Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Higgins Tombstone Tuesday

I posted this on the Elgin Genealogical Society's blog in 2009 before I had my own. Thought I'd throw it out again here. It does go along with my Ruch research as Emma Ruch married Thomas Higgins a descendant of the Luke in question.

This is a photo of the table stone for Luke Higgins of Ballinrobe, Ireland 1808-20 Jul 1873. The photo was taken 18 Jul 1996 after several days of searching and with the help of County Mayo History Center in Ballinrobe.

My husband, sister-in-law and her husband, and I took this trip to Ireland early in my research of the Higgins family. Because of that I had low expectations of getting much further while there but wasn't about to pass up a trip to Ireland. I did have some undocumented hints that the family had been in the area of Ballinrobe and as luck would have it the history center was located in there. Things started to pop within hours of our arrival.

Our hostess at the B&B asked what had brought us there and when we answered we were looking for information of our Higgins family she said, " Higgins, ah, Higgins - I think Leo [Leonora] was a Higgins. I'll ring her up." And so she did and so started our week long visit with relatives we didn't even know were still around.

Back to the stone, our visit to the Catholic cemetery was very productive but we weren't able to find a stone for the progenitor known to us as "Old Luke" (he's far from the only Luke in the family). When I brought this up at the history center a map of the old section of the cemetery showed the location. Alas the old section was covered with briers and brambles and was difficult of traverse. However, we were determined and so we trudged in following the directions and landmarks from the handdrawn map. Nothing, not stone.. until my husband swaying side to side said, "I think I'm standing on something here." He and our brother-in-law took out their pocket knives and began cutting away the over-growth and there is was - still legible.

My husband stood before it and as he began to read the inscription the church bells rang out,

MAY HE WHO IS TO COME TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD GRANT ETERNAL REST TO THE SOUL OF LUKE HIGIGNS WHO DEPARTED THIS THE 20TH JULY 1873 AGED 65 YEARS

Don't you just love serendipity!!

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