Both John Prendergast and Edith Alice Brougham departed Cobh in 1894 leaving a crumbling social order and long trail of ancestors behind them. I think they made the right choice but then of course I would.
John’s Prendergast ancestors left us an unmistakable genetic footprint, the legacy of many generations living in the region between Waterford and Cork. By way of thanks for marrying Edith Alice and making the right decision to leave I should to do more work to identify his family.
Edith Alice’s ancestors had a short history in Ireland compared to John’s family and compared to her own family’s longer history in England.
Were they really Irish?
How many generations does it take before a colonizer becomes Irish? It never really happened for our family in Ireland. Edith Alice started out fourth generation Irish on her father’s side before the family split up.
Fortunately Edith made the choice to marry John Prendergast and become American which IMO was the right thing to do given her situation and also wildly optimistic, like she could just cast aside generations of custom and privilege and start over. But here we are, children of the Irish diaspora a few generations in to our American occupation in North America, landed if not gentry, speaking for myself.
Edith Alice also links us to several amazing grandparents, Thomas Burgh the architect, Walter Hussey Burgh the barrister and statesman, Sir John Macartney the entrepreneur and member of the Irish House of Commons who’s achievements I have to admire despite their roles in maintaining an unjust social order.
Also Edith Alice links us to that one really weird and intense cousin, Lord Brougham with whom she shared a very old name that came from a very old place.
That quite a legacy.
To absolutely beat to death the blended concoction metaphor, Edith Alice is a wine that adds fruit notes of say, leftover communion Bordeaux combined with the spice notes of Lord Brougham’s mulled port.
If John Prendergast is the whiskey in our family punchbowl then Edith Alice is the wine, maybe with a dash of bitters.
– End Part 1-
This will continue with their Atlantic crossing, Ellis Island and Gardiner Maine, children and grandchildren, Middletown and Walden, New York.