Many people have asked me where I come from and where my Hanlon interest comes from, so I'll try to answer that. And then you'll see why I don't usually answer the first question!
|Where I'm From|
I was born in Surrey, England in the 1960's. My mother is an American born in Washington state and raised in California, who has lived in Brazil for over 20 years. She met my father in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (where he was born and raised). My brother was born when we lived in Venezuela - the first time. I live in Belgium now with my husband and children.
|The Hanlon Interest|
Did I mention that none of the people above were Hanlons? Hanlon is my married name! When first introduced to the extended family I had some trouble remembering the names. Well, there was a vast congregation of aunties and cousins (and I do mean vast), and the immediate family alone counted mum and dad, five brothers (with partners and offspring) and one sister. And then - as if it wasn't hard enough in the first place - some were called Hanlon, and some were O'Hanlon. Hold on! In an effort to try harder, I started writing it down.
My curiosity was piqued by the alternate spellings within the same family. This centred on a debate about the original name (grandpa was known to have dropped the O), but noone seemed to know where the family was from. My husband and his siblings were born in Scotland. But their father was born in County Donegal in Ireland, and had been told the family were recent arrivals there. So we started on a Hanlon quest...
In our years of research we came across many records of people we were not related to. But having already put in the effort of finding them, it seemed a waste to discard these records. So we kept them, and finally one day we had the idea that the right thing to do was to put it all on the internet where it might be of use to someone. It was no small effort, but the rewards have been tenfold and more. I get emails almost daily from people researching their family: beginners, amazed at their surname's history, or expert genealogists happy to have found a missing link. The website works! It does just what it was meant to do: bring people together.
And by the way, grandpa did come from County Donegal. We've got a birth certificate to prove it. But it's true that the family are recent settlers - they've only been there 250 years!
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Annemarie Bruinsma Hanlon
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