If you’ve ever read my biography [http://kbgr.org/kelly-leary-bio/] you know how I got started as a genealogist. It was my grandfather’s request. However, with all research, at some point, many genealogists and family researchers hit some kind of a brick wall.
I started out my grandfather’s research by starting with him as the main person and going backwards to his father and his grandfather whose names were both named Dennis Leary. Such a common name for an Irish man, I thought it would be difficult to fill in the details and put flesh on the bones of my research.
That was until I hit my grandfather’s great-grandfather and I was shocked. His name was Bartholomew Leary. I had never come across the name Bartholomew in any of my Irish Research before. That is how I was able to trace my grandfather’s family all the way to their crossing from County Cork, Ireland to Boston, Massachusetts in 1849 at the end of the Great Potato Famine in Ireland.
That is also where I got stuck. I did at least know Bartholomew’s parent’s names as he died before his wife and they were on his death certificate and he was born about 1820. However, County Cork is very large, and after examining every documents I could get my hands on, I had hit my brick wall.
I decided to leave it alone and instead put my grandfather’s family story together for his birthday as I had promised, but I still had that unfinished feeling.
Every so often I would Google Bartholomew Leary with no results however I kept trying hoping someday I would find out something about him in Ireland.
This year, my Google search paid off – one hit for a Bartholomew Leary. I tried not to get my hopes up but they were and I went to the website I was directed to. There was a baptismal record for a Barth Leary so I opened it and guess what? It had the same parent’s on it as his Bartholomew’s death certificate in Boston, MA. I was overjoyed – and I wished my grandfather was still alive so I could have shared that moment with him.
Now that I know where he was born and baptized there are more questions to be answered: how many siblings did he have? When were his parents married and what were their names? I got so excited and overwhelmed at the same time.
It only took 15 years for me to get past that brick wall. Patience in genealogy is definitely a virtue.