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Please tell Wilsons and O’Hanlons in Saintfield about this - Discover Saintfield
Betty Catania emigrated to Ontario with her parents in 1949, when she was less than a year old.  Her mother, Elizabeth (Betty) Wilson, remembered growing up in Saintfield.  Betty  Catania is keen to make contact with anyone who knew her mother and she has provided the following information about her family.
“I came to Canada with my parents, Elizabeth and Samuel James Hanlon (formerly O’Hanlon) in 1949 at under a year of age. They have both been deceased for many years now. As a child I remember my Mother, talking about growing up in Saintfield, Northern Ireland. She was born Elizabeth (Betty) Wilson on April 1, 1929 to her parents – Elizabeth (Bushnell, I believe) and William (Billy) Wilson. She was one of the youngest of a large family – 16 children – with several sets of twins. The siblings I remember her mentioning were Maizie, Tommy, Peggy, Winston and Sadie. Many would have left the family home by the time she was growing up. Sadly, when my Mother came to Canada she lost contact with her parents and siblings and she died at a young age – never getting back home to her beloved Ireland.My Father, Samuel James O’Hanlon was born in Canada to Irish parents, who had emigrated to Canada sometime earlier. He was born in Toronto, Canada on October 14, 1921 to Lavinia (Thompson) and Bernard O’Hanlon. My father had four siblings, Bernard (Ben), Norman, Ronald and Phyllis O’Hanlon. The family went back to Belfast, or close by, in 1938 and my father served in the British Army from 1939-1946. On June 18, 1947 my parents married and I was born the following May 15, 1948. The address on my birth certificate is 12 Cedar Valley, Ballydollaghan, in the district of Ballylesson, Lisburn.In the Spring of 1949 my parents and I came by ship to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. All of my Father’s siblings, except for Ronald and Phyllis, emigrated to Canada after that. My Grandfather, Bernard O’Hanlon, left the family and has never been heard from. My Grandmother, Lavinia O’Hanlon, stayed in Ireland and lived on 29 London Road, Belfast until her death many years ago.Any information on either side of my family would be greatly appreciated. I am hoping to take a trip to Ireland (and hopefully) Saintfield this year.


Betty (Hanlon) Catania”

The last two people who made enquiries about their families through this website were successfully re-united.  Let’s hope this can be a third success.


  1. avatar
    L Ramsay-Reply
    April 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I read with interest your notes on the website 17/01/14. This may be a shot in the dark, but anyway I shall tell you briefly why I am replying. My mother was married to a Victor Wilson on 5th October 1942 and he had a sister Maizie. I am supposedly their daughter, but as my mother was sent home disgraced by his mother a Mrs E Wilson, I don’t know a lot more. I have tried writing to various authorities in N. Ireland but no luck, it’s as if all of the above has vanished into thin air. My mother is now deceased and I would expect it may be the same for some of the Irish family. How sad it is that I can’t find out my background. One thing I can say my mother was definitely married to Victor as it appears on her marriage certificate to her 2nd husband. Maybe I am going down the wrong track here, but I thought I would just answer. I hope you find what you are looking for.

  2. avatar
    Mrs Elizabeth Bunker (nee wilson)-Reply
    May 10, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    My father was Sydney Wilson who had a twin sister Margaret (Peggy). His mother my Grandmother was Elizabeth Wilson (nee Bushnell) and his father, my grandfather was William Wilson. They had a large family apart from my father and his sister. There were also James, Sarah (Sadie), Martha (Mazie), William, Victor, Elizabeth (Betty), Frances, Winston, May, and Thomas and Andrew (twins born in 1930). My mother told me there where also children who died in infancy. I do not know anything at all about Frances, Winston or Andrew but have just found out Andrew’s twin Thomas passed away in 2014. I have tried to search for a marriage for Victor with the dates given with no results. Irish searches can be difficult. Have you tried contacting GRONI for a marriage certificate? Is there a chance they may not have married in Ireland? Good luck with your search. Liz

  3. avatar
    March 25, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Hi Elizabeth,

    My name is Andrea, I’m Betty Catania’s niece. If you are on Facebook we have a Facebook page called the Wilson’s of Saintfield. This is a great place to share photos and memories.

  4. avatar
    elizabeth bunker-Reply
    May 1, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Hi Andrea, I am not on Facebook but I believe you may have had contact with my daughter Joanne Richardson who is very keen on family history and has shown me pictures sent by our American and Canadian relatives. I must have a catch up with her and see if she has been on the site recently. I go on family searches when I get time and have learned a bit about the Bushnell family which was my Nan Elizabeth Wilsons maiden name .The Bushnells were also a very large family and my Nan Elizabeth Wilson also lost many siblings in infancy. One of her sisters Mary Bushnell also married a John Wilson who was my Grandad William Wilsons brother and they also lost many children in infancy. It was a hard life in those days it seems. I never knew my Nan Wilson as she passed away before I was born but I vaguely remember my Grandad Wilson, I was about eight years old when he passed away but I have never seen a photo of him, does any exist.Thanks for the infomation on the facebook page .

    Regards Liz

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