Author: samkendal (Page 1 of 3)

Sandra Hamlett (nee Potter) 1946 – 2019

On Monday, 4 November 2019, my third cousin Sandra died after a short illness. Born in Liverpool, she was the eldest child of Wilfred and Joan Potter. In 1963 at the age of 17 she and her parents emigrated to Australia, where she settled, married and raised her family.

Sandra and I were kindred spirits and genealogy enthusiasts. We researched family stories and brought together distant members of our extended family from across the world. The most significant story related to the separation of her Great Grandfather from his brother when they were orphaned.   See

I never met Sandra but we corresponded regularly and I felt we knew each other. I loved her food posts on Facebook. We had planned to meet in Australia’s Gold Coast next year. I and many others will miss her.

My thoughts go out to her partner Rod, her brother Barry and her family. Her family history research leaves a significant legacy.  

Robert Burns

Rabbie Burns (1759 – 1796)

Lang may yer lum reek

In other words: May you never be without fuel for your fire!



25 January is Burns Night

Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire and a romantic, was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He was born on 25 January 1759 in Alloway, near Dalrymple in South West Scotland. My Grandmother, Kate Paysden, was born in Stranraer also in South West Scotland and my Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, Peter Kelly, came from Dalrymple.

On Burns Night I will prepare a feast of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, a Scottish classic, traditionally eaten on Burns Night.

For the uninitiated Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach. Neeps are mashed Turnips or Suedes while Tatties are mashed Spuds (potatoes).

Two wee songs

Shenna Wellington sings “A Mans a Man for all That” at the opening of the Devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999. It’s a very moving rendition.

In final verse, Burns imagines a future world in which all people will live as brothers, in mutual trust and respect. Perhaps Northern Ireland politicians, especially those claiming Ulster Scots heritage, should reflect and show some humility and respect.

And one for the ladies. Eddi Reader sings “My Love is Like a Red Red Rose”. Rabbie, like all us guys with South West Scottish ancestry, was a real romantic.

For a look at the life and legend of Scotland’s most celebrated son, Rabbie Burns go to




Love Lost

A WW1 story of romance, tragedy, family secrets, discovery and commemoration

george-paysden-suitbGeorge William Paysden (1895 – 1916)

11 October 2016, marked the 100th anniversary of George William Paysden’s death. His grandson Bert Groves recently visited George’s grave in Bailleul, Northern France. George was with the Royal Irish Rifles and survived the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. However, he then moved north to the villages of Loker and Dranouter where he was killed in action. George was awarded the Military Medal for bravery.   

gp-gravemarkerGeorge wasn’t married but he left a sweetheart behind in Belfast. Annie McMullan gave birth to George’s daughter Doreen while he was in France. One can only begin to imagine how Annie felt when she learnt of George’s death. Many years later Doreen married and subsequently gave birth to George’s Grandson, Bert Groves.


The birth of Doreen was kept secret from almost the entire family. My Grandmother, George’s sister, didn’t know about Doreen. While Doreen was in the RAF she struck up a lifelong friendship with her cousin and my aunt, Jessie Kendal. We believe they never knew they were actually cousins. Two years ago, Bert Groves, a fellow enthusiast of family history, tracked me down. Bert and I, along with John Paysden, have developed a close friendship and continue to unearth our joint family history.

sammy-kendal-bailleul-2004-bMy Father, Sammy Kendal, had heard many wonderful stories about his Uncle George. In 2004 he and I became the first members of the family to visit George’s grave in Bailleul. When we eventually found George’s grave, my father knelt down and tears rolled down his face. It was a very emotional occasion.

The song, The Green Fields of France, include the following lines. I think are very appropriate in this instance

Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind

In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined

And though you died back in nineteen sixteen

In some faith full heart are you forever nineteen

Do you have a similar story?

Post it to me at:  [email protected]


Re-United After 140 Years

My Great Grandmother, Annie Elizabeth Potter, had an older step brother named John Potter. He was born 1843 in Liverpool. John had two sons:

William Henry Potter            born Birkenhead 1865

Jonathan Wilfred Potter     born Birkenhead 1868

John died on the maiden voyage of the Carmania in 1874. The two boys were orphaned and placed in the Liverpool Seaman’s Orphan Institution.

Liverpool Seaman’s Orphanage


I was able to trace and identify a Great Granddaughter of Johnathan Wilfred Potter. She was Sandra Hamlett (nee Potter) and although born in England, she is now living on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Sandra and I were kindred spirits with great enthusiasm for family history. Together we have explored our ancestry and family stories. I hope to publish more of these stories in the coming months.

