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Searching for Sligo Thompsons

My great great grandfather, Edward James Thompson, was born in Castleconor, Sligo County, in 1871. He emigrated to Canada in 1893. His parents were George Thompson (1840-?, I believe his father was also a George Thompson) and Ann Smyth (1838-1898). I am looking for information/records about his parents and also records for Edward's trans-Atlantic voyage to Canada in 1893. I wonder whether he would have sailed from an English port or Belfast or Cork? No luck so far in researching Liverpool voyage passenger lists.

Edward identified his religion, in Canadian census documents, as Presbyterian. This makes me believe that his origin, at some earlier point, was Scottish as many scots came over to the north of Ireland to work the land over several centuries. Thus I do not know where his Irish heritage may become Scottish heritage but of course that is another line of enquiry dependent upon success in finding information on his parents and their predecessors.

I hope that there may be some records in this parish that could contribute and any assistance would be appreciated!

Actually I drove through Castleconor on a recent visit to Ireland and it is a beautiful area. But I will need to find out where to research perhaps Presbyterian "Thompson" records if I go back to look into this genealogy.


Friday 27th October 2017, 04:49PM

Message Board Replies

  • The family residence when Edward was born was the village of Corbally, which is located close to the Sligo/Mayo border and less than 10km (~6 miles) from Ballina. The nearest Presbyterian Meeting House to Corbally that I was able to locate was the one in Ballina listed on Charles Street in Slater's 1870 directory.

    There's a partial civil marriage extract for George Thompson and Ann Smyth on FamilySearch in 1869 - would probably be worth ordering a research cert to see the full details, as these could give some useful details - e.g. father's occupations, residence of the bride & groom, occupations and names of witnesses. The marriage extract gives the location as 'Killala', which in this collection could refer to the town or townland of that name or a sub-district. The marriage is listed on the Index under Dromore West , which as far as I can tell only covers parts of Co. Sligo (The town of Killala is in Co. Mayo). The cert should show exactly where the marriage took place.


    Friday 27th October 2017, 05:55PM
  • The civil births extracts on FamilySearch include two likely siblings to your Edward as follows :

    [unnamed] Thompson - 10th June 1872, Sligo
    Mary Catherine Thompson - 18th September 1874, Castleconnor (sub-district)

    Parents for these George Thompson & Anne Smyth

    I'll check for the full birth cert images for these...




    Friday 27th October 2017, 06:47PM
  • the links to the birtn records - includes one, the eldest that did not appear in the extracted collection :

    Thomas Thompson, born 25th December 1870, Corbally (town / townland)
    Edward James Thompson, born 29th April 1871, Corbally (town / townland)
    [male] Thompson, born 18th June 1874, Corbally (town / townland)
    Mary Thompson, born 18th September 1874, Corbally (town / townland)

    All in Dromore West Civil Registsration district, Castleconnor sub-district, parents on all the above George Thompson & Anne/Nannie Smyth. George is listed as a farmer, and is the informant on most of the births.

    There's a death of an Annie Rogers Thompson age 46 (born c1846) farmers wife in 'Corballa' in 1892 - seems to be your Anne nee Smyth, the informant is husband George Thompson.



    Friday 27th October 2017, 07:04PM
  • Sharsmith,

    Regarding where your ancestor might have sailed from, it certainly true that a huge number of Irish migrants left via Liverpool. There were far more sailings from there than from Ireland (because Liverpool was effectively a clearing house for emigrants from all over mainland Europe) but if you have exhausted that source, try Londonderry & Belfast or Queenstown (modern Cobh). There were several sailings a month from Londonderry to St John NB, Quebec and to Philadelphia. The ships actually started from Glasgow, and then called at Moville (the deepwater anchorage for Londonderry) en route to the US or Canada. Precisely where a passenger embarked is not always made clear and many Irish passengers are shown as embarking from Glasgow when that isn’t very likely for a vessel calling at Ireland anyway. J & J Cooke were the agents for the Londonderry traffic. So include Glasgow/Greenock departures in your search too. I have seen plenty of Cookes records and it’s evident that their passenger catchment area included Fermanagh and Sligo.

