Family History

This page is a recap of posts I did when I joined the Sepia Saturday gang who post a weekly topic and challenge us to find old photos to match to subject.

I have also added other posts I had written in the past about my family. This is a work in progress as I will add items as I find them.

May 2017 - McGuinness - Scully's McGuinness buried bohenlena???SP
McGuinness Maggie Hughie Ballydoc


I tracked down more generations of Swifts.

My great-grandfather

 Nicholas Swift married twice.
This is my great grandmother and Thomas Swift mother.

He remarried and had 2 more children.

My great great grandfather
 My great great great grandfather

I received a note from Michael Dixon saying:
Your grandfather was, let's see now, he was the nephew of the husband of my great aunt Eleanor Frances Dixon. 

Poor Eleanor, aka Ellen or Nellie, died in 1925 aged just 39. 

They had a grocery business at 2 Kenilworth Buildings, Rathmines, Dublin, which is still in a line of shops and businesses to this very day. 

Grandfather Swift's half siblings - Chrissie and Willie

Brendan O'Shea
May 29, 1932 - January 24, 1997
In loving memory of a dear husband who passed away January 24, 1997. Forever in my heart. Sadly missed, you will walk with me forever. Your wife, Kathleen Nellie.
Published in The Gazette on Jan. 23, 2016

O'SHEA, Brendan. In loving memory of a dear husband who passed away January 24, 1997. Forever in my heart. Sadly missed. You will walk with me forever. Your wife Kathleen Nellie.
Published in The Gazette on Jan. 24, 2007

Linda Condon

March 2018 update - received from their son, Billy Brennan photos.

William Brennan and Linda Condon wedding

Wedding reception

My grandparents Vonnie (Veronica - Mary V on census) Brennan and Thomas Swift.- William (Willie) was my grandmother's brother as was Alec.

Published in the The Herald on 25th November 2013 (Distributed in Greater Dublin)

This notice has had 13 visitors.

HARBORNE (nee Brennan) (Cherryfield Road, Crumlin, Dublin 12) Nov. 21, 2013, (peacefully), in the loving care of the doctors, nurses and staff at St. James's Hospital, Susan, beloved wife of Aidan and loving mother of Andrea; sadly missed by her loving husband, daughter, son-in-law John, brother Billy, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, niece, extended family, neighbours and friends. Rest in peace. Reposing at her home from 4 o'c. to 7 o'c. tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon. Removal on Wednesday morning to St. Agnes's Church, Crumlin Village arriving for Mass at 10 o'c. Funeral immediately afterwards to Bohernabreena Cemetery.

Thomas Swift born Mar 22 1904 died June 1 1991


Another recipe that has been around our family for years, this is even in my sister's handwriting. 

I am going with the suggestion of three men.

Three transplanted Dubliners.

I know that this is Montreal around the early 1960s. My Dad, Jack, is the handsome man in the middle. On the right is my Uncle Brendan O'Shea, married to my Mom's sister Nellie. On the left, with the glasses (X 2), is Jim O'Connell, married to my Mom's youngest sister, Ursula.

Whose house is this? I can't figure out, nothing is familiar to me. I can guess it is probably the O'Shea's, and it might be on Durocher St. or else where they moved after Durocher.

Dad has his suit jacket on, but the other two are in shirt sleeves, rolled up.

Today's theme is:
                                        251: Bobbies, bellies, bums, brushes, beards, brass buttons, boys in blue

In looking through old family photos none of the men seem to have much facial hair. One of my grand uncles, Alec, did sport a mustache as long as I knew him.

My husband, John has had facial hair for most of the time I have known him. Mustaches, goatees and beards over the years.

1979 Cancun Mexico

This photo is from 1986 taken in London England. 

Today's theme is:

This week’s prompt picture comes from the Powerhouse Collection via Fickr Commons, titled ‘A Man And His Shoe Repair Stall’ and dated 1930. It’s a hand-painted lantern slide but there is no other information given. You can let your imagination run free with your responses to this one. Street traders, roadside artisans, menders, cobblers, tools-of-the-trade, hand-colouring and lantern slides - or you could celebrate Sepia Saturday’s 250th Edition with a party!

I'm going with a party!! And what's better than cake!

Karen, Brian and David Swift, maternal cousins in their summer attire. This is taken at our house in Montreal for either my sister's or my birthday as we are both summer babies. The year? Probably around 1965.

Brian is my only cousin that no one has any idea where he is today. He disappeared in the 1990s leaving a wife and daughter for parts unknown. There is much speculation as to where he went and why but nothing definitive. Family members suggested Vancouver BC, I googled thename and did find several Brian Swifts in BC but no photos.

Today's theme is:
249 : Coach rides,old transport, animated discussion, cab drivers

The first modes of transportation that came to my mind were these of my sister at an amusement park.

They appear to be at different times as one is in colour. The best guess at location is Belmont Park in Montreal in the very early 60s.

Then I found one of her on a horse in Dublin Ireland in 1960.

Today's theme is:
Things are slowly but steadily improving here in Sepia Towers and a couple more weeks and a little time in the sun might see me back in circulation. When we do venture into the recuperative sun I doubt whether we will be staying under canvas, but I hope we are as happy as this trio of happy campers. For the themers in the sepia tent, there are lots of possibilities - children, tents, fences, fields, poppies, smocks, or even sailor-suits again. And, as always, you can pitch your tent in the non-theming section of the campsite and go with any old photograph you like. 

Winter 1962

My sister and I were Brownies and Girl Guides (Girl Scouts in the States). I went on to a Brownie leader.

Girl Guides were my first and only ever camping adventure. I don't do camping at all. I would not be a happy camper.

My parents were not great photographers!!! Someone is always missing part of their head.

I'm guessing we are about 7 and 10, BTW that is me on the left. We are in our home on Carleton Ave. in Montreal.

We sold Girl Guide cookies as well, going door to door, unlike nowadays.

I googled girl guide 1960 uniforms and came up with this photo of Princess Anne in her Brownie uniform in 1960.
I guess her parents were better photographers LOL! Better camera too.

When my sister was in Guides my mother volunteered as a Guide leader at St. Malachy's, our parish. Mom is on the far right in her very stylish 1967 (ish) uniform. She loved being involved and would go camping every summer, a very happy camper.
I don't recognize the girls, I will post on Facebook and see if I get any information.

Today's theme is:
Drinking, sharing, posing, lurking

December 1961 - Montreal QC

I can tell that this is our house, probably on Carleton Ave. as I recognize the cookie jar. I saw one of these a few years ago at a flea market and so wish I had bought it.

Anyway, I digress... the topic is posing...and I am sure some drinking was involved as well.
This is my Uncle Brendan, my Mom's sister's husband. I'm not sure what the fascination was with my parents' family and friends, but there was always someone dressing up.
I believe the coat was my grandmother's but no idea where the wig came from.

Here he is in Montreal posing in 1958. I am pretty sure that this is their first apartment in Canada and it was on Durocher St. Look at that fancy washing machine!!

Today's theme is:

Itinerant entertainers, hurdy gurdy man, unusual pets, monkeying around

August 1978 - Torresmolinos Spain

No hurdy gurdy men in our family, What is a hurdy gurdy man?


  noun \ˌhər-dē-ˈgər-dē, ˈhər-dē-ˌ\
: a stringed musical instrument that is played by turning a handle

I went through hundreds of our old photos and found nothing. Then inspiration (or a monkey) hit me and I remembered these photos, not filed with the family history but under travel.

Yes, I'm sporting a perm!! 

And a favourite song from in my teens, Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan released in 1968.

'Twas then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love
Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love

Today's theme is:
243 : Running away, escaping the crowds, beaches, steam train, aquarium (domed)

Around 1960 - Montreal Quebec

It's not a steam train but it's best train I could come up with!!!
My Uncle Brendan, cousin Brendan and my sister.
This is Van Horne Park and we lived on the street in the background, de la Peltrie.

William made a comment that play grounds have really changed over the years. Now everything is made of plastic. There are often rubber mats on the ground.

Everything here is made of metal and cement! I remember hot hot the metal would get in the summer. You could have yourbum backside scalded coming down the metal slide.

Then there were the teeter totters! Or see-saws as they were also called. What could be dangerous about a wooden plank balanced on a pivot, we would load two or three kids on one side and a smaller innocent on the other, then all jump off in unison.

I remember the money bars and my sister climbing to the top and falling down making her nose bleed. My grandmother was watching us and was horrified. 
Monkey bars or jungle gyms are being removed from parks in many cities.

Playgrounds blog post by Jeff King from A Simpler Time

Today's theme is:
242 : Fans, Faces, national Costumes, Hidden Meanings

Look at these faces!! And in national costumes!! Taken in Dublin Ireland.

The two girls on the left are Mc Guinness cousins, Brenda and Susan, two of my Dad's sister's children. Every little girl in Ireland took dancing lessons back in the early 60s.

Today's theme is:

241 : Writing and Letters

August 16 was my Dad's birthday.

 He spent time working in Manitoba, I had posted about this here.

While he was there he was very homesick and missed my Mom, my sister and me. He wrote great letters to my mother which she kept. Unfortunately none of her responses have survived. 
This is very appropriate based on the sign in the prompt above: REMEMBER TO WRITE THAT LETTER HOME!

