still think of Ireland as home and when we travel there I’m known to say, “I’m going home.” Of course when we return to Ottawa, “I’m going home” too! My birth country and Canada both fill a little piece of my heart.”
Tell us a little about your blog Colleen:
“I have always been interested in researching my family tree and “hanging out” in cemeteries. Like most of us, I didn’t ask enough questions when elderly family members were still living. Oh, what I would give for 24 hours and a camera with my ancestors… just to sit and listen!
“I’m researching many family lines including: Murdoch, Wilson, Berry, Love, Scott, Beattie/Beatty, Hendren, Sweeney, Robinson & Elvin, just to name a few. My families are predominantly from counties Antrim, Donegal and Londonderry. However, it seems that many of my family, both maternal and paternal lines, “hailed” from Co. Donegal.”
How long have you been doing Genealogy/Family History? How did you get interested or started in doing your family history/genealogy and why did you start or create a genealogy blog?
“I have always been interested in and wanting to research my family history, and have been collecting information for years. This may be due, in part, to feeling “exiled” from my homeland and family. So, about six years ago, I decided to put all the information I had accumulated into a “manageable” format and joined Ancestry!
“This journey has grown into something quite unexpected. I have never been interested in researching only names and dates – I needed to build a story of the lives of those who had gone before me. I wanted to know how they spent their “Dash”!
“When starting my journey back in time, I wasn’t prepared for, nor had I expected it to be, an emotional trip! In fact, I hadn’t even considered it. While collecting photos of my family who were more recently deceased, I knew that would bring up emotion, which it inevitably did. However, to feel a sense of sadness or pain for a great great grandparent who died in 1894… that I certainly hadn’t anticipated!
“I have cried many tears over ancestors who I never knew and wish I had known. I have learned of family who died in workhouses, War Heroes who died in WWI and those who led a simple, but seemingly happy life.
“Since I am curious by nature, my family research then turned into a historical one – as I believe it should in order to build a true picture of the lives of my ancestors. This in turn compelled me to start writing about them and the lives they led. I wanted to “remember” them.”
I am bound to them
Though I cannot look into their eyes
Or hear their voices
I honour their history
I cherish their lives
I will tell their story
I will remember them!
Author – Unknown
The added bonus of creating my Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches Blog and Facebook page is that so many others seem to be enjoying it as well. Through my page I have found family and connected family – those who were brave enough to marry us!”
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Please take a moment and visit Colleen’s blog Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches. Leave her a comment to let her know you stopped by. Thank-you Colleen for sharing your blog and your thoughts with us!
© 2016, copyright Michelle Ganus Taggart, All rights reserved
Michelle Ganus Taggart lives in Kaysville, Utah, where she enjoys the beautiful outdoors, time with family and researching her ancestors. She shares her passion for her southern research in her blog, A Southern Sleuth. Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . . “ series? If so, contact Michelle via email firstname.lastname@example.org