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I am hoping someone may be able to help as this is vague and a long-shot.

Canadian records were not kept much before the late 1860's so finding background information is hard.

..I am looking for information on my Thompson family of either Armagh  (according to my Dad), Tyrone ( according to another family member) or Donegal ( according to a 3rd source)  Sorry!

My great grandfather was Thomas Thompson born about 1836,  who arrived in Canada in the early 1850's.  His marriage record from 1862 shows his parents' names as John and Eleanor.  He had a sister Eliza who never married and is buried with him and his wife Harriet,  near their farm in Wentworth County, Ontario.  I also believe he had a sister Mary Jane who stated her birth county was Tyrone when she married in Toronto.

What I am first searching for is where he is from, who his parents were for certain including his mother's maiden name and what happened to them, what other siblings may have come to Canada with him, for starters!

I would be very grateful for any help.

Thank you

Susan (Thompson) Yeoman


Picture below is from 1940 newspaper clipping..Hamilton Spectator.


Saturday 28th March 2020, 01:07AM

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Message Board Replies

  • Susan,

    Statutory birth, death and marriage registration (in some jurisdictions called Vital Records) only started in Ireland in 1864, save for non RC marriages which were recorded from 1845 onwards. So you probably won’t find statutory birth, death or marriage certificates for this family. For earlier years you usually need to rely on church records, where they exist. You obviously need to know the precise denomination in order to search the correct records. Not all churches have records for that period and not all are on-line.

    RC records are mostly on-line on the nli site:

    For other denominations, the churches usually hold the originals but there are also copies in PRONI, the public record office, in Belfast. A personal visit is required to access them. Access to the records there is free. This link explains what records exist, parish by parish:

    In this case, not knowing exactly where the family came from will make the search very difficult. There are a lot of churches in Tyrone and the other 2 possible counties. Not all of them have records for the early 1800s either so that won’t help.

    You haven’t said what denomination the family was but from the names I’d guess Church of Ireland (Anglican) or Presbyterian. The Church of Ireland is slowly putting all it’s records on-line. The project has a couple of years to go, but eventually you should be able to search them all on the irishgenealogy database. You might get lucky from that.

    The usual advice in this situation is to try and exhaust all possible sources in Canada in the hope that you find a clue about where they originated. If you can get a parish or a townland it becomes a lot easier. Check all death and marriage certificates, wills, military records, obituaries, gravestones etc in the hope that one of them will mention a place in Ireland.

    The name Thompson/Thomson is fairly common in Tyrone. In the 1901 census of the county there were 557, of which 14 were named Thomas. It would have been equally common in the 1830s so you will need to take care to find the right family. I’d suggest you check out Thomas’s sister’s marriage certificate in Toronto to see precisely what it contains. Not only should it confirm her parents names but you might get more than just Tyrone. Incidentally, since the information on her birth certificate would have been first hand, you would expect it to be more accurate than information handed down second hand. So for that reason, if it does say Tyrone, I’d probably focus on that county, rather than Donegal or Armagh. Still a lot of records to go through without more detail.

    One question is what was John Thompson’s occupation (perhaps recorded on John’s marriage or death certificate)? If a farmer, and alive in the late 1820s/early 1830s then he’s likely to have been listed in the tithe applotment records. Here are all the John Thompsons listed there for Tyrone. Perhaps your John is one of them.

    Thompson, Jno.-T: Corlea Y: 1826-Kilskeery-Tyrone

    Thompson, Jno., Esq.-Tl: Ballymurphy Yr: 1826-Arboe-Derry and Tyrone

    Thompson, Jno., Esq.-Tl: Ballymurphy Yr: 1826-Arboe-Tyrone

    Thompson, Jno., Esq.-Tl: Turkvallen Yr: 1826-Arboe-Derry and Tyrone

    Thompson, Jno., Esq.-Tl: Turkvallen Yr: 1826-Arboe-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-T: Bearagh Y: 1826-Clogherny-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-T: Coagh Gardens Y: 1827-Tamlaght-Derry & Tyrone

    Thompson, John-T: Coagh Gardens Y: 1827-Tamlaght-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-T: Coagh Y: 1827-Tamlaght-Derry & Tyrone

    Thompson, John-T: Coagh Y: 1827-Tamlaght-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-T: Corlea Y: 1826-Kilskeery-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-T: Eskermore Y: 1826-Clogherny-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-T: Lisnahull Y: 1826-Donaghmore-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-Tl: Aghasessy Yr: 1834-Ardstraw-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-Tl: And. Torrens's Meadows Yr: 1825-Artrea-Derry and Tyrone

    Thompson, John-Tl: Ballimaquiggan Yr: 1825-Artrea-Derry and Tyrone

    Thompson, John-Tl: Town and Lands of Caledon Yr : 1837-Aghaloo-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-Townland: Cliffany Year: 1834-Aghavea-Tyrone and Fermanagh

