Bruce County Genealogical Society presents: A Great Family Reunion

To Register: click:…/reg…/WN_eBk9UnwQQqq9tcxnuPagug

PRESENTERS: Erin McCann Netzke and Damien McCann, Ph.D.

Erin McCann Netzke has very recently retired from her career as a Medical Lab Technologist at our South Bruce Grey Health Centre; she enjoys gardening and creative crafts, understands and feels at ease using computers and digital communication programs, and loves the challenges and discoveries of genealogy. She is a 5th generation Canadian descendant (in her McCann line) of Irish emigrants who arrived in New York before settling in Ontario in the mid-1830s. She and Damien are 4th cousins once removed; they uncovered their link within the same deep ancestral roots in 2014, and met each other face-to-face in their mutual “homeland village” of Mullaghbawn, County Armagh, in present-day Northern Ireland in 2017.

In 2019, Erin volunteered to join Damien and three additional cousins (another Canadian, another American, and one living near Belfast in Northern Ireland) in organizing a wide-based international Gathering of cousins in Mullaghbawn. She proved herself indispensable to the effort – being both imaginative and proficient in setting up and managing the online registration system and a circulating group email communication and information site for the more than 70 people travelling from Canada, the U.S., Australia and the U.K. to the McCANN 2020 GATHERING in Mullaghbawn – a weekend event originally set for early April, but now postponed by the Covid pandemic.

Damien McCann is an American who lives on the West Coast, not far from Seattle. He is a retired Clinical Psychologist whose great-grandparents (in his McCann line) emigrated from County Armagh to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the mid-1880s. He made his first trip to Ireland in 1987, and 10 additional trips since. Collaborating with two McCann brothers in Ireland beginning in 2011, they have assembled a family tree that now contains more than 3,200 verified descendants of their oldest known ancestor (Damien’s 4great/Erin’s 5great-grandfather, who was born in 1720 and died in 1817).

With a senior McCann cousin in Mullaghbawn, Damien co-hosted the first international clan Gathering in the Millennial Year, bringing his primary family group of ten from the U.S. to meet about 40 or so of their Irish cousins. In 2013, he sponsored a second Gathering in Mullaghbawn, -2- this time drawing about 85 cousins in total (including new-found relatives arriving from Canada, the U.K. and elsewhere in Ireland). Having already been using DNA tools to uncover wider and deeper connections to relatives for several years, and recognizing the rapid expansion of genealogy interest worldwide (especially in the U.S. and Canada, countries whose populations are largely composed of people who are no more than three or four generations removed from immigrant ancestors), in the summer of 2019 Damien began planning for a significantly larger and more immersive Gathering in 2020 — this time expanded beyond simply going to Ireland to meet Irish relatives, into a three-day weekend event with historical and cultural presentations, exploratory bus tours, meals, and entertainment programs. The idea quickly drew more than 70 cousins signing up to travel to Ireland for the experience – but the Covid-19 pandemic forced its postponement until air travel can safely resume.


This Webinar will offer ideas and tips about how to think about, plan, communicate about, and organize family reunions – adaptable to various group sizes, age compositions, and interests of the family group involved. The presenters will be happy to respond to questions and ideas posed by other participants.