Fullertons from the US, Australia, Canada, Britain and across Ireland will be at a Fullerton family reunion in Buncrana in March.
Generations of the Fullerton clan, descendants of ‘White Edward’ and Sarah Fullerton, will spend a weekend meeting and rekindling familial ties that emigration and the passage of time have weakened but never broken.
A hardworking committee of Teresa Baxter, Sarah Leveragee, Suemantha McColgan, Jacqueline Lalor, Madeline Redmond and Alex Fullerton have been working to organise the reunion since last July, identifying upwards of 1,000 descendants of White Edward and Sarah from Sleadrin, who were born in the years after the famine and married in Cockhill chapel in 1886.
“Like many families, we’d gather at wakes and funerals and always say we should try to meet in better circumstances,” Alex Fullerton, a great-grandson of White Edward and Sarah, said.
“A cousin of ours, Patrick McDaid, died in Glasgow in July last year and that’s when we decided to organise a big family gathering.”
Video-meetings on Zoom have been held weekly since, with the organising committee identifying and contacting members of the clan around the world, all the while learning more and more about the genealogy of their family and filling in gaps on the many branches of the family tree.
Sadly, a number of family members have died since last July, emphasising to the committee how important it is organise the reunion.
“We feel it is important to document our family history, culture and heritage,” Alex says of the committee’s work.
“There were people who went to the gold rush in Montana. Others were amongst the Tunnel Tigers and some worked on the Channel Tunnel. There was a woman who worked as a welder in a factory in Birmingham, and today there are contractors in many cities.
“Tip O’Neill was the Speaker of US house of representatives, and his grandmother was Unity Fullerton.
“From the research we have done and the information gathered to date (to be finalised) we estimate 1,000 plus descendants from White Edward and Sarah’s family.
“We’re delighted that 420 of these descendants will be gathering in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel on Saturday 4 March.
“We also celebrate the new arrivals who will go on to form their own branches in time.
“We hope our efforts will make it easier to research the family tree from the information we have gathered, and we look forward to celebrating their achievements in life whenever in the world they may find themselves.”