Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2003-10 > 1066840764
From: "Linda Merle" <>
Subject: Re: [Sc-Ir] Freeholder Records
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 09:39:25 -0700
Hi Lee Ann,
The good news is your family was well off enough
to make the free stater list. Often it's next
to impossible to be sure what they 'were' --
esp. since they may have changed their minds on
religions frequently. We tend to think that we
are 'this' or 'that' because now it is legal to be
whatever we want. Back then, you might have
hedged the fence (attended Church of IReland
services, showed up at the Mass Rock, confessed
and did penance for Church of Ireland attendence,
upon being identified as a Catholic, renounced,
attended Church of Ireland for 20 years, requested
the rosary and a priest on the death bed
and ditto for Presbyterian fence hedgers....).
So a professional genealogist would not really
care since we lack the records to prove what
they 'actually' were. Instead focus on analyzing
what information you do have and search any and
all relevant church records (and court records)
to glean more clues.
Back in Ireland everyone was by default a member
of the Church of Ireland. You could not 'opt out'
whether you were Presbyterian or Catholic, so
all kinds of dissenters show up in Church of
Ireland records. So you check those no matter what.
I've never found any of mine in them of course <grin>.
The disowning does suggest your ancestor made
a choice and stuck by it. Though you can be
disowned for less. In the USA her parents
(German Lutherans) disowned my great grannie
for marrying an Irish Protestant! (The fairies
took care of them....)
There were actually more Cahtolics in Scotland
than most people imagine, both in the border
area and in the highlands. However both areas
were places people Emigrated FROM rather than To.
The Presbyterians were clusterd in the central
region of Scotland, which was industrialized early
so you have growing populations of Irish Catholics
in areas like Glasgow throughout the 19th century.
Also some of the Scottish landowners were Catholic
and brought Scots Catholic settlers to Ireland
in the early 1600s. Hamiltons in the Tyrone area
and the McDonnells of County Antrim to name two.
Those folk hadda choice: Keep their religion and
assimilate into the Irish or change it and
assimilate into Ulster Scots.
Of course the laws on mixed marriages changed in
Ireland through history and it was often ignored
no matter what it was. Through much of our time
(1600s/1700s) it was illegal for anyone but a
Church of Ireland minister to perform a mixed
marriage. A priest doing it was killed. Presbyterian marriages were often not recognized
as legal at all. Of course the only people who
cared if the state recognized the marriage as
legal were the landowners -- and those who appear
on a free holder list. So do check Church of
Ireland marriages and any court records, vestry
recs, etc, you can find in the hopes of finding
the marriage recorded or at least some noise
regarding the scandal in the parish <grin>.
You may actually find something of this ilk if
the family was on a freeholder list. Check wills
and deeds in the hope that the disinheriting
was legally documented.
>So, I'm sure the increase in necessary wages to >vote and be listed meant you were somewhat well >off, or no?
What happened is later on they raised the amount
of money you needed to be able to vote in order
to disinfranchise more people. It wasn't wages you
needed -- it was land, held either in fee (bought
it) or a long long lease like for 3 lives. In
those days your wealth was measured in the land
So when our ancestor, farming 5 acres, moved
to Pennsylvania and became the owner (or squatter
on) 1000 -- WOW, he'd made it big time. We don't
realize in the USA how important land owership
is or how rarely our ancestors had it. My father's
grandparents emigrated from Northern England in
1880. They were coal miners -- better off, cream
of the crop coalminers, but coal miners. When
my father bought land in 1950, his father told
him HE COULD NOT DO THIS. Why? NO ONE IN THE
FAMILY EVER HAD. It was inconceivable to my grand-
father that they could own land. However, my father
did buy land and built a house, and attained the
American dream. All our colonial ancestors had
parents like my grandfather -- they could not
conceive owning a big plot of land as no one in
the family ever had.
>I have no idea what the value of British money was >back then. I can't wait until next summer, I will >be at PRONI doing research.
Don't go in early July! Everything shuts down.