Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches!

“When Great Trees Fall” …

The north of Ireland was battered by heavy rains as violent storms caused flooding.  The downpours swept in from the Atlantic, hitting Co Donegal before moving across Northern Ireland during Tuesday evening.  Bridges collapsed, roads were washed out and people had to be rescued after being trapped in their cars and homes.

On 23 August 2017 I awoke to a Facebook post by Martin Parke … sadly “My Tree” with Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches was another ‘victim’ of the storm.

When great trees fall,
rocks on dis
tant hills shudder,
lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.




 When great trees fall
in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear. …’




Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches at the Derry City Cemetery 2

In July of 2012, shortly before my trip “back home”, I decided to rename my family tree as it was simply named the Murdoch/ Wilson/ Berry/ Love Family.  Original, I know!  As I follow all of my family lines, not only my direct ancestors, I have discovered first cousins who married first cousins and their children married their first cousins – which seem to have been common practice in the very early 1800’s.  I often joke that the ‘gene pool’ was getting rather shallow; and maybe I should be grateful that no ‘webbed feet’ had turned up yet!  ‘Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches’, in my opinion, was a fitting name.

Two weeks later we, my little family and I, were in Londonderry to visit with ‘living family’ and of course, to visit the Derry City Cemetery the resting place of many of my ancestors.  The Cemetery is old, however not as old as some you will find in Ireland, where graves date back to the 1400’s.  The first reported burial in the Cemetery was of a ten month old child named Robert McClelland.  Robert, who resided on Orchard Street, died on December 10, 1853.

‘When great souls die,
the air around us becomes

light
, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,

examines,

gnaws on kind words

unsaid,

promised walks

never taken
…’

Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches at the Derry City Cemetery

Arriving at the Cemetery and joined by my aunt, map in hand, I was in awe of the number, size and diversity of headstones.  I was immediately drawn to the trees scattered throughout the Cemetery – and to one tree in particular.  My aunt thought I was just a little crazy… to her, they just looked dead!

After a few hours, and great success, one grave remained elusive.  We continually returned to the same area where the grave obviously should have been, but there was no headstone or marker at the site.  We checked with the Cemetery staff who indicated we were in the right location.  We left the Cemetery only to return with our husbands – handed them the map with a ‘please go find this particular grave’.  They ended up in exactly the same location that we had…

‘Great souls die and
our
reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their

nurture,

now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of
dark, co
ld
caves…
.’. 

Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches at the Derry City Cemetery 1

There is no headstone on the grave, it must have eroded or was vandalized.  However, the grave does have a VERY significant marker… the plot is to the left of the tree that I had been drawn to when initially entering the Cemetery.  The tree with Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches!

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

Maya Angelou

Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches at the Derry City Cemetery 4

“My Tree” with Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches was a monument, and will continue to be, to my family who are interred beside it and the name of my family tree before I ever knew of its existence. A strange coincidence… I think not!

Posted in Burial Records, Co. Londonderry, Derry City Cemetery, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland, Misc. | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Roll of Honour!

Derry Pilot Officer’s Death – Tribute by Rev. J.A. Donaldson, B.A. …

“At the morning service of Great James Street Presbyterian Church, Londonderry, on Sunday, Rev. J.A. Donaldson, B.A., recalled that on Remembrance Sunday Mr. S. Morrison, accompanied by Captain Sir James Wilton, M.C., had laid the wreath on the War Memorial of the congregation.  We were unaware then” he said. ‘that just a few hours before that very moment his son, Pilot Officer Cecil Morrison, had given his life on service in the Middle East. …”

Samuel Cecil Morrison, known as Cecil, was the first son of Samuel Morrison and Charlotte Rebecca Wilson (Cissy) and the eldest of six children.   He was born on 22 Jun 1920 on Creggan Road in Londonderry, and was baptized in Great James Street Presbyterian Church where his family worshipped and his father Samuel was a Scout Leader.

Roll of Honour!  Derry Pilot Officer’s Death – Tribute by Rev. J.A. Donaldson, B.A. …

During the Second World War, Cecil joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve circa 1940 when he traveled to California, USA to start training for the Royal Air Force.  On May 27, 1942 records reveal that he was joined in Holy Matrimony to Margaret (Betty) Elizabeth Barclay at Runcorn, Cheshire, England.  Known as Betty, she too was serving her country during World War II.

“… A few hours afterwards official communication came that Cecil Morrison had been killed.  On Sunday that first communication was confirmed when the Chaplain at Malta wrote to his young wife, telling her how the last offices were performed in a little cemetery there.

