Lost and Found ~ Belfast Shooting 1971

Mum told me a story years ago about her godchild's mother and aunt being shot by the British army. Even though I have been digging around in her O'Rourke past, she always refers me to this other side of her family who she reminisces about with such fondness. When mum ran away from home, she went to live with Uncle James who introduced her to her cousin Jim. 

Jim was an amazing singer and a "hulk of a man." Uncle James sent for him to participate in Glasgow singing competitions. Mum spent holidays in Ireland with these cousins and has so many great stories about them. Mum and dad became great friends with Jim and Maura. However, in their early 20s, my parents left for Australia and most contact ceased. I decided a couple of days ago to once again ask my mum the names of her family so I could Google search. Then it dawned on me. Find Maura. And I did. 

Two Women Shot At Belfast Checkpoint

After inputting "Maura Shot Belfast" I was directed to a genealogy site where I found her son's wife. Now I have contact with them all and when my mother saw a photo of her godchild she lost her breath for a minute. Her cousin Jim has passed, something she did not know. Many of the family are also gone. The baby of the family was only three when his mother was shot. This tragedy is heart-breaking and way too close to me.

There appears to be so much suffering on all sides of my family which makes me more determined to bring it into the light. These people are who make me who I am whether I know it consciously of not. This inherited cultural and genetic information is the reason "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" was unbearable to watch and "In The Name of The Father" made my blood boil and my heart break. In a way I feel unworthy of feeling the way I do, since I am not living it. Again I pay homage to Irish women who have suffered unbearable circumstances and fought for their families. -- Frances O'Neill

Views: 709

Tags: Ancestry, Australia, Belfast, Genealogy, O'Rourke, Scotland, Troubles

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on July 16, 2013 at 5:22am

Thanks for this, Fran.  Glad to hear your thoughts on these matters.

Comment by mary mc ginnis on July 16, 2013 at 6:03am

I had a bit of a shock seeing myself online in a photo with my cousin Jim who sang at my wedding in 1960. This photo was taken in Belfast in 1958 and we all had such a great time together. As most teenagers do. My Auntie Rose and Uncle Gerry were so hospitable, wonderful people.

Mary McGinnis (nee O'Rourke)


Comment by Bit Devine on July 16, 2013 at 6:53pm


Thank you for sharing your story...and how sweet that you were able to find your mum's kin

For those of us who have family/ancestors from the North counties, we have an empathy that others might not have.  I grew up, a child of the American Southwest, listening to my Gran recount the happenings of family members in South Armagh, brutal beatings, sexual assaults, homes ransacked. The  stories haunted my grandmother and ingrained in me a determination that I had to be a voice somehow for those who were unfairly victimized.

Comment by The Last Torch on July 16, 2013 at 11:40pm

I have family in Armagh also. I never had grandparents in Australia and my mum only told me the story about Maura because when I was 21 I had an English army officer snub me when he heard what my name was. After that I became intrigued. They have proven scientifically that what happened to our ancestors and family has a genetic effect on us and essentially these people and their experiences are all within us. Fascinating study done which I will try and find. Thanks you for your comment I am very happy we have found them and they are happy they have found us. These cousins were young when they lost their mother and their father (Mums cousin Jim) died in '88. Quite a few family members have passed so I think its great they can ADD to their family. xx

Comment by The Last Torch on July 17, 2013 at 1:46am
Comment by Bit Devine on July 17, 2013 at 11:02am

Go raibh mil maith agat for the link... you might consider also posting it to the site as a video from your page. That way it won't be buried here

Comment by The Last Torch on July 23, 2013 at 6:19am

No problem isn't is a great doco? I love the researcher guy who was all emotional.. What a gorgeous man.


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