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Postcard from the Edge
I became interested in Derry as a natural part of my quest for geneology information on my family. My grandfather and father gave me a natural interest in my family history and the factors that confronted them. I was lucky enough to get information on one of my great grandfathers and his emigration to America from Derry. My wife and I made a recent trip to Northern Ireland to look over the “homeland” and we were lucky enough to meet Dr. Don MacFarlane who has a strong interest in this area and who has meticulously collected and maintained the valuable information on the site.
John Steinbeck’s Derry Roots
Extract from Derry Journal May 2009
On visiting his mother’s forebears in 1952 – Hamiltons from Mulkeeragh, just outside Ballykelly in Drumachose Parish:
“Every Irish man – and that means anyone with one drop of Irish blood – sooner or later makes a pilgrimage to Ireland. I am half Irish, the rest of my blood watered down with German and Massachusetts English. But Irish blood doesn’t water down very well; the strain must be very strong”.
BEST POST 2011/12
This was written by Mary Cornell (after a frustrating search over the last year) from information supplied by Gaynor Watters, North Queensland, Australia. This story goes to the heart of the struggle for colonisation of Ireland and it sounds like Mary and Gaynor could have a lot more digging to do!
The particulars concerning the family of John Cornwall, attained by King James 2nd, Parliament 1689 point to Hertfordshire as the probable place of origin and home of the Cornwall family in Ireland. John Cornwall built the Blackwater Fort in 1575, and it was there that the articles of peace with Turlough O’Neil were signed on 27th June 1575. This John Cornwall list of family were thereafter to be settled in Ireland [perhaps to ensure the peace agreement was honoured or perhaps banished (attainded, not attained?)]. Through the line of Edward Cornwall who died before 6 March 1676 (in Heath Money Roll 1664) and Mary Mitchell of Annaginary (?), their four children included:
1. John Cornwall, of Cornwalls Grove, who married Barbara Lindsay(daughter of Dr.Alex Lindsay – second son of RobertLindsay, Loughrey – killed in siege of Derry).
2. Barbara, born 1674, buried 13 February 1747, Newmills (Newmills is Presbyterian and they share a minister with Carland 1st Presbyterian Church about three miles away).
3. John, born 1666, died 22 March 1731, buried in Newmills also. He had eight children, the sixth of which was Grace, born 1708, married 3 April 1734 to Wm Whitsitt (Whiteside?). Grace died in 1749, buried at Cornwall’s Grove, Newmills.
1. The Blackwater Fort mentioned may likely have been in Ireland (there are three Newmills and three Blackwaters; one in Northern Ireland, one in Hertfordshire and one in Cornwall – indeed one lot may have been named after the other?) Abranch of the River Blackwater runs through Newmills in County Tyrone where the Battle of the Yellow Ford was fought in 1597. Note: Most sources attribute the building of the first Blackwater Fort in 1575 (rebuilt in 1598 after it was destroyed by rebels) to the Earl of Essex.
2. The English struck a truce with Turlough O’Neill (Chief of the O’Neills), and later with Turlough’s scheming cousin, Hugh, upon Turlough’s death in 1595. Hugh took over as Chief and he tried tosecure terms of permanent peace with the English. He distrusted the English but he had no natural antagonism to them as he was reared in the Dublin Pale from the age of nine by the Lord Deputy of Ireland after Hugh’s father was murdered.
3. Blackwater Fort became the Camp David of Ireland but peace broke down and Hugh raised the rebellion against the English which culminated in the Battle of the Yellow Ford. The Government forces marched to relieve the besieged Blackwater Fort, led by General Henry Bagenal . The rebels were led by the Chieftains Hugh O’ Neill, Hugh Roe O’ Donnell and Hugh Maguire. The outcome was a complete rout of the English with very heavy losses for the Government troops who left the scene with their tails between their legs. The remnants of the English forces had to be bailed out by boat from Newry for Dublin. The tables were turned in 1607 when the three chiefs, in their Flight of the Earls gave up the fight,abandoned their people with false promises, fled to the Continent, and left Ireland open for plantation by the English.
4. Turlough O’Neill had a sizeable support of Scottish Highland Galloglasses in his army as he was married to the daughter of the Dukeof Argyll.
5. Annaginary (?), where Mary Mitchell was from, sounds like Annagry in Donegal (a Scottish Plantation) situated between Dungloe and Gweedore (just outside Mullaghdoo Scotch). Loughry (not Loughrey) is a townland in Derryloran Parish due south of Cookstown in Tyrone. Mitchells still in Derryloran (Cookstown) mentioned in Griffiths in 1848-52 were Alexander and James (Coagh Street, Cookstown)and Hugh (Gortalowry).
Poll Start Date: 28th August 2010
It would be helpful to the website and to gauge interests if visitors without a query in the form of a post could complete the survey:
Better still, suggestions are welcome from visitors on topics that might be of interest to thrash out on the ‘Bookclub Page’. These need not be restricted to matters Derry, nor be a specific question or query; more a ‘Food for Thought’ would be fine. Suggestions should be placed in the Comment box below and hopefully there will be a big uptake as research has shown that even people from a distinctive ethnic background:
Had strong attachment to the group (60%)
Had pride in the group/clan (60%)
Felt happy to be a member of the group/clan (50%)
Felt good about its culture (50%)
Understood what group membership meant(50%)
Participated in cultural practice (40%)
Talked to out-group members about the in-group (40%)
Spent time to learn about the group (30%)
Had a sense of belonging to the group (25%)
Were active in ethnic organisation (25%)
Thought about the group membership (25%)
Had a clear sense of ethnic background (20%)
What these figures appear to say is that most people who have a strong interest in their roots and attachments consider that to be a private matter. They see no need to get involved with others in that pursuit. That might reflect the visitor activity on this website which is mostly ‘shopping’ for information rather than stopping by. Fine as far as that goes, but less good is that most people have no clear sense of their own ethnic background or culture.
So here is an invitation to find out more!