Roll of Honour!  Derry Pilot Officer’s Death – Tribute by Rev. J.A. Donaldson, B.A. …

‘We wish this morning to express our sympathy to his young wife, to his father and mother, and to the members of the family,” said Rev. Mr. Donaldson, who added that he knew Cecil Morrison for almost two years after he came to Great James Street Church.  He was a member of their Christian Endeavour Society, a teacher in the school, and a young fellow who promised well as far as the Church and the Kingdom of God was concerned.’

That day they as a congregation sorrowed.  Although they had been in the fourth year of war and although they had 70 and 80 members on active service, that was the first son of that congregation to fall in this war.  They remembered Cecil Morrison with gratitude to God for his interest in the work of that Church as a young man growing up in the midst of them.  On entering the Service, he speedily won promotions and just before he was killed it was intimated that further promotion was shortly to be given to him.  ‘He has now been promoted to a place of honour and to higher service,’ Mr. Donaldson concluded.”

Roll of Honour!  Derry Pilot Officer’s Death – Tribute by Rev. J.A. Donaldson, B.A. …

The congregation bowed in silent prayer for a short period.”

An excerpt from the Morrison/Wilson Family Bible penned by his mother, and my great aunt, Cissy read “F/O. S.C. Morrison died on Active Service 1942.  Laid to rest in Malta 11th 1942. God makes no mistakes, He knew the way others would have to tread; and took him in his manhood to be with him forever.  Safe from this worlds mire.”

May He Rest In Peace!

Posted in Co. Londonderry, Family History, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Crushed By Auto!

Young Man Said to Have Been Victim of a Joy Ride…

The Alexandria Gazette was a succession of newspapers based in Alexandria, Virginia, USA. The newspaper was established on February 5, 1784 by George Richard & Company as the Virginia Journal.  A publication in the Alexandria Gazette on May 17, 1915 stated:

“Crushed By Auto – Young Man Said to Have Been Victim of a Joy Ride…

Wilmington, Del., May 17 – Edward Scott, aged 21, stableman on the country estate of Henry B. Thompson at Greenville, died yesterday as the result of injuries sustained yesterday afternoon when an automobile he was driving turned over and rolled into Red Clay Creek below Ashland.  Charles Peoples, aged 26, gardener on the Thompson estate, who was with Scott, is at his home suffering with serious injuries to the chest and head.

The young men are said to have taken their employer’s automobile in the absence of the family.  They were speeding down the hill below Ashland and when they failed to slow up at the turn near the bridge spanning the creek the machine upset.  They managed to extricate themselves from the wreckage and crawl to the shore of the creek, where Edward Clark, of Wilmington, who was passing in another automobile, found them and brought them to their homes.  Scott had several broken ribs which punctured the lungs and he died yesterday morning.”

RocketLife doc 1

Edward was born on 18 Nov 1893 at Ballycollin, Derriaghy, Co. Antrim; Mary J. Straton was present at his birth.  He was one of eleven children born to Richard J. Scott and Sarah Crowe.  He was the 2nd child and first son born to the couple who resided at Lagmore, Derriaghy.  Records from Christ Church Derriaghy revealed he was baptized on 14 Jan 1894 – a Church that many of my Scott family attended, where they were baptized and married.  Many of my Scott’s, and connected families, are also interred in the Church Yard.  Edward is my 2nd cousin 2x removed.

The 1901 Census of Ireland shows Edward, a scholar, and his family residing at 2 Lagmore, “Derraghy’.  By the time the 1911 Census was taken they were living in 18 Lagmore and Edward, now seventeen, was farming with his father.

RocketLife doc 2

The S.S. Merion’s Ships Manifest was the next record I unearthed – dated 10 Apr 1913 the manifest showed Edward of “Legmore“ traveling with David McCourt of White Mountain and William Crowe of “Legmore” – Edward was traveling with his cousins.  The young men left Liverpool, England and after a thirteen day voyage across the Atlantic arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on 23 Apr 1913.

RocketLife doc 3

Two short years after his arrival in Philadelphia, a Death Certificate issued by The State of Delaware Bureau of Vital Statistics, dated 17 May 1915, recorded that Edward Scott of Greenville, Delaware and formerly of Ireland had died in an “automobile accident” and an “inquest was pending”.  The record confirmed that he was in the employ of H.B. Thompson and the son of Richard Scott of Ireland.

