Australian quest for information on family tree

editorial image

Margaret Jane McConnell was just three years old when her parents took her and other family members to Australia in 1874.

The McConnells were from Ballyvernstown and Magheramorne and were third class passengers on the SS Great Britain, which sailed from Liverpool in June that year. In total 12 members of the family were on the ship.

Margaret turned three the day the vessel arrived in Melbourne at the end of the following month. When she died in 1967, at the age of 96, it was stated that she was the last surviving passenger from her voyage and possibly from any voyage of the SS Great Britain.

In 1911, Rosanna McConnell would come home to visit and the family in Australia have a diary of her return, including details of people she met in Ballycarry, Magheramorne and Larne. She recounts that she arrived at Ballycarry a day before she was expected and walked to Mr Wilson’s, where she met other members of the family. It had been 37 years since she had left, and her sister’s Sarah and Mary did not recognise her at first.

The diary goes on to list a Mrs Nelson and Mrs Steel from Ballycarry who came to afternoon tea, and also details visits to Forthill, the beach and Larne during the stay.

The great great great grand-daughter of William McConnell and Letitia Foster of Magheramorne, Bev Millar, is trying to piece together details about the family and their connections at Ballyedward in Magheramorne.

The family lived at Bankhall Road and during a recent visit to the province, Bev was able to visit the house. She would like to hear from anyone with information on the family and can be contacted at MILLER.Bev@bssc.edu.au