Magdelene Gallagher launched an appeal with Donegal Daily and Donegal Woman three weeks ago in which she asked for any information on family connections to her late husband Charles Keith Gallagher (pictured above), whose mother, Hannah Gallagher, was from Kincasslagh.
Luckily, one of our readers picked up on our story and one of Charles’ relatives reached out to Magdelene.
Magdelene had known that Hannah had spent time in Auchterarder in Scotland in 1944, and that Charlie is the named given to him by Hannah. Fife Council records show that Charlie had been with his mother for seven months living in Saint Andrews in Scotland. Charlie was then put into care at seven months, and was fostered by a loving family at two and a half.
Just in time for Christmas, Magdelene found her late husband’s Donegal connections, and may plan a trip to Donegal to soak up her husband’s roots.
“The council places I approached in Scotland bent over backwards to help me, but although there was information on Charlie, there was very little on Hannah.
“Then your article produced a response from this lovely lady from Kincasslagh who has lived in Scotland since 1948.
“Hannah was born on Owey, her father was Charles, the same name as my husband, and her mother was Bridget. Not only was this lady and her friend helpful in finding the information I needed, but the insight they had on the potato pickers helped me build up a picture of Hannah’s early years and how the lifestyle would have made it impossible for her to look after her baby.
“I doubt her family would have known she was pregnant. Hannah stayed on in Scotland and later married and had children.
“Hannah’s birthday was actually in 1918, not 1920 as I had worked out and not 1919 as was on the social services record. This could have been an error on the social services part, or as my lovely ladies pointed out, sometimes in those days they didn’t actually know their birthdays, and so would give Christmas day or St Patrick’s day when asked their date of birth. I would never have thought of that.
“At last I have a birth certificate for Hannah, born in Owey. The article you did was certainly a success. The lady who contacted me has been wonderful and has provided me with the most amazing insight into the Irish life around that time.
“I would love to visit Kinncasslagh just to soak up the atmosphere of my husband’s roots, maybe one day I will.
Thank you to all of our readers on Donegal Daily and Donegal Woman who shared our article and got these two families in touch.