Thursday, March 9, 2017

Our County Donegal Ancestor - Ninian Dunlap

The tiny village of Ballindrait, County Donegal Ireland
For those of us who descend from William Miller (spouse of Rebecca Bradford), one of our ancestors is Ninian Dunlap.  William's father was Abraham Miller and his father was David Miller.  David's wife was Jane Dunlap, daughter of Ninian.  For me, this makes him my 6th great-grandfather.

Ninian Dunlap was undoubtedly from the same village as the Miller's--Ballindrait in County Donegal, Ireland.  They were part of the Scots-Irish population in this area those whose families had originated in Scotland and came over to work the Ulster "plantations."  Ninian was born around1635, probably in Ballindrait, but perhaps in Scotland.

These were Presbyterians and their ties to the Church were strong.  Their spiritual leader in the village of Ballindrait was the Rev. William Traill (use the search box of this blog to find more information about this interesting man).   Due to much religious persecution, many of the families in Rev. Traill's congregation (including Traill himself) immigrated America, several settling in the Somerset County area of Maryland.  Ninian came in 1688 according to the following immigration record:
This date of 1688 coordinates well with what looks to be his first land purchase in America in Somerset ["Som"] County, Maryland:
From an Ancestry record entitiled "Settlers of Maryland 1679 to 1700" 
After purchasing this 100 acres which he named "Dunlap's Choice," he eventually bought 2 more parcels of land up north in Cecil County: 200 acres bought on 10 October 1708 named "Sligoe," possibly named after the coastal town and county of Sligo in western Ireland, but did Ninian name this property, or had it been given this title by a previous owner?; and 100 acres, again in Cecil County, named "Monin" on 2 September 1714.  The following reference indicates that Ninian did choose this name (spelled "Monyn" in this article) in remembrance of their homeland:

Ulster Names on the Land
When land was patented in Maryland with a deed to the original owner, he gave his property a name. Many names are prosaic. Robert King, Gentleman, one of these Ulster Scots, called his 300 acres "Kingsland." Others preferred a memory of home. Wallaces had "Castle Finn," "Kirkminster" and "Camp." Caldwells called their tracts "Ballybuggin," "Desert" and "Clonlett." The Polks used "Ballendret," "Raphoe," "Moanen" and "Denegall" as well as "Polk’s Folly."
Ninian Dunlap chose "Monyn." The Owens family used "Ballyshannon" and the Alexanders "Rapho." These emigrant families settled in Manokin Hundred of Somerset County together with McKnitt and Strawbridge families and others. Many of the names they gave their new homes are from townlands near Lifford. Magdalen Polk, wife of Robert Polk, for instance, inherited the townland of Moneen in the parish of Clonleigh (Lifford), Co. Donegal and left it in her will to one of their sons. The Polks were ancestors of U.S. President James K. Polk.

Research indicates that Monyn (or Moneen) was the landholding of one Roger Tasker in Ballindrait (see:  Did the Dunlaps live and work on this property, thus choosing it as the name for one of their properties in America?  This seems likely.

One more historical document shows that Ninian Dunlap, the Miller's and Rev. Traill were in Somerset County in 1689 when the inhabitants of Maryland were required to sign an oath of allegiance to King William and Queen Mary of England:

"Somerset County Support King William:  In 1689 an association in arms 'for the defence of the Protestant religion and for asserting the rights of King William and Queen Mary to the province of Maryland and all the English dominions was formed'... Among the signers were many Ulster Scots."

Signers included Ninian (sic) Dulap, John Miller, Andrew Miller (son or brother to John?),  and "Wm. Traile." (Source:  Ancestry document entitled "Old Somerset on the Eastern Shore of Maryland:  A Study in Foundation and Founders").  

Again, John is probably the father of David Miller, father of Abraham Miller, father of William Miller.  Andrew Miller is no doubt related, and of course, William Traill is the man who was responsible for bringing so many of his congregation back in Ireland here to America.

1  Where did Ninian die?  In Somerset County, or in later years did he move onto one of his properties in Cecil County?
2.  What is his exact birthdate and place?
3.  What was the name of his wife?
4.  Did he have other children besides Jane

Ancestry has a record of a Ninian Dunlop who was born in Scotland (birthdate calculated to be 1660), with a wife named Euphan McJonet (born 1658 in Ayr, Scotland), and daughters named Margaret (possibly born in 1680) and Jane (no birthdate listed).  Unfortuately, no source is give and no other information is listed.

If this were our Ninian, he would have moved to Ballindrait, Ireland, at some point in time to work the plantations.  Our Ninian then left for America in 1688 (see above record), at the age of 28.  It is possible to have been born in Scotland, move to Ireland, marry and have 2 daughters in 28 years.

Research into records in America have thus only uncovered Ninian and a daughter named Jane (who married our David Miller).  If Euphan was his wife and he had another daughter named Margaret, did they come to America, but are just not named in any records?  Could they have died in Ireland or en route to America.? This is an intriguing possibility that deserves further research.

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