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Ellen Armstrong ( my Grt Grt Grandmother) was married to William Elliott in Trory (Church of Ireland), Fermanagh on Feb 6th 1855. Ellen's father was Edward Armstrong. The first 4 children of the marriage were born in Fermanagh - Margaret Jane 1855; Elizabeth abt 1860; Sarah abt 1861 and Annie abt 1863. 3 more children were born in St Helens, Lancashire where the family moved between 1863 and 1867.

Any information about Ellen Armstrong and her family in Fermanagh before they left Ireland would be wonderful. 


Wednesday 3rd March 2021, 10:38AM

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  • Ellen’s address in 1855 was just Enniskillen which makes it hard to know precisely where she was living in the town. Tradition was to marry in the bride’s church. So possibly that’s where she and any siblings were baptised. The following records exist for Trory Church of Ireland:

    Trory, St Michael’s (Clogher diocese) Baptisms, 1779, 1784 and 1796-1922; marriages, 1779,

    1799, 1801-32 and 1835-1905; burials, 1802-32 and 1835-1915; vestry minutes, 1778-1959.

    There’s a copy in PRONI in Belfast. If you are unable to go yourself, you could employ a researcher. Researchers in the PRONI area:

    I notice that one of the witnesses was a William Armstrong. Perhaps Ellen had a brother named William?

    I searched Griffiths Valuation c 1862 but there were no Edward Armstrongs listed in Trory or Enniskillen then.  That could mean he was dead or it might mean he was lodging with someone and so wasn’t listed.

    Death registration started in 1864 so if he died before that you would need to rely on church burial records, where they exist. The only adult Edward Armstrong death 1864 – 1901 registered in Enniskillen was one on 13.4.1866 aged 75. You might want to see if it’s possibly your family. It’s not available to view free. You can view the original certificate on-line on the GRONI website, using the “search registrations” option:

    You will need to open an account and buy some credits. It costs £2.50 (sterling) to a view a certificate. 

    There is a tree on Ancestry (owner Paul Sefton-Stewart) which has Ellen’s father as living 1819 – 1890 and dying in Fermanagh 5th May 1890. That death is of a merchant in Brookborough (not a labourer) and he was too young:

    That Edward was probably younger than Ellen and can’t be her father. You could contact Paul and see what his source is but for the moment I would not rely on it as accurate.

    Going right back the Armstrongs nearly all originated in the Scottish Borders and moved to Fermanagh between 1610 & 1625. It’s the second most common surname in Fermanagh after Maguire. Elliott is likewise a Scottish Borders surname. They were all known as Border Reivers.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 3rd March 2021, 02:54PM
  • Good Morning Elwyn

    Thank you so much for your very informative message. I shall do some exploring on the GRONI site.

    I have had contact with Paul--- his tree is growing very rapidly and there are some details that don't fit with mine.

    It was only yesterday that I read about the Border Reivers--- I think if I ever get round to checking my DNA it may throw up some unexpected roots.

    Once again-- many thanks for the message.




    Thursday 4th March 2021, 09:20AM
  • Sue,

    If you are interested in the Reivers then the broad historical background to their arrival in Ireland is that when King James I became King of England in 1603, he was already King of Scotland and so then became the first King of both countries.  For hundreds of years the Scottish Borders had been fairly lawless and travellers were routinely robbed, and cattle often stolen and herded across the border by moonlight.  James was particularly keen to stamp this out because he saw it as an obstacle to commerce between the 2 countries, and being joint ruler that bothered him more than his predecessors.

    At the same time he had the problem of Ireland. The Spanish Armada had recently attempted to invade England and further invasions by the Spanish or French were feared. Ireland was seen as a possible jumping off point for such an invasion and understandably, the native Irish could not be relied on to support the English or resist any invasion. So the solution was to plant trusted settlers from England, Wales & Scotland in Ireland, in large numbers, to subdue the native Irish and be on hand to deal with any invasion. King James I was a Scot and so particularly favoured his fellow countrymen. Much of Ulster, was heavily settled by Scots. During the 1600s, some 200,000 Scots settled in Ireland representing something like 15% of the entire Scottish nation. They didn’t all come as part of the Plantation. Some settled in the 1640s when General Munro's 10,000 strong Scottish army was disbanded at Carrickfergus after the 1641 uprising, and a further batch came in the 1690s due to famine in Scotland.

    As far as the Reivers were concerned, King James I decided to move large numbers to Ireland around 1610 onwards. He needed settlers in Ireland and he wanted to get rid of the Reivers from the Borders, or at least stop the criminality by breaking their control of that area. So moving them to Ireland was a bit of a masterstroke which killed two birds with one stone. So if your ancestors are Reivers, they probably arrived in the first 20 years of the 1600s, as part of the Plantation of Ireland.

    There are no records of individual settlers at that time. We do know the names of the big landowners (Scots & English) but not of their tenants and others who followed them. 

    If you visit Border towns like Selkirk, Hawick, Galashiels & Jedburgh today, you will find a strong Reiver tradition with folk & food festivals every summer.  You can go for a Reiver walk by moonlight and have a 16th century banquet. (The usual tourist nonsense but good fun all the same). For example, see:

    If you want a detailed read about the Reivers, a good book is Godfrey Watson’s “The Border Reivers” published in 1974, ISBN 0 709 4478 4. Plenty of bloodthirsty, cruel tales. The Armstrongs get regular mention.

    Armstrong is I think the second most common surname in Co. Fermanagh after Maguire. Their ancestral home in Scotland was Whithaugh Castle in Liddesdale, Roxburghshire and their chief lived nearby at Mangerton:

    One of the most famous songs in Ireland, after Danny Boy perhaps, is the Parting Glass. A lament performed here by Liam Clancy & Tommy Makem. However it started life as “Armstrong’s Goodnight” and was reportedly written by Sandy Armstrong, on the eve of his execution in Scotland in November 1600 for murdering the Warden of the Middle Marches (An important Government official in the Borders).

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 4th March 2021, 10:30PM

    Hi Sue

    I am trying to connect my Grandfather Jack (John James) Fairclough born 1899 in Warrington to the Elliotts in Fermanagh. I know that there's a connection. I was taken to visit Peggy's grave as a small child. My Grandfather' mum's maiden name was Davis. I am just starting on this journey ... any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you





    Sunday 14th March 2021, 11:08AM
  • Hi Craig.... when I saw your message I went into my tree, but unfortunately haven't found a Fairclough connection in my Elliott branches. 

    Which of the Elliott boys would be your ancestor?  Lovely that you were taken to the grave --I've only seen photographs.

    I have chatted with family members in Canada and Australia, which has helped in my research. (I'm in South Africa but was born and brought up in St Helens))

    It's taken me a number of years to finally confirm my connection to Orange Peggy ..and I'm really thrilled!!

    If I can help in any way, please just ask.



    Monday 15th March 2021, 10:31AM
  • Hi Sue. Ancestry works like a charm. Short version - Margaret Elliott had a son William. He had a daughter Annie and she married James Bowles. They had a daughter Eleanor Ann (Cissie) and she married John James Fairclough. They had a son John James Fairclough (my pop). 


    Tuesday 16th March 2021, 09:42AM