Monday, March 16, 2020

The Plough and the Stars #1: Arthur Shields and the 1916 Easter Uprising

Scan of original playbill of The Plough and the Stars
Kitty Curling was a member of the Abbey Theatre company from 1926 to 1933. She was about 19 when she made her debut in a one act comedy called Apartments. According to the theatre's archivist Mairead, it's possible and maybe probable that because of Kitty's age she was a product of the company's acting school.

Her second show solidified her place in theater history. Kitty was cast as Mollser in Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars. The play, which completes O'Casey's Dublin Trilogy takes place in a tenement building between November 1915 and the 1916 Easter Uprising.

Last month I sat down with the Abbey's archivist to talk about Kitty's career and I'm working on putting the audio I recorded of that conversation into a photoslide video for my Aunt Ann.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Irish Citizenship Process 1: Info Dump

The goal.
Ireland is one of I believe eight countries that offer dual citizenship options to the grandparents of Irish citizens. It's a five step process with Ireland that involves a lot of paperwork that amateur genealogists are probably all geared up to go get.

Before we get to the official process, the first question is "why do I want dual citizenship?"  For me there are three reasons:
1. Ease of travel: Enter Ireland (or anywhere else in the European Union) on my green passport, reenter the United States on my blue passport. Though, I'm going to have to do some reading on how that actually works.

2. Opportunities: In my youth I had the very romantic fantasy of moving to Ireland and single handedly building a professional baseball league to rival if not Major League Baseball, certainly Korean Baseball Organization. But now, with Amazing Librarian, the plan to move mid-career to Ireland is unlikely. But, with our careers building momentum, long vacations, a second home or retirement option.

3. It's cool. And isn't that the only motivation that matters?

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Ancestry: 9 Generations Deep

Shown: Actual Family Tree.
I haven't used in quite a while. I signed up for an account years ago and never did anything with it. But with a quiet day at work I had some time to explore the site.

It turned into a very productive day. While I'm sure the accuracy of the information on ancestry is relatively (lol) reliable for the most part, and considering this is the first day of my pursuit, I'm very satisfied with where I'm at.

Where I'm at, by the way, is seven generations deep through Kitty and Joe Wall's families. There are stops in India, Ireland, Malta, England, Poland, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Australia and Russia. Coming into this project, my only real interest was in Kate and the Dublin branch of the family. I read that somewhere along the way the name Wall was an anglicanization of a Dutch name. So maybe part of the family originated in Holland. But I was genuinely surprised at the places this family has traveled to and from.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Blog Party: Women's History Month

One of the three women in this story; Amazing Librarian and I at Ha'Penny Bridge in Dublin.

This experience of mine. The one of discovering my heritage, of knowing, if not yet understanding, where I come from, is due entirely to women. With this being Women's History Month and with My Descendent's Ancestors' "Blog Party" theme being women's history & with this site being new as an unwrapped candy bar, now is a great time to introduce the women of the story.

There are three women in my family who swirl around this story of discovery. Without these women, this story simply doesn't happen.

Let me introduce the heroines of our story:

Kitty Curling, Joe Wall and the Philadelphia Family

The Abbey Theatre, Dublin
My grandmother was actress Kate "Kitty" Curling, member of the world renown Abbey Theatre troupe in the late 20's and early 30's. She emigrated to the United States in 1934 and married textile mill owner Joseph Wall. They had children, raised horses, hosted parties and were part of the "in" crowd in Philadelphia for many, many years.  Their son Gregory met my mother in the mid/late 70's. Gregory was a  banker in the Philadelphia suburbs and my mother was smitten like a kitten by the older, well respected and well connected Greg.

I came along shortly after that, and before I was done unpacking, Greg and my mother were done.

When I say "before I was done unpacking", I mean it. Greg and my mother split so quickly after my birth that no minister we knew would baptize me. This was the 70's, when being a single mother made a woman more of a pariah. This was also back when pregnant mothers could still smoke in the hospital. At least that's the story I get. My mom has always been a little cagey when it came to details and timelines.

Now that I think about it, I may have to check my birth certificate to make sure my birthday is my birthday.