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It’s amazing how small this world can be. And for anyone that studies genealogy, time is always relative and written history is shorter than we think. My father LOVES history – something I have gladly inherited. He also has taken considerable time and energy to map my family’s history – all the way back to the homelands, Scotland and Ireland.

His meticulous efforts – and that of a man named Cecil Allen – resulted in the unearthing of a family tree hundreds of years in the making. Divided by time and an ocean, they reunited a family.

Emily Moreland and I met for the first time in Londonderry, Northern Ireland about 8 years ago. She laughed at how I said “tomato” and had fun introducing me to the different types of candies – I’m a sucker for chocolate. I was preparing to study fine arts abroad in London for a summer. But the biggest adventure was to discover my roots.

Let me tell you the story of two (distant) cousins…


Emily sheepishly walked up the steps of the cabin with her “I heart Topshop” bag in tow. She smiled and said, “Mornin’. Good to see you again!” with her Irish lilt. I immediately hugged her and said, “It’s been too long. Last time you got to show me around, now it’s my turn.”

She had the same doe eyes and soft voice, but she was no longer the gangly eight-year-old I remembered. She was a university student now and far more self-confident. Her summer had been spent as a counselor at a camp in Maine. A welcome day off meant an opportunity to see family, and shop (no matter the country of origin, girls love to shop). We had been emailing back and forth for sometime, and made plans to meet up for a day trip to Freeport, Maine.

Over lunch in the small town of Norway, Maine on our way to the coast, we caught up. We both share an interest in social welfare, both live a plane ride from our parents, both love fashion, both have long-distance relationships, and both share a common ancestor – John Walker. Our pasts and lives are vastly different. But, we have more in common than meets the eye. Emily asked me again, “I know my Grandfather told me, but how are we related again?”

“Well it all started with one man, and two women named Fanny. In a place called Dun na nGall (Donegal), Ireland.”

To be continued….. Check back for more next week.

Best wishes,