LANDERS family in Ireland - may be a Huguenot connection
Ever since my father died when I was 12, I have been interested in family history. My sister and I realized we knew very little about his family. We knew he was born near Buffalo, NY and came to England at an early age but not much more than that. Then our mother gave us a tin box from the back of a wardrobe and in it was some certificates, some photos and other written material that started us on our journey. There was a type-written biography of my great grandfather which said he was born on Clare Island, County Mayo, Ireland. It said his father, William was engaged in the English Civil Service. What could that mean?
I was aware that there were some unresolved property/land issues in Dublin and several years after my father died we received a letter from a Dublin solicitor proposing the sale of this. I wrote to the solicitors and they said that they had a large amount of family information that was now closed and they would send it to me (for a fee of course). Included in this was a copy of my great grandfather's baptism at the Louisburgh Church of Ireland church in 1835. The copy was requested by his daughter in 1902, about 20 years before the original went up in smoke in the Four Courts fire. This was a breakthrough because it told me that William was a lighthouse keeper on Clare Island. For about 20 years after this family history took a back seat due to work and family commitments.
In 2003 my wife and I took a trip to western New York State and visited several places associated with my great grandfather and grandfather. We even met a very old resident of Fredonia who said I looked my grandfather (who died 16 years before I was born). We saw my great grandfather's grave and the graves of several of his children. This encouraged me to try harder at finding out more about my family history.
When I retired in 2012 I had more time to spend on my hobby. I got an Ancestry subscription and uploaded my family tree. This has helped my research a lot. Several people have contacted me over the years and most have been related as far as I can tell. My third cousin twice removed (living in Minnesota) sent me a photo of William and one of his sons. My second cousin once removed (living in South Africa) sent me a photo of another son and a third cousin sent me a different photo of the same son.
My latest contact believes that his great great grandfather and William were brothers. There is not much chance of finding a paper trail that proves this connection because records don't go that far back. So he and I are currently awaiting the results of a DNA test to see if we are fourth cousins. If this link is proved, the family appears to come from County Laois, near Mountmellick. He has several people in his tree who were also employed in the lighthouse service, so I am hopeful of a positive result.
All along I thought they didn't really fit in. They are a Protestant family living in a country where 90% of people with that surname are Catholics and tend to be found in Waterford and Kerry. The type written biography of my great grandfather said 'Dr Landers is of French ancestry but came to this country (the USA) from Ireland. My father once told me that the name came from de Londres so I wondered if there is a French Huguenot connection. Mountmellick is not far from Portarlington which had a famous Huguenot settlement, but how I go about proving that conncetion is unclear at the moment - maybe the DNA test will help me find my roots.