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I tried a post here once before but I have another idea to try.

My 3rd great grandfather, Jackson Orr, was born in County Armagh on 23 Feb 1812 and died in NYC on 9 Nov 1859. He, his wife Ann, (B: 27 Nov 1808, County Armagh; D: 22 Mar 1849, NYC), and 3 young children arrived in NYC in March 1836. We have no information about Jackson’s family or Ann’s family, what her maiden name was, or specifically where they lived in County Armagh.  From what we know, they were Protestant, not Catholic. Trust me when I say a lot of time has been spent trying to track down this information, including hiring a professional genealogist.

My latest thought is that Jackson’s father’s name might have been William Orr. My rationale for this is Jackson & Ann named their first-born son (born about 1835) William, and when the child died (prior to 1840), they thought it important enough to name another son William (B: 1847; D: 1901). Does my reasoning seem logical?

If so, I’m hoping to find a William Orr born in County Armagh between 1770 – 1794 with a son born 23 Feb 1812.  That date range would make William between 18 and 42 years old when Jackson was born. And yes, we are sure his first name was Jackson.

Any research assistance or leads pointing me in a logical direction would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help.

Rob Orr

Rob Orr

Sunday 7th February 2021, 12:36PM

Message Board Replies

  • Rob,

    Re-using a child’s name when the first one died was very common. Families liked to keep names alive (literally) and so what you noticed happened a lot. It doesn’t mean it was specially important and was the father’s father (though it might have been). It was simply a very common thing to do.

    Orr was a common surname as you will know. If your family were farmers then the head of household would normally be in the tithe applotment records which were compiled around 1828/1834 for Armagh. So this gives you a list of parishes and townlands where Orrs lived at the time you are interested in.

    Your best bet of finding them is from church baptism records. However, as you probably know by now, not all churches have records for the years you need. (40% of all the early Church of Ireland records in the country were destroyed in the 1922 fire. There’s no easy way round that). It would also help to know precisely what denomination they were. Protestant includes Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and some others. Each kept separate records. Most are not on-line, though the most complete set is in PRONI. Going through all the possible records for Armagh would be quite a daunting task.

    Looking at the 1901 census of Armagh, there were about 150 Orrs. They were fairly evenly split between Presbyterian, Church of Ireland & Methodist. (Methodism was slow to become established as a separate denomination in Ireland and it was about 1820 before they started baptising and the 1830s before they began their own marriages. Most continued to use the Church of Ireland until much later. So if searching church records I would focus on Church of Ireland & Presbyterian.

    Few churches have records for 1770. If your William was born then, there’s not a great likelihood you’ll find him. There’s a general lack of records in Ireland for the 1700s and early 1800s and so not many other avenues to suggest.

     

    Orr, Anne-- Townland : Drumnasoo Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, Archibald-- Townland : Drumnasoo Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, Catherine-- Townland: Ballynick Year: 1832-Grange-Armagh

    Orr, David-- Townland : Marleycoo More Year: 1834 -Mullaghbrack-Armagh

    Orr, David-- Townland: Marleycoo More Year: 1834-Kilclooney-Armagh

    Orr, Hugh-- Townland: Ballyloughan Year: 1833-Kilmore-Armagh

    Orr, Jacob-- Townland : Ballymagerny Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, James-- Townland: Annarea Year: 1833-Kilmore-Armagh

    Orr, James-- Townland: Ballynick Year: 1832-Grange-Armagh

    Orr, James-- Townland: Greenan Year: 1832-Grange-Armagh

    Orr, Jas. T: Derrycreevey Knox Y: 1833--Clonfeacle-Armagh

    Orr, Jas. T: Stangmore (Knox) Y: 1833--Clonfeacle-Armagh

    Orr, James-- Townland: Greenan Year: 1832-Grange-Armagh

    Orr, James-Townland: Belteagh Year: 1827-Tynan-Armagh

    Orr, Jas. T: Derrycreevey Knox Y: 1833--Clonfeacle-Armagh

    Orr, Jas. T: Stangmore (Knox) Y: 1833--Clonfeacle-Armagh

    Orr, John-- Townland : Ballymagerny Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, John-- Townland : Derrycrew Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, John-- Townland : Teemore Year: 1834 -Mullaghbrack-Armagh

