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Sunday, February 15, 2009

The best of 2008: Small-leaved Shamrock iGene Awards

It's that time of year again...time for the second annual Academy of Genealogy and Family History iGene Awards at the Carnival of Genealogy! Chosen by the author from the blog articles published over the past year, I have awarded "prizes" for the following categories:

Best Picture
- Best old family photo that appeared on this blog

Best Screen Play
- The family story that would make the best movie

Best Documentary
- The best informational article about a place, thing, or event involving my family's history

Best Biography
- The best biographical article

Best Comedy
- The best funny story, poem, joke, photo, or video

Special Mention - Other articles of note

"What a beautiful proverb and a beautiful picture of your ancestor! Thanks for sharing." ~ Taylortales-Genealogy

This little babe has a very special place in my heart and I'm so thankful to have a copy of this portrait of her as an infant. Little Anne Cowhey must have been a true joy to her parents.

Best Picture Runner-up

Crossing the Potomac with William: a soldier’s story

Not a photograph, but an image of the actual handwritten account that my great-great-grandfather's brother wrote about an experience during their time as Union soldiers in the Civil War, this is a true treasure. I was so happy to discover this document amidst the pension file for William Cowhey. His brother Thomas tells in his own words and his own handwriting (with lots of creative spelling) about their suffering as they crossed the Potomac River, crossed back over again, and spent a miserable night in wet clothing.

"Not only is the story of Lisa’s 2nd great-grandfather’s untimely death interesting, but her post reminds us of alternate sources of information we can use to learn more about the lives (and deaths) of our ancestors." ~ Donna Pointkouski, What's Past is Prologue, Donna's Picks Week of February 24, 2008

The story of the life and death of my great-great-grandfather William Cowhey is made for the movies. A man shaped by his times, he was a Union Civil War veteran who had worked his way up to Engineer for the Reading Railroad. Riding another engineer's train home from his shift one night, he died because of a violent engine explosion, leaving his wife and twelve children behind. These articles tell the story of the accident that took his life in 1892, which sadly, occured only a few years before major changes were made in railroad safety.

Best Screen Play Runner-up

"Great post... I guess we all may find a black sheep in our lines." ~ Colleen McHugh, Orations of OMcHodoy

Many questions remain regarding the life of my great-great-grandfather John Donnelly. Was he truly the John who died in this horrible boiler explosion at the Bear Ridge Colliery mine in 1893? Is he linked with the infamous Mollie Maguires of Schuylkill County? More research remains to be done, but the story as I've unearthed it so far has the potential to make quite an exciting movie - a tragedy that speaks of the sufferings and risks that late 19th-century miners and their families faced every day.

Best Documentary Award

Black cats, lucky pennies and troublesome fairy folk

"As always, fascinating post and great links to read. Thanks. I recently freaked when my youngest tried to open an umbrella inside. LOL" ~ Colleen Johnson, CMJ Office Blog

In this article, I've introduced to you the complicated system of superstitious beliefs long held by the Irish people. "Earning a daily wage and putting bread on the table were hard for the Irish people for centuries. Added to that was the difficulty of having to avoid actions, places and dates that held superstitious warning. Don't forget the work of the fairy folk. They seemed to always be causing trouble." Want to introduce yourself to the lot of superstitions - both warnings and good luck charms - that originated in Irish tradition? This is a good place to start.