RocketLife doc 4

Edward is interred at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Wilmington, Delware and is memorialized on the family burial ground at the Christ Church Derriaghy.

“Erected by Richard Scott

Legmore

In memory of his son

Edward who died on the 17th May 1915

As the result of an accident

And was interred

In Silverbrook Cemetery, USA.”

Sadly, his death date inscribed on the headstone is incorrect.

In the summer of 2014 while photographing and documenting the graves at Christ Church Derriaghy – I did not realize that Edward was one of “mine”.  He has connected me to another Twisted Limb in my ever expanding family tree.

“Step Softly, A Dream Lies Buried Here” – Yates

Posted in Co. Antrim, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

The Great Escape!!!

From Stoneyford to Belfast and Back...

Mary Agnes Scott was born on 21 Jan 1867 in Knocknadona, Magheragall Parish, Co. Antrim.  She was the third child of ten born to Mary Agnes Hendren and Richard James Scott.  She is my paternal great grandmother.  Family history indicated, and records have since confirmed, that Richard was a long-established, wealthy and well respected farmer in the area.

RocketLife doc 1.jpg

My grandmother Lizzie told the story of Mary “running off to Belfast to avoid marrying a neighbouring farmer” – something that was apparently done “back in the day” in order to increase the size of the family farm holdings.  Wedding plans were well underway; the wedding dress had already been purchased when Mary left for Belfast.  At this point in time I have been unable to discover to whom she was betrothed – chances are I will never know!

Family whispers also suggested that Mary was written out of her father’s Will.  Again something I was able to validate with the discovery of Richard James Will – apparently “R.J.” wasn’t a very forgiving man!

RocketLife doc 2.jpg

I decided very early on that this was a lady with a will and mind of her own, a lady whom I definitely admired and could relate to.  It must have taken considerable courage, especially in the late 1800’s, to leave her family and country living for the “big city” of Belfast!  After her “great escape” I discovered Mary living on Westmoreland Street working as a mid wife for a Belfast Doctor.

On 25 Feb 1893 and “according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of Ireland, after licence by John G. Hopkins in a Marriage solemnized at Willowfield Church in the Parish of Willowfield in the Diocese of Down” and in the presence of James Stewart and Annie McIlwaine, Mary Scott of 44 Westmoreland Street, Belfast was United in Marriage with James Berry, a labourer, of 41 Moore Street, Belfast.

RocketLife doc 3.jpg

The couple resided on Tyne Street at the beginning of their marriage and spent the remainder of their lives on Cherryville Street, Belfast.  They seem to have led a full and happy life, unfortunately, not without the sadness and tragedy that often follows any family. Together they had eight children – five daughters and three sons – two of their daughters died as infants.  Family lore confirms that Mary continued her work as a midwife until much later in her life.  While James, a plumber, had his own business and worked on the Titanic at one point in time, along with several of his employees.

rocketlife-doc-4

On 12 Aug 1939 at 41 Cherryville Street Belfast Mary passed away.  “Widow of James Berry, a Plumber; Died from Diabetes Mellitus, 6 months, certified, William Berry, Son, present at death at 41 Cherryville Street, Belfast, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.  Registered 14 Aug 1939.”

RocketLife doc 5.jpg

In reading some of her obituaries I have the sense that my great granny, Mary Agnes Scott Berry, was loved by many.

“BERRY – August 12, 1939 at her residence, 41 Cherryville Street, Mary Agnes, dearly beloved mother of Mary A. (Minnie) Rae. “A voice is from our household gone, A face we loved is still; A place is vacant in our home, Which never can be filled.  Deeply regretted by her sorrowing Daughter and Son-in-law.  Minnie and Robert Rae, and grandchildren.”

“BERRY – August 12, 1939, at her residence, 41 Cherryville Street, Mary Agnes dearly beloved mother of Frances Whaley. “Dearest mother how I’ll miss you, Life will never be the same. Tear of earth will never wake thee, But through Christ we’ll meet again.  Deeply regretted by her sorrowing Daughter and Son-in-law.  Frances and James Whaley.”

BERRY – August 12, 1939, at her residence, 41 Cherryville Street, Belfast. Mary Agnes Berry, dearly beloved sister of Frances Geddis. “Love in death can let us see, What love in life should always be.  Deeply regretted by her sorrowing Sister, Brother-in-law, and Family.  Frances and Robert G. Geddis.”

