We all have a need to belong. That is something that is innately human. We identify with the groups we belong to and that can vary depending upon our stage of life or our circumstances at the time. I still know people I went to Primary School with, I regularly meet some old work colleagues for catch up and I gather with thousands of others when I support my beloved Carlton Football club.
But through all of that my sense of self comes from my name. I am a Joyce, as was my father and grandfather before me. And with that has come a deep seated curiosity about where my family came from. Sure I know that I was born in Coburg, a suburb of Melbourne, as my Dad was before me, and that my Pa was born in Tasmania, but it was only when I got to my mid twenties that I became curious about my older family history.
I discovered that my great-Grandfather John Henry Joyce had also been born in Tasmania and that his parents, Michael Joyce and Mary King were both from County Galway and both had been transported as convicts during the famine. I have always regretted that I didn’t ask my Grandfather more when he was alive and I am conscious now that I want to record stuff for my descendants.
How does a name define us? The 500 Joyces who have connected with me over this past week, did so with no knowledge of who I am, nor where I was from. But we share a name and for those who have joined the network I hope you all share a curiosity. We were a Tribe once, when we occupied that small area in the West of Ireland, let’s see if the power of modern communication can join us together as a tribe once more as e search for what links us, not for what on occasions may have torn us apart.