Author: Dr. Thomas Callahan Jr.
Professor of History Glashnevin Publishing, 2013
Three decades ago, a chance meeting brought the author to the isolated Roscommon cottage where his grandmother, Kate McCormack and five of her siblings, over a century earlier, had bid tearful farewells to their family and sailed off into the west to new lives in America.
This book follows their journey to a new land and the author’s quest to come to know two generations of a family divided by an ocean and nearly forgotten by time. Along the way, the dramatic history of late-19th- and early-20th-century Ireland and America comes alive as the McCormack family and their neighbors struggle with the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by those turbulent times.
The book demonstrates how the “big picture” of history can be viewed through the individual portraits of those who make it and also addresses the difficult problems facing those who undertake such a project – to rescue the history of average people from obscurity by using the scattered remnants of their past. The McCormacks who made the long journey to America and the loved ones they left at home are long dead, but family photos, letters, oral histories, and public and parochial records reveal the lives that they lived.