“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old…”

From Duke Street to Kammel, Belgium and Back…

Born on 18 Mar 1895 he was the fourth son and seventh child of nine born to Samuel Starrett and Ellen Neely Beattie.  William, most commonly known as Willie; is my 1st cousin 2x removed.  His mother, Ellen, is my great grand aunt and sister to my great grandmother Charlotte.

Willie was born, and spent the first years of his life; at 1 Derry View Terrace where the family resided.  Sometime between Dec 1898, the birth of his brother Edward; and the 1901 Census being recorded the family had moved to 25 Spencer Road; where they still lived in 1911.  On 28 Sep 1912, and the signing of the Ulster Covenant, I discovered Willie, a printer; had noted his address as 34 Spencer Road.  This little tidbit of information I found quite interesting; and upon researching the 1911 Census Record for 34 Spencer Road found a Hunter family!  It would seem I had discovered another Twisted Limb of my Hunter/Wilson family line!

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old…”

After unearthing a Military Record, entitled “Proceedings on Discharge”, I discovered Willie, at the young age of nineteen; had enlisted with the 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 8 Sep 1914.  These records confirmed that he was a printer by trade and once again showed his home address as 25 Duke Street.

An article published in the Londonderry Journal on 22 Sep 1916 stated: “Mr. Samuel Starritt, 25, Duke Street, has been notified that his son, Private William Starritt, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has arrived at an English hospital from France.  Private Starritt enlisted shortly after the outbreak of the war.”

A “Medical Report on an Invalid”, from the Ontario Military Hospital, Kent, England; dated 3 Aug 1917 revealed that on 29 Apr 1917 in Kammel, Belgium Willie was injured.  “Patient stated that a piece of shrapnel struck his left hand, causing much damage to his ring and little fingers.  At the same time he received a GSW to his upper lip which is now healed completely.  He was taken at once to the 53rd Field Ambulance where his wounds were dressed and the ring and little fingers amputated above the metacarpo-phalanged joint.”  The noted “opinion as to the causation of the disability” indicated “G.S.W. Left Hand” caused by “active service in presence of the enemy”.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old…”

The record also revealed that Willie had several ailments.  His respiratory system and expansion of his lungs was somewhat “deficient”; he also suffered from chronic bronchitis.  The record goes on to state: “Ring and middle fingers of left hand missing.  Middle finger partially flexed and bound down by contracted scar tissue.  Wound on ulna border of hand almost healed. Slight discharge from small area on surface.  Patients condition not likely to improve appreciably”.

Accounts show that Willie was of “Very Good Military Character – A very good man who served his country well and was wounded in its defenses”.  He was of “fresh complexion”, 5’ 10 ½” tall with grey eyes and light brown hair.  On 22 Aug 1917 and only 21 years of age Willie received a medical discharge.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old…”

Willie’s life, like many of his siblings; was not to be a long one.  At 25 Duke Street on 3 Mar 1919 and in the presence of his brother Samuel, Willie passed away.  His Death Record revealed that he suffered from chronic pleurisy for two years and six months and septic pneumonia for nine days.

Private William Starrett of the 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers is interred at the Glendermott Church of Ireland Graveyard.  He is Remembered with Honour and Commemorated in Perpetuity by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission.  He is also commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial located in the Diamond in Londonderry.

A Memorial published by his family on the first anniversary of his death read:

“One year ago to-day the voice we loved was stilled
And in our hearts remain a place
That never can be filled
Someday we’ll hear that voice again
Someday we’ll see his smile
If only we wait in patience here
For just a little while”

Willie is another member of my family whom I have never met – one I will never forget – one who has stolen a little piece of my heart.

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“Something About Mary”!

