Researchers may not only be interested in finding out about their own family trees but may wish to understand more about the lives and times of their ancestors. Acquiring this depth of understanding brings with it a real sense of being transported back into a different age and a sense of personal contact with ancestors that family trees by themselves cannot hope to give. A good place to start is to subscribe to the quarterly journal, Genealogica, that is published by the Ulster Historical Foundation. Extensive libraries are also maintained by the Linenhall Library in Belfast and the Ulster American Folk Park.

For serious amateur historians, insights into the prevailing circumstances that led over two centuries to mass emigration from Derry can be gleaned from a wealth of in-print Books on Ulster and books on Early Irish Abroad. Three books in particular that deserve particular mention are ‘Internal Colonialism – The Celtic Fringe in British national development 1536-1966’ by Prof. Michael Hechter of Seattle, ‘The Catholics of Ulster’ by Prof. Marianne Elliott of Liverpool and ‘Tenant Right and Agrarian Society in Ulster 1600-1870’ by Dr. Martin W. Dowling. A detailed account of everyday life in a typical parish in Ulster is also to be found at Parish Records for Aghadowey.

Details of those who sailed as free and convicted passengers on ships to the New World and the conditions they suffered can be found at Moville and Derry Sailings, Peter Mayberry, Ships List and Oz Ships.  The conditions of passengers emigrating from Derry to the New World during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were often tragic as seen in a transcript from an account given by the Master of the ‘Adam Lodge’. By the time of its arrival four months later, there had been many deaths including 23 infants or babes-in-arms, caused by with-holding of rations by the Master as punishment for what he perceived as poor standards of hygiene in the passengers! Notwithstanding that Master Osborne was obliged to give an account to the English Parliament of his part in this tragedy, he was later appointed a member of the New South Wales Parliament.

Finally, more sophisticated search methods are being devised to narrow a search for an ancestral parish using the parameters:

Distinctiveness of Name to Parish
a. Unique to parish and not spread to adjoining Parish
b. Some spread to adjoining Parish
c. Mostly found between several adjoining parishes and little found
elsewhere in Ulster
d. Spread in County of Derry but some concentration
e. Spread throughout Ulster but some concentration

Frequency of Name in Parish 
a. Less than 10 families
b. 10-20 families
c. More than 20 families

Predominant ethnic origin
a. ‘ Scots-Irish’ , English or Welsh
b.  ‘Native Irish’, not of Planter (colonial) Stock.

Based on these parameters a greater degree of sophistication of search can involve the use of a  Coefficient of Variation that will give a precise probability estimate for where a particular name can be found. The formula for this dispersion statistic is not reproduced here but it depends upon comparison of an index name with the spousal name for overlap and spread patterns throughout the County. This more sophisticated search is performed using the free Excel Griffiths spreadsheet available from Don MacFarlane from this site.


9 responses to “Advanced

  1. Don MacFarlane

    November 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    This link sets out a heap of resources that could be gone through

    I had a quick look at the Protestant Householders Census for 1766 and Callwells (Caldwells) do appear in Inishowen Peninsula but there are no Matthews. Carrickmaquigley may be a good place to check out first of all as it is close to Greencastle.

    The fount of all knowledge on Donegal generally and Inishowen in particular is Lindel Buckley. She does not undertake to do searches but her websites have heaps and heaps of info on them:

    After your friend has done a bit more spadework, feel free to tell him to post how he is getting on and we can see where we go from there. Matthews could be a bit harder to track down but it is not a particularly common name, certainly much less common than Caldwell but it is more dispersed. It may not be a coincidence that one name, Caldwell, came from near a port (Moville), albeit in the North East of Donegal, and the other name, Mathews, came from another fishing port (albeit from the diametrically opposite end of the county), Killybegs, in the South West. In these days I guess sea rather than road was the normal mode of transport.

  2. donfad

    June 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

  3. donfad

    October 21, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    From Jim Collins

    I was wondering if you knew if the following information still exists and if so where, or better yet, has it been published?

    In her 1884 “Ireland in the Seventeeth Century, …,” Mary Agnes Hickson has a note on page 201 concerning a joint deposition by the Redferns referencing Neil Oge O’Quin’s activities in Lissan in 1641. Hickson relates that the deposition is long and in part torn & illegible, but also that it contains a long list of ‘rebel’ names.

    As some of my forebears hailed from the area near Lissan (Ballinderry & Arboe), this list is of interest to me, however, I can not find any reference to its existence beyond Hickson’s notation. I have to assume it still existed in 1884.

    If you do not know specifically about this particular deposition, do you know if the depositions are (or were) housed in a single locale? Hopefully
    they were not in the Four Courts Building.

