Share This:

Matilda McCaughan has proved to be a very difficult woman for me to trace and I would appreciate any help in tracking her family, especially the father of her child Nathaniel Smyth. Below are the list of facts that I can actually prove though documentation that I have managed to gather about her. I have attached this to Craigs parish but this may not be correct.

  • 1838 arrival in Sydney, NSW on board Mandarin, of her sister Mary (McCaughan) Graham and family. Husband named James Graham on passenger list age 26, Mary 28, children: Nancy 6, Mary 5, Eliza 3, Charles 1 1/2. On the immigration paper (attached) states they came from the name of a town I cannot decipher, in Antrim, and that her father is J.McCaughan and mother Agnes.
  • Matilda did not trael with her sister as far as I can find out. Her obituary (1891) says she's been in Australia about 50 years, that would make it about 1841... so born about 1814. She went straight into the service of Robertson's of Straun Station, Victoria. Her brother John McCaughan is named as working there too. 
  • BUT her son Nathaniel was born between 1842 and 1845 in Ballymena, Antrim, judging by his obituary, death certificate and grave stone, so maybe John and Matilda  arrived 1842 or 1843.
  • Nathaniel's obituary also states that he arrived in Australia in 1863 and went straight to live with her in Victoria. which means he was aged about 20y by then. His death certificates states his mother is Matilda McCaughan and his father Nathaniel Smith/Smyth and Teeshan, Ballymena.  Matilda had left him beind when she came here. I have found many Nathaniel Smyths but cannot determine which might be his father.
  • 1848 (research from the Camperdown Historic Society), Matilda went to Woorywyrite with Ebenezer Olliphant where she and John Brough married. She stated she was a spinster on her marriage certificate.
  • 1850’s and 60’s and 70’s lots of evidence of land ownership around Camperdown, Terang, Cobden etc
  • 1854 advertisement placed in Newspaper by sister Mary Graham looking for John and Matilda (see attached)
  • 1891 Matilda's death certificate states father's name is John McCaughan and mother Elizabeth Smith and Ballymena as place. She names Nathaniel as her son in her will and leaves him a small property in Victoria.


Sunday 7th November 2021, 12:08AM

Attached Files

Message Board Replies

  • The tithe applotment records list farmers in Ireland. There are 2 Nathaniel Smiths in Teeshan in 1825 (senior and junior so probably father & son).

    There’s also a John McCaugheon nearby in Leymore. That shares a common border with Teeshan. The two properties were probably a few hundred yards apart. Both townlands are just on the northern edge  of Ballymena.

    1 Nathaniel Smyth in Teeshan in the 1901 census:

    Here are some others Smyth/Smiths:

    In 1901 Teeshan had 46 houses and a total population of 187.

    No McCaughan families in Leymore by 1862 so possibly they had died.

    Here’s a Nathaniel Smyth getting married in 1850, aged 35. He lived in Teeshan, so might be a candidate for the father of Nathaniel b 1842 – 1845.

    They married in Ballymena Register Office, so they may have been Brethren.

    If you are looking for the baptism of Nathaniel Smyth c 1842 – 1845 you would need to search the local church records. Family seem likely to be Presbyterian or perhaps Reformed Presbyterian. The records are unlikely to be available on-line.

    If Reformed Presbyterian (aka Covenanters) they probably attended Cullybacky RP church. If Presbyterian you have a wide choice. There are about 5 Presbyterian churches in Ballymena and there’s the Cunningham Memorial in Cullybackey. Try all of those. There’s copies of the records in PRONI. Not all have records back to the time of Matilda’s birth but most have some for the 1840s. If the family were Brethren, there are no baptism records in the public domain.

    There’s a couple of graves in Kirkinriola graveyard (Ballymena) for Smyth of Teeshan but I don’t see any for Nathaniel. But here’s a possible for a Nathaniel’s wife:

    ERECTED BY Nathaniel Smyth of Tyshan IN MEMORY OF JANE his beloved wife who departed this life 6th October 1852 aged 64 years.

    Here lies The body of Janet Smith Daugt [er] to Nathaniel Smit[h] of Tyshan who depart[ed] this life December the 20. 1807 aged one yea[r] six months

    I didn’t find any McCaughan graves.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 7th November 2021, 11:00AM
  • Found two mentions of a Matilda McCaughan, but do not know if it is your Matilda...

    A John Neill was baptized 22-Dec-1844 In the RC parish of BALLYCASTLE (RAMOAN) in County Antrim.
    Parents were Matilda Mccaughan and Thomas Neill. Sponsors: John Neill, Rose Coyle.

    A George Mcneill was baptized 14 June 1855 in the same parish. Parents: Thomas Mcneill, Martha Mccaughan. Sponsors were John and Mary Mcquilkin. Priest: J. McGlennon.


    Sunday 7th November 2021, 08:54PM
  • Sorry, in the above post I neglected to say that it is possible "Martha" and "Matilda" are the same person.


    Sunday 7th November 2021, 08:58PM

    Thanks for the replies, much appreciated. Nathaniel and Matilda had Nathaniel Alexander Smyth sometime between 1842 and 1845. He left N Ireland when he was about 19 or 20 to meet up with his mother who had left him behind as a toddler.

    Patricia, Matilda is referred to as Martha in her husband John Brough's will, which is interesting.

    I do believe they were Presbyterian judging by references in other documentation i have.You have all given me much help in working out how and where to look.  



    Monday 8th November 2021, 08:24AM