Today's theme is:
240 : Criminals, ID Photos, Named Photos, False Pretences

Ar first I was stumped with this topic, then I had a *light bulb* moment! I reread the prompts and *facepalm* I had scanned all the papers my mother had kept in the old brown suitcase.

My Dad was an electrician. That might explain why my Mom was always on his case about extra plugs. I especially remember her frustration at Christmas time when she couldn't put the tree where she wanted it!!

When we emigrated to Canada in 1957 Dad had to be re-certified so he could work in Quebec. 

Today's theme is:
239  : Postcards, proverbs, mischievous women

This is one of several postcards sent to me from my grand aunt Kate (Catherine), my maternal grandmother's sister. Kate's story was common at that time. As the youngest child she stayed at home t o take care of her widowed, blind mother. When her mother died she finally married her long time suitor Jimmy Doyle and they moved to England and had a daughter Anne.
Unfortunately she died at an early age in 1960 and we lost touch with her husband and daughter.

This card dates from 1958 as she mentions my first communion and confirmation. It was sent from England to Baie Comeau Quebec. 
Kate spoiled me as her first grand niece. 

 They look so old to be first time parents! Kate was 41 when she died so I would guess she is in her late 30s in this photo.

I've no idea who the older girl is in this photo. That is my mother's handwriting. 

Today's theme is:
238 : Signs, big signs, small signs, men with their hands in their pockets

Men with their hands in their pockets - My Dad in Dublin around 1950.

 In both photos he has a knitted vest underneath. The shirt style in the second photo is very different, it seems to be a tab collar (has a small tab that fastens the points together underneath the knot) since he has a tie pin on.
If it was a pin collar I would assume you wouldn't wear a tie pin.

In looking through 1950 photos online it appears most men wore hats. I don't think my Dad ever did.

I believe he is standing in the front door of his house on Mourne Rd in Drimnagh. My aunt continues to live in this house.

More men with their hands in their pockets.

Image and information below from A history of men's' suits.

The 1900s started with  a sack coat is officially defined as a 'man's hiplength coat with a straight back'. This is not to be confused with the lounge coat.


This is a famous photo of the heads of state at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, 1919, wear morning dress and lounge suits. A morning dress a definite 'sir' suit. It's basically what overtook the frock suit in popularity for the formal daytime suit option.


This is my father (far left), his older brother Hughie and Tommy with their wives. Dad also had a baby sister not in this photo.
Scroll down for more photos of all of them.

Today's theme is:
237 : Ballet Dancers, art, poses, chiffon

1959 (?) - Baie Comeau Quebec

My sister, Ursula posing!! I do love her curls!

I'm guessing it is summer by her dress. Both of us had our birthdays in the summer so those might be birthday cards on the classic TV in the background.

From what I remember those figurines on the TV shelf at the bottom were ballerinas!!  So bonus I got two of the prompts. No art and I think her dress looks like cotton.

Today's theme is:
236 : Hair, drying, beauty, nails, strange headgear.

I hate posting photos of myself but thought for the sake of this week's topic I would post some of my various hair styles over the years.
I was of the generation that your mother thought she could cut your bangs for you. Well, you know what always happened they got shorter and shorter as she tried to even them out!

These photos span the 50s, 60s, and 70s!
Coolbrook Montreal


Mont Royal Montreal

Today's theme is:

235 : Greetings and handshakes : pipes and politicians

March 1984 - Montreal QC
I'm going with Greetings this week. This was a surprise 80th birthday party for my grandfather. He did smoke a pipe for some time but I couldn't find any photos reflecting that. 

Brian Swift in white jacket

Uncle Brendan O'shea, Aunty Nell, Uncle Nick, John, Jackie, Dad John McGuinness, Mom Angela, Ursula

Uncle Brendan, Aunty Nell, Aunty Barbara, Uncle Nick, David Swift, Ann Swift, Karen Swift

Today's theme is:
234 : Reflections on paddling in the lake or sea
1950/51?? - Dublin Ireland

Mom standing on a beach near Ireland. Doesn't look very warm.

Today's theme is weddings.

September 1951 - Dublin Ireland

My parents, Angela and Jack.

Reception was at my grandparents' house.

My parents 25 years later at thier surprise silver anniversary party!

232 : Transport by car, transport by train, transport by cars on trains, transport.

August 1970 - Woburn Abbey England

My parents took us to England and Ireland to visit relatives in the summer of 1970. As an 18 year old I was less than thrilled by this idea. Typically I now wish I had paid closer attention. I did buy some amazing clothes though!!

My paternal uncle, lived in Wolverhampton and we stayed a few days with them. He took us to Woburn which was the first ever.time we had ever visited an outdoor zoo where the animals could walk up to the car.

Woburn Safari Park is a safari park located in Woburn, Bedfordshire, England. Visitors to the park can drive through the large animal exhibits, which contain species such as Wwite rhino, elephants, tigers and black bears. It is part of the estates of the Duke of Bedford that also includes Woburn Abbey and its 3,000-acre (1,200 ha) deer park.

Woburn Safari Park first opened in 1970, established by the 13th Duke of Bedford on the grounds of his estate, Woburn Abbey, as a means to help improve the financial position of the estate and restore the Abbey, which had fallen into disrepair as a consequence of the second world war and very high taxes levied by socialist Governments. The 11th Duke of Bedford had been president of the Zoological Society of London and had introduced various species to the park.

This week's theme is no theme!!

This is not old - it is 2005 at Bunratty Castle in Ireland with my niece and nephew.

Uncle John, Brennan, Caitlin, Aunty Jackie


photo Ursula O'Connell
Born in Dublin, Ireland
May 28th, 1936 – May 20th, 2014
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Ursula at the C.H.S.L.D. Bussey in Lachine. Beloved wife of 56 years to Jim (Séamus) O’Connell. Dearest mother to her devoted daughter Laura (Paula) and loving son Derek. Also remembered as loving Nanny to her grandchildren Kayleigh Ann and Anaïs. Predeceased by her parents Veronica and Thomas Swift and her sister Angela (Jack McGuinness). Loving sister of Kathleen (Brendan O’Shea) and brother Nicholas (Barbara), her many nieces and nephews here in Canada and the large family of in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews in Ireland. 
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Edmund of Canterbury Catholic Church, 105 Beaconsfield Blvd., Beaconsfield, on Saturday May 31st at 11 a.m., in the presence of her cremated remains. The family will receive condolences from 10:30 -11 a.m. and following the Mass in the church hall where a small reception will be held. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Alzheimer Society in Ursula’s memory would be appreciated. Ursula’s cremated remains will be interred in the Mausoleum of Saint Peter and Paul at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery at a later date. 

This is my tribute to my Aunty Ursula, these are some of my memories of her as I grew up.
She was a kind, unassuming, generous lady.

Always fastidious about her appearance, going to the "beauty parlour" every week. I have a photo of her wrapping her hair on Christmas Eve with toilet paper to keep the style protected.

 At my parents' wedding in 1951 in Dublin, Aunty Ursula on the left, my Mom in the middle and Aunty Nell (Kathleen) on the right. These three sisters were very very close. Mom passed away in 1989.

As the first grandchild on my mother's side, I was spoiled by my aunts. Here I am at the Dublin zoo with Aunty Ursula, my uncle and grandmother.

My sister, Ursula was her namesake and godchild. We always referred to them as big Ursula (all 4'10'' of her) and little Ursula, even when little Ursula was bigger than big Ursula.

Kevin O'Connor with baseball mitt, David Swift, Aunty Ursula, Ursula, Aunty Nell, Laura with bike.

The last photo we have of the two Ursulas together.

Aunty Ursula got married in Dublin and little Ursula was only around two years old and was to present the lucky horseshoe to the bride.
However, little Ursula was really too little and shy to do this so here is a photo of me presenting the horseshoe. My dress was a salmon pink made by my Mom.

On the day of the wedding, it is not uncommon among Celtic brides to sow a horseshoe into the hem of a dress. This custom goes far beyond luck. It is part of an ancient belief, perhaps tracing as far back as the iron age.

They didn't have children for a while and moved to Canada. At one point they lived across the street from us in Montreal and every Sunday after Mass everyone would gather at our house for coffee and pastry. 
By then my grandparents had also moved to Canada.

My mother went back to work when we were both in school and one day a week my sister and I would go to Aunty Ursula's for lunch. My absolute favourite was Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs! To this day I will occasionally have to buy a tin to everyone's horror!
When I told my cousin about the spaghetti she was amazed as my aunt was always very health conscious and didn't serve junk food.

Aunty Ursula got me my first job at Richstone's Bakery in Van Horne Shopping Centre. And everyone who grew up in Montreal knew you could never get fresh bread on a Monday!

My BFF fondly remembers my aunt when she visited from Deseronto in the summers. She always thought Aunty Ursula was so glamorous. We lived upstairs and she reminded me a few years ago that when Aunty Ursula left our home she would shout back up the stairs TTFN (ta ta for now) and I now end all my notes to my BFF with TTFN.

Sisters forever! Aunty Ursula in the middle, Mom on the left and Aunty Nell on the right.

My cousin, my Aunty Ursula and me.

Uncle Nick, Derek Brennan, Aunty Ursula

Uncle Brendan, Aunty Nell, Uncle Jim, Aunty Ursula, Aunty Barbara, Mom, Uncle Nick, Grandfather and Dad.

TTFN, Aunty Ursula and I hope you and "little" Ursula are getting caught up on all the news!!