Best Documentary Special Mentions

The Celtic blessing: Food for the soul

"I am quite overwhelmed by John O'Donohue's wisdom. Yes, take some time to slow down and enjoy the beauty of life." ~ Barbara, Our Carroll Family Genealogy

The real Annie Moore remembered at last

"What an achingly beautiful tribute. It is so moving - thank you for sharing this story. This is one of the reasons why I love your blog. It is visually inviting and full of information everything Irish." ~ Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski, In My Life

"Thank you for dedicating this post to the women of Erin." ~ Barbara, Our Carroll Family Genealogy

"I am one of those who has not yet pinpointed where and when my ancestor left Eire. But, this center is symbolic for all of us. A must for my eventual first trip over to Ireland." ~ Barbara, Our Carroll Family Genealogy

"Great post, Lisa. Both sets of my ancestral grandparents were born in...the anthracite coal region." ~ Colleen McHugh, Orations of OMcHodoy

Not so much a personal biography as it is a biography of a place and a family, this article is a reminiscense of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania one hundred years ago and the many descendants of William Cowhey who lived their lives there.

Best Comedy Award: Story

"I died laughing. So funny!" ~ footnoteMaven, Shades of the Departed

"I love it. I can see a whole new book: 'Evidence Explained for the Rest of Us'.... 'Story obtained by Aunt Mary, who told it under the condition that Uncle Joe never find out the true circumstances surrounding Grandpop's death.' LOL" ~ Donna Pointkouski, What's Past is Prologue

We all have our collection of family treasures. This article tells the story of how I acquired a beautiful set that once belonged to my great-grandmother - and the struggles I faced trying to write a source citation for the items because of the way in which I had "proactively inherited" them from my mother's bathroom. This is a must-read for every treasure-seeking family history collector like myself.

Best Comedy Award: Poetry

A limerick for the love of Ireland and
A poem for Patrick

"Lisa, you do Pat Cowhey a great service with your lovely poem." ~ Janice Brown, Cow Hampshire

What would the Small-leaved Shamrock iGene Awards be without a little bit of poetry? Just for fun I responded to Terry Thornton's limerick challenge last year and wrote a few of my own: one to represent myself as the author of Small-leaved Shamrock and one to honor Patrick Cowhey, the patriarch of the Cowhey family.

Special Mentions

To be born Irish

"Very lovely Lisa. Being Irish is also something that I could not relate to 100%. With my family also, we were proud, but no one seemed to want to pass anything down to us. That makes that down the line, a part of me wants to return and discover something of my family in Ireland one day. To bridge a liitle bit this gap." ~ Barbara, Our Carroll Family Genealogy

A personal essay on my feelings about learning of my Irish heritage, this article looks at the perspective that various generations in my family may have had regarding their "Irishness". My concluding thought: "My hope is that I have inherited at least a small portion of [my ancestors'] stubborn tenacity, their undaunting hope and the joy in the very simple things in life that got them through the obstacles that they faced because God had ordained that they were to be born Irish."

Signed "Your Cousin"

"That is beautiful. I know the feeling, having found a branch last year. It is one of the rewards for a genealogist." ~ Barbara, Our Carroll Family Genealogy

A look at the joy of finding a new cousin in the family tree - particularly one who shares the joy of the genealogical search! Part "thank you", part pondering the discoveries of genealogy, this article is something that many family historians can relate to, or wish they could.

Special thanks to Jasia of Creative Gene for hosting the iGene Awards at the Carnival of Genealogy. Also, thank you to footnoteMaven for a the awards poster and a little inspiration in my presentation. See you at next year's event!


Anonymous said...


I'm glad I got to be one of your critics! I especially liked your graphics for this post. I think you did a great job in choosing your "bests".


Barbara said...

Hi Lisa,
Bless you, for the mentions that were added from me last year !!

2008 happened to be a banner year for my Genenalogy too, for a few perdonal reasons. Including a bridging of a very long gap between 2 branches of my family.We were reunited last September.

I have good news; my first post of 2009 is up on my genealogy blog !
I'm back ;)

Cindy said...

What a fantastic listing of great posts!

I've nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger award, stop by my genea-blog 'Everything's Relative' and pick it up please.

Colleen Johnson, CMJ Office said...

Lisa, I've nominated your wonderful blog for the Kreativ Blogger Award. You can pick it up over at http://cmjoffice.blogspot.com. Congrats! I love your blog.


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