    For Presbyterian church records, the Presbyterian Historical Society in Belfast has details of most surviving Presbyterian records from all over Ireland. And in many cases they hold copies.

    Sligo was heavily settled by Scots in the 1600s. Indeed the town of Sligo was largely built by Scots. So Presbyterianism, a Scottish surname and Co Sligo do point strongly to Scots ancestry. Almost certainly in the 1600s. (By the 1700s Scots were starting to leave Ireland for North America Australia etc, rather than arrive).

    Annie Rogers Thompson (nee Smyth) died 22.4.1892 aged 46, at Corbally, of a fractured skull from a fall. See:

    Not sure what happened to George but he had left Corbally by the 1901 census.



    Friday 27th October 2017, 07:05PM
  • Thank you both for this very exciting and useful information! I have some additional information about George Thompson that may help answer some questions.I came up with a marriage record for Edward where he said that his father was born in Coatbridge near Glasgow Scotland. It could be that George returned to Scotland after the death of his wife and I am looking into that possibility. I will also look for more info on Anne Smyth and their offspring. I know that one brother of Edward emigrated to Canada so I will need to check that out. I will be away the next 3 weeks so I won't be able to continue this research for a while.

    Thanks again for helping out!



    Tuesday 31st October 2017, 04:28PM
  • Hello Elwyn and Shane.

    I am finally able to get back to more searching following up on the Thompsons based on my great grandfather Edward James Thompson that you were both so helpful in getting me into this Sligo search. I have found the birth records of Edward, his brother Thomas and sister Mary as well as the marriage and death records for  Annie Rogers Smyth, the wife of George Thompson.

    Here is what I am looking at now. I was hoping to find out more about Annie's family but other than ther death record I have not been able to find anything. In part this may be due to the problem of multiple "Ann Smyths". I would be curious to know more about her family, parents, siblings. I was also hoping to confirm her Irish ancestry as opposed to the essentially Scottish background of Edward's father George but it is hard to know what to expect. Her family could also have been displaced Scots. I have not yet looked into how to order the marriage certificate of George and Annie to see what additional family info might be included. That could be a next step.

    In addition, I have been looking for information about Edward's siblings, Thomas and Mary. I believe there is the possibility that Thomas also emigrated to Canada as did Edward (I have Edward's passenger record on the ship Circassian which left from Londonderry in 1863). I am wondering whether Mary married and had a family in Corbally so I might still have distant family there. I have been going to a few of the recommended genealogy sites but not much luck yet in pursuing the desired information. Just need more time and patience I suppose!

    Many thanks for your knowledgable advice



    Saturday 13th January 2018, 07:33PM
  • Sharon,

    The 1869 Thompson – Smyth marriage will be on the irishgenealogy site free later this year but at present that year is not available free. So you have to pay to get a copy of the certificate.

    You can order a photocopy of the civil certificate from GRO Roscommon for €4 (euros).

    You have to download and print off the form. Then either post or fax it. You can’t e-mail your order to them. However if you want them to e-mail the cert to back to you, they will do that, so tick the relevant box.  The information to enter on the form is that the place the marriage was registered was Dromore West, 1869 Volume 4, page 255. That should give you her address in 1869 and her father’s name and occupation which may in turn help locate where the family lived.

    Tradition was to marry in the bride’s church which should be on the certificate (unless it was a Registry Office marriage). That church may be the place to look for her baptism and that of any siblings. If it was Church of Ireland or Presbyterian then that points to Ann’s forebears being plantation settlers from England or Scotland.

    I had a look at the 1901 Scottish census (on Scotlandspeople). There are 7 people named George Thompson aged around 60. They are mostly in rural areas, save for 2 in Aberdeen. There were none in the Coatbridge or the Glasgow area. You could view them all to see if any fit your family. A farmer, or retired farmer, born in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, living with his married daughter Mary born c 1874 in Ireland would be the sort of thing that might tell you that you had the right family.

