Well it is 20.30 pm Monday evening 8 th June 2020 and I'm still in Covid 19 lockdown. I have just returned from my usual evening walk. A walk that takes me up an old lane that runs to the back fields on our farm here – a lane that once lead to someone's home.
A tall chestnut tree, a couple of crab apple trees and holly in the hedgerow tell me that this was the site of someone's home. Searching through old maps I see there once was a home right at the end of this old lane in the 1700s. I shuffle through the brambles and find large cornerstones hidden in the grass – all that's left!
A few late night phone calls to some of my older neighbours and I learn that it was once the home of the Morgan family who settled here during the Plantation in the early 1600's – right next to our farm here in the Townland of Ballindarragh in the Parish of Kilcluney.
I know my family name of Ferguson settled here in the 1600's and generations of the name are still here. Many emigrated and have returned to see the birthplace of their ancestors.
Have you got roots here in County Armagh? Would you like to walk that long loanin (lane) to your ancestors old homeplace? Visualise or indeed maybe find a ruin to rebuild in your mind the sort of home they left before emigrating.
It's good to get a handle on old namesakes through various records but its even better to come visit and walk that loanin! It's good to sit among the locals, young and old, and enjoy their chat and soak up the lilt of the local accent.
The genealogy clues that come out of a chat over the gate to the old farmer, a casual cup of tea round the fire with the family or a visit to the Sunday morning service of the local church have been worth so much more than days spent researching in libraries. The memories created will make you smile for years.
I'd like to walk that loanin with you.
Take that site visit with me and I will help you explore, understand and discover the life of your ancestors who lived here in County Armagh before they set sail for the “land of plenty”.
Take time and stay in a local Bed & Breakfast accommodation in your ancestral County Armagh and travel with me around all that your ancestors once knew.
Get in touch; send me an email; share what you know and set the wheels in motion for that “trip back home 2021”.
Will be watching out for that email popping into my email folder.
Biddy (Barbara Ferguson)
41 Coolmillish Road