    Thank you for any insight you might have in the existence & whereabouts of
    this deposition.

  4. donfad

    March 22, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Recent Queries on North West Ulster Convicts to Australia

    Ship ‘Francis and Eliza’ 1815

    James Bell DOB 1787, Magherafelt, County Derry
    Bernard Doogan DOB 1760, Ballynascreen, County Derry
    Charlotte McConnell DOB 1796, Donaghedy or Clogher, County Tyrone
    Daniel O’Neil DOB 1767, Clonoe, County Tyrone
    Patrick Strain DOB 1745, Kilmacrennan, County Donegal. Died free in NSW aged 89.

    Ship ‘Minerva’ 1800

    William Blake (Rebel) DOB 1766, Strabane, County Tyrone. Died in NSW aged 42.
    William Davidson DOB 1779, Ballyscullion, County Derry
    William McGlashan DOB 1759, Clondavaddog, County Donegal
    Thomas Noble DOB 1780, Donacavey, County Tyrone. Died free in NSW aged 56.
    John Wade DOB 1761, Tullniskan, County Tyrone. Died free in NSW aged 60.

  5. Brian Boggs

    October 29, 2007 at 9:00 am

    A consideration on the character of Alick Osborne using a brief history of Alick Osborne compiled from various sources (The Convict Ships by Charles Bateson, various internet sites etc)

    Cannot find Alick’s approximate birthdate – son of Archie Osborne of Dernaseer, Omagh. Born sometime between 1791 and 1796

    1791 Birth of his brother elder John

    1805 Birth of his younger brother Henry

    1814 On half pay R.N 12/2/1814

    1821 Birth of his son Alick

    1822 On Baracoota

    1825 Surgeon on convict ship Lanach to Sydney from Cork. Landed 143/144 Journey took 111 days

    1825 On Henry Porcher from NSW

    1826 Surgeon on convict ship Speke II to Sydney from Sheerness. Landed 156/156 Journey took110 days

    c 1828 Purchase of Daisy Bank near Dapto NSW

    1829 Surgeon on convict Sarah I to Sydney from London. Landed 199/200. Journey took 100 days

    1829 Surgeon on convict ship Sophia to Sydney from Dublin . Journey took 124 days.

    1831 On Ganges in Mediteranean visiting new island made by volcanic activity.

    1832 Surgeon on convict ship Plantar to Sydney from Portsmouth. Landed 200/200. Journey took 121 days

    1833 Publishing of book “Notes on Present State and Prospects of Society in NSW’ by J.Cross and written by Alick Osborne

    1834 Surgeon on convict ship Fairlie to Sydney from England
    1835 He arrived in New South Wales accompanied by his wife and daughters Ann, Jane Mary and Isobella 3 JUL 1835 Ship ‘Marquis of Huntley’ 1

    1835 His property at Eraring on Central Coast in NSW is invaded by bushrangers

    1835 Arrives on board convict ship Marquis of Huntley. Lands 200/200. Journey took 121 days

    1836 Receives instructions from the Governor NSW to proceed to London and await further instructions

    1836 Arrives London from Sydney. Starts Journal of occurrences on July 8th 1836. Goes to Ireland to help load the ship Lady McNaughton which sails 5/11/1836

    1837 Surgeon on emigrant ship Adam Lodge from Londonderry to Sydney. Landed 385/417. Journey took 107 days

    1838 On ship Ephistone to Dublin arriving 29th December 1838

    1842 Son Alick dies aged 21 years. Buried in Wollongong cemetery

    1843 Surgeon on convict ship Forfershire to Tasmania

    1843 Alick and his two brothers (I think there were three surgeons Osborne plus farmer Henry – all brothers) have a private exhibition of produce and imported cattle at Wollongong NSW

    1843. Elected to the Legislative Council by the people of Murray and St Vincent. He was not one of the appointed members of the Legislative Council. (Note that the elected members could only be voted in by males with property of 10 pounds or more. Voting was not by secret ballot but by show of hands on the day and publishing of voting intentions in the newspapers was common) Election term was for five years.

