Steinbeck's Ballykelly roots part 3

By the time Steinbeck reached Mulkeeragh in 1952 his Hamilton relations had died off.

Hamilton headstone Tamlaght Finlagan Church of Ireland, Ballykelly
In / loving memory of / Jane / relict of W J Hamilton / died 30th Nov 1916 / aged 88 years / Thomas C L Hamilton / their son died 2nd August 1942 / aged 70 years / also their daughter / Katherine J Hamilton / died 18th Jan 1944 aged 83 years / and their daughter / Mary E Hamilton / died 11th Feb 1950 aged 84 years

The 1901 and 1911 census returns Mulkeeragh have the widowed mother Jane Hamilton with unmarried children Katharine, Mary Elizabeth (Minnie) and Thomas.

Form B1 House and Building returns described the house as of the 2nd class with two-stories 5 windows in the front with nine rooms. The house was probably thatched. In addition Form B2 reveals there were 10 outbuildings with the property. 1 stable, 2 cow-houses, 1 calf-house, 2 piggeries, 2 fowl houses, 1 barn and 1 shed. WILL OF THOMAS CLARKE LATTA HAMILTON Hamilton Thomas Clarke…

Steinbeck's Ballykelly roots part 2

Mulkeeragh townland was church land but became part of Phillips' Limavady estate early in the seventeenth century. William Conolly, Speaker in the Irish House of Commons purchased the entire estate in 1697. In his will the lease for years which he held from the See of Derry he bequeathed to 'my agent Robert McCausland, Esq as an acknowledgement for the faithful service he has done me'. Thus, the church lands of Drumachose, Tamlaght Finlagan and Balteagh, originally leased by Phillips, passed to the McCauslands and became the Drenagh estate.

The Hamiltons have a long association with Mulkeeragh townland. The story of Stenbeicks' Hamilton family roots, however is a rather complicated one!

The earliest record I have been able to locate is in the Conolly archives in PRONI. 

A very interesting document in the Conolly papers in PRONI contains a list of tenants who proposed to emigrate to New England in 1718 and who had disposed of their lands before emigrating (also lists the n…

John Steinbeck's Ballykelly roots

John Steinbeck's mother Olive (Steinbeck nee Hamilton) was descended from Hamilton's of Mulkeeragh, Ballykelly.
In August 1952 Steinbeck visited Ballykelly to trace his family roots with his wife Elaine. Steinbeck wrote about the trip in Collier’s magazine the following year in an article entitled, 'I go back to Ireland'.
COLLIER’S MAZAZINE 1953 (In the 1920's one) of my uncles made the trip (Joseph Hamilton of Chicago). He reported that he had wept out of pure sentiment the whole time. He also reported that the family was just about played out; there remained two sisters and a brother—Katherine, Elizabeth and Thomas —children of my grandfather's brother, all old and all unmarried. They lived in the "new house" (the old house had burned down several hundred years ago). After my uncle's return, we had an occasional letter from Elizabeth. She wrote a thin, elegant hand, and her English had an exquisite quality, reminiscent of the eighteenth-century wri…

1831 census abstracts Co L'Derry

In 1831, the population of County L'Derry was 222,012 (Brian Mitchell –sources for family history, page 5). The 1831 census recorded the following details – name, age, occupation, and relationship to head of household, acreage of land, religion (John Grenham – Irish Ancestors page 22). 
The 1831 census has survived for Co Derry in an abridged form. The census contains the names of 40,769 heads of household. So, the census that has survived for the county is not the original census, which was destroyed in the fire in the Four Courts in 1922, but abbreviated version, which was housed outside of the Public Record Office and so remains extant.
Brian Trainor in Familia No 13, Volume 13 (1997, page 61) states that ‘For 1831, for almost all of the parishes in county Derry, there are extracts from the census giving the names of heads of households and the number of male and female residents and the religious affiliations. These extracts were prepared for one of the 114 royal commissions an…

Congregational censuses

A census was taken for the whole of Ireland every year from 1821 through to 1911. Only those for 1901 and 1911 have survived intact.

The original census returns for 1861 and 1871 were destroyed shortly after the censuses were taken. Those for 1881 and 1891 were pulped during the First World War, probably because of the paper shortage. The returns for 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 were, apart from a few survivals, notably for a few counties for 1821 and 1831, destroyed in 1922 in the fire at the Public Record Office at the beginning of the Irish Civil War.
Pre-1901 census fragments
1901/1911 censuses for Ireland
The destruction of the 1821-1851 census returns was a serious blow for the family and local historian. In the absence of formal census returns for the nineteenth century other sources can be traced that provide substitute for the data destroyed in 1922. Church records not only contain…

Summonister court records part two

I have made extensive use of the summonister court records for my publication on the plantation of County Londonderry 1600-1670.
The court records give a fascinating insight into the development of the new county of Londonderry (formerly known as the county of Coleraine). In the records we find an eclectic mix of people brought before the courts and commonly listed offences included assault, homicide, cattle-stealing, extortion, rioting, salmon poaching, drunkenness, forestalling, contempt, Sabbath-breaking, treason, petty larceny, and negligence. Also listed are the names of recusants, that is, those who refused to conform to the established Anglican religion. Occasionally occupations are noted in the rolls such as publican, inn-keeper, miller, butcher, gaoler, labourer, weaver, coroner, yeoman and gentlem…

Summonister court records

The office of ‘Summonister and Clerk of Estreats, in the Court of Exchequer of Ireland’ was in existence from at least the reign of James I as we have reference to the appointment of Edmund Beaghan to the post on 3 September 1618. The summonister rolls were copies of fines imposed and recognizance’s forfeited at Assizes, Quarter Sessions and in the King’s courts. The rolls record, among other things, the names of people fined for non-attendance at quarter sessions, that is, the courts that dealt with less serious crimes similar to today’s civil courts. Names and residences are recorded. The original rolls were lost in the destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1922 but copies of some exist because of the work of the genealogist Tenison Groves.

The surviving transcript for counties L'Derry and Tyrone appear to be fairly intact apart from a lengthy interval from 1641-1653, which reflects the impact of the Irish uprising upon administration. The rolls are a useful sourc…