Author Topic: Stevenson family, Belfast  (Read 217 times)

narutledge

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Stevenson family, Belfast
« on: December 03, 2017, 09:28:49 PM »





For many years I have been trying to find the parish (baptism) record for my grandfather Thomas McConnell Stevenson born 1865 (poss 1864) Belfast Ireland (Antrim)
Parents: William Stevenson, farmer & Mary Moag (on Thomasís Marriage Record).
Father may be (this has yet to be verified): William McConnell Stevenson Christened 16.7.1832 Killinchy Parish Presbyterian Church, Killinchy, Down, Ireland. His father: Matthew Stevenson.

If Thomas was the son of a farmer then I find it hard to believe that he was an only child, so there may be some other descendant somewhere, possibly Northern Ireland, who has this name on their tree.
Thomas left Ireland for Sydney, Australia or Auckland, NZ or Fiji ? 1884? to 1894. He ended up in Fiji where he married my grandmother & then died in Auckland, NZ
I have tried PRONI & GRONI & they have no matching record for his birth.
Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland said there is no easy way of checking all Presbyterian parish registers for Belfast. Some indexing has been done but it is not complete. I have no idea which parish he would have been baptised in.
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Elwyn

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Re: Stevenson family, Belfast
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 02:43:31 PM »
     There are about 50 Presbyterian churches in Belfast, and a lot are not on-line anywhere, so searching all those records would be fairly time consuming. I searched for the parentsí marriage. Statutory marriage records start in 1845 for non RC marriages. I donít see one between a Wm S and Mary Moag (or variants) anywhere in what is now Northern Ireland, in the years 1845 Ė 1866.
 
Something that puzzles me slightly is the fact that Thomas was reportedly born in Belfast and that his father was a farmer. At the risk of stating the obvious, Belfast is a city. You donít get too many farmers living in a large city. A farmerís children would more likely be born in a rural area. How sure are you that he was born in Belfast?
 
Elwyn

narutledge

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Re: Stevenson family, Belfast
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 08:07:12 PM »
Thank you Elwyn, for checking the marriage records & for your reply.


I have wondered about the Belfast birth place which is on his marriage record & also on my father's birth record. Do you know if Belfast, in those days, included rural areas?
It's all a big mystery! I haven't even been able to connect the William McConnell Stevenson christened in Killinchy with my Thomas McConnell Stevenson. It's only the middle name of McConnell that makes me wonder.


I'm wondering if the National Library in Dublin would have something, but I know a lot of records held at the Four Courts were destroyed in 1922. That's about the only thing I can think of now.

Elwyn

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Re: Stevenson family, Belfast
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 09:41:50 PM »
     The city boundaries have tended to move outwards to match development. There have never really been any rural parts of Belfast.  Lots of farmland on the edge of the city has disappeared with the building of new housing estates over the past 160 years but I am not aware of there ever having been farms in the city as such. People on farms in the country near the city tend to be identified by their townlands, not by any association with Belfast.
 
The McConnell middle name is a common Presbyterian trait, both here and in Scotland. It was frequently the maiden name of some female member of the family, though occasionally it was a tribute to someone the family respected, eg their Minister or a schoolteacher.
 
Thereís a few William Stevensons in Co. Down on this site:
 
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/%7Erosdavies/SURNAMES/S/StevensonEtc.htm
 
 
I had a look at the tithe applotment records (1833) and Griffiths Valuation (c 1860) for Mathew Stevenson in Killinchy (father of the Wm born there) but donít see one listed. So he wasnít a farmer in 1832, and he didnít have a house of his own in in the parish in 1860. But beyond that canít tell you much. I searched the statutory death records for all Ireland 1864 to 1901 but only found 3 Mathew Stevensons. None anywhere near Co. Down. So possibly the Killinchy one had died pre 1864, when death registration first started.
 
I searched the will records 1858 Ė 1920 for William Stevenson, farmer and found 26. Not all lived near Belfast but thereís a few in Down and Antrim. (You can view the abstracts on the PRONI wills site, and in some cases the wills themselves are o-line. They havenít got all years on-line yet).
 
I doubt you would get much from the nli in Dublin. Most of the relevant records for the Belfast area and the 9 counties of Ulster tend to be in PRONI in Belfast. But you need to have a clearer idea of where the family lived to start searching there.
 
William Stevenson is a very common name in this part of Ireland. Hard finding the correct one.
 
I am afraid I canít help you make any breakthroughs yet. Sorry.
 
Elwyn

narutledge

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Re: Stevenson family, Belfast
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 03:50:01 AM »
Thank you for all the time you have put into this, Elwyn- I really appreciate it. Thanks for the background info about Belfast & I didn't know that McConnell was such a common middle name as that was the only thing linking the Killinchy William McConnell Stevenson with my Thomas, as it has William Stevenson, Farmer only on Thomas' marriage record.


I'll have a look at the PRONI will site. 


Years ago I put a message on Ros Davies' Family History website but have never had any response. I've just had a look through the William Stevensons & there is nothing conclusive. I think it all goes back to finding Thomas' parish record. If only he had included the parish on some of the records in Fiji & later here in NZ. It's really so frustrating. My father died in 1990 & he always said he never knew much about his father, as he was about 10 years old when he died at 48 years.