    Orr, John-- Townland: Ballynick Year: 1832-Grange-Armagh

    Orr, John-- Townland: Teemore Year: 1834-Kilclooney-Armagh

    Orr, John-County: Down Townland: Ballyinagin Year: 1834-Magheralin-Armagh

    Orr, John-Townland: Lurgan Town Year: 1833-Shankill-Armagh

    Orr, John-Townland: Tegnavin Year: 1833-Shankill-Armagh

    Orr, John-Townland: Tollygalla Year: 1833-Shankill-Armagh

    Orr, Joseph-- Townland: Ballyloughan Year: 1833-Kilmore-Armagh

    Orr, Joseph-Townland: Cranagill Year: 1834-Tartaraghan-Armagh

    Orr, Mr. - Townland: Mecantrim Year: 1834--Kilclooney-Armagh

    Orr, Mrs. - Townland: Ballyloughan Year: 1833--Kilmore-Armagh

    Orr, Rob. T: Coolhill Y: 1833--Clonfeacle-Armagh

    Orr, Robert T: Lisnacroy Y: 1833--Clonfeacle-Armagh

    Orr, Robert-- Townland : Ardress East Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, Robert-- Townland : Ballymagerny Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, Robert-- Townland : Coragh Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, Robert-- Townland : Teemore Year: 1834 -Mullaghbrack-Armagh

    Orr, Robert-- Townland: Ballyloughan Year: 1833-Kilmore-Armagh

    Orr, Robert-- Townland: Teemore Year: 1834-Kilclooney-Armagh

    Orr, Robert, Jr.-- Townland : Drumnasoo Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, Robert, Sr.-- Townland : Drumnasoo Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, Robt. T: Annagh Y: 1833--Clonfeacle-Armagh

    Orr, Robt. T: Roan Y: 1833--Clonfeacle-Armagh

    Orr, Robt., Sr. T: Kilnagrew Y: 1833--Clonfeacle-Armagh

    Orr, Simonn-- Townland : Markethill Year: 1834 -Mullaghbrack-Armagh

    Orr, Simonn-- Townland: Markethill Year: 1834-Kilclooney-Armagh

    Orr, Thomas-- Townland : Demesne of Hamilton Bawn Year: 1834 -Mullaghbrack-Armagh

    Orr, Thomas-- Townland: Demesne of Hamilton Bawn Year: 1834-Kilclooney-Armagh

    Orr, William-- Townland : Anaghmore Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, William-- Townland : Ballymagerny Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, William-- Townland : Coragh Year : 1828-Loughgall-Armagh

    Orr, William-- Townland : Derrycuhan Year: 1834 -Mullaghbrack-Armagh

    Orr, William-- Townland: Ballynick Year: 1832-Grange-Armagh

    Orr, William-- Townland: Derrycuhan Year: 1834-Kilclooney-Armagh

    Orr, Willm. T: Derrygoonan Y: 1833--Clonfeacle-Armagh

     

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 7th February 2021, 02:42PM
  • Elwyn –

    Thank you for your very prompt response and for the insights you shared. Believe me I recognize that Orr was a common surname in Ireland!

    Certainly I know that families did like to keep names alive. After Ann died, Jackson remarried and had 4 sons with his 2nd wife. Three of them were named Joseph and all 3 Josephs died within a year or 2 of their birth. Very sad. The son who survived had a different name – David.

    After Jackson & Ann arrived in NYC, they had the 3 children born in Ireland baptized in Christ Protestant Episcopal Church along with the other children born to them after their arrival in NYC.  I found another record which showed Jackson Orr withdrew his name from the Methodist church in the 1850’s.

    I’ve spent a lot of time researching Orrs in Armagh using Griffith’s Valuation, PRONI, and by contacting the central contacts of the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Church of Ireland churches.  After I pinpointed possible churches/parishes throughout County Armagh where Orrs had lived, the genealogist tried making contact in the hopes of finding information about Jackson & Ann’s marriage or the birth records/baptism of their children born in Ireland. I thought there would be a better chance of getting a response if the genealogist made the inquiries. A very few parishes responded and told us they had no such records, others didn’t have any records anymore, some churches were closed, and quite a number never responded after 2 inquiries. A lot of time was expended (and $ as well) and we got nowhere so I stopped. That was all done 3 years ago.

