Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Break Wrap-Up

It's taken me a bit of time to get back to everything I put off while my sister and nephews were here visiting. Of course, the Earthquake we experienced over the Easter weekend was the big news. It was a first for all of us, except James. Very weird, but something to call home about!

We managed to see quite a bit while Suzanne and the boys were here. We visited the San Diego Zoo, which was fun. We managed to get lost a number of times within the zoo, which would have been funny if there wasn't a little girl who needed to use the restrooms! On our way to the zoo, we did a quick tour through the campus of UC San Diego. It is the top school in the country for psychology majors - which is something Maddie has expressed an interest in studying. It is a beautiful campus and I really think it inspired Maddie to continue visiting colleges in California.

James and Zachary took the long road trip up to Stanford for a campus tour. They left at 4AM on Saturday and returned home about 8 that evening. Quite a hike! Apparently, they made the trip in record time with the Viper... I was told not to do the math on that! Zack really enjoyed visiting the campus. We all are certain he will be accepted to his number one choice - University of Pennsylvania - but it's good to look at what else is out there. Zack has visited Princeton with his Dad and next he will visit Georgetown and George Washington University with his Aunt Claudine. As you can tell, Zack's going off to college is something our whole family is very excited about!

Maddie flew out to Pensacola, FL on Monday the 5th to spend the remainder of her Spring break with her friend Hailey's family. it was her first time flying on her own. She has travelled between DC and Detroit many times as an 'unescorted minor' to visit her dear friend, Leah. This was the first time, however that she did it by herself and had a terminal change in Dallas. She did great. We were on the phone with her as she made her way through the DFW airport to her ever-changing departure gate!

Hailey's family had rented a villa in a resort on the Florida panhandle. There were aunts, uncles and cousins spread over 3 homes. Maddie had a really great time. They returned home late on Friday night.

Suzanne and the boys left early Tuesday morning, which left just me and Josie to fill our days off. We had a great time - the weather was very warm on Thursday and Friday. We spent quality time at our community pool where Josie met up with some of her ballet class friends and made some new friends! Josie is having a ball wearing all her new swim suits - Target really hooked me up this year!! The pink 'ballerina' one-piece suit is her favorite so far...

Any spare time I have had has been spent in a dark room at the LDS Family History Center in Mission Viejo. I am a year and a half into my research on our family tree. There are so many mysteries to solve! I have spent hour upon hour in front of a microfilm machine looking at entries in the Catholic parish records of County Sligo, Ireland. This task is complicated by the fact that all the entries before 1865 are written in Latin. My cousin, Frank has been my sounding board - as he was the first to attempt the task for the McDonagh branch of our family. (That's my paternal grandmother's branch). Our efforts compliment each other quite well. Frank feeds me the bits and pieces of family lore and I try to find the documentation to substantiate it. Frank is an historian - he seems to be very good at putting the family events in historical perspective. With the assistance of our cousin, Liz, who lives in Sheffield, England, we have been making progress.

I was thrilled to receive a package from Liz on Good Friday. It was a book detailing the history of the town in England where my Grandmom was raised and where a large number of our family members lived and worked. I'm into my second reading of it now, and it's really interesting to see historic photos of my great-grandfather at work (below) and the cottage where Liz lives. I have been able to confirm the identity of our great-great-grandfather, which until this past week was unknown. I have also been able to locate the family farm, which I understand is still being run by McDonaghs.

On Wednesday I will return to the Family History Center to view one more spool of film. I'm hoping to find a few more records that can take me even further back in the family history...

Great Grandfather, John Patrick (standing with big moustache)

My Grandmom, Kathleen

The small, red cross indicates location of the family farm in Ireland


  1. Looks like y'all had a great Spring Break! I hate that we didn't get a chance to get together while Julie was here.....but she is planning to come back in September so we will have to try again.

    Spring Break went by way to fast for me, I could really use another week of it. :-)

  2. Glad you had a good visit with your sister and family. I haven't seen my family in nearly 4 years!

    Way to go on the ancestry research. I took a break after losing a lot of sleep searching lineage. I'm happy with what I've found for now, and hope to add to it soon. I'm in contact with a lady from Boca Raton, FL whose husband is my mother's cousin. Small world we live in!

    I love the photos!

    Love ya,

  3. Doing your family tree is a huge task! I spent most of 2003 and 2004 doing ours but I used only internet resources and databases and didn't use the LDS library. My family tree got disconnected when my GGFather came to the USA (from London) in 1836. He was two years old. Unfortunately, I have no idea where they were from in England as our surname (my maiden name) is extremely common there. The ship's manifest just lists their names and ages. I hope to someday figure out how to dig deeper.

    Looks like you guys had a fun and busy spring break! :)

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