    Thompson, John-Townland: Coolnakelly Year: 1834-Aghavea-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-Townland: Crohan Year: 1833-Aghalurcher-Tyrone

    Thompson, John-Townland: Slushhill Year: 1833-Aghalurcher-Tyrone and Fermanagh

    Thompson, John-Townland: Tullyreagh Year: 1834-Aghavea-Tyrone


    Thomson, Jno.-Tl: Ballindrum Yr: 1825-Artrea-Derry and Tyrone

    Thomson, Jno.-Tl: Ballinuey Yr: 1825-Artrea-Derry and Tyrone

    Thomson, John-T: Anaghmore Y: 1827-Clonoe-Tyrone

    Thomson, John-T: Aughagala Y: 1827-Clonoe-Tyrone

    Note: Several of the entries give two counties. This is because the information has been compiled by parish, and some parishes straddle the borders of 2 counties. 

    Thompson’s not a native Irish name. That, plus the fact the family lived in Ulster, would point to them being descendants of folk who settled in the area in the 1600s as part of the Plantation of Ireland. Probably from Scotland. Today here in Ireland we call them Ulster-Scots. In North America they are often known as Scotch-Irish.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 28th March 2020, 11:32AM
  • Hello Elwyn..

    Thank you for all that.   I have looked at Mary Jane's marriage cert. and it only says the same parental names as Thomas' s and Tyrone as her birth place  ( It doesn't have any other information).   She married a Spence who was originally from Tyrone.  Unfortunately Thomas, Mary Jane and sister Eliza don't have parent's names mentioned on their death registrations and only have Ireland as their place of birth.  I Know after Thomas married he was Weslyan Methodist.  His wife's family was WM. from Lincolnshire, England.  I believe they may have originated at some point in Scotland as My Dad said they had a bit of Scottish blood...way back. !   Myself and 2 of my 2nd cousins have been searching for further information back for years...  one even has our gr. grandmother's family bible, but we have not had any luck. 

    Getting our DNA done has not helped solve the mystery..only made it bigger.!  I have been in contact with  3rd and 4th cousins who are matches but we can't find a name in common in our backgrounds to solve our mysteries.  My guess is John was a farmer..all my family has been, including Thomas.  Thomas was a tenant farmer so I beieve he only rented the land he was on.  Anewspaper article about one of my great uncles states they were very poor..I'm certain they were.     I have looked at everything I can online, but so far, no luck.  I keep hoping to find a newspaper article such as an obituary that may give more information... no luck. 

    I do remain optimistic and will keep searching and I know this is "out there" now so you never know..some day someone may find it and say their ancestors were John and Eleanor and they wondered whatever happened to some of the family!!!



    Saturday 28th March 2020, 03:51PM
  • Susan,

    Methodism didn’t really get going as a separate denomination in Ireland till about 1816. Even after that many Methodists still used the Church of Ireland for baptisms and marriages and it was about 1880 before they were routinely doing their own. Earliest Methodist baptism in Ireland I have ever found was 1816. Earliest marriage 1835. So prior to that you should check Church of Ireland.  So you might get something from the Church of Ireland records when they finally go on-line. But their records are incomplete. Many were burned in the 1922 fire in Dublin. Not every parish has records before the 1870s. For Presbyterian and Methodist records, you would need to go to PRONI in Belfast and work your way through all the churches in Tyrone. (There’s quite a few). There are no plans to put them on-line any time in the near future, so far as I am aware

    Most farmers in Ireland rented. The landowners were very reluctant to sell preferring to rent instead. You could get outright ownership in Canada and the USA so that was a factor in many a family’s decision to emigrate.

    The population in Ireland had shot up from 3 million in 1741 to 8 million in 1841, and there was no spare land, save perhaps because someone gave up a farm to emigrate. The farms were normally pretty small and could rarely be subdivided, so a farmer would usually leave the farm to his eldest son leaving the other sons to make their own way in the world. So it’s possible that Thomas wasn’t the eldest son and a brother stayed on the farm. But that’s just speculation of course.

    You mention that Mary Jane married a Spence from Tyrone. Could she have possibly known him in Tyrone, do you think? In which case you might want to research his origins in the hope of finding hers through that.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 28th March 2020, 07:09PM
  • Thank you again. Elwyn.

    I believe Mary Jane's husband came over with his parents as a child.  I have noticed that a lot of the Irish certainly seemed to intermingle and settled in similar areas. 

    Thank you for your imput. 

    Can i ask how I can also put my message on the Tyrone board?  I have been having trying to figure out how to navigate the site and when I tried to put it on both sites it only went on Armagh's. 




    Sunday 29th March 2020, 11:18PM
  • Susan,

    Click on “Post a new message” and enter your message in the box. Then underneath the box, you should see a section inviting you to link it to a particular parish. If you want it to be for all of Tyrone, then just enter “Tyrone.”

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 30th March 2020, 01:49PM