Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Travels With Mom

[This post is part of the Bound for Mom mini-blog carnival hosted by Geneabloggers]

Mom loved to travel and mostly by car. She seemed obsessed with road trips whether they were spontaneous or planned. Averaging 30,000 miles a year on her car, she would think nothing of driving two hours just to go see a concert or attend an event. While these distances and times may seem excessive, realize that I grew up in a very rural part of upstate New York where it was typical to drive 40 miles just to go shopping.

I think that I can attribute my love of history, especially New York State history, to the many trips my family would make all over the state. Fort Ticonderoga, Lake George, Albany, the Erie Canal, Cooperstown, Niagara Falls – all places that interested me as a child and in later years I would discover ancestors who had lived in those same places.

When I think back about memorable trips, here are the ones that come to mind:

Niagara Falls: this was the first time that any of us had left the United States when we decided to spend time – and stay overnight – on the Canadian side. We learned quite a bit about the geological formation called “The Falls” as well as the history of the area. This was also my first exposure to Loyalist history and interested me since I have Loyalist ancestors in my family tree.

Cooperstown: still one of my favorite areas, we made several trips when I as a child. Unfortunately, most of the trips were to visit my great-grandfather, John Ralph Austin, as he battled cancer at The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital. But Mom and my great-grandmother, Therese McGinnes Austin, would always make time for a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Rhode Island: in 1997, Mom and I took an extended genealogy field trip which began in North Kingstown, Rhode Island where my 9th great-grandfather Robert Austin was born about 1638. We located an old Austin cemetery behind a lumber yard and also took time to visit the mansions of Newport.

Lowville: this small town in Lewis County, at the base of the western Adirondack mountains, was the home of my Austin ancestors after they left Rhode Island during The Great Migration. During the same 1997 genealogy trip, we cut across central New York state (parallel to the Erie Canal) and then shot up north to Lowville. So in essence we may have followed a similar route that my ancestors used. Lowville was – and still is – a quaint village that caters to snowmobiling fans during the winter months.

Mom’s one wish in terms of travel, which she was never able to fulfill, was a trip to Ireland where my 2nd great-grandmother Bridget Farren was born. I’ve committed myself to making such a trip in the near future so that I can not only research my Farren and McGinnes lines, but my McEntee lines as well.

1 comment:

Gini said...

I share your mom's love of travel, as a child I was perfectly content to sit in the back seat of the car and just go and look out the window at everything! As a family we traveled alot, I am so grateful for that, I loved your story Thomas, what a great Mom you have.