Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2011-10 > 1319903675
Subject: Re: [S-I] FERMANAGH Ancestors
Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2011 15:54:35 +0000 (UTC)
You can still benefit by drilling down further into local history, specifically the local history of Fermanagh, the estate they lived on, and the townland as well. What was the history of the townland in the 1600s and earlier? Some places to start are
http://www.ulsterancestry.com/ulster_townlands_by_county.html and the series "the Placenames of Northern Ireland".
There's a series of books published by this name.
You need to understand the unique history of the plantations (there was more than one) and of Fermanagh. Fermanagh was part of the public plantation of King James. It was an English plantation. This is your first difference. If you find Hanna "The Scotch-Irish" (free at Ancestry as 'scots-Irish' -- use the catalog search), it'll give you the early history and the names of the major settlers and 30 years of history. The main difference here is that English planters would tend to try to lure over tenants that they knew were dependable, good fighters, and healthy from their own or neighboring estates, which were in England, not Scotland. Scots planters did the same. You do not find, even today, many Scots surnames in Fermanagh.
Also Fermanagh is unique in that it was NOT settled by lowland Scots -- or Englishry from London. Because some of the planters came from the borders of Scotland/England, it was largely settled by border folk. These folk had a unique culture of their own and would not have taken kindly to being called 'lowland Scots'. That King James was a lowlander and what did he do? After assuming the throne of his cousin, Queen Lizzy and filling London up with his relatives, much to the nausea of the Londoners, he began to cleanse the borders of the borderers by hanging them from trees.
These people never had been the same as the folk in Edinburgh. The border in the middle, where ever it was (you've heard of the Debatable Lands?), mattered little. It was a region with its own culture and history. That border cuts through the middle of several Medieval kingdoms. The Germans kingdoms on the east coast and Celtic ones like Rheged on the west. Through most of history there was no border there. THe DNA guys were amazed (because they're not historians) to find the DNA the same on both sides. They needed a history book. The history of Scotland is largely comprised of political struggles among three groups: the highlanders, the lowlanders, and the border people. Read your Nigel Trantor (he's more entertaining than the historians <grin>).
When King James decided to rid himself, once and for all, of the barely civilized people who infested his middle regions, he rounded up who he could and hung them from as many trees as he could find (which were few). The lucky ones fled to Ireland where they sought shelter in the lands of their kin -- in Fermanagh. Excepting the Maxwells, who were so hated they dare not and went elsewhere --Antrim or Down.
Fermanagh, consequently, has long been a bit different because its history is different. For one thing, the Scots/English borders are far from London and the farther you get from it, the less it matters. Thus on both sides of the Scots/English borders you had many Catholics. The 'big houses' in that area often had hiding places for priests. Presbyterianism in Scotland gained success as a populist movement against the upper class Catholics, like Queen Mary. It is also largely identified with the middle of Scotland. Both highlanders and border-folks tended to stick with the Mother Church. Which is not to say that it did not have its share of Presbyterians. It did. Moving to Ireland, many Scots/English border folk retained their Catholicism in Fermanagh. As history trudged on, many became, not Presbyterians but Established Church, so Fermanagh has always had a much higher rate of conformity than the Scots colonies (Antrim, Down, etc). Many of their ancestors were never Presbyterian in the first place. It didn't hold the same sense of ethnic identity for them as did the folks in Antrim, who strongly identified with the ideals that their ancestors had fought and died for in Scotland. While the borderman was raiding cattle from his traditional enemy.
It was not a friendly place for a highlander to come. Who would rent to him? Probably not your Armstrong. It's hard to live on the borders (as my paternal line did in Weardale and my maternal lines did in Scotland) and not get an Armstrong in your tree. King James hung many of them, but he didn't get them all. I got mine and you'll find yours one day <grin>.
If an Armstrong took kindly to your ancestors, that tells you where they came from. Do some googling for Border Reivers. You can also get a nice map. I have Beatties on both sides of the family, Chisholms, Armstrongs, Irwins, Bells, Watsons, I could go on and on but I forget! As well as my Johnie Armstrong, in Northumberland in the mid 1700s.
So of course Armstrong was a prominent name in Fermanagh in 1659. So were all the other border surnames <grin>. But they didn't 'come' at the behest of the King. The principles who came bought their estates. The Plantation was how King James raised money to pay off the debts left to him by Queen Lizzie for those Irish wars she indulged in endlessly. He had little luck luring more English to their deaths. Several plantation schemes in Munster had failed with the slaughter of most of the colonists (the rest became Irish). The English were not stupid enough to to go Ireland in droves again. But he did have success with the Scots, who were hardier, and looked the other way when the border plantationers in Fermanagh harbored their kinsmen. But he'd be quite disturbed to hear you suggest he invited them. What he invited them to do was hang themselves or otherwise die cheaply. His hope was they would fight off the Irish, given that they were excellent fighters. And that they did when the day came that they had to. They held Enniskillen.
