A CHANCE meeting in a city library and a Thanks for the Memories article have helped unite an American woman with her Glasgow relatives.

Pat Smith, from Illinois, has been researching her family tree since the death of her grandmother in 1984, but she had only a few details of her grandfather’s brother, Archie Nicol.

“My only surviving elder relative is my uncle Bill Nicol and we have both long wondered what had happened to Archie,” explains Pat, who has three daughters, Nicole, Kaylin and Briana.

“My uncle loves to draw, and he always wished he could have seen more of the paintings and drawings Archie had done.

“Over the years I had searched but had never found any trace of any artwork done by him.

“Imagine my surprise when I discovered the Glasgow Times article all about him and his wife Catherine – it was fantastic.”

Glasgow Times:

In June last year, we held a Thanks for the Memories drop-in event at Baillieston Library.

Chris McChesney, who is 87, came along to share old photos and stories of his aunt Catherine and uncle Archie.

Catherine was a nurse, and her career was full of dramatic incidents.

On the night Rudolf Hess crash-landed his plane on the Eaglesham Moors near Glasgow, she was delivering a baby on a nearby farm and was held under house arrest by the Home Guard; in 1942, she made the headlines when she delivered a baby so premature she weighed just 13 ounces; and as a fevers nurse at the Belvidere in Glasgow, she volunteered to spend eight months in quarantine helping victims.

Catherine met Archie Nicol at a dance. He was a great artist and painter and the couple eventually emigrated to Australia, to live in the Victoria seaside resort of Rye.

Glasgow Times:

Pat explains: “I have been doing ancestry research since 1985 when my grandmother Mary Nicol passed away. Mary was married to Walter, my grandfather, who had two brothers, David and Archie. David’s wife Peggy – my great aunt – wrote a wonderful letter to me about the history of the Nicol family and I used that as the basis for much of the family research I have done.”

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She adds: “The letter was sitting on a side table in my living room, just beneath a framed drawing that Archie Nicol did in the 1920s, of puppies in a basket. One evening, I re-read the paragraph on Archie and realised that in my general searches I had used Australia as a key word, but never the town of Rye mentioned by Peggy as his last known address. So I searched again.”

Glasgow Times:

This time, Pat’s search revealed our article and interview with Chris.

“I absolutely knew it was the right Archie Nicol,” she smiles. “I can’t tell you how exciting it was to not only read your story but see the photos that we had long searched for.”

Pat is now in touch with Chris and his son Robin.

Glasgow Times:

“We have had several lovely conversations and have shared more photos and stories, including Peggy’s letter,” says Pat.

“Robin is now working with Chris on adding stories to some of the photos we shared.

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“And he has sent other photos of paintings done by Archie and is contacting some relatives in Australia who may still have the originals.”

She adds: “And all because of an article you wrote after meeting Chris one day...many, many thanks.”