Rare Castledawson images revealed

editorial image

IN seeking information regarding her family genealogy, Clare Gulliver from Farnham in Surrey has thrown up some intriguing images of bygone times in Castledawson.

The first record she has of her connections are with the old Post Office when, in 1890, G.R.Tipping was the Post Master. He was Clare’s great, great grandfather, born in 1838 and becoming a well known builder and architect.

Indeed, Tipping built the Union Road Presbyterian Church and Courthouse in nearby Magherafelt.

By 1901, his daughter, Minnie Anderson (Clare’s great grandmother) was assistant in the Post Office, eventually handing over to her daughter Chrsitina and husband Jack Swenarton.

They also had the grocers shop next door, where an architects is situated today. Sadly, Jack died in 1940, but Chrsitina was to carry on with the Post Office for some years, also going into partnership with a Mr McIvor as regards the grocery trade.

She in turn was still here in 1945 because her grandson Frank was born at these premises. Clare would be interested to know when it passed out of her familys ownership and why the Post Office moved to the other side of the street.

Also known is that Minnies other daughter, Eileen, was Clare’s grandmother and having married Alexander Thompson, they lived at Leitrim Road. To this end, our correspondent has been visiting here since she was six weeks old and went on to attend Loughry Agricultural College in 1967.

Family legend has it that the first Thompson came over from Westmoreland with the Dawsons as a head gardener or land steward. Also, another relative, one Tom Tipping ended up living with his goats in a shack at the Moss near the Thompson farmhouse.

Indeed, Seamus Heaney wrote briefly about Tom in one of his poems.

Clare is also trying to trace information on a James Boviard, who had married one of her grandfathers sisters, Minnie Thompson, in 1919.

James was in Castledawson Orange Lodge, died in 1936, but at the moment, no burial place can be found for either. She is also currently researching the Swenartons, a branch of whom came from Lisnamorrow outside Magherafelt.

If any locals feel they can add to this, or have any further information on the names suggested, please contact Clare Gulliver at Kerry Glen, Alma Way, Farnham, Surrey, England,GU9 OQN.