Descendants of William Henry Potter proved much more elusive. Eventually. I found a ten-year-old message on a chat forum from a Ginger Schuler in Delaware, USA. She had been looking for the family of her Great Grandfather, William Potter born during the 1860s in Birkenhead.


I tried contacting Ginger but to no avail. I persisted for two years using various means. In my efforts to make contact I tried to reassure her that this was not a scam. Eventually Ginger responded. Her sources were an old family bible and stories passed down. One story told of how her Great Grandfather and another boy ran away from a “Boys School” in England, stowed away on a transatlantic ship and swam ashore near the coast of Delaware.

We all agreed the story, although incredible, was plausible. Both Sandra and Ginger continued to correspond and developed a strong friendship, both having closed the circle on their family stories. Unfortunately, Ginger passed away in 2016. I never met Ginger (Maryan Virginia Schuler Nichols) but she appeared very caring, family orientated and fun.


Before she died, Ginger and her daughter Jodi, undertook  DNA tests.

Guess what……

…they were a match for Sandra Hamlett.

The story is no longer just plausible, it is now highly probable.





Sunshine Coast

Christmas Gift Vouchers

More people are commissioning me to undertake research on behalf of someone else. The reason is …… it can make an ideal gift.

Some want to give a loved one a poster of their family tree or a calendar of family events. Alternatively, they may wish to have a chapter or story in their family history explored. Others commission me to work directly with a member of their family whereby the recipient participates in the research with me.

With this in mind I’m providing a voucher service. Vouchers can be purchased in multiples of £10, starting at £20. My fees, as ever are  good value. I have an incremental pricing structure which ensures affordability.

For costs go to:

I can provide personalised vouchers. Simply email me at [email protected] or telephone 0044 7889 150750 with your requirements.



Margaret, Bob & Jenny

Margaret Prottey           Bob Loughman           Jenny McCartney

September 2017 was both a wonderful month and a sad month. We got away for the first time in four years and met up with our daughters, Louise and Rebecca, in New York. Unfortunately we also said goodbye to three very dear people:

 St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York is magnificent. Although I’m of a different persuasion, I paid my respects to all three by lighting a candle for each of them.

 Margaret J Prottey (nee Dennis) 1944 – 2017

Margaret, a cousin of Petrina, died on Friday 8 September.  She was born in Manchester and married Mike Prottey in 1983.  For a period they lived in Perth, Western Australia before eventually returning to the UK to set up home in North Wales. She and Mike were devoted to each other.

Margaret had been ill for some time and was in a care home. The family admired Mike’s devotion. He visited daily and attended to her needs. Margaret loved family events and visited Ireland a number of times.

Robert (Bob) E Loughman 1918 – 2017

Bob was a brother-in-law of my late Aunt, Mary McCabe. He died at Heritage Assisted Living in Battle Creek, Michigan on 10 September. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1942 and was honourably discharged after the war in 1945.  He was very proud of his war time service. Bob met his future wife, Grace McCabe, while he was stationed in Ireland and returned to Michigan with Grace to set up home and start a family.

Bob had a wicked and sometimes irreverent sense of humour. We shared a love of genealogy and he embraced new technology. He was fun to be with and correspond with. I only met Bob once when he and his daughter, Mary Anne, visited Belfast but through our correspondence I feel we knew each other a long time.

Jennifer (Jenny) M McCartney (Kendal) 1947 – 2017

Jenny was my cousin and daughter to Tommy Kendal and Margaret Cranston. She died at Beaconsfield Hospice on 16 September 2017.  She was wife to the late Jimmy McCartney and mother of Leigh. She was a very proud and devoted Grandmother to Jordon and Dylan.

I have such fond memories of Jenny. She was very bright, eloquent, considerate and attractive. I recall she and Jimmy would babysit me during their courtship.I visited her two days before she died. She remained dignified and selfless to the end.

Finding Angela


Noel McCann was a very dear friend of mine. Unfortunately we lost Noel to cancer in September 2014.

Prior to his death Noel wanted to trace his long lost Aunt Angela who disappeared from the family home in Fermanagh in the 1940s. He suspected that Angela may have become pregnant and left Fermanagh to have the baby. His theory was correct. Angela gave birth in Dublin and eventually gave her son, Patrick, up for adoption in Belfast. It is believed she embarked on a journey to New York to find Patrick’s father. Patrick later became an orphan and was sent to Australia as part of a child migrant scheme.

