Featured

Featured story at IrishCentral, June 27, 2022

Featured photo, Galway 1953, above – Photograph by Martin J. Walsh Jr, of Murdock Minnesota, Kodachrome slide.  Information written on slide – A small village near Galway, May 14, 1953. Google Map details to photo above at Bohermore, Galway, Ireland are provided below.


1953 vintage Kodachrome slides from Ireland featured at IrishCentral

Jannet L. Walsh
June 27, 2022
Murdock, Minnesota

I’m excited to announce my story Seeing Ireland through my father’s vintage Kodachrome images published June 27, 2022 at IrishCentral.

My story about my late father Martin J. Walsh Jr., of Murdock, Minnesota, originally published on my blog on Father’s Day 2022. I shared his vintage 1953 Kodachrome images from his trip to Ireland. My story was featured on the Home, Roots, Irish American, and History pages of IrishCentral, June 27, 2022.


Screenshot from IrishCentral – View story Seeing Ireland through my father’s vintage Kodachrome images.

Bohermore, Galway, Ireland

Update, June 28, 2022 – Since my story appeared on my blog and at Irish Central, I received messages from Luke Gerard Lanigan of Galway City, Ireland, Qualified Irish National Tour Guide with Destination Ireland Tours, specializing in tours related movie “The Quiet Man.”  Lanigan wrote me noting he thought he knew the location of my father’s 1953 photo of the tour bus, main feature photo of story Seeing Ireland through my fathers vintage Kodachrome images.

Google Maps – Nearby location of Martin J. Walsh Jr.’s 1953 street and tour bus photographs in Ireland. Location is approximately 144 Bohermore, Galway, Ireland. View at Google Maps.

Today I have an exact, if not very good address where my late father Martin J. Walsh Jr. stood in 1953 to take the Kodachrome image with his 35mm camera.  Lanigan suggests the nearby location is approximately 144 Bohermore, Galway, in County Galway, Ireland, the present-day location of Tonery’s Bar. Bohermore is an area of Galway, and it was the main road into the city from the east in medieval times.

As a side note, US President John F. Kennedy visited Galway, Ireland, June 29, 1963, ten years after my father. Learn more about Kennedy’s visit to Galway at Ireland Reaching Out website.


View Google Earth Map presentation, 3DView Ireland and Galway, including Bohermore, Galway with Google Earth Maps.

Screenshot of home page of IrishCentral, June 28, 2022

Read story at IrishCentral

Screenshot from IrishCentral


Vintage 1953 Kodachrome from Ireland – Photography by Martin J. Walsh Jr., of Murdock Minnesota, Information written on slide: Cong, Ireland, on Ashford Castle Grounds. Ruins of an old Abbey, May 14, 1953.

Best wishes, Jannet L. Walsh

Jannet L. Walsh


About the writerJannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of the forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative “Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota,” scheduled for publication in 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing. She has compiled Irish Genealogy Toolkit, a list of resources for researching your Irish roots. You can follow Walsh on Facebook and Twitter, and her other social media channels.

Subscribe – Get updates on latest news from Jannet L. Walsh and her forthcoming book Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota, scheduled publication 2022, Shanti Arts Publishing.

Featured

Top 10 pointers to launch Irish genealogy search

Vintage 1953 Ireland Kodachrome slide: The featured photograph above was taken in 1953 by the late Martin J. Walsh Jr. of Murdock, Minnesota. Details of the original Kodachrome slide include:  Information written on slide: Friday May 15, 1953, tour of Liffey Valley and Blessington Lakes. Photo was taken near Curragh. The people are looking for shamrocks, County Kildare.  Learn more about the vintage 1953 Kodachrome slides at Father’s Day 2022 blog post at JannetWalsh.com.

Discover shamrocks, Irish family history

By Jannet L. Walsh
June 22, 2022
Murdock, Minnesota USA

Collection of photos from the family of Jannet L. Walsh.

If you are searching for family Irish roots, it’s likely you’ll become part historian, storyteller, and mostly a detective of family antiquities.

My late father late Martin J. Walsh Jr. of Murdock, Minnesota, captured images with his 35mm camera and Kodachrome slide film of a group of tourists searching for shamrocks in County Kildare, Ireland in 1953, photo posted above. This collection of images is now part of my family’s heritage, and a way to connect to Irish culture. He was searching for hints of our family’s origins. There are incredible resources available today my father could never imagined available from the comfort of home and a computer in his hometown in rural Minnesota.

It doesn’t matter if have been searching for years for origins of your family, or just starting, there’s always room for a few new pointers.  There were many resources I was not aware of when I really put my genealogy search into full swing about 2010.  I curated a free listing of about 100 resources to help search called Irish Genealogy Toolkit found at my website as a result of my genealogy search. 

Since the start of my quest to find Irish roots, many church documents from Ireland are now available for searching from your home free, along with a multitude of other resources.  Below are ten pointers and resources to help launch a family history project today.


Galway 1953 – Photo by Martin J. Walsh Jr, of Murdock Minnesota, Kodachrome slide.  Information written on slide: A small village near Galway. May 14, 1953.

1. Getting started with genealogy, church documents

It’s an overwhelming task to get started discovering family roots as you will become, without knowing, historian, storyteller, but most important, a detective searching for any artifacts ancestors left behind decades and hundreds of years ago.

