Family tree creates pages of history

The front cover of 'From Inishowen.'
The front cover of 'From Inishowen.'
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Two extended families in the Inishowen area have come together to create a family tree history book which contains generations of memories.

The book, which will be launched this weekend, focuses on the Ruddy and Farren families from Culdaff and has been four years in the making.

Titled: ‘From Inishowen ...’ the book encompasses photos from the Ruddy/Farren family tree which was complied by Michele Farren-Chew (born in Philadelphia) and Eileen Ruddy who met for the first time in Dublin in 2011. Eileen told the ‘Journal’ how the book chronicles the history from Eileen and Michele’s great-grandparents, Daniel and Susan Farren.

Daniel Farren who lived and worked in the Culdaff area, was born in 1839, just around the time the Great Famine struck Ireland. He and Susan Farren, who married in 1895, had six children of their own, five sons and one daughter, Mena. Additionally, Daniel who had been married previously to Ellen Doherty, had nine children. Daniel and Susan’s daughter,Mena, married Peter Ruddy in 1931 and she gave birth to Eileen’s father, Danny Ruddy

From Daniel’s six children from his second marriage, the eldest, Philip, sadly passed away at the age of 32. His remains were returned to Ireland where he is buried in the family plot in Culdaff. The youngest child, Joseph, was born in 1908 and “remains a mystery.” There are suggestions he was a carpenter who moved to England and was never heard from again. Three other sons – Charles, a gardener; Willie, a carpenter and John, a stock clerk at an oil works, all emigrated to and settled in Philadelphia – where they now have many extended family, including Michelle Farren-Chew.

Mena remained all of her life in Culdaff living in the “big White House” opposite McGrory’s.

She went on to marry Peter Ruddy and they had five children: Beth and Philomena, (who moved to Scotland), Jamsie, (who remained in Culdaff), Danny and another little boy, Philip, (who died in a tragic accident when he was a child). Eileen tells how her father, Danny, moved to the Gleneely area and went on to father 11 children. Jamsie fathered six children, Philomena has two children, and Beth had four sons. It is an extensive family and interesting history, so when Eileen and Michele met up in November 2011, and after having reached the limit of genealogy information available on-line, they enlisted the help of genealogist Boyd Gray of West Ulster Genealogy, and also used the services of databases such as ancestry.com, familysearch.org, and rootsireland.ie. Their four-year project has yielded fantastic results, with a fifty-page book now complete. It will be launched at a Ruddy/Farren gathering in McGrory’s Hotel this Saturday, March 7th.