Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ancestors From Ulster (Northern Ireland), But Which Town and County?

County Down, Ireland

Our ancestor, Rebecca Bradford, was the daughter of Samuel and Sarah Bradford. Previous posts show that Samuel and his brother James were Scots-Irish, having come to America from Northern Ireland. They probably lived on one of the Ulster Plantations, but which county of Northern Ireland they hail from is unknown. For more details, please use search box to see previous posts entitled "Rebecca's Uncle James Bradford" dated September 1, 2009, and "Our Scots-Irish Bradford Line" dated January 26, 2010.

According to "Between 1717 and the American Revolutionary War years of the late 1770s and early 1780's an estimated quarter of a million Scots-Irish Presbyterian settlers left the Province of Ulster in the northern part of Ireland for the new lands across the Atlantic. They travelled in extremely hazardous conditions, in simple wooden sailing ships from the ports of Belfast, Lame, Londonderry, Newry and Portrush for the far-off berths of Philadelphia, New Castle (Delaware), Charleston, Baltimore and New York. Huddled together with the most meagre of belongings and money, they were a people forced to move because of the severe restrictions placed on their faith by the ruling British establishment of the day, and because of the economic deprivations prevailing in their Ulster homeland."

While records listing the actual names of the Scots-Ulster farmers are very rare, the following notation is of interest. It is a record from Armagh County, one of the counties of Northern Ireland, and lists a James Bradford. While this cannot be Rebecca's uncle James, as he had come to America 50 or so years earlier, it does show that there were Bradford's still living in County Armagh, Northern Ireland in the late 1700's, possibly descendants of the earlier Bradfords who did not emigrate to America (emphasis added):

"1784 Feb 10 SEAVER - BRADFORD DEED: 241557 see also DEED: 242429 NOTES: Sarah SEAVER [37] of Ballinahonebegg [38] , CO. Armagh widow of the one part and James BRADFORD [39] of Armagh in said County, Merchant of the other part.. James SWANZY [40] of Aveluagh [41] , Co. Monaghan was the executor of Richard SEAVER [42] who in a lease 27 September 1782 demised to Sarah SEAVER & Arthur OLIVER [43] of Ballinahonebeg - 1/3 part of the townland of Ballinahonebeg as was lately held by Charles SEAVER [44] & his undertenants containing 92 acres ... [refers to] Deed of partition made between Sarah SEAVER & Arthur OLIVER 15 Nov 1783 that Sarah SEAVER (executor etc) would have ½ of all rents and fines issuing out of the part of said premises held by Thomas Verner Esq. And also ½ rents and fines of part in possession of Arthur OLIVER called the bleach green and half of her late husband’s legacy ... Witnessed that the said Sarah SEAVER for £400 sold to James BRADFORD the lands in her part of the partition. Witness Arthur OLIVER of Ballinahonebeg, Co. Armagh linen merchant. Wm GEOGH [45] of Armagh, weaver. Robert JACKSON [46] of Woodvale [47] , Co. Armagh, Gent. James BRADFORD [SEAL]" [source:].

Sometimes in the quest to trace our ancestors, hitting "walls" leads us to research allied lines, such as in-laws, such as Miller/Millar and Dunlap. Also, the Allison's (AKA McAllison) and McDowell's were in-laws to James Bradford (James' daughters, thus Rebecca's cousins, having married Allison and McDowell boys. The McDowell and McAllison surnames show up in another rare list of Plantation names - see County Donegal and County Down (

"The following is a list of Scottish surnames, contained on Muster Rolls and Estate Maps of the eight Plantation Counties of Ulster for the period 1607 - 1633, which was the initial phase of the plantation scheme. Surnames which occurred more than once in a County are indicated as x2, x3, x4, etc.:

Adair, Agnew, Barr, Black, Blair x2, Boyd x4, Bozwell x2, Brown, Brisbane, Burns, Buthill, Colville, Cunningham, Dewar, Dickie, Dobbin, Dunbar, Dunlop x4, Edmonston x2, Ellis x2, Fenton, Fullerton, Futhie, Haldane, Hamill x2, Hamilton, Hutchins, Johnston, Kennedy x2, Kinnear, Kirkpatrick, Kyd, Laderdeill, Logan, Luke, Lutfoot, Maxwell, Melvin, Millar, Montgomery, Moneypenny, Moore, Macauley, Macawley, Mcgoogan, Mackay, McNaughton, McNeill, McPherdirish, McRobert, Niven, O'Greeve, Ritchie, Ross, Shaw x4, Stewart x13, Thompson, Todd, Trane, Tullis, Wallace