  • Home and family, starting point  – The best place to start is to inquire and gather any genealogy work that’s been done previously at home and with your family.  You might be amazed, or disappointed, significant work has already been done.  If you can’t find any previous work, you might be just the person your family needs, and is calling to become the storyteller for your clan.
  • Personal family search – Read an overview about how I launched my family Irish research at my website or at IrishCentral.
  • Video, National Archives, Ireland – Watch informative video at YouTube about Irish genealogy and documents from professional genealogist Nicola Morris at the National Archives, Dublin, Ireland. Hear it from a professional on starting an Irish genealogy search. If interested, view more videos YouTube channel of National Archives, Ireland.
  • Guide, workbook – The National Archives of Ireland created a website and workbook in 2016 geared towards school children to learn about family history.  After reviewing the resources, I found many of the items apply to just about anyone with little to no knowledge of Ireland and genealogy, meaning most people starting a search for Irish roots. View the 2016 Family History website, and download a free workbook.
Video from National Archives IrelandResearching your Roman Catholic ancestors by professional genealogist Joan Sharkey, Jan 21, 2022.
  • Irish Civil and  Church documents: Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian – Irish church and civil records from Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ireland, official Irish website, are available to search at no cost.  As of March 1, 2022, more historic births, marriages, and deaths were added to the collection by the General Register Office, Ireland. There is no cost to use website resources. Read more on the additional records at IrishGenealogy.ie. Search for church documents at IrishGenealogy.ie.
  • Understand Irish Emigration, an overview – Read Irish Emigration History by Irial Glynn, 2012, posted at the University College Cork, Ireland, website.

2. Patience, and a lot of it

Trying to find pieces of history of your family might not happen overnight. Starting a genealogy search can be exciting and exhausting at the same time. I would find bits and pieces that would connect to other bits and pieces, and sometime not a connection at all.  It’s a great task to undertake, but the results can be overwhelming. 

I was propelled to find the origins of my family in Ireland the best I could, and achieved my goal, taking about 10 years.  My real search started decades before when I was in college in the 1980s, typing term papers on an electric typewriter.  Today you can sit at home and search for family records.  We are living in an incredible time to connect the past with the present due to technology and the internet.

3. Start research at home, not Ireland

If you are thinking of flying to Ireland to start your family search, please think again.  There are incredible resources to start searching now before going to the island of Ireland.  Think of ways of putting together your story the best you can with names and dates of ancestors, cities, townlands, counties, and any details you can find before even packing your luggage, and selecting sturdy walking shoes. 

If you need help with research, hiring a professional genealogist is always an option.  There are many resources for genealogists, but look at qualifications with professional agencies, but there’s no guarantees. I’ve included several organizations to review for hiring a generalist, see heading of Professional genealogists, resources, code of ethics, at Irish Genealogy Toolkit.

A word to the wise, make sure you understand exactly what you are paying for before hiring a genealogist. Susan Riley, Ph.D., genealogist from Minnesota, notes it’s import to determine the genealogist’s credentials and experience; ask for work samples; insist on a written contract establishing goals, price of research, timetable; meet using video conferencing, such as Zoom, to clarify everything; and start a small, inexpensive project to see if the geologist is reliable.

4. Keep a notebook at hand

It’s important to keep a notebook dedicated to your search. Yes, a notebook!  Write with a pen that’s archival quality and a notebook that sturdy and can be easily transported in your pocket, purse or backpack.  Take notes of the people you meet, details of what you find.  When your computer crashes, you will have notes to look at in the future, and will be something your descendants can use to uncover future details.  I have several notebooks from search and travel, and access to family documents, such as letters, diaries, notebooks and more.  Check to see what’s available within your family.

5. Genealogy guides, tools

There are numerous genealogy guides to search for online, but look for credible sources.  If you must pay to read, move one. The National Archives in Washington, DC, has countless resources devoted to genealogy, including articles, finding aids, webinars, and other information.  View Genealogy Resources and Reference Reports for Genealogy online at the National Archives.

6. Military, vital statistics, obituaries, graves, and cemeteries

Your dearly departed relatives, and their details, will point towards your goal of putting together a family history. It’s your task to find out what’s available. I’ve spent a lot of time visiting cemeteries looking for graves of my family in the United States and Ireland.  I’ve accidentally found living relatives at cemeteries walking rows of graves searching for details on our family I didn’t know existed. Don’t be shy to spend hours walking in cemeteries, and visit with other people visiting cemeteries as you might be related, or learn something important.

7. Newspapers, state, and local archives

Old newspapers are a great source to search for anything written about your family in the past.  I found my family mentioned in numerous old newspapers stories when searching at my local historical society in Benson, Minnesota, Swift County Historical Society and Museum.

  • Newspapers at Ancestry, paid subscription, but very helpful resource
  • Listing of state archives at National Archives
  • Go local – Consider inquiring at local city and county libraries and museums about available resources for genealogy, including old newspapers.

8. Subscription, non-subscription genealogy related search websites, social media
Please check with local libraries, historical societies, and museums if they offer free access to Ancestry and other paid subscriptions for searching for genealogy. You might already have access in your city, county or state as part of public services and resources.

  • Ancestry, paid subscription, with free resources to read online
  • FamilySearch, paid subscription, with free resources
  • Non-Subscription Databases, National Archives
  • Search Facebook groups and other social media related to specific areas or counties in Ireland and topics. If your people are from County Kerry, a general themed Facebook group is Kerry is the best county in Ireland. There is an official Facebook page Ireland Family History, hosted by Tourism of Ireland, sharing tips and trivia to help find Irish family history.

