Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2011-01 > 1295789590

Subject: Re: [S-I] From Belfast to Linlithgow- McCormick
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2011 13:33:10 +0000 (UTC)
In-Reply-To: <>

Hi Jackie,

I have searched for many hours (customer paying, me feeling .... incompetent!) for a single certificate. Sometimes you find and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you can learn why you can't find it and sometimes not.

What's key to these hard cases is working it up methodically and doing analysis, like a detective solving a mystery. We've all watched TV shows. Generally these things are cyclical: you gather some data, you interview, you follow up on leads, you gather more data, you re-interview, you re-analyze, etc etc, cyclically.

In your case you've got a lot of 'data points', though what exactly they are I don't know. Probably they came from the family lore. You should also find the family in as many censuses as you can and note carefully everything that was recorded there. In every census. Sometimes we tend to ignore the information that doesn't conform with our current theory, for example. You construct a chart with this information and analyze it.

The analysis (do for each person, each child) will give you boundaries for the birth time and place of each child. You may be able to see that they moved, or, working with an American immigrant family, you can see when they arrived, approximately. Whatever the data in your censuses, you need it all and you need to analyze it.

Then you have specifics: you can deduce when the marriage was (before the first child). Of course there could have been miscarriages before that child. Or they got married after the child's arrival. But you do have some parameters for searching for each child. This is particularly important when dealing with common surnames. There may be 20 John Browns living in Ballyfungus, Ireland in 1880, but only ONE (or two or three <grin>) of the right age. It narrows the field.

You also need to study the certificates you may already have and get some more for obvious people like your parents or grandparents. We often are surprised at what is there. I'd go beyond certificates, which have been copied twice: the indexes were one copy and also the info was copied from the original pages, held locally, and sent off to London. Third copy was to make your certificate. If possible try to get local ones. My ancestors are in Durham, England -- you can get certificates from the county. Moving back in time, there's Bishops Transcripts - also very helpful.

Inevitably you learn something through this process that you over looked. Or you learn the boundaries of what you're looking for a lot better. Then you can find at least one event. When you do, analyze it as well. Move slowly, not fast. You tried the crapshoot method and it didn't work. I do this initially too, and then sigh and get down to business.....

I don't believe in the 1880s it was possible for a British family to totally hide itself in Britain. You should see, like the top of the iceberg, at least one event that you find in the crapshoot phase <grin>. So something's wrong. Donno what it is. Maybe they lied. I have seen this. If you're dealing with Ulster families, (pardon, everyone), they are more likely to lie, if they emigrated. In the USA there was great dislike of the Irish, which meant "Irish Catholic". People claimed to be from Scotland if Ulster Scots. Then perhaps they were still immigrants, but Protestant ones.

The spelling of the name may be different. One way to check this is use various sites with different search engines, as well as trying spelling variants.

If you don't make headway, you broaden the search. Ie, search Scotland. Search England too.

In one case I worked on we could not find the man in Ireland, using information from US censuses, a Catholic marriage in the US (more info than Protestant ones), and naturalization info. I couldn't find his parents either. Conclusion, finally, after hours of work: he lied. Luckily his wife was far easier to find in Ireland. Now waiting to get Irish citizenship based on her. Someone was after grandpa. I'd bet he was from the county he gave because the surname is indiginous there, but finding him would take a lot of sleuthing work. DNA would probably be needed to prove it.

Few are this hard. Grandpa disappeared, but it's far harder to make an entire family, consisting of many events, to entirely disappear. I don't know if they have a witness protection program in the UK!

Another possibility comes from his occupation and the possibility they were born in the colonies. You can look for them in those registers as well.

Also, keep careful records of what you searched so that if you have to hire an expert, you can show the expert what you have done and save yourself the cost of him/her repeating it all slowly. Ie maybe the expert can see some 'holes' in your work and focus on those.

Yup, see you said 'navy' below. It could be they were born outside the UK. Heres some info on foreign birth registers:

However notice that Ireland hasn't had a navy in centuries. Irish serve in the British navy. So search British sources.

See "Ancestral Trails" for the details. I don't remember them. I'd have to look up the details. If you are unfamiliar with this work, let me know. It's in a local library, though.

I also know a researcher in London who does this kind of work and who purports to know Irish genealogy. (I've not worked with him in this regard, which I suspect is not an Irish problem at all but a British one). He's the only reason I got English ancestors. Finding their certificates was very difficult.

Linda Merle

----- Original Message -----
From: "jackie wing" <>
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 7:12:55 AM
Subject: Re: [S-I] From Belfast to Linlithgow- McCormick

Hi LindaI have searched familysearch where there is nothing listed, and also Emerald Ancestors, where I only found the marriage of Florence Hind McCormick's parents. Their deaths are not listed on the site, nor can I find any other entries for them. I have even trawled through Griffiths valuation and the 1851 census for Ballemacarrett where Robert's parents married. However, with so many Robert and John McCormicks in the area, it is hard to establish which was them. Interestingly, Robert McCormick was an engineer in the merchant navy, so this may explain why it is hard to find him. There is no birth entry for Florence nor her aunt Wilhelmina either. Through family stories, it appears that Robert and Sarah McCormick died of consumption and both were deceased sometime around 1899/1900 when Florence was around 11 years old and she was brought up by her aunt in Scotland. She obviously had an inheritance as when she reached adulthood, her uncle stole her
money and shot himself as he couldn't face imprisonment. All good stuff!!