    1848 Re elected to Legislative Council?

    1850 Death of his brother John aged 59. Buried in Wollongong

    1851 Coroner for Illawarra. Magistrate for Wollongong.

    1853 Wife aged 61 dies. Buried in Wollongong

    1856 Report in the Sydney Moring Herald of his death in Ireland. Died in Dromore.

  6. londonderry

    October 18, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    A few thoughts from Brian Boggs:

    1) The Adam Lodge was extremely well victualled. The details I will dig up.
    2) One of the recommendations after the Adam Lodge trip was that the number of people on board to be reduced as regards tonnage of ship
    3) The Adam Lodge was a well equipped ship and had been selected by Alick Osborne before the journey
    4) The Adam Lodge came back to Australia in 1841 with another group of passengers but a much reduced number of people on board.
    5) I have letters (1 actually) from a passenger on the Adam Lodge praising Alick Osborne
    6) There were probably only three places that the emigrants initially could settle – Wollongong, Maitland and Sydney. Because of the large convict population in Sydney (I have accounts of the state of Sydney in 1837) many of the settlers fled Sydney as soon as they could.
    7) All the emigrants were initially employed on landing in Sydney. There was a great demand for artisans and labourers

    • Frances Lee

      November 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      I am researching the name BOGG/BOGGS in my family tree. It was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. She was born in 1888 in Plumstead, Woolwich, Kent which is now part of London. It is not until 1757 that I find that my 3 x great grandfather John Boggs was born in Magherafelt, Londonderry. He had a brother James and sisters Mary and Margaret. He joined the Royal Artillery and married In Quebec City in 1788 to Deborah Duff King. His parents were another John Boggs and Sarah Cameron married in St. Columb Cathedral, Londonderry in 1746. This is my brick wall!

      I am also trying to find out the names of all John Boggs b.1757’s children. 18th century Royal Artillery records don’t show the names of his children. Because he was in the Royal Artillery they could be born almost anywhere! So far I have found William Boggs b.1800, George Godfrey Boggs b.1802 (both Minorca) Edmund Boggs (later Bogg) b.1806 Isle of Sheppey, Kent (my 2 x great grandfather) Thomas Boggs b.1809 Isle of Sheppey, Mary Ann Boggs, Caroline Boggs b.1814 Don’t know where born. Died in cholera epidemic 1832 Plumstead, Woolwich along with her mother Deborah Boggs nee King. Do you have any ideas of how I could take my research further in Ireland?

  7. Don MacFarlane

    October 13, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you for your interest in this matter. Further to my earlier reply, I should have said that I acknowledge you sound like a historian of the period and you might be of some help to me in my research into the times and lives of transportees (not just convicts) from North West Ireland to Australia and North West America during the first half of the 1800s.

    I am also mindful of the dangers of being revisionist as these were different times and behaviours that would definitely not be acceptable now might have been par for the course then. I know nothing of the man Osborne other than what comes across in his account to Parliament. He wouldn’t have been the first to have later regrets, like John Newton the slave trader who wrote Amazing Grace and became a strong supporter of William Wilberforce in the abolition of the slave trade. What struck me most was Osborne’s casual explanation of the deaths of so many children being due to marasmus. This is just a fancy term for death by starvation such as you would see with hunger strikers, Burma rairoad workers or children in Africa. It is also ironic that one of the passengers of whom Osborne complained about lack of hygiene was the wife of Enoch Fowler who on landing in Australia went on to set up the first and biggest bathroom sanitary ware company in the continent. Her hunger was so great that she died from choking on bread while with a babe in arms.

  8. Don MacFarlane

    October 13, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Mail to Don MacFarlane from Anon

    On Fri, 12 Oct 2007 13:44:03 +1000

    I read with interest your statement on the internet re the inhumane treatment by Alick Osborne accorded the passengers of the 1837 (not 1834 as listed on the site I viewed ) trip from Londonderry to Sydney. I am astonished at this information as I have researched the ship for the past 25 years and have never even heard of such a suggestion. I suppose that it is possible and given the source of the information as none other than the Master (Mayne I assume) then I must accept the possibility. The deaths from the voyage were not confined to the ship but continued in Sydney after it docked. I know of at least six other deaths in the next two months. There is very little mention of withholding of rations except that he does state that it was his way of getting compliance from the passengers in his report to the NSW inquiry in 1837. Osborne’s record with convicts was an excellent one. He had few deaths on the journeys that he accompanied the convicts. It is probably for this reason that he was selected to become the first under the new system of emigration promoted by the NSW Government. I would be most interested in reading Mayne’s account of the voyage. I think that Osborne was much more than a Surgeon on the Adam Lodge. He had extensive pastoral interests in NSW and his brother Henry was the wealthiest landholder in NSW at the time of his voyage. He also was coroner and magistrate for Wollongong for many years.

    Reply to Anon from Don MacFarlane

    1. The first potato blight in Ireland was 1845 so the condition of passengers boarding the boat would not have been malnourishment.
    2. North West Ulster (excluding West Donegal) was not much affected by famine ever as people did not depend on the potato.
    3. Infants and small children do not endure suffering or hunger well so their cries of distress could not have escaped the master or crew.
    4. Master Osborne became a coroner whose job would then be to examine untoward deaths (how much of a coincidence is that)?
    5. Was there any vested interest in that the family owned large tracts of land. Would they have needed cheap labour?


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