9. Travel to Ireland

If you are ready to travel to Ireland, consider Ireland’s official tourism website, Ireland.com, with free resources related to maps, brochures, trip planning and more.

10.  Nonprofit, Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO)
There is a nonprofit organization helping welcome home Irish living in the Irish diaspora, people with ancestral roots to Ireland.  I’ve not used this agency, but find their resources intriguing.  Consider learning about Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO), a volunteer-based, non-profit initiative which builds vibrant, lasting links between the global Irish Diaspora and parishes of origin in Ireland. View a YouTube video about Ireland Reaching Out.

Video from Ireland Reaching Out – A Irish volunteer-based, non-profit initiative which builds vibrant, lasting links between the global Irish Diaspora and parishes of origin in Ireland.  View video at YouTube.

Crosstown Cottage, Killarney Ireland – Jannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, poses in front of Crosstown Cottage, near Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, June 1, 2018, before heading to the railway station in Killarney. Walsh spent most of May 2018 living in the historic cottage researching and writing about her family’s Irish roots, connecting with local Irish culture and people. Photo by Olive Horgan.

Last bit of departing advice – Make time to get your genealogy detective work afoot. Best wishes in your searching to reconnect with your family roots!
Jannet L. Walsh

Useful Link:  A full listing can be genealogy resources can be found Irish Genealogy Toolkit found at JannetWalsh.com.  


About the author – Jannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of the forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota, scheduled publication is 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing.  Follow Walsh on Facebook,  Twitter, and her website

Featured

Father’s Day 2022, vintage 1953 Irish Kodachromes

1953 trip to Ireland by my father Martin J. Walsh Jr.

1953 Ireland Kodachrome slide: The featured photograph above was taken in 1953 by the late Martin J. Walsh Jr. of Murdock, Minnesota. Details of the original Kodachrome slide include: Tour bus from Galway to Cong and return, at a small town stop, May 14, 1953. A photo gallery is included at the bottom of this post, along with notes from slides. See additional details also at bottom of story to the 1953 tour bus, along with Google maps.

View story at Irish Central

Update: This story is featured at IrishCentral, June 27, 2022. View Seeing Ireland through my father’s vintage Kodachrome images at IrishCentral.


By Jannet L. Walsh
June 19, 2022
Murdock, Minnesota USA

Greetings and happy Father’s Day!

1940s, Minnesota: Martin J. Walsh Jr.,(1924-2008), stands next to a Great Northern Railway caboose, circa 1940s.

Father’s Day is a time to honor our fathers, living and those no longer with us.

I wanted to share a little about my late father Martin J. Walsh Jr., (1924-2008), from Murdock, Minnesota, to honor him today on Father’s Day. My father spent his entire career working as a telegrapher and station manager for the Great Northern and Burlington Northern Railroad, 1943 to December 31, 1984. It was actually the same railroad, but the name was changed.

US Passport of Martin J. Walsh Jr., 1953.

When I was a little growing up in my hometown of Litchfield, Minnesota, my mother would drop me off at the train station when my father was working to make it easier for her to go grocery shopping and run other errands around town. I’d have a seat near the large window used by the station’s staff to watch the trains and other activity at the passenger station. In this late 1960s setting railroad and babysitting venue, I was drawing and making doodles on discarded train forms to keep me busy while my father was managing the railroad station, and me.


Glacier Park 1948
– My father posed for a photo in front of Glacier Park Lodge, East Glacier Park Village, Montana, as a young man in 1948.   In 2016, tried to recreate a portrait similar to my father’s photos taken on Kodachrome slide film, mine with an iPhone. There is sunlight streaming down from the sky in my photo, but it’s nothing in comparison to my father’s photo in his dapper 1948 traveling clothing. Patricia McWilliams, a fellow Glacier Park Lodge guest from Texas, was very kind to take the photo of me with my iPhone.  View photo posted at Instagram.

Glacier Park Lodge – Martin J. Walsh Jr. in at 1948, left, and daughter Jannet L. Walsh, 2016, standing near Glacier Park Lodge, East Glacier Park Village, Montana.
Photo Martin J. Walsh Jr, of Murdock Minnesota, Kodachrome, removed from mount for scanning: Information written on slide: Marty Walsh, Seaside, south of Belfast, May 1953. See more photos at online gallery.

First in family back to Ireland, 1953
Our family was part of a mainly Irish immigrant settlement in De Graff, located in rural Swift County, Minnesota, late 1800s. This was the first in a series of ten villages in five counties in western Minnesota established by the late Saint Paul Archbishop John Ireland, helping Irish Catholic families like mine escape from urban slums, and resettling in farmlands in rural Minnesota.

Archbishop John Ireland, -1918, full-length portrait, seated, facing left. , ca. 1908. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2005685760/.

First home to Ireland – My father, Martin, nicknamed Marty to avoid confusion with his father, Martin J. Walsh Sr., made our family’s first known return trip home to Ireland in 1953, recording his adventures with Kodachrome color slides and his Clarus 35mm camera, leaving behind traces for me to follow in Ireland, England, and France.

My father would say when I was a child, and was telling stories of our family’s history and connection to the island of Ireland, “We are Archbishop John Ireland’s people.” It just happened to be the Archbishop’s last name was the same as the country my people left behind in the mid 1800s.