With my advice and the help of DNA testing through The Child Migrants Trust, Noel was able to trace and be united with Patrick, his 70 year old long lost cousin. Patrick still lives in Australia. Meeting Patrick was a very emotional and fulfilling experience for both of them. Noel died just six weeks later.

Noel and Patrick 2014

The hunt for what became of Angela has been taken up by Noel’s daughter, Zoe McCaw (nee McCann). The mother in law of Patrick’s daughter, Sharon Regan, has also been very active in the search for Angela since the outset. It was Sharon who originally made contact with Noel.  Zoe recounts progress on the search much more succinctly and eloquently than I could.  She has undertaken some excellent research. I believe on balance her conclusions are highly probable.  

Zoe’s Research

Mary Angela Dolan was born on 5 June 1918 just outside the town of Belleek, County Fermanagh. Her parents’ were William James Dolan and Bridget Magowan. On 16 March 1945, Angela gave birth to a son called Patrick Magowan in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. At this stage Angela was using her mother’s maiden name, Magowan.  From there she travelled to Belfast, where she had Patrick fostered before placing him in an orphanage in 1948. Patrick was later sent to Perth in Australia by the orphanage   

The name Mary A. Dolan appears on the passenger list of a ship (the Britannic) sailing from Liverpool to New York in May 1949. I assume this is Angela because she is the right age (30) and gives a Belfast address – 5 Scotland Street – as her place of residence.   Furthermore, the rumour in Belleek is that she went to stay with her aunt and uncle, Susan and Hugh O’Dare, who owned a restaurant in Yonkers. During the course of my enquiries a cousin of Angela on her mother’s side told me she heard that Angela had stormed out of the O’Dare household after Susan asked her to wash the dishes.  

A World Apart

Whatever happened, there appears to be no further record of Angela beyond her arrival in the US. The Child Migrants Trust has not found a marriage or death certificate for her in the US or in the UK or Ireland.   In response to an advert I placed in the Irish Echo in March 2016 appealing for information about Angela, a genealogist in New York volunteered to help me with the search. She searched the Social Security Death Indexes in the States for any females with the first names Mary or Angela who were born on 5 June 1918. By cross-checking the records, I have managed to rule out her discoveries.

Patrick’s Father

This aspect of the post has been withheld pending the consent of Patrick’s father’s family

Latest Research

Sharon, has also been very active in the search for Angela. Recently she discovered the following article in the Jasper Dubois County Daily Herald dated Thursday 2 June 1960:

The chapel of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand was the scene of an 8:30 o’clock Pontifical High Mass last Tuesday when nineteen postulants were received into the Order of St. Benedict and clothed with the religious name and habit. Most Rev. Henry J. Grinimelsman. Bishop of Evansville, who celebrated the Mass, officiated in the reception. One of the Postulants (Sister Mary Susan); Angela Dolan.

The search continues. If you believe you can help, please contact me through this website or Zoe’s Facebook page:  

25 April is ANZAC Day

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The date marks the anniversary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.


Gallipoli Campaign

In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula. The objective was to capture Constantinople. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal (later known as Atatürk). The war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on.

At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated. Both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The casualities numbered 21,255 from the UK including 4,000 Irish soldiers from the Royal Irish Fusiliers, almost 10,000 dead soldiers from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, 1,358 from India and 57,000 of the Ottoman Army.

Respect: Turkish Soldier carries wounded Australian. © Clay Gilliland

Royal Irish Rifles at Gallipoli







News of the landing at Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders. Today many of them commemorate the sacrifice of those who died in various conflicts but at the same time they are all too aware of war’s potential futility. I think my relatives in Australia and New Zealand including Maureen, Sandra, Louise and Liz will appreciate the following version of Waltzing Matilda.

One World, One Nation



William John Beck, 1928 – 2017

Bill Beck, (my Uncle Bill) died this week. He was the widower of Jessie Kendal (1929 – 1972) and father of John, Ann and Brian. My Father, Sammy Kendal, met Bill during their service with the RAF. They weren’t just brothers in law, they were lifelong friends. They were too young for war-time service and were posted to the Isle of Sylt, a nudist colony in Northern Germany. Why are we are surprised they had such happy memories??? Bill became a foreman welder in the Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast.

He was fun to be with and will be missed.


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