Links for 5.10.10

Nice date today — 5.10.10. It’s got a certain cha-cha-cha to it, doesn’t it?

Look, I’ll do anything to distract myself on Mondays. How about some nice links?

Celebrity baby naming beat: Rocker Mark McGrath and his fiancee Carin Kingsland get all misty-eyed in naming their twin babies Lydon Edward and Hartley Grace. These very nice names strike me as more dignified than misty-eyed, but apparently Lydon and Hartley are two of the couple’s all-time favorite Irish surnames. As for the middle names, Edward is for McGrath’s father, and “Grace”, according to the proud daddy, is because McGrath translates to “grace” in Celtic.

And speaking of McGraths: Recently the Troy/Irish listserve carried a nice discussion of this surname that touched on a favorite topic of mine: anglicizing Celtic surnames. A poster wanted to know if McGrath and McGraw are the same name. “No, they’re not, silly!” I told my computer screen. A second later, I  clicked on a reply from a much wiser  person who explained that since the original “th” is pronounced as “w,” McGraths and McGraws are birds of a feather, and often flock together in the same family, depending upon spelling preferences. The link takes you to a post archive; scroll down to the posts tagged “McGrath/McGraw”.

The Canadian connection: We North Americans of the United States persuasion are sometimes oblivious to the possibility of Canada as an entry point for our ancestors, which is kind of odd, considering that we once shared a monarchy. The Boston Globe talks about the Nova Scotia angle to all this, with reference to the recently launched website

Cemeteries and segregation: Seattle genealogists mapping the Newcastle Historic Coal Miners’ Cemetery documented a lot of great information, including the graves of two African-American miners. The discovery was a jumping-off point for an interesting discussion of a forgotten period of Seattle’s history, where black and white miners worked in dangerous conditions side-by-side, but were buried in separate areas of the cemetery. The genealogists hope the discovery may someday be useful to  descendants of the miners, Caleb Lock (d. 1903)  and Reed Callaway (1881-1902). “It’s hard to pay respects to an ancestor if you don’t know where they are,” said Linda Fitzgerald, one of the researchers who worked on the project.

Family burial ground: Back in style? Apparently fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg is planning an unusual addition to her Connecticut farm: a family cemetery and meditation garden. Of course Von Furstenberg’s idea would have been standard operating procedure 150 years ago. But today, real estate agents are dubious. “I’m always thinking of the resale,” says one.

I’m always thinking of how hard it’s going to be to find those family burial grounds after a few generations. But that’s me.

Time to get going — hope your week treats you right!