Below is the lovely eulogy my cousin delivered at her memorial service.

This week's challenge:

228 : sand, sandbags, sailor-suits, beachcombing, pilfering!

SCORED!! My sister and I (on the left with my head down) in sailor dresses with our second cousin Derek Brennan in Dublin Ireland in 1958 when we went back to live to visit.

My mother and her two sisters (we were living in Baie Comeau and my aunts were in Montreal) got homesick for their Mom (Nanny was living in London England). So everyone packed up and the men stayed behind to finish up the details.
Off we went, my Mom, my sister, aunts and one baby cousin boy.  First to London to see my grandparents. Didn't they then decide that coming back wasn't such a great idea. Needless to say my Dad and uncles were less than pleased. We stayed a few months and went over to Dublin to visit family.

 This week's challenge:

Who says Sepia Saturday participants are not given enough choice when it comes to our weekly theme? For Sepia Saturday 227 (post your posts on or around Saturday 10th May 2014) you can build your contribution from anything from A to Z and if that doesn't inspire you there are sisters, wicker garden furniture and even creepers to help you find an old photo and some new memories. Our theme photograph dates from around 1884 and is part of the National Library of Ireland stream on Flickr Commons. My thanks to Marilyn for looking after things last week (without all her efforts, Sepia Saturday would come tumbling down like a pile of wooden building bricks) and for choosing this interesting theme.

Lots of leeway for this week's challenge so I'm going with sisters.
My sister and I outside my grandmother's house in Dublin around 1957.

This week's challenge:

This week's prompt comes from the archives of The Library of Congress courtesy of Flickr Commons, where the subjects are taking part in what is described as a 'Greek Cymball Dance’ at a Sufragette Ball. Now, you may wish to hang on to that description as a possible avenue to explore if inspiration deserts you. Otherwise we have May Day, dancing, folk traditions or very silly poses; take your pick or forget about themes altogether. The main thing is to join in with an old image of your own choice and an interesting post to share with fellow Sepians. Post it on or before Saturday 3rd May, with a link back here to Sepia Saturday please (or add the mini banner below if your prefer), then leave a comment with our friend Mr Linky below. We’re big on tradition here at Sepia Saturday, and one of those is to visit fellow Sepians and leave encouraging comments on their posts, it cheers us up no end.

Silly poses is my choice this week. 

Uncle Alec visiting from Dublin, cousin Derek and Grandfather Swift. It was Christmas morning at my aunt's house and the heat had gone out.

My mom Angela.

My mom's sister Ursula

My husband, John.

May 1 would have been my mother's and her mother's birthdays. 
Mom would have been 84 (died 1989) and Nanny 108 (died 1972)!!!
These photos were taken in Montreal around 1967.

This week's challenge:
Florida Memory Stream On Flickr Commons

Ah, I remember it well. Get out your smart threads, polish up your brogues, stand around that imposing jukebox and spin those old favourites : "Summer Holiday", "V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N", or maybe "Viva Espana". Yes, it can only mean one thing : I am about to go on holiday again. But, worry not, who is looking after things whilst I am away but my fellow administrator - Marilyn. And the theme image Marilyn has chosen for Sepia Saturday 225 (post your posts on or around Saturday 26 April 2014) shows a group of smart young things stood around a jukebox. If you are theming this week there are endless possibilities - jukeboxes, music, the 1950s are just a few suggestions. All you have to do is to post your post, link your link, and visit your sepia friends. Easy-peasy ...... itsy-bitsy, yellow polka-dot bikini (control yourself, Alan) But before you pack your bag and fly off to Spain (oh, no, that's me isn't it!), here is a preview of what is in store over the next week or two.

I'm going with a travel theme. The man on the left is my grand uncle Alec Brennan and his wife Nora Sweetman is on the right. This would be in the 1950s and they are on a vacation from Dublin to the Isle of Man. The couple with them are the Stewarts as was written on the back of the photo.

Uncle Alec was born in 1911 as listed on the 1911 census.

August 2016 I checked the electoral lists and found that they lived in this house from 1912 to 1915.

In 1918 after a long campaign they succeeded in getting the right for women to vote. But they had to be 30 years of age and own property. In 1922 all Irish women over 21 were given the right to vote.

Some other photos found online taken at Joe's.

This week's challenge:

Sepia Saturday 216 - 22 February 2014 : Three men in suits, three men in hats, three men .

I'm going to focus on my maternal grandfather. He always wore a hat. This is him in 1930 holding my mother in Dublin. The only instance of what he looked like with hair. 

Fast forward to 1952 Dublin and he is holding me.

This is Montreal in December 1961.

I was hoping to post a photo of him holding his great-granddaughter, my niece, but it on my hard drive back in Toronto! 

This week's challenge:

215 : A postcard of Glasgow - a busy and crowded scene

This is around 1950 in Dublin Ireland. My Dad is in the top row third from the left. I have no idea what this group represents nor who anyone else is. It looks like a sunny summer day and they are all quite casually dressed for the times. In most photos of my Dad around this time he always had a tie on. 
The man on the far left top row is extremely tall. I also wonder about the little boy. Is this photo celebrating something for the couple who appear to be in the centre?

This week's challenge:

214 :  A piano and a picture within a picture

Christmas early 1970s - Montreal 

I searched for this photo and when I couldn't find it I posted the photo below of my cousin/accordion. 

Then I was reading Tocklebear's post where he mentioned having Magnus electric chord organ which is EXACTLY the same organ that my sister is standing beside in this photo!! Her Christmas present.
So I went and searched harder and found this picture.

Ursula had spent Christmas in the hospital and this picture was taken at St. Mary's where she was being treated for a nasty cut when she fell on her way to school landing in some dog poop.

July 1972 - Dublin Ireland

I also found this photo of a McGuinness cousin in Ireland playing an accordion.

This was taken in September 1989 at a wedding in Dublin Ireland. It was the first time my parents had been back "home" since 1972. My mother would be dead two weeks after their return.

One of my Dad's favourite songs to sing - Too Young

Her mom was my Dad's sister so she is on the Mc Guinness side born Leila Mc Guinness and she married Tony O'Mahony.  So Susan was an O'Mahony and she then married a Mc Guinness. 
You can be sure the church looked into this very carefully before he married her to a Mc Guinness!


The four of us in Baie Comeau. The letters in the background are real letters that my Dad sent to my Mom when he had to go out west for work. Mom saved them all. I wish we had the letters she had sent to him. It would be a priceless piece of early 1960s history.

My younger sister passed away suddenly on Saturday afternoon. The photo shows us with our parents. 

Her partner, Brian wrote a very moving obituary.
August 24, 1955 – November 2, 2013
With her family at her side, Ursula passed away suddenly at St. Joseph’s Hospital Hamilton, on November 2nd, 2013 at the age of 58.  Ursula leaves her cherished children Caitlin Lazarus and Brennan Lazarus, her devoted partner Brian Underdown and her extended family Eric, Russell, Margot, Julian, Aubrey and Vivien Underdown.  She will be sorely missed by her sister Jackie McGuinness and brother in-law John Boisvenue and her dear cousin Laura O’Connell.  Born in Dublin and growing up in Montreal, Ursula was from her earliest years an adventurer.  After graduating from McGill, she joined CUSO as a teacher in Nigeria and travelled fearlessly through Africa in troubled times and other exotic places which influenced her decision to develop a career as a scientist devoted to vaccine research.  Settling in Hamilton in 1998 Ursula developed a successful practice as a patent agent with Gowlings.  Her family will remember her bright spirit, the many shared dinner conversations and her loving support. A visitation will be held on Wednesday evening from 7-9 p.m. at the Cattel, Eaton & Chambers Funeral Home, 53 Main Street, Dundas.  A Service Celebrating Ursula’s Life will be held at the Funeral Home on Thursday November 7th at 2 p.m.   In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton, would be appreciated by the family.

This is a very sad period for our family and especially her children. Ursula was taken far too soon from us. 

Sepians in North America will be sick to death of snow, Sepians in Australia will be longing for snow, and Sepians in the UK are mostly glad that, at the moment, it is confined to old photographs. The image comes from a Cabinet Card in the collection of the national Museum of Norway and features in their Flickr collection. So weather you are longing for snow, hiding from snow, sinking in snow or wearing a hat with a feather in it, it is time to get out your submissions for Sepia Saturday 212.

Having grown up in Baie Comeau and Montreal snow photos are pretty easy.
And much easier to post as I sit in balmy Mexico while back home in Toronto it is -16C or 3F.

Mom, 1958 or 59 in Baie Comeau.

Dad, 1961, in Montreal.

Mom and Auntie Nell, 1957 in Montreal.

Uncle Brendan and me, 1957 in Montreal.

2014 is, of course, the centenary of the start of that conflict known as The Great War or the First World War. Although the age of photography captured previous major conflicts, the Great War stands out for both its devastating scale and the fact that by 1914 photography was in the hands of the people rather than the experts. So many of us have photographs of family members who were caught up in the conflict, poignant reminders of the scale of loss and sacrifice. Our theme image this week features the face of Private Morton Neill of 9 Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, who was reported missing, aged 19, on 30 July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. He was just an ordinary soldier, commemorated now in the Faces Project of the Imperial War Museum which is available on Flickr Commons. Thus Sepia Saturday 211 provides us with a chance to remember loss in any of its manifestations. Just post your post on or around Saturday 18 January 2014 and then link your post to the list below.

