The 14th son - Robert Payne

The minister for Tamlaghtard (Magilligan) Church of Ireland made an interesting comment in an entry in the baptismal register for 1833 that caught my attention -

Christened Sept 1833 Robert the 14th son of John Paine of Oughtymoyle (Magilligan).

Four years later the following baptism was recorded

Christened March 1837 Ann daughter of John Paine of Oughtymoyle - the first female child - this being a second wife he having had 14 sons by his first wife

The above Robert Payne was an adult convert to the Catholic faith and was baptised in St Aidan's Magilligan in1866 - from this entry we get the name of his mother - Catherine McPoyle -

St Aidan's RC baptism
July 1866 Robert Payne (34 years old) Oughtymoyle son of John Payne & Cath. McPoyle - sponsors John McLaughlin B:Carton & Mrs John Donnell, Oughymoyle
Baptismal entry 1866 St. Aidan's Magilligan
Robert Payne married Ellen McCann December 25th 1866 in St Aidan's Magilligan - she was also from Oughtmoyle and they c…

Lurting to Lurton to Norton

Variation in surname spelling is a common difficulty in Irish genealogical research but sometimes surnames can undergo a complete transformation over time and even become unrecognizable as the same family.

Such was the case with a family of the name Lurting in the parish of Magilligan (Tamlaghtard) in Co Derry. A Henry Lurting was a merchant in Londonderry and Liverpool in 1660 and it was his son John Lurting who settled in Magilligan in the early eighteenth century having married into the Cust family of that parish. Both the Lurtings and Custs were of English origin the former can be traced to the city of Liverpool where they were prominent in local business and politics. Both the Lurtings and Custs were Episcopalian and their progeny can be traced clearly in the registers of Tamlaghard Church of Ireland which exist for a few years in the middle of the 18th century.

Tamlaghtard (Magilligan) Church of Ireland registers (PRONI MIC/1/86)
Baptisms 1747-1768
Marriages 1747-1753
Burials 17…

Officers at the siege of Derry

1693: Warrant to Lord Sydney to pay the officers, and widows of officers, who were of the garrison in Londonderry the sums specified in the annexed list. [Signet Office Letter Book 13, p. 7.] 
Annexing:—List of officers and officers' widows, viz.: 

Colonels: Hugh Hamill, Richard Crofton, Henry Monrow, Adam Murray and Thomas Blair; 

Lt.–Col: William Campbell; 

Majors: John Dobbin, George Holmes, Nathaniel Bull and Graham's widow; 

Captains: Christophilus Jenny, Alexander Saunderson, Robert Baird, James Harrison, John Kinniston, Nicholas Holmes, George Irwin, John Fleming, John Crofton, Hugh Blair, Frederick Edmonds, Abraham Hillhouse, Benjamin Wilkins, Henry Lane, Samuel Jones, Joshua Pilot, William McCormick, William Taylor, Henry Campsey, Andrew Adam's widow, William Gore, Francis Graham, Mary Godfrey, widow; 

Adjutants: Thomas Baker and Alexander Rankin

Quartermaster: John Griffith; 

Lieutenants: Robert Louther, John Fuller, Richard Kean, James Tracey, William Mason, William Ste…

Headstones can tell a tale

It may be considered by some to be a morbid pastime but I love visiting older graveyards that can instantaneously transport us into the past and reveal generations of forebears that resided in a particular district. In Ulster, each region has its distinctive surnames. Sometimes graveyards can be located in beautiful surrounds such as the graveyard attached to Drumgooland Presbyterian Church in Co Down at the foot of the Mourne mountains (below).
I was struck by one headstone in Drumgooland erected by Hugh Stuart to the memory of his four beloved children in the Famine year of 1847.
A number of headstones had fallen and were placed against the graveyard wall. A number were broken. Such memories of a by-gone age need to be preserved for posterity and thankfully transcriptions now exist for the majority of older graveyards in Ulster undertaken by interested local history groups and genealogical societies. Of course, the majority of people in previous generations could not afford to erect…

Murder in Dechomet

Sometimes in the course of researching a particular family one uncovers interesting information on neighbours. Of course local history and genealogy are linked - as I have mentioned before one of my key research strategies is to search by place to focus on townland/parish and seek out the sources pertaining to the area that reveals the surnames.
Such was the case when researching the family of Maxwell in the parishes of Garvaghy and Drumgooland in County Down. Matthew Maxwell (c1776-1859) of Ballooly also held farms in Cloughskelt and Dechomet. The latter farms were held by lease under Lord Dungannon. A search of Lord Dungannon's estate records in PRONI uncovered an early lease dated 5 June 1803 for a small farm in Decomed containing 8 acres plantation measure. This was a perpetuity lease (or a three-lives lease) a valuable lease that would later pass from Matthew Maxwell to Robert Maxwell. 
What caught my attention were the different lives given in the lease as follows - 

Petty session courts

PETTY SESSIONS COURTS Local petty sessions were held in regional market towns throughout Ireland and these dealt mainly with minor crimes. They are often a good source of names for the family historian. At a petty sessions held in Limavady in 1877 twenty two local men were halued before the courts for bringing their carts into town without proper labelling and identification. 12 Oct. 1877 Derry Journal Limavady petty sessionsPetty Sessions were held on Tuesday before Mr. Henry TYLER (Chairman), Mr. S. M. ALEXANDER and Mr. Hugh LANE. Constable Patrick WARD charged Robert BOYD with having a horse and cart in Limavady on the 1 Oct. without having his name and residence attached to the cart, as required by the Act. The bench inflicted a fine of 6d and costs. Like penalties, for similar offenses, were also imposed on Robert PERRY Robert DYSART Drumalief John CHERRY, Lomond George DOUGLASS Ardinarriff John Alexander JACKSON Andrew DUNN Ballykelly Edward REILLY Henry M‘FADDEN William M‘LAU…

Crime & Punishment in the 18th century

CRIME & PUNISHMENT IN THE EIGHTEEENTH CENTURY There is something exciting about reading through old newspapers - one gets a sense of a place and time long since gone - and also occassionally one comes across something that simply takes your breath away. This is especially the case when one reads through old court proceedings or sentences given at the local assizes. Times were much stricter. People were executed by hanging for commiting burglary, robbery, horse-stealing and other similar offences. In 1779 one William Blacker was convicted in Co Tyrone of burning down the house of James Heathers near Moy and was hanged and beheaded at Omagh for his crimes (LD Journal 9 April 1779). The following year in Sligo Robert Bunton and Michael Rorke were both found guilty of the murder of James McGaurian and both were hanged and quartered (LD Journal 23 March 1780). A Mrs O'Neill was found guilty of an unspecfied offence at the Lifford Assizes August 1774 but was with child and would not …