Timing is Everything

Recently my husband, for his genealogy research, was studying up on the different names that the countries of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland have used as they have united and divorced over the centuries. For me, a chart is helpful in understanding and remembering the timeline of these changes. This one from a Wikipedia user was helpful.

The original uploader was JW1805 at English Wikipedia.

James Bones, my 6th great-grandfather, participated in the Irish rebellion of 1798. A member of the Society of United Irishmen, James advocated for an Ireland united as a nation, free from outside rule, and equal for all its citizens. The rebellion quickly failed. Eighteen months later the Acts of Union 1800 went into effect on 1 January 1801, naming the combined countries the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

While keenly aware of this history, it wasn’t until my husband’s research that I recognized that the children of James and his wife Mary were born in different countries even though the family hadn’t moved.

Children born in the
Kingdom of Ireland
Children born in the
United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland
John (1792)William (1801)
Thomas Adams (1793)Robert (1803)
James (1797)Samuel (1807)
Eliza (1798)Jane (1808)*
Martha (1809)
*Jane is my direct-line ancestor

For my research on this line, this hasn’t been a big deal since the family came to America in 1810, but it reinforced the importance of being aware of when and where my ancestor lived and the context of their lives. Knowing the correct place my ancestor lived could easily change how and where I conduct my research. Some great places to start looking for this information is the Wikipedia page for the place you are looking at and the FamilySearch Wiki.

Despite these name changes and knowing that James was a member of the United Irishmen, I would guess that the family would have paid little attention to the difference in the official name of the place they were born. I imagine that they would have simply continued to claim Ireland as their homeland.

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