David Dunbar: Son of Ulster

A life cut short As I approach my fortieth birthday, I have found myself thinking about my Great Grandfather, David Dunbar.  He was thirty-nine years old when he died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving behind a wife and five young children.  The date was October 6, 1929, less than two weeks before David and his [...]

The Dunbars of Gortnacor

Ulster Scots When it comes to being elusive, the Dunbars have been some of the most challenging ancestors to trace in my family tree.  With a surname like Dunbar, surely they must have come to Ulster from Scotland...but when?  I have never been able to conclusively make the connection.  When my wife and I visited Ireland in [...]

Kiss me, I’m Irish! Five free websites to track your elusive Irish ancestors

With St. Patrick's day now drawing to a close, this seems like a perfect time to pause and share a list of free online resources that can be used to trace those oh-so-elusive Irish ancestors.  While many service providers require a subscription in order to search their online record collections, the good news is that you don't actually have [...]

A tale of two brothers: the story of Robert & James McDonald (part 2)

 A tale of two brothers As Remembrance Day approaches, I will be thinking of the story of Robert McDonald, a young merchant sailor from County Antrim who died of Spanish Flu during the closing months of the first world war.  Robert served as part of the crew of the merchant ship Ortega, which helped to transport American troops to France, and is probably [...]