My family is one of the four thousand Catholic families Archbishop Ireland help resettle in west central and southwest Minnesota during the years of 1875-1885. Archbishop Ireland’s goals were to alleviate the perceived problems of nativist prejudice (anti immigrant), poverty, and loss of religion faced by urban Catholics (particularly Irish) on the east coast and poor Catholics still in Ireland by relocating them to low cost farmland in western Minnesota. Today I live just three miles from De Graff, in Murdock, Minnesota, in the same house my father was born in 1924. Learn more about the De Graff and the historic Church of St. Bridget at the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service website. The Library of Congress in Washington, DC has a detailed presentation on Irish-Catholic Immigration to America to explore more details on immigration.

Dublin 1953 – Photo Martin J. Walsh Jr, of Murdock Minnesota, Kodachrome slide.  Information written on slide: Dublin, Ireland. near Trinity College.
Note the left hand drive. May 1953. Photo provided by Paul M. Walsh, see more at online gallery.

I imagine my father as a very proud young man with the incredible opportunity to see the homeland of his family in Ireland in 1953. He didn’t have a chance to locate the dirt farm roads I discovered in Townland Dromkerry, looking out at the Gap of Dunloe, the Lakes of Killarney, the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain ranges, some of the most beautiful views in all of Ireland.


Photos by Martin J. Walsh Jr., trip to Ireland, 1953

View more photos of Martin J. Walsh Jr., 1953, online gallery.


It has been an honor to have had the opportunity to walk where my family walked and lived in Ireland, to catch any whispers of their voices from the difficult time in Ireland’s history, when people just survived day-by-day.

My father was one of the first to inspire me to learn of my family’s origins in Ireland, and our resettlement as immigrants to in rural Minnesota, first spending time in Canada. My curiosity eventually became a quest — to put together the pieces of my family’s history in Minnesota and Ireland. The result is my nonfiction book, Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota. It is scheduled for publication in 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Father’s Day in 2022!

Best wishes, Jannet L. Walsh


Bohermore, Galway, Ireland

Screenshot from IrishCentral – View story Seeing Ireland through my father’s vintage Kodachrome images.

Update, June 28, 2022 – Since this story appeared on my blog and Irish Central, I received messages from Luke Gerard Lanigan of Galway City, Ireland, Qualified Irish National Tour Guide with Destination Ireland Tours, specializing in tours related movie “The Quiet Man.”   Lanigan, originally from Dublin, wrote me noting he thought he knew the location of my father’s 1953 photo of the tour bus, main feature photo of story Seeing Ireland through my fathers vintage Kodachrome images.

Google Maps – Nearby location of Martin J. Walsh Jr.’s 1953 street and tour bus photographs in Ireland. Location is approximately 144 Bohermore, Galway, Ireland. View at Google Maps.

Today I have an exact, if not very good address where my late father Martin J. Walsh Jr. stood in 1953 to take the Kodachrome images with his 35mm camera.  Lanigan suggests the nearby location is approximately 144 Bohermore, Galway, in County Galway, Ireland, the present-day location of Tonery’s Bar. Bohermore is an area of Galway, and it was the main road into the city from the east in medieval times. View map below, or view at Google Maps in 360 degree views.

As a side note, US President John F. Kennedy visited Galway, Ireland, June 29, 1963, ten years after my father. Learn more about Kennedy’s visit to Galway at Ireland Reaching Out website.


Irish Genealogy Toolkit – Curated listed of about resources to help search for your family roots. Learn more

About the writerJannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota, scheduled publication is 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing.  Follow Walsh on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured story at IrishCentral, July 3, 2022

Vintage 1953 Ireland Kodachrome slide, above – The featured photograph above was taken 1953 by the late Martin J. Walsh Jr. of Murdock, Minnesota. Details of the original Kodachrome slide include from my father:  Friday May 15, 1953, tour of Liffey Valley and Blessington Lakes. Photo was taken near Curragh. The people are looking for shamrocks, County Kildare.  My story about pointers for searching for Irish roots first appeared as a blog, and is now featured at IrishCentral. Learn more about the vintage 1953 Kodachrome slides at Father’s Day 2022 blog post at JannetWalsh.com, and the story at IrishCentral.


My top 10 tips for beginning your Irish genealogy search

Jannet L. Walsh
July 3, 2022
Murdock, Minnesota

Sweater Self Portrait – Jannet L. Walsh is wearing her moose sweater she stated knitting December 28 2021, at home during snow storm, finishing a month later. The knitting pattern is by designer Nazilia Zemdikhanova living on remote arctic island of Svalbard. The sweater design is called the Ural Moose. View photo at Instagram.

I’m excited to announce my story just published at IrishCentral, My top 10 tips for beginning your Irish genealogy search. My story is featured on the Home, Roots, and Genealogy pages of IrishCentral, July 3, 2022.

There were many resources I was not aware of when I really put my genealogy search into full swing about 2010.  My story highlights 10 pointers to help jumpstart your family history story. Read story at IrishCentral.


Screenshot from IrishCentral – View story My top 10 tips for beginning your Irish genealogy search.

Screenshot from IrishCentral home page – View story My top 10 tips for beginning your Irish genealogy search.

Screenshot from IrishCentral Genealogy page – View story My top 10 tips for beginning your Irish genealogy search.

