I recently corresponded with another Gillespie researcher who has interest in Gillespie's who lived in Portneuf, Quebec in the 1800s. I love how these connections help us to re-evaluate what we have and notice things we might have forgotten. In this case it was the 1881 Canadian census where our forefather James Gillespie, age 73, was living next door to his son James Jr's family. In James Sr's household was a 27-year-old female named Mary Diffon. She was born in Ireland and was Presbyterian. We have never figured out who she was.
Meanwhile, my cousins who never seem to forget anything (!), reminded me that a picture was found among our Gillespie family history mementos. Here it is:
Nobody we know has any idea who Mrs. Diffen was, but it's clear she was from Ireland, and very possibly Armagh. And it is certainly no accident that the Diffin name (yes, I am using yet another spelling of this surname) appears in a Gillespie household in Quebec in 1881, and a picture labeled as Diffin was found among Gillespie family history items.
I have found at least one record on familysearch that connects Henry Diffin and Mary Jane Gillespie in Armagh (click here). But at the same time, there are also records that connect Diffin and Jamieson (click here and here), and even Diffin and Smith (click here), which are both possible connections to our family. There is also a message board post that outlines a Diffin family in Armagh and the possibility that some from that family might have emigrated to Canada.
If you have any ideas or leads about how the Diffin family might connect to our Gillespie family, please feel free to contact me.