Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2009-09 > 1252645007
Subject: Re: [S-I] How would I research this family?
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 00:56:47 EDT
I would pursue the "weaver" trade as a means to find "Smith" in
You must learn to be sensitive to the feelings of the people who can help
you. If researching in Dublin, refer to the "north" which is Donegal.
"Donegal" is ok to use since Donegal is in the Republic of Ireland, but it is
also one of the historic "Ulster" provinces. Never refer to Londonderry.
It's always "Derry."
Many Scotch Irish Presbyterians lived in Donegal on lands once deeded to
Scottish plantation owners. Derry was the market city, just across the
Some years ago I added to my John Cowan MacLay signature, "Derry, a gated
community." When you understand the "humor" of "gated community," you will
There is a special class of Ulster county records for linen farmers called
Spinning Wheel Aplotment lists.
The government issued free spinning wheels to farmers on the basis of the
acreage they had under flax cultivation. It fits into the Scotch-Irish
work ethic: plow by day and spin the flax into thread by night. When there's
enough thread to weave move on to the loam.
Londonderry, (it's port is the city now referred to as "Derry" ) and
"Newry" in County Down were ports of departure. References to either city as
where a family came from mean they left from that port and do not necessarily
mean they resided there. Check all the Spinning Wheel lists, for Donegal,
Tyrone especially, Londonderry, Antrim and also County Down.
With the development of the linen industry in the late 18th century there
was internal migration towards Belfast and County Down; poor folks turned
to flax spinning and weaving for employment until they earned enough to
pay for transportation to North America.
Alderman John Cowan of St. Johnstown in Donegal was a hard line
Presbyterian. He was also a High Sheriff of Londonderry and an Alderman of that
city. Cowan acted as a land buying middleman, buying up land in Donegal,
Tyrone and Londonderry so protestant farmers could finance the Atlantic voyage.
As a Merchant, Cowan had legal authorization to form a private army and
to which end he brought a force of 100 men in defense of Derry.
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