“BERRY – August 12, 1939 at her residence 41 Cherryville Street Belfast, Mary Agnes widow of James Berry and dearly beloved daughter of the late Richard James and Mary Agnes Scott, Stoneyford.  Funeral from above address, to-morrow (Tuesday) at 11 a.m. to the family burying-ground, Stoneyford Churchyard.  Friends will please accept this intimation.  ‘Absent from the body, present with the Lord’.  Deeply regretted by her sorrowing family.”

Mary Agnes finally returned “home” to the place where it all began – May she Rest in Peace!

Posted in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Family History, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

A First Ballymoney Presbyterian!

Interred at the Western Necropolis in Maryhill, Glasgow…

She was a daughter, sister, wife, mother and aunt – she is my third great aunt and sister to my 2nd great grandfather William.  She was the third child and first daughter of six children born to John Murdock and Sarah MacMillan.

Sarah Jayne Murdoch was born on 12 May 1857 in my paternal home town of Ballymoney Co. Antrim.  Like many of my family before and after her, she was baptized in the First Ballymoney Presbyterian Church.  The Church is said to be the oldest building in the Borough having opened in 1777 – it is still in use today.

RocketLife doc

On 1 May 1883 at the Agherton Church of Ireland in Portstewart, Co. Londonderry in the presence of Samuel Gilmore and James McCurdy, Sarah Jayne Murdoch of Flowerfield, Portstewart was wed in Holy Matrimony to John Henry Burkhill, a labourer of Cappagh, Portstewart.  The Church Marriage Record confirmed her father was John Murdock, a labourer, as was John’s father William.  Sadly, Sarah Jayne’s mother had passed away before seeing her daughter marry.

Prior to her marriage, Sarah Jayne worked as a cook to Colonel, Lord and Lady Knox and Major and Mrs. Molyneux William Shuldham of Ballymulvey, Co. Longford.  Molyneux William Shuldham at the time held the office of Justice of the Peace and the office of Deputy Lieutenant.  Upon leaving their employ to marry, she pledged to call her first son Molyneux William Shuldham in memory of the couple’s son of the same name who died at a very young age.

RocketLife doc 2

Molyneaux William Shuldham Burkhill was born on 10 Feb 1884 in Burnside, Port Stewart and baptized in the Agherton Church of Ireland on 4 May 1884.  At some point between Molyneux’s birth and the birth of Herbert, their second son, the couple had relocated to England.  The 1891 Scottish Census revealed the family had grown once again; the couple had two daughters – Henrietta and Walterina.  The ever expanding family was now living at 64 Montgomerie Lane, Ardrossan, Ayrshire – an ancient town which can be found in a map of Scotland as early as the thirteenth century.

The 1901 Scottish Census disclosed that, yet again, the family had relocated and were now living at 46 Hutcheson Street, Maryhill, Lanarkshire.  They had another addition to their family – a daughter named Lillias.  Census records are a wealth of information and verified that two of Sarah Jayne’s nephews, Alexander and Archibald Murdock (the sons of her brother Alexander) were living with the family.  In 1911 the census documented Sarah Jayne and John living at 246 Main Street, Maryhill with their two youngest daughters along with Elizabeth McCafferty, a 14 year old domestic servant.

RocketLife doc 3

Described as a “strong and hearty man” John was a Steam Manager and Engine Man who was required to travel extensively throughout the British Isles due to his career.  Initially he worked for Lawson & Sons and later MacAlpine & Sons Contractors.

The 1903 Slater’s Royal National Directory of Scotland revealed another clue about Sarah Jayne and the life she led.  It stated: “Burkhill, Mrs. Sarah, refreshment rooms, 154 Wyndford Street, Maryhill.”  It is my understanding that the restaurant was funded solely by compensation received by John Henry after an accident at work where he lost both an arm and an eye.  This is a Twisted Limb that I will continue to follow to gain more clarification and verification.

Sadly, Sarah Jayne met with a violent and untimely demise.  A True Copy of Declaration made by The Reverend H. Otley Mayne, Vicar of St. John the Evangelist Church, stated (in part):  “After spending most of her life at Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland she was knocked down by a motorcycle and her skull was smashed on the 7 Nov 1926.  She was unconscious until she died the following morning.”  On 9 Nov 1926 a death notice published in the Lancashire Evening Post clarified her death and simply stated: “Sarah Murdoch, or Burkhill (69), who was knocked down by a motor cycle in Maryhill-road, Glasgow, died yesterday.”