About the writerJannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of the forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative “Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota,” scheduled for publication in 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing. She has compiled Irish Genealogy Toolkit, a list of resources for researching your Irish roots. You can follow Walsh on Facebook and Twitter, and her other social media channels.

Subscribe – Get updates on latest news from Jannet L. Walsh and her forthcoming book Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota, scheduled publication 2022, Shanti Arts Publishing.

June 2022 highlights, upcoming speaking event in July announced

Featured photo, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1953 – Photograph by Martin J. Walsh Jr, of Murdock Minnesota, Kodachrome slide.  Information written on slide – Belfast, Northern Ireland, outskirts of city, May 1953. Note: Slide heavily damages in the sky area. View blog about this vintage photograph.

Jannet L. Walsh
June 30, 2022
Murdock, Minnesota

I am sending out a summary of my blogs and other items related to my forthcoming book for the month of June 2022.  If you missed something, here’s a few items below. Enjoy!

  • Upcoming Minnesota public event, July 14, 2022 – Speaking, in person, Swift County Historical Society, Benson, Minnesota – If you are in Minnesota, join me at the Swift County Historical Society, Benson, Minnesota.  I will be the guest speaker at the Brown Bag Lunch, Thursday, July 14, 2022, at noon to 1 p.m., admission free. The custom is to bring your own lunch if you desire, and enjoy the company of others in attendance. I’ll be talking about my book, and Irish American roots in Dublin Township in Swift County, Minnesota. Please contact the Swift County Historical Museum for more details at their website.
  • Higgledy-Piggledy Stones book update – I am now working on a draft review of my creative nonfiction quest narrative book Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota. The publisher is Shanti Arts Publishing of Brunswick, Maine, with scheduled publication 2022. Learn more about my book at my website.
  • Irish Genealogy Toolkit – This month I curated a free list of resources called Irish Genealogy Toolkit, for seeking your Irish roots. You will find official websites from the government of Ireland, archives in United States, and numerous resources I used, or found of interest during my family history search. View at my website.
  • Blog, update on my father’s 1953 Kodachrome slides from Ireland, including Google MapsView blog
  • Story, IrishCentral, Seeing Ireland through my father’s vintage Kodachrome images – View at IrishCentral
  • Blog, Father’s Day 2022, vintage 1953 Irish Kodachromes – View blog
  • Blog, Top 10 pointers to launch Irish genealogy search – View blog

Subscribe
I invite you, if you haven’t already, to subscribe to my social media and website to receive notices when new blog posts are published. You can follow my blog posts at my website, please see my Social Media page.

Enjoy your summer!

Best wishes,
Jannet L. Walsh


1953 US Passport of Martin J. Walsh Jr.View story at IrishCentral.


About – Jannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of the forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative “Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota,” scheduled for publication in 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing. She has compiled Irish Genealogy Toolkit, a list of resources for researching your Irish roots. You can follow Walsh on Facebook and Twitter, and her other social media channels.


Galway, Ireland – Learn more about Galway at the Irish YouTube Channel for
Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media

Subscribe – Get updates on latest news from Jannet L. Walsh and her forthcoming book Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota, scheduled publication 2022, Shanti Arts Publishing.

Isle Royale National Park 2021

By Jannet L. Walsh
Sept. 22, 2021
Murdock, Minnesota

Jannet L. Walsh at Washington Creek Campsite Shelter 6, Pink Lady Slipper shelter, Isle Royale National Park, Aug. 29, 2021. Photo by Jannet L. Walsh. ©2021, All Rights Reserved.

Greetings!

I’m just back from the Good Place, or Minong, located in the middle of Lake Superior.

Just off the North Shore of Lake Superior near Grand Portage, Minnesota, not far from the Canadian border, there’s an island humans have been visiting for about the last 4,500 years. Minong, meaning the Good Place in the Ojibwa language, is an ancient name for Isle Royale, an archipelago, and part of the ancestral land of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, commonly known as the Grand Portage Anishinaabe, or Ojibwe.


Video – I’ve created a video to share my experience. I estimate I had about 10 to 12 encounters with moose, all cows and calves, no bulls, during my visit to Isle Royale. Learn more about Isle Royale National Park at the National Park Service website.


I was camping and hiking at Isle Royale National Park, Michigan, a wilderness island, Aug. 25-31, 2021. I took the Voyageur II ferry from Grand Portage, Minnesota, to Windigo, the nearest location of the island to Minnesota. I spent my days writing, photographing and exploring nature, especially enjoying visits with resident moose. As all good things must come to and end, I returned to the mainland glad to stand firmly on the shores of Lake Superior in Grand Portage.

Learn more about the American Indian heritage and culture, and Minong at the National Park Service website, or at the official website of Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Morning moose visitor – Here a moose visits campsite 6 at Washington Creek campsite, Windigo, just after 7 a.m. Aug. 27, 2021, Isle Royale National Park. Photo by Jannet L. Walsh. ©2021, All Rights Reserved.

2016 Isle Royale video and blog – Here’s a link to my blog and video from 2016 at my teaching website.

Best wishes,

Jannet

About the writerJannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota, scheduled publication is 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing.  Follow Walsh on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured story at IrishCentral, Aug. 12, 2021

Jannet L. Walsh
Aug. 12, 2021
Murdock, Minnesota

View story at IrishCentral

I’m excited to announce my story Become your family’s storyteller, Seanchaí, by starting your genealogy hunt published Aug. 12, 2021 at IrishCentral.

