Seventeen Years Ago Today!

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 inquisitiveness will lead her to pounce at anything that moves…”

At about 7:00 p.m. on Monday, February 1, 1999 we are in the Lijiang Hotel in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province.   Wuhan is a beautiful city full of history which lies in the eastern Jianghan Plain at the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers.

Ying 2 a

“People will be naturally drawn to her by her warm, affectionate and gregarious character.  The Tigress will express her feelings outright… she will have strong opinions and will air her views without hesitation… “

Waiting on the 7th floor we watch the numbers on the elevator, holding our breath each time the light nears our floor, exhaling loudly with grumbling complaints and nervous laughter as it passes us by!  We are eight couples, one grandma, two grandpas and one soon to be older sister.

Ying 3a

Finally, the elevator light stopped on the 7th floor – the doors opened and, along with their nannies; five of the most beautiful baby girls exited the overcrowded elevator and entered our world.

“…she won’t be herself if she does not keep testing the boundaries and limits set for her… the earlier she realizes who is boss, the better for her and everyone else… given the proper stimuli of discipline, coupled with love, warmth and loads of understanding, no other child will respond as spontaneously as the lovable little Tigress.”

Ying 4a

One petite, exquisite little girl came home with me and has filled all the empty spaces in my heart.

“Having a little Tigress is a reward in itself”!  Li Qi Ying I love you!  

Excerpts from the Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes by Theodora Lau

Posted in China, Family History, Geneaology, Hubei, Qichun, Wuhan | 12 Comments

Wordless Wednesday!

Dear Ancestor…

Dear Ancestor

Your tombstone stands among the rest
Neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished marble stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn

Derry City Cemetery

You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh and blood and bone
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own

Dear Ancestor

Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so
I wonder how you lived and loved
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot
And come to visit you.

Dear Ancestor

Walter Butler Palmer

Posted in Burial Records, Co. Antrim, Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Those Places Thursday!

Ballymoney, Co. Antrim: Discovering a Murdoch – Love Connection…

Ballymoney is a small town and civil parish in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland where many generations of my Murdoch/k family where born and resided until their deaths.  I too had the pleasure of living there, but sadly just for a short period of time.

Discovering a Murdoch-Love Connection

In researching my family tree I tend to follow all of my family lines, not only my direct line.  I realized early on that many more connections are discovered using this method.  I have found family that I’m connected to on both my maternal and paternal family lines.  My Murdoch-Love connection is another one of those finds … another of my Twisted Limbs.

On 6 Nov 1901, by Licence, Rev. D. Boyle united William Love, originally of Limavady, and Helen Murdoch of Seymour Street, Ballymoney; in marriage.  Their union was witnessed by William Gillard and Mary Love (the groom’s sister) in St. James Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney.

Discovering a Murdoch-Love Connection

Born about 1860 William is one of two sons and seven children born to Matthew Love & Agnes (Nancy) Kyle of Drumramer, Co. Londonderry.  He is also my 1st cousin 3x removed; his father Matthew and my 2nd great grandfather John were brothers.

Helen Murdoch is also one of seven children.  She was born on 14 Apr 1875 in Old Cumnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland to John Muir Murdoch and Helen (Ellen) Hogg.  At some point before the 1901 census was taken the family had moved to Ballymoney and were living at 1 Seymour Street.  William was an officer with the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), joining the force on 14 Jun 1882 at the age of twenty two.  In 1901 he was living at 65 Charlotte Street, Ballymoney in the RIC Barracks.

Discovering a Murdoch-Love Connection

As William was with the RIC he was transferred on numerous occasions; he was stationed in Dublin in 1882; Ballymoney in 1885 and was still there in 1902 when he received a promotion to Acting Sergeant; and a “reward for good service”.  By 1903 he was stationed in Donegal receiving another promotion to Sergeant in 1905.  During the period between 1905 and 1 Oct 1909 he was transferred from Moville to Raphoe; the 1911 census shows him as “head of household” at 13 William Street, Raphoe.  It seems that this is where William remained until 1920.  Helen and their children were living with her mother and sisters in law at 30 Main Street, Limavady.  Records show that William retired from the RIC on 6 Aug 1920.

