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Saturday 20 September 2014

Aussie clan's pilgrimage to trace roots

Michael Moran

Published 17/06/2014 | 05:40

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Owen Duffy, Ballymote, who did genealogical research at his home to help an Australian family trace their South Sligo roots.

OVER 150 years after their ancestors left South Sligo an Australian family go back to their roots this weekend.

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Ballymote man Owen Duffy has helped the Sherlocks of Victoria and Melbourne trace their local links.

As a result, Lorraine Sherlock of West Wodonga, Victoria, and her second cousin Alan Sherlock Leary of Melbourne, are coming to Sligo for a special 'Sherlock Gathering' in the Coleman Heritage Centre on Friday night.

They will also visit the former home of their great grandfather, Matthew Sherlock.

He was a tenant farmer who enlisted for the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1871 in the RIC District Headquarters in Ballymote.

Other relatives from England and the Sligo area will also attend the gathering.

Among them is Councillor Tony Sherlock from Cheshire and Colm O'Shea from Lincolnshire

Owen said: "This all started when Lorraine Sherlock came here five years ago to trace her Sherlock ancestors.

"She was unsuccessful.

"Yet, by chance she saw an email address for Peter Mullin's Guest House in Ballymote.

"Lorraine contacted Peter and he put her in touch with me.

"I began the search."

Owen used land registry and other documents to learn the family originated in the townlands of Carrowntemple and Doon West.

Matthew Sherlock married Elizabeth Mary Hamilton in 1879.

He died in 1887, aged 37.

He left a wife and five children and the family emigrated to Canada and later spread to the US.

Two of them, Matthew Junior and Emily settled in Australia.

Owen said: "More than 150 years later, it is great Lorraine and Alan are now coming to the place of their great grandfather's birth with their spouses.

"It promises to be a very special occasion for all involved."

Owen will deliver a presentation on the history of the Sherlocks and related families from Carrowntemple and Doon East on Friday.

The visit to the old family home takes place on Saturday.

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