★★★★ Reviews #genealogy “WDYTYA” in Michael Crichton style

Larry Kenyon from California writes:

I read the Kindle version of “Where’s Merrill?” on a flight to Ireland, and it kept me engrossed enough to read it in the one sitting. If you are into genealogy you will no doubt enjoy this novel, based on a real research case. I couldn’t help thinking I was reading a Michael Crichton story, but with a genealogy theme. I’m ready for a follow-on case, this time involving Ireland and Irish history rather than the U.S.

NHVest - collage-for-website-header-2Nancy H Vest from North Carolina writes:

Where’s Merrill? is described as a genealogical thriller. That is an accurate description! Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down until I knew the truth about Merrill. There are actually two stories going on in this book – the story of Merrill and his family, and the story of the researchers learning about this family’s history.
The author used dates and place names to keep the reader abreast of what was going on, and he did well with this. Interaction between the main characters is believable, but I especially enjoyed the secondary characters, like the townspeople, who added spunk to the story.
Reading Where’s Merrill? gave me a sense of how others might feel when I talk about the many members of my own family during one conversation. At times I felt like I needed to make some notes as to who was who, and I assigned some details to the wrong people as I read along. That is to be expected, though, with a story of this kind. It didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story at all since I was able to quickly regroup the cast and details in my mind.
Long narrative paragraphs are present in several places which made me want to skim over and rush past. I am a short paragraph kind-of-girl.
The author asked me if I’d like to review Where’s Merrill?, and he provided me a copy. That in no way has influenced my review. I liked this story, and I enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it easily to anyone who enjoys a mystery that is light on graphic violence. There were twists in the plot, and I was truly surprised by a few of the revelations.

Link to Nancy’s Blog

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Happy Birthday to Football

As the 20th staging of the FIFA Word Cup international football tournament finals gets underway today in Brazil, I thought it appropriate to combine my interest in genealogy with the great sport of [Association] Football – or soccer as it is known in countries such as America and Ireland where native team game players of old stole the football name before it could be copyrighted (yet perversely all other versions of football involve moving the ball by hand, mainly).

Even Football Clubs have birth certificates, strange as it seems – and some clubs are “getting on a bit.” Most established English clubs are now older than the oldest living Englishman. The FC birth cert below shows that one of England’s most successful teams, Liverpool Football Club, celebrated its 122nd birthday just last week. As with traditional vital records, this particular birth cert records the name of the proud father of the new arrival. In a bizarre twist which amuses football fanatics on Merseyside, Liverpool FC was spawned by its long-time arch-rival, Everton FC. In 1892, Everton was a popular and strapping 14 year-old. As genealogists know, in Victorian times it was quite common for teenagers to enter fatherhood or motherhood. Amazingly, LFC’s father, Everton is still going strong and rather cheekily keeps making comeback appearances which threaten to destabilize the red team’s recent domination of the soccer-mad city of Liverpool in terms of on-field success.

1892 LFC birth_certificateAs a consequence of sharing my life with a Red Scouser, Liverpool FC have become my second favourite domestic side. I will never abandon my “first team” though, after my father dragged me along to become a spectator of my first professional football match as a schoolboy. 1875 BRFCAncestrally, my family developed an unbreakable affinity with Blackburn Rovers Football Club which is even older than Liverpool FC and its daddy, Everton. As the club badge shows, Blackburn Rovers was baptized as a club in 1875, although this was a delayed christening after other nicknames had been adopted and rejected by the new kid on the 1870’s football scene.

Even BRFC was a relative youngster when it came into formal existence. The honour of elder statesman in English professional football ranks goes to Notts County FC. In November this year, Notts County will be 152 years-old having played about 4,750 Football League matches. County is still capable of showing some young upstarts a thing or two about the beautiful game, although the old man has not been fit enough to compete in the top division for 20 years. “At the end of the day, the legs have gone, late in the game,” as a semi-literate TV pundit will probably say more than once during the next glorious month of World Cup highlights.

The first FIFA World Cup Final tournament was held in South America in 1930, so it’s appropriate that the same continent hosts the finale of the 20th competition. My beloved BRFC was already in late middle age by then, and County had even become a pensioner. It’s a funny OLD game.

 

The beauty of South Sligo

I have long been aware of the hidden beauty of my “back yard” in South Sligo, but as an early-riser, my appreciation has always been limited to scenic viewing during daylight hours. So I was was both surprised and proud to find that my home patch features regularly in the stunning night-time photography portfolio of Damien Stenson. Damien is a very talented Galway-based landscape photographer but he specialises in night photography – as displayed by the breath-taking imagery shown below.

These four examples were taken from the shores of Lough Talt, nestled in the Windy Gap of the Ox Mountains. A big effort is underway to promote our tranquil backwater as a tourism destination to a worldwide audience. I am not alone in wishing this venture the greatest of success while conversely hoping that the trickle of rambling tourists never becomes a torrent of couldn’t care less litter louts. A tranquil backwater needs places of tranquility – even at peak season.

DS3DS4DS5DS6The bright comet-like object in the night sky of the photo above is the International Space Station passing overhead during a film exposure of several minutes. I am far from being a knowledgeable student of modern photography techniques so head over to Damien’s Facebook page for all the technical blurb about how these wonderful images were captured by a true magician of the lens.

Dozens more memorable pictures, mainly from the West of Ireland at night, can be viewed at www.damienstenson.com

★★★★★ Review

Diane writes:

First, a disclaimer…. I have had a business relationship with Mr. O’Neary, as he has done some research on my Irish roots in the past. However, this has nothing to do with my review of “Where’s Merrill?” My review is based totally on its own merits.

As somewhat of an ancestry buff, I was interested in reading “Where’s Merrill?” I too have Irish roots, though other than being Irish, my family bears little resemblance to the Harrison family.

Where’s Merrill?” is a well-written ancestral mystery. I enjoyed the dual stories of the past and the present, as it seemed to tie into my own interests of digging into the past with my own family. I, too, have sought out & found distant relatives, and it’s quite fun to find relations you never knew you had! “Where’s Merrill?” certainly tops my own family in terms of real drama & mystery! I’m afraid my own family is quite boring compared with Merrill’s!

I would definitely recommend “Where’s Merrill?” to others who are interested in ancestry & a little mystery! Here’s a suggestion to others who are reading “Where’s Merrill?“: throughout the book, there are several family tree graphics. Bookmark these pages so that you can easily refer back to them. I found it a little hard to keep track of “who was who” along the way. It’s useful to be able to refer back to the family tree graphics to refresh one’s memory. I had at first thought it would be good to have one complete family tree graphic at the beginning of the book. But that would have, in fact, spoiled some of the surprises in this family mystery! So bookmarking along the way seems to work out best if you are like me, and need visuals to help your memory.

Overall – a good book!! And looking forward to more books by O’Neary!!

2014 April - Amazon #1b