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Hunting for McFarlands and Murrays

I'll be in Northern Ireland in August and am really hoping to see where my relatives came from.

Looking for help pinpointing information, and suggestions of where to look when I'm in the area.  I plan on being at PRONI the first 2 days then heading to Ulster Folk Park and haven't decided on remaining days.  Help with things to concentrate on at PRONI would be great.

One set of third great-grandparents are really brick walls.   Charles Murray and Jane ?? were from Ireland and left from Sligo in 1824 to New Brunswick on the ship the Elizabeth with their son James (born 1821). Census reports show Charles and Jane born between 1797 and 1802.  So far I haven't been able to find anything on any of those Murray.   Their daughter, Catherine, is married to my 3rd great-grandfather William McFarland/MacFarlane.   Jane's death certificate from Ohio has no details - no parents, no maiden name, etc.  I do have a DNA match to a descendent of Charles, but he hasn't gotten anywhere either.

The Murrays were Church of England.   The McFarlands were Presbyterians in Canada and the US, so guessing they were in Ireland as well. 

I know more about my 3rd and 4th great-grandfathers, but not a lot.

I'm pretty sure the McFarlands/MacFarlanes were from County Tyrone before the family left for New Brunswick, Canada in 1833.   I've found references to Andrew Sr and Andrew Jr in Tithe Applotmment books for 1827 and 1830 - and think they were either from Liscabble in Bodoney Lower (mention of McFarland Mountain) and Ficcary in Cappagh  - but have seen other references to either Gortin or Newtownstewart. 

Andrew Sr was born around 1781 and had a brother King born 1784 and I think a sister Ann who married a Black in New Brunswick.   I don't know who his parents are.   There is a reference to an Andrew McFarland in the UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Soldier Service Records, 1760-1920 that shows birth in Cappaghe, Ireland and discharge in 1833 which is when the family left.  Again - no proof that it's the right Andrew - there are a LOT of them.

Andrew Jr was born in 1815 and has at least 2 brothers - Armour (1811) and William (1818 - my 3rd ggfather)  I found a reference that Andrew and Armour were born in Londonderry and William in Tyrone - but it didn't have sources and I haven't been able to find anything.

Both Andrew Sr and William were married to women named Catherine Murray/Murrey.   I haven't found anything about the older Catherine, but census reports list her birth year as 1781 and possibly from Donegal.  William's Catherine could have been born in 1818 (gravestone) or 1825 which seems more likely because her parent's permission was needed at their marriage in New Brunswick in 1842.

It is possible that the senior Catherine and Charles were brother and sister, but that's just a guess.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Wednesday 12th June 2019, 02:40AM

Message Board Replies

  • MaryP,

    McFarlane/McFarland/McParland and other variants is a quite common surname in Co. Tyrone. In the 1901 census, there were 134. The name, the main denominations and general location all suggest they are descendants of plantation settlers from Scotland in the 1600s. This website gives you a little information about the surname, based on where they were found in Ireland in the mid 1800s:

    Here’s the 1901 census for Faccary with 9 McFarland households:


    They are a mix of Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist. Methodism only really got going as a separate denomination in Ireland in the mid 1800s and if researching folk born in the late 1700s you can assume those families would have been Church of Ireland then. (There are no Methodist baptisms in Ireland before about 1818 and no marriages before 1836).

    There were 2 McFarland households in Liscabble in 1901 (1 Presbyterian & 1 RC):

    Those 2 families appear to beside each other and so may well be related. A mixed marriage at some point may explain the different denominations.

    Griffiths Valuation for 1860 shows where there were McFarland properties in the two townlands then, and you can use the contemporaneous maps on the site to work out where they are today.

    Bodoney Lower has Church of Ireland records from 1812. There are 3 Presbyterian churches in the area but none has any records before 1843. RC records start in 1865.

    Cappagh has Church of Ireland records from 1753; Edenderry Presbyterian from 1845 and Mountjoy Presbyterian from 1821. RC from 1843.

    Copies of all those church records are in PRONI (and the RC are also on-line on the nli site).

    Research before those dates may prove difficult due to the lack of records.

    If you haven’t already come across it, this Co. Tyrone site contains details of literally hundreds of McFarland entries. You may find it helpful:





    Thursday 13th June 2019, 02:26PM