Acheson x2, Allen x2, Archeson, Arkles, Bell x2, Brown, Calte, Carcott, Carothers, Cunningham, Davidson, Deans, Douglas, Dowling, Elliot, Ferguson x2, Flack, Gamble x2, Gilmore, Granton, Greer, Grier x2, Grindall x2, Hall, Hamilton x5, Hope, Johnston, Kirk, Leitch, Maxwell, x2, Moffatt, McKernan, Parker, Pringle, Rae, Richardson, Ritchie, Shirloe, Sturgeon x2, Syne, Trimble, Watson, Walshe, Walker, Wilkie, Wilson

Anderson, Aughmooty x2, Bailie x5, Barber, Barbour, Coch, Creighton, Cutherbertson, Cavyson, Deans, Finlay x2, Hamilton x3, Kennedy, Lother x2, Miller, Musgrave, McCullagh, Price, Rae, Steele, Stevenson, Taylor, Tate, Udney, Wylie

Adair, Alexander, Allen x2, Arnett x2, Barkley, Barry, Bauld, Black, Blair, Boyd, Boyle x2, Brisbane, Brown, Bruce, Bryce, Buchanan, Burne, Calwell x2, Campbell x2, Carr x3, Cloggie, Colguhoun x2, Coohoone x2, Crawford, Cunningham x15, Dick, Donnell, Dougal, Dunne x3, Dunsayer, Ekyn, Ewart, Flemming, Forecheade, Fullerton, Fulton, Fyieff, Galt, Flabreth, Filmour, Glass, Glen, Gordon, Grynney, Hall, Hamilton x11, Harper, Henrison, Henry, Homes, Hood, Huggins, Hunter, Hutchins, Johnston, Julius, Kennedy, Kernes, Kilpatrick x2, Knox, Laycock, Leckie, Leitch, Leslie, Lindsay, Lockhard, Lodge, Machell, Machen, Martin, Maxwell, Montgomery, Moore, Moorhead, Murray, McAlison, McAuld, McCamuel, McClairne, McCullough, McErdy, McIlcheny, McIntyre, McKay, McKinney, McKym, McLintagh, McLoran, McMath, Nelson, Nesbitt, Orr, Patterson, Patoun, Patton, Peere (Perry), Pont, Purveyance, Rankin, Ritchie, Robin, Robson, Roger, Sawyer, Scott, Sempell, Semple x4, Simpson, Smelley, Smith x3, Smythe x2, Spence, Stephenson, Stevenson, Stevin, Stewart x4, Sutherland, Teyse (Tees), Thompson, Thomson, Valantyne, Vance, Watson, Wilson, Witherspoon, Wood x2, Young

Abercrombie, Adair x3, Adams, Agnew x2, Aicken, Allen, Anderson x2, Andrews, Bailie x2, Barkley, Barkie x3, Bayly, Beatty, Blackwood, Blair x5, Boyd x3, Brackley, Brown, Carlile, Carmichael, Carr, Carson, Cathcart x2, Catherwood, Chambers, Chermsides, Cooper, Cowper, Craig, Crawford x3, Crear, Cummings, Cunningham x13, Danielston, Davidson, Dick, Dickson, Dodds, Douglas, Drennan, Drummond, Dufferin, Dunbar, Dunleath, Dunlop x3, Echlin x4, Edmonston, Forsith, Frazer, Galloway, Galt, Galway, Gelston, Gemmil, Glen, Greenshields, Hamilton x14, Hare, Haper x2, Harvey x2, Hilton, Hogg, Howie, Howson, Hunter, Innes, Julius, Keevet, Kelly, Kelson, Kennedy x7, Kerr, Kilpatrick, Kirkpatrick, Kyle, Kylr, Leckey, Leslie, Lindsay, Lloyd, Logan x2, Magee, Martin, Mathyson, Maxwell x5, Millar, Monett, Moneypenny x3, Montgomery x18, Moon, Moore x7, Mowlane, Murray x2, McBurney, McBride, McCappin, McCartney, McCashin x2, McClelland, McCleery, McComb, McCrae, McCreedy, McCullen, McCurry, McDonnell, McDougall x3, McDowell x2, McEwen, McGarry, McGee, McGifford, McIllevrath, McIlveyne, McKay, McKee, McLarnan, McLellan x4, McLean, McMakene, McMaster, McMillan, McMullen, McNabb, Nesbitt, Nevin, Nugent, Orr, Patrick, Patterson, Peacock, Peebles, Pollock x2, Read, Reid x2, Reynolds, Robb, Ross x5, Rudd x2, Rutherford, Scott, Semple, Seton, Shaw x3, Spier, Stanehouse, Stanhouse, Stevenson, Stewart x2, Tate, Thomson x2, Trail, Waddell, Walker, Wallace, Wanchop, Wardlaw, Watson, Welsh, Williamson, Wilson x4, Wylie, Wyms, Young

