Couple visit Derry to find long lost relations

Melody McGregor (nee Gill) came from England this week with her husband Grant, searching for her long lost family.

Melody’s dad, Eamonn Gill, was from the city and emigrated to England for work, where he met his wife and settled down with their 12 children. Melody is the youngest of the children and feels like her Derry heritage is a ‘missing link’ in her life.

She said: “My father’s name was Edward Gill, although everyone called him Eamonn. He was born on Lower Violet Street and his parents were called Edward Gill and Bridget McLaughlin. I never met my dad’s brothers or sisters and I know nothing about them except that he had a sister called Sadie who lived in Creggan Heights who used to write to my mum. I don’t think I ever met her and from what I can gather, she had a daughter who emigrated to America and, as Sadie got older, she did the same. We can’t find any information on her.”

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Grant added: “We think she might have married a McCready but we’re not certain. We can’t find any records because we don’t know where she went in America. We can find all these families from 100 to 200 years ago but you can’t find anyone more recently unless you know who you’re looking for.

“Some people might know Melody’s oldest brother, Eamonn. He came over here to Derry in the late 50s, early 60s when he was around 14 and spent a few years living here and went to school here. He was in the school choir and he was living in Dungiven Drive but we’re not sure what school he went to.”

Melody said: “I’ve lost three brothers in the space of three years, Eamonn included, and they’re the people who would have known most about my dad. We’re all quite musical but it was only really after my dad passed that we got into music.

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“I worked as a research practitioner for the NHS for the past 30 years but when my brother Mick became really ill in hospital, I couldn’t go to see him because I was from a different hospital. So I decided to leave my job and care for my brother full time. I had been doing that for the past year and we would often have conversations about my dad’s family, which is really precious to me now as Mick died two weeks ago.

“Eddie, my other brother, passed away just before covid and his daughter had recorded some tapes of him singing. We’ve been listening to those tapes and thinking about the music connection in our family. It has really helped me get through it.

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Melody McGregor (nee Gill) and her husband Grant. They are in Derry for a week searching for membors of Melody's dad's family.

“I’m just desperate to find someone who could give me more information on the Gill family to see where the music came from.”

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Anyone with information on the Gill family can contact Melody Gill on Facebook.

Melody's family tree on her father's side.