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20 March 2009

Finding Fintan's Family

One of the most satisfying outcomes of the recent Scots-Irish Research Seminar involved turning the tables on one of our speakers and helping him to find his family.

It started on the drive from the San Francisco International Airport when Fintan Mullan mentioned that his mother's first cousin had come to Oakland and the families had lost contact with each other. Fintan and Dr. Brian Trainor, of the Ulster Historical Foundation in Belfast, Northern Ireland were here for the CGS Scots-Irish Seminar.

As soon as we saw CGS President Jane Lindsey I informed her of Fintan's missing cousin. I know how much Jane loves a search so I wasn't surprised to learn the next day that she had made considerable progress in a short amount of time.

Fintan was able to provide Jane with some details about Hugh Moreland who had left Ireland and went first to Australia but settled in Oakland. Hugh had made one trip back to Ireland to visit family but they lost contact after that. Hugh died in California and Fintan knew the names of Hugh's children.

Jane worked the California Death and Birth Indexes and checked the California passenger records. She found Hugh H. Moreland, born in Ireland, came from Australia to San Francisco in April of 1930. Kathleen DiGiovianni of the Oakland Public Library helped the cause by finding Hugh's obituary in the Oakland Tribune.

Jane was able to locate Fintan's first cousin once removed, Eileen, who lives in Napa. Fintan called his mother in Ireland to tell her the good news. Eileen and her husband drove to Oakland the next day to meet with Fintan after the seminar.

First cousins, once removed: Eileen and Fintan.

Fintan and Eileen were reunited after almost thirty years of lost contact between their families.
Great work, Jane!

Photographs by Kathryn Doyle, Oakland, California, 3/7/2009.


Becky Wiseman said...

Kathryn, this is so cool. I love stories like this!

Kathryn Doyle said...

Thanks, Becky! And the joy spread further - Fintan met Eileen's sister Kathleen when he and Brian continued their tour in Santa Barbara.