Crawford, Cathcart, Creighton x3, Cunningham x5, Chambers, Cranston, Dunbar x4, Deinbone, Erving, Elliot, Gibb, Gibson, Greer, Hall x3, Hamilton x5, Heigate, Irwin, Johnson, Lainge, Lindsay, Mitchell, Montgomery, Patterson, Smellham, Somervell, Stewart, Watson, Weir


Anderson, Andrews, Bridger, Buchanan, Cahoon x2, Cawder, Colter, Coulter, Crawford, Crockett, Cunningham x2, Dyke, Edward, English, Forester, Fullerton, Grant, Handcock, Johnston, Keeland, Kennedy, Kyle, Lindsay, Logy, Lynne, Lyon x2, Magghee, Maxwell x2, Midell, Moncreig, Moore, Morton, Mure, McAlexander, McLelland, Mackclellane, Mackleland x3, McLornan, McNeile, Palmer, Patterson, Polk, Power, Redgate, Russell, Sempell, Thomas, Thompson, Thomson, Young

Abercorn, Acheson, Anderson, Andrews, Arnett x2, Barkley, Bean, Boyle, Burns, Carmichael, Carslow, Cathcart, Colville, Cooper, Craig, Creire (Greer), Crosby x2, Demstar, Donings, Crum, Drummond, Elpinstone, Ferry, Fingleton, Gamble, Gibbe Gibson, Granger, Grime, Gryme, Hamilton x15, Hatrick, Henderson x2, Hendrie, Hexburn, Highgate x2, Holmes, Karns, Kennedy x2, Kyle, Lawson, Lindsay x3, Love, Lynn x2, Mackerson, Maxwell x2, Means x2, Meens, Millar, Montgomery x8, Morne, Morrison, Morrow, Muntreeth, Murdogh, Murdruff, McAulay, McCreaghan x2, McCrery, McCullough, McGee, McGowan, McGraghan, McGunshenour, McIlmurry, McIntrye, McKaundy, McKean, McKittrick, Newburgh, Parke, Patterson, Pooke, Pringle, Reade, Richardson, Robinson, Saunderson, Sharpe, Simpson, Smythe, Spottiswood x4, Stephenson x5, Steward x3, Stewart x7, Symington, Wallace, Wilie, Wilson, Wood, Wooley, Wright, Young."

Though this list is, no doubt, incomplete, the lack of any Bradford name is puzzling.

Still, it was very common for these close-knit extended families to emigrate together and settle in close proximity to each other in America. The Bradfords, McDowells and Allisons did just this, all residing in the Elkton, Maryland region, then in later years moving west to Washington County in western Pennsylvania (right next door to where William and Rebecca would eventually relocate in Fayette County). Of these families it is written: "They were most efficient men, and, by their piety, generous efforts and gifts, did a great work in sustaining the first ministers of Western Pa. Out of the thirty-four families, twenty-two of their heads became elders, among whom were Judge Allison, Judge McDowell, James Bradford, Henry Graham, Robert Barr, James and Samuel Fleming, John Wright, Robert Moore, John Powers, John Allen, and Samuel, Ebenezer, Joseph, Michael and William Finley, all sons of the Rev. James Finley..." (

Another record shows the close kinship of these families: "Col. James Allison in the fall of 1773 emigrated with his family from Cecil County, Md., to the "Forks of the Yough" (now McKeesport), where he resided that winter, and in the spring of 1774 came to what is now Washington County and settled on Chartiers Creek. He and his family were of the twenty families who came to this section in that year, among whom were the Scotts, McDowells, Parks, Morrisons, Struthers, Norris, and others. He married a daughter of James Bradford, who came to Strabane township later and settled there. David Bradford, who was prominent in the Whiskey Insurrection, was a brother of Mrs. Allison, and Mrs. John McDowell was a sister." (Source:

Hopefully future research will shed light on exactly which county and village in Northern Ireland our Bradfords came from. Perhaps research on the Allison and McDowell families will provide the needed clues to accomplish this goal.

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