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Annie Ferguson Harbron approx 1849-1893

Hi, I'm looking for any tips to help me find more information about my great-great-grandmother Annie Ferguson. We've heard her family was from England, possibly "wealthy horse breeders" but nothing confirmed. We don't believe she married our great great grandfather Frederick Harbron (1842-1920) who was born in Kingston Upon Hull, York, England and died in Australia. They had 14 children between 1867 and 1891. All but the two eldest children were born in Dundalk, Louth.

The story is that he moved with the eldest boys to Australia to set up a funeral business and then send for his wife and family. This was around 1891. But, Annie died (possibly giving birth to another child around 1892 or 1893). The remaining eldest children went to live with an aunt in England. The girls in the middle went to an orphanage in Belfast and the youngest (3 boys under 5 years old) went to Ballyconree orphanage in Clifden, Galway. This is where my great grandfather grew up. 

 All 3 boys were given passage to Canada and ₤10 to start a new life.

My GGF was 3 when his Mom died and unfortunately didn't know much more about her than her name & the stories he heard from his older siblings from letters he received when they reunited as adults. 

We see her listed on 14 birth certificates with the following names:


  • 1867 Anne Ferguson (when Frederick was born)
  • 1869 Annie Ferguson (when Henry George was born)
  • 1870, 1872, 1875 Ann Ferguson (when Rebecca, Susan and Ann were born - father Fredrick Harbison instead of Harbron on one of them)
  • 1877 Ann Harborne Ferguson (when Phoebe was born)
  • 1878 Annie Harbron Ferguson (when William John Harbron was born)
  • 1880 Ann Ferguson Harburn (when Alfred was born)

Sometimes the father was listed as Fredrick not Frederick if that makes any difference. 

The eldest son was in the military and he listed his home address as Chapel Lane, Dundalk, Co. Louth. Later I see one of the older sons also living on Chapel Lane (1903-1906), presumably in the same house when he registered for a dog license. I don't have a house number though.

I've tried tracking family info from the Aunt the older kids stayed with, but she uses different last names and with such a common name it's pretty hard to follow. She went by Mary Murdock, Mary Murdoch, Mary Moore, born in Ireland in 1853, living in Toxteth Park, Lancashire. A lot of the children end up in that area later too.

I know it's difficult to track down much info from this time period due to the lack of census records, etc during the late 1800's, but if you have any tips or hints that can help me with my search I'd be very, very grateful.





Thursday 21st May 2020, 05:13AM

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  • Hello Loralee, a quick answer so you get a notification tonight, there are lots of Fergusons but in the 1901 census there is a boarder in a house, he is a saddler (horses) it is in Church Street, he is 23.

    I can find no birth records on the civil recorrds which are online free, to the names you mention, this site shows Harbron in St Marys Drogheda, County Louth but a Church of Ireland (Anglican) there are 3 people mentioned on the headstone and I have the transcripton if you want it. It is in the diocese of Meath. 

    Where did you get the birth certs you mention for Dundalk, I also had a quick look at Roots Ireland but it just went down for planned maintenance.There are a number of Ferguson marriages in Dundalk but nonoe to a Herbron person, see Civil records from 1864 are free for the period you mention, I did notice a Phoebe Ferguson age 61 or so died at some point, not a common name here, what religion are they as some Presbytereian records are difficult to locate. The 1901 and 1911 census are free online.

    If you can specify a record I cansee I will dig a bit more.

    Good Luck


    St Peters Louth

    Thursday 21st May 2020, 05:56PM
  • Thanks so much Pat! I really appreciate your help. I believe the family was with the Church of England. My GGF said he was baptized at St. Nicholas, and I know the orphanage they went to was part of the Church of England. I'd love to see the transcript for the Harbrons. Even if it's not them it might lead me somewhere. 


    I found the baptism and civil birth records through Ancestry. But I haven't seen image files, just transcripted information. They're also available on FamilySearch as well. 


