In the last twenty four hours I’ve had some interesting chats with people who share my passion for genealogy. I caught up yesterday with Joye Walsh, an historian of the Rixon Family. And then today, I caught up with Barry O’Brien, an historian of the O’Brien Family.
I’m a descendant of both families, and I’ve known Joye and Barry for over a decade. It was great to chat with two people who share the same passion that I have. It’s an ongoing detective story in many ways, an ongoing search for truth about where people came from, and to better understand the sometimes hidden motivations behind the decisions people make in life.
In other circumstances, those motivations remain elusive. Today, I travelled to Jamberoo on the South Coast for an O’Brien Family Reunion.
About 100 people attended, descendants of James and Mary who came to Australia and settled in the area around Bega. Much of the family remains in the Bega District, including a good number of people who travelled up today. My own branch of the family moved to the North Coast, however, in about 1908. And other parts of the family settled in South East Queensland.
Barry – known as Gus – did a great job organising the reunion. I loved the photographs, and I also loved the great big spreadsheet of names.
I also loved catching up with my first cousin, her husband, and daughter who live near Campbelltown, and who I haven’t seen for several years. And I got to meet some people I’ve been corresponding with through this website. And I met some people who are from Lismore who are actually quite closely related, but who I didn’t know about.
“I think you’re often closer to one side of your family than the other”, I noted to one person today. In my case, I knew about the Dunns and the Rixons, but I didn’t really know the O’Briens until later in life, until the last few years as I’ve embarked on this great genealogical journey.
It was a beautiful day on the South Coast, and a wonderful thing to attend.