This is always a tough challenge as I was born in Ireland as were all my ancestors and we don't have any photos of anyone in uniform or taking part in a war. I'm not saying they didn't as my father always talked about his father taking part in the Easter Uprising in 1916 but my grandfather's age would not have been right unless he took part at 14. Thomas was my grandfather. Perhaps he meant my great-grandfather who was 45 in 1916?

Instead I googled Mc Guinness as part of the Easter Uprising.

I found a Joe Mc Guinness - no relation that I know of.

The political ramifications of the Rising and its suppression were soon revealed in subsequent elections. The first of these occurred on 17 February 1917 in North Roscommon, when Count Plunkett, the father of the executed Joseph Plunkett was elected as an independent who would abstain from attending Westminster. Having backed Plunkett’s campaign, Michael Collins proposed Joe McGuinness as a candidate for the South Longford seat when it fell vacant in May. At the time McGuinness was serving a sentence in Lewes gaol for his part in the Rising. Deported prisoners would provide the nucleus of a resurgent, declaredly separatist , Sinn Féin party who in October would consolidate their link with the Irish Volunteers when a former prisoner, Eamon DeValera, assumed the presidency of both organisations. That July, De Valera had won the East-Clare by-election, defeating a Home Rule candidate. 

                                                       Joseph McGuinness TD Funeral

Number 41 Gardiner Street Upper was home of Joe McGuinness.

210 : Now search your books and find those old photographs

We/I don't have any photos hidden in books. I am now the keeper of the old photos and they are all in one place and also scanned. 
Also since we are away from home for the winter I don't have any access to possibilities like our childhood bible.
However my mother had this box she had made many, many years ago from old birthday cards which held pieces of jewelry.

Therefore I went with the theme of a "book" itself for this week.
I've always been a voracious reader. As a child I loved going to the library and read my way through all those children classics, such as Nancy Drew, Five Little Peppers, Trixie Belden to name a few. I loved the series of autobiographies the library carried telling the stories of famous women.
My parents were more than happy to buy us books as well.
Obviously I would read anywhere! I can't quite place where this is, other than it is in Montreal in the very early 60s.

209 : By now, you don't need any suggestions from me. Search the image and find your own theme.

This would be sometime in the early 1950s outside Dublin, Ireland. I know nothing about it other than it is my mother's younger sister, Nellie. it looks like beach behind her. No idea who this car would belong to.

No theme this week just my best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and a new year filled with peace and happiness.

I have no memories or photos of our Christmas in Dublin before we came to Canada.

My favourite memory of Christmas as a child was waking up with my younger sister early on that magical morning and finding that Santa had come and left presents at the bottom of our beds.
It never occurred to me that this was quite a feat for him to be able to leave our gifts in our bedroom without waking us.
I remember being surprised that he didn't did this at everyone's house!

Mom's handwriting on the back of the photo.

Montreal 1957

Baie Comeau - 1958

Mom and Dad

December 1961

A Christmas card from Dad to Mom

Card from Ireland - Nanny Mac to Mom and Dad

Money was tight growing up but my parents always ensured that we had a very special time. I know that our gifts were often bought on the "layaway" plan.

Mom would often make us some presents as well. One of my favourites were the clothes she made for my Barbies (not  real Barbies, too expensive, but lookalikes). The British magazine,
Woman's Weekly, would have fantastic knitting patterns for doll clothes. My uncle had married an English girl and she received the magazine every week so we got to read them.

She even made a fur coat for my doll out of scraps.
I am so disappointed that I don't have any photos but the memories are there.

Mom made my doll this dress in turquoise, one of my very favourites!

Growing up, as the oldest cousins, our house would be the place for dinner.

Nanny and Grandfather

My mother was a Christmas nut, and as money got easier and we grew up Mom would go overboard with gifts which she would buy throughout the year and she continued to make us stuff.

Tree skirt

Mom saved the wrapping paper that could be re-used from year to year, no dollar stores then. This paper ended up as a gift tag!

Sweater and throw

As film and processing got less expensive we would take group photos.

On Christmas Eve since we were the eldest cousins (on the maternal side we were 12) we would go out for Chinese food (the only thing open those days in Montreal) C-est La Vie in Parc Extension and then deliver gifts to my two aunts and my uncle's families.

As the cousins got older and their families developed their own traditions, the family would then come over after dinner on Christmas Day.

 Friends who didn't have any relatives in Canada would always be welcome.

 Silliness - Three sisters doing Sweet Alice Blue Gown

You can listen to a version here

Mom would always serve her pudding and brandy sauce. Click here for the recipe!

More Christmas food photos here!

And of course there would always be a sing song! Just a random selection of some of those songs.

207 : So it is time to bring out more of your curiosities, the odd compositions, the crimes against perspective, the thumb in front of the lens. If you come from a long line of great photographers, you could always concentrate on monuments, cyclists, removal vans, or the tunnel which is just to the left of this photograph. The choice is yours - there are few golden rules of Sepia Saturday. Photos with strange compositions, passing cyclists, removal vans, tunnels (look carefully there is one there) - the choice is up to you.

I'm going with bad composition and/or processing and a monument.

1970 - London England

That's me at Trafalgar Square. I'm not sure A) why we kept this and B) why I bothered to scan it???

206 : Aprons our our theme for this week. Ladies in aprons, men in aprons, airports with aprons.

None of the women in my family have been apron wearing, at least not if you judge by the photos. But I don't remember anyone with a pinnie, if one did own one, we would be sure to remove it for a photo. 

So I am going with a recent (2011) photo of my nieces and nephews showing off aprons my sister made for them.

Now if I were to buy an apron it would perhaps be this one from The Sewing Passionista.Womens Legends Minnie Mouse  Apron  Christmas Present

205 : This week brings us to the end of November or, as it has become known in much of the world, Movember. Once again it is time to celebrate bearded ladies, moustachioed men, trophies or silly swimming suits.

I am posting a collage I did for my husband a few years ago. He has almost always had some sort of mustache. 

204 : It is 50 years since the assassination of JFK. It was one of those iconic moments in history, just like the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914. So photographs of momentous moments is one of our themes for this week, along with anything else you might find in the photograph.

In 1963 on a Friday November 22 when JFK was murdered in Dallas I was in grade 6 at St. Kevin's School in Montreal. 

It was mid-afternoon and I remember another teacher coming into the classroom to tell our teacher.

What else made the news that day?
The Beatles released their second U.K. album, With The Beatles.

Died: Aldous Huxley, 69, English novelist

Died: C. S. Lewis, 64, Irish novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist

Have you ever noticed how many photographs are taken in doorways? It might have been the desire to search out a convenient frame, but more likely it was the need to go in search of natural light in order to tease those silver salts into life. Whatever the reason, a lot of old photographs feature doorways and this provides our theme for Sepia Saturday 203 (Post your posts on or around Saturday 16 November and link to the list below). As usual, you can choose any of the elements of our theme image to follow - windows, number 11, small fat old ladies - although try not to be too insulting about the latter as that is my grandmother in the photograph!

I had used a couple of doorway photos two weeks ago when the challenge was "homes".

I am late in posting and away for the weekend in Montreal without my trusty hard drive of photos. Since necessity is the mother of invention (and technology is awesome) I used Snagit to grab a photo from a family video I had.

This is probably late 1956 in Dublin and my sister and I (glasses)  are sitting in the doorway of my grandmother's house in Drimnagh. I wonder where poor Teddy lost his eye?

202 : Photographer, beach, camera, tripod, and even Corky The Cat - there is so much going on in Sepia Saturday 202 that it is a theme for all seasons.

It's been a long tough week and I almost forgot it was Saturday and time for Sepia!

I'm using beach as my theme this week. These were taken in the very early 1950s outside Dublin, Ireland. I am guessing Howth.

First up my Mom in the middle flanked by her baby brother and sister. They do look thin by today's standards, but trust me they were well fed.

Mom with a girlfriend.

Mom again.

201 : Houses are such an important part of all our lives, be they big or small, stone or wood, brick or turf. So this week we celebrate our ancestral homes in old photographs.

Before my grandparents moved to Mourne Rd they lived at 62 Ballybough.

The term Bailebough in Irish is derived from the 'Baile' Town and 'Bocht' meaning 'poor'. 

62 Ballybough Rd, Dublin 3, Ireland

 My uncle had taken me there in 1991 and I got this photo.

I also found the electoral records for 1939-40 showing my grandparents living there. In 1938 my father would have been 12 years old.

My grandfather, Thomas on the right and it appears to be taken outside 62 Ballyboough. I don't know who the man on the left is, but he looks like an older version of one of my uncles, so perhaps a grand-uncle?

Here is a current street view courtesy of Google and Snagit.

I don't know if they lived anywhere else before they moved to Mourne Road in Drimnagh.

Drimnagh is bounded by the Crumlin Road, starting at Sundrive Road junction and continuing  along Drimnagh Road to the Halfway House, and then around by Lansdowne Valley to the Canal, along Davitt Road to Suir Bridge and along Parnell Road to Herberton Bridge and Herberton Road junction with Crumlin Road.

258 Mourne Rd, Dublin 12, Ireland

In the early to mid-nineteen thirties Associated Properties began building houses in the area of Drimnagh adjacent to Lansdowne Valley. Sometime in the mid to late nineteen thirties Dublin Corporation undertook a massive housing programme in order to alleviate the overcrowding and bad housing conditions which then existed in Dublin's Inner City.

