This website is the culmination of my forty-year passion for (and love of) genealogy and the research process it entails. For me, it was mostly about the “journey” rather than the “destination”. (I love the actual research and analysis processes.) However, the time has come to accept that the destination has been reached; hopefully this website will allow me to share and preserve the results.
My interest in genealogy began after I had typed the manuscript for my parents’ book The Genealogy of John Maloney and Deborah Moriarty ,which they presented to the family at Christmas 1979. When I began researching in 1980, there were no computers--as hard as that is to imagine these days. Genealogical research was conducted by mail, and on-site visits to libraries, archives, churches, cemeteries, and relatives. It was a slow process. A letter would be written and the reply could take several weeks to arrive. A document requested from an official jurisdiction, would sometimes not be copied and mailed for several weeks.
An example of this is one of my first research attempts. I had assumed (naively) that the Maloney research was” complete”, so I decided to work on the Condon ancestors first. Knowing that Jim’s father had come to Canada as an English orphan and that nobody knew very much about his background, my goal was to find out more about him. By then, I had joined the local Genealogical Society and taken a few beginner classes and thus had learned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and their vast holdings of records from all over the world. I decided that the 1881 Census of England would be a good starting point, and, in November 1980, wrote to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to ask which microfilms I could rent for the Liverpool area of interest. These would be sent to the local Family History Centre in Saskatoon for viewing there. [In later years, a Centre was opened in Regina, so the process became simpler.] I received a reply in late December and sent a copy to Saskatoon so they could order the films. The films arrived in Saskatoon in March 1981 but winter driving was not a good idea so it wasn't until May that I drove there and excitedly looked at my first microfilm. This six-month process can now be accomplished at home with only a few mouse-clicks!
And so it began! Eventually, in addition to the Condon ancestors, I was able to extend the lines of Jim’s French-Canadian ancestors and those of my Irish and Slovak ancestors and to undertake research for other friends and family. In the intervening years, I’ve made numerous research trips to Salt Lake City, attended many local, regional and international conferences, visited ancestral sites in Canada, the United States, Ireland, England and France, interviewed older ancestors, subscribed to numerous genealogical publications, joined many genealogical societies, and amassed a large library of books, lecture tapes and microfilms. For several years, I held various executive positions in the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, did some lecturing, and wrote several articles which were published in various genealogical magazines and newsletters.
As technology evolved, research procedures changed. When it became possible to purchase microfilms, I bought two microfilm readers, and had one at home in Regina and one in Arizona. Condon Surveys Ltd. bought an IBM computer in December 1982; its purported use was for accounting and payroll, but, because I worked mainly from home, the computer was located in my home office. After office hours, it could be used for other purposes! (As primitive as this early computer was, I was able to compile and publish four books for the Society--the data being stored on several 5 ¼” floppy discs!) And then the internet arrived, with connections progressing from unreliable dial-up to today’s high-speed wireless! Records from all over the world have been digitized and readily available online.
It is difficult for me to describe how satisfying and rewarding this has been through the years. The excitement of discovering some old document, finding the evidence to prove a relationship, or breaking through a long-standing “brick wall” are things not always as thrilling to others as they are to me. It has been nice to have friends who share the same passion, and I appreciate those in the family who are also interested.
I’ve been asked many times why I “do” genealogy. It is hard to explain and although I’ve done it for my own pleasure and satisfaction, the greater reason has to be that knowing about the lives of our ancestors (and placing them in context of the times in which they lived) is deeply important to me. Finding out about their joys, sorrows, tragedies, heroism, and place in their local society is endlessly fascinating.
I’ve met genealogists whose goal is to claim descendancy from royalty or some other illustrious person, but this was never my aim. I’ve also known those who are shocked when they discover a “black sheep”. The reverse is true for me; the same events that happen to people now also happened to our ancestors. Every generation has illegitimacy, crime, illness, financial hardship, etc.; it is necessary to have an open mind and to try not to judge our ancestors based on 21st century attitudes. I’ve discovered so many interesting stories. It is more than an endless list of names and dates; these were real people who make history come alive, whose DNA we share, and from whom we’ve inherited whatever traits make us the people we are today.
I feel that by identifying and remembering our ancestors, we are also honouring them. Family is important and we are tied not only to our living relatives but to those who have gone before. I believe that a strong sense of family gives us the strength to cope with whatever life throws our way. And as we remember those who have gone before, my wish is that future generations will remember us in the same way.
I hope, that by preserving this research in a form that can be shared, the information in my (many) filing cabinets—and in my head—will not go to the grave with me! In the future, if someone in the family develops an interest in pursuing further research, I will have provided a starting point and it will all have been worth it!
This site is a work-in-progress and will eventually contain (in addition to the genealogical databases) stories, memoirs and memories, biographies, photographs, old documents, etc. It is gratifying to know that the information will be preserved for future generations.
I am very grateful to my talented and efficient Webmaster (son-in-law Peter) for making this possible!
Eileen Maloney Condon