View Full Version : Thompson from Armagh?

01-04-2008, 12:19 AM
My gr.grandfather, Thomas Thompson born c1838 came to Ontario during the potato famine or very shortly after. On his marriage cert. his parents are listed as John and Eleanor. I don't know if he came with his parents or not. There is a sister buried in the same plot and her name was Eliza ( unmarried) and I believe I may have found another sister, Mary Ann.
Family history says they came from Armagh, but I also have possibilities of Donegal and county Tyrone.
Because of such a common surname and also common first names, I haven't been able to find birth information, sibling information and even information to verify if the parents and siblings came to Canada together or if they even all came to Canada. I have searched hundreds of ship's lists, but cannot find out for certainty which ship they came on and where they sailed from and to. I would love to learn more of my Irish roots and I know this is a long shot, but can anyone suggest someplace new to look. Canadian Immigration lists don't really help either..they are all possiblities, no absolutes. Sometimes Canadian death records show a mother's maiden name or birthplace of the deceased..no luck here!
Whenever our snow decides to melt I am going to check out some cemetaries where there are both an Eleanor ( or spelling variations of) and a John buried to see if I can find any other information which might lead me to the family, but our winter doesn't want to leave, so.............
Any and all help will be appreciated

26-08-2008, 7:30 AM
Hi Sue, I don't know if this is your g.grandad but it might be a lead.

1 match for the search criteria: Thompson (plus variants) Thomas 1834-1842 Parish: SEAGOE
Action Source Surname First Name Year County
Church Baptism Thompson Thomas 1839 Co. Armagh

The website is irish-roots.ie. You have to register and pay to view.
You don't say which religious denomination but this is the address of the Church of Ireland Seagoe Parish Church
65, Seagoe Rd, Portadown, Craigavon, County Armagh BT63 5HS
Tel: 028 3835 0583

Good Luck

26-08-2008, 1:15 PM
Hello Paddy...

Thankyou! |biggrin| This is first glimmer I have received on any Irish research!

I will give it a try when I get a few pennies together.

Would Wesleyan Methodists have been members of the Church of Ireland prior to coming to Canada? Protestant anyway!!!

Can you tell me what I would see if I paid to view the record?

Thanks again..


Elwyn Soutter
26-08-2008, 9:27 PM
Wesleyanism/Methodism is not the same as Church of Ireland. Church of Ireland was, in effect the Church of England in Ireland. Methodism was/is a separate protestant religion. However you should not exclude the possibility fo people changing from one church to another. So your relatives might have been C of I or Presbyterian and then changed to Methodism.

I had a look in the current Northern Ireland yellow pages (? Golden Pages in Canada). There are not too many Methodist churches listed. I couldn't see any for Armagh (County or City). The head office in NI is: Methodist Church in Ireland, 1 Fountainville Avenue, Belfast (0044 28 9032 4554). You could try writing to them to find out what Methodists chuches existed in Armagh in the 1840s, and then contact them.

But you really need to know whether your rels came from Armagh City, or Armagh County. If it was the county (which is probably more likely) then you have an awful lot of churches to check. You really need to know where in Co Armagh they lived. Normally that would be a townland (a sub-division of a Barony).


26-08-2008, 11:27 PM
Thanks Elwyn...

|banghead| I know from the Canadian census, marriage and birth records they were Methodist here in Canada.... no idea about Ireland. Perhaps the only church available where they settled when they came here was Methodist..:confused:

Everyone had such common names... thanks goodness my gr.grandfather named some of his 16 children with less common names..made searching here in Ontario a little easier.:)

The only names I'm certain about ( In Ireland) are Thomas, and his sisters Eliza and Mary Jane ( she's a maybe!!)....From Ont.. marriage records for Mary Jane and Thomas ( Eliza never married) I have their parents as John and Eleanor... no idea if they(parents) even came to Canada. That's why I am wondering what information I should expect to see if I do the pay for view on irish roots?

Is Armagh city in the county of Armagh?..I only know Armagh from word of mouth handed down. Thomas' marriage cert and other info just says Ireland whereas Mary Jane's says Tyrone..


