31 May 2024

Cooktown connects long-lost family

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Angela Morrell and her second cousin at the Cooktown History Centre

Angela Morrell (right) connected with her long-lost second cousin through the Cooktown History Centre. Photo: Supplied.

An ancestral journey spanning Australia, Ireland, Canada and the United States has come to fruition after a set of second cousins met and connected in Cooktown.

Cooktown local Angela Morrell, who moved with her family from California over 20 years ago, began a search for long-lost relatives after finding out her great-grandmother was buried in the community.

Supported by a friend at the Cooktown History Centre, Ms Morrell found that her great-grandparents had migrated to Cooktown from Ireland in 1913.

“I wasn’t even born in Australia, I was born in California, so it was a huge surprise to find out that I had a great-grandmother buried in the cemetery here,” she said.

“As it turns out, there are people, relatives of mine, that come to Cooktown all the time looking for information about their history.”

Most recently, Ms Morrell met with an Irish second cousin who visited from Canada.

“It was wonderful and very exciting to meet someone that lives so far away, and know that I’m related to people I’ve never met,” she said.

“We called a couple of times and there’s a connection there; she was saying there is a bit of a family resemblance.

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“If we had more time, we feel we’d become quite close friends.”

The Cooktown local of over two decades said it was a surprising turn of events to end up where her ancestors had immigrated to more than a century ago.

“I was already here 10 years or so before I found out,” Ms Morrell said.

“I didn’t know this, but where I was working at the time, I could literally jump over the fence and I’d be where her plot is.

“It was really a surprise to connect with relatives in Cooktown of all places.”

Ms Morrell will continue to search for information about her roots and hopes to visit Ireland one day.

“I’ve never been to Europe before, so it’s something that I’d love to do,” she said.

“I don’t recall my mother ever saying we’re Irish descendants, so I’m interested to find out more.

“[My second cousin] said ‘you have plenty of family over in Ireland as well’, so there’s many more ancestors to chase down.”

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