Find the ancestors day…6/14/17. Wednesday.

First, a story about our last night’s hotel up near Lough Swilly.

Tuesday, when we arrived  at our hotel…and the ladies rebelled. Actually, Nancy nixed it from the front door through our guest room. Then Amy chimed in with her description of her creaky bed and a dead bird on her balcony with the non-view of the lake.  The lobby looked like it was from someone’s grandma’s place…really soft upholstery.

Oh, well,,.not easy traveling with prima donna people. Immediate call to Pam Long, Sky’s mom and our ace travel agent. Many phone calls and strings pulled…we will stay one night; not two, full refund and return to Harvey’s Point….our previously enjoyable hostelry.

But, a fine meal and walk on the beach and a good night’s sleep.

And also on Tuesday, we had a very, very moving day with our guide – Adrian Callan – in Derry.  More later on that.  Here he is at a 5,000 year old site as our introduction to Derry.IMG_1663

Michael Cooper ( picks us up at 10AM, Wednesday.  He sits us down for a lecture about family’s being torn asunder by the Famine in the 1840’s and the emigration it spawned.  Here, we sit with kids going to ships in Letterkenny’s market square.IMG_1713

He has studied our genealogist information and has some graveyards which may contain Martins.  We found a gravestone with 8 Martins on it…little town called Sessiaghoneill in east Donegal.   It’s near Killygordon, Stranorlar and Ballybofey…all of these towns would have seen Martins attending the markets…and the churches.IMG_1835

Look at all the Martins listed.  Michael was Denis Martin’s brother’s son, I think.IMG_1829

We lit a candle here.

There’s Nancy and our driver/guide – Michael Cooper.

The church name and age are here.

Also found the place in the Edenmore townland where my great-grandmothers’ people – the Martin family – would have had their tenant farm from sometime in the 1800s through the 1950’s.  It was a 37 acre piece; rented for decades by the Martins.IMG_1816

We think this is about 20 of the 37 acres that Denis Martin and his brother, Michael, farmed from at least, the 1880’s into the 1950’s.  Still rural Donegal…some homes nearby.

Catherine Martin left at 14 in 1865 with her older brother, Hugh, and two sisters; leaving behind her parents and 3 other siblings.  She met William Francis Roach and got married in 1874 in Philadelphia….he was the saddle and harness-maker for John Wanamakers’ store.

Then, another cemetery…since we are not sure about all these Martins and exactly where they fit in our “tree”…this is another Catholic Church in a townland called “Crossroads”.  Some Martin graves are almost too old to read.


Some are really new…too new for our people maybe.  We lit a candle here, too.IMG_1807

The candle on the right is the Martin candle; the other is for peace for the soul of Tom Ehlers and peace for our friend, Sandy, and her family in Sanibel, FL.

At the end of the day, we bid a farewell for our driver/researcher/guide – Michael Cooper – and re-entered the hotel we had left yesterday, the Harvey’s Point Hotel on Lough Eske. The staff is so glad to see us.  They are used to repeat visitors (80%), but not this fast.  They upgraded us to a giant suite with a barroom, six skylights that open and an opulent bathroom with another statue of Venus at the side of now a two-person hot tub bath.

Crazy.  We may have an Irish trio come play at midnight….NOT.

We are headed with the kids into Donegal town for dinner…an Italian restaurant…and, hopefully, some Irish music.  The climbed Mount Errigal today, while we were out hunting ancestors.  A bit warmer today….and sunshine.


Lifelong Philadelphia area Realtor. Now a 13-year citizen of Sanibel, Florida. Married to Nancy for 54 years. Three children (2 in Devon; 1 in Steamboat Springs, CO) and 5 grandkids (1 in college/1 working). We are helping with charities involving poverty, kids and education. Helping to lead Captiva's Chapel by the Sea.

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