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Serendipity and the Cracked Gribble: An Account of Research on the McClure Family

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 10, 1994


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by Robert David McClure

"On reflection, I must have had always a latent curiosity about the past. A country boyhood provided endless stories about the 'ould times' - people, places, customs and events. Rural dialect and the older style of pronunciation seemed strangely at odds with what we were taught in school.

However, out of the disapproving earshot of my teacher-mother, I often lapsed into the vernacular with working men in the yard or fields. This familiarity with non-standard speech has proved since to be very useful in deciphering names and words written down phonetically.

And I can still remember the taste of a neighbour's 'sowans' and Aunt Mary's 'beastins' cheese. Aunt Mary, in her quaint way, called sweets 'lozengers'."

This article explores the author's research into the McClure family and the story of how he tracked down family members and re-established contact with them.

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