Editor’s Note: Early in 2021, I had a chance to talk to Joe Hart in White Salmon, Washington. I wanted to learn more about his extensive research into the Hart and Canavan families. I remembered that a decade ago, when I first corresponded by email with Joe, he had moved to Ireland in retirement. When I recently began chatting with him over a Zoom connection, I discovered he had spent years in Ireland and used much of that time to pursue clues as to the Irish origins of the Hart and Canavan families.
When our conversation wound up, I found the exchange fell into four broad categories: (A) Early Canavan history in the U.S., including his great, great grandfather Anthony Canavan, Sr.’s immigration from Ireland, his great grandfather John Canavan’s move to Iowa from Illinois, his own family’s move from Iowa to the West Coast, Hart family reunions in Iowa in the 1950s, and his budding interest in genealogy; (B) His move to Ireland in 2003 when he retired from the fire service in Kodiak, Alaska, and his pursuit in Ireland of the history of his Hart and Canavan ancestors; (C) The role Deoxyribonucleic acid (otherwise known as DNA) testing played in his genealogy research in Ireland and France and the limitations and complications of DNA in exploring family histories; and (D) The role played in his research by the James Austin Hart Memoirs, written by his father Joe’s brother Jim, and The Families, written by my mother Mary Bowe. In addition, Joe had access in his research to his uncle’s Irish research in Father John Hart’s Report: Ireland, July, 1966. In this final section, Joe also offers practical tips for doing this kind of research, and makes a generous offer to help other cousins with questions or problems they may have in this area. Joe Hart can currently can be reached at email@example.com