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Family tree bears fascinating fruit

Valencia family’s history takes members to foreign lands

Posted: January 13, 2011 10:29 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2011 4:30 a.m.

The Malloy family, of Valencia, reviews an album of genealogy left to them by a relative. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Dennis Malloy used initial information left to him by an elderly aunt to continue searching for his family history at the church’s Family History Center. The church is hosting a free Family Hist...

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It all started with four pages of college-ruled notebook paper inherited from his aunt.

Dennis Malloy, of Valencia, now had in his possession dozens of names, dates and other information about relatives dating back to his great-great grandparents.

“It went back to Ireland. All the Malloys originally came from there,” he said.

Like many others curious about their genealogy, Malloy took his findings to the Family History Library at he Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Valencia, where he is a member.

The church will host its annual Family History Fair on Saturday, Jan. 22, from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. The free event will feature a day of classes and workshops on such topics as online research, organizing genealogy files and creating your own family history website.

Open Monday through Friday, the Family History Center offers the community access to six or seven computers equipped with the latest genealogical-research software, numerous materials catalogued or cached at the church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, including films that can be read through special equipment such as microfiche.

“It’s really varied, we have any number of people coming in to look up their history. It’s just a broad spectrum,” said Harry McLaughlin, a volunteer with the Family History Center. “All of us have a desire to know who our ancestors are, to answer the questions, ‘Who am I, and where did I come from?”

Villages and surprises
In 1994, Malloy took his wife and children to Ireland to discover their heritage. Armed with the name of the parish in Ardare, or Donegal County, the Malloys spent five days driving around the area, ending up at a bed and breakfast featuring innkeepers with a familiar last name.

“It was run by Malloys. When we showed them our genealogy, the fellow told us that we were distant cousins, that there were closer cousins who lived off Glendish Pass,” Malloy said.

The Malloys drove the steep, scenic road dotted with sheep and goats, to come upon the home of Cassie and Bridget Malloy. The residence had once been occupied by Malloy’s great-great grandfather, who left for America after the Irish Potato Famine hit in the mid-1840s.

It turns out they were not the first Malloys to knock on Cassie and Bridget’s door.

“They told me that another fellow, a Catholic priest from South Dakota named Mike Malloy, had come through in the 1980s,” Malloy said. “They said, ‘You might be interested in this book.’”

Mike Malloy had compiled an extensive scrapbook of Malloy information dating from the 1600s to present day.

“There were pictures of houses, and it chronicled migrations through Ellis Island to Wisconsin. Many Malloys ended up in South Dakota, where my father came from,” Malloy said.

“We don’t have a famous person or event in our family tree, just lots of people who left with nothing to come to the United States, who struggled and persevered through so many tough times,” he continued.

History comes alive
While perusing the scrapbook, one item in particular jumped out at Malloy.

“In this genealogy, it said that my great-grandfather, Daniel Malloy, served in the Civil War in the trunk company of the 29th Regiment of the Iowa Company,” he said. “My wife went online and found that regiment, as well as the battles they fought in.”

The Family History Center helped make additional information connections for Malloy. He ran his information by church member Bob Jensen, a Civil War buff who excels with military records.

As Malloy continued to peruse records online, he came across another interesting fact.

“I could see people who had done research on the same people I have. It would say ‘so-and-so from Massachusetts has researched these people and connected with some of the cousins or grandparents.’ You think you’re the only one looking, but that’s not true,” Malloy said. “You can look at their info and verify dates. If something comes up different, you can then contact those people and ask where they got their information.”

Based on what he found about his relative’s service in the Civil War, the Malloy family headed to the Prarie Grove battlefields in Savoy, Arkansas, then to Maddox and Vicksburg, Mississippi to see it for themselves.

“The genealogy then became really alive for our children. They could say, ‘This is where Grandpa Malloy fought.’ It was a great experience for them,” Malloy said. “When you think about the sacrifice our relatives made for us and what we have today, that’s what I really enjoy about genealogy.”

The Family History Fair at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Saturday, Jan. 22, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 24443 McBean Parkway, Valencia. Registration required.

For more information, call (661) 291-1418 or e-mail jspendlove@juno.com. Preregistration is available online at www.scvfamilyhistoryfair.org.

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