Write what should not be forgotten - Isabel Allande

Month: July 2017

Picture Day

So I am super excited to be moving to a new site for my blog! is the new address.  This site will give me a little more flexibility over the site and now I have my own domain name – how fun is that?!

It takes me a little while to post biographys because things like kids, jobs, and life get in the way!  In an effort to put some new things on the blog in between biographys, I decided to post some of the pictures I have collected.  If anyone has pictures to share – let me know and I will post them!  So the plan is to post a picture or two  every week (or so). Here goes…


On my long list of relatives to research is my Great Uncle Wayne McVay.  He was my Dad’s uncle and the only person on that side that I ever met.  He lived in Los Angeles and came East to visit once a year.  We would always have him to dinner and he would talk and talk about family history.  I was little and bored out of my mind – what I wouldn’t give for one more of those evenings now!  He died in the late 1980’s and his landlady threw away almost all of his belongings.  He had years of research and photographs that were just tossed away.

Though ancient by my standards, Uncle Wayne lived a pretty interesting life.  He worked for Howard Hughes for a time!  This picture was taken on May 26, 1946 and is stamped on the back as being from Beech Aircraft Corporation’s public relations deptarment, located in Wichita Kansas.  Uncle Wayne wrote a note on the back to his sister Madeline (my grandmother)

“Dear Madeline: 

Here’s a picture we had taken the morning we flew to Texas.  The sun was rather strong so we all look pretty cross.



Left to Right: Harry Lyons, Oklahoma City, OK,  Wayne McVay, MDI, O.P. Chaffi, MDI, Walter H Beech (Yeah – the guy who started Beech Aircraft), E. Naugle,C. Williams, MDI


I can’t wait to do some more digging and see what else I can come up with!






Just a simple country road! Beara Pass


Going to Ireland has always been a dream of mine. My dad loved to listen to Irish music in his car. I vividly remember him singing along to “I’ll Take you Home Again Kathleen” and listening to him talk about taking my mother to Ireland. I found it terribly romantic – never mind that my mother, although named Kathleen was not even remotely Irish (she was 100% German).

My non-Irish mom did get to Ireland, but my sweet Dad never had the chance and I promised myself that I would go. Researching the Irish side of the my family only fueled my desire to make the trip. It was a long time in coming and after almost 2 years of seriously talking about it, planning and saving – it finally became a reality! Our group consisted of myself, my sister Eileen, my niece Katy, our 2 very good friends Karen and Patti.Group

We flew from Rochester to JFK and then on to Shannon. It was a long and cramped flight but as we got closer, we got more excited. I was a little disappointed to see heavy cloud cover that seemed to go on forever. As we finally broke through the clouds and got our first glimpse of Ireland – I was hooked. It was all at once familiar and completely new. It was also GREEN, brilliant, vibrant, gorgeous green.

We met our tour guide, Martin and headed out to start our adventure. We spent the next six days seeing some of the most incredible sights that I have ever seen. Every time it couldn’t get more beautiful, it did. Really, the words and pictures aren’t enough, it was just beautiful.

We saw the big sights, the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey as well as some of the more out of the way spots. One of my favorites was a small perfumery located in the Burren – appropriately called The Burren Perfumery. They make their own perfumes as well as soaps, lotions, candles and teas. The garden is so peaceful and lovely, it was one of my favorite stops on the trip.

Martin bravely drove us up the Wild Atlantic Way, regaling us with stories and songs – I included a link to his family run tour company. If you are looking for a chauffeur driven small tour – this is the way to go. We spent a couple of nights in his hometown of Ennis, County Clare and met his lovely wife. We even went to his favorite pub for some Guinness. It is true that Guinness does taste better in Ireland!

One of the most interesting parts of traveling to almost anywhere in Europe is how people have adapted and modernized while still honoring the history of a place. I used to work at a living history museum where our oldest building was from 1798. In Ireland – that is fairly modern! The Pub that we went to in Ennis was called Cruises and featured local music nightly. The musicians played traditional instruments against a backdrop that made easy to believe that it we could have stepped back in time.

We were able to spend a day in Donegal, the county where the McGee’s came from. So far, I haven’t been able to find their town but just to even make it to Donegal was great. We visited a famine memorial and graveyard which was really just a grassy area that served as a burial site during the famine. There were no grave markers and no way to know who rested there. I did bring home some pebbles from Donegal and plan to take them to the graves of my McGee’s so they have a little bit of Donegal with them.

We left the safety of our tour guide after Donegal and took a train across the country to Dublin. The next several days were spent exploring the city. We stayed in Temple Bar – there was alway something going on!! My niece and I took a day trip to Northern Ireland and saw the Giant’s Causeway and braved the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. I could probably write for days about how incredible that was!

While in Dublin I had the opportunity to meet with a genealogist. This was truly a highlight for me. He was lovely and very generous with his time. I didn’t find any earth shattering new information – but at least know that I am not missing anything either. It may be as far back as I am going to get with the McGee’s. It is ok with me – because I have plenty more to research and discover!! The Genealogist did give me a couple of ideas to try – they are long and pretty complicated but I am definitely going to work on them.

Some of the other highlights along the way included Killarney, Adare, Muckross House, Dingle Peninsula, Connor Pass, Connemara, Galway, and Sligo

Ireland exceeded every expectation that I had. It is a stunning place and hopefully this was just the first of several visits for me.

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