Historical Notions

Posted by Seoirse on 6/30/2011 in Commentary | Ireland

Creation of the new Ferriter Family website moved me to a review of certain items that I had in hand, for inclusion on the site. A number of these are now posted as blog entries, including the following. None of these observations, speculations, and theories have been altered by the time that has passed between having been written and now…enjoy reading, and comment, please!



Across history, many families have produced successive generations of noteworthy individuals. As western history developed principally as an aristocracy/oligarchy, irrespective of national boundaries, finding sons, grandsons, and great grandsons of prominent individuals successively appearing in historical accounts should not be surprising. Ruling families and ruling classes ensure that this sort of historical succession occurs.

Only much more recently, in the most modern era…during the past 200 years or so, have the individual identities of participants from less well positioned families been discernable…

In the early days of the Norman Incursion….

Following the road to and across Ireland, across centuries of time

The Geraldines, Piaras, Dominick, the Jacobites, Nicholas, sea captain, Nicholas the rope maker, John Stephen, the American pioneers, the Civil War veterans, Litigants, Trainmen,  Muiris and Pardraig  Feiritear and the Land League, Padraig the Manuscript Collector, WWI,  Authors, WWII, Korea, Artists, SEA, on to today…

In Ireland we had perhaps two, then only one settlement area…the far western end of the Corca Dhubhine peninsula…in the New World, first one and then another, for a final total of perhaps a dozen principal areas: New England, (principally Western MA), New York, (the City, and the West), The Midwest (IN, IL, WI and IA), Nebraska, Montana, California, Virginia, Missouri. The most frequent landing area has been Western Massachusetts, sometimes only for a generation or so, then moving on westward.

Today we have….Artists, Lawyers, Soldiers, Sailors, Doctors, Historians, Engineers, Policeman, Businessmen, Educators and more… alongside hardworking men and women in all manner of jobs…

We sometimes live at the cusp of causation; hence we appear in the background of many screenshots of many large events. Here we have a Ferriter at the Battle of the Boyne, here a Ferriter at the Boston Massacre, there a Ferriter at Gettysburg, and another at ………(frww1). Ferriters on Wall Street, walking out of the Chosin Reservoir, on a ship blockading Cuba during the missile crisis,  in the Jungles of Vietnam, at Woodstock, and everywhere that important things are happening this moment.

An eddy, a current, a subsurface tide of energy and ability, flowing just below topical events. More gifted than most families in terms of raw ability, more diverse than most families in how those abilities are distributed…tinged with something akin to greatness.

We know a lot about some of these predecessors,

Which brings cause to wonder…what about those remaining behind in Europe…the non-Irish Ferriters, our unknown cousins. 12th cousins, 14th cousins, 24th cousins and on and on…relations extending from common roots lost in time a thousand, two thousand, or three thousand years ago…where?

Sometimes there seems to be a deep craving for a return, for a salmon-like migration up river, bucking the tides and leaping obstacles. Back across North America, back over the far Atlantic, into Ireland, and across, to Munster, to Kerry, to Corca Dhubhine, to Baile an Fhearitearaigh, and to home…

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Know Your Ancestors

Catherine Ferriter

photo b. 1840
d. 11 Jan 1913

Catherine Ferriter was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in about 1840. She was the daughter of John and Honora (Fitzgerald) Ferriter. The family moved to Tioga County, Pennsylvania, soon after her birth, and she lived the rest of her life in that area. She married Edward Mitchell, originally from Dublin, Ireland, around 1856, and they lived in the Morris Run and Fallbrook, Pennsylvania, area.  My mother's notes have her described as a redhead, with a great sense of humor. Edward and Catherine were the parents of at least eleven children, many of whom passed away fairly young. One of those children was my grandfather, Michael Mitchell.... Read More