American reader seeks help to solve the family ‘mystery’ of Samuel Hanna Elder

Here at The Church Page, we love hearing from our readers at home and abroad.

Karen Murdock, from Texas, has been in touch seeking our help to solve a long-standing family mystery in relation to Samuel Hanna Elder.

Karen, who has recent ancestry from Northern Ireland, told us: “My Grandfather was Reverend John Elder, a Presbyterian Minister from Belfast, moved to Canada and British Guiana. His father was Samuel Hanna Elder, and I have the record showing he was baptised in Second Kilrea church, (see the picture, below.) The big mystery is that I don’t seem to have any Elder DNA relatives, so we are starting to wonder if maybe Samuel was adopted by the Elders.  It looks like he was four when he was baptized in 1872, while the other children in the family were babies when they were baptized

American reader seeks help to solve the family 'mystery’ of Samuel Hanna Elder

“Could the age indicate an adoption? Are there any records there, or any local historians who, by any chance might have more information? Thank you so much for any help that you can provide. We have been working on this mystery for years!”

Explaining what her own research has already uncovered, Karen went on to say:

“I do know that Samuel and his wife Sara are buried in Belfast. I have the record of my grandfather’s birth that shows Samuel Hanna Elder and Sarah Jane McMullan as his parents. I did find a birth record for a child born to John and Isabella Elder (Kilpatrick) but unfortunately the name was not filled in (Dec 20, 1867).  This could very well be Samuel, but I wonder why he wasn’t baptized until 1872, and I have a contact that should be a high DNA match – but we are not! So, one of us is not an Elder! It could be him!”

American reader seeks help to solve the family 'mystery’ of Samuel Hanna Elder
Have you any information that would help Karen to complete her family jigsaw?

Can you or someone you know help Karen to solve the puzzle around her family tree, and in particular Samuel Hanna Elder? If so, she can be contacted via: or you can contact us here at The Church Page and we will pass on any information we receive.