    Here's a couple of links to the info I have for the kids:


    Unfortunately, our Phoebe only lived a year (or maybe less) so it can't be the same one... I've only found a Phoebe Ferguson born in 1919 from the irishgeneolgy site. But thanks for pointing me there. I might find something new while poking around :)

    Thanks again - really appreciate your help.







    Thursday 21st May 2020, 11:21PM
  • Hello Loralee, a bit silly here, was searching wrong way around as for Ferguson children, I mentione the Pheby Ferguson death (that is the spellling probably mistake) as I thought it may be the granny, Ireland is not overun with Phoebes' and names are repreated.

    I attach the short inscription, St Mary's is a church of the First Fruits, gave me a smile so will leave you to Google it, it is also a historically famous place in Ireland as it was here Cromwells cannons breached the walls in 1649 to attack Drogheda, a sore point in Irish history, the wall repair is still visible. 

    The Irish Genealogy Site has Protestant marriages back to 1845 when civil marriages were introduced as a civil registration first. Also under Church records which are more or less complete there for Dublin and a few other places but not overall. The go back to 1700 or more for Dublin. However I also looked at the 1901 census and see a Habron family in Dublin and think they may be relatives as there is a Henry Alfrid, spelling again, this family are Baptist and this may explain why we cannot easily access church records, assume you are aware the census for 1901 and 1911 are free online. the default census is 1911, also it does not do similar names so if it is transcribed wrong you must keep try variants etc or search by area but that can take a lot of time. The census shows Harbrons in County Down which is now in Northern Ireland, it borders Dundalk and there is a good site on Down here  No Harbron on it though

    There was a land / home survey done between 1848 and 1864 called Griffiths Valuation and while no Harbron I see a Robert Harbrin in Dublin in 1854, the area is similiar to the area as on the 1901 census. Link attached. 

    There was a church in Dublin known as the German Church which done about 10,000 marriages in the early 1800s I think and not sure if they are online, they were usually or often used when the couple were in a hurry, soldiers, sailors etc Doubt it is for your people but keep in mind. In 1922 Ireland split following the war of Independence and some records are held in PRONI in Belfast. It is difficult to navigate I hear but I have not tried a lot. 

    Anglican records were lost in the civil war 1922 /23 about 40 to 50% and you can see surviving records list and other stuff here However if the family are Baptist you may not find it there and I will ask a more knowledgeable volunteer about the smaller religions. You could consider writing to the English Horse Racing Authority or the Irish one to see if they have records of trainers etc. 

    There is a lot of stuff there whether relevant or not, but feel free to ask more as it is a learning curve for me too.



    St Peters Louth

    Friday 22nd May 2020, 12:40PM

    Attached Files

  • Hi again, 

    I think I might have a lead from the birth certificate for Annies eldest son Frederick in Carrickfergus. He was born on a Market Place in Carrickfergus.

    So I did a search on PRONI (it was pretty straight forward - although it can be a pain to scroll through all those pages to find what you're looking for). I found a Samuel Ferguson at 14 Marketplace and followed it through to other years. It looks like he had it from 1864 until sometime between 1884-1894 (his name was crossed out during that period and isn't there in the next book).

    He's also listed in Griffiths in #12-14 with a Thomas Gilles (house, office and yard x 3)

    There's also mention that "Eliza of Alexander" is the property owner.

    I'm assuming she's related somehow (sister, daughter, granddaughter, niece)

    Of course, there are a million Fergusons (give or take, haha) and I'm feeling stuck again, so I thought I'd reach out to see if you have any more great suggestions. I've tried to see if there are any family trees connected to that location and searched through their trees to see if they have an Ann or Annie in their tree around that birth year who doesn't have a full history (spouse, death, etc) but no luck so far. 

    Do you think it's worth pursuing? 