The first of the local authority houses built by 1940 had been allocated to families from condemned inner city tenements or from other over-crowded conditions.
My grandparents got this house as part of the Dublin Corporation (Corpo) programme. many years later the corporation sold these houses to the tenants and my grandmother bought it.

This is as the house looks now. I snagged this photo from Google maps.

My Dad lived in this house, on Mourne Road in Drimnagh, and my aunt Leila, his only sister still lives in today.
I am guessing that Dad would have been at least 13 or fourteen when they moved here. Leila was a baby. 

Our Lady of Good Counsel Church (built in 1943) was across the street and played a huge part in my grandmother's life. My father always complained bitterly that she spent more time over there taking care of the priests than she did for her children.

Most of my aunts and uncles were married from this church as my mother had grown up down the street. My parents were married in this church.

Leila, my uncle Tommy and my grandmother.

This is Dad standing in the doorway, I would guess around 1950.

My aunt Leila grew up here and when she married she moved in with her mother. My grandfather was living in England having gone there during the war to find work (or so my grandmother always said). Leila and her husband Tony had three daughters and two sons in this house. It must have been very crowded.

Leila, Tony and Susan early 1960s.

Here we are visiting in 1970, my Dad's first visit back since he left Ireland in 1957. That would be Leila in the blue dress.

Me with my cousins, who lived in the house, Brenda and Antoinette. the boys hadn't been born yet.

My other cousin, Susan (RIP) outside the house.

Here is Leila's clan in front of the house in the later 1970s as the boys are also in the photo.

This shot shows the house across the street on Brenda's wedding day - Susan and Antoinette are bridemaids.

Some of the famous people who grew up in Drimnagh.

199 : For Sepia Saturday 199 we celebrate acting and theatre. And dressing up, and silly hats, and daft trousers, and fire escapes, and - anything else you fancy.

For some reason my parents and aunts and uncles loved dressing up and being silly.

198 : It is 100 years since HMS Queen Elizabeth was launched at Portsmouth. Whilst this is not the Queen Elizabeth, it matters not, because in SS 198 we celebrate the start of something new. It might be a life, it might be a love, it might be a a new chicken coop or it might be a mighty ocean liner.

I'm going to go with a new life. My mother is holding one of my cousins, I'm guessing Gregory as she was his godmother, if I remember correctly. On the left is his mother, my mother's sister and the man is their father, my grandfather.
This is in Montreal October 1960 and the church was likely St. Roch as they lived in Park Extension.

197 : We have all taken photos that are, shall we say, less than perfect. We celebrate these in SS 197 : the pointless photos, the blurred photos, the photos that would have been better left unprinted. But sometimes they tell a powerful story all on their own.

This is going to be an easy challenge to find a photo that would have been better left parents took photos (not a lot)  but more times than you can imagine heads were chopped off!!

I am guessing this is Montreal around 1960.

This wasn't taken by either of my parents as they are both in the photo along with my sister, my cousin and an aunt and uncle. I would guess that the photo was taken by my cousin's Dad. Maybe I took it, but not likely that I would have been allowed to touch a camera.

What is my cousin saying? What is my uncle doing on the left, at first I thought he was blowing up balloons but now I wonder if he was lighting a cigarette. It is amazing to see my aunt smoking.

What are those two tiny pictures doing on that big expanse of wall???? We must be visiting one of my aunts as this is not our house.

196. This 1935 Insurance ad has plenty of possibilities to theme; the large bed , small boy, quilt, doctor's bag, toys. Take your pick.

Probably 1958 Baie Comeau Quebec Christmas morning.  We have a bed, quilt and some toys. I have no idea who the little girl in the middle is. She is not a cousin or family member.
I am guessing that since most of the people my parents socialized with in Baie Comeau were Irish, english or Scottish immigrants that her parents must have stayed overnight with us.

We got the desk and chair, rocking chair and our red  ballet cases that I can see in the photo.

This wonderful image flags up all sorts of possibilities if you like to try and match one of its themes. For me, anyone sitting absorbed in the craft of needlework in a domestic setting conjures up a picture of contentment in executing a piece of work which will be used, admired and talked about. There are, of course, other settings where the person, often a child, wielding the needle, is not so content, but I'm sure you don't need me to spell those out for you. For the present let's enjoy this particular autochrome plate from around 1910 and pore over the rich details: the folds of the flag; the woman's lace blouse; the chintzy chair; the sidetable with sewing basket; the bookcase; the chandelier; the picture of three saints. So many choices for you to consider when selecting your own image to feature in this week's Sepia Saturday.

Now, before you open your workbasket take a quick look at the upcoming posts, so that you can keep them in mind whilst sorting through the albums. 

My mother sewed a lot when we were growing up. For my prom in 1969 she made my dress which I loved. I attended D'Arcy McGee in Montreal.


192 : Over the years we have featured all manner of items of dress - hats, boots and most things in between. But now is an opportunity to look at the humble necktie and the smart suspenders (braces).

Neckties, my Dad's (in the 1950s), as I can't seem to find many suspenders except on small boys.

The suggested theme is:

191 : A man and his sisters, his two wives, or is it one of each? Groups of three come to mind or how about gloves, shawls, bonnets or penetrating gazes!

I'm going with gloves, bonnets and penetrating gazes this week.

This is Mary O'Reilly Halpin, my great-great grandmother. In the 1901 Dublin census she was 39 years old and her daughter Catherine would become my great-grandmother. In 1901 Catherine was 18 years old and a general domestic servant, I wonder who she worked for???

Mom's handwriting confirming the names above. William is not on the census so he must have left home by 1901.

It also appears that my great-great-great grandmother, Hanora O'Reilly lived with them. And I now know that she came from County Kildare and was born in 1829.

However, in 1911 William is on the census and Catherine isn't as she had married William Brennan by then and my grand-mother and grand-uncle had been born. Mary V is my grand-mother but she always went by the name Veronica or Vonnie.

Monica in 1911 was listed as Mary in 1901, I think this is a mistake as I am not aware of any Monicas in our family.
Emily and Susan had jobs as a cigarette maker and a printer. I remember visiting these two great-aunts in 1970. I'm not sure if they ever married.

The address changes in spelling between 1901 and 1911 Bellevue and Belview. My great grandfather's memorial card states Belview.

The suggested theme is:
190 : Summer means picnics and this image offers plenty of themes: picnics, kettle, primus stoves, teapots, chickens, gardens and straw hats.

Dublin Ireland 

Summer means the beach or as my mother would say "the seaside".  This would be the Irish Sea likely at Sandymount and it certainly never gets very warm!

Mom in the middle with her sister and brother around 1948

Mom with a friend around 1950

The suggested theme is:

What a curious contraption. I am not sure how it works, I am uncertain of the thinking behind it, I have no idea where it is going, and it appears to have been designed by an absent-minded committee : but for all its' manifest failings, it seems to do something. I am talking, of course, about Sepia Saturday which, you will notice, is chugging away towards its' 200th Call (more on that soon). Our theme picture for Sepia Saturday 189 (post your posts on or around Saturday 10th August 2013) comes from the Flickr Commons Collection of the National Library of Ireland and is entitled "What An Amazing Contraption". It provides us with an opportunity to search out photographs featuring all manner of strange or unidentified contraptions. And if you are fresh out of contraptions there is always cars or people sat in ridiculous positions. All you need do is find an old photograph, say a few words, post it to your blog, link it to the list below, welcome a band of merry commentators to your blog, tootle off to visit as many other Sepians as you can manage .... and marvel at the workings of this strange contraption that we call Sepia Saturday.

1937 Dublin Ireland

My Dad on the right

UPDATE: as usual the eagle\\-eyed Sepians pointed out the dog between the other boy's legs. I know that my Dad never had pets at home. Boobook asked if I had identified the building in the background, as I look at it more carefully I am guessing the car is parked along the Canal in Dublin but I have no idea where it would be, nor do I know who the other boy was or whose car it was. My grandfather definitely did not own a car.

188 : A tall ship, a small lighthouse, and a windmill feature in this 1900-ish photograph of Littlehampton. But there are also cycles, ladies with hats and men with caps.

Thank goodness I managed to find a bicycle in the corner of this photo with my maternal uncle, aunt and their cousin, Derek Brennan in Dublin. it looks like my grandmother's house on Mourne Road.
UPDATE - I think this is around 1950.

187 : This theme originated from an idea by Wendy, Kathy, Martha, Marilyn and others on the Sepia Saturday Facebook Page. Bibles, books, and all manner of old family keepsakes could fit in with this theme.

This case has been the holder of our family memorabilia since I won it in 1958. It contains photos,cards, obituaries, wedding invitations and all sorts of other special items.

My sister's gloves pinned by my mother.

A medal which was pinned in our carriage in Dublin. UPDATE Bob Scotney asked what the carriage looked like so I have added a photo below.

Does anyone remember melody cards? It is a birthday card which you could play on a record player.
"Melody Cards" were popular in the late 1950s. These took the form of an oversized rectangular postcard with the usual address and greeting space on one side and an illustration on the other. The illustration was overlaid with a transparent plastic material into which the grooves were embossed for the recording which was usually musical as the name implies. They typically played at 45 RPM. It was not recommended to write on them with a ball point pen, but these were not all that common at the time.

