Newry.ie

 Newry and Mourne Museum has helped a Canadian family to find their Newry roots after an enquiry from a Terry Miller on his sister’s (Linda) behalf to enquire about the location of Market Street in Newry. This was the street where their great-great grandfather Andrew Miller had a shoe making business from 1870 to 1906. 

Linda Reid pictured with Shane McGivern, in the Reading Room at Newry and Mourne Museum.
Linda Reid pictured with Shane McGivern, in the Reading Room at Newry and Mourne Museum.

In response to their query, Collections Research Assistant, Shane McGivern, informed them how Market Street had been demolished in the 1960s. Terry was disappointed that this link was now gone and was going to give up looking for links to his family’s Newry links. Shane suggested as an alternative to look for the houses where Andrew Miller and his wife Elizabeth Neville were born. 

A marriage certificate found in the family papers was able to give the home address as Commons townland. Using documents in the Reside Collection, including land valuation records and accompanying maps, Shane was able to locate the original ancestral Miller and Neville homesteads. To the delight of the family, these houses are still standing.

Linda and her husband Richard made the trip to Newry on April 22nd and visited the Museum to see the documents that mentioned their family. With this information, they were able to make their way to the Commons and take photographs of the birthplace of Linda’s great-great grandparents. Linda was amazed at how small the houses were considering the large families that would have lived there. Linda said “Walking through the place where my ancestors lived was a magical experience.” 

Shane McGivern also contacted Reverend Brian Colvin of the Downshire Road Presbyterian Church who showed Linda and Richard inside the church where Andrew Miller and Elizabeth Neville were married on August 6th 1873. 

Shane also arranged for the couple to meet Stanley Bond of the Sandy’s Street Presbyterian Church where members of the Miller family had been baptised over many generations. They were able to see the original baptismal bowl that was used, as well as the register that recorded the details of the baptism. This information allowed Linda to find further generations of the Miller family tree. 

Stanley Bond, using his great intuition contacted a lady called Jennifer Campbell whose mother’s maiden name was Neville. Jennifer knew immediately that they were related, as Linda’s great uncle Lloyd had visited Jennifer Campbell some thirty years previous. 

Joe Neville and Linda Reid pictured after meeting one another for the first time. Joe is a cousin of Linda’s great grandfather John Miller who emigrated to Canada in the early part of the 20th century.
Joe Neville and Linda Reid pictured after meeting one another for the first time. Joe is a cousin of Linda’s great grandfather John Miller who emigrated to Canada in the early part of the 20th century.

Jennifer arranged for Linda to meet her Uncle Joe Neville who is 101 years old. Joe is the nephew of Elizabeth Miller and had memories of the family from many years ago. It was an emotional moment when Joe and Linda finally met. Joe shared his experience of what life was like in Newry many years ago. 

Jennifer said “It was a wonderful surprise when I discovered that Linda and Terry were searching for their Family Roots in Newry. Linda and I are now in touch exchanging family photographs and stories”. 

Linda pictured at the house where her great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Neville, was born in 1854. The house is situated beside the grounds of Ballyholland GAA club.
Linda pictured at the house where her great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Neville, was born in 1854. The house is situated beside the grounds of Ballyholland GAA club.

From a simple request to the Museum about the location of Market Street, the family had found two ancestral homes and were reunited with their family on this side of the Atlantic. Shane said “many people are returning to Newry to find their ancestral roots and in this case we have been able to go one step further by finding living relatives”.  

Museum Curator, Noreen Cunningham said “we are delighted to be able to assist Linda and Richard in their search for information, the Reside Collection has once again proved invaluable for bringing people closer to their past”. 

The Reside Collection is available to the public by appointment, for more information please telephone: 028 3031 3173; email: shane.mcgivern@newryandmourne.gov.uk or visit www.bagenalscastle.com

Pin It
Newry.ie require Cookies on some parts of our site to enable full functionality. By using Newry.ie you consent to our use of Cookies. You can use your browser settings to disable cookies on this or any other website.