The Usher Ancestral home, Co. Antrim…
On my most recent trip back home in the summer of 2014 I had no idea of the unexpected treasures, revelations and surprises I would come across on this particular trip. I had an invitation to the Quaker Archives, an unexpected meeting in a graveyard; and a visit with “new” relatives who greeted me as if we had always known one another. Those are stories for another time…
One beautiful summer evening, while staying in Upper Ballinderry, Co. Antrim; I went to visit the Ushers who are dear friends of my aunt. In fact, the Ushers are not only family friends, they are family too; having a connection that goes back to the mid 1800s. Harriet Hendren, who is my 2nd great grand aunt; married George Usher in the Derriaghy Church of Ireland in 1856. One of Harriet’s sisters was Mary Agnes (Hendren) Scott; who is my 2nd great grandmother. Mary’s daughter and my great grand aunt, Fanny was a frequent visitor at the Usher home; and was visiting when the 1901 Census was taken.
As Mr. Usher is also interested in genealogy we had much talk about and a lot of information to share! We discussed many of our family, and as the conversation progressed I mentioned John Edward Usher! Mr. Usher said, “I have a framed photo of him in my dining room”!
John Edward is my first cousin 3x removed; I was standing in the house that he was born and grew up in, the same house that his father before him was born in! He was one of six children born to George Usher and Harriet Hendren.
When we entered into the beautiful dining room; it was like stepping back in time. The furniture was magnificent; many of the pieces where family heirlooms. Seeing the portraits of John Edward and his sister in law Maggie Belshaw was an unusual feeling. “Attaching” a face to the lives that I had discovered… well it’s was somewhat of a “full circle moment”.
Mr. Usher brought out a “treasure trove” of documents; some of which date back to the mid 1800s. He graciously offered to let me bring them back to Canada; an offer I just could not accept. So, we compromised – I borrowed them and spent hours photographing every single page of every document. It will take me years to transcribe the information; something I am certainly going to enjoy.
With this trove of treasures I’m sure I will be adding more Twisted Limbs and Crooked Branches to my ever expanding family tree!