Share This:

William TODD - County Armagh (around 1839)

Hello, I am looking for any information about my great grandfather - William TODD - born in County Armagh around 1839. He married Mary BRUCE and emigrated to New Zealand. Upon her death, he returned to Scotland and married Rachel BRUCE in 1878 in Edinburgh. They then emigrated to Australia. His parents are thought to be William TODD and Mary or Eliza HAMPTON. Thank you.


Tuesday 22nd September 2020, 06:04AM

Message Board Replies

  • How sure are you that William & Mary married in Ireland? I searched the Irish statutory marriage records from 1850 to 1885 but did not find a marriage for them. I have assumed they were not RC. Is that correct?

    There is one marriage between a William Todd & Mary Bruce in Scotland in the period 1855 – 1878, in Hamilton in 1875. (That’s an area that lots of people from Ireland went to work).

    William’s marriage to Rachael Bruce in 1878 gives her surname as Keith so I assume she had been married before. It’s in the Scotlandspeople indexes for St Giles parish GROS ref 685/4 137. Scottish marriage certificates normally list both parents and also say whether each parent was alive or dead at that date, so if you view Rachel’s marriage certificate it should resolve William’s parents names and provide a bit more information eg his father’s occupation. 

    Let us know what the parents names were, whether they were alive in 1878 and what William’s father’s occupation was, and I’ll see if I can find anything in the records for Armagh.


    Tuesday 22nd September 2020, 10:57AM
  • Apologies for not responding earlier as I wanted to check my paperwork to confirm things. They did not marry in Ireland. William and Mary were married in New Zealand. I agree that they were probably not RC as William was excluded from the Temuka Wesleyan Chapel because of his "inconsistency of conduct" in 1874. I'm sorry, my mistake about Rachel's name. Her maiden name was Keith. William Todd's father was William Todd, a farmer. William Todd's mother was Mary or Eliza Todd (nee Hampton). In 1878, William's father was already deceased but am unsure about his mother. Thank you for your assistance, looking forward to learning more.


    Sunday 18th October 2020, 03:28AM
  • I had a look at the 1878 marriage. As you say, William Todd – farmer – was dead in 1878. His wife was named as Eliza Hampton and was alive. (William junior should have known his mother’s forename and so it’s presumably accurate).  I had a look for a death for her 1878 – 1901 but did not find one in Armagh, nor was there anyone alive in Armagh in the 1901 census who might be that lady.

    I did find a Mary Jane Todd from Teagy who died in 1879 aged 80 and whose husband appears to have been William Todd:

    William of Teagy died in 187:

    William of Richmount died in 1873. His wife was Mary Jane too:

    If William Todd was a farmer and alive around 1830 he ought to appear in the tithe applotment records for Co. Armagh. (The tithes were a land tax so most farmers were listed). I found 7 farmers named William Todd in Co Armagh at that time (2 were in the same townland – Drummond More - and were probably father & son):

    Todd, William-- Townland : Clanamola Year : 1828-Drumcree-Armagh

    Todd, William-- Townland : Richmond Year : 1828-Drumcree-Armagh

    Todd, William-- Townland : Roughan Year : 1828-Drumcree-Armagh

    Todd, William-- Townland : Tumblekenny Year : 1828-Drumcree-Armagh

    Todd, William-- Townland: Drummond More Year: 1832-Grange-Armagh

    Todd, William-Townland: Teaguy Year: 1834-Tartaraghan-Armagh

    Todd, William, Jr.-- Townland: Drummond More Year: 1832-Grange-Armagh

    I looked at the 1901 census of Armagh. There were about 115 Todds. Most were Church of Ireland (ie Anglican) with a couple of Methodists, Presbyterians and RC. Methodists in Ireland didn’t perform their own marriages till the late 1830s and even then they were few and far between so most would have married in the Church of Ireland. So Church of Ireland is probably the most likely denomination for the children’s baptism and perhaps the marriage too.

    Statutory marriage registration began in Ireland in 1845 (save for RC marriages which start in 1864). William & Eliza evidently married sometime before 1839 so you won’t find a statutory marriage certificate for them. You might find their marriage in church records but they probably aren’t on-line.  There are copies in PRONI (the public record office) in Belfast. You could get a researcher to go through the records for the 3 parishes that there were Wm Todds in in the 1830s ie Drumcree, Grange & Tartaraghan, searching for William’s baptism and his parents marriage. That’s probably the only way of locating them in Armagh.

    Drumcree’s records start in 1788, Grange 1780 and Tartaraghan in 1825. If you are unable to go yourself, you could employ a researcher. Researchers in the PRONI area:

    Your comments about William’s “inconsistency of conduct” in the Methodist chapel suggests he may not have been all that enthusiastic about religion and remarrying in church. The 1878 marriage is slightly unusual and interesting because it was by habit & repute. In other words the couple were never married by a Minister, a Civil Registrar or any other authorised official (Scotland didn’t have civil registrars till 1940).  They just lived together, and then eventually used a uniquely Scottish procedure whereby a couple could appear before a Sheriff[1], with at least 2 witnesses, to confirm they had been living as man and wife for a significant period of time. If the Sheriff was satisfied – as he evidently was in this case – then he ruled that their relationship could be regarded as a valid marriage in Scots law, and if they wanted, the marriage would be recorded formally in official records. (Slightly like what folk today might call a common law marriage though often there is no legal meaning to that term. But in Scotland until 1940 you could lawfully be regarded as married in that way). And this was one of those cases. See:




    [1] A Sheriff is a lower tier court judge who deals with criminal and civil cases


    Sunday 18th October 2020, 05:59PM
  • Hello

    More or less by chance I have come across your search for information regarding your great grandfather.  I felt you may like to know that William Todd who married Mary Bruce is also my great grandfather.  I only have basic knowledge about previous generations but please contact me if you think i could have information that may help you in your search.

    Marianne Brown 


    Saturday 12th December 2020, 07:01AM