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I have just joined this group today to see if anyone can assist with my genealogy research.    I seem to have hit a brick wall, below is a summary, hopefully someone can point me the the right direction!

My Great Grandfather was James Masterson born circa 1867.  On the 1901 Census he stated his place of birth was "Ballybay" but I don't know any more than than, can't locate a birth record/baptism. I have summarised below what information I have.

James moved moved to Belfast were he Married Annie Toner at St Vincent de Paul RC Church in Ligoneil - North Belfast on 28/03/1880 (Belfast Urban 9 District)

James & Annie had 4 children

  1. Thomas                01/03/1881 - Died at birth
  2. James                  15/05/1883 - Mr Grandfather was married Agnes Hills
  3. Maggie                 04/04/1885 - Married Hugh Mulholland
  4. Annie                   22/03/1887 - Married William Burns

I have found death records for James 17/01/1907 and Annie 28/09/1918 (assuming these are correct).

On the Marriage Cert James Father is listed as Thomas Masterson a labourer who was still living at the time of their marriage.   I have tried searching various websites to locate Thomas in Monaghan but to no avail.  I did find a Thomas Masterson from Cavan - who married Jane Anne Carson 28/01/1859 in Cavan again, I think these are correct. 

My GG Grandfather Thomas also moved and lived in Belfast.  I found other Mastersons in the census records that I assume are Thomas and Anne's children, all I belive where born i either Monaghan or Cavan - to be verified, as Pre 1864 I can't locate their records.

  1. Bridget            B: c1855 spinster  D: 11.07.1912 age 57 in Belfast       D: 11.07.1912 Belfast
  2. Rose               B: c1857 had son Patrick Masterson unmarried ??       D: ????
  3. Susan    -        B: c1863 - married Charles Graham                             D: 01.11.1921 Belfast
  4. James   -        B: 15/09/1867 - Ballybay - married Annie Toner             D: 17.01.1907 Belfast        

I would really appreciate any assistance as I have hit a road block and would love to find out more.

Thanks in advance



Monday 13th Jul 2020, 10:32AM

Message Board Replies

  • Valerie:

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out!

    James Masterson was born about 1859-1860 (or earlier) based on his age of 41 on the 1901 census. Unfortunately, the RC records for Ballybay parish in Co. Monaghan do not start until 1862.  so no baptismal record is available and I don't see his parents marriage record either.

    The 1861 Griffiths Valuation head of household listing for Ballybay civil parish shows a Thomas Masterson in Corkeeran townland. Likely this is for your Thomas.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 13th Jul 2020, 12:23PM
  • Roger, Thanks for the information, it is so very difficult trying to find baptisms and other details as earlier records don't exist.  I do appreciate the update and will continue on with my research.

    All the best



    Tuesday 14th Jul 2020, 11:18AM
  • Hello Valerie,

    I don't think the Thomas & Anne Masterson you found in Co. Cavan are the parents of your Great Grandfather James. 

    James who was the son of the above couple married a lady called Margaret McPhillips.

    I could find no reference to your Masterson ancestors in Ballybay apart from the Griffiths Valuation record, they may have only been in the area for a short time & probably worked in the linen industry.

    Kind Regards,


    Catriona Lennon

    Monday 17th Aug 2020, 12:59PM
  • Hi Caitriona

    Thanks for taking the time to reply.  I'm not sure where to look now?   As you say they probably move around for work etc, thus the move to Belfast to work in the Mill at Ligoniel.

    On the Census my G Grandfather James Masterson states he was from "Ballybay".  His marriage record in 1880 in Belfast also stated his father was Thomas Masterson - who was still living, as per link below thus m

    Thus my reason from asking about Ballybay?  In other Census records they also state they are from Co Monaghan?

    Do I recognise your name from the website? Would wou mind if I sent you a direct email with some further information or if you could suggest any other research/suggestions I should try next I would be extremely grateful.  I have done quite a bit of searching for both sides of my family and have lots of information but this part has been elusive to say the least with a few puzzling aspects which I am trying to piece together.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Very best wishes



    Thursday 20th Aug 2020, 12:36PM
  • Hello Valerie,


    Yes, I am the same person on

    Feel free to send me an email at


    Kind Regards,



    Catriona Lennon

    Friday 21st Aug 2020, 08:14AM

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