Discovering a Murdoch-Love Connection

Just recently I discovered Thomas Murdoch, one of Helen’s siblings.  Thomas passed away on 9 Apr 1882, at the very young age of six; and is interred at the St. James Church Yard in Ballymoney.  Andrea, a very special person; made the trip to the Church Yard to photograph his grave for me.  Not only did she take a photo, but in a truly lovely gesture she placed flowers on his grave.  The Church Yard is directly across the street from Dalriada High School; a school I attended as a young teenager… I was so close, but at that time I didn’t know he was there.

Discovering a Murdoch-Love Connection

My maternal Love connection is very clear; what isn’t clear is how these Murdoch’s are connected to MY paternal line, the Ballymoney Murdoch’s.  There MUST be a direct connection between Helen’s Murdoch’s and mine; as every other Murdoch/Murdock in Ballymoney are directly related to me.  Another Crooked Branch to continue following.

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

Stepping Back In Time!

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…

Treasure Chest Thursday

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.

Treasure Chest Thursday

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”.

Treasure Chest Thursday

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!

Posted in Co. Antrim, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wordless Wednesday!

“Days Gone By”…

Wilson - Love Connection

“The special book upon the shelf, 
Was made with many hands. 
Our ancestors who posed back then, 
All came from different lands. 

Wilson - Love Connection

Their pictures were all tucked away, 
And rarely did we see, 
The importance of these treasures, 
The start of you and me. 

Wilson - Love Connection

The history of our families, 
Now here in black and white. 
Preserved with special care and time, 
Each page is done just right. 

Wilson - Love Connection

When time permits, we take it down, 
And think of days long past, 
Our hopes, our dreams, our heritage, 
All safe and made to last. 

Author Unknown

Posted in Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Glasgow, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Londonderry to Donegal, Again!

Back Another Wilson Generation and New Connections…

Just recently a “Twist of Fate” led me back in time to Burt, Co. Donegal to discover many more of my Wilson ancestors.

An extract from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis, 1837 describes Burt as: “A parish, in the barony of Ennishowen, county of Donegal, and province of Ulster, 6 miles (N. W.) from Londonderry; containing 3765 inhabitants.  This parish, which anciently formed part of the parish of Templemore, is situated on Lough Swilly …”

Eliza Jane Wilson is my 2nd great grand aunt; sister of my 2nd great grandfather Thomas and daughter of William.  Eliza was born in Burt, Co. Donegal circa 1848; unfortunately, I have been unable to find a birth or baptism record for her.

On 12 Jan 1872 Margaret McGrath and Edward Dobbin witnessed the marriage of Eliza to David Doherty in the First Derry Presbyterian Church, Londonderry.  The Marriage record revealed that David’s father was James – both he and Eliza’s father were labourers.

Eliza Jane Wilson & David Doherty

In 1901 Eliza, David and their daughter Mary, who was twenty one at the time; where living in 28 Carrowreagh, Burt.  The census revealed that the family had a three year old boy visiting them – his name… Thomas Wilson Diver!  This confirms, without a doubt; that this is my family.  Thomas Wilson Diver is my 1st cousin 2x removed, the son of Eliza Wilson and George Diver!  That’s a story I’ll delve into another time!

Doherty & Diver - 1901 Census

On 9 Nov 1903 Eliza was widowed when her husband David died at the young age of fifty seven.  Their daughter, Mary was listed as the informant of his death.

Just over one year after the death of her father on 20 Dec 1904, in a Civil Ceremony; Mary of Burt, Donegal married William Wilson of Rosemount, Londonderry.  Maggie Goligher and Robert Wilson, the brides brother and sister, witnessed their wedding.  It would seem I had uncovered another family link… Mary’s new husband William was my great grand uncle, the son of Thomas, and Mary’s first cousin!  Another Crooked Branch to follow in what seems to becoming a “shallow gene pool”!

