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Friday, September 29, 2006

About the Charts

The boxes containing the names are two different colors:  the bluer color is for males, and the redder for females.  Some names are accented in a lighter color:  these are active links, and will send you to a new chart or narrative based on that name.

On most browsers, if you mouse over a name and wait a second, a small window (tooltip) will pop up next to the pointer with information about that name.  Internet Explorer and Safari will show all the information.  Firefox will only show some of the information.  (I don't know what other browsers will do.)

In Firefox, if you right-click the name and then click "Properties," it will show you the rest of the information in a small window, under the attribute "Title."  Enlarge the window until you see all the information.  You can also install an add-on that will make the tooltip show all the information.  The link is here.

The genealogical charts are generated from my database by a program called Genealogica Grafica, written by Tom de Neef.  They are then modified by me for this blog format.  If you have suggestions for more charts you would like to see, please leave a comment.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bombards in the Civil War

The New York Bombard family had three sons, brothers of Frank Bombard, who fought in the Civil War.  They were Moses, Thomas, and Edward.  They all fought in the 2nd Regiment of the NY Veteran Cavalry, which saw service in the deep South.  Thomas and Edward both enlisted at Chesterfield in November of 1863, and Moses enlisted at Plattsburgh in February of 1864

Moses was injured, hospitalized, and sent home in March of '65, but Thomas and Edward fought to the end of the war, and were mustered out of their regiment in Talladega, Alabama in November of 1865.  Thomas had already married his Alabama gal, Annie Davis, by then.  I don't know what happened to Edward - there is a rumor that he stayed south, too, but I have not found any such records.

Thomas eventually moved to Louisiana.  The Louisiana Bombards have a story that Thomas had been captured (or arrested) during the war and kept in a local jail, and that Annie was the daughter of the jailkeeper.

Our New York Laramie family, on the other hand, elected to sit out the war in Quebec, as did many other families (including non-French American families).  Joseph apparently brought his family to Griffintown, the Irish ghetto in Montreal where industrial jobs were available.  During this time two daughters were born; Delia and Edwidge Mary.  Right after the war, Joseph and his family returned to the Ausable Valley.  His brother Francois-Xavier also brought his family to Montreal during the war.


Related websites:
2nd Regiment, NY Veteran Cavalry
Griffintown, Montreal

The Origin of the Name Calhoun

The Lennox The ancient land of the Britons, the Kingdom of Strathclyde, was based in what is now Dumbartonshire in west-central Scotland.  If you locate the city of Glascow on a map, look a bit to the north and west and you will find Loch Lomond.  Flowing south from the loch is a river called the Leven, which joins the river Clyde at the city of Dumbarton.  At this junction, a tall pillar of rock juts straight up out of the river; the castle on top is Dumbarton Castle, and castle and city mark the center of the old kingdom.

To the east of and parallel to the Leven valley lies a stretch of land named Colquhoun (pronounced ca-HOON).  It lies between the valley and Dumbarton Moor, and stretches from the Clyde north to the Dumbarton Hills.  It is wooded, famously so, and its Gaelic name apparently means exactly that: a wooded stretch of land.*  The land itself is not particularly valuable, but the location is strategically important for Dumbarton.  At its southern end rises another rock out of the river, called Dunglass, with another castle atop, a smaller version of Dumbarton's.

As the kingdom became absorbed into a greater Scotland, the region became known as the Lennox (after the Gaelic name of the river, Levenach), and was controlled by an important family which took the name Lennox.  This family, eventually as Earls to the King, had the power to assign estates to families, with the King's approval.  An estate like Colquhoun would not have been assigned to the most important families, but to someone loyal and not likely to challenge the Earl or the King.  In the year 1241, Malcolm, Earl of Lennox granted the land to Humphrey of Kilpatrick (Kilpatrick was the name of the parish encompassing the Colquhoun estate).

Little is known about Humphrey.  He was of Norman descent, and probably attached to the court of Lennox by the King with instructions to absorb him into the family.  It is not clear who his forbears were, and he apparently had no family with him.  It is not clear if he is the same as a Humphrey of Kirkpatrick, a contemporary who lived further south.  He did prove to be loyal, he did marry into the family, he was not politically ambitious, and he turned out to be very successful at managing the land.  He moved into Dunglass Castle and took the name Colquhoun for his own.

