Finding Lawrence’s Family


The above watercolour was painted by author, Margaret Doherty Forde, and is used as the cover of our book.

The trees are symbolic — the family tree and the trees that marked the Mass rocks in Ireland.  There were fewer trees in Ireland and probably too many in Ontario, but trees provided our ancestors with shelter and warmth to survive.  The back cover features the stones that are so plentiful in Ireland but also represent the many graveyards we’ve visited, both in Ireland and in Canada. The front cover represents the back hills or “mountains” of Ireland with the patchwork fields and stone fences, etc., with the bit of ocean (far right) to represent their crossing.

Margaret Doherty Forde, Kathy Doherty Lapointe and I have completed the Doherty family history — Finding Lawrence’s family . . . from Ballywilliam to Asphodel. It is a hard cover book, 475 pages in length. This has been a labour of love and we have found many new pieces of information that should be of interest to Lawrence’s descendants. We are almost sold out!

The price is $50 plus shipping charges: an extra $15 for Ontario addresses and $25 for American and Western Canada addresses.

Our Book Launch in Peterborough, Ontario:




Doherty duo team up to publish family genealogy book

Toasting the Dohertys

Jeri and Al Lunney go searching for her roots in Ireland and found some Guinness along the way. She has collaborated with Margaret Doherty Forde to write a Doherty family history.

By Lois Tuffin

DOURO – Two Peterborough-area natives who started separate journeys to trace their ancestral roots have reached the finish line together.

Margaret Doherty Forde and Jeri Doherty Lunney are publishing “Finding Lawrence’s family – from Ballywilliam to Asphodel” which traces two family trees that begin with the same man. When they discovered the coincidence, they teamed up to put the stories into one book.

Lawrence Doherty came to Asphodel Township, Ontario, in 1847 at the height of the famine in Ireland. He arrived as an indigent immigrant from Tipperary, Ireland, along with five other family members. The book describes Lawrence’s struggles in his new land, his successes and his failures.

“There have been many sad discoveries, but it is a tribute to their strength and survival that we are here today. We hope they would be proud,” says Ms Lunney of her ancestors. “We have searched high and low for the missing branches of the family, for land records and for stories of how our ancestors coped in their new land.”

The authors explore financial woes, addictions and illnesses.

“For my generation and future generations, the puzzle of our past is important research,” Ms Forde says. “Trying to put the pieces together, telling the stories, recording the facts as we know or find them is something I feel a need to do.“

The book profiles many families in Ontario, Alberta and Michigan — Dohertys, Heffernans, Mahoneys, O’Gradys, Condons and Delaneys, and many more – chapter by chapter. The authors also explore the history of the 1800s in Ireland and Ontario.

The book has separate chapters on arts and sports, to outline the successes of the Doherty clan.

The arts chapter features Robert Doherty (Ms Forde’s brother), a professional artist from Douro along with his two sisters, Emma and Margaret. It also features musicians and even a showgirl.

The sports chapter features NHL hockey player, George “Red” Sullivan, Tim O’Grady, who played hockey and lacrosse, and several others.

The book will be available in August 2014 but needs to be pre-ordered by July 10. It is a hard cover book with 460 pages, which sells for $50

To order one, contact Ms Forde at or 613-646-9712.

Here is a  preview of our Doherty family book

Below is a copy of an email I sent today to many of our cousins. Please contact me if you wish to add material to our history or if you wish to order a copy of the book.
Email Jeri Lunney.

7 April 2014
Good afternoon everyone
Our Doherty family history book is in its final stages. We are just waiting for a few more biographies and pictures. But it isn’t too late to become involved. We can still accept more information.
Kathy (Doherty) Lapointe, Margaret (Doherty) Forde and I have been working hard to put together this document and hope that you will enjoy it. We are hoping to have it in print by this summer. Many of you have already contributed and may wish to proofread your family’s part prior to publishing. If so, let me know and I will send you the section.
I am including a Table of Contents so you will know what we are working on. Margaret has painted a beautiful painting for the front cover. You can see it on page one of the attachment.  We found two new branches of the family- the Alberta Dohertys and the Michigan Dohertys, and we have met these cousins. Kathy went to Edmonton and met Fran Doherty Jackson and I went to Michigan to meet Bill Strickler and Hudson Keenan.
We have added two chapters on themes that are important to the Dohertys. One is “Sports” and we have major sections on Red Sullivan, Fred Doherty (both hockey players) and Pat Doherty from Kitchener as well as several others. The other is “The Arts” and we have included people who are artists, musicians and actors (did you know we had a showgirl in our family?). We are open to including other themes if you give us the information. As an example, former Governor Engler from Michigan is a cousin. Do we have any other politicians? We would also welcome more information about Doherty descendants who have done well in sports or the arts.
The reason for this email is to get an estimate of how many books we should order. To give you an idea, we ordered 100 books on the Lunney family history (a 400 page book) and sold almost all of them at $50. The price goes up if we order fewer books and, of course, it goes down if we order more books. Since I’ll have to pay the whole amount up front, I will need to know an approximate number to order. Would you please talk with your families and let me know how many books you would like to purchase. Mailing is costly but we will deliver if it is feasible- e.g. Peterborough.
Please feel free to forward this information to others who might be interested.
Jeri (Doherty) Lunney

6 thoughts on “Finding Lawrence’s Family

  1. Jerry, you have done an amazing amount of work on this project. I don’t know if this would be of interest to you but will pass it along anyway. Fred and I served as Joint North American Co-Ordinators for the International Rose of Tralee Festival in Ireland for some 12 years. This Festival was to promote tourism to Ireland and to have our young people represent the families who had emigrated over the years. The other person that I was thinking about was Michael O’Grady, son of John O’Grady and Mary Purcell. He would have been a brother to Catherine Doherty (Timothy O’Grady), Mary O’Grady (William Doherty) and Ellen O’Grady ( John Doherty). I know this is branching out but he was known for his discovery of base metals in B.C. and I know that several of the Doherty nieces went out west to work for him in the hotel that he built. I’m not trying to change it to an O’Grady book but because of the nieces going out to work for him and them being already known as artists/painters might be a fit for what you are doing.

    I will pass your letter on to several of the family but you know that you can count me in as one book for sure.


  2. Thanks Shirley. I have you down for one book. Margaret is aware of Michael O’Grady and we have him in the book. I’ll add the information about you and Fred into Fred’s section. Cheers, Jeri

  3. Hello,

    I am trying to get in touch with Margaret Forde. I would like to find out if she still paints and if she has any paintings for sale at the moment.

    Thank you.


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