A Birthday Gift of Family History
She is the first in her father’s family to be born in America. Her father had come to the United States from England in 1924 with his parents and siblings at 3 years of age. He grew up knowing little of his ancestral family. With his 90th birthday on the distant horizon, Merilee wondered if it was possible to present him with a family history binder.
And so begins her story.
In a determined pursuit to meet her deadline, the question became, ‘how do I start this family research project’?
After retiring in 2003, Merilee embarked on her genealogy quest by attending monthly Siuslaw Genealogy Society meetings. Shortly thereafter, her step grandmother in London passed away. Papers belonging to her grandfather unexpectedly arrived by mail from the estate. The documents (business papers, a 1910 Mason membership and news articles) became a rich source of information to help build her family research project. For the next 7 years she researched, used the services of a professional genealogist in England, travelled to London, and ultimately compiled a family history binder of information and stories for 3 generations of her father’s family (going back to the late 1700’s).
~ The Impact of Genealogy ~
“It has given me an idea of the struggles that previous generations
had to go through. It has given me an identity to grasp on to.”
During a trip to London in 2008, Merilee visited a pub once owned by her great grandfather, Thomas Henry Bonner
(1844 – 1923), a master baker and pub/hotel owner.
The Globe Tavern in the Strand District of London continues to be a popular pub today.
“The Best Thing I Could Have Ever Run Across”
While researching military records, Merilee discovered her other paternal great grandfather, George John Day (1851 – 1939) lead a successful military career after enlisting in the British Royal Artillery at 16 or 17 years old. He rose to the rank of Battery Sergeant Major Royal Artillery. Records indicate by 1891 he was an instructor with the Sussex Artillery Corps, Volunteers and eventually became the highest ranking non-commissioned officer in charge of the entire enlisted brigade at Shoreham Fort on the Southern England coast. Click below to hear the story:
~ On Her Research Experience: ~
” . . . it just turned out better than I ever thought it would.”
PASSING ON HER RESEARCH
Merilee shares her research results with her brother, who contributes with historical research information of England and the U.S. during their ancestors’ time period. She then compiles her research into notebooks. Each notebook is divided into generations by father’s name. She writes a story of each generation, based on her research results. The notebooks will eventually be passed on to her nieces.
~ “I Still Haven’t Told The Whole Story” ~
CURRRENT RESEARCH – Merilee has started researching her maternal family – back to her Revolutionary War ancestors, and the first family immigrants from Ireland who went to Pennsylvania (1700’s). She is sharing research information with her mother’s cousin.
Merilee Mulvey has done genealogy research for more than 10 years. She has been a member of the Siuslaw Genealogy Society since 2004 and a charter member of the local Florence DAR chapter “Oregon Dunes” since its inception in 2008. She has participated as a researcher, assisting others during Family History Day events.