Born in Londonderry to parents from Stranorlar and Lough Eske, Donegal…

A  Birth Notice published in the Derry Journal on 15 Mar 1876 stated; “Elvin – March 12, at the Middle-road, Derry, the wife of Mr. William Elvin of a daughter.”  Mary Jane Elvin is my 1st cousin 3x removed, eldest daughter and one of seven; born to Jane Johnston of Ardnableask and William Elvin of Cashelnavean, Donegal.  Mary Jane’s mother and my second great grandmother, Catherine Johnston Chambers; were siblings.

Mary was baptized on 25 Apr 1876 in Christ Church Londonderry.  The record reveals her father William was a labourer and the family was living in the Lower Road, Londonderry.  In finding the 1881 Scottish Census Record it was discovered that Mary was living with her parents and siblings in 49 Close, Old Monkland, Lanarkshire; it would seem her father had moved the family there for work opportunities.  Two of her siblings, Isabella and Joseph, were born in Old Monkland.  By the birth of her next sibling, Margaret, confirmed by the Baptism Record from St. Columb’s Cathedral; the family had once again returned to Londonderry and was living on Nailor’s Row.

Sadly, Mary’s father, William Elvin; died at the young age of forty two when the family was living at 113 William Street.  The 1901 Census finds Mary, working as a “Machinist”; along with her mother and siblings living in 15 Argyle Terrace – this particular Twisted Limb of my family seemed to move often.

On 9 Sept 1901 Mary Jane was moving once again.  The Ship’s Manifest for the Moravian from London, England to Sydney, New South Wales discovers Mary traveling to Australia to live with her paternal uncle, Samuel Elvin; and his wife Jemima.  The Australian Electoral Rolls in 1908 show Mary, a dressmaker; living on Juliette Street, Coorparoo, Oxley, Queensland.

On 14 Mar 1910 Mary was again making an ocean voyage on board the S.S. Pericles making a trip “back home”.  The Pericles had stops in both Sydney and Melbourne enroute to Freemantle; however, it never made it!

“Just after noon on 31 March 1910, five days after leaving Melbourne, the Pericles passed White Topped Rocks, with the coast about five miles to starboard. At 3.32 p.m., in clear weather and with good visibility, the steamer travelling at 14 knots struck an uncharted rock near St Alouarn Islet, 6.5 km south-east of Cape Leeuwin.  It passed over the rock, but the damage to the forward plates was so great that within three minutes there were 5 m of water in the forward hold. The chief engineer, W.L. Robertson, and his crew worked waist deep in water attempting to shore up bulkheads and keep the pumps going.

The steamer Strathfillan was steaming southwards to the west of the Pericles at the time but, despite turning his vessel broadside on to the Strathfillan and blowing the whistle and flying distress signals, Captain Simpson could not attract its attention.  He therefore ordered the passengers and crew to abandon ship, which was carried out in an orderly manner within 25 minutes.”

Passengers were helped into lifejackets and then into fourteen lifeboats, which were rowed towards the shore where fires had been lit by the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse staff to guide them to the best landing place in Sarge Bay.  An officer could not be put in command of each boat, as that would have left none to look after the launching of later boats. Several of the officers who had stayed behind and only boarded the last boat therefore jumped overboard and swam to those boats which were without a responsible person in charge. All passengers and crew were saved, but the one-eyed ship’s cat, Nelson, was drowned.  The ship drifted with the swell and south-east wind for a short while before going down by the bow, canting to starboard at the same time. All the boats landed during daylight except the last, that containing the captain, who had stayed behind close to his ship until it had sunk.  This boat did not reach shore until 7.00 p.m.

The steamship Monaro took most of the passengers to Fremantle the day after the wrecking, embarking them from the Flinders Bay Jetty during rough weather in what was described as a fine example of seamanship.  Some thirty or so passengers elected to make their way overland to Fremantle. (http://museum.wa.gov.au)

On 14 May 1910 the Ship’s Manifest for the Orsova shows Mary arriving in London, England making her way back to Ireland.  In the 1911 Census of Ireland she was working as a “Ladies Maid” to Sarah Edith Williams of 1 Derry More, Bessbrook, Co. Armagh.  In Feb 1913, and the birth of her son; Mary is working as a dressmaker; and is living in 166 Falkner Street, Liverpool, England.  Mary had moved once again.

From the late 1920’s to 1940, and her retirement; Mary was employed as a “Ladies Companion” to Miss Margaret Riddel Duffin of “Ardna Valley House”, Shawsbridge.  Mary was obviously not afraid to travel by sea after her experience on the Pericles; the ships manifest for the City of Calcutta revealed that once again Mary was traveling.  On 23 Dec 1920, as a companion to Miss Duffin; Mary was enroute to Bombay, Karachi, India.  The Manifest recorded that the “Country of Intended Future Permanent Residence” was India.  It’s not clear why or when Mary returned to Ireland as I have yet to unearth the Manifest for her return trip.

At the age of seventy nine, on 17 Aug 1955 from “Cerebral Thrombosis”, Mary Elvin an “Old Age Pensioner” of Killybready, Limavady passed away at the Roe Valley Hospital; M.H. Graham was present at her death.  Based on oral family history; after her retirement, Mary had been living with her niece Pearl in Limavady.

Mary’s life appeared to have been interesting, one which included much international travel.  I still wonder – was it everything she hoped it would be?  Mary is another family member who has claimed a little piece of my heart!

Posted in Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland, Scotland | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Johnston’s of Ardnableask & the Elvin’s of Cashelnavean, Co. Donegal!

Jane Johnston – My 2nd Great Aunt or… Is She?

A daughter, sister, wife and mother – Jane Johnston was born about 1854 in Lough Eske, Co. Donegal.  Jane is one of six children born to John Johnston and Isabella Smyth – OR is she!  Her older “sister” Catherine is my 2nd great grandmother.

Parish records reveal that Jane Johnston of Ardnableask married William Elvin of Castlenavean, Stranrolar on 16 Mar 1875 in the Donegal Church of Ireland.   The Marriage Record shows that John Beattie and George, whose name is illegible; witnessed the couples union.  William’s father was recorded as James Elvin; however, Jane’s father was recorded as “Johnston” his first name was not given!

The Johnston’s of Ardnableask & the Elvin’s of Cashelnavean, Co. Donegal!

Jane and William’s married life began in Donegal, by 12 Mar 1876, and the birth of their first daughter, Mary Jane; they were living on the Lower Road in Londonderry.  Records indicate they were living at the home of Jane’s sister and brother in law; John and Catherine Chambers.  In 1879 and the birth of their second and third children (Elizabeth and John James) the family still resided on Lower Road; records confirming that the “occupier” was still John Chambers.

Sometime between the birth of their son, John James, on 24 Dec1879 and his death on 29 Jun 1881 the couple and their small family had moved to Scotland.  John James, their third child was born in Londonderry and sadly passed away in the small town of Calder, Scotland.  “Calder can be found in West Lothian, Scotland, and is located four miles west of Livingston.  In the 19th and 20th Centuries it was an important centre for the oil shale economy.”

The Johnston’s of Ardnableask & the Elvin’s of Cashelnavean, Co. Donegal!

It would seem, as many had during that period in time; the family had moved to Scotland in order for William to secure work.  The 1881 Census of Scotland disclosed the family was living at 41 Close in the village of Calder, and William was working as a labourer in the iron works.

In October of 1881, a few short months after the death of John James, Jane gave birth to their fourth daughter Isabella.  Their family continued to grow with the birth of their second son, and fifth child; Joseph in June 1884.  Once again the family suffered another death – sadly, Joseph too died in infancy in March 1886.

Baptismal Records from St. Columb’s Cathedral, for their sixth child and fourth daughter – Margaret, dated 11 Nov 1888; confirm that once again the family had returned to Londonderry.  At this point in time the family was living on Nailors Row with William working as a labourer.  The family was complete in 1891 with the birth of their last child – another daughter named Catherine; she too was baptized at St. Columb’s Cathedral.

The Johnston’s of Ardnableask & the Elvin’s of Cashelnavean, Co. Donegal!