    I searched the Irish marriage records for Dromore West but did not see a marriage for Mary there. I also searched the 1901 Irish census for a Mary Thompson born in Co Sligo but there aren’t any.  I also searched for a death for her 1874 top 1901 but did not find one in Sligo. So I think she moved away from the area, and had either married or left Ireland by 1901.




    Sunday 14th January 2018, 08:28PM
  • This is very helpful Elwin as half the battle of finding information is knowing where to seek it (and associated processes to use)! I will continue to pursue these lines. I agree the marriage certificate for George and Annie will help in tracing both of them back in time. As well, given I think there might have been an emigration of Thomas, I will continue to search and in Canada for any possible records of him. An additional challenge is the range of people with similar names or where inaccuracies in names were included in public documents! Noone ever said that genealogy was easy!

    If, once, I find out more info I will be back to update you.



    Monday 15th January 2018, 03:18PM
  • Dear Sharon

    I have read this message thread with great interest. This week I had a DNA match with a descendant of Ethel Maud Thompson. This was a 4th-6th cousin match and the match was "in common" with a number of other Thomson relations of mine. My grandmother was a Thomson and her family is from Errol in Perthshire, Scotland. All of my Thomson DNA matches fit neatly into this family group from Errol. The DNA match who is the grandson of Ethel Maud Thompson had a very 'spare' family tree and so I decided to do some work on the tree myself. That work has led me to George Thompson and Anne Symth and their son Edward James Thompson, whom you have discussed on this message board. However taking a closer look, I see that you and I are also a strong 4th-6th cousin DNA match.

    I note that the marriage index details for George Thompson and Anne Symth notes that George's father is also a George.

    This is where the DNA match may be helpful.  I have a George Thomson (1806-1890) and Christina Roger (1812-1891) who raised a large family of 10 children in the Errol area. 4 of their sons emigrated to New Zealand and you have DNA matches with descendants of two different sons - both Robert Will Thomson (1850-1919) and Alexander Thomson (1843-1929). I have also worked hard over many years locating the descendants of most of their other children. However their eldest son, George Thomson junior who was born at Port Allen near Errol in 1838 has always eluded me. My last known sighting of George was in 1851 when he appeared on the census with his family.

    The Thomson family was a seafaring family and they have scattered not only to New Zealand, but also to other parts of Scotland including some in the Glasgow area. One sister ended up in Southampton.

    Given the relatively close DNA match and the details of the Thomson family as shown above, I would hazard a guess that the George Thompson who married Anne Smyth is George Thomson who was born in 1838, the son of George Thomson and Christina Roger.

    I hope that this information is of interest to you.

    Nga mihi, Christine

    Christine Driffill McDonald

    Friday 30th March 2018, 10:45AM
  • Hello Christine It is great to hear from you and make the connection with a DNA match! I am a grand daughter of Ethel Maude Thompson (who married Allan Osgood Clark who was of Scottish descent living in Canada). Edward James Thompson married Laura Caroline Lea who emigrated with her parents from London to Montreal in 1893. Ethel was their first born and the only of their offspring to have had children. I think you may be right in connecting Thompsons with Thomsons as I have other ancestors that show some spelling changes. At least it is another avenue to explore. I will request The marriage certificate information for George Thompson and Annie Smyth to try to find out more about her family. It is a lengthy process as you are well aware. 

    I just wanted to reply quickly to show my interest in connecting further but as I am out of the country right now I will not be able to provide a more informative reply until I get back home after April 5.

    I also have an extensive tree on Ancestry but was less successful tracking the Irish/Scottish roots on the Thompsons until I got onto this message board with Ireland XO. As you can see the earlier replies were very helpful. So thank you for your reply and I will provide more details soon.



    Saturday 31st March 2018, 06:33AM