I will keep searching. Thank you for all your suggestions.


--- On Sun, 23/1/11, <> wrote:

From: <>
Subject: Re: [S-I] From Belfast to Linlithgow- McCormick
Date: Sunday, 23 January, 2011, 3:18

Hi Jackie,

You aren't specific as to how (or where) you looked for the births of the children (etc). There's a couple places you can check on line. THe most obvious (because it's free!) is Another place to check is . Not free but very very useful.

To quickly come up to speed on what is available for Irish genealogy see .

Generally speaking, it is far easier to find people in Scotland than Ireland, but by the late 1800s, things tend to even out. Consider that
they returned to Scotland. Like --- you can see the one island from the other. People with ties in both places (and most in Ulster have ties in both places), go back and forth. So check Scotland.

How to do that? Well, IGI is the no brainer. There are also indexes to Scottish civil registration and censuses. I suggest you spend five or ten minutes googling on the Internet -- new websites are always cropping up. The traditional places to check are here: And of course family search. But I often find new places, some free. My first place to check would be Ancestry as it has a lot of stuff nowadays. It changes all the time. I always check around. You can pay big dollars for a record you can get for free or almost free from LDS.

I recall one case where, after immigration to America in the late 1800s, the family always said they
were Scots. However, in a reverse of your situation, couldn't find them in Scotland. Unless they were dwelling on an extremely remote island, which they were not -- they were clearly lowlanders, they were not in Scotland. I knew this because I had the Scottish censuses and indexes to all the births and marriages. So I assumed they were in Ireland. We had a couple unique clues, like, from both the US census and family history, a strange birthplace for the wife's mother (a channel island). Being a pain in the ass, I insisted on driving to the county where they lived and looking for the death record of the wife (and a few other things). The client had ordered a death certificate for the wife from the county. It had dutifully copied the data from the county record that the nice printed certificate had holes for. I consulted microfilm of the original journal recording. BINGO!!! It!
gave her maiden name and place of birth (Ireland), the names of her
parents, and the county in Ireland where she was born. This was probably the ONLY place in the world where this data was recorded.

With that I found the family in County Down in the Tithe Applotments. They were not there in Griffiths. I guessed that the father died and the mother returned to Scotland. I checked the Scottish census and found the mother (could do this now with the names of the wife's parents), and the unmarried daughter living with her. Furthermore, the Scottish census indicated the mother was born on the same channel island. All this was important as the surname was rather common but the birthplace of the mother did peg the family well (only one other person born on that island in that Scottish county census -- probably a sib of the mother). No marriage for the daughter in Scotland; thus married in Ireland probably to a neighbor of her father's farm. If one searched all the records in County Down, you'd find the births of the
children. However the real estate market crashed and that was the end of it.

It's also possible they lived in England. No walls between these countries, just lots of ferry boats! It's not hard to find them using censuses -- usually. You just got to settle on a place to get access to the censuses. There's now several ways to go about it. Always check the free ones first.

Indexes for civil registration are renown for errors. Sometimes collections of parish records can bypass them. See for free indexes to church records. May or may not help you out.

If you need more help with Scottish records, consult another list. Our area of expertise is Ireland -- Protestant records (ethnic group called in America "Scotch Irish". The list isn't "maybe Scottish or maybe Irish". Scottish genealogy is very different from Irish and the experts aren't here. In
Scotland you have sasines and in Ireland Tithe Applotments and Griffiths. Different things. Need to take different classes or read different books to master genealogy in these two places. Almost everything is easier (genealogically) in Scotland, so if they returned, rejoice.

Please don't go to Ireland to do this research. It's easier from afar - usually.

Good luck!

Linda Merle

----- Original Message -----
From: "jackie wing" <>
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 6:27:55 PM
Subject: [S-I] From Belfast to Linlithgow- McCormick

Irish research is new to me and I'm hoping someone on the list is able to guide me in the right direction.
Hind McCormick was born around 1886 in Ireland. Her marriage certificate in 1914 gives the name of her father as Robert McCormick (deceased) and her mother as Sarah Campbell (deceased). I have found their marriage in Shankhill, Belfast for 1880 and have ordered the marriage certificate.
It appears that Florence arrived in Linlithgow, Scotland somewhere between 1891 and 1901. She was living with her aunt Wilhelmina (nee McCormick) and uncle James Fettes. Wilhelmina was born in 1864 in Banbridge, so I presume that Florence's father Robert, was born in the same area of Ireland as would be other siblings. Robert and Wilhelmina's parents were John McCormick and Mary Hayden.
However, I have not been able to find births for any children of these marriages in Ireland, nor the deaths of Robert/Sarah McCormick or his parents John/Mary. Please could someone with knowledge in Irish research tell me where I should look. I do not live in Ireland so visiting
Records Offices is out of the question.
Florence was obviously brought up by her aunt and uncle in Scotland as she named her own first child Wilhelmina Fettes. I have no idea how she got to Scotland - if alone or collected by her aunt.
Any help with this family would be wonderful.

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