RocketLife doc 4

My third great aunt Sarah Jayne Murdoch Burkhill is interred at the Western Necropolis in Maryhill, Glasgow.  In her remembrance, one day I hope to lay flowers on her grave.  May She Rest In Peace!

Note:  The two different spellings of Murdoch/Murdock are completely intentional.  To this day my various family lines spell it both ways!

Posted in Family History | 17 Comments

A Death Notice and a Sign!

“Result of Accidental Burning…”

Once again I found myself exploring the British Newspaper Archives, specifically for Leah Love, when I came across a publication which, to me, was like a gift from the universe.

A death notice published in the Derry Journal on Wednesday 22 February 1882 stated: “LOVE – February 19, at her father’s residence, Rosemount, Derry, Sophia, the dearly beloved daughter of John and Leah Love, aged 7 years”.

She was a daughter, sister, niece and granddaughter – she is also my 2nd great aunt.  Her parents John Love and Leah McLaughlin married on 3 May 1865 at the Killowen Church of Ireland in Coleraine.  The couple was joined in matrimony in the presence of John Gray and Richard Crossley.  Prior to finding the death notice of their daughter Sophia, I never knew she existed.  She is the eighth child and fifth daughter of eleven children, a sibling of my great grandfather Johnston Alexander Love.

Although her death notice indicated Sophia was seven at the time of her death, her death and burial records revealed that she was only six.  Thomas Lindsay, Coroner for Londonderry, noted that her death was the “result of an accidental burning”.  This little nugget of information sent me back to the British Newspaper Archives to search for a publication regarding an inquest.  I was not disappointed!

Sophia Love 1

“An inquest was held by Mr. Lindsay on Monday on the body of a little girl named Sophia Love, daughter of John Love, of Rosemount, Derry, who met her death by burning.  Deceased’s mother was examined, and stated that between eight and nine o’clock on Saturday morning she left the little girl standing in front of the fire in her night-dress while she went to the front door.  Her attention was immediately afterwards attracted by the child’s screams, and on going back she found her night dress on fire.  She believed a spark or coal cinder must have come in contact with the dress and set it on fire.

Dr. M’Laughlin deposed that, acting for Dr. Corbett, he was called in to see the deceased on Saturday morning.  On visiting her he found her suffering from extensive burns, extending over right side of body and abdomen as far as the neck.  The right arm was also burned.  Deceased was suffering very much from the shock to the system at the time he saw her.  In his opinion death resulted from the shock to the system caused by the burns received.  Having heard all the evidence, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that Sophia Love died at Rosemount on the 19th February, from the result of an accidental burning on the 18th instant, and added that no blame was attached to any person.”

Sophia Love 2

Sophia’s short life met with a tragic end – sorrowfully, she was not my only ancestor who died from an accidental burning at a very young age.

One hundred and thirty four years after her untimely death my 2nd great aunt Sophia left me a sign!  For several years I have been trying to confirm that Sophia Love who died on 15 Feb 1826 in Drumachose, Co. Londonderry, the birth place of my 2nd great grandfather, is my 4th great grandmother.  There were many clues which led me to believe that Sophia of Drumachose was “mine” – I just needed a little more validation in my direct family line.  All of my 4th great aunts and uncles have Christian names that have recurred through my family for decades– the name Sophia had only, to my knowledge, ever occurred once – she was the daughter of my 4th great uncle Johnston Love.  Now the name has appeared in my direct line validating my belief!

Sophia Love 3

Sophia, like her cousin,  was named after her great grandmother.  Thanks to her I have many more Twisted Limbs and Crooked Branches to follow.  Once again, the British Newspaper Archive has been a wealth of information, allowing me to find, cite and source my 5419th ancestor!

Like so many others – Sophia Love of 20 Lower Road, Londonderry is interred at the Derry City Cemetery.  Sadly, she is buried in “pauper’s ground”.

May She Rest In Peace!

Posted in Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Sudden Death In The City!

