BLOG BLITZ – GUEST POST – Monday 12 September 2016 – CINDY THOMSON
The month of September is a special time for me:
my THIRD novel and sequel to
the final in the unsavory heritage series,
GUEST POST – CINDY THOMSON
My Ancestral Home
One of my ancestors, Nancy Little McCoskey, was born in Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, so of course I became interested in learning more about Downpatrick.
From P.W. Joyce’s Irish Place Names:
Downpatrick takes its name from the large entrenched dun near the cathedral. [My note: Dun, or Down, means fortress.] In the first century this fortress was the residence of a warrior of the Red Branch Knights, called Celtchair, or Keltar of the battles, from whom it is called in Irish authorities, Dunkeltar. By ecclesiastical writers it is commonly called Dun-da-leth-glas, the fortress of the two broken locks (glas) or fetters. This long name was afterwards shortened to Dun or Down, which was extended to the county. The name of St. Patrick was added, to commemorate his connexion with the place.
Downpatrick is one of the oldest towns in Ireland. It was noted on Ptolemy’s map in the 2nd century, although it wasn’t what we think of as a town until the 18th century, and that’s when my ancestor was born there.
The following comes from this web site: http://bit.ly/2c0NT56
In 1703 Edward Southwell, Chief Secretary of Ireland, married Elizabeth, daughter of the Earl of Ardglass, thus acquiring the Manor of Down. He decided to develop its economic potential; he controlled the waters of the Quoile river and reclaimed the marshes, built a harbour and customs house and reconstructed the streets of the town. His son, who succeeded him in 1730, continued his work and through their efforts, Downpatrick changed from a derelict town of less than 1,000 inhabitants into a prosperous commercial centre for the barony. The first Court House was built in 1737 at a cost of £3000.
Downpatrick is a beautiful place. I visited on both of my trips to Ireland. I was unable to find out anything about my specific Little family while I was there, but I did find several Littles who lived in Downpatrick and were employed in the same occupation as Nancy’s father in the 19th century. They lived on Bridge Street. I took some photos while we drove down the street. Not much to look at, but some of the buildings looked quite old and I imagined my Nancy Little living there.
She was quite a woman. She came to America with her parents and four siblings, leaving her older sister Mary behind who was indentured until she could pay for the passage. Later Nancy married John McCoskey and traveled through the Cumberland Gap with her parents, her husband, and her children to the wild lands of Kentucky. Her parents and her husband died in Kentucky and Nancy moved again, bringing her hoard of children to the wilderness of Indiana where her younger brother lived and where she and John had purchased land. She was apparently a shrewd business woman. In her old age she relocated once again, this time to the wild west (Texas) with one of her daughters.
Downpatrick is not “where it all began.” That’s a phrase my husband and I have heard being used a lot on the television series, Who Do You Think You Are? The people who were searching for their roots on that show always seemed to find a place in a foreign land and then declare, “This is where it all began!” Nancy’s father was born in Scotland and if I could keep tracing generations back, I’d end up with Adam and Eve, wouldn’t I? But still, finding a place where one of your ancestors was born always makes you feel like you’ve come home—it’s a type of connection to the past that grounds you in the present. Anyone agree?
Cindy Thomson is the author of eight books. Pages of Ireland is the sequel to her popular novel Brigid of Ireland. She is also the author of the Ellis Series, and writes for genealogy magazines. The past is her passion as she writes from her home in Ohio. Visit her at www.cindyswriting.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cindyswriting and on Twitter: @cindyswriting. Sign up on her web site for her monthly newsletter and receive the prequel to the Ellis Island Series free!
CISSY LAUNCH PARTY, unsavory heritage series, Tessa, Clara Bess, Cissy, One Mother, Two Daughters One Favorite One Not, Where Were the Adoption Papers, #newbooklaunch, Guest Post, Cindy Thomson, Brigid of Ireland, Pages of Ireland