Family Crest from South Ayrshire
Overview of Project
In the decades of the 1960s and 1970s John Thom McKinley Girvan was a passionate researcher into the origins of his family. In the 1980s and 1990s, other family members under the enthusiastic leadership of Gloria Girvan Akin, John’s sister, gathered and edited John’s research and produced a modest booklet “Girvanopedia.” Gloria Girvan Akin died in 2003.
In the month of January 2015 this blog site will put online, the product of John’s research by way of Gloria’s short biographical accounts of ancestors of the nineteenth century as well as corrections that she made to the Girvanopedia booklet before her death.
This blog will acknowledge that the booklet’s title “Girvanopedia” reflected the Scottish focus in the historic, and ethnically limited extended family until 1825 when John Girvan the First emigrated from South Ayrshire, Scotland to Jamaica. The focus of family identity then shifted to a Caribbean one (predominantly Jamaican) for 125 years. The middle of the twentieth century saw new dispersals which sent individual family members from Jamaica to Panama, England, Canada and the U.S.A. The focus of family identity has now in the early decades of the twenty first century shifted and widened even further and now is a multinational one, and one that now further reflects our hybrid ethnicity.
We, Us and Co. Ltd. Sixty five years ago, as a child struggling to connect with the people around me, searching to find some elements to construct an identity to find out who I was to become, I recall reading the signature on a greeting card sent by David Thom McWhinnie Girvan to his sister, Gloria. The card itself was of the generic kind, indistinguishable from all other cards. By contrast, the inclusionary nature of the signature, We, Us and Co. Ltd. written on the card by Thom Girvan has remained with me as an element to be emulated.
A Gallery of the Evolution of Our Shifting, Hybrid Mosaic Over Two Centuries:
Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Extended Family Members
We, Us, and Co.
Scotland to Jamaica
Click on photo to start Carousel
Post Scriptum: The Collectivity in Cyberspace: Communication across nearly 2 centuries and between geographically distant locations has been made possible through digital technology. Maintaining contact seems desirable. At times individuals separated by time and by geography still seek strength, consolation, comfort, inspiration, even companionship from the people and narratives of the past to borrow psychological strength or regain equilibrium and perspective, guidance and mentorship from the past while going into an unknown, uncertain future.
Please send any group photos of twentieth century extended family members that you think worthy of inclusion in the gallery above or better copies of the individuals who are featured.