04 February, 1845
To any that may find this, this is my story for all to know my struggles and to hopefully one day pass this down to my children and their children. So they will know some of the history of their ancestors. My name is Fiona MacMenomay, it was originally McMenomay but my grandfather, the father of my mother, did not want anyone to know that we are of Irish descent. He would rather people think that we are of Scottish descent because of the discrimination that the Irish have to endure in America. I am almost sixteen years of age. My mother has decided that it is time that we leave our native Ireland and go to America in hopes of a better life with my grandfather, Edward. I have never known my grandmother, Orla. My mother and grandfather never speak of her, only that she died while giving birth to my mother. My mother, Aoife, is still saddened that my father, Patrick, and my youngest sister, Grace, passed away two months ago. While we had been barely surviving with what little food we can find, they had gotten cholera. Most of our drinking water and even some of our food has been contaminated with this deadly bacterium. We think we were spared because we did not travel into town with father and Grace who had stopped at a small stream of water to get a drink. They started becoming ill three days after they had returned. Some of the signs of cholera are wrinkled hands and sunken eyes, which they both had. My mother named me Fiona, which is a Gaelic meaning of “fair” because she said I had the fairest skin she had ever seen. My mother’s name is the Gaelic form of Eve; also Aoife was a daughter of King Dermot of Leinster, who married the Norman invader Strongbow. My sister Grace was brought into this world fighting for her life, she was not breathing when she first came into the world. Grace was named after Grace O’ Malley who was an Irish Warrior...