    Saturday 23rd May 2020, 10:21PM
  • I tried sharing some of those images last night, but it looks like it didn't save. Maybe the total file size was too large. Here's the images for the street address between 1865-1873



    Sunday 24th May 2020, 06:37PM

    Attached Files

  • This is the birth certificate with what I think is 14 Marketplace, Carrickfergus. I'll send the next ones in a moment.


    Sunday 24th May 2020, 06:44PM

    Attached Files

  • 2 years later they're in Belfast when Henry is born in 1869. I believe the address is Clandeboye Street in Ballymacarrett, Belfast. There is an occupant with the name FredR Harbinger. I suppose it might be them... maybe Frederick Harbron was using a pseudonym for some reason. 

    The following birth was in Dundalk and I don't think I'll be able to track down any tenant information from that point forward, but I do feel like this is a tiny bit of progress.

    Thanks again for your support in this search. 


    Sunday 24th May 2020, 06:49PM

    Attached Files

  • Hello Loralee, I am correcting some exam papers at the moment but have had a look for the marriage, which we require if we are to locate Annies birth we need at least a father, also have we firmed up on the religion, I have learned that Baptists did not carryout baptisms until the child was a teenager and did not record burials. However they would be required to register a civil birth or death. I f Anglican it may be the marriage record was lost but agian we should have the civil records. 

    I looked for her death as Annie Harbron but no go, however there are a few of that name dead in the UK mainly in Durham and Hartlepool. 

    Also on Henry's cert the father is listed as an upholsterer, he moved around so much I wondered if he worked on train carriages or did they upholster seats back in the 1870s. 

    To make things neat we really should be able to find the marriage and death if Anne. 



    St Peters Louth

    Monday 25th May 2020, 11:01PM
  • Oh goodness! Yes, please focus on your work... I'll keep rambling here, but please don't feel any sense of urgency. What do you teach?

    About the marriage or birth... that would be ideal, wouldn't it. To find her death too, would be so helpful I'm so puzzled as to why I can't find it. 

    I'm almost 100% certain they were with Church of Ireland. Great Grandpa told us all the kids were baptized at St. Nicholas in Dundalk (with the exception of Frederick and Henry). 

    I think the family was in Dundalk for 20 years. Susan b. 1872 through Robina Faith b. 1891 were all born in Dundalk based on civil records. 

    You said something really interesting today... for some reason I thought civil records may have been destroyed in fires as well. But do you think that everything civil is already available? If so, I will look further... maybe she went home to be with her parents if she was ill... 

    Lots of luck with your exam marking.



    Tuesday 26th May 2020, 06:14PM
  • I found another clue today with my great great grandfathers name as the son-in-law for Annies mothers death record. 

    On one of the children's birth there was a Phebe Ferguson present. I searched records for a Phebe Ferguson and found a death record for Annies Mothers death. I'm so happy to have found her. It looks like she was staying with them at the time, in Dundalk, and she was already widowed, so there's no spouse information.

    I can't seem to find anything else about her, yet. 

    This is the info I have right now:

    on 5 Feb 1875 she was with them at "Court House, Dundalk, Louth" for Ann Harbrons burn (spelled Harburn on the birth record). Phebe Ferguson present at birth, Court House, Dundalk

    on 22 Oct 1888 Phebey Ferguson, widow, 68 years, shopkeepers widow died of natural decline. F. Harbron son-in-law present at death, Quay Road, Dundalk, Louth

    here's a link to her death record

    I've tried searching for Phebey, Phoebe, Phebe, Febey, etc. but without knowing where she would have originally lived, what her maiden name was or any of her other children's names I'm feeling stumped, again. 



    Friday 29th May 2020, 10:25PM

    Attached Files

  • Hello Loralee, it bugs me that we cannot find the marriage of Frederick and Annie nor her death, do you know the ages of the children when they went into care as this would indicate the probable year of the mothers death. We could then look for a death cert but as of now I cannot locate one and the world is not full of Harbrons. 