Mr. John Chambers, William Street, Derry…

An article published in the Derry Journal – Monday 19 November 1906 stated:   “On Friday Mr. John Chambers, William Street, Derry, died under painfully sudden circumstances.  He and some other men were standing at the junction of Fountain Street and Hawkin Street waiting to attend the funeral of Mr. John Alexander, Fountain Street, when his companions noticed him staggering, and he would have fallen had he not been caught by a man named George Laverty.  Robert Archibald, James Jackson, and M’Intyre, who also lent assistance, had him carried into the Fire Brigade Station.  Drs. M’Curdy and Brown were quickly summoned, but on arrival they pronounced life to be extinct.  The police then had the remains conveyed in the ambulance to the deceased’s residence.  Deceased was employed in Mr. Lynn’s coach-building factory in Great James Street for many years, where he was well-respected among his fellow employees as a decent, obliging man.”  

img128

John was born in Glasgow, Scotland about 1840; his father was Daniel Chambers a printer.  On 19 May 1848 in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal Daniel, a widower and resident of Letterkenny, was united in a civil marriage with Mary Kelly of Letterkenny in the presence of Robert Strain & John Carson.  It would seem that John’s mother, whose name remains unknown to me, had died shortly after his birth.  John is my 2nd great grandfather.

img129

On 13 September 1870 John Chambers and Catherine Johnston were joined in marriage.  Their marriage was solemnized at St. Columb’s Cathedral, in the Parish of Templemore in Co. Londonderry; John Barr and Alicia Doherty witnessed their union.  The marriage certificate revealed that the couple resided in the City.  Their first daughter, and my great grandmother, Isabella was born on 26 Dec 1871 in Arnableask, Lough Eske, Co. Donegal.  It would seem that Catherine chose to go back to her birth place to give birth to her daughter.  By 1871 Isabella’s “Certificate of Successful Vaccination” divulged that the family was living at 9 Lower Road, Londonderry and John was a “Driver of Her Majesties Mail.”

img130

As most families do, John and Catherine’s family grew.  Twin daughters, Catherine and Mary Ann, were born on 15 March 1874 in the Lower Road.  Family history indicates that John and Catherine had a son whom they adopted – another member of my family waiting to be found.

The 1901 Census of Ireland finds the family living at 64 William Street.  By then their daughter Catherine was married and living in Milltown, Tawnawully with her husband, Adam Bustard, and their young daughter Mary Jane.  On 5 October 1903, from their family home at 113 William Street, their eldest daughter and my great grandmother, Isabella married Johnston Alexander Love in the “Wee Church on the Walls” – St. Augustine’s.  Records confirm that John was working for Mr. Lynn’s Coach-building Factory in Great James Street in the City.

img131

John’s death record disclosed that he “died from heart disease” and stated that “he died on the street at New Gate”.  It also revealed that his son in law, Mary Ann’s husband, “William Walker, was present at his death”.

“Chambers – November 16, suddenly, John Chambers, William Street, for over thirty years in the employment of Lynn & Co., coachbuilders.  Interment in the City Cemetery to-day (Monday), the 19th inst, at half-past two o’clock.  Friends will please accept this the only intimation.”  Published in the Derry Journal – Monday 19 November 1906.

My 2nd great grandfather leaves me with many questions – which currently remain unanswered!  My research on this particular Twisted Limb continues!

“In the end, we all become stories” – Margaret Attwood.

Posted in Co. Donegal, Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Glasgow, Ireland, Scotland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sad Burning Fatality at the Waterside!

Starrett of Derryview Terrace…

“On Friday a very sad burning fatality occurred at the Waterside, resulting in the death of a little girl eight years old, daughter of Samuel and Ellen Starrett, of Derryview-terrace, Waterside, lately of Rosemount…”

Born in Marlborough Park, Londonderry in January of 1886 she is second daughter and third child of nine born to Samuel Starrett and Ellen Beattie.  Her name is May Louisa Starrett and she is my 1st cousin 2x removed; her mother and my great grandmother were siblings.

“…Mr. Starrett is employed as a machinist in the Journal Office, which necessitates him being at work all night.  After he had gone to bed on Friday morning his wife had occasion to go to Rosemount to see some friends, and left the children downstairs in the kitchen, where there was a fire burning in the range.  The little girl, it appears (who was in her night-dress), reached forward either to close or open the damper of the range, when the nigh-dress caught on fire.  The screams of the child awoke the father, who hurried downstairs, and with all haste extinguished the flames, getting very badly burned himself about the arms and face in his efforts.”

On 23 Aug 1882 in Christ Church Church of Ireland Londonderry Samuel Starrett and Ellen Beattie were joined in wedlock by Rev. Francis Lewis Riggs.  Their union was witnessed by Joseph Edward Woods and Mary Anne Beattie, the bride’s sister.

img125

“The child had an inside flannel wrapper on at the time, and this becoming ignited as well as the night-dress the poor child was horribly burned from the toes to the head.  Dr. M’Caul was sent for, and did all he could to alleviate the child’s sufferings, but the injury was of such a serious nature that it gradually sank, and died in great agony a couple or three hours after the accident.  Great sympathy is felt for the parents, who are naturally much distressed about the accident, and are very highly respected in the neighbourhood.”

