I’ve been working on my family tree “Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches” for about 3 years now. Like many, I started collecting information and photos several years prior. I had spent time in the Knock Road Cemetery in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim in 1997; taking photos of headstones and being amazed at the number of my ancestors who are interred there. The reality is, if there is a Murdoch who is buried in the Knock Road Cemetery that I don’t know; it just means I haven’t found the connection yet!
In July of 2012, shortly before my visit “back home;” I decided to rename my tree on Ancestry. It had the generic name of the Murdoch/ Wilson/ Berry/ Love Family Tree. Original, I know! As I follow all of my family lines, not just my direct ancestors; I’ve discovered first cousins who married first cousins and their children married their first cousins. This seemed to be a common practice in the very early 1800’s. I’ve often joked that the gene pool had gotten rather shallow; and maybe I should be grateful that no “webbed feet” had turned up yet! So, I thought “Twisted Limbs & Crooked Branches” was a fitting name.
Fast forward two weeks later; we were heading to Londonderry to visit with “living family” and of course, to visit the Derry City Cemetery.
The Derry City 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 10 month old child by the name of Robert McClelland. Robert resided on Orchard Street and died on December 10, 1853. A Visitor’s Guide of the Cemetery, including a brief history; can be downloaded here: http://tinyurl.com/mpwh8mu .
With map in hand; my “baby aunt” and I were on our way to the cemetery to photograph family headstones. Upon our arrival I was immediately in awe of the number, size and diversity of headstones. I was also really “drawn” to the trees scattered throughout the cemetery, to one tree in particular; my “baby 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; Grave No. FC25. 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 and returned with our husbands; handed them the map with a “please go find this particular grave”. They ended up exactly where we had…
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”!
A strange coincidence; or was it?
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