So how did I stumble across my first good sources? I had wanted to be a veterinarian, but there wasn't much support then for girls and women who wanted to go into science. At college I went through the phases of being an English major and an Economics major, but finally found my way back to my first love and received a B.S. Zoology in the pre-veterinary training program at the University of Rhode Island. The first summer I was in college I worked at the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, researching the history of old houses at the Rhode Island Historical Library. I did some extra digging on my lunch hour and learned about my Irish ancestors for the first time.
What I learned about my Irish ancestors is this: Patrick Riley was a blacksmith in Co. Leitrim, a trade which he continued when he arrived in the United States. He owned a blacksmith shop in the town where I grew up - coincidentally, because my parents were not raised in that town. One of his sons, James, was a riding master at a local well-to-do farm. This information is what really galvanized my interest in genealogy; we can learn from whom aspects of our own characters come if we can learn enough about our ancestors.
Marriage and children came next and I was very busy. Unfortunately while I was taking care of my young children most of the old storytellers in the family passed away. I returned to school at Brown University to get a Master's degree in teaching, did a bit more genealogical research while I was in Providence, and taught high school for a few years after that. I returned to Brown again in 1992 and, when I'm not staring through a microscope, have exhausted the records of my ancestors in the local Libraries. It is time to move on - to Ireland, to Canada , to Britain and to Poland.
A project I am currently developing is an "I Remember" questionnaire for members of my family. I hope to collect information about ancestors' physical descriptions, personalities, work and hobbies. These descriptions will be combined with reproduced photographs in binders for various arms of my family.
Today I am in my last year of a Ph.D. program in Geology, concentrating in an area called paleoceanography. Using my biological background, I try to unravel information stored in the tiny shells of organisms which live their lives floating in the upper ocean. I do genealogy whenever I have the time - 1/2 hour here, perhaps a day there. The Leitrim-Roscommon Genealogy Homepage has been a rewarding effort, and I thank Ed for offering to create this wonderful page from my simple surname list. Many other things take up my time - Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, my kids' sports, ice skating and my new atheltic interest - over-30 women's soccer! But the unanswered questions about my ancestors are never far from my mind. I hope you find a wonderful source in these pages.
Happy Ancestor Hunting,