Wars, pestilence, famine, and ill fate. My ancestors (and yours) have been through it all. The ancestor I want to highlight is Nancy Clark, of Ballymoney Antrim Ireland. (Clark-25812)
She lived through one of the greatest disasters of the last two centuries. The Irish potato famine. All around her, people were starving, ill, dying, leaving Ireland forever, and leaving many of the neighborhoods as ghost towns. She was a single mother with one daughter and no visible means of support during this crisis. How could she keep them both alive? Like Sophie's Choice, she had to make a decision, knowing anything she did would be heartbreaking. She sent her daughter to Canada at age 11, hoping the child would do better there.
The child survived and was my GGGM. She never saw her Irish family again, but she did get some letters and knew what happened to Nancy.
Several years after sacrificing her oldest daughter, Nancy married a man who kept a shop in Ballymoney (Whiskey Hill?). They never owned property. She had three or four more children with Parkhill. Her husband and one daughter died in an epidemic. Nancy's name can be found on the Outdoor Relief rolls. This is like welfare, and not quite as bad as the poor house. it was the Irish government keeping people alive. One of her younger daughters worked in the mill, had at least one illegitimate child, which died very young, and she herself died in the poorhouse. One child, a son, survived. There appears to have been another daughter, as Nancy's death certificate shows a granddaughter as an informant who is not the child of the son.
So, Nancy survived all the poverty, illness, and sadness to make a life for herself, and gave her children the chance to survive. It was not an easy life, but she lived to be 85, had descendants in Ireland and in North America, and remains my most recent brick wall. I hope I can learn more of her Clark ancestry. She is a heroine in my book. .