Friday, 5 July 2013

Little Richard and the Reason for it All!

Like most people who become obsessed with researching their family history, I sometimes stop and ask myself, “Why am I doing this? What is it all for?”  I know that I get great personal enjoyment from the chase, from the detective work and the wealth of knowledge that I am building up.  But does it have a real purpose, or is it just satisfying a personal addiction?  

Last week, something very special happened, and I was reminded of the real reason why I do this.

The Precious Photograph

A Sproule cousin, who I have never met, contacted me. His grandfather and my grandfather were brothers and they both lived on the Sproule farm in Tullymoan, Urney, County Tyrone. My Sproule cousin was kind enough to send me a photograph taken in 1938 at the wedding of his grandfather, Thomas Sproule.

This was the first picture I had ever seen of my Uncle Tommy and my father was right, he was a very tall man! My Grandfather is also in the picture. I have only two other photographs of him and I was delighted to add this one to my meagre collection. My father was best man at the wedding, and he is there standing beside Thomas Sproule. His brother and sister are also there. It is a very precious photograph indeed, and I am so grateful.

Standing, Grandfather Robert 2nd from left, Uncle Thomas 4th from right

The Family Story

More importantly, my Sproule cousin told me a family story. He said that his grandfather, Thomas, had talked often about a young child in the family, a little brother called Richard. I know this family very well, from family stories and from researching the documents. There was no Richard Sproule! But my Sproule cousin was adamant. His grandfather had talked a lot of his little brother and he had said that Richard had died very young.

And then I searched. Richard is an unusual Sproule name, and it took me only a few minutes to find him. 

Richard Sproule

Richard Sproule was born in 1881 and he died in 1882. Little Richard was the youngest child of Mary and James Sproule of Tullymoan. He was remembered fondly by his loving brother Thomas Sproule and this memory was passed on to Thomas’s children and to his grandchildren. Richard Sproule will now be recorded in his family tree with the other members of his Tullymoan family. He is back where he belongs.

And that is why I do this.

P.S. Rest easy, Uncle Tommy. We have him.

The Family of James Sproule of Tullymoan


  1. It does make all the work worth it! To find lost family members is a great thing!

    Catherine (@OshawaJournal)

  2. Welcome to Geneabloggers!!

    Regards, Grant