I have always known that my roots were in southern Ireland. However, as I recently found out, John Leary served as a head constable with the Royal Irish Constabulary in Ireland during the early 1800's. He left Ireland in the early 1850's with his wife and eight children (four sons and four daughters) and headed for Jamaica with the hope of a new life after the devastating effects of the potato famine in his Irish homeland. In Jamaica he had a job waiting for him as Head Messenger--responsible for mail in the colony for Great Britain.
Later, in the late 1850's, he immigrated to Canada with his family through New Orleans. He is first recorded with most of his family on an 1861 census in Huron County, Ontario as a farmer.
Most of his family then followed the Canadian land dream by settling the west as homesteaders. They first resettled in Nelsonville, southwestern Manitoba, and then at Whitecourt, northern Alberta and finally in the lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia. My grandfather and father were the main players in the Alberta segment of this saga.
As a result of this migration, I grew up on a wonderful farm with many memories that are priceless to me. Later my family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia where my life would never be the same--with university, career choices and family ahead of me. There I met my future wife, a snappy little girl from Ireland brand new to Canada. And, wouldn't you know it, her Irish roots were from an adjoining county (Waterford) to where my great great grandparents once called home (Kilkenny).
As a result of coming to know something of the story of my great great grandparents and their family, I now feel a part of their lives and have gotten to love and know them. For the majority of my life, I did not know much about my Irish roots. I am so grateful for my ancestors. I owe so much to them. I look forward to one day meeting them.
FAMILY HISTORY HAS DRAMATICALLY CHANGED
I struggled for many years with only limited names on my family tree and not-so-accurate stories about my four generation ancestors. I have also struggled with the time and energy needed to find ancestors using traditional methods of writing letters to find vital record information, viewing microfiche film reels and searching various websites for historical records that match my family. For the most part I found the effort laborious and uninspiring especially when fraught with disappointment at every turn.
That all changed beginning in the latter part of 2012 when my wife and I accepted a call to serve a two year family history mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in India. But then, because of visa issues, we ended up serving in Saskatchewan and
Ontario in the Canada Winnipeg Mission.
As we served, miracles began to occur. First, I found two cousins who had many additional names and correct stories for some of my ancestors and their descendants.
Then, my interest and excitement quickly became a passion as my family tree grew rapidly in response to using a flood of online technical tools that progressively became available on familysearch.org and other collaborative partner websites beginning in late 2012. Using these tools has enabled me to easily find many more of my deceased relatives.
Apart from the amazing technology around these tools, what makes this all possible is the ever expanding searchable indexed database of names and historical records that is now available online. These new tools facilitate effective searching of this database.
Because of FamilySearch and its amazing collaborative partner websites which together offer a huge indexed searchable historical database, and because of the development of these new online technical tools, including stunning-accurate search engines, family history research has dramatically changed from what it was by late 2012. Amazing results come from using these tools in finding ancestors and their stories.
Family history research has now become results oriented--meaning we should no longer spend inordinate amounts of time on ancestral or descendancy lines that do not produce results. As searchable databases expand and technology advances we can always come back at a later time to these areas in our family tree.
My desire is to share with others what I have learned in using these technical tools and to keep users of RoadMap up to date on changes.
The story is the same for my wife--and for many others.
EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF FINDING ANCESTORS AND DISCOVERING THEIR STORIES
If you haven't experienced the joy of finding your ancestors and discovering something of their lives and stories, I invite you to try RoadMap. I know it will help guide you to success.