    I done a wild card search for any Ferguson with a mother Phoebe and only found one child born to a Joesph Ferguson and a Phoebe with no surname or maiden name, this is in Boyle, Co. Roscommon and the father is Joseph and is a soldier in the 64th Regiment, the childs name is Mathilda and can find no other births to that couple but he could be shifted anywhere. The year is 1834. 

    I also searched Ancestry and Roots Ireland for any record or marriage and death in the UK and Ireland. If any of the children died in the US the death record may contain some information on the parents and where born etc but it is a conumdrum.

    The name Harbron appears to be mainly in England, oddly there are Hebrons in Roscommon but mainly RC, the Mathilda lady was baptised in the Church of Ireland. 

    I only lecture on one topic which is sort of niche, once upon a time I was very good on the issue of the international transport of chemicals by road and to a much lesser extent by sea and rail and so give the occassional lecture on it to those studying emergency planning etc but I have reached my sell by date and hope to pass the baton to a more with it candidate. 

    The transient nature of the family means we could be looking anywhere, mind you Harbron is an unusual enough name unless as you say the spelling is badly incorrect so as not to appear as a variant. 

    this is an odd question now but did we come across the name Kinkade or similiar as a witness to a baptism or am I getting two queries confused as I have come across a marriage of a Ferguson and a Kinkade (my spelling may be slightly out and imagine the name nowadays is Kincaid).

    If you think the military is a connection the British Library do searches but there is a charge I understand.

    Another thought if Phoebe Ferguson was a widow we could strike lucky and find a male Ferguson death with a Phoebe present at death, only works if he died at home or in her presence etc. I have not heard the name Phoebe since friends went off the TV. Oddly the actor or actress who played her has some connection to Louth. She has visited a couple of times over the years. 

    Any further queries please revert and I will endeavour to puzzle you further.


    St Peters Louth

    Wednesday 3rd June 2020, 11:04PM
  • Hi again Pat, 

    Back on the 21st of May you mentioned finding a Phoebe Ferguson who was 61 years old. Do you know where you would have seen that info? Would it have been on a 1901 census? It might lead me to some other family connection, now that I know Annies mother was Phebe Ferguson.





    Sunday 7th June 2020, 08:35PM
  • Hi Loralee,

    In 1888 deaths in Dundalk, attached photo of it, son in law Harbron present at death, she was a shopkeeper. For some reason cannot attach file, look under Irish Genealogy site registration area Dundalk and there it is.


    St Peters Louth

    Sunday 7th June 2020, 11:15PM

    Attached Files

  • Thanks again Pat! The image did end up attaching - I've had similar problems too. I do have her death record but she's 68 then. I was hoping you had also bumped into a Phoebe spelled with an "O" or a record when she was 61... wishful thinking :)

    She shows up on Ann Harbons birth record too in 1875 spelled "Phebe"

    I'll keep digging.

    Thanks again for your help.



    Monday 8th June 2020, 03:54PM

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  • Loralee, I would not get too hung up on the spelling as the clerk or register may have signed as they understood it, Phoebe was not a common name in Ireland, no Mary or Margaret or even Bridgets there like the rest of us. I looked at that Louth website and see a lot of Ferguson graves have been transcribed but no Phoebe however this type of thing is ongoing so if we found the husbands name we might find one or they could come online later or be published.

    Good Luck


    St Peters Louth

    Monday 8th June 2020, 09:39PM
  • Great news today! I heard from the family parish (St. Nicholas, Dundalk) and they have her death record. She died of a serious lung illness at 44 years old on November 26th, 1894 and was buried on Dec 1st. She was listed as Mrs. Annie Harbron in the church records. They have baby Robenias funeral record too and they'll look for the baptism records for the other children when I get their names sent off in an email tonight.

    I still can't find civil records for her, but it's such a huge relief to hear back from her church. Now I know her birth and death year. I don't need to keep expanding my search to include an additional 5-10 years anymore. 

    Just wanted to give you a quick update with the good news!

    Thanks again! 



    Tuesday 9th June 2020, 04:49AM