November 07, 2023
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Brothers, Richard and Alexander of Fayetteville, Arkansas planned to visit Raphoe, Donegal in July of 2023. Their 8*great grandfather was William Alexander born circa 1620 in Raphoe. He was the father of the 'infamous nine' otherwise known as the '7 brothers and 2 sisters' all of whom were born in Raphoe and emigrated to Cecil, Mayland in the USA in 1673.

Williams's father is believed to have been John Alexander born circa 1600 in Ayrshire, Scotland who likely emigrated to Raphoe before Williams's birth. Brothers, Richard and Alexander are direct patrilineal descendants of Samuel Alexander, one of the 7 brothers.

Written by Donegal volunteer Marion

Philip and Richard Alexander had traced back their family. They have an Ulster-Scots heritage, family came to East Donegal in the early 1600s, but did not remain long as left around 1680.  We met up at the beautiful Lough Eske Castle Hotel where brothers Alexander and Philip stayed while in Donegal. They were anxious to locate Eredy where they believed their ancestors lived.  

After some initial research I  found that they had not been able to locate the modern spelling is Errity- a townland within the village of Manorcunningham. I contacted the Presbyterian church; a tour of the area was arranged by David Hetherington(L) from the church and Paul Gallagher (R) who is a member of the Raymoghy Historical Society. During their visit they were taken to Ramoghy Abbey, a ruin nowadays converted for Protestant worship in 1622, with an old graveyard attached, they were very pleased to be able to show where only a few days previously an Alexander gravestone had been unearthed next to a grave dating to 1690. 

Meet and Greet in East Donegal

In Raphoe where they had originally asked to visit, I contacted the town Heritage centre and a  member of staff gave us a tour of small but historic town area and access to their collection of books on Alexanders. We also visited the Ulster Scots Heritage Centre in Monreagh, where apart from receiving a tour, they were assisted in a study of early Alexander information. Their ancestors had travelled to the same part of Maryland as Reverend Frances Makemie, considered to be the father of American Presbyterianism, he is also famous as he fought a landmark court case for freedom of worship. They made the connection that his departure in 1680 was in the same time frame as when their ancestors left. They were pleased to take away the realization that they possibly traveled on the same ship!

Meet and Greet East Donegal Meet and Greet - East Donegal