The Genealogy Bug is Contagious

Masonic Washington

Washington as a freemason, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This week concluded my Irish 201 class.  It focused on other types of Irish records besides Griffith’s Valuation and census records.  I learned which are available online, and how to plan for a research trip to Ireland at some point in the future.

After browsing through a few potential leads, I checked an Irish Wills database for my Third-great-grandfather George Lindsay.  I knew from other records that George passed in 1887, just before his wife and several of his children left for America.  To my surprise, a record showed up.  I checked the abstract and it listed Alice, his wife, as the executor, a death date of March 3, 1887, and that he lived as a farmer in Ballymacashin, County Down.  All of these matched what I knew, so I found his will!  I opened the record and saw his actual will, as it was written.

It was drafted in February of 1886, when George was roughly 70 years old—just a year before he died.  I wonder if his health started to decline at that time and he wanted to get his affairs in order.  It wasn’t too detailed, but basically he left his home, land and belongings to his wife and children.  He also listed two co-executors of his will in order to ensure it was executed properly.  They were David Reid of Ardigon and James Norwood of Raffrey, which was near Ballymacashin.  That left me wondering if they were cousins or family friends.  More tangents to investigate!

I started getting antsy this week for the DNA test results that I mentioned in an earlier blog.  I hadn’t gotten an email yet saying it was complete, so I figured it was time I checked.  I logged on and was surprised to see that it had been complete for almost a month!  Looking at the results, I learned that the Lindsay’s are linked to the ancient Stonemasons from around 30,000 years ago. There was a list of potential related people that I can contact, and I forwarded my results to a Lindsay DNA project contact with whom I’ve been working.  He has other Lindsay’s who have done tests that we can compare, so I am hoping to hear back from him soon with the results.

I was excited to share this news with my great uncle who provided his DNA.  He was fascinated, to say the least.  He told me that he and his father were both masons!  What are the odds? He even has his father’s master Masonic apron!  I learned my great uncle had wanted to dig into his family history for a while, but never got around to it.  My findings inspired him to pick it up, and to begin going through his father’s journals.  Apparently the genealogy bug is contagious!

Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Brian Parotto of Hampshire, Ill.

Here are some of the tools Brian is using to launch his genealogy education. Check them out:

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