Jenkins-Of-Ewelme Web Site

Judith Birch Memo

This correspondence was initially received on 24/10/10, prompted because of the appearance of Keith Hatfield on the scene.
She kindly gave me permission to reproduce the information, which may help other browsing family members and researchers.

Dear Chris,

The recent email from Elizabeth Knowlton on Keith Hatfield, the newest re-discovered member of this family tree, has prompted me to send you an email, something I've been meaning to do for ages, but never got round to.

You may have heard about me from Elizabeth Knowlton - I am the step-daughter of Kathleen Winspeare McCarty (she married my father after my own mother lost her life in a really awful train accident). The reason I've always wanted to send you an email was simply to thank you for putting that memo on the Internet, which was the first thing I ever found, and which led me to everything else.  In the meantime, it seems that all the others researching the WMs stumbled on your memo too when they first started looking!

In my own case, I wasn't even intending to research the family tree.  It was just that my mother (I called her that, although she was my step-mother) had some story that one of her ancestors was the organist in Cork Cathedral.  When the Internet came into being, she said the one reason she regretted not being able to use it was that she might have been able to find out something more about the organist - and also where her unusual middle name came from, because although all members of her family had it, nobody knew why.

Anyway, one day I  typed in the words "Winspeare McCarty" "Cork" and "organist" into Google just for fun, and up came your memo.  I think you're the only person who had also combined the word "organist" with the other words - I suppose "professor" took precedence in all other information about that first Winspeare McCarty! Reading your memo, I began to wonder if "Eileen McCarty" was the person I had known as "Aunty Eily", and then jotting down a rudimentary family tree, if "Wm McCarty" was actually "Joe" ... and if so, then the other people mentioned in the memo would also be my mother's ancestors.  Going on from that, it wasn't long before I got on to Elizabeth Knowlton - and all soon became very clear!  (Yes, it was Aunty Eily, and yes, it was "Joe"i.e. Joseph, my mother's brother.)   When I passed all this on to Kathleen, she said she had a very vague idea that she once visited a family called Jenkins when she was a child!

You don't need to reply to this email, but I just thought you'd like to know that yet another person was extremely grateful to find that memo - and what a major service you've provided for all the Winspeare McCarty researchers. It's nice that your memo also has a little extra information too - what the people were like, what they did, and so on.  That, unfortunately, is really difficult to find out for all the others.  I'm sure the Winspeare McCartys must have been a very prominent family in Cork in their time, but as Elizabeth told me, it takes hours to go through old newspapers etc., and also a lot of records were destroyed in a fire, which is a real shame.

We still don't know where the name "Winspeare" came from, but perhaps we'll even find that out one day.

With very best wishes,

Judith Birch

I replied:

Hello Judith

How very nice of you to make contact. It’s obviously pleasant to hear that something I did mainly as a technical exercise as part of making the structure of a project for a family web site of some interest to visitors, has given some pleasure or use to others. I must say that I am pretty hopeless at being able to map out in my mind the structure of my family, although it seems that because my late uncle responded to questions about our ancestors, and which eventually made an appearance on the World Wide Web, has attracted some of the offspring of a Winspeare McCarty  to appear out of the woodwork. I’ve never had any ‘Jenkins’ members ever call me up though!

Anyway, I wonder whether you would mind if I made the contents of your generous email the subject of another ‘memo’, which future family researchers may find useful?

Thank you again for your kind words dear step cousin, and I do hope your family researches continue to be successful.

Best Wishes


Judith responded:

Dear Chris,

Thank you very much for your very friendly email, and how nice to acknowledge me as your step-cousin, an honorary member of this very interesting family.  As I said to Elizabeth, although I'm not actually a Winspeare McCarty myself, these are the people I grew up with from a very early age, and I always considered them to be my own relations too.

You are welcome to use my information on your website, although perhaps not with things like email addresses (but I don't think you would do that anyway). One interesting bit of information about Eileen McCarty that you might like to have is that she most definitely inherited the Winspeare McCarty musical genes, as I can well remember going to hear her sing in a choir at the Royal Albert Hall every Christmas.

I was looking at your website this evening, which has certainly grown since the first time I landed there!  As you say some of the links don't work at the moment, but I shall come and visit you again some time when I expect the restructuring has been completed.  In the meantime, I do hope some of those missing Jenkins members of your family tree turn up eventually.  You never know - after all, family tree research seems to be getting more and more popular in the UK.

I. too, find it difficult to keep track of all the far-flung family members in my head, and am so grateful for Elizabeth Knowlton, who can do that - and who did all the work in the first place.  We are so lucky to have a real genealogist researching our family tree, and also lucky having the unusual "Winspeare McCarty" name.  Just imagine trying to research the name McCarty on its own!

Anyway, thank you again for opening the door into this fascinating world for me - and it certainly made my day to hear from my distant "step cousin".

Best wishes,