FIVE cousins from Philadephia have managed to track down their well known Coleraine anchestors thanks to a chance meeting one of them had with Coleraine’s Caring Caretaker, Davy Boyle.
When Louise Connor Wingate was on a visit to Coleraine three years ago, she met Davy Boyle and asked for his help researching her family history. Louise knew she had a connection with Coleraine because her grandmother was originally from Bell House Lane.
Louise’s grandmother Margaret Connor nee Anderson had emigrated to America in 1912 with her husband William Connor, originally from Limavady.
Armed with this little piece of information, Davy got straight into action, and last week he was part of a special reunion between the five American cousins and their Coleraine family.
The name Anderson is well known in the Coleraine area - many will remember Anderson’s butchers at Queen’s Street and before that at Brook Street.
It was James Anderson who began a fruit, poultry and butchery business in Coleraine at the top of Brook Street in the 1800’s.
This business continued through five generations and became one of Northern Ireland’s oldest family businesses.
Margaret Connor, was the granddaughter of this James Anderson.
Her parents were James and Hessie Anderson of Bell House Lane.
Her brothers, Bobbie and Archie were killed whilst serving with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in World War 1.
In fact their names appear on the War Memorial in Coleraine.
Before moving to America for a new life, Margaret was a machinist in Rogers Shirt Factory at Beresford Avenue.
After many phonecalls and searches, Davy was able to put Louise in contact with Garth Anderson.
Garth, and his father Kenny, were the final proprietors of the long established butchers business at Queen’s Street.
Garth’s great grandfather, Archie Anderson and Louise’s great grandfather James would have been brothers.
The pair began communicating via email and social networking sites and earlier this month they finally got to meet face to face when Louise and four of her cousins travelled to Coleraine.
The cousins were able to find baptism records for their family members at St Patrick’s Church and viewed the war memorial in Coleraine where the names of Bobbie and Archie Anderson are engraved marking the sacrife they gave during the War.
Thanking the people of Coleraine, Louise said: “ We had such a warm welcome from the people of Coleraine and we would like to say a special thank you to Davy Boyle who hosted our family reunion in the Mayor’s Parlor of your beautiful Town Hall.
“Davy is a wonderful asset to the area.
“We would also like to thank Peter the sexton of St Patrick’s Church.
“We really feel a strong connection to this town and our Ulster Scots heritage”