My grandmother's prayer book which she gave to my father on his wedding day.


186. This fine figure of a woman is either ‘Boadecea or Mother England’ or possibly Britannia. You can choose; or go with armour, helmets, shields, fancy dress, pantomime, theatricals, warlike women or big sticks.

I am going with fancy dress, theatricals and pantomime  for this week.

 My parents often got dressed up and went to dances in Dublin in the early 1950s.
This photo is stamped on the back with Beegan's of Lower Abbey Street.

At the Dublin Archives I found a document within the Irish Theatre section I found a reference to a photo taken by the same photographer.

Ref. No. ITA/251/04/123

Document type: Photograph; monochrome

Date: c. 1960’s

Description: Full length photograph of Vernon Hayden and a female, attending a black tie event


Photographer G. P Beegan, 10 Lower Abbey street, Dublin

Size 2 items.

The actor Vernon Hayden was a stalwart of Irish theatre from 1930’s until his death in 1990. Born c. 1914, in his early career Hayden toured with companies such as W.L Dobell, Richard Carrickford, and the famous pantomime company of Jim Johnson. In 1940, he joined O’D Productions, the company founded by Ireland’s most famous music hall performer Jimmy O’Dea and his writing partner Harry O’Donovan. For almost fifty years, Hayden played at the Gaiety theatre, in pantomimes and revues, frequently as the pantomime villain, which earned him the nickname of “the best baddie in the business”. He also worked as stage manager for O’D Productions on tours of Ireland, the UK, and most notably to Australia and New Zealand in 1961. His papers include correspondence, scripts, photographs, handbills, posters, production notes and theatre programs, and also relate to careers of other Irish actors such as Jimmy O’Dea, Maureen Potter and Milo O’Shea.Vernon Hayden as Squire Loveless in Gaiety Pantomine, 1968
Vernon Hayden was born c. 1914 into a large theatrical family, which for years was located in Donaghmore, county Tyrone, Northern Ireland. His father was Will Hayden, and his mother had the stage name of Kitty Leroy and was over six feet in height. Both his parents were theatricals and troupers all their lives. They ran a touring company, which travelled Britain and Ireland playing repertory and variety.

You wait 360 days for the slightest hint that there might actually be a sun up in the sky, that summer might actually be a real season rather than a virtual memory that is stuck in there to separate a wet Spring from a rainy Autumn; you wait all that time and then someone decides on a Sepia Saturday theme that concentrates on rain, umbrellas, and parasols. But I am not to blame, the theme picture wasn't chosen on my watch. I am as innocent as a duck in a thunderstorm. as blameless as a pigeon in a puddle. So for Sepia Saturday 185 - post your wet posts on or around the 13th July 2013 - go in search of something suitable and try not to be a drip about it. The theme image chosen by Marilyn has the splendid title "Ave A + E. 7 st" and is the work of the American photographer James Jowers and comes from the George Eastman House stream on Flickr Commons.

I looked through all our photos from Ireland and London from the 1940s to the 1980s and didn't find one photo with any rain in it, or ducks, or pigeons!!

I tracked this one down in 1968 when we went to New York City in the spring and I remember that it rained most of the time. It was in colour but it looks much better in black and white.

Outside Rockefeller Center, I am on the left, Mom in the middle and my sister on the right!

Challenge and image source from Sepia Saturday.

This photograph of the entrance to the Wombeyan Caves comes from the 'Caves' set of the Powerhouse Museum Collection on Flickr Commons.  It could take you into grottoes, tunnels, caverns, potholes or mines. Or it may leave you completely in the dark, so remember to bring a torch! Dig deep and see what you can discover down there! Of course there's no need to match the theme at all and our only request is that you post your response to SS 183 on or around Saturday 29 June. Please link back to this Sepia Saturday page, and there is a mini-banner to add too if you choose.

After you've published on your blog, don't forget to add the link to your actual post (by clicking on its title within the post and then copying the URL which this generates) to Mr Linky below, and then leave a comment please. After a deep sigh of satisfaction at a job well done, put the kettle on and set off to visit as many other contributors as you can. If the mood takes you leave them a comment as well; we Sepians thrive on comments - it makes it all worthwhile!

I couldn't think of anything that would match this theme. I started looking through photos in my family album and found this picture, taken in 1989 when my parents went back to Dublin for a wedding. They had a great time catching up with family at their local watering holes. My mother was dead within two weeks of returning from that trip.
This photo was in colour so I converted it to black and white.

The information and video are from the Dublin City Libraries website.

This pub is located in Phoenix Park, Dublin. In Medieval times Blackhorse Avenue was one of the main roads into Dublin City. People travelling to Dublin by horse or by coach would stay overnight outside the city in an inn called 'Ye Signe of Ye Blackhorse'. Its name came from the fact that in those days inn owners would hang up the picture of an animal, such as a horse, outside their pub instead of a name as only few people could read. This picture would give the Inn its name.

When roads were improved, people no longer needed to stay overnight at the inn and the inn was changed into a tavern, a place where people could eat and drink. As the tavern was right beside the Phoenix Park and there were many public speeches given in the park in the 1800s it became a popular spot for a drink and a bite to eat. One of the speakers was Daniel O’Connell; in fact, Daniel O’Connell brewed the ale which was sold in the Blackhorse Tavern.

When the British Army was staying at McKee Barracks in the Phoenix Park from 1891 to 1922, the soldiers would sometimes sneak off and go to the tavern for a pint of beer! The owner of the pub at the time, Levinus Doyle, served the men through a hole in the park wall, and this is why it is called “The Hole in the Wall”.

The name was changed from Blackhorse Tavern to “The Hole in the Wall” in 1970, by PJ McCaffrey and his wife, Margaret. They wanted to remember the history of serving the army through a hole in the wall.

Over the years many extra bits were added and many people believe that this is the longest pub in Ireland.

Challenge and image source from Sepia Saturday.

I rather like the quirky title for the above image 'Off to the Creamery' which comes from the Powerhouse Rural Life Seton Flickr Commons. If you like to match the theme of our Sepia Saturday prompts, how about: bowler hats, milk churns (or dairies), men (or women) posing on horseback, Australia, farms, or any combination of these. You don't have to theme at all of course and all we ask is that you post your response to the prompt for SS182 on or around Saturday 22nd June. Please link back to this Sepia Saturday page or add the mini-banner if your prefer. After you've published your own post don't forget to add the URL of the actual post into Mr Linky and then leave a comment below. Then you can enjoy visiting other Sepians and seeing what they've made of the prompt.

This photo was in my mother's photo box throughout the years, but I don't know anything about it. She was good at putting explanations on the back of the photos, but I don't know anything about this one.

My maternal great-grandfather did have vegetable (which he sold) gardens along the canal in Dublin. My grandfather was born in 1904 so this child, posing on a horse, could conceivably be him.

UPDATE - I rushed to post this photo and didn't notice it gave me a very obvious clue!! But thanks to some eagle-eyed readers, Brett and Alex, they pointed out that the cart reads N. Swift Emmett Rd. 
My grandfatether was Thomas (Tom) Swift and he named his only son (my uncle) Nicholas, so I am guessing my great-grandfather was Nicholas as well. I also knew that Swifts had lived on Emmet Rd. in Dublin.

When you google Emmett Rd. Dublin it is spelled with only one T.

I found this link in the National Archives which mentions Swift of Emmet Rd. as a coppersmith. This article of daily life was very interesting to read!

Then I was excited to find this image from the 1911 census.

Thomas Swift is 30 years old and head of the family and lived at 14.2 Emmet Rd.
Julia, 29, is his wife. Both can read and write. The name Julia doesn't ring any bell for me!!
Thomas Joseph is the two year old son. So he would have been born in 1909, however, my grandfather was born in 1904.
I do know however, that Grandfather had close cousins that he grew up with, so perhaps...
More to investigate. I think one of those cousins was called Joe and he emigrated to America
near Boston and we went to visit them once in the late 60s. Joe's sons grew up to be police/FBI officers. 

I then found this hadwritten note on the back of a photo 

UPDATE 2 - I found the 1911 census form for Nicholas Swift.

Within the details I found that my great-grandfather was a fruitierer and was born in Dublin. My great-grandmother was from Queens County.

This one shows a seven year old Thomas Swift which must be my Grandfather as he was born in 1904. It also shows they too lived on Emmet Rd. number 113.

It also shows a younger brother William. I know that Grandfather's mother died and his father remarried. 

The 1901 and 1911 censuses are the only surviving full censuses of Ireland open to the public. Both censuses cover the island of Ireland. They were released to public inspection in 1961, because of the stream of requests for information about people's ages, particularly those born before civil registration of births began in 1864.
The 1901 census was taken on 31st March 1901. The 1911 census was taken on 2 April 1911.

UPDATE 3 - I checked 1901 for a Nicholas Swift who would have been 23 or 24 years old and discovered him as a visitor. I know this is the right one as I knew that I had a great-great grandmother by the name of Coughlan.

Now the mission is to find out why he was a visitor and from where as I didn't find any other reference to a home in Dublin for the 23 year old Nicholas.

