Sunday, May 24, 2009

Farrell or Fearghail

I have been doing most of my research lately on my father’s line – the Farrell Family. At this point I have only gone back to my great great Grandfather and so far I have found that we come from Ballyreagh in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. But apparently this is not where the name Farrell originates from.

This Irish surname, with variant spellings O'Farrell, (O) Ferrall, and cognates O'Farrelly and O'Ferrally, is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic Ó Fearghail. The Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal byname "Fearghal", composed of the elements "fear", man, and "gal", valour; hence, "descendants" of the man of Valour" (I like that!).

This great sept originated in the Leinster Co. of Longford and their chief known as Lord of Annaly resided at Longphuirt Ui Fearghaill (i.e. O'Farrell's fortress) from which the name of the county derives. So important was the sept that much space is accorded to them in the "Annals of the Four Masters". There were two main branches of the O'Farrell's, the chiefs of which were distinguished as O'Farrell Boy from "buidhe", meaning yellow or Golden, and O'Farrell Bane from ban meaning "fair" or "white". Several of the family distinguished themselves in the Irish brigade in France, and Sir Thomas Farrell (1827 - 1900), was a noted sculptor many of whose statues adorn the city of Dublin.

A Coat of Arms granted to the (O) Farrell family depicts a gold lion rampant on a green shield. The colour symbolizes Hope, Joy and Loyalty in Love. It also reflects the hopes, ambitions and aspirations of its original bearer. On the Crest there is a black greyhound springing from a ducal coronet.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Father Richard O'Farrell, which was dated circa 1615 - 1663, in Annaly, Co. Longford, during the reign of King James I of England and VI of Scotland (1603 – 1625).

Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

This post was written for the 13th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture , Irish Names, hosted by Lisa at Small-leaved Shamrock.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What good are Census Reports?

My sister told me recently that when the last Census was taken a few of years ago, her youngest son balked out filling it out. His comment was "What good are Census Reports? It's just another way for "Big Brother" to keep his eye on us!" At 20 yrs. old, he is that cynical! She told him that it will help future generations to know more about us and how we lived.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at her house and updating her on things that I had found on our family. I was rattling off information that I had found using the Scottish Census Reports. Her oldest son was in the room and she turned to him and said "You see, that's what Census Reports are good for!"

When the next Census is taken, make sure you fill it out. And try to do it as accurately as possible to avoid giving headaches to your descendants when they are trying to find you!

Another Award - Wow!

I've been offline for a few days so was surprised to see that two geneabloggers gave me the Friendly Blogger Award. Thank you to Judith at Tennessee Memories and Robin at Where I Come From. It is very much appreciated.

I know that this award has been going around for awhile, so I'm going to cheat and take the easy road out and present this to everyone who hasn't received it yet, as you are all friendly bloggers!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Our Prince

After four years of marriage, my mother and step-father didn’t have any children of their own, so they decided that they would try adoption. Since my mom already had three girls, they were hoping for a little boy. Back in the mid 1960’s there were a lot of restrictions with adoptions with regards to race, religion, etc. At the time the only boys that were up for adoption were either children of colour or children of the Catholic faith (we were Protestant), both of which my parents didn’t “qualify” for.

Now at this time, I was about 6 or 7 years old and used to go to bed at 7:00 p.m. Because of his work shift, my step-dad only got home around 8:00 p.m. After about a year of trying to adopt, my step-dad called home one night and told my mom to keep me up until he got home as he had a surprise. He said it was a little boy about 9 weeks old. I was so excited because I thought, finally I was getting a little brother and I wouldn’t be the baby any more. Around 8:00 p.m. that night in walks my step-dad carrying a cardboard box. I thought it very funny that my new baby brother would be in box! My step-dad put the box down on the floor and, to my surprise, out popped this little brown head that started licking me in the face. It was a new puppy and boy did he every look funny! He looked like an oversized sausage. I didn’t know it was because he was a dachshund and he was supposed to look like that. He was soooo cute and tiny and we called him Prince.

My mom spent 3 months sleeping on the sofa training him. She trained him not to go on the furniture, not to go up the stairs to the second floor where the bedrooms were, and not to go in the dining room where we always ate. We had a huge front lawn with no fence and she even trained him to stay on the lawn. Not one paw touched the sidewalk without permission.

With the type of shift that my step-dad worked (he worked on the commuter trains), he was always able to come home during the day for a nap. One day he came home, took one look at Prince and said “come on boy, let’s go to bed”. That’s all it took – after all that training, he was now allowed to go upstairs and sleep on my parents bed. Next thing we knew, he was allowed up on the sofa. But that’s all my mom gave into – Prince was still not allowed in the dining room unless my mom gave the O.K. If we were eating dinner, Prince would sit on the edge of the doorway and not even his nose would cross that threshold. If my step-dad called him in to get a piece of food, Prince would look at my mom first and wait for her to give the O.K. and then he would slink in, take the food and then dash back out.

Whenever we would be playing outside the front of the house, Prince would always be out there too, sitting on the lawn. There were no concerns that he would run away. The only time that he was allowed off the front lawn was when my step-dad would be coming down the street. My step-dad would take the bus home whenever he came home during the day and he always had a set time to arrive. Mom would let Prince out the front to sit and wait. We always knew when my step-dad would be coming down the street because Prince would be sitting on the corner of the lawn wagging his tail so much you would think he was going to take off. My mom would wait a few minutes and then say “go on Prince” and Prince would take off down the street to meet my dad, give him a big Hello and then run back home to wait. It got to the point the neighbours all knew when my step-dad would be coming down the street just by watching Prince’s tail go.

My step-dad was a big hockey fan and Prince would always sit and watch the games with him. My step-dad would sing the National Anthem and Prince would sing right along with him. I thought this was so great to think we had a dog that could sing that I entered him in a talent show put on by our local park. I watched as all the other dogs did these really neat tricks. When it came to my turn, I got up my courage and started singing the National Anthem expecting Prince to join right along. All he did was lie there and sleep! I was so embarrassed! I guess my voice just wasn’t deep enough. I should have gone with the "cookie on the nose" trick.

When Prince was about a year old we got a kitten we called Mittens (she was allowed to sleep with me). For the most part Prince and Mittens got along fine, unless the cat was in a bad mood. If she was, she always took it out on Prince and would knock him upside the head with her paw! One day we found a stray kitten, that couldn’t have been more than 5 or six weeks old. Prince became very protective of this kitten. I think he was afraid Mittens would do something to it. He would let it sleep in his bed and make sure that it ate its food. We eventually gave the kitten to a little girl who’s cat had just got hit by a car.

Prince was my step-dad’s baby and they did everything together. As Prince got older, he went deaf and blind and could barely walk because of his arthritis. After 17 years, we knew it was time to put him down. My step-dad took this very hard and couldn’t do it, so I was the one that had to take Prince to the vet. It broke my heart to have to leave without him. Prince wasn’t just a dog, he was the baby brother I never had.

P.S. I’m still the baby of the family!

This post was written for the 13th Edition of Smile For The Camera - All Creatures Great and Small.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

I was so pleased to read Jessica's Genejournal and see that she nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. I haven't been posting too much lately so it was really nice of her to give me this. It's going to be tough to nominate 7 more - there are so many to choose from. My nominees are:

Apple at Apple's Tree