28 March 2012


     ESP, intuition, synchronicity, hunches--I have heard many stories from people who have made genealogical discoveries with the aid of a sixth sense. Sometimes, after my talks, I notice someone hanging back in the crowd, waiting for a more private moment to tell me a story of supernatural occurrences in their search for their ancestors. More than once, I have experienced a tingle down my spine at a point in the story at the same time as the teller did! I am convinced that we family historians, particularly those of us dealing with the vagaries of Irish research, must pay attention to those hunches and gut feelings that many researchers would otherwise ignore in the quest to be a serious and orthodox researcher.
     By now, I've probably lost my more cynical readers! So, if you are still reading, here's my own most recent "personal assist" from the beyond.
     I've been searching for my Bowe ancestors since I was a preteen, when my father would tell stories about Richard Large and his wife Teresa Bowe in the coal region of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. But I have not been very successful researching the Bowe line. Over time, I came to refer to my great grandmother as "The Elusive Teresa Bowe." Frustrated, I appealed to her to reveal her birth record to me in a recent blog post.( http://irishfamilyresearch.blogspot.ca/2011/09/buzz-this-week-irish-heritage.html)
     After I had my DNA tested, I entered my results in the Bowe surname study (more about that in a future post), hoping for a break in my brick wall. Even my Bowe DNA proved elusive! So far, I have not matched with any other Bowe descendants, not even the ones from Schuylkill County families.
     A couple weeks ago, I received an email from Jeane, a volunteer researcher for the Bowe One Name Study. Jeane has Bowe ancestors, but we have yet to find a match in our trees. I knew her as the "spreadsheet woman" for the Bowe study, the person responsible for maintaining the huge collection of Bowe data. The aim of the spreadsheet is to gather into one place all the references to Irish Bowe's from the 1700's to the mid 1800's mainly using land, birth, marriage, and death records.
     I woke up one morning to find an email from Jeane describing a dream she had about a Mr. Kenny and the spreadsheet. Jeane describes part of her dream:
 "A Mr Kenny was the main character in the dream. I had confusion about his name, I called him Kenny like it was his first name and he said, "I'm Mr. Kenny!" The he was telling me about the people in the Spread Sheet except I don't remember what he said about them. I asked him if he was a historian and he said, "No." and continued to talk about the people on the SS, pointing at names on it as he spoke. When I woke up in the night and remembered his name I thought he must be on the SS so I checked in the groom's list in the morning but didn't find him. When I looked for Teresa just over 24 hours later he was a witness at her baptism."
     Not only did the baptism details fit what I knew of my Teresa, the parents listed on the record were James Bowe and Anne Kelly--matches for "my" Teresa's parents! The baptismal record was from the parish of Arles, County Laois, which was my long-time hunch about her birthplace. 
     Thankfully, Jeane not only pays attention to her dreams, she shares them.