Mary (88) was born in Spennymoor in North East England in 1928 to an English mother, Blanche Thompso. Mary’s father was from Donegal however it is thought that he may not have known Blanche had carried their child.
Mary’s granddaughter Karen has now launched an appeal on her behalf as she has always wanted to see a photograph of her father, and learn a little bit about her Donegal roots.
Although Blanche had a photograph of him, Mary never got to see it.
The family have been searching since 2007, but to no avail. They conducted DNA tests which confirmed family stories that she has relations in Donegal and Derry.
They believe that Mary’s father was called Dicky Henderson. From stories passed down to her, Karen believes that Dicky would have been quite tall, with dark curly or wavy hair, and had been a keen pianist.
The particular area of Donegal Dicky is from is unknown, however a DNA test done by ’23 and me’ and ancestry.co.uk concluded that they may have relations in the Buncrana/ wider Lough Swilly area, and Derry.
Karen has also combed through the 1901 and 1911 census, but there appears to be no possible link.
Karen explains; “I think Richard could maybe have been a middle name and he went by his middle name Richard (he was known as Dicky we think), and I know there was a Robert Richard born in Derry in 1888. However I think that this Richard moved to New York. It’s possible that for some reason he just wasn’t included in the census returns.”
The DNA test also picked up that Mary suffers from pseudocholinesterase deficiency; a genetic variation in a gene which can cause slightly delayed recovery from certain anaesthetics – something that Karen and her mother also have, however it is unknown if this came from the Donegal side of the family, or the English side.
Karen added; “[Dicky] was working for [Mary’s] maternal grandfather at the time who was a builder and owned a building company. It was during this time (while working for him in England) that she was conceived.
“We don’t know how long he was in England or how long he stayed there. We don’t know if he knew she existed, however she most likely has relatives still [in Donegal] who might have known this man or he may have living grandchildren.
“We are looking for a photo of him to show her. She has never seen a photo of her dad. I have been searching since 2007. I don’t know what else to try, but I don’t want her to pass away without seeing a photo of him if I can stop that happening.”, she concluded.
If you have any information that can help us reunite this family and provide Mary with some information on her Donegal roots please don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with us through our Facebook page.