This week’s challenge is Favorite Place to Research. I had a bit of a conflict trying to decide if I wanted to write about where has been my favorite place or where might my favorite place be to research. Which came down to Ireland would be my favorite place to go to research if I ever felt like I knew exactly where to go. I seem to want the impossible with Ireland. I’m not sure that I could find out much more than I already have found at this point at least. Going to Ireland would be more of a seeing where the family was from rather than a research trip. Anyway, I decided to go with my favorite place to do research.
Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois has been my favorite place to do research since it is where I have lived all of my life. My mother’s ancestors arrived in Peoria starting in 1838 when my great-great-great-grandfather, Patrick Smyth, came here. Another great-great-great-grandfather, James H. Murphy, arrived in Peoria in 1850. Patrick’s daughter, Elizabeth, married James’ son, William, in 1864. William and Elizabeth Smyth Murphy are my great-great grandparents.
I knew my great-grandparents and their children well, so I grew up with lots of stories about the family in Peoria, early on knowing where everyone was buried and went to school, and who they married, etc. This was all a definite advantage for me when I began to research my family history. It certainly helped that I also lived in the area! I have been able to comb through cemeteries, the courthouse and the library whenever I needed/wanted to do so. That has made researching very fulfilling and interesting for me.