Surname Saturday 2.0: The Parks

The Park Family

For me, the Park family was the initial reason I got into my genealogy. After my grandfather died, I realized there were few people left in his generation or before for his family, so while I had the Bordewicks traced out on paper, I had nothing for his mother's side. I had to start by hand, asking my mom and her siblings and my grandmother who the Park children were, and who they married, but even then, I only got two generations of information, and it was a bit shaky at best, but it was a start. At a family gathering, I managed to hook up with a cousin from my great-grandmother's mother's side of the family, and she sketched out a few more links for me, but for a long time, I had little to nothing about this side. Only in the last few years have I finally learned my great-great grandparents' parents names and where they were born.

The Park line is Irish. I've known that for a long time. I can't even remember when I first learned it, so I must have been small. It was only after I started to research this line that I began to hear that they weren't Irish, but Northern Irish, with pretty much everything that entails for someone who lives in the US.

My great-great grandfather, Robert Park, was born to John Park and his wife, a woman who to this day, I still only have the surname of, Dunlop. I know he was born in 1852, but beyond that and their names, I have little else on his family before he met his wife Elizabeth Curran and came to the US in the 1880s. I suspect his mother's name may be Mary, as they named my great-grandmother Mary Dunlop Park, but I have no proof of that, so that is only a speculation at this time.

Robert and Elizabeth came to the United States about 1883 and settled in Philadelphia, where Robert worked as a cabinet maker and woodworker. The couple had nine children there between arriving and when they left in the early 1900s, two of which died in infancy.

In the early 1900s, things became difficult in the US for immigrants, and so Robert decided to move his family back to Northern Ireland. By 1911, they were settled in Belfast, and are listed in the Irish Census of the time. The children were growing older, and several of them began to find their own ways at the time. One of the older daughters married, and she and her husband moved to Canada, settling there. When she wrote back glowing reports of the country, the family moved again, this time settling in Vancouver BC, where my great-great grandparents lived until their deaths.

My great-grandmother met her husband after the family settled in Vancouver. His family were immigrants from Norway (see the Bordewick family story), and had also recently arrived. The two married in 1917, and had two boys, my grandfather, George Robert, and his younger brother, Henry Norman. Henry died in the war, and my great-grandfather died in 1950, leaving my grandmother on her own. Her younger sister Margie moved in with her, and the two lived together until the late 70s or very early 80s when my grandfather had her moved down to a Masonic nursing home in Washington so he could be closer to her so they could visit more frequently once it was difficult for her to get around.

The Park line is as follows, for those interested:

* John Park and his wife (Miss Dunlop) married sometime around/before 1852, when their son was born. As of yet, I have only one child for them, my great-great grandfather.

* Robert Park was born in 1852, and married Elizabeth Curran sometime in 1883. The two then (or so I believe) emigrated from Northern Ireland (at the time, just Ireland, as Northern Ireland didn't come into existence until after the Great War) about that time, and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the USA. There they had 9 children, then moved back with them to Ireland in the early 1900s after the youngest was born. They moved to Canada in the mid 19-teens, and both died there.

* Their children:
o The two eldest, who died in early childhood or infancy, whose names I can only guess at this time, though I have found a record for a Jennie Curran Park with the right parents whom I suspect may have been named for Elizabeth's mother. The other child may have been a boy, but at this time, I cannot be certain.
o Robert Curran Park, who died in 1912.
o Elizabeth "Bessie" Park, who married and settled in Vancouver, living there until her death in 1966.
o Mary "May" Dunlop Park, my great-grandmother, who lived to the grand old age of 91, and who I still remember fondly to this day. She married Bjarne Bordewick, and they had two sons; my grandfather had four children, and his daughter had two, and she even has one great-great granddaughter and one great-great grandson today.
o Rhoda Park, who also lived a good long life. Married and lived to 1982 as well. I have vague memories of meeting her as a child, though she was not as constant a visitor as their sister Marge.
o Margaret "Marge" Park, who lived with her sister for many years after Bjarne's death, and lived to the amazing age of 106.
o George Dunlop Park, who managed to outlive my grandfather who was named for him, married in Vancouver, and lived until 1993.
o And the baby of the family, Florence "Florrie" Park, who was the only one of the siblings to leave the British Columbia area, and settled in Ontario after her marriage. She and her husband had four sons, and they are the only cousins my grandfather had, though they were closer in age to his son than himself. She has descendants in both Ontario and BC still today. She died in 2001.

What I don't know:

* I believe that this line is what we in the US call Scots-Irish. Park and Dunlop (especially Dunlop) are very Scottish names, and many of those expelled from their land in Scotland moved to Northern Ireland after. I would love to have this confirmed.

* I would love to know more about John Park, and where he was born, lived, and died. I would love to know how many children he had as well, as an Irish family with only one child seems a tad unbelievable.

* I want to know where Robert and Elizabeth married. I assume that was in Ireland, but I could be wrong. I also want to confirm the lost child I found, and learn the name of the other child they lost as well.

* I would love to know about any of the boats they traveled on. I don't know when or where they may have departed from (though I assume the one back to the UK was from Philadelphia…), but it would be great to find out.

Other information about this branch of the family:
Brick Wall Posts -
Brickwall Ancestors
Brick Wall Update #2
Brick Wall Update
Brick Walls: a Different Listing
Brick Wall Update
Brick Wall Update 2012
Old Surname Posts
Where We're From Posts
Where We're From – United States
Where We're From – Canada
Where We're From – Ireland
Where We're From – The Unknown
Other -
The Bordewick Family
Four Generations
New Discoveries
Women's History Month – Week 2
Heirloom Quilt


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About this blog

This blog is maintained by two sisters who have had a life long interest in geneology.
Mika writes here mostly about our family (Hansen, Hillinger, Bordewick, Park, etc), and her search for more information.
Shannon mostly uses this space as a place to make the many stories written about and by her husband's family (Holly, Walker, Walpole, etc) available to the rest of the family, present and future.

Our blog is named Oh Spusch! mostly because Shannon is bad at naming things. The first post I put up includes a story about the time Walker's great grandfather took his whole family out to see a play and the littlest kept saying "Oh! Spusch!" No one ever figured out what she meant by that.