It’s A Small World!

Many people use the term “It’s A Small World”; have you ever stopped to think about HOW small our world really is?  You may run into someone at a ball game that you hadn’t expected to see and say, “Oh, it’s a small world”!  That, I would think, is overusing the phrase a little.  What about being on the Great Wall in China and one of your travel companions ends up meeting someone they went to school with; someone whom they hadn’t seen in 20 years.  Yes, that’s a much better example. defines it this way:  “…One encounters the same people, events or situations in unexpected places.” defines it as follows:  “said when a coincidence happens resulting from people knowing each other or meeting each other in unexpected circumstances.”  The definition states:  “said to show your surprise that people or events in different places are connected”.

I, for this story anyway, lean towards the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition:  “… people or events in different places are connected”.

My family emigrated from Northern Ireland to “Small Town” Ontario, Canada in 1971.  “Small Town” had, and still does have, a population of about 5000 people.  When my parents researched it before moving it was said to be a farming community; unfortunately, they didn’t mention it was a predominantly retired farming community!

My father, who was a former police officer in Northern Ireland, joined “Small Towns” police force.  In the ensuing weeks one of the many people he met was an older gentleman; who he instantly developed a rapport with.  After all, they had something in common; Mr. Rankin was from Northern Ireland as well!  Specifically he was from Londonderry; my mother’s hometown.  Over the next months the rest of our family was introduced to Mr. Rankin, his wife and family.  They, along with my parents, inevitably spent many hours discussing “back home” or when their next trip “across the pond” (the Atlantic) was going to be.


“40 Shades of Green”

During one of these many discussions, while in the Rankin family home, my mother noticed a Beattie/Rankin coat of arms; which is when the discussion became really interesting.  You see my maternal great grandmother was Charlotte Elizabeth Beattie who married Thomas Wilson.  One of their sons was Robert Wilson, my maternal grandfather.  Naturally, they wondered if there was a family connection.

Charlotte Elizabeth Bettie

Charlotte Elizabeth Beattie
My Great Grandmother & Charlotte Rankin’s Aunt

Fast forward several years later, on one of my parent’s trips “across the pond”; Mr. Rankin asked my mother if she would mind taking a gift to his sister Charlotte!  Does that name sound familiar?  My mother happily obliged and enjoyed her time with Charlotte; especially when the discussion came to the “Beattie Connection”.  It would seem that Charlotte was named after her aunt; and yes, you guessed it… her aunt was Charlotte Elizabeth Beattie; my mother’s paternal grandmother!

Rankin Family
32 Fountain Place, 1911 Census of Ireland

Victoria Street, Londonderry

Victoria Street, Londonderry
Where 3 generations of my Beattie/Wilson/Love Family Lived
and where I played as a little girl!

My mother often said, and still does, that Mr. Rankin’s eyes reminded her of her father’s; and one of his grandson’s looks like one of her brothers.  So, it would seem, she was right!  The “Small World” became even smaller when it was discovered that my mother’s family and Mr. Rankin’s family lived on two streets whose backyards were connected by a stone wall!  Yes, indeed; “It’s A Small World”!

Copyright (c) (2014) ( All Rights Reserved.


About CJ Murdoch

Looking For "Dead People"! My Journey Back In Time - Tracing my ancestors and researching the counties, cities and towns where they resided. Taking a “Glimpse” into their lives and stories and the times in which they lived; all in an effort to learn about their “Dash”! “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning – to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the second with tears, but he said that what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.” I have always been interested in researching my family tree and “hanging out” in cemeteries. Like most of us... I didn't ask enough questions when elderly family were still living. Oh, what I would give for 24 hours and a camera with my ancestors… just to sit and listen! I'm researching many family lines, including: Murdoch, Wilson, Berry, Love, Scott, Beattie/Beatty, Hendren, Sweeney, Robinson and Elvin; just to name a few. My families are predominantly from counties Antrim, Donegal and Londonderry. However, it seems that many of them, both maternal and paternal lines, originally hailed from Co. Donegal. I was born and raised in Northern Ireland and now live in Ottawa, Canada, making frequent trips back home to visit with my family. Of course those visits also include treks to the many burial grounds of my ancestors. My most recent trip back home was during the summer of 2019! Looking forward to August of 2020 when I will return. If you are interested in help tracing your ancestors I’d love to hear from you!
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4 Responses to It’s A Small World!

  1. Pingback: The Beattie/Rankin Connection | TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

  2. Pingback: Too Many Deaths Too Soon! | TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

  3. Joan Lynch says:

    Hi my name is Joan Lynch. My mother was Frances Woods. Her Father was Richard Rankin brother of Walter Rankin. Richard died at a young age so i never got to meet my grandfather. I still live in Londonderry. any questions feel free to contact me through facebook as (Derek Lynch) or email

    Liked by 1 person

    • CJ Murdoch says:

      Hi Joan/Derek, thanks so much for getting in touch. You have me very excited. I’ll email you in a few hours. My house is on the market and we have a showing booked in 1 hour. So, I have to vacate my house until 2:00 p.m. I’ll be in touch after that. Colleen


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