An American family have launched an emotional search to find their long-lost relatives in Fermanagh.
Harmony Kasper and her grandmother Patricia Hahn, both from Pennsylvania, are the descendants of Francis Murray and Alice McGovern Murray, who according to both the 1901 and 1911 census, lived and were married in Derrylea, near Newtownbutler, at the end of the nineteenth century.
Harmony and Patricia and their family in the US are now seeking any members of the extended Murray family who are still living in Fermanagh.
“My family and I have always been interested in our Irish heritage,” said Harmony, who said travelling to Ireland on a study trip two years ago helped spur on her search. “We have been attending the Pittsburgh Irish Festival for quite a few years now. Our first time there sparked my grandmothers interest in really beginning her search for our past relatives. They always have a genealogy booth and assist people in beginning their search.”
Francis and Alice Murray were the parents of Patricia’s maternal grandfather, Robert Murray (1857-1926), who married Mary Brady (1882-1936), the daughter of John Brady and Bridget King Brady.
The couple, who moved to the US in 1920, had nine children, including Patricia’s mother Alice Veronica (1905 – 1984). Their other eight children were: Francis Patrick (born 1897), Mary Jane (born 1898), Anna (born 1901), Kathleen (born 1903), Elizabeth (born 1908), Johnny Robert (born 1911), Margaret (born 1913) and Rosina (born 1921).
All the Murray children were born in Fermanagh, except for Rosina. According to Harmony, none of the children ever returned to Ireland. Harmony said Patricia’s mother Alice never spoke about Ireland with her growing up, aside from mentioning that they always ate potatoes and eels, which her father Robert caught from the river.
Harmony herself visited Fermanagh while on her study trip to Ireland two years ago, one of the only members of the American Murray descendants to do so.
“I travelled to Enniskillen, where I stayed, then Lisnaskea, and finally Newtownbutler, where I visited St. Mary’s cemetery,” she said. “I would obviously love to travel back sometime in the future. My grandmother has been dying to travel to Ireland for years. I hope that one day I will be able to bring her over.
“When I returned from Ireland, all my grandma asked of me was to bring back rocks from her family’s homeland. She carries them around with her daily.”
Harmony asked anyone in Fermanagh who believes they may be a member of their extended to get in touch: “Since our family was Irish Catholics, and they had huge families, we believe that second and third cousins, and beyond, might be in the area. We have never tried to contact anyone before this because we were never sure.”
To get in touch with the family you can either email Harmony at email@example.com or write to her grandmothers at Patricia Hahn, 113 Connoquenessing Terrac, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, 16117, USA.
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Posted: 6:00 pm January 31, 2016