My story includes numerous resources for searching for your Irish roots before heading to Ireland. Many of the tips are free, no cost., and might apply to your ancestors, Irish or not! This story is part of IrishCentral Storytellers platform.

IrishCentral features stories related to Ireland, such as news, history, travel, culture and more. Their audience includes Irish Americans and the Irish Diaspora. Headquarters is located in New York City, and also have an office in Dublin, Ireland. Learn more about IrishCentral at their website’s About page.

Story is featured in the Roots, Immigration and Irish American sections, Aug. 12, 2021, IrishCentral, and on the homepage, Aug. 16, 2021.

View story at IrishCentral
Story featured on home page of IrishCenter, Aug. 16, 2021. View story
View story at IrishCentral

What’s your Irish family story? Start searching for your Irish roots now!

Best wishes, Jannet L. Walsh

About the writerJannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota, scheduled publication is 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing.  Follow Walsh on Facebook and Twitter.

Be the family storyteller, Seanchaí

Guide to discover your family’s Irish history and genealogy

This blog post is featured at IrishCentral. View Become your family’s storyteller, Seanchaí, by starting your genealogy hunt at IrishCentral.

Olive Horgan, left, and Jannet L. Walsh driving to the train station in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, June 1, 2018.

By Jannet L. Walsh
Aug. 4, 2021
Murdock, Minnesota

Jumpstart your Irish roots search now

Curiosity and the luck of the Irish are absolutes when setting out to explore your ancestor’s origins.

But that’s just the beginning. Recalling family stories, trips to Ireland, a family photograph – all played an incredible role in understanding my Irish ancestors.

However, I didn’t know this at the time.

Although one hundred percent American – with mixtures of German, Prussian, Luxembourgian, Scottish and Canadian – I now carry the torch in discovering and understanding my family ancestors.

My father Martin J. Walsh Jr. was the first torch carrier. In the mid-1970s, he described that we were part of a what he referred to as “Archbishop John Ireland’s people.” That is, they were assigned to settle in rural De Graff, Minnesota, about three miles west from Murdock, a century before. De Graff was the first in a series of Ireland’s efforts to resettle 4,000 Catholic families in west central and southwestern Minnesota. This I learned from the 1985 St. Bridget Catholic Church, located in De Graff, application for historic places, now part of the National Park Service National Register of Historic Places.  My family and other early settlers “proved up” their farmlands to become U.S. citizens. This also required them to renounce ties to their old worlds in Ireland, Canada, and other lands. Descendants of these setters, myself included, continue to live and work in rural Swift County, Minnesota. 

My father was our family storyteller, in Irish it’s Seanchaí (sounds like shawnakee).Aside from being a great father, perhaps that was among his most important duties in life.  Now I’m taking over the job, splicing together our family’s Irish roots.  Obituaries and documents fill his 1940s suitcase, albeit needing to be to be organized and details recorded.

Photo Martin J. Walsh Jr, of Murdock Minnesota, Kodachrome, removed from mount for scanning: Information written on slide: Marty Walsh, Seaside, south of Belfast, May 1953.. Photo provided by Paul M. Walsh.  View more from 1953 trip to Ireland.

About 2010 I left Florida for my home state of Minnesota to care for elderly family members. Out of curiosity I launched my own Irish genealogy project. The project then became an obsession — and then a quest — to put together the pieces of my family’s history in Minnesota and Ireland.  The result is a nonfiction book, Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota., It is scheduled for publication in 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing.  I never set out to write a book. However it is the natural result of discovering stories about my family that were lost or untold for some 200 years. Through travel and guided research, I was able to find very specific origins of my family in County Kerry near Killarney town, dating back to about 1820s.

How to start Irish genealogy search?

