Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Breaking through on the Holmes family

Spent more time than I expected today at the National Archives. I wanted to look up some wills that I had seen in the index at the National Library, but when I got there they told me that many of those had been lost in a fire. So I looked through the old-fashioned card file (half a wall of small drawers) and found that they didn't have the names I'd written down, but they had some others that I decided to look up just based on date.

Most of the research in Dublin has been a learning process; sometimes you ask for an old book, sometimes microfilms, sometimes a manuscript that's in another building. This time they brought me an envelope with two old notepads in it. The pads contained the tight scribbles of some previous genealogist who had written excerpts of the wills he had found - wills that may no longer exist.

The notes contained Peter Holmes, who had a daughter named Mary, and other family members. The hopeful clues are that her brother-in-law mentioned her as unmarried in 1717; my Mary wed about 1721. Then, her uncle had children that included Richard and Isabell; my Mary had a Richard and Isabell Holmes at her wedding!

I'll have to examine the years and relationships when I get home, but it looks like Mary, who married Joshua English and came to colonial South Carolina, may have parents named Peter and Briget! And I would never have known except for browsing the name at the Archives in Dublin.

Not to mention some unknown, kindred genealogical soul from perhaps the 1940s. Could my notebooks, my little scribbles be so useful to somebody, someday?

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