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I was born in 1965 on Long Island, New York the youngest of 5. I graduated from Sachem High School the largest senior class at a NY public high school in the year 1983 with 2,500 graduates. I attended the State University of New York at Buffalo and received a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies. After graduation I spent the summer of 1987 in Mexico taking graduate credits through the University of Arizona. Returning from Mexico I relocated to Florida to attend the University of Miami's Graduate School of International Studies and enrolled in a joint Masters/Ph.D. program. My area of interest focused on Central America and in particular human rights violations in Guatemala. As a graduate assistant I worked for UM's North-South Center translating, abstracting, and indexing Latin American periodicals for a US State Department-funded database. When Hurricane Andrew ripped into Dade like a buzz saw in 1992 much was destroyed and never recovered. I took a break from studies to raise a family and am learning more than ever. I have recently gone back for my MLS (Library and Information Science) and look forward to advancing information literacy, preventing information overload.
I knew very little about my family history before 1995, except that they were Irish and Catholic. I recalled only a few things about my paternal grandparents as a child. That my grandfather Lewis Connors raised his eyebrows high and leaned forward excitedly when talking about "clipper ships," and that my grandmother Agatha Kennedy used the word "Grand" often and referred to her ancestors as "Our People" from Harbor Grace. It was not until I was in graduate school taking an international economics class when the professor, a Harvard guru there to explain "voodoo" economics, told us we would never truly understand international economics unless we had some grasp of our own economic history. His first assignment was for us to discover the occupational history of our ancestors. We were somewhat skeptical of his methods and had hoped he would explain the trade deficit and offer solutions to Third World economic development problems in 16 weeks or less. It turned out to be quite a thought provoking assignment and one that stayed with me long after the semester was over.
Sent on a quest to discover the economic history of my ancestors I turned to my mother since my father had suffered 2 strokes at the age of 55 and was unable to speak. My mother thought that like her Irish ancestors my father's family were farmers. Given the assignment deadline and the assumption that my ancestors were rural peasants, my paper focused on the economic causes of agrarian violence. It was a good paper and useful to my focus on Guatemala but it turns out it wasn't my history. That semester ended and a few weeks later I received a package from my father's brother Joe. In it I found a genealogy chart and an essay by my great grand Uncle William Chester Louis Anthony Kennedy (Uncle Lou). The essay detailed nearly 200 years of Kennedy family history and turned my rural peasant story on its head. The Kennedys were very Irish Catholic (mom got that right!) and while I am sure they had potato and cabbage gardens, their occupational history came from the sea. They were mariners with a seafaring tradition that crossed the Atlantic from the Irish Sea to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and which spanned generations. While it was too late for me to revise my semester paper, I was driven to know my ancestral history as best I could and to share that which I discovered. I am grateful to those who came before me and feel compelled to record their legacy. Although I am not certain I agree with Uncle Lou calling these Kennedys "ordinary" he was right when quoting Thomas Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard"...to describe them with lines 73-76. My favorite stanza begins with line 89 "Ev'n from the tomb the voice of nature cries, Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires."
see Thomas Gray archive.
Far from the madding
crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet even these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resigned,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who mindful of the unhonoured dead
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,
Dau. Of John KENNEDY CONNORS 6 son of Irish Newfoundlanders (Agatha KENNEDY 5,John KENNEDY and Sophie MAHANEY 4, Captain Terrence KENNEDY 3 and Mary JOY, Captain Nicholas KENNEDY and Julia KENNEDY 2, Captain Nicholas KENNEDY 1 and Grace YOUNG of Wexford, Ireland) and Louis Joseph CONNORS 5, (Michael CONNORS 4 and Mary FITZPATRICK, Thomas CONNERS 3 and Ann CASEY, Joachim oCONNOR 2 and Margaret McGRATH , ? CONNOR1 & UNKNOWN)
Dau. Of Margaret Mary CONNORS (nee O'GORMAN) dau of Waterford Ireland immigrants (Daniel O'GORMAN, son of Michael O'GORMAN and Mary McCARTHY of Lismore) & Josephine PRENDERGAST dau (Gerald PRENDERGAST2, Thomas PRENDERGAST1 of Cappoquin, Lismore) and Bridget O'DONNELL (1879-1909) of Lismore, Waterford