Hugh Ward: Genealogy

Meeting of Wednesday 29 January 2020
Speaker: Probian Vice-President, Hugh Ward Topic: Genealogy

Vice-President, Hugh Ward [left] with Club Secretary, Alastair Orr

Over the years Hugh has become quite knowledgeable about researching the information needed to construct a family tree.  While most people can name the parents and grandparents typically things become murky when researching great grandparents and their parents.  For those whose forebears were born and raised in Ireland the website is an excellent starting point.  Its records include all registered births from 1864 – 1919, all marriages from 1864 – 1919 and all deaths from 1864 to 1969. To illustrate he logged on to Irish Genealogy via the Golf Club’s wi-fi network and opened up files containing civil records.   However in the midst of his demonstration the system crashed and Hugh was forced to continue with verbal descriptions of how to proceed.   Church records, he said, are worth investigating but are often incomplete because of poor book-keeping in the 19th Century.   He warned that it was quite usual for the spelling of surnames to vary over time – as with McCullough, McCullagh and McCulla.   The Griffith Valuation undertaken after the famine 1864 – 65 records the names of all persons resident in Ireland parish by parish, and district by district and is often a fruitful line of inquiry. Many questions brought this interesting session to a close.


Meetings First Thursday of each month @ 2pm in Omagh Library.  No meetings in July & August

6th February             Rev J Cowan New Year Reflection

5th March                  Joe Keys Security & Scams

2nd April                    Aimee Burns    RSPB

7th May                       Christelle Andrich    From S Africa to Fermanagh

4th June                      Outing to Corrymeela & Ballycastle

3rd September           Hugh Ward    Genealogy

1st October                 Claire Johnston   Engineering Manager Terex

5th November           SN Sandra Edgar & SN Flo Harper     Taking care of ourselves


A SWAP grant from Fermanagh & Omagh District Council helps us provide this programme of activities

Leisure Centre Meeting

Meeting of Wednesday 22 January 2020

Probians present on Wednesday 22 January at the Leisure Centre
At the previous meeting on Wednesday 15th in the Golf Club it was announced that the next meeting on Wednesday 22nd would be in the Leisure Centre to participate in an event organised by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.   The speaker, Mrs Eva Clarke, born in Mauthausen concentration camp, Austria, on 29th April 1945, was to share her own personal story of the Holocaust and explore issues linked to prejudice, discrimination and the effects on society if hatred is not challenged.   Unfortunately, Mrs Clarke was taken ill and the event cancelled at the last minute with not enough time to get the word out.   And so it was that when members turned up at the Leisure Centre it was to be told that the session would go ahead but take the form of a business meeting.   Up-dated membership lists were distributed, and a useful discussion ensued about the club “Telephone Tree” and a revised approach to receiving welfare reports.   In preparation for the next meeting  Vice-President, Hugh Ward, handed out templates for the building of Family Trees, explaining that on Wednesday 29th he would demonstrate the use the internet for researching family history. He also announced the start of a project to publish a book about members childhood memories of growing up in Tyrone.

Omagh Men’s Probus Club A.G.M. 2020

Meeting of Wednesday 15 January 2020
Annual General Meeting

Club Officers 2020  Front row [L – R] Hugh Ward, 2nd Vice-President, Michael Cooney, President 2020, Oliver Loughran, Past President;   Back Row [L – R] Alastair, Orr, Secretary, Sam Bullock, Treasurer, Albert Allen Assistant Treasurer. ,

Omagh Men’s Probus Club held its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 15 January in Omagh Golf Club with 23 Probians present.   Members were welcomed by Oliver Loughran who conducted the business of his last meeting as President with his usual efficiency and good-humour. After the minutes of the 2019 AGM had been read, club Treasurer, Albert Allen, presented his accounts for the calendar year 2019: these showed a healthy balance, obviating the need for any increase in the annual subscription.   The secretary’s report, delivered by Alastair Orr, took the form of a review of the year, highlighting significant events such as the Inter-Club Quiz in April and the Christmas Luncheon.
Out-going President, Oliver Loughran, offered sincere thanks to all who had supported him during his year in office before placing the Presidential Chain on the shoulders of Michael Cooney and inviting him to take the chair and conduct the election of officers for 2020. Hugh Ward was confirmed as 1st Vice-President and Felim O’Neill elected as 2nd Vice-President, which means the club can look forward with confidence to the next three years; Hugh will follow Michael into the Chair in 2021 and Felim in 2022.


Men’s Probus New Year Message

Meeting of Wednesday 8 January 2020
Speaker: Rev Eleanor Hayden Topic “New Year Message”

Probus President, Oliver Loughran with Rev Eleanor Hayden

Rev Eleanor was welcomed by Club President, Oliver Loughran, and thanked for coming at very short notice after Rev Sean Hanily had apologised on Monday for his inability to come and bring members a New Year Message.  In her capacity as minister of Omagh Methodist Church and an active member of Omagh Churches’ Forum, Rev Eleanor is well known and widely respected in the community.   She began by referring to the New Year message from the Right Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, who challenged people in 2020 to reach out to those around them – to people we often fail to notice in the daily round, such as the shop assistant, the person in the queue at the Post Office, the elderly person alone in the café.   She echoed his call for re-engagement with those around us and shared his view that a phone call, a text or a letter could be a changing factor in the life of some alone and lonely.   Reading from St Matthew’s gospel Rev Eleanor illustrated how Jesus reached out to the friendless as he passed along.   Jesus may have said to his disciples “Follow me” but to the rest of us he says, “Let me journey with you”.   Her message to members was simple; we are all journeying through life and as we pass along, we have opportunities to engage with those around us in ways which say, “You are important – you are not alone.”

New Year Reflection at Ladies’ Probus

As is traditional in the meeting calendar for the Probus Club, a member of the local clergy is asked to bring to club members a reflection for the new year. On Thursday past, the speaker at the Ladies’ Probus meeting was Rev Jonathan Cowan, minister of Mountjoy & Drumlegagh Presbyterian Churches. He began by reminding members that, twenty years ago, we were anticipating the millennium bug and we were asked to reflect on just how accurate our projections for the new millennium had been.

Members were encouraged to LOOK BACK over, not just the past year, but over the previous decade or two and to think about the mixture of good and bad days which had been experienced. Everyone should have at least one good thing to remember and for which to be thankful. Above all, God’s goodness and faithfulness should not be forgotten. Next facet of reflection is to LOOK AROUND and be mindful that we are interdependent and to be thankful for all who help in any way; and then to ask ourselves “who could we help or befriend by showing love, support and compassion?” LOOK IN to our own lives and critically examine ourselves and those resolutions which are not often kept was the third aspect of reflection. The concept of “one-degree shifts” encouraged members to think about small changes which can make a big difference if continued. Psalm 121 encourages people to LOOK UP to the hills and also to God. So often people walk about with heads down and, in so doing, can miss what is all around and find complaints come more readily than thankfulness. Finally, members were encouraged to LOOK FORWARD to what the new year has to offer. CS Lewis, in Chronicles of Narnia number 7, reminds his readers that “… every chapter is better than the one before”. Life is to be viewed as an adventure and we should trust the unknown future to the all-knowing God. So encouraged, members should look forward to all that 2020 has to offer individuals and club members. The thanks of members were expressed by Mary Keane. The next meeting on 6th February will focus on security issues and scams.