An Irish man's attempt to advertise his new bar on a Long Island Facebook page put him in touch with his long-lost relatives.
Danny Price has lived in New York for 11 years, while his sister Mary Willis has lived in the Big Apple for eight.
Both siblings have frequently attempted to track down the descendants of their great uncle and aunt, who both moved to the US in the early 20th century, but the trail has always gone cold. Until recently.
The story begins with Nelly and Davy McDonald, Danny and Mary's great aunt and uncle.
Both emigrated to New York in 1926 from Clara in Offaly and soon lost contact with their family back home, including their nephew Joe Price - Danny and Mary's father.
Joe Price frequently wondered what became of his aunt and uncle and his two children set about unraveling the mystery when they moved to New York.
They found Nelly's gave in New Haven, Connecticut. She had never married.
Davy McDonald proved trickier to locate, however. He had stopped communicating with his family in Ireland around 1960 and had last contacted them from Richmond Hill in Queens, New York.
Joe Price had previously attempted to find his uncle by calling every McDonald listed in the Queens neighborhood but had been unsuccessful.
He had hoped that he might at least stumble across Davy McDonald Jr., who spent a year in Ireland as a teenager but was equally unsuccessful.
Fast forward to 2020 and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, not exactly the time you'd expect to connect with long-lost family. Yet that is exactly what happened.
Danny Price's post in a Long Island Facebook group about The Noon Inn, his new bar, attracted a good deal of interest from Irish Americans, but one woman named Kathy stood out above all others as Mary Willis told the Leinster Express.
"She said that she had Irish heritage, her family being from Offaly. Danny said that his grand-uncle Davy had moved here, explaining that he was a bus driver in Manhattan but lived in Jamaica, Queens. He said he might as well ask," Mary Willis said.
Her response stunned Danny and Mary, solving a mystery that they had been attempting to solve for the best part of a decade.
"She replied that her grandfather was Davy McDonald, who drove a bus in Manhattan and lived in Jamaica, Queens. He had a sister called Molly, our granny, and she had married a Joe Price (Snr), our grandfather."
Davy McDonald Sr., as it turned out, had died in 1966, explaining why the trail went cold. He had five children in total - Davy Jr., Mike, Helen, Susan and Dianne - three of whom were still alive.
Davy jr., however, died two years ago, while Dianne has also passed away.
Davy's son Mike, meanwhile, lived just five minutes away from Danny Price in Merrick, Long Island, and Danny has since met up with Mick, who is Joe Price's first cousin.
I put a post on a Facebook group the other day about opening our bar in East Meadow. Kathy asked me where in Ireland I...Posted by Danny Price on Saturday, August 29, 2020
Danny met Mike and his family, including Davy Jr.'s widow Betty, and the group went for dinner in New York earlier this week. They remain in contact about their various relations and plan to meet up properly after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
The news has come as quite a surprise for Joe Price at home in Ireland, according to his daughter Mary.
"He’s still in shock I think. He’s always wondered about them," she said.