Local IrelandXO Volunteer Maresa helps fulfill the lifelong dream of Washington visitor, Thomas Pullant who described it as ‘An Extraordinary day’
Thomas had spent years researching his Irish ancestry from his home in Eastsound, Washington. He came to Ireland Reaching Out looking to see if locals would have information about his grandmother Annie Ryan (born 1881) and her siblings. He touched base with longtime Ireland Reaching Out volunteer Maresa McNamara via its’ free message board.
She was able to use her local knowledge to start filling in blanks. Not only did she find Annie in the records, but she also built a picture of her family finding a brother who died in WW1 and a sister Winifred who died as a child. Fast forward a few months and Thomas caught up with Maresa in Bruff via the Ireland Reaching Out ‘Meet and Greet’ Programme – a free programme run by a nationwide team of volunteers.
Following the visit Thomas said;
I cannot thank you enough for arranging the contact with Maresa. She is kind and clever, insightful and meticulous, guiding me for an entire day on a startling ancestral expedition. She made it possible for me to visit Bruff, to the church and town where my grandmother was born. She assisted in the search of the church records, which reabout thereat deal about the family from the early nineteenth century, and spent hours with me searching Mt. Saint Lawrence for the graves of my great grandparents. I am so grateful for this wonderful journey into the past.
The first stop on their journey was the church where Thomas’s grandmother Annie was married. There Maresa introduced him to the sacristan Eileen pictured to the left with Thomas. Eileen took out the books looking for baptisms and marriages. It transpired though this that his grandmother’s other had strong Bruff connections and from this he went back two further generations!
Knowing that Annie had lived in Newtown, Maresa walked around the area with Thomas so he could get a feel for the town. Leaving there they went to Mount St Lawrence where Annie's parents are buried.