After their marriage Samuel and Ellen initially lived in Marlborough Terrace where their first six children were born.  By 1895 and the birth of their seventh child the family was living in Derryview Terrace.

img126

The Inquest…

“On Saturday morning an inquest was held at Derryview-terrace, the residence of the deceased’s father, before Mr. Thomas Lindsay, Coroner, and the following jury: –

James Irwin (foreman), Denis Bradley, Robert M’Cullagh, Henry Doherty, Edward Logue, John Archibald, Patrick Brolly, Joseph Gormley, Patrick Harkin, Samuel C. Donnell, John Donnell, and Thomas Watts.

Head-Constable Funston and Sergeant O’Hagan were also present.

Ellen Starrett, mother of the deceased, May Louisa Starrett, said about a quarter to eight the previous morning she went to Rosemount.  She left three of the children in the kitchen all right and the eldest, Daisy, in bed with her father.  The deceased was in the kitchen with Samuel, the oldest boy, and the baby.  When she came back at ten minutes to nine o’clock the deceased was burned black.  She was not dead then.  Witness had been in Derry four times before she died.  Dr. M’Caul had been sent for and was present when the deceased died.  Her little brother tried to get assistance, but could not get the passage door open.  Deceased’s nails were burned off her fingers she was so long burning.  When witness came home her husband met her at the door and told her what had occurred.  He was burned about the face and arms.”

Deceased’s father was too ill to be examined.

img127

Samuel Starrett jun., a very intelligent boy, who was in the kitchen at the time of the unfortunate occurrence, was not sworn, but stated the deceased was in the kitchen, and in reaching over to pull out the damper in the range her nigh-dress took fire.  Witness made to run upstairs to tell his father but could not get the passage door open.  When he did manage to get the door open and call to his father the deceased was in flames.  His father on coming down caught the deceased in his arms and put out the flames.  Witness brought down some blankets, which were put round the deceased.

Mrs. M’Closkey, a neighbor, deposed to being called in and finding the deceased badly burned.  Witness applied lard to the burns but the child expired about two o’clock.

Dr. M’Caul, who was called into see deceased, said about ten o’clock the previous day he saw her.  He found her hands, and almost the entire body, badly burned.  It took him nearly two hours to dress the burns.  The deceased died about two o’clock, the cause of death being shock to the nervous system, consequent on severe burns.

The jury returned a verdict accordingly.”  Published in the Derry Journal 22 Jan 1894

Three days before her eighth birthday, May Louisa died from a fatal burn in the kitchen of her family home in the presence of her father and brother Samuel.

Sadly, many of Samuel & Ellen’s children did not live into adult hood; those however, are stories for another day.

“Deaths:  Starrett – January 19, at her father’s residence, 1, Derryview-terrace, Waterside, Londonderry, May Louise, second daughter of Samuel Starrett, aged 8 years.  Her remains will be removed for interment in Glendermott Burying ground this (Monday) evening, 22nd inst., at half-past two o’clock.”

May She Rest In Peace!

Posted in Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Derry Cabinetmaker!

President of the Amalgamated Union of Cabinetmakers…

On 5 June 1875 at the Second Derry (Strand) Presbyterian Church, in the presence of Margaret Wilson and Thomas Cooper, David Norrie and Annie Short (nee Cooper, a widow) were united in Marriage.  David, a “cabinetmaker” is one of six children that I am currently aware of, born to Robert Norry and Mary MacFarland – he is also my 3rd great uncle.  At this point in time I have been unable to locate David’s birth record, so his year of birth remains a mystery.  Judging by his siblings birthdates I would make an educated guess that he was born circa 1845.  Unfortunately, the dates on the documents that I have discovered for my 3rd great uncle are contradictory at best.

On 3 April 1876 at Bridge Street, Derry City their first son and seemingly only child David was born.  Information is rather sparse on David senior until 28 June 1897 – on Monday 28 June 1897 the Derry Journal reported:

first insert

Inquest At The Memorial Hall.