The success of his family was evident when, about five generations later, Robert of Colquhoun married the daughter and heiress of Luss.  Luss was a magnificent, culturally significant estate on the western shore of Loch Lomond, and had been held by an important branch of the Lennox family for a very long time.  Robert moved the family seat to Luss, and became Laird of Colquhoun and Luss.  Over the generations the estate grew and eventually became a Barony.

In the early 1600's, Adam Colquhoun received an estate from his Stuart in-laws which was located in northern Ireland.  It was one of many estates confiscated from the Ulster Irish by the English and awarded to prominent English and Scottish families under the condition that they live there and bring their own tenants.  When the family moved to Ireland, they officially changed their name to Colhoun.  Colhouns came to own other estates in County Tyrone and County Donegal.  Over time, and especially in the nineteenth century, many Colhouns came to North America, both Canada and the US, and the name would change to Calhoun.

Who uses the name Colquhoun, or its variants, Cahoon, Calhoun, Colchun?  Obviously, anyone descended from the aristocratic lines I have described here.  But others adopted the name as well.  In this country, some slaves held by Calhouns adopted the name.  Peasants and tenants in both Ireland and Scotland whose Lords were named Colhoun or Colquhoun also would adopt the name.  And anyone living in a place called Colquhoun could refer to himself as So-and-so of Colquhoun, as did Humphrey of Kilpatrick all those centuries ago.


* The word "colquhoun" is sufficiently distorted from the original Gaelic that no one really knows its meaning.  There are many attempted translations, some quite colorful and fanciful, but this one seemed the most straightforward.

Related websites:
History of Clan Colquhoun
History of Drumchapel (and Dumbartonshire)
Dunglass Castle
Early Map and Account of the Lennox

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Ancestors of James Calhoun

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

My Irish Moment

There was a time when friends of mine were hosting musical events in their home.  These home concerts were small, cozy events with food, drink, and traditional Irish music.  This family occupies a central position in the local Irish music community, a community that my wife and I are only peripherally connected to.

I have played traditional Irish music, and I understand and appreciate it, but I've never been crazy about it.  I have plenty of Irish ancestors, but that connection has not compelled me, as it has others, to identify with the music.  In fact, my surname is technically Scottish in origin (Colquhoun).  Add to that the Scottish ancestry on my mother's side, and my family has good cause to identify more with its Scottish roots.

A half-dozen years ago I began compiling and researching my family's genealogy.  The issue of ethnicity became clouded at once:  among my ancestors were Scots-Irish, Irish-Scots, Anglo-Scots, French-Canadian-Anglos, and Scots-Irish-Canadians.  It also became clear that my Calhoun forbears probably came from northern Ireland.  The connection to Scotland (if there was any at all) would have been back in the 17th century.  It made me a bit nervous to announce to my family that we were a lot more Irish than Scottish.  We knew nothing of Ireland, but we had all learned ancient Colquhoun history, we had clothing made from the tartan, some of us had visited Scotland, and one of my brothers had learned the whole kilt-bagpipe thing (he's really good at it, too!)

It was shortly after my father had died that my wife and I began attending the home concerts.  One of the concerts featured a fiddler living in New York but who had been born in Ireland.  During his performance, he told us that he had grown up in the western part of Tyrone County, near Donegal, in northern Ireland.  He mentioned the town, noting that probably none of us had ever heard of it, but I had:  it was the town near where my Calhoun ancestor had probably emigrated from, a fact that I had just recently unearthed.

So I was thinking about my dad, and about my Irishness, while the music played.  One of the tunes was by the famous Irish composer O'Carolan, who was a contemporary of Bach's.  My father loved Bach's music; he probably would have loved this traditional music, but he knew nothing about it.  For my dad, Irish music meant "Danny Boy."  And I could have introduced him to this music many years ago, but the thought never occurred to me.  We were Scottish, after all.

My father grew up Catholic in South Boston, which is about as Irish as you can get.  Our family had been there since the 1870's.  But no one had ever questioned the family's assertion that it was Scottish.  Apparently this concept, based on a technicality, provided solace and identity for a family struggling, like all the others, in an impoverished ghetto.  Certainly my father was eager to escape, and distance himself from his history.

I spoke with the fiddler after the concert.  He was excited that I knew about his home town, and he said I was lucky to know, even if only roughly, where in Ireland my ancestor had come from.  A lot of Irish-Americans have no idea.  Yes, I thought, I am lucky, and lucky to have realized, before it was too late, that this beautiful music actually applies to me.