To succeed you have to learn to ignore pulp history, as I said before, because it will merely obscure your family, not reveal it. What you attached was a good example of Scotch Irish pulp history. It's propagated both in Northern Ireland and Appalachia. Of course there are threads that relate to your ancestors, but...which one? (The skinny red one lost in the sea of browns, tans, and blues is the answer <grin>).
You really do know a lot though. You asked:
>I wonder if there are any copies of leases, or business transactions recorded anywhere ?
Yes. All three. Where are they recorded or better yet, collected? Now that's a problem. Or a couple. There never was a law requiring that all leases, etc, be recorded, say, at the county level (like American deeds). SO they were never 'collected'. However they were aggregated by estate and genealogists. The latter tended to be found in Dublin. Alas, much was lost in the Four Courts Fire in 1922. However much survived in private hands. So for Irish genealogy 'secondary collections' are important. VERY important. You have to sift through much looking for it. Much is in the FHL including the old GO indexes, as they are called.
These days much stuff is extracted from these collections and available. These include muster lists, freemen's lists (of Enniskillen), estate records, genealogical studies of titled families, etc. Many longer leases were also recorded in the Deed Books. These are also filmed and in the FHL. They are badly indexed, so you will need to do a lot of reading to find the names.
There are two primary places to start. One is the PRONI website. From it you can learn a lot of local history and begin estate research. It may hold Uncle Art's leases. Or perhaps his heirs took them with them, wherever it is they went. Many Irish estate records are in English county archives. You can see "British Sources for Irish History". Eventually. Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Arthur_Brooke,_1st_Baronet we learn that he left no male heirs. For one version of his family you'll go to google books and search for O'Hart Irish Pedigrees. That turns up three volumes. He's probably in Vol 2 -- settlers. That may give you a few generations of the family after it daughtered out. What you are looking for is the history of who inherited (or purchased) the particular part of the estate you are concerned with after he died without a male heir. You are looking for what happened to the estate records. You may find the answer at PRONI's website. There are of course a SLEW of info there. Look for the name of the estate as you can then search for this part of the estate. You may already know it.
The other primary place is "Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research" by Falley. It is the ultimate of all Irish genealogical research. It explains estate research and the use of secondary collections (and where they were in 1966), has chapters on each of the religions and where their records are as well as each type of record that you might find. Also a fairly detailed history which does no obscure the complexities -- and what records relate to each minority group.
What has changed since 1966 is huge, though. There is also a huge collection in the FHL. So much can now be done nearby -- and more easily and cheaply. Though for a marathon of Irish research, it's cheaper to go to Salt Lake for a week. You can also go to Los ANgeles, where the FHL has the Irish collection but not the Northern Irish (last time I checked). It has, in other words, the 'old' collection from Dublin. The last time I attempted, from Pennsylvania, to do research in these old GO records, I found that the leading Irish researcher in the US wanted $300 an hour to drive to Salt Lake and photocopy out of them. A clerk in Eneclann in Dublin tried to convince me the records didn't exist. This is esoteric stuff -- you can make money if you can use them but it's hard and expensive to even find people willing to look up things and photo copy for you.
Also you need to google before even renting a FHL film. A lot is now on the INternet. Google for your man Sir Art. He's got his own webpages.
Check the Griffiths entry carefully. If your ancestors sublet from what we call a "middle man", then their records are probably not in Sir Art's collection but his. So you will need to research him in all the same places -- like Sir Art's records.
It sounds like they were well off, if they were buying up leases. This makes it much more likely that there are records in existence on them.
I suspect the reason that they did okay, though Catholic, is that their being Catholic was an open secret and no one turned them in during the Penal Times. Perhaps this means they had no enemies or all their neighbors were in the same boat! More likely, the local culture in Fermanagh meant that anyone turning in closet Catholics quickly ended up dead in some painful way. Also the 'head' of the family may have conformed to the church of England by taking communion one or twice a year. Thus he was able to retain his lands and station and on those land, keep many relatives and friends safe. A very common situation. Once the Penal Laws were repealed the family re emerged as Catholics.
Due to my family history, I once started a borders genealogy list. I found, to my astonishment, that it was a nightmare to administrate, especially for one like me, who doesn't get along with people terrible well. They were always fighting. Often not even with me! My English genes hate the fighting. Trying to stop it made it even worse. I began to feel sympathetic with King James. Yikes. I finally turned the list over to someone else and retreated here, where my personality seems to do better. Apparently we're not the wildest and craziest ethnic group in Britain and Ireland. Intermarriage with the Irish has mellowed us out. Not to mention improved our balladry.
This is something to be wary of should you ever try to research on the borders <grin>. While in Belfast people are always saying to me "Wow, I thought we were the only ones who said that" and are not hard to understand, in Durham, I can't understand a word of the Geordie accent and am clearly perceived as a possible invader. Probably the same with you. They especially hate Scots and Armstrongs as the Scots invaded a few times. I had to endure a lot of stories about the hated Scots. Some from guys surnamed Armstrong <grin>.
