Thank you for being with us these past 490 or so pages. It has been a pleasure to share this time with you. What now you ask? Well, that is very much up to you. You see, even as this book was being printed new generations were being born and, sadly, others were moving into the mists of memory.

I encourage you to continue where the book left off and to write your own book. Indeed, it is your story and your family’s story, so please do that. I hope you will find the joy we experienced as we talked about and worked on this book. It gave us an opportunity to meet long, lost relatives, discover relatives in parts of the world we never would have thought of and most importantly it gave us a reason to enjoy each other’s company. We are family after all. Every time we approached a distant family member that we had never met and weren’t even sure they were family, we were greeted warmly and given encouragement. So please don’t hesitate to reach out.

This book attempts to provide three things:

a. Genealogical tables

b. Family photo albums

c. Period history pieces to show what life was like

It provides very limited insights into the individual’s personality traits and for a book about mostly Irish people it is woefully short on stories about those people. A book about Irish people with almost no story telling is probably a first. Yes, it’s important to know how an individual fits in the overall genealogy and yes it’s important to see a picture of that person but it would be even better if we had a story that captured the personality of that person. Consider that when doing your own collections—the stories that capture the essence of the person along with a picture and the genealogical data would really present a full picture, and a fond memory.

Today, we talk a lot about “networking” and technology. I am still amazed at the immigrant generations and how they survived and indeed thrived. Clearly they were masters of “networking” though those networks are largely lost to us. Still, their humanity was the same as ours; their motivations for change and the things they sought were the same as ours. If you find yourself asking what made them do that or what made them go here, you can also ask yourself what would make me do that and you are probably close to the reasons they did things. The simplest explanation is probably the best explanation though it is not nearly as colorful as a bit of myth making.

We also collected a lot of books along the way. Many of them talk about “Irishness.” We did not attempt to any great degree to explain your “Irishness.” There are many definitions, some clinically psychological. You will not find those here. Many others prefer to think of Irishness as:

  • a. Our capacity to live in two places at one time and in two times in one place

  • b. Our ability to hold two contradictory truths at one time; without having to decide either/or, preferring instead the more generous approach of both/and

  • c. Once upon a time may be more important than time tables

The tension between ordered truths and imagined existence is the core issue. As time and generations have moved on our imagined existence has lessened but still a phrase or a sound will bring those images to mind. I will leave off here and let you explore these thoughts on your own. You have to “quieten down” to do that. I am sorry to say that many of the old expressions have been lost to time as well. Perhaps you can remember some of them. They will certainly bring a smile to your face. And now to close in typical Irish fashion with an old Irish Greeting:

These things I warmly wish for you—

Someone to love

Some work to do

A bit o’ sun

A bit o’ cheer

And a guardian angel to watch over you

It has been a pleasure to share this time with you. All my best…

John A Montague III (born 1947)

17 Perriwinkle Way Webster, NY 14580

July 4, 2016

Pictures on back cover from top left to bottom right corner: Castle Garden, NY; Louise Nicholson Montague with James McTeague at McTeague farm in Ireland 1989; Blessed Sacrament Church Wilkes Barre Pa; St. Columba’s Catholic Church Straw Ireland 2015; Flock Grocery Store in Wilkes Barre, Pa 1900; Londonderry shoreline where the boats left for America 1989; ship named Arizona that carried immigrants to America; Baltimore Mine Coal Breaker 1912; the landscape of the Wyoming Valley