There is a watercolour, hanging on the wall in the hallway of my home. When a visitor sees it, they often give a positive comment.
James Talbot is my favourite ancestor. He was born, on the 12th June 1868, in a townland called Lahern, near Tralee, County Kerry.
I have a lot in common with him. Not only did we share the same christian name we shared the same profession. We were police men. We both served our respective communities during the turn of a Century.
In order to celebrate the new century, in 2000, I asked Maxine Dorman, a professional artist, to help me `put James back into uniform` over a century later, after he had joined the Royal Irish Constabulary in July 1890.
To start to this project was I first met his daughter in Tralee in 1996. Betty O’Carroll, nee Talbot, was born in 1916. We had corresponded over the years until her death, in 1999, aged 83 years. She had left a legacy behind for her family and the Talbot relatives in her extensive family tree research. Meeting one of her sons, also called James, I was able to get images of his Grandfather during stages of his life. One showed him, in 1890, at the age of 22 when he joined the R.I.C., and also when he married, in 1913, at the age of 47 years.
I was able to get James Talbot`s official service record from the Royal Irish Constabulary Museum in Belfast. With an image of James from 1913 (see below) and an R.I.C. sergeant’s dress uniform. I was able to get as much information as I could, especially from from Hugh Forrester, the curator at the R.I.C. Museum, to give to Maxine so she could use it all for the watercolour.
I waited several weeks which then turned into a couple of months. I then received a telephone call from Maxine to say that it was ready. The work that she had done to put this image together took my breath away. She seemed to have had put a soul into the painting. She said that she had enjoyed the painting for me.
The meticulous research had been worth it and created a family heirloom.
Michael James TALBOT