Diver, Doherty and Wilson Records

The Doherty family was found living in 21 Carrowreagh at the time the 1911 census was taken.  Much had changed for my family in the ten years since the 1901 census had been recorded.  Details revealed that not only was Eliza Jane widowed, her daughter Mary was also widowed.

On 30 Jul 1909 at 29 Cottage Row, Londonderry William Wilson, a carpenter, died from “Morbus cordis (unspecified heart disease) and Pneumonia Certified”.  After five short years of marriage Mary lost her husband and Dorothy and Eliza Jane lost their father.

William Wilson and Family Records

One thing did remain the same… Thomas Diver (aka Thomas Wilson Diver) was still living with the family and now listed as a “grandson”!  The question remains – why was Thomas living in Donegal and not with his parents and siblings in Londonderry!  My search continues…

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

Short Service Record – No. 8211, Robert Norry Wilson!

A “Twist of Fate” that led me back in time to Burt, Co. Donegal…

Born in 113 Creggan Road, Londonderry on 7 Aug 1887, Robert Norry Wilson was my great grand uncle.  He was one of thirteen children born to Thomas Wilson and Margaret Jane Norry, my 2nd great grandparents.  I knew very little about Robert until recently when I started to research the rather unusual family name of Norry!

Robert Norry Wilson

In 1901, at the age of 14, Robert was living in 68 Creggan Road.  The 1911 census however showed no trace of him.  After exhausting several avenues, and researching many Robert Wilsons, I came across a “Short Service” Record and 1911 Military Census for yet another Robert Wilson.  This time it was the correct one!  On 9 Jan 1905 Robert joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers by signing the Short Service Attestation and the “Oath to be taken by Recruit on Attestation” in Omagh.  The record shows he was a carpenter by trade, born in Londonderry and was 18 years and 5 months old!  The record also indicated that Robert was a man of smaller stature standing at 5’ 6 ¼”, 120lbs; with a “fresh complexion”, hazel eyes and dark brown hair.  It was noted that Robert had some “distinctive marks”, tattoos and a “ring device” on the middle finger of his left hand.  The documents also confirmed that his “Next of Kin” were Thomas and Margaret Wilson of 113 Creggan Road and Thomas Wilson (my great grandfather) of 22 Lewis Street, Londonderry.

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

His service was to be short lived… on 28 Jan 1905, nineteen days after he enlisted, the Statement of Service of No. 8211 – Robert Wilson noted that for the sum of £10 he was “Discharged by Purchase”!  At this point in time it’s unclear why Robert was discharged.  Was it because he was underage, or did he change his mind about serving in only nineteen short days?  I’m leaning towards him being underage – unfortunately, it’s something I’ll never know for sure!

Statement of Services Discharge

One very faded, short sentence on Robert’s “Statement of Services” read: “Certified that a refund of £5.00 Purchase Money was paid to Mrs. Eliza Wilson, Burt, Co. Donegal by the Regimental Accountant, Belfast”!  This was the first time that I had one of my Wilson Crooked Branches lead directly back to Co. Donegal!  Once again… my Christmas had come early!  Since this discovery I’ve “unearthed” many more of my Wilson and connected families in Burt, Co. Donegal, including burial records for Thomas Wilson (my great grandfather) showing that he was born in Burt, Co. Donegal, however, that’s a story for another time.  Not to be deterred… on 12 Nov 1907 Robert once again enlisted in the military.  The Certificate of Primary Military Examination revealed that Robert was “fit for service in the Royal Regiment of Artillery (Royal Garrison Artillery)”.  On 2 Sep 1911 in Cornwall, England, witnessed by James Harte and Kate Prime; Rev. Wood joined Robert Norry Wilson and Mary Nicholl in marriage.  On 30 May 1912 Mary gave birth to their daughter Eileen.  Yet another Twisted Limb for me to research further.

Royal Regiment of Artillery

Robert retired on 11 Nov 1919 after 12 years of service.  His final Statement of Service showed Robert’s character as “Exemplary – A sober, honest, reliable hardworking N.C.O”.

