Share This:

~~My interest lies in a branch of the McNeill family who lived in Lisnagunogue in the early 19th century, specifically in my great-grandfather John McNeill (known to have been born in 1822).  A preliminary search suggests that this John was born and baptized  26 March 1822, that his parents were John McNeill and Margaret Alexander (dates unknown, but who lived in Lisnagunogue) and that he had at least two siblings, David (born 1 August 1825, baptized 25 September 1825) and Joseph (born 18 November 1826, baptized 29 March 1827).
This John worked as a quarryman in Lisnagunogue until he moved to Houston, Renfrewshire, sometime before 1851, where he also continued as a quarryman.  A deeply religious Presbyterian, he married Catherine McTaggart (Houston, 23 September 1851).  They produced six children one of whom, John (1854-1933), became a world-famous Presbyterian minister, and about whom I have a great deal of information.
My research objectives are to learn more about…
(1). John’s parents (John and Margaret) as well as their forebears.
(2). When, as seems very likely, this McNeill line and other McNeills in the Lisnagunogue area moved from Argyll to Ulster.
(3). Much more about the lives of these McNeills (both before and after the early 19th century) including where they actually lived and earned their livings in the Lisnagunogue area.
A tall order! 
I am a beginning researcher and I would be very, very grateful for any assistance with any of these objectives.


Sunday 7th September 2014, 08:42PM

Message Board Replies

  • Dear JDuncanMcNeill

    Welcome to Ireland Reaching Out and apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

    In relation to your questions:

    (1) In order to find out more about John and Margaret, a good starting point would be to try to find a marriage record - have you already tried to do this using ancestry, or familysearch?

    (2) The link below shows the dispersal of the family name in 19th Century Ireland:

    In order to learn more about the family name, this University College Cork site below is interesting:

    (3) The Glens of Antrim Historical Society may be able to give you info on any local or parish history published in the area. Such publications are invaluable as they often uncover names that are not records in other parish records:

    I hope a McNeil or someone researching the name gets in touch with you.

    Best wishes
    Clare Doyle
    Genealogy Support

    Clare Doyle

    Tuesday 16th September 2014, 03:21PM
  • There are several McNeil households listed in Lisnagunogue Lower in 1861 in Griffiths Valuation. Possible relations?

    Much of that part of Co Antrim was settled by McDonald/McDonnell tenants from their estates in Kintyre, Islay, and Jura during the 1500s and early 1600s.  So that?s the possible era that your McNeills arrived. (The Muster Rolls for the barony of Cary (c 1630) lists a John McNell,a John mcNeal and David McNeall as the Earl of Antrim?s ?British tenants? so there were evidently at least 3 households in the area at that time).

    Ahoghill Antrim

    Thursday 25th September 2014, 06:49AM
  • Hi JDuncan,

    I just came across your post and believe I can help you with some more information. This is one of my family's direct lines and after visiting Bushmills last year I believe I can fill in some gaps for you. You can contact me through


    Tuesday 10th November 2015, 01:45AM
  • Hi I have quite a lot of information on the Alexander family that lived in Lisnagunogue and would be keen to connect with anyone that is looking for further information.  I am a direct Alexander descendant living in New Zealand.


    Wednesday 14th December 2016, 05:55AM
  • "Our" Joseph Alexander was born abt 1807 in Lisnagunogue and died in 1887, he is buried at Dunseverick Church.

    His Father David was born about 1782 in Lisnagunogue, I don't have any further information on him other than the fact he had a daughter Matilda born in 1817.

    Is this the same family or maybe I am a generation out.   A lot of repetition of names.....  My brother is also David Alexander!



    Wednesday 14th December 2016, 06:04AM
  • Hi faulknerfive, I have the following information on your Alexander line. David Alexander was born in 1778 in Lisnagunogue and his wife is Martha Kelso. She was born in 1785 and died in 1876 in Ballymoney, County Antrim. THey had three children - Matthew, born 1800 and died 27th May 1874 in Bushmills (he married Catherine McNeill); Joseph Alexander, born about 1896 in Linsagunogue and died 31 Jan 1887 in Lisnagunagh (he married Margaret Magee); and Matilda ALexander born 1817 in Drumnagee and died 6 May 1889 in Sydney, NSW, Australia (she married Andrew McConaghy) You may already have this information, but thought I would put it on here in case.






    Friday 16th December 2016, 10:57PM
  • Perfect thank you Lillyjay, that is the right Alexander.  Thank you so much for this as I had names but no dates for the early ones other than our Joseph.  Joseph in fact had two families.  I am descendent from the second family, his second wife begin Elizabeth Gillespie.  Three brothers emigrated to New Zealand, James from the first family and son of Margaret Magee and twins David and Daniel sons of Elizabeth.   Have you been able to ascertain as to whether there were any more than the three children Matthew, Joseph and Matilda?  When I visited Bushmills back in the 1990's I came across an Andrew Alexander that was born in the same cluster of years but have not been able to confirm this.  I did meet a lady from Ballymoney that was descendent from Andrew and gave me further information and when she saw me she was quite sure I was "one of theirs" !!!  I can look up the dates and names for this line if you are able to shed any light on this.  The detailed family tree for Matilda is online and I can send you the link if you would like, Regards Faulkner Five


    Saturday 17th December 2016, 09:43AM

    Hi Faulkner Five, I would love to have the link to Matilda's tree on line - thank you. I also have six children for Joseph and Elizabeth. If you would like to email me  -  and I will send you the details. I am also interested in Elizabeth Gillespie and her lineage. I have her father as Daniel but do you know any more about her. I have GIllespies in my direct line as well but have'nt been able to determine if there is a connect with Daniel and Elizabeth - mine were in Ballymoney (for one generation at least.  Looking forward to connecting more "family" with you. Kind regards, Lillyjay




    Sunday 18th December 2016, 11:18PM
  • This is great - keep us updated

    Happy Christmas to you all!


    Genealogy Support

    Clare Doyle

    Monday 19th December 2016, 08:59AM
  • There is a wee problem with Matthew Alexander' date of birth. If he was born in 1800 he can't have died in 1874. Please would someone who know correct this!




    Julie  nee Alexander.


    Wednesday 21st December 2016, 08:57PM
  • Hi Lilyjay, 

    Just following up on this and wondered if you have had any further luck in finding out more information?  Keen to know if the intervening years have shed any more light on this?



    Alison Faulkner

    Friday 6th August 2021, 10:00AM