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.
Maurice Bunyan contacted this website recently, wishing to make contact with his relations in Saintfield. His cousin has responded and, once again, people far away have been able to re-establish contact with family members still in Saintfield.
We have had a request from Maurice Bunyan to try and find his cousin Fay Magean nee Smith.
If anyone knows Fay please ask her to contact us and we will give her her cousin’s contact details.
Sandra Ward, who lives in Motherwell, Scotland, is researching her family history, which takes her back to two families around Saintfield, the Battons and Masseys.
She has found out a lot about the Battons but would like to make contact with any descendants of Alexander Massey who was a farmer in Tonaghmore in the 1850s or 60s. He had three sons, John, William and Robert and a daughter Eliza who married a Batton.
If you are a descendant of Alexander Massey or know someone who is, please respond to this post and we will put you in touch with Sandra.
In September Maureen contacted the website to trace members of the Finlay family that she last met over fifty years ago. Thanks to your responses Maureen has been able to make contact and plans to come over from England next year to visit Saintfield and the Finlay family.
Maureen contacted us to try to make contact with the Finlay family that she stayed with in 1952. She says:
“I visited Saintfield in 1952 and stayed with a family on a farm at LISDALGAN. I had a wonderful holiday and met lovely people. The family was JACK & MARGARET FINLAY and they had a baby daughter called Jacqueline.
My Uncle, who took me on holiday, was SAM MILLIGAN – his Sister, JESSIE, was Margaret’s mother. Other children in Jessie’s family were John, James, Thomas and Cynthia (Cinders). I believe they lived in Ballycarngannon. I have kept photos of them for all these years and would love to know the whereabouts of the family. I am now 77 ! Thank you.”
If you know any of these people can you let us know and we will put Maureen in touch again.
Doug Robertson of Stittsville, Ontario, Canada has contacted us as he is tyring to document his family history.
Doug’s mother is Jane Robertson (nee Mack) born in May 1932 in Belfast and who emigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada at age 24. She is now 80 years of age but remembers that, as a teenager, her Aunt Mary Mack as well as her Uncle George Best & Aunt Annie Best (nee Mack) used to take her to a Presbyterian church yard in Saintfield to visit the grave where her grandfather & grandmother are buried.
Doug’s grandfather was William Andrew Mack born June 9, 1901 and who died Feb 14, 1983 at the age of 81. He is buried in Roselawn Cemetery in Belfast. His wife (also buried in Roselawn Cemetery) was Margaret Mack (nee Kennedy) born September 1900 in Raphoe, County Donegal and who died May 8, 1973 at the age of 72.
Doug’s great grandfather, possibly named William Mack, and his great grandmother named Annie Mack are possibly buried in the graveyard of First Presbyterian Church in Saintfield. Also in the same grave are his mother’s Uncle John Mack (i.e. one of two sons of William and Annie), and her Aunt Mary Mack (i.e., one of two daughters of William and Annie). William’s and Annie’s other daughter, named Annie Best (nee Mack), married George Best of Belfast and is buried elsewhere.
Doug’s mother Jane remembers the grave being around the right side of a church building near the back of the building. She remembers it being on Saintfield’s main street where the shops are located and she describes a building with a long front walk much like that in front of First Presbyterian Church. She says that the ground at the grave was slightly elevated, the grave was surrounded by stone with a metal railing mounted on it and the grave marker was one of the large, horizontal-type stones laid over the top of the grave, like those that typically cover most of the grave but she can’t remember if it did actually cover the whole grave.
Any advice, references or information that you could give Doug would be greatly appreciated. Please contact us via:
info [at] discoversaintfield.com
discoversaintfield.com has been contacted by Maureen Bunn to ask for our assistance in finding her long lost relatives. This is Maureen’s email:
“Last time I stayed in Saintfield I was about 16 and stayed with my relatives – Margaret & Jack Finlay who lived in a farm nearby. They had a daughter, Jacqueline, about 3 at the time = 1954 approx. Margaret was the daughter of Jessie, my step grandfather’s sister whose maiden name was Milligan. Jessie also had sons – John, James & Thomas and a daughter Cynthia (called Cinders). All a bit vague but maybe you can help me find them? I always mean to return and will one day, especially if I can visit. Thanks for any help you may be able to give. Maureen Bunn”
Can you help Maureen find her relatives? If so, then please contact us at info [at] discoversaintfield.com and we will pass your information on to Maureen.