He returned to 7 North Street, Londonderry where remained, with his wife Mary, until his death on 25 July 1964.  He is interred at the Derry City Cemetery with his wife and many of his extended family. I am so grateful for Robert’s “Discharge by Purchase” and the twist of fate that led me back to my Wilson’s in Burt, Co. Donegal.  One tiny piece of information has helped unearth many more of my Co. Donegal ancestors!

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

Mystery Monday!

Faces Without A Name…THE 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.


For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth,
and now only those who loved her know
what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars, the house, the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.


So think about this long and hard,
are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at “dash mid-range.”)

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And…be less quick to anger,
show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.


If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
with your life’s actions to rehash.
would you be pleased with the things they say
about how you spent your dash?

-Source unknown


Posted in Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday!

My Love’s of Co. Londonderry…

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, …

My Love's

… but beautiful old people are works of art.”

Eleanor Roosevelt




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

The Robinsons of Ballyarr!

“They Too Hailed From Donegal…” 

On 20 Nov 1909, at the age of seventy; in Garryharry, Churchill, Co. Donegal, Fanny Sweeney, a farmers widow; passed away.  Her son John was the informant of her death.  She was my 2nd great grandmother, mother to Lizzie Sweeney, who married my great grandfather Thomas Murdock.

Fanny Robinson - Marriage & Death Record

Fanny, a child of James Robinson and an unknown mother (her name currently remains elusive) was born about 1839 in Co. Donegal.  In 1859 she married James Baxter Sweeney in the Ramelton 1st Presbyterian Church; a Twisted Limb that I followed (literally) back to Ireland in the summer of 2014!

My recent research now has me exploring my Robinson ancestors; following this particular Crooked Branch back one more generation!  The marriage record of Fanny Robinson and James Baxter Sweeney reveals that the Robinsons lived in Ballyarr, Co. Donegal in 1859; and her father James was a farmer.  In turn, the Griffiths Valuation record of 1858 confirmed that James Robinson (my 3rd great grandfather) was leasing plots 11 and 12 from Thomas Patterson.  The Robinson farm was located in the Town land of Ballyarr, Parish of Tullyfern, Union of Milford, Barony of Kilmacrenan in Co. Donegal.

Robinsons of Ballyarr

My 3rd great grandfather James Robinson passed away on 14 Jan 1868 at Ballyarr, Co. Donegal.  The Civil Death Record confirms that he was a farmer and was widowed at his time of death.  John Robinson was with him at his time of death.  So, my “unknown” 3rd great grandmother Robinson was deceased prior to Jan 1868!  A little clue moving forward…

James Robinson of Ballyarr

The Census Record shows that only one Robinson was still living in Ballayar in 1901.  Hannah Stewart (70 yrs) was listed as a widow and the head of the family.  She was living with her daughter Jane Robinson (26 yrs) and her niece Mary Tease (14 yrs) at 5 Ballyarr!  Hmm… so, where does Jane fit?

1901 Census

A Civil Birth Record for Jane Robinson of “Ballyare” was unearthed.  Jane, my 1st cousin 3 times removed; was born on 30 Oct 1870 to John Robinson and Hannah “Teas”.  The record also revealed that John was a farmer.

John Robinson and Hannah “Tease” were married on 10 Mar 1863 in the Parish of Trenta, Co. Donegal.  John was a farmer, as were his father James and father in law Moses.  Moses Tease and Alexander Robinson witnessed their union.  Another clue was discovered in the Church Marriage Record!  Who is Alexander Robinson?  Is he another of my 2nd great uncles that I had been previously unaware of?  The search will continue for Alexander!

Further “hunting” led me to the Civil Death Record of John Robinson, my 2nd great uncle; who sadly passed away much too young at the age of 35.  His wife, Hannah Robinson, was present at his death, on 1 Jun 1872.  Almost 10 years later, on 7 Feb 1882; Hannah Robinson of Ballyarr married William Stewart of Breen.  Sadly, by the time the 1901 Census was taken… Hannah Stewart of 5 Ballyarr was a widow once again!

There is no question the 1901 Census of the residents at 5 Ballyarr became somewhat of a “Gold Mine” for me!

Posted in Burial Records, Co. Donegal, Geneaology, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments