Memories of Twilight Park, NY

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Me (age 1) at Carolan Lodge, Twilight Park, NY

As I walked my dog this morning, I heard the wind rustling thru the trees. The sound reminded me of the summer home of my youth. I spent summers in the Catskill mountains at a “cottage” that my great aunt had bought in the 1920’s. It was the last of several cottages that had been in my father’s family in this summer enclave, Twilight Park. I loved this house, this “park”, as did my cousins. We had all spent considerable time there.

I loved to walk in the woods, finding old paths that had been established by an old walking club. Twilight, as it was known to us, had many amenities – a pool, tennis courts, a day camp for youngsters and a folksy newsletter. I loved to swim in the pool, even when it was the original, built from a quarry and fed by mountain streams (brr!). A more modern pool replaced that one and was much more comfortable to swim in.

There were two other “parks” in the area, Elka and Oneonta. We had yearly swimming and diving competitions between the parks. I had some of my worst and best experiences during those contests.

The community was small, less than a hundred residences, and was built on the side of a mountain. Because of the terrain, there were three levels in the park, and we lived in the upper level which started with a steep hill, Pebble Rock “road”. The roads were narrow, on most of them two cars could just get by each other. However, Pebble Rock could only accommodate one car at a time, and before proceeding up or down, care had to be taken to make sure that no one was coming the other way.

Our cottage, “Carolan Lodge”, was at the top of Pebble Rock and from our kitchen window we could watch as the upper level cottagers drove by. We would comment on who was going by as we knew most of the cottagers and their cars.

Aunt Bess at the family plots in Elka Park

This summer home and the surrounding villages, Haines Falls, Tannersville, Hunter, seemed more like my home town that anywhere else and my cousins told me they felt the same way. Apparently, the generations before us felt the same way as they bought and were laid in burial plots at the Elka Park Catholic cemetery.

DNA breaks down yet another family brick wall: Patrick Carolan

Patrick Carolan 1850-1933

I have tested my atDNA at 23&me and FTDNA; additionally i have uploaded the test results to GEDmatch (now GEDmatch Genesis ) and MyHeritage. The first close cousin matches i got was thru 23&me – these were 2nd cousin matches that helped fill out and confirm the my extended Smith family tree.

Lately MyHeritage has helped me with two brick walls – my Swiss great grandfather’s line and my great grandfather Patrick Carolan’s line. This last was one of the hardest for me as I did not know where in Ireland he was born and he had come over in the 1860’s. So I was able to do the DNA happy dance this past week as a 2nd cousin match showed up for a Carolan descendant from Ireland! This cousin has a great grandmother Teresa Carolan, so my hypothesis is that Patrick and Teresa were siblings.

My cousin’s research has shown that Teresa Carolan was born in Knockbride, County Cavan in 1858 and her parents were Owen Carolan and Isabella Cook. So I started researching baptismal records for County Cavan on FindMyPast and Ancestry. Of course I have been unable to find Patrick (such is the genealogist life), but I will keep searching. While frustrated by the records, I am extremely happy about the DNA results.