Really. None at all. I had already fallen in love with Ireland and there was a bit of hope ... that maybe, just maybe, somewhere back in history, I might have ancestors from there. But I didn't know.
Looking back, its strange. While I loved all of Ireland, I felt particularly comfortable in Derry (Londonderry) and Donegal. Why, I couldn't have said. In fact, it might have seemed strange to say I felt comfortable in Derry because Derry is a city that has seen more than its share of strife and violence.
So I was surprised and delighted, when doing some family history on Ancestry.com, to find that I have Irish roots on both sides of my family - more than one line, in fact, and that they almost all come from, you guessed it, Derry and Donegal.
Today even, I was surprised to find that my 12th great grandfather on my mother's side was a surgeon who died in the battle of Londonderry in 1688. He died within these walls not long after they were built. A few years ago I walked the walls of Derry with Brian having no idea that I had such a personal connection with the city. Below are some pictures of Derry and the story of Lancelot Vance, my relative who died there.
John was the first of the Vances to settle in Ireland. He was a Presbyterian minister and traveled to Ireland about 1660 to escape religious persecution and likely to search for new opportunities. He was also the first to use the name Vance. Under the Act of Settlement, John obtained the lease of a tract of land in the County of Tyon and there founded the village of Coagh. He married Sarah Williams, daughter of Ashe Reinty, Esq. of the County of Derry and had six children.
Their first son, Dr. Lancelot Francis Vance, died of at the siege of Londonderrry leaving one other son as heir, Patrick