Most likely though the only way to know for certain if your family is ultimately Irish or what is to do DNA. Find men who have already tested with your surname in Fermanagh -- who are they? I haven't had one of my Andersons from Antrim tested, but all the Andersons I've seen tested up there are I's. So I can assume probably mine are I's.
Lots in Fermanagh is different from the rest of Ireland. It's also a terrible place to farm, by the way (speaking of Scots farmers). It's too damp. Sucks, big time. Most of it is now gone back to cattle. Grows great, very very green grass, but the grains tend to rot. Which is another reason the bordermen liked it (they were cattle herders) and the lowlander did not.
Another must read for you is "Passing the Time in Ballymenome" by Henry Glassie. It is a study of a rural community in Fermanagh. I learned SO much about my own family from this book because much of the described culture is really "Gaelic". Down to how you arrange the furniture in the house. My Scots grandmother (conceived in Scotland, born here) was doing the same. Lots of genealogies, lots of Armstrongs. No Mc names in the index. No O's either. It was there I learned what my mother's family's strange get togethers were: ceilis. You had them in Fermanagh, no matter your religion. It was part of the culture. What distinguishes people are the pictures they put on their walls. The Catholics hung pictures of the Pope and the Protestants the Queen. That's about it. Well, and different ballads and different versions of history.
Glassie seems to articulate a particularly Irish sense of paranoia: "The present is an unpredictable permutation of an unknowable past. Actions, while willed, are weirdly preconditioned. So you must act, facing what comes, living in all seasons, without any assurance of success. Problems do not always have solutions. Virtue is not always rewarded. One must endure." (p. 147)
Whether your Fees were Irish or not, they lived in a unique area that lacked lowland Scots and was largely comprised of border-folk and English, in addition to the Irish. I suspect, from reading Glassie, that they dealt with the problems of the day differently. In the case of border folk, that means ignoring religious differences that are important to outsiders. I say that knowing my ancestors came from a Presbyterian town in England and that on the other side of the mountain from them was a community of English Catholics. Surviving unmolested for centuries. You didn't survive by telling the outsiders about your differences. If you read Glassie, you'll see what I mean -- though the culture is tempered by centuries in Ireland. Sir Art expected your ancestors to vote for him. What they did on Sunday morning he no doubt figured was not his business. Either he took that position or no one voted for him and he lost his place in Parliament. He didn't. So he knew how to get along in Fermanagh.
The FHL library has a couple things on estates in Fermanagh:
1. Draft sectional list of records of administration of landed estates ... counties Armagh, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone ; Draft sectional list of pre-ordinance survey maps and plans, surveys and valuations ... counties Armagh, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone ; Draft sectional list of parish registers in Northern Ireland author: Northern Ireland. Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast)
availability: Family History Centers
2. The history of the two Ulster Manors of Finagh, in the County of Tyrone, and Coole : otherwise Manor Atkinson, in the County of Fermanagh and of their owners
----- Original Message -----
From: "sean roche" <>
Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2011 7:49:02 AM
Subject: Re: [S-I] FERMANAGH Ancestors
Thank you for your input, it is much appreciated.
Maybe my family were the O'FEEs mentioned in the 1659 census ??
I was thinking before that they may of been descendents of McFEEs that arrived in 1690 to fight in the Battle of the Boyne.
Many Scots stayed on in FERMANAGH, and were given land to farm.
"The successive wars had the effect of once again depopulating the fields of Ulster: many of the original settlers had been killed or had returned to Scotland for their own safety. An appeal was made for fresh settlers, with twenty-year farm leases being held out as bait. Thus began the last great wave of Scots migration to Ulster. In the decade up to 1700 an estimated 50,000 people made the crossing. Politically this last wave was among the most significant, especially for the future of America and the creation of that unique outlook that was in time to be known as Scots-Irish."
In the 1659 census one of the principal Scottish and English family names was ARMSTRONG.
At the time of Plantation, many of the early migrants came from the Scottish borders, men with names like Armstrong, Bell and Elliot
The original FERMANAGH leases from 1764 onwards for the area where my family lived, were signed between Sir ARTHUR BROOKE and a number of members of the
I assume that my O'FEE family worked as farmers for the ARMSTRONGs because, sometime in the 1800s the ARMSTRONGs emigrated to CANADA, and it appears my g-g-g-grandfather and his 3 sons took over a number of leases on quite a lot of their land.
I am amazed in fact by the amount of land they held, considering they were Catholics.
The 1823-1838 Tithe Applotment indexes show land being leased by my family in 3 different areas.
I know about these holdings because of a will left by my g-g-grandfather in 1867.
I wonder if there are any copies of leases, or business transactions recorded anywhere ?
Would these be held at PRONI ?
I have copied below an article about the Scots-Irish migration I thought you and people on the list might be interested in.