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[Bann Valley] Another Introduction

Just joined the Bann Valley Group and thought I'd better introduce myself

My name is Tom Kelly.  I lived in Garvagh (Co. Londonderry) until almost 12
and my mother's family, the Gilmores, came from the Rockhead farm in Bovedy
near Kilrea.

We are also descended from the Gilmores of the Blackrock farm in the same
townland, some of whose members had interesting pasts, while others, if
family legend be believed, "made it good" in New Orleans (perhaps more than

I have had three bursts of interest in family history over the years,
firstly after the death of my maternal grandmother, Jane Hannah Gilmore, née
Walls, ("Jeannie Hanna"), in 1974 and then at intervals of around 10 years
or so.  I suppose that the latest 10 year stretch must over now as a chance
search on the internet last Saturday has led me to subscribe to this mailing
list (the search was an attempt to do anything to avoid the ironing if I'm

Fired with renewed enthusiasm as I now am, I would like to make contact with
Barbara Braswell if at all possible as she appears to have conducted
considerable research into the Cooke/McCook family.  Mary Jane Gilmore, née
Cooke, was the mother of my grandfather William Johnston Gilmore.

Said grandfather had an uncle of the same name, a Presbyterian minister in
Newton Crumlin, Co. Antrim, and 20 years ago I was in contact with his great
granddaughter, Kate Masheder.  Any renewed contact with her would be most

Not last and certainly not least, Linda Gilmore provided me with myriad
information during my last "burst" in the mid 1990s.  She did update my
aunt, Netter Houston, née Gilmore, a couple of years ago but my aunt's
health has prevented her from passing this information on to me.  Direct
contact would be great.

I have found the last few evenings fascinating, delving back into my roots
and coming across names already well-known to me in the most unexpected of
primary and secondary sources.  One of several examples is that of my great
uncle, Robert Walls, brother of my grandmother Jane Hannah Gilmore. He
appears in the Torrens family tree as the husband of Mary, née Paul,
daughter of Mary Ann Paul, née Torrens (of Drumsara).  My mother, Mary
Torrens Kelly, née Gilmore, ("Mona"), always understood that her middle name
came from the midwife who lived on the farm with the family during and for
some time after her birth, as was the custom in such country areas in the
1920s.  She always understood that the midwife had been an aunt of her aunt,
Mary Walls, and now I finally understand where the name Torrens actually
fitted in!

I'm not sure that I can offer others more help than that already given to me
by the three people named above but would be grateful if there is anyone out
there who could give me hints on the Walls family (g-g-grandfather, Thomas,
was manager of the Workhouse in Magherafelt, Co. Londonderry in the mid 19th
century) or of the related family, the Streahorns, also of Magherafelt.

Many thanks for reading this lengthy ramble,

Tom Kelly

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