On 27 Apr 1892 tragedy struck the Elvin family once again.  William passed away at 113 William Street, Londonderry in the presence of his brother in law, John Chambers; with whom the family was still living.  His death record indicates his cause of death was “disease of kidneys & albuminuria”.  It would seem that the males in the particular line of the Elvin were not destined to live long lives.

At the time the 1901 Census of Ireland was taken Jane and her daughters were living in 15 Argyle Terrace.  An article in the Derry journal, published on 27 Mar 1903; entitled “Sales of House Property in the City” stated “Three new houses of six apartments each and scullery, situate Nos. 28, 30, and 32, Argyle-terrace, were purchased by Mrs. Jane Elvin, Mrs. Sherrard and Mr. Patrick Woods respectively at £200 each.”  28 Argyle Terrace is that home that Jane remained in until her death.

The Johnston’s of Ardnableask & the Elvin’s of Cashelnavean, Co. Donegal!

On 15 Jun 1940 Jane passed away in her home on Argyle Terrace; her nephew Alexander Love (my great grandfather) of 47 Abercorn Road was present.  Her death record noted her death was due to “a cerebral haemorrhage due to arterio sclerosis due to senility”.  Jane, along with her husband William and daughter Isabella; is interred in the Derry City Cemetery.

The Johnston’s of Ardnableask & the Elvin’s of Cashelnavean, Co. Donegal!

Some mystery surrounds Jane.  Although I, and several distant cousins; have searched for her Birth and Baptism Records … none are to be found.  Approximately fourteen years separate her assumed birth year and that of her closest sibling.  Her father’s Christian name is not on her Marriage Record – which may or may not be relevant.  Although I have acquired a lot of information on Jane, much more remains to be found on this particular Twisted Limb.

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

Posted in Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland, Scotland | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Born in Scotland and Died in Londonderry!

Lived in Coleraine and Buried in Ballymoney…

He was the eldest son of William Murdock and Jane McDougall, one of ten; and the only one born in Scotland.  Alexander was my great grand uncle, brother of Thomas Murdock, my great grandfather.

Alexander was born on 24 June 1873 in 14 Inverskip Street, Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland; a small village on the banks of the Clyde.  In the 1500’s Greenock mainly focused on fishing; later becoming largely involved in shipbuilding.  In the very early 1700’s it was a main port; and by the year 1850 there were over 400 sugar ships docking at Greenock, which had set up over fourteen sugar refineries.  It was in one of these sugar refineries that his father William worked as a labourer in 1873.

Born in Scotland and Died in Londonderry!

By May 1875 William, Jane and Alexander had left Scotland and returned to live in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim.  Records from the First Ballymoney Presbyterian Church in 1891 show the family living on John Street; with Alexander working at Kennedy’s and his father working as a Railway Porter.

Born in Scotland and Died in Londonderry!

On 16 November 1894, at the Drumreagh Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney; Alexander married Sarah Anne Crawford.  Rev. S. Wallace joined the two in holy matrimony; their union was witnessed by the bride’s sister Ellen Crawford and Frank Bouthart.  The record reveals at the time the couple were married Alexander was a Railway Porter and his father William a Labourer.  Sarah Anne’s father, Robert, was a weaver by trade.

It is unclear where the couple lived immediately after their marriage.  The 1901 Census of Ireland finds Sarah (married) living at 2 Seacon Moore, Seacon, Co. Antrim.  She was living with her children at the home of her sister Martha J. Crawford along with two more of her siblings; Lizzie & Ellen.  Strangely, Alexander is nowhere to be found!

Born in Scotland and Died in Londonderry!

Once again, the 1911 Census of Ireland revealed that the couple wasn’t living in the same home.  Sarah, along with her children; was living at the home of her sister Elizabeth Crawford and two of her siblings Martha Jane and Ellen.  The record also revealed she had been married for “16 years”; indicating the couple was still married.  I then discovered Alexander, working as a carter; listed at the home of his father in Mount Street, Coleraine.  Was Alexander just visiting or was he living with his parents and extended family?  Alexander signed the Ulster Covenant on 28 Sep 1912 and once again his address was recorded as Coleraine.

Born in Scotland and Died in Londonderry!

No further records for Alexander were to be found until 28 Feb 1924!  Alexander Murdock of Coleraine passed away in the “Asylum in Derry” from “Enteric Fever”; better known as Typhoid Fever.  In an article by Professor W. James Wilson, M.D., D.Sc. entitled “Typhoid Fever in Northern Ireland” it states:  “Ireland in the past century suffered severely from typhus fever and relapsing fever, and in many parts enteric fever claimed a large number of victims.”

Sadly, it would seem that my great grand uncle Alexander was one of its unfortunate victims.  Once again he returned to Ballymoney; he is interred at the Knock Road Cemetery along with his parents.

Posted in Burial Records, Co. Antrim, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Lynch/Wilson Family of Burt, Co. Donegal…

A Preponderance of the Evidence!

Several months ago, upon obtaining burial records for my 2nd great grandfather, Thomas Wilson; I discovered he was born in Burt, Co. Donegal.  The record also revealed that his parents, and my 3rd great grandparents; were William and Cherry Wilson!  Cherry seemed like a rather unusual name to me, especially for someone born in the very early 1800s; a “nick name” perhaps?  A few months later “Mr. WUGS” was able to provide me with baptism information for Thomas from the Burt Presbyterian Church.  That particular record showed that Cherry’s maiden name was Lynch and the Wilson’s lived in Carrowreagh, Burt!  Now I had another Twisted Limb to follow; namely my Lynch ancestors!

Lynch/Wilson Family of Burt, Co. Donegal

Initially, I believed that this was the first time the Lynch surname appeared in my tree (of over 5000 ancestors so far); however, I was wrong!  Thomas Lynch Hunter is my 1st cousin twice removed; his mother is one of my great grand aunts and he is Cherry Lynch’s great grandson.  I had always realized that the name Lynch had to be a family surname; however, up until this point I had not known its origin.

My next step – find more of my Lynch/Wilson family in Burt, Co. Donegal!  How difficult could it be; after all, Burt isn’t very big.  Cherry and my Lynch ancestors should be easily found since she had such an uncommon Christian name.  Or so I thought!

In the 1901 Census of Ireland I discovered that there were three people with the Lynch surname and four Wilsons living in Burt.  The 1911 census revealed that there were now two people with the Lynch name and five Wilsons.  Since William and Cherry Wilson were already long deceased I had to expand my search and work “backwards” (or sideways) so to speak!  I needed to find a way to confirm that these families were in fact mine!

In the 1901 census residing at 18 Toulett, Burt, I found Samuel Wilson Porter living with his father James; who was the head of the family and widowed.  Also living with Samuel and his father was his brother John “a lunatic”, and a domestic servant by the name of Margaret Coll.  The 2nd last entry in the census, the name that got my attention; was Ellen Wilson –spinster and sister in law!  Hmmm… now I know that James Porter had married a Wilson.  I will be eternally grateful that Ellen never married and still carried her maiden name!

Lynch/Wilson Family of Burt, Co. Donegal

The Church Marriage Record for James Porter, a farmer, of “Toolitte” disclosed that he had married Catherine Wilson of Coshquin, daughter of George; on 23 Aug 1855.  Andrew Wilson & Mary Wilson witnessed their union at the Second Derry (Strand) Presbyterian Church in Londonderry.  Catherine passed away in 1899 at the age of 75; based on this particular fact and her approximate birth year it might suggest that Catherine was a sibling of my 3rd great grandfather William Wilson!  If so, then is George my 4th great grandfather? Much more research is required for this particular Twisted Limb.

