• Do you love Genealogy? Why not write for us? we're looking for volunteers to write articles for Family history. Please contact us for further information.

Descendants of William de Irwyn ?- my family mystery

Posts
18
Likes
0
Location
Winnipeg
#21
Adamson E60 - I own that book, but unfortunately nothing in there that seems to apply to my family of seemingly humble origin.

My Irvine ancestor came over from Scotland 1955, well after Waterloo. Thus far I have found no officers in my family history, I seem to be the first, and none at Waterloo, though I suspect there was at least one Irvine that went to Spain or France.
 

Ross

Member
Posts
18
Likes
0
Location
Winnipeg
#22
Its been awhile since my last post. By careful research of various records, and a process of elimination, and by checking records of the family when they moved from Ireland to Scotland in the 1880s I have been able to determine the line to about 1797.

My grandfather Andrew Irvine was born 1919 in Dumbarton (came to Canada 1950s). His brother Alexander Irvine was born 1914 and his descendants still live in Scotland and I was able to meet them in London during a business trip. My cousin Margaret Berry Irvine, Alexander's daughter, was able to provide the notes her father Alexander wrote down in 1956 when Andrew and Alexander's father was dying. These notes reinforced what I had learned and offered some new leads in Co. Antrim. They also had a sister Margaret Rose Irvine born 1908, but she died in Childbirth in 1946. She had one son that survived.

Andrew, Alexander, and Margaret's parents were William John Irvine and Agnes Higgins. William John was born 1879 in Limavady and in Ireland the family used the name Irwin. He moved to Dalziel Scotland in 1881 when he was 2 with his family. He was a commercial traveler as an adult, but kept in touch with relations in Canada and Ireland as well as his relations in Scotland. He had 3 sisters. 2 were born in Limavady, Margaret Elizabeth who married John Lauder and was apparently a laundry made for President Herbert Hoover (who himself had some Irvine connection), and Mary Jane Irwin who married Alexander Leslie who seems to have died in Africa (Boer War?). The third sister was Elizabeth Jane born 1875 in Dalziel. William John had two half brothers Samuel Irvine who married Ellen May patch and whose descendants live in San Diego California, and Robert Irvine. Not sure what became of him.

William John Irvine's parents were John Irwin and Mary Jane Caldwell. John was probably born 1854 in Limavady, as was stated in Margaret Berry's research notes (that Alexander wrote when William John was dying in 1956). John married Mary Jane Caldwell in Bovevagh in 1871. They had William John, Margaret Elizabeth, and Mary Jane on Irish Green Street in Limavady, but their third daughter Elizabeth jane was born in Dalziel 1875. What was happening was John, who worked as a joiner, was working in the coal mines building frames for the collieries on a seasonal basis. So Mary Jane Caldwell joined him there in 1875 to have her child around her husband. Eventually, John Irwin gave up on Ireland and moved to Scotland full time in 1881, taking young William John and his family with him. In March 1887 Mary Jane died, and John remarried in May 1887 to Annie Pollock, and it was with her that Samuel and Robert were born.

It was from the marriage certificate of John Irwin in Scotland that I was able to go back another generation. On the 1911 census of England and Wales Samuel is shown as another brother of William John. Search Scotland's People I was able to find a birth certificate for this Samuel born 1888 to parents John Irwin and Annie Pollock. I then found an 1887 Scottish marriage record of John and Annie which showed the names John's parents finally, and it was John Irwin and Lavinia Forsythe. The discovery of a pension claim that was based on the 1851 census had miraculously survived, and showed that John and Lavina were born 1824 and 1821 respectively and married 1845 in Ireland. Margaret Berry's notes said that they were married in Ballymoney, Antrim and that Lavina was from Ballymoney. It seems that John and Lavina had been sub-let land belonging to Samuel Forsythe in Ballyleagry townland, just south of Limavady. Looking through Scottish, Canadian and American records, I was able to find many children of John and Lavina. They were Robert Forsythe Irwin (1846-1867), Margaret Irwin b. 1847 d. 1919 (married Matthew Creelman then James Dinsmore), Matilda Jane b. 1849 d. 1925 who married Richard Kinsella in Manhatten New York 1880 then moved to Brockville Ontario Canada, Samuel Irwin b. 1848 d. 1925 married Martha Jane Ferguson, Lavina Ann Irwin b. 1853 d. 1922 married Marcus Mclean then James Watson, Mary Irwin b. 1857 (no idea what became of her), and finally Elizabeth b. 1859 and d. 1926 in Dalziel she married William Caldwell in Ireland but died in Scotland. All these records were found and showed parents John Irwin joiner and Lavinia Forsythe. John Irwin seems to have gotten help from Lavinia's father in the early years after 1845, but later was able to buy a few acres of his own in what is now Glen Mills (William Irwin and Sons). John's son John was the last male heir who to that point had not moved abraod and he seems to have given up on farming and passed the farm to William Irwin (a cousin?) and Sarah Ross (whose descendants own William Irwin and Sons to this day) before moving to Dalziel in 1881.

Finally by process of elimination, I believe John Irwin's father was James Irwin, who is the only Irwin in Ballyleagry in the 1828 tithe book and 1831 householder census. Margaret Berry's notes said our family seems to have come from Ballymena before Ballyleagry.

This is as far back as I could go. I have check the book "Roots in Ulster Soil" which showed the Forsythe connection between Ballyleagry and Forttown Antrim, and is a possible link for Lavina's Ballymoney connection. I am hoping someone has the book "the Presbytery of Limavady" which has over a thousand names and might give a clue. What I really need is a family bible that can take me back further. So any Irwins in Antrim please let me know if you think there is a link.
 

Elwyn

Well-known member
Posts
191
Likes
26
Location
Randalstown, Co. Antrim, Ireland.
#23
MacLysaght’s “The Surnames of Ireland” says about Irwin & Erwin that: “A sept of O’Hirwen did exist in Offaly. But nearly all Irwins are of planter stock in Ulster and in Co. Roscommon, their name, when not a synonym of Irvine, being derived from the old english eoforwine, boar-friend.”

So MacLysaght’s view is that your ancestors probably arrived in Ireland in the 1600s, probably as part of the Plantation. They will have originated in Scotland. (Half the population of Counties Antrim & Derry have the same origins, so that’s a pretty common finding).

I see that the Irwin family were Presbyterian (judging by Elizabeth Irwin’s marriage in 1875). That’s also an important indicator of Scots origins. Presbyterianism was established in Scotland in the mid 1500s and brought to Ireland by the Scots settlers. So with a Scottish surname, Presbyterianism and living in Ulster, you have 3 pointers to Scottish origins.

https://civilrecords.irishgenealogy...iage_returns/marriages_1875/11210/8109000.pdf

The North of Ireland Family History Society has a library at their HQ in Newtownabbey outside Belfast. They might have a copy of the Presbytery of Limavady.

As a general comment, most Irish research comes to a standstill around 1800, due to the lack of earlier records.
 
Posts
18
Likes
0
Location
Winnipeg
#24
Thank you for the reply. According to the Irvine DNA project at FTDNA, we are genetic cousins of the Bonshaw Irvings. So yes probably my ancestors were moved to the plantation in the 1600s.
I have read Bonshaw was the source of the Drum Irvines, as William de Irwyn was from Bonshaw before he became laird of Drum in reward for service to Robert the Bruce.
I ended up ordering a copy of the Presbytery of Limavady, it was cheap. It would be amazing if i could find some connection a well known lineage, so i will keep trying, knowing that most Irish research stalls around 1800.
 
Top