Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2005-12 > 1134849035


From: "Linda Merle" <>
Subject: Re: [Sc-Ir] GREIG, HUGHES, MARSHALL, MUIR, SMELLIE
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 11:50:35 -0800


Hi Nancy, it is a very common experience to find Irish ancestors when researchin English and Scots (and vice versa). That is because they are close to one another and there are no walls. People go to and fro all the time. If you've been around on this list then you've read plenty of posts regarding the rapidity with which Irish assimilate into Scottish people (See the front essay of Black "Surnames of Scotland if you are new).

It's often very very very difficult to trace people accurately (it's not so hard to make mistakes by assuming an earlier record with the same name is the same individual) due to inadequate records. Once one is before civil registration in Scotland (1855) you cannot rely on just a similar name in OPR records. Sometimes you can get additional information by consulting the actual parish records that may even indicate that a family is from Ireland. The Scottish Catholic records are not easily available so we will not see them if they were Catholic. It is true they were supposed to be registered in the parish but that doesn't mean that they were.

Protestant Scottish families often went to Ireland for work as
well as Irish coming to Scotland. Your surnames are very Scottish and suggest the family was Scots and went to Ireland. Was this in 1606 or later on? Maybe they went back and forth every generation for 150 years. If they did y ou will have a very difficult time proving that they did or they did not as the records in Ireland are VERY bad. Irish civil registration began even later than Scottish. Ireland has far fewer surviving church records and they are not easy to search, unlike Scottish church records, that are indexed in IGI. That is not so for Irish.

What you need to do is do a very very very thorough job of Scottish genealogy. You need to read a couple books on Scottish genealogy to be sure you are doing a thorough job. I rarely talk to anyone who doesn't htink they already did a thorough job <grin>. I have myself done a half assed job so far on my family because to do a good job takes eons of time. But ev erytime I read a new or reread an older genealogy book I see things I hadn't thought of before, partially because I know new things. What you are looking for is CLUES. You are looking for the names of people in baptismal records and where they are from. If you find ONE who is 'of Ballybumpit, Ireland", chances are yours know others in the town. You are looking for the names of landlords and estates as well as (key) OCCUPATION. THis is how you destinquish between 600 Robert Hughes and
250 Robert Muirs, etc (I got MUIRs in East Lothian, BTW).

Then you analyze what you got by way of clues. You then
study Irish genealogy. You are looking for the types of records that exist where you can follow up on those clues. Y ou can also 'run them' through various indexes like the ones at
Ulster Ancestry, etc. But chances are you will get nothing
since your names are too common. Keep that list handy, though.
Since the indexes to Irish civil registration are readily available on film, check them for any marriages. You can get these indexes at LDS.

"Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research" by Falley is the best book on Irish genealogy though you may find others easier to get into. The trouble you and the rest of us here have is that most Irish genealogical methodologies target the majority of Irish: Catholics and also the 19th century. Due to the sparcity of church records, especially Catholic and dissent Protestant, before about 1820, most don't even try to 'go there'. THey are told you cannot trace people in pre 1820 Ireland unless of course they were nobility.

If you haven't heard this before it means you need to do some buffing up on Irish genealogy to learn the basics. Then you will need to figure out on your own or with the little help there is, how to do research in the time when most believe it is impossible.

It is possible, it is just hard work, and you need a lot of luck.

Without knowing the social status of your people it's impossible to guage how hard/easy your search will be. As the records we utilize in the 1800s (first complete Irish census is 1901) are largely land records, if your ancestors were servants it is not likely you can find them unles syou can locate the estate or household they served in and records for that survive that name them. Many families took their records to England
or Scotland when the great estates were divided up so they can be anywhere. www.proni.gov.uk has histories of many Ulster estates and describes PRONIs collection of Ulster estate records.

If they were small tenant farmers it is very difficult to trace them. If they were trades people: blacksmiths, haberdashers, etc, then it's easier. If they were in the military you can research them in military British military records. Much depends on their social class. it is usually impossible for someone living today to determine the social class unless they've done a little reading. You may erroneously think the person was of a low social class when he was not. You will not think to check apprenticeship records because you don't understand the occupation was taught by apprenticeship and you don't know about tax records that survive in London from the early 1700s. You may go to Dublin when you should got to Belfast but all the time the records you want are in London.

