Tuesday, May 31, 2011

“Americans are like a rich father who wishes he knew how to give his son the hardships that made him rich”- Robert Frost

The Wedding Party of Alice Carolan and Harold Scott Hood 1877

We are all born into situations. Some of us would consider ourselves fortunate, and some of us not. Some would consider themselves fortunate to have been born into fortune, while others would consider it a curse.

As a parent, I am constantly thinking about the things I want for my kids. I want them to have every opportunity and be well prepared for them. I want them to know who they are and accept and love that. I want to teach them the life lessons that I have learned. And I want them to always feel loved.

The picture above is a photo of the Wedding party of my Great Grandparents. It was sent to me by a contact that I made on Ancestry.com. I have heard a little about Alice Hood, but I have never seen a picture. And I have heard almost (or totally) nothing about Harold Hood.

Alice's father, Patrick Carolan was born in Ireland on the heels of the Famine and died in New York during the Great Depression. He emigrated in either 1865 or 1868 at age 16 or 19. It appears that he stayed with the Tulley family on Staten Island when he arrived. It is indicated on one of the census forms that he could read but not write. He was married and had four children, including my Great Grandmother. He is always listed as employed at jobs including a "cartman". At the end of his life, he lived with his daughter Mary and her family.

That is all I know thus far about my Great Great Grandfather. It doesn't sound like an easy life, but I hope that he had some love, joy and hope. But my curiosity has been re-ignited by this picture. When I moved to Ireland I sensed the irony that I had ancestors who left this country under extremely difficult circumstances. What would they think of their Great Great Great Grandsons living here so happily? How many generations forward do we think would matter to us?

I do know that I feel blessed to have been born into the family that I have, and we are the family that we are thanks in part to Patrick Carolan and his daughter Alice.

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