In New Zealand there has been considerable interest in the large family of Moses and Catherine Stewart who lived on the Landahussy side of the Glenelly Valley in Northern Ireland in the late 19th century. The large family aroused memorable local interest as they ventured on the “footstick” over the small river to the church on the other side of the valley. Even in 2002 locals remembered their parents speaking of the family of more than a dozen walking in single file, with the bigger ones supporting the smaller children. In 2002 the slender bridge was still in place and is featured on the cover of this book. It is a symbol of the adventures that most of that family would later make in five far-off countries.
Some descendants from New Zealand and South Africa have met many of the remaining distant relatives in the old country and visited identifiable home sites. Indeed it was in Northern Ireland that links were renewed between South Africa and New Zealand after a communication gap of nearly a hundred years.
From about 1995, efforts were made to put together stories of the thirteen siblings. These promised to be of considerable interest. However, there was no marked enthusiasm for the task from outside New Zealand, so in 2004 a small print edition was published, attempting to tell some of the stories of the descendants of that large family. This has been of considerable interest to the modest number of Stewart relatives in New Zealand and Australia. This on-line version was created from that volume which is now unlikely to be re-published.
The book includes brief notes on as many of the original siblings as could be identified and described. There are in-depth accounts of the three families who settled permanently in New Zealand. Matilda married Crawford Mullan and emigrated to USA, Australia and New Zealand during the first decades of the 20th Century with their three children. Andrew came out as a single man and later married in New Zealand. Mary married Robert Nicholl and emigrated to New Zealand in 1929 with four very young daughters. The descendants of these three families have put together the stories that account for the bulk of this book.