Once in awhile I’ll sit down and do a little more research on my Irish ancestors on ancestry .com and this photo of these rocks is a profile pic for my great great great grandfather Hugh Hickey that another unknown to me relative put together. I had to know what the relationship was with this photo and my grandfather. Hugh is the ancestor who brought his wife and children over to America during the potato famine in 1846 or 1847. One passenger list from Boston goes as far as saying July 1846. A month and a year. Huge if this is correct.
But Hugh is a hero to me. He risked everything to come here…with a family and wife…to try and make a better life for them. It had to be an incredible decision full of many uncertainties. What a guy to do something so brave. Or maybe at that point it was pure desperation with so many starving. In 1847 it was called “black 47”. It was the worst year of the famine. If this was the year he left…it was desperation for certain and many families arrived in Boston during this particular year. Either way…not an easy decision but this man made the decision to get his family out. He was a farmer. There was little he could do there. Something had to be done for his family to survive.
Well I looked up the photo and found out what it is. (Below) I mean wow!! But then some new info popped up from his marriage at a church in Rathvilly. A possible address where he lived. Or rather a street name. A street that is also where these rocks are located at. Hacketstown Road. Whoa.
I took a look at Google map and for the first time since I started looking into all this felt like I was really zeroing in where exactly my ancestors lived and farmed the land. 15 minutes from Rathvilly and right outside the city of Carlow. I’m not positive what significance these rocks have..but I have a feeling they were either near his property or on his property since I do know he was a farmer and these rocks are located in the middle of a field. But I have a street name now. Huge. Humbling. When I went on Google maps and went down this road all I could think of was how familiar Wisconsin must have looked to my ancestors and their original home and farmland in Ireland. For the ancestors who were born in Ireland..it must have been a comfort to them to be in Wisconsin and I’m glad they eventually found it after arriving in Boston. I would love to know how they ended up in WI. Were there other immigrants who told them about the farmland there?
I mean why WI…plenty of farmland in other states. What brought them to WI specifically?
When I was a kid I found a big old Boston Fireman’s poster/certificate with the Hickey name on it in a closet. I can’t remember the first name on it now and it’s long gone…but I do know someone in my family was a fireman while in Boston. So that confirms this is where they most likely arrived and while there it was most likely Hugh or maybe an older son who made ends meet while there as a fireman.
My great great grandfather Andrew..was a boy when he arrived..so I know it wasn’t him.
But ya…super interesting. I was brought up in a family where we didn’t know anything about a lot of our family. Just bits and pieces I overheard or mentioned. My grandmother was hit by a drunk driver one morning and died I believe when she was 39 yrs old and my mother was maybe 3 yrs old. No one talked about that much and I remember maybe three instances where we got together with her side of the family. The Hickey side of the family was the only family I was around really besides the family of the father who adopted me and raised me. I didn’t know anything about my biological fathers family until I was an adult and was able to find him. But that’s another story for another time.
Just going to keep digging and figuring this all out. I don’t know why I need to…but I do. It feels wrong I know so little. I aim to correct that.