An inquest was held on Friday by Mr. Thomas Lindsay, coroner, in the Memorial Hall, Derry, on the body of Annie Norry, wife of David Norry, the caretaker, who had been found dead in bed the previous evening.  Sergeant Dobson represented the constabulary, and from the evidence it appeared that Mrs. Norry had been in her usual health on Thursday, but complained of fatigue in the afternoon.  At two o’clock she was helped to bed by Mrs. Peoples, who was assisting to clean the Hall after the Jublilee celebration.  From this until six o’clock, when her son, David Henry Norry, returned from his work, she was not seen, and on young Mr. Norry going upstairs to inquire as to the condition of his mother’s health he found her lying in bed apparently dead.  He immediately ran out for his father, and subsequently Dr. Thos. MacLaughlin was sent for, but his services were of no avail, as he found life extinct.  Mrs. Norry had been in weak health for some time past, the result of a severe attack of influenza, and from the appearance the body presented Dr. MacLaughlin formed the opinion that the woman had died from convulsions.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.”

On 25 June 1897 T. Lindsay, Esq., Coroner for Londonderry filed Annie’s death record indicating her cause of death was from “Convulsions – Instantaneous”.  Annie a resident of Society Street is interred at the Derry City Cemetery.

2nd insert

It would seem that I was destined to find out much about David’s life by reading the archives of the Derry Journal.  On the 13 September 1897 the Derry Journal reported:  “The Amalgamated Union of Cabinetmakers recently held their annual excursion to Termone. Leaving Derry at seven a.m. in waggonettes supplied by the Imperial Hotel, the long drive passed pleasantly, and on their arrival at Termone the members enjoyed a plunge and then a ramble over the rocks along the shore.  Dinner was served in Mr. James Elkin’s in capital style.  After dinner Mr. David Norrie, president of the branch, gave the toasts of “Success to the branch” and ‘Prosperity to the trade in Derry.”  The toasts were responded to by Mr. George Murray and Mr. Jas. Howatson, representing respective local firms.  A programme of sports, including football match, tug of-war, flat races, &c., was carried out on the warren, at the conclusion of which tea was served, and the home journey commenced.  Under the management of Messrs. D. Norrie, S. Anderson, G. Forman, G. Murray, J. Godfrey, T. Colhoun, J. Craig, and R.  Kerr, the outing went through most successfully.” 

3r insert

A Marriage announcement published in the Derry Journal on 8 December 1897 revealed:  “Norrie & Boarland – December 2, at St. Augustine’s Church, Londonderry, by Rev. William Cowan, David Norrie, Londonderry, to Isabella (Bella), eldest daughter of Daniel Boarland, Ballybegley, Newtowncunningham.”  Further research disclosed – on 2 December 1897 David Norry (Widow) was united in Marriage with Isabella Boreland at St. Augustine’s Church of Ireland.  Thomas Wilson, David’s brother in law and my 2nd great grandfather; along with Mary J. Boreland, the bride’s sister, witness their union at St. Augustine’s Church of Ireland, the Wee Church on the Walls.  David had remarried just six short months after Annie’s death.

4th insert

David and Isabella had three children together between the years 1899 and 1902 – sadly their second daughter died a few short weeks after her birth.  Tragedy seemed to follow this particular line of my family as on 18 Oct 1904 Isabella Norrie of the “Memorial Hall, Society Street” passed away at the young age of forty two.  She, like David’s first wife Annie, is interred at the Derry City Cemetery.  Her headstone reads: “Erected by her daughters”. 

David a cabinet maker of the Memorial Hall, Society Street, Londonderry died on 23 May 1913 at home from “Bronchitis and Heart Failure, 2 days certified”.  His son David Henry Norrie was present at his death.  Like his wives and daughter my 3rd great uncle David is buried at the Derry City Cemetery.  May They Rest In Peace!

Posted in Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Seventeen Years Ago Today!

It’s now seventeen years later and they’ve been the best seventeen years of my life! Love you Peanut! ❤

TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

My Tiger Child…

“A Tiger Child could be a bundle of joy and a holy terror at the same time.  A little live wire who dashes about sparkling with activity, the Tigress will throw herself into the thick of things.  Even a very quiet one will know exactly where the action is and make a bee line for it.”

Li Qi Ying was born in 1998 in the city of Qichun, Hubei Province, in the People’s Republic of China.  Qichun is the birthplace of famous herbalist Li Shizhen, who was born and lived in Qizhou town, on the southern edge of the county alongside the Yangtze River.  It is known in China as the “County of Scholars” as more professors and doctors were born there than in any other county in China.

Ying 1

“… She is charming, bright and a self confident chatterbox, and there will be no holding her back.  Her insatiable curiosity and…

View original post 281 more words

Posted in Family History | 5 Comments