Interestingly, the 1901 census recorded the residents of a house at 16 Toulett, Burt – the Lynch family!  Robert, a farmer and his wife Matilda along with their eighteen year old son Samuel George resided right next door to the Wilsons!  Sadly, by the time the 1911 census was taken Matilda Lynch was deceased – Robert and his son Samuel George were now living in 14 Toulett, Burt.

The Civil Birth Record for Samuel George Lynch showed that he was the son of Robert Lynch and Matilda Hall of Ture, Kilderry, Co. Donegal.  Now, with another family address I have one more clue in my never ending search for my “dead people”!

Lynch/Wilson Family of Burt, Co. Donegal

A preponderance of the evidence would suggest that these families are connected to one another and definitely mine!  However, I have much more research to do in order to cite and source the records before “claiming” the families as my own and moving back one more generation!

Just another “Crooked Branch” to follow in my ever expanding tree!

Posted in Co. Donegal, Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

I Am Bound To Them!

I am bound to them…

…though I cannot look into their eyes or hear their voices.

I am bound to them...

I honor their history

I am bound to them...

I cherish their lives

I am bound to them...

I will tell their story

I am bound to them...

I will remember them!

Author – Unknown

Posted in Co. Donegal, Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Glasgow, Ireland, Scotland | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

From Garryharry, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal to Montgomery, Pennsylvania, U.S.A!

Not Just A Chamber Maid…

Matilda (Tillie) Graham Sweeney was one of ten children born to John Sweeney & Matilda Graham of Garrowcarry, Edenacarnan, Co. Donegal.  She was also a granddaughter of James Baxter Sweeney and Fanny Robinson, who were my 2nd great grandparents; of Garryharry, Co. Donegal.

Tillie was born on 17 May 1905; she was the 7th child and the 3rd daughter in the family.  In 1911 the Census revealed that she was a scholar and living at 16 Garrowcarry with her parents and eight of her siblings.  Her older brother Alexander had died prior to the census being taken. 

Matilda Graham Sweeney

Not much is known about Tillie’s life between 1911 and 1929 when I discovered her on the Caledonia’s Ships Manifest.  On 6 Apr 1929 Tillie departed Londonderry; her destination… Philadelphia, USA.  After ten days at sea the Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States recorded her arrival on 16 Apr 1929.  Two of Tillie’s brothers immigrated to the USA as well; however it’s unclear yet if they made the journey before or after Tillie left Ireland.

Matilda Graham Sweeney

Tillie “disappeared” off the grid again until 13 Nov 1935 when I unearthed the U.S. Naturalization Records Indices.  At the age of thirty, and just over six years after her arrival in Pennsylvania; she became a citizen of the U.S.A.   The record revealed that she was living at 8240 Crittenden Street, Philadelphia, PA.

On 4 Sep 1937, two years after being naturalized and eight and a half years after leaving her homeland; Tillie was once again onboard the Caledonian traveling from Londonderry to Philadelphia via New York.  It would seem she was returning from her first trip “back home” since she emigrated.  The record shows she was living on Chestnuthill, Pennsylvania.  The Ships Manifest and List of US Citizens revealed she arrived back in New York on Sept 13, 1937.

Matilda Graham Sweeney

The 1940 US Census revealed that Tillie was a Chamber Maid for the “well to do” Dick Family; and had been working for them since at least 1935.  The record also showed that she had worked for 72 hours the prior week and had earned $884 US Dollars that year.  Her salary was the equivalent of $14,826.70 today; a paltry sum when working 72 hour work weeks.

Matilda Graham Sweeney

For reasons that I will never know Tillie remained single for the duration of her life.  The US Social Security Death Indices recorded that she passed away in the Fall of 1971.  Her last known residence was 19117 Elkins Park, Montgomery, Pennsylvania, USA.

Matilda Graham Sweeney was not only a Chamber Maid; she was a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter and aunt; she had family who loved her.  I will always wonder if her life was as she had hoped; I will remember her.

Posted in Co. Donegal, Family History, Ireland | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Hunters of Donegal & Londonderry!