A few words from Marilyn Brindley (aka Little Nell): Whilst Alan is away I'm stepping in as admin and I hope you all enjoy the prompts I've chosen for the next few weeks. The value of our Sepia Saturday Facebook group page was never more apparent than a few weeks ago when Mrs Marvel, of Who Were They, posted this link for we ‘Sepians’ to enjoy. The wonderful pictures there of chatelaines made me think about our theme for this week. We haven't actually had bodily adornments of any kind as a prompt before, so this rather lovely image, 'Portrait of a woman with elaborate cameo jewelry and off the shoulder dress' from SMU Central University Libraries vis Flickr Commons is the one I've chosen. It's from around 1850 but nothing is known about the creator or sitter. I'm sure the photo sleuths amongst us would be able to tell us more but I'm not much of a detective myself.

All that we ask for now is that you post your own response to Number 181 on or around Saturday June 15th. It's time to open your jewellery case and dig out some sparkling images. We're looking for any bodily adornments: from girls with pearl earrings to gents with an impressive medal collection (or vice versa), even tattoos would fit the bill I'm sure. Don't forget to link back to this Sepia Saturday page or add the mini-banner at the bottom of this post if you prefer.When you've posted on your own blog, add the link to the specific page here on Mr Linky, leave a comment too please, and then try to visit as many other Sepians as you can.

My maternal grandmother never dressed like a "grandmother", she loved to get dressed up and loved her jewelry. I inherited this gene from her. We would always say she'd rather go out without her underwear than  forget her earrings"!
She would refashion items into earrings from rings, or bracelets from coins.She had a huge amount of costume jewelry.
She loved to dress stylishly. 
She often bought clothes, wore them and t hen returned them!! I remember in 1963 she bought a beautiful pink suit from Eaton's Department Store (interesting aside story in this link about the Francophone dropping of the possessive apostrophe in the name)  in Montreal for a wedding in Dublin. She went over by ship, The Franconia II of Cunard Lines. When she returned home from the trip she took the suit back.

In both these wedding photos she is the first woman on the right.



When I first chose the theme image for Sepia Saturday 179, I thought to myself, "we've  never had birds, beasts and reptiles" before; but of course I was wrong. A quick check of the list kept by Marilyn and available on the Sepia Saturday Facebook page, and I discover that we've had tortoises (164), elephants (133), cats (130), cattle (127), dogs (111), rabbits (71) and even a camel (70)! If you have completely run out of animals, you might like to follow the caravans, or climb up the steps, or even hide in the wooden barrel. Whatever potential theme you highlight from our archive image (which comes from the Tyne and Wear Archives and Museum Collection on Flickr Commons), all you need to do is to post your post on or around Saturday 1st June 2013 and then add a link to the list below.

I think I exhausted my menagerie of exotic animals in this post which had a tortoise, camel, and elephant.

So I'm going for the caravan, although in colour, it is 1970 at the Lakes of Killarney in Ireland. My parents had decided it was time for my sister and myself to see where we had come from. My Dad hadn't been back since he left in 1957. I was less than thrilled to be on this family trip as I had just finished my first year of university, had a summer job and a boyfriend!!
But then the magic happened and I was back there two years later with that boyfriend. This was very risque in those days to be travelling with a boyfriend.

This photo was taken by a "professional" photographer and you had to pay for the photo and then wait two months for the photo to be mailed and received overseas.

In looking through the photos on that trip I do have black and white photos of a couple more horse and carts which I believe were taken at Molly's Gap.

This week Sepia Saturday is paying tribute to the human face. It can be young or old, male or female, happy or sad : it can be any shape or colour you choose. My selected picture comes from the collection at George Eastman House which is featured on Flickr Commons. It is listed simple as "Woman's Face" and dates from somewhere around 1915. 

My mom on her wedding day with her two sisters, September 1951 in Drimnagh Dublin, Ireland. I love how they have their arms linked. They are holding their prayer books.

Inscription inside Mom's prayer book from her sister on the right.

This is the church Our Lady of Good Counsel on Mourne Rd. Photo was taken years later.
Both my parents grew up on Mourne Rd and my father's house was (is) across the street from the school. My Dad's sister still lives in that house.

In 2005, Colin Farrell spoke at his grandfather's funeral which took place from this church.

These Madrid street kids are upside down, the wrong way up, and all over the place. That's what happens when you place kids next to the slightest excuse for a piece of acrobatic equipment. So for Sepia Saturday 177 - post your posts on or around Saturday 18th May 2013 - we want you to search out your old photos of kids, or acrobats, or people who are upside down or the wrong way around .... or whatever. This 1908 photograph comes from the George Eastman Collection which has been made available by the wonderful Flickr Commons initiative.

My sister, cousin and myself on the swings in Van Horne Park in Montreal around 1960. That is my pregnant aunt sitting on the bench partially obscured by the tree. Love the car!!

We were living on de la Peltrie at the time, the street behind the swings. The house number would have been around 5100. These are typical Montreal duplexes defined as 4 1/2 or 51/2 rooms, the half being the bathroom. This is very different than the way properties are described in Toronto. Nowadays a lower apartment would rent for $850 a month!!

Construction of the Decarie Autoroute was not begun until 1964 and is a sunken highway which caused the collapse of many businesses along the original Decarie Blvd. a story for another day.

It has been a stressful few days and in the good old days I would have reached for my trusty pipe and tobacco pouch. Others would have reached for cigarette packets or cigar cases or snuff boxes : whatever the delivery method, tobacco was the preferred accompaniment to lifes' ups and downs. Now we know better and tobacco sales are hidden away behind high counters, plain wrappers and dire warnings. But here on Sepia Saturday we deal with the past, and therefore Sepia Saturday 175 - post your posts on or around Saturday 4th May 2013 - provides you with an opportunity to light up your blog with pictures featuring smoking, cigarettes, vending machines, gold flakes, black cats ... or anything else you can spot in our archive image. The picture dates back to 1931 and features a rather unique device - a vending machine that delivered a lit cigarette! The picture comes from the Flickr Commons stream of the Dutch National Archive.

This wasn't the photo I had planned on posting initially but when I was looking through my files I noticed this ad on the back of an Aer Lingus plane ticket from 1957 when we flew from Dublin to Montreal.
Thank goodness smoking is not allowed on flights today!

Sweet Afton was an Irish brand of short, unfiltered cigarettes made with Virginia tobacco and produced by P.J. Carroll & Co., Dundalk, Ireland, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco.

The Sweet Afton brand was launched by Carroll's in 1919 to celebrate the link between Dundalk and the national poet of Scotland, Robert Burns. Burns' eldest sister, Agnes, lived in Dundalk from 1817 until her death in 1834 and was buried in the cemetery of St. Nicholas's Church in the town. Carroll's thought that the brand would only be successful in Scotland if the carton simply had an image of Burns, or Scottish name on the packet, so the people of Dundalk were canvassed and the name Sweet Afton was chosen. The name is taken from Burns' poem "Sweet Afton", which itself takes its title from the poem's first stanza:

Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes
Flow gently, I’ll sing thee a song in thy praise
My Mary’s asleep by they murmuring stream
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Both my parents smoked as did my maternal grandmother and aunts and uncles. My grandfathers favoured a pipe. In the 50s and 60s it was quite common for women to smoke through pregnancy!
This is my aunt with the cigarette and it looks like they are just moving into this place as my parents are on the floor setting up stuff and that looks like a makeshift table. I am curious what my sister is looking at so intently???

173 : Now this particular photograph is just plain odd. What on earth is going on here I can't begin to imagine. But we all have odd old photographs in our collections and here is your chance to feature them.

I am not sure why my uncle is dressed in this odd way!!! I am guessing this was a Christmas party but...
I can't determine if this is my aunt's apartment in Montreal or my mom's kitchen, I'm leaning towards my mom's because of the cookie jar!!

My photo is from Ireland in the early 1950s where spring can come earlier than over here, but can also be cold. I have no idea if this photo of my mother lying on a picnic blanket was taken in the spring but I'm going to make that assumption. To get there my mother and whoever she was with, my father? would have ridden their bikes likely into the Dublin Mountains.

Sepia Saturday's theme this week is on old ruin or a castle.

I chose "old ruins" with this photo I took of the USSR pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. I had a season pass and spent a lot of time at Expo with family and friends. I guess that practically makes me on old ruin as well!!

I found some fascinating information about Expo 67 at this web site.

Crossing the LeMoyne Channel by Minirail to Ile Notre-Dame, visitors will see the silver grey pavilion of the Soviet Union to the left, with the dates 1917-1967 over the main entrance to mark the fifty years of the U.S.S.R.
The pavilion is linked by Minirail with the Ile Notre-Dame station of the Expo-Express and with the Métro system at Métro Sainte-Hélène. One of Expo's largest buildings, it combines modern distinction with elegance and grace.
As its approach to Expo's theme Man and his World, the U.S.S.R. chose: In the name of Man, for the good of Man.
The scope of the exhibits is on a scale commensurate with the activity of a dynamic country of 230 million inhabitants. In Cosmos Hall, Soviet space technology is on display and visitors can experience the sensations of space travel while comfortably seated in armchairs...there is a major exhibit devoted to Atoms for Peace...other exhibits describing the Soviet way of life, urban and rural...economic, scientific and engineering relations and aid to developing and culture.
The pavilion has a 600 seat theatre for Soviet shows. The restaurant, café and snack bar offer a wide variety of delicious food and drinks from many republics of the Soviet Union.

169 : Nominated by Sepian Postcardy, here is a picture of lots of people taking photographs of cherry blossom in Washington. There are all sorts of possibilities here : blossom, monuments, photographers being photographed (again).

I'm going with Monument for this week. This is outside Buckingham Palace in 1970 when my parents took us to England and Ireland. Since then I have made many visits to both these countries and London will always be one of my favourite cities in the world.

I'm posting at Sepia Saturday today.

The suggested theme:

168 : Nominated by Sepian John Newmark, this photograph of the Potsdam Conference could make you think of meetings, round tables, famous events, photographers being photographed or almost anything else.

I couldn't find a round table but they certainly look like they are having a meeting!! And I can throw in a famous event as well!

My mom and aunt are at the head of the table, my uncle on the right and the couple on the left are Australian friends, Kevin and Jean, we (my parents) met while living in Baie Comeau Quebec. My aunt and uncle were visiting from Montreal.
Uncle Kevin and Aunty Jean would become the parents of Julianne McNamara the American gymnast. 
She won the 1980 US all-around title and earned a spot on the Olympic team that boycotted the Moscow Games.

That's Mom's writing July 1960.

This week's challenge is:
165 23 February 2013 : The photograph is called Group Portrait Of An Unknown Family. We all have some unknowns in our collections and this is their special week.

I know that the man on the right (in lighter gray suit) is my paternal grandfather Thomas. I don't know who is standing beside him, but I am guessing it might be his brother as there is a strong resemblance to my Uncle Tommy named after his father, my grandfather. 
I wish I knew where this was taken in Dublin.

Both my grandfathers were named Thomas.
I will have to take the time to restore this photo some day.

Here is my Uncle Tommy as a boy he is on the left. I don't know who is on the right so two photos with unknowns!.


 164 16 February 2013 : Let's slow things down to sepia speed. There are tortoises, pipes, watches and all sorts of other things in this picture.

This is me sitting on a tortoise in the Dublin Zoo probably in 1953 or 54.

Dublin Zoo was opened in 1831 by the then Royal Zoological Society of Ireland, which had been founded the previous year. The animals were supplied by its counterpart in the UK, London Zoo.
I am sure it was nothing like zoos today. It was probably amazing for people to be able to see so many different animals.

Senior Times

A period of great change began in the Zoo in the 1940s. Although few animals were replaced during the war, visitor numbers rose at an extraordinary rate. In 1940, the Zoo received 150,000 visitors but by 1950, more than 348,000 people were coming through the gates.   Sundays were so busy that cheap entry ceased. Tickets for members’ dances, dinners and other social events were in such demand that newspapers hinted that they were available on the black market. The refreshment room in Haughton House frequently filled to capacity and visitors had to bring their own sugar. Around the Zoo Sarah the Asian elephant was giving rides to children and young chimpanzees were being brought out to meet visitors.

This timeline and photo are from the Dublin Zoo website.Bull Elephant Rama-1900

1833The entrance lodge to the Zoo was built for £30! You can still see it today!
1838To celebrate Queen Victoria's Coronation the Zoo held an open day - 20,000 people visited, which is still the highest number of visitors in one day.
1844The Zoo received its first giraffe
1855The Zoo bought its first pair of lions. These bred for the first time in 1857.
1868-9An aquarium, a lion house and the Society House (which still stands) built with funds from a government grant.
1876Reptiles shared the aquarium; it officially became the reptile house in the 1890s
1898Haughton House opened, providing tea rooms for members upstairs and animal enclosures downstairs.
1916Getting in and out of Phoenix Park became difficult during the Easter Rising and meat ran out. In order to keep the lions and tigers fed, some of the other animals in the zoo were killed!
1939-1945During World War II the popularity of the Zoo soared despite the difficulty in replacing animals who died. The public donated food for the animals and, after the war when fuel was still difficult to acquire, trees were chopped down to heat the houses.
TodayThere are still parts of the zoo that date back to the very beginning - why not come along and see them for yourself!

The suggested theme Snow, snow and more snow. But there is also lamp-posts, long coats and those ubiquitous barrels again.

What a perfect topic this week as we sit in sunny Las Vegas while all our family and friends are snowed in back in Toronto!

This was an easy one for me to choose - snow. in fact I had too many photos to choose from since we grew up in Canada.

This is Montreal winter 1957-58, Durocher Street, our first winter in Canada. I'm the older sister!

My parents emigrated to Canada from Dublin Ireland in 1957 and we spent our first winter in Montreal with my maternal aunt and uncle.


The suggested theme is Bicycles, lads with caps on their heads ... the writing is on the wall.

I am going with lads with caps on their heads. This is a photo of my maternal uncle on his first communion day.
That is a Sacred Heart of Jesus medal on his lapel. He is standing outside my Grandparents' house in Dublin. This is probably in the mid-1940s.

Since he is smiling I am guessing the serious part of the day was over and he had probably received his Communion "money", monetary gifts from family and neighbours. I wonder how much he got?
Today this day has totally gotten out of hand as this Irish Times article points out.

Here is a passage from Frank McCourt's 1996 Pulitzer prize-winning memoir, "Angela's Ashes," describing his big day.

"The night before I was so excited I couldn't sleep till dawn.  I'd still be sleeping if my grandmother hadn't come banging on the door.  Get up! Get up! Get that child outa the bed.  Happiest day of his life an' him snorin' above in the bed.  I ran to the kitchen.  Take off that shirt, she said.  I took off the shirt and she pushed me into a tin tub of icy cold water.  My mother scrubbed me, my grandmother scrubbed me.  I was raw, I was red.  They dried me.  They dressed me in my black velvet First Communion suit with the white frilly shirt, the short pants, the white stockings, the black patent leather shoes.  Around my arm they tied a white satin bow and on my lapel they pinned the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a picture of the Sacred Heart, with the blood dripping from it, flames erupting all around it and on top a nasty-looking crown of thorns.  Come here till I comb your hair, said Grandma.  Look at that mop, it won't lie down.  You didn't get that hair from my side of the family.  That's the North of Ireland hair you got from your father.  That's the kind of hair you see on Presbyterians.  If your mother had married a proper decent Limerickman you wouldn't have this standing up, North of Ireland, Presbyterian hair.  She spat twice on my head.  Grandma, will you please stop spitting on my head.  If you have anything to say, shut up.  A little spit won't kill you.  Come on, we'll be late for Mass.  We ran to the church.  My mother panted along behind with Michael in her arms.  We arrived at the church just in time to see the last of the boys leaving the altar rail where the priest stood with the chalice and he host, glaring at me.  Then he placed on my tongue the wafer, the body and blood of Jesus.  At last, at last.  It's on my tongue.  I draw it back.  It stuck.  I had God glued to the roof of my mouth.  I could hear the master's voice.  Don't let that host touch your teeth for if you bite God in two you'll roast in hell for eternity.  I tried to get God down with my tongue but the priest hissed at me.  Stop that clucking and get back to your seat.  God was good.  He melted and I swallowed Him and now, at last, I was a member of the True Church, an official sinner.  When the Mass ended there they were at the door of the church, my mother with Michael in her arms, my grandmother.  They each hugged me to their bosoms.  They each told me it was the happiest day of my life.  They each cried all over my head and after my grandmother's contribution that morning my head was a swamp." 

The suggested theme was storefronts or any other image you felt like sharing.

I had a photo in mind of my Grandfather holding my hand as we walked down a street in Dublin and I thought it had a storefront in it, but I finally found it (I really should put proper names on my scanned photos!!) and there isn't really any storefront just the side of buildings. Don't the men look so dapper with their hats! My Grandfather always wore a hat.

Harold (Charlie) GAFFNEY

GAFFNEY, Harold (Charlie) - Charlie Gaffney, 81, of Mitchell, peacefully at University Hospital, London on Monday, August 9, 2010. Beloved husband of Agnes (Kelly) Gaffney. Dear father of Tom Gaffney and his family Caitlin and Shaylyn of London; Joan Wagner (Steve) and their family Daniel and Anna of Waterloo; Janet Gaffney (Alan Lazarus) of Brampton; Jim Gaffney (Jan) and their family Matt, Holly, Sam and Jill of Mitchell; Donna Rouselle (Pat) and their daughter Brigid of Toronto. Dear brother of Agnes Gregus of London, Grace Young and Betty Holland of Stratford. Dear brother-in-law of Betty Gaffney of Stratford, Mona Gaffney of Peterborough, Jack and Anne Kelly of Port Huron, Mary Kelly of Stratford and Marion Kelly of Sebringville. Visitation at the LOCKHART FUNERAL HOME, Mitchell on Friday, August 13, 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Mitchell on Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

Condolence From: Alan Lazarus
Condolence: Charlie was such a wonderful man. I So kind and gentle, he had a wonderful way about him. I will always remember his ability to make one-of-a-kind comments which always just seemed to capture the moment with humour and wit. My thoughts are with you, Agnes, Tom, Joan, Donna, Jim and of course my little sweetie pie.
Tuesday August 10, 2010


  1. Thank you for this wonderful journey!
    Bet a lot of women went after your Dad, such a good looking man!
    Many a thing I recognise, too (also like: hating myself being in pics - you sure braved up, great!!!).

    That pic of your Mom on a beach could be a beautiful postcard, too.

    Thanks for all the smiles (and partly sad faces, too - most smiles, though) this collection gave me.
    I am very, very sorry your Sister had to leave so early.

    The apron made me smile big again :-)

    A great idea with this collection.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


This blog does not allow anonymous comments.