John Joseph Huggins (1816-1876) and Margaret Jane Burke (1823-1898)

At long last, herein is presented the family tree of three generations of descendants, following the marriage of John Joseph Huggins (1816-1876), of the parish of Aughaloo, county Tyrone, and Margaret Jane Burke (1823-1898), born in Tralee, county Kerry. I am delighted to call it "finished" but it has also been a slog. My late mother used to compare writing to giving birth and, with that, I must agree wholeheartedly. Except that...

... while this family history report is crammed with information about people doing amazing things within boundaries and constraints, this isn't exactly "writing," in my opinion. First (full disclosure moment), I used the Family History Report function within my software (Reunion for the Mac) to produce a "canned" report. Then, I spent the next two weeks customizing the output!

Second, I vastly prefer the biographical sketch approach, examples of which you can read for Samuel John Huggins (1864-1922) and Robert Gordon Kilpatrick (1851-1929). Whereas the family history report presents vital events such as births, marriages, deaths, occupations, and places of residence, I try to use biographical sketches to convey the stuff and context of our ancestors' lives. This approach is very, very time consuming, and all absorbing, as it is based upon a study of local history and current events. By comparison, I find the mere input of names, dates, and places all too boring and almost pointless.

Even so, I think that the style of the family history report presented here lies somewhere between the two approaches. The key reason for this is the fact that I have had the great good fortune of making the acquaintance of several other Huggins family historians: one in Scotland, two in England, four in Ontario, and two in the United States.

Each of us are descendants of an amazing pair of human beings in John Joseph Huggins and Margaret Jane Burke. In the face of significant odds, and drawing on considerable reserves of fortitude and, yes, faith, they endured with dignity. Some of you may read between the lines of this family history report and glean some sense of what I mean...this is what I hope to achieve by writing up biographical sketches for some twenty-six of our ancestors. This is at once a daunting task and one that I look forward to.

While I am pleased to close this particular chapter of my family history writing, yet I am mindful of two things. First, I invite readers to submit photographs and vignettes for inclusion in this family history report. Please use our contact form or e-mail to get in touch.

Second, there is also the matter of all those other generations of Huggins and lateral branches to present. Beyond our John Joseph Huggins (1816-1876), there are four more generations, dating to the 17th century, and related families, encompassing indigo planters, Presbyterian ministers, scientists, and others of notable achievement. There were also those who suffered, and fell, to rise again. However, some did not endure, and therein lie painful stories of trial and loss. The drama and the everyday that played out on the stage of our family history featured all of these personae, and I invite you to embrace them all.

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© Alison Kilpatrick, 2015. All rights reserved.
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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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