If they were gardeners on the estate of a Scotsman who also
had an Irish estate -- you will find your man on the family's
Irish estate. The same goes if they were the coachman or
maybe even the house servant. It pays to know who they worked
for. Even if they worked in a factory as say a pipe fitter,
then you know they came from an industrialized part of
Ireland: Londonderry or Belfast. You don't learn pipe fitting
hoeing taters.

The area of Scotland they live in is important too. Knowing it enables you to research that parish to see if its population grew during the 1800s period of industrialization. You can check back into 1841 to see if the sur names are in the parish in earlier days. Sometimes you can find local history identifying early surnames of inhabitants.

Western Scotland (Lanarkshire), alas, is so near Ireland that most things in it are Irish eventually. Cancel the Atlantic City weekend and use the online Scottish websites to view the Civil Registration indexes for dead John MUIRs in Lanarkshire.
You may need to narrow down to the parish. I'd look for a marriage first if you haven't found it. If it occured after 1855 it'll tell you his parents' names. You may have to vew
a number of scans to find a dead John whose widow was Jean Marshall, but if he died in Shotts, maybe not. You at least got
a window of time.

Check the birth records of any children you can find in Scotland. What I found in one case was that the mother of the
wife came over from Ireland at the birth of the first child.
She is listed on the birth certificate as a witness but is
not in the census and she didn't die in Scotland. She died
in Ireland. So if the mother lived in Ireland we surmised that
the family had just come over. Sure enough there were no
earlier birth records for these folk in Scotland. However
everyone around them had Innishowen names including the priest
who married them (they were Catholic but we got the name
of the priest from the birth certificate). So chances are
dang good that if one had the stomach to search the most
common names in Innishowen for a marriage you could find
20 <grin>...okay scratch that ! It probalby will take DNA
studies to narrow down my client's folk due to the commonest
set of surnames in all of innishowen. God bless them. But
at least we know where to visit on our next trip to Ireland
and when he's there and says "my ancestors were named >>>",
everyone will love him.

>Ann Marshall MUIR, married Robert GREIG in 1882 In Holytown, Lanark.,
>Scotland. Robert Greig was born about 1854, Ireland, the son of Robert
>Greig and Jane HUGHES.

I'd doubt check the 1855 Scottish civil registration for him.
If the birth was registered in 1855 then addtional info beyond
the usual stuff was collected that year. IT COULD TELL YOU
WHERE THEY CAME FROM. I learned this reading books on Scottish
genealogy and listening in lectures at the British Isles Family
History Society USA....probably the latter! (They are better
than all the books put together).

>I'd like to know if anyone recognizes any of these individuals either in
>Ireland or Scotland. The common given names and surnames make research
>difficult.

That's not enough to id individuals. You need an addition piece of info. A parish (a county in Scotland or Ireland is not enough). Either "Applied Genealogy" or "The Conceptual
Approach to Genealogy" describe how to ID an individual. In
one case in colonial America I found the specific locale VERY
useful. Largely using land records we could distinguish between individuals with the same first/last names (who lived on different river branches). When one relocated to a new colony,
we could still trace him because he sold the land. Other
things you need are the occupation. In Scottish parish records
you can get the name of the village they lived in. The key
thing is watch the preposition. "IN" means they lived there,
renting. "OF" means they were the gentile family whose seat the place was. You can find the same first/last names: one guy
"IN" and one "OF". Only way to separate them is the parish
records, not the oPR indexes.

The surname MARSHALL was brought to Ireland in medieval times
by the Normans -- a famous Marcher lord with five daughters.
IN any case they continued on (one branch). I know as I
have MARSHALLs in Tyrone -- as yet, lost!! Landlord types,
left in 1821. I can tell you the middle men on the Calydon
estate were Marshalls. H aven't traced mine back yet. He
died young before anyone got interested in his family roots.

People in Scotland rapidly forgot their "Irish" roots. IN
the case of Ulster Scots, there wasn't much difference
as culturally they were often the same. IN the case of
Catholic Irish, they assimilated into Protestant Scotland
and were no more interested in telling others about their
roots than some individuals of mixed ancestry wish to tell
about their African heritage (until recently). Black "Surnames
of Scotland" has some examples of su rname assimilation in
Galloway.

Linda Merle





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