If I write this church do you think they would be willing to help?

Thanks again, everyone...so far no one in the family has managed to find any information pre-Canada..


Elwyn Soutter
27-08-2008, 6:24 AM
You ask whether Armagh city is in Co Armagh. The answer is yes. A lot of Irish counties have a county town with the same name as the county (eg Derry or Galway). People often jump to the conclusion that their relatives came from the county town, whereas given that the county town would have been quite small in the 1840s, the chances are they came from the country part of the county.

I note that Mary Jane is shown as being born in Tyrone. Tyrone is beside Armagh. It is quite possible she was born there. If your ancestor was an agricultural worker (and that is his most likely profession) he may have moved around to find work. That might have taken him to Tyrone. Work was hard to find in Ireland in the mid 1800s. That was one of the drivers behind mass emigration, so it was common for people to move all over the country, and back and forth to Scotland for work. Often on a seasonal basis.

The arrival of railways made movement significantly easier too (Armagh got its first railway in 1848).


28-08-2008, 6:55 AM
Hi Sue, Sorry for the delay in getting back. Elwyn is right, it is useful to know where in the county your ancestors may have come from. irish-roots.ie generally gives the persons name, date of birth, place of birth, and parents names. In their marriage records they will give both names (wife's maiden name) and date and place of marriage. However, each view costs 5 euro, which I think is about 7 Canadian dollars, so it can be quite expensive if you don't get the right one first time. On this site each Irish county is listed separately so you can go to the one you want, register for free, and search around the various options for your ancestors. For example, if you enter your
g.grandad's name and details as known, the site will give you a list of possible options. You only have to pay to view the details, but it is possible to narrow down your options. If you can give ANY information it may help us to narrow it down for you.
Godd Luck

28-08-2008, 7:03 AM
Hi Sue, me again. Don't know if this helps but there may be some records in PRONI http://www.proni.gov.uk/ This is the public records office in Northern Ireland and sometimes they will look up a specific record for you if you e-mail them but be prepared to wait. You asked earlier if the Seagoe Church would help, I don't know about this particular church but I know that I have contacted various others in my own research and found them all very willing to assist.
The gathering of Methodist societies began in England in the early 1730s under Rev. John Wesley as a movement within the Church of England. John Wesley visited Ireland many times, and Methodist societies soon spread among members of the Church of Ireland. At first, members of Methodist societies remained part of the Church of Ireland. Some members belonged to Presbyterian churches. It was not until 1817/1818 that a group of Methodists
in Ireland itself separated from the Church of Ireland and formed the independent Irish Wesleyan Methodist Church. This church had its own ministers and kept its own records. Methodists who continued to belong to the Church of Ireland were called Primitive Wesleyan Methodists. In 1878, the two groups united as the Methodist Church in Ireland.
Methodist records include class lists (lists of members of each class in the society), baptismal registers, and marriage registers. You will find that baptismal registers are nearly all arranged on a circuit basis, while marriage registers are on a congregational basis. The congregations that comprised a circuit changed often, which can complicate the search for the relevant circuit register. Methodist records generally remain in the custody of the society or circuit. Some have also been indexed by heritage centres. The PRONI holds a microfilm copy of the central register of baptisms
Best wishes,

28-08-2008, 3:00 PM
Paddy |hug|and Elwyn|hug|

Thankyou , both of you!

You have given me lots to work on. Unfortunatly it will have to wait a couple of weeks until my daughter's wedding is over.:)

I really don't have any other information on the family and a 2nd cousin who has also done extensive family research also has drawn a blank. Such a common name, everyone was poor and they all worked hard. No harm in that, but just a trickle of something different would make searching easier!!

I'll get back to you both and thanks again.


02-09-2008, 7:38 PM
As you can see from the article below there was a Wesleyan Methodist Church in Armagh in the 1800s:



03-09-2008, 1:07 AM
Thanks Jane|hug|

I'll certainly be checking that site out as soon as this week is over:)