From Bohillion, Newtoncunningham to Lewis Street, Londonderry…

Ferris Row was located just off Bishop Street in Londonderry and was the birthplace of my great grand aunt, Mary Wilson.  Known as Minnie, she was born on 7 Jan 1865 to Thomas Wilson, a carpenter; and Margaret Norry.  Minnie was the eldest of thirteen children and sister to Thomas Wilson, my great grandfather.

The Hunters of Donegal & Londonderry!

On 20 Dec 1870 in the First Derry Presbyterian Church Minnie was married to John Alexander Hunter of Toulette, Burt, Co. Donegal.  Thomas Godfrey and Amelia Short witnessed their union.  The marriage record revealed that John Alexander’s father was also John, a labourer.  With further research I discovered that his mother was Matilda McDonald, she too was from Donegal.

The Hunters of Donegal & Londonderry!

John was born on 7 May 1857 in Bohillion, Newtoncunningham, Co. Donegal, and baptized in the Newtoncunningham Presbyterian Church.  He was one of at least six children that I’ve discovered so far.  The Newtoncunningham Presbyterian Church Communicants’ Roll book revealed that John Alexander attended the Church.  On 21 Oct 1883 it showed that he had left the Church and was a parishioner at the Greenock Presbyterian Church in Greenock, Scotland.  I can only assume that he went to Scotland to find work.  The Communicants’ Roll Book also revealed that he became a member of Derry First Presbyterian Church in Jun 1887, shortly after his marriage to Minnie.

The Hunters of Donegal & Londonderry!

The newlyweds took up residence in Londonderry, initially living in Marlborough Park; where their first son William was born in 1888.  By 1890 and the birth of their second son David the family was living on Lewis Street.  Lewis Street is where many of my Wilson, Beattie’s and extended family lived for over a century.  With the birth of their third son the family is found living on Creggan Road; another street in Londonderry where many of my ancestors lived.

John and Minnie had several more children; six of which I have been able to find.  As there is a “gap” in births between 1890 and 1897, I believe there are more children to be found on this particular Twisted Limb of my family tree.

The Hunters of Donegal & Londonderry!

The 1901 Census showed that the family was still living on Creggan Road and John was working as a “Dock Labourer”.  At this point in time their house was full; as his sister in laws, Maggie Wilson and Elizabeth Diver, along with Elizabeth’s two children were living with the family.  By 1911 the family was once again living on Lewis Street; where they remained until their deaths.

In 1918 at the age of sixty one with his daughter Mary by his side John, a “Watchman on the Quay”; passed away from “Rheumatic Paraplegia”; three years certified.  He, like many of my family; is interred at the Derry City Cemetery on Lone Moor Road, Londonderry.

The Hunters of Donegal & Londonderry!

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

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

Too Many Deaths Too Soon!

The Beattie/Flanagan Connection….

Born on 9 Jul 1866 in Fountain Place, Londonderry she was a daughter, sister, wife and mother.  Her name was Rebecca and she was named after her mother and her great grandmother.  Rebecca Beattie is my great grand aunt, one of ten children born to James Beattie and Rebecca McCadden of Letterkenny & Rathmullan, Co. Donegal respectively.

Letterkenny, Rathmullan and Fountain Place

Rebecca was the sixth child and the 2nd daughter in the Beattie family.  Her younger sister Charlotte Elizabeth is my great grandmother.  On 2 Mar 1855 her parents were married in the Rathmullan Church of Ireland by Rev. H. Ferguson.  Sometime between their marriage and the birth of their first son Robert, who was born on 21 Feb 1856, they had moved to Londonderry and were residing in Fountain Place.

Beattie-McCadden Family

On 2 Sep 1887, at the young age of twenty one, Rebecca gave birth to her first daughter, Mildred Rose, who was known as Millie.  The Birth Record revealed that the father was Thomas James Flanagan, a butler, who was only nineteen.  Although Millie was baptized as “Flanagan” her parents were not married.  Rebecca remained living in her family home, located at 81 Marlborough Park, Rosemount while Thomas was residing on Lecky Road.