  • Starting place – First, start at home with your family.  Perhaps one or more family members have picked up the touch to gather family records, family trees, documents and stories.  In most cases, this person will appreciate you reaching out to them to share, or meet with you in person, if possible. Look for photos, letters, birth, marriage, death, military, church or religious documents and more to tell your story.
  • Interview family elders – Act quickly to interview and record stories of your elderly family members, in person or online. Prepare a list of questions related to childhood, their home growing up, parents and grandparents, immigration and citizenship, holidays, special events and more.  If possible, take photos the day of the interview, along with an audio recording or video.  Shortly after interview, transcribe or write out the answers — it is too easy to lose audio or video files, then your history is gone forever.  Be proactive and make notes when interviewing family members; that will make transcribing the interview go faster.  Try to collect any historical photos, or make copies, and ask about family documents, religious artifacts, including the family Bible, as it’s often used as a historical family record book of births, marriages, deaths, and so.
  • Local, state museums – Next, continue to search locally, or places your family lived or established their roots in the United States, Canada or other locations.  Start with the county museum, library or courthouse. You might find records with which to begin your search at little or no cost.  I spent a lot of time at the Swift County Museum in Benson, Minnesota, uncovering some of my father’s documents he had shared in the 1970s; as well as U.S. Citizenship papers, old newspapers and more.  I also researched at the Minnesota Historical Society, uncovering documents related to my family as settlers in Stillwater, Minnesota.   This list of state archives can jumpstart your search.
  • National Archives – Another great resource is the National Archives in Washington, DC.  Either online or in person you can search genealogy, immigration, census, naturalization, military, and more research topics. My family found Civil War letters written from battlefield to family back home in Minnesota.
  • Family tree, charts – The National Archives also has great references for creating your own family tree, such as ancestral chart, family group, charts for kids and more.
  • Homestead documents – If your ancestors were farmers in the United States, it’s likely they were homesteaders. That meant they had about five years to prove up their farmland before receiving a patent to own the land. Search documents at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management website, listed by state and counties. Homestead National Monument can also help you with your search, website and contact. A few park rangers from Homestead helped me online and by phone.
  • Online genealogy websites –  Ancestry has both paid and free subscriptions.  I started with a paid subscription, but now have it free.  This is a great way to connect with other family members with established family trees.  I also have a free subscription to FamilySearch, recently finding marriage records dating back to 1857 of great-great grandparents originally from Ireland living in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. I haven’t yet explored the paid version of this service, but really liked I was able to find documents quickly using the extensive databases.
  • Online newspapers – I’ve used a paid version of Newspapers.com, helpful to search historical newspapers. There’s also Irish Newspaper Archives for searching historical newspapers from Ireland.  Your local and state historical societies, libraries, school, college or more might access to historic newspapers you can inquire about searching. 
  • Irish church documentsIrishGenealogy.ie, free, is the site I found most of my Irish ancestor’s baptism and marriage records.  You can search church documents (Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian), along with civil records, and more, run by the Irish Department of Tourism, Culture and Art.
  • Griffith’s Valuation –  Griffith’s Valuation, the first full-scale valuation for property in Ireland, overseen by Richard Griffith, published 1847-1864.  It is one of the most important surviving 19th century gynecological sources for Ireland. I used this to search for specific locations in Ireland, called townlands, where my family lived and worked in County Kerry.  Here’s a list of townlands and counties in Ireland.
  • Irish Census – The National Archives of Ireland has census records for 1901 and 1911, and fragments from 1821-51.  I used the census to research locations my family was associated with in Ireland.
  • Cemeteries – Visit cemeteries your family is associated with locally, or in Ireland.  Make notes, take photos, and even make a sketch how to find the graves of your ancestors.  For poor people in Ireland before the 1820s, or even after, it’s possible only a pile of rocks marks your ancestors grave, although you could get lucky and find a marked gravesite if your family was wealthy, part of the gentry class. Church and cemetery caretakers can be a resource for maps and records related to your ancestors.  Search military graves, and Find A Grave for searching for family graves.  
  • County libraries in Ireland – A county library in Ireland helped me with my genealogy search, at no cost.  Look for the county most associated with your family in Ireland, and ask for help.  Visit Libraries Ireland website and search for the county most associated with your family’s ancestors.
  • National Library, Dublin – The National Library in Dublin offers free genealogy advisory serves, online and in person. They also offer free access to subscription sites, you can inquire about. I visited the National Library more than once during my search.
  • Cobh Heritage Centre – The Cobh Heritage Centre, located in Cobh, County Cork, formerly called Queenstown.  Over three million Irish immigrated from Cobh Harbour, searching for new lives, or escaping the Great Famine.  I visited Cobh in 2019, and hired genealogist Christy Keating to help me tell the story of my ancestors’ exile from Ireland, an extremely rewarding and professional service.
  • Hire a professional genealogist – If you are thinking about hiring a professional genealogist, there’s a few things to consider.  Susan Riley, Ph.D., genealogist from Minnesota, put together a list of suggestions for hiring a genealogist.  Riley’s recommendations include:  Check out the person’s website; determine the genealogist’s credentials and experience; ask for work samples; insist on a written contract establishing goals, price of research, timetable; meet using video conferencing, such as Zoom, to clarify everything; and start a small, inexpensive project to see if the geologist is reliable.

“Hiring an accredited genealogist is great, but I, for example, do not have that credential.  I am a former college professor with a Ph.D. and decades of research experience who has turned to genealogical work.  In that transition process, I had to study genealogy and I continue to educate myself through books, webinars, and more to stay up-to-date,” said Riley. 

Riley suggests clients should look for a genealogist who is a member of the relevant organizations, such as the Association of Professional Genealogists, APG, but that is no guarantee of quality.  The APG does not monitor its members.  She thinks in the coming years groups like the APG will begin insisting on credentials and perhaps monitoring its members for compliance with its code of ethics, but the profession is not there yet.

Get organized, get started
No matter if you plan do the research yourself, or hire a genealogist, do keep a notebook to record your research and finding, print out digital documents to keep organized and safe when your computer crashes. Date your work and document your sources. It’s much easier to do so at the onset rather than have to go back and figure it out.

Ready for Ireland?
Do as much research as possible before heading to Ireland.  The more you know beforehand,  the easier it will be to find potentially more details about your ancestors, and create more stories to share for generations to come.  I encourage you to be your family’s storyteller, Seanchaí!

About the writerJannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota, scheduled publication is 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing.  Follow Walsh on Facebook and Twitter.

Jannet L. Walsh writes book on Minnesota and Irish Family History

Higgledy-Piggledy Stones scheduled for 2022 release, Shanti Arts Publishing

Jannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, poses in front of Crosstown Cottage, near Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, June 1, 2018, before heading to the railway station in Killarney. Walsh spent most of May 2018 living in the historic cottage researching and writing about her family’s Irish roots, connecting with local Irish culture and people. Photo by Olive Horgan.

By Jannet L. Walsh
July 26, 2021

Murdock, Minnesota – I’m excited to announce my forthcoming book, a creative nonfiction quest narrative Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota about my Minnesota and Irish heritage. Scheduled publication is 2022 by Shanti Arts Publishing, of Brunswick, Maine, a specialized press publisher of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. 

This will be my first book, and can’t be more excited to work with Shanti Arts Publishing!  From signing the contact to publishing and on my shelf, the journey will be about 18 months — perhaps less.  I’ll certainly be learning along the way before holding a book in my hands.

I’m a rural Minnesota-based photographer, writer and educator, located in the farming community  of Swift County.  There’s no need for a stop light in Murdock. Everyone knows to move for the plethora of pickups  during planting and harvest season, with tractors, trucks, and grain wagons whizzing past my front steps while heading off to the grain elevator a few blocks away, next to the railway.   Weather is always a topic of conversation, especially pumping gas at Dooley’s, the only store in town, and it’s likely why weather is a part of my writing.

My family was among the first in a series of Catholic colonies established in 1876 by Archbishop John Ireland in De Graff, Minnesota. My ancestors were chosen to be part of the rural community, now Swift County, dedicated as farmers, stewards of the soil and Christian faith.  Early settlers proved up their farmlands to become U.S. citizens, renouncing ties to  Ireland, Canada and other lands. Descendants of these setters continue to live and work in the rural farming community in Swift County, myself included.   

Collection of photos from the family of Jannet L. Walsh.

Research for my manuscript spans more than a decade, starting gradually after my return home to Minnesota in 2010 to care for elderly family members, making at least five trips to Ireland, with four recent trips for research.  The original nonfiction manuscript was part of a Master of Fine Arts thesis program for Creative Writing at Augsburg University, Minneapolis, with the purpose of preparing a manuscript for publication for my 2019 graduation. As a MFA student I  met numerous authors, such as renowned Minnesota author Kao Kalia Yang,  inspiring me to tell my family’s story and heritage, and most importantly, allowing me to ask how she went about her writing.  Howling Bird Press, student publishing house at Augsburg, introduced me to Lisa Van Orman, KateLynn Hibbard, Jean Harper, and many more authors than I can list now, and many of whom were my professors.


Jannet L. Walsh stands on a farm road in Townland Dromkerry, County Kerry, Ireland, December 30, 2018. This farm is a place her Irish ancestors lived and worked before the Great Famine. Photo by Olive Horgan.

In 2010, I returned home to Minnesota after working in Florida.  At this time, I had two elderly family members residing in nursing homes both named Margaret Walsh, an aunt and my mother, for whom I was caring.  The distraction to search my family’s forgotten Minnesota and Irish heritage was welcomed.  I didn’t know the future would include standing one day one a dirt farm road near Killarney town, located in County Kerry, Ireland, at farm associated with my family dating back to at least 1820 or before. With the help of family, friends, archivists and numerous Irish folks I befriended along the way — including sides of roads when I was lost — I put together the best possible story of 200 years of my family’s origin from the island of Ireland, before settling rural Minnesota, part of an Irish Catholic colony established by Archbishop Ireland. We have large Irish crosses in the cemetery, green shamrocks serving as logos, and townships named after Ireland here in Murdock, and Swift County.

On a cold January day in 2011, I found a black and white portrait of my Great-Great Grandmother Ellen Brennen Foley hidden away in a yellowed pillowcase, tucked inside a plastic floral shopping bag, deep in an attic closet at my home in Murdock, population 278. A handwritten card gave hints about the photograph, calling me to immediate active duty as a family historian.

As a little girl I heard about Ireland, especially from my late father Martin J. Walsh Jr., as he is the first known member of our family to visit Ireland, making his trip in 1953. I learned of  the Great Famine, and that my family emigrated to North America, first to Canada and on to the United States, to survive. Like many immigrants, the stories and fine details are missing for many reasons, one being two centuries of forgetting in order to make new lives in the new world. This is where I wanted to play my part in telling our story.

Photo by Martin J. Walsh Jr, of Murdock Minnesota, Kodachrome, removed from mount for scanning. Information written on slide: Dublin, Ireland. near Trinity College. Note the left hand drive. May 1953. Photo provided by Paul M. Walsh. View more from 1953 trip to Ireland.

While visiting Killagha Abbey, not far from Killarney, I walked in the footsteps of ancestors, as I must believe, and Saint Colman (530-606 AD) who was known to have built an earlier monastic foundation on the same site according to historical information at the abbey. A retired Irish school teacher tells me the graves are all higgledy-piggledy, in reference to the disorder of the burial sites with piles of stones marking graves. Prior to about 1820 or so many people had only a stone to mark their graves, no engraving, something reserved for the wealthy or gentry.

I hope you will be interested to follow me on this journey – and the one to come in my first book venture.


ADDITIONAL DETAILS Jannet L. Walsh, of Murdock, Minnesota, is an award-winning photojournalist and photographer with more than 20 years of experience in  still photographs and video. A former employee of The New York Times Company, working at a regional newspaper, Star-Banner, in Ocala, Florida. Nominated for a Chairman’s Award (Chairman of The New York Times Company). I most recently served as assistant professor of strategic communications and multimedia at St. Cloud State University, SCSU.