    I thought the William angle might be a fresh start but it doesn’t look very promising. It is too bad because a cousin and I have pieced together a fascinating story about Jackson after he arrived in NYC and it would be interesting to get more background on him and his relatives.

    Regards,

    ROB ORR

    Rob Orr

    Sunday 7th February 2021, 05:48PM
  • Rob,

    Sorry my information could not be more positive.   Since your family evidently had Methodist connections, for what it’s worth here’s my standard information on Methodism in Ireland:

    “Methodism took a lot longer to become established in Ireland as a separate denomination than in England. In Ireland there was considerable resistance to separating from the Church of Ireland. It was 1815 before Methodists started to conduct their own baptisms. Because of continuing loyalty and other factors, many continued to use the Church of Ireland for baptisms for years after this and it was 1871 before all Methodists routinely performed their own.

    For Methodist marriages, the earliest that I am aware of, date from 1835 (Belfast Donegall Square, the first Methodist church in Ireland). However in the mid 1800s there were only a few Methodist Ministers (Methodism relied heavily on lay preachers). So that shortage led to the continuing practice of marrying in the Church of Ireland. In addition, in the early years, many Methodist Meeting Houses were not licensed for marriages so that too contributed to couples marrying in the Church of Ireland.

    So to summarise, you are unlikely to find many Methodist baptisms before 1820. Few marriages before the 1840s and only a handful for many years after that. If there are no Methodist records in the location you are researching, I would search Church of Ireland records instead, as that’s the most likely place to find the relevant event.

    Not many Methodist Meeting Houses have graveyards and so they may be buried in public or Church of Ireland graveyards (which are open to all denominations)”.

    Charles Wesley’s idea was that Methodism should supplement the Church of Ireland. He suggested Methodists have their meetings on Sunday afternoons so they could attend the Church of Ireland in the morning.  Many followers in Ireland were faithful to that concept which is why they resisted becoming a separate denomination, and so even if your ancestor attended a Methodist Meeting House in Ireland in the 1830s he may nevertheless have been married in and/or baptised his children in the Church of Ireland.  If you have studied the start dates for the various Methodist congregation records in Armagh you can infer when they were still using the Church of Ireland.

    Nearly all the surviving Church of Ireland records for Armagh are in PRONI. They are free to view there whereas if you contact the church they will normally charge for access. Methodist records are more piecemeal. PRONI does have quite a lot but as you have evidently discovered, some are still held by the various Meeting Houses. And some Meeting Houses have closed, sometimes making tracing their records tricky. Robin Roddie at Edgehill Methodist College was trying to gather them together but I think that’s been a hard task.

    Approaching churches here, whether by a professional researcher or by a member of the public, gets mixed results.  Many get rather more genealogical requests than they can cope with. Some go out of their way to help. Others have little time for them. The usual observation is that their priority is to their living parishioners, not the dead ones. Some of the requests are a bit unrealistic too, often requesting searches that would take half a day if undertaken conscientiously. So I am not surprised to hear you have not had replies to all your queries. That’s not at all unusual. Sorry.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 7th February 2021, 09:42PM
  • Elwyn –

    It is what it is. My cousin (also a descendent of Jackson & Ann Orr) had his DNA done and our hope is that he might get a DNA “hit” with someone else with similar ties to Jackson who might know more about him. What my cousin and I surmise from various records we have discovered in our search is that Jackson came to NYC prior to his permanent relocation here with his family in March 1836. He seems to have “commuted” back and forth several times while getting himself and his business established in NYC and then going back to Armagh for the winter months to see Ann and conceive another child. And I thought I had a long commute! Fascinating stuff.

    I also wanted to thank you for all the help you have given others with similar requests on this web site. You certainly have a wealth of knowledge and it is wonderful that you take the time to share it. In looking through other requests relating to people named Orr on the site, the name Elwyn comes up in responses a lot! Much appreciated!

    Best regards,

    Rob

    Rob Orr

    Monday 8th February 2021, 11:58AM