Monday, May 23, 2016

A mitochondrial DNA/ Mother's Day mystical moment

The more I think about this 15 minutes in my life, the more I think it's a wee bit mystical.

Here's the story ... decide for yourself about the "mystical moment" bit.

Once upon a time, a very curious genie (me) was asked by her thoughtful husband, "What would you like for Christmas?" She responded, "A DNA kit (or two), of course!" And so began the adventure back in December 2015. For Christmas last year, I was given two types of DNA tests:
  1. Autosomal DNA (atDNA) testing - goes back about 5 generations
  2. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing - mother's line (mother's mother's mother's mother, etc.)
After putting off the cheek-swab test for no particular reason at all, I finally swabbed both cheeks and sent of my saliva to somewhere in Texas to the Family Tree DNA company. Thanks to my fellow genies for their encouragement to take the step to get my DNA tested and for their information about the whole process. Special thanks to Ros Elcott for her interview with me on my Genies Down Under podcast.

Now, here are the mystical bits ... a few weeks back on the day before Mother's Day, we took my lovely Mum out for dinner. I was planning to tell Mum about the results of my mitochondrial DNA test over dinner. After all, my DNA is her DNA. However, the restaurant was too noisy, so I delayed telling her for the timebeing. After dinner we decided to find somewhere that sold ice cream or gelato. A quick search on Google found Bellingen Gelato at 688 Darling St, Rozelle, not that far from where we had dinner. So, this is where we ended up after dinner.


Source: Google Maps, 23 May 2016

The address of this place was significant. As we stood outside the gelato shop at 688 Darling St, Rozelle, Mum and I looked up at the little windows of the place just next door, at 692 Darling St and reminded each other how this was the place where her great-grandmother/ my great-great grandmother, Catherine CARRICK (nee HIGGINS), lived with her husband, Thomas CARRICK, back in the 1890s and early 1900s (see red circles below).

Source: Google Streetview, 23 May 2016


Catherine CARRICK (nee HIGGINS), 1836-1904


A few pieces of evidence found through my family history research place the CARRICKs at this address.


Excerpt from 1901 Census of Darling St, Balmain (Rozelle), 
showing the CARRICK family living at 692 Darling St


Thomas CARRICK's funeral notice, 1901, mentions his address:
692 Darling St, Rozelle, Balmain West

Just around the corner from 692 Darling St, my mother's grandmother/ my great-grandmother, Catherine KINGSBURY (nee CARRICK), gave birth to my mother's mother/ my grandmother, at 10 Red Lion St. This address is a two minute walk away from where we standing.

Source: Google Maps, 23 May 2016


Catherine KINGSBURY (nee CARRICK), 1877-1912


Lily WALTERS (nee KINGSBURY), 1902-1996



The gelato shop was full; there wasn't a spare seat in the shop. So, we sat outside on a bench and I told Mum about my/her DNA results. It was serendipitous. I was sitting with my Mum, less than 200m from where her Mum was born, and just a few steps away from the places where my great-grandmother and my great-great grandmother lived, after they migrated to Australia from Tuam, County Galway in Ireland.

Of all the places we could have ended up that night, I doubt there was a better place in all of Sydney to share my mitochondrial DNA results with my Mum. Five generations of maternal history in one little part of Sydney.



The results? Well, that's another story for another blogpost.

2 comments:

  1. You are a tease. Please bring on the next instalment

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yea please, we want more :) it does sound somewhat serendipitous.

    ReplyDelete