Spent a lovely afternoon on Tuesday, 28th May with three sisters of the Doherty Family from New Zealand. They told me at our initial consultation that their Irish link related to their Great Grandfather who they believed had travelled from Ireland to Aukland, however they weren’t sure when. They were keen to find out more and to make a tangible connection with the country they were visiting, albeit for the first time but one they felt a strong affinity with all the same. In short, they felt like they had come "home".
Armed with the few scant details that they could provide me with, I uncovered a treasure trove of information to their excitement. It was in fact their Grt Grt Grandfather, Joseph Dougherty who left Ireland in the late 1840s for a new life in the southern hemisphere with his wife and family.
Their family story is very interesting and something that, with further research, I'd like to write much more about. It goes to show that we as genealogists have only really scraped the surface when it comes to the various groups of the Irish Diaspora which left these shores for a better life. New stories of emigration, and the self-preservation that came with leaving the life they knew behind in Ireland, come to light weekly and it is never safe to assume that people only emigrated during the Great Famine of 1845-1849.
The ladies were only in Inishowen for a couple of days but I managed to find out a good deal of information for them at very short notice including the date of departure from Ireland and arrival in New Zealand, and the name of the ship on which they sailed. I also found their Grt Grandfather’s DOB of birth in New Zealand (the first of his family born outside Ireland) and the fact that he was a twin. All this information was news to the ladies and they were delighted.
We spent some time in Moville and I took them out to see Northburg Castle in Greencastle and we had fun exploring the ruins there.
This is just the beginning of looking at the Aukland-Doherty's family history story in Ireland and I know I am going to enjoy doing more resarch for them both here in Donegal and of course in New Zeland also.