It's been a long time since I wrote about my search for my four Grand Uncles who being Irish are of course named John, Patrick, Martin and John! The good news is that I have found one of them. My uncle John was in Chicago, and I was searching in Boston. A familiar story for anyone who has tried to trace their family tree, that's for sure. Sadly uncle John died many years ago but I have now made my first contact with his family. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have re-established contact after all these years. This feels like a restoration in my family, a healing event. I think it is something my Granny would have liked. How I wish she was here to see it unfold!
On a more practical level, I learned a lot about tracing family. I followed Megan Smolenyak's advice. She says that when we hit a brick wall following the male line to move over to the female line. In my research, I discovered that uncle John's wife came from a place quite close to me here in Ireland. I asked my cousins if they knew anyone in the family. I was given a name. After gathering my courage, I rang the phone number. I explained who I was and that I was looking for uncle John's family. Three phone calls later I was given an address. Now I am in contact with my mother's first cousin. So thank you Megan and thank you to my lovely cousins through marriage without whom none of this would have been possible.
PS Respecting family privacy I cannot disclose the names of living cousins.