Thomas James Flanagan and Rebecca were united in Marriage at St. Augustine’s Church of Ireland – the “Wee Church on the Walls” on 17 Dec 1891.  St. Augustine’s is a beautiful little Church where many of my ancestors before her had married.  Their union was witnessed by Philip Fletcher Flanagan, the Grooms brother, and Martha Lochrie.  Their Marriage Record disclosed that Thomas was a Cartwright living at 162 Lecky Road and Rebecca, a “factory worker”; was residing at 81 Marlborough Park.

Lecky Road & Marlborough Park

On the 22 Nov 1892 at 162 Lecky Road their second daughter Rebecca was born.  Sadly, Rebecca’s life was not to be a long one.  On 6 Jun 1893, just before she was seven months old, Rebecca passed away.  Her death record showed the cause of death as “Teething – 14 days; Convulsions – 8 days, Certified”.  Her maternal uncle Alfred Beattie was present at her death.

While dealing with this loss the family was to be dealt yet another blow!  On 30 Jun 1893, just weeks after the death of her young daughter, Rebecca passed away at her parents’ home in the Creggan.  Once again Alfred Beattie, her brother, was present at the death.  The death record noted the cause of death as “Phitisis Pulmonalis (Pulmonary Tuberculosis), 6 months certified”.  John Foster, the Assistant Registrar, recorded her death just as he had recorded the death of her daughter a few short weeks before.  Both Rebecca and her infant daughter Rebecca are interred at the Derry City Cemetery.

Derry City Cemetery & Creggan Road

After the devastation that my family must have dealt with, I “needed” to find out more -what had become of her husband and their two very young children?

In 1907 at the age of nineteen, their eldest daughter Millie and William Bogle were joined in Marriage at Christ Church in Londonderry.  Sarah Coyle and Robert Bogle witnessed their wedding.  Very quickly their family grew – Millie and William had three sons between 1909 and 1913 named Robert, William and Samuel.

Derry City Cemetery

It would seem that long lives were not meant to be on this particular crooked branch of my family tree.  On 21 Mar 1914 Millie passed away from “acute laryngeal phthisis (tuberculosis), 1 1/2 months certified” leaving her three young sons without a mother.  Like her mother before her she died young and at the home of her maternal grandmother, 81 Creggan Road.  Her husband William was present at her death.

Yet another loss for her father Thomas James Flanagan… what happened to Thomas?  Well, that’s a story for another time!

Posted in Burial Records, Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sentimental Sunday…

Cranky Old Man!

What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man… not very wise
Uncertain of habit… with faraway eyes
Who dribbles his food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice… ‘I do wish you’d try’
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And forever is losing a sock or shoe
Who, resisting or not lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding the long day to fill
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?

Cranky Old Man

Then open your eyes, nurse you’re not looking at me
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will
I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother
Brothers and sisters who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon new a lover he’ll meet
A groom soon at twenty my heart gives a leap
Remembering, the vows that I promised to keep
At Twenty-Five, now I have young of my own
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home

Cranky Old Man 2

A man of Thirty my young now grown fast
Bound to each other with ties that should last
At Forty, my young sons have grown and are gone
But my woman is beside me to see I don’t mourn
At Fifty, once more babies play ’round my knee
Again, we know children my loved one and me

Cranky Old Man 3

Dark days are upon me, my wife is now dead
I look at the future, I shudder with dread
For my young are all rearing young of their own
And I think of the years, and the love that I’ve known
I’m now an old man and nature is cruel
It’s jest to make old age, look like a fool
The body, it crumbles; grace and vigour, depart
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart

Cranky Old Man 4

But inside this old carcass, a young man still dwells
And now and again my battered heart swells
I remember the joys, I remember the pain
And I’m loving and living life over again
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last
So open your eyes people; open and see
Not a cranky old man
Look closer – see…ME!!

Author – Unknown

Posted in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Co. Donegal, Co. Down, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments