Share This:

Hello XO Volunteers,

I am requesting your help with my COX family research. Most of what I have found is about WILLIAM COX, my GG Grandfather, but in addition to filling in a few blanks on his story, I would also ask your help with William's father (THOMAS COX), his Mother and any siblings.

What I know of WILLIAM COX:                                                                                                                                       Religion - Presbyterian                                                                                                                                                     

b. abt 1814 possibly in Markethill                                                                                                                                          

m. May 13,1862 by "special license" to HANNAH LOUDEN  in ARMAGH, CO. ARMAGH      

Occupation- Land Steward to Earl of Gosford   

Residence: Gosford Desmesne/Parish Mullaghbrack/Co. Armagh  


Witnesses: Wm. Smilth and Sarah Cox                                                                                                                            Father: THOMAS COX - Land Steward 

Children: 4 born 1864 - 1868 (3 in Markethill; 1 in Newtownards,Co. Down); one being my G.Father Frederick William Cox 1865 who emigrated to Canada 1879.  (Sometime after last child - 1868 - Hannah Louden re-married George Stagg and emigrated to Canada)     

What I would like to find:     

-if William was a Widower, who was his previous wife? (I found a Wm Cox - Hannah Fox (Metcalf) marriage record in a possible time period, but nothing else on Hannah Fox or the relationship)

- did William have siblings?    was wedding witness Sarah Cox a sibling? (Sarah Cox shows up as a witness to "Annie Cox's" wedding in Portrush, Parish of Ballymullin, Dist. of Coleraine 1886 .... one of William and Hannah's children was Anne Jane.

- details of William's death - place and date?

-and anything about my GFx3 Thomas Cox and family, besides William.  I have reason to believe Thomas was associated with Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland so perhaps I need to look there.

I hope I am not asking too much! Covid restrictions have impacted my ability to access some sources, hence my call to you for Help on my 'brick walls'. Any advice or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!






Monday 22nd Feb 2021, 01:29AM

Message Board Replies

  • Rheta,

    I am no expert on Eilan Donan Castle save that I know it was completely destroyed by the Navy during the time of the Old Pretender (1719) when they found some Spanish soldiers garrisoned there. It lay a complete ruin until around 1911 when an entrepreneur re-built it. (The modern chocolate box castle is a 20th century replacement. Sorry). So I am not certain what early records may exist. Probably not many. The Cox family being Presbyterian does point to Scottish ancestry.

    Hannah’s remarriage to George Stegg (note spelling) was on 8.2.1871 in Belfast so that dates William’s death to prior to that.

    I see two possible deaths for William Cox. 1st Oct 1870 aged 66 and 21.9.1868 aged 40. (Ages were usually juts guesses in the 1800s). Both registered in Armagh. Neither is free to view yet so you will need to pay to see them to find out which, if either, is the correct one. You can view the original certificates on-line on the GRONI website, using the “search registrations” option:

    You will need to open an account and buy some credits. It costs £2.50 (sterling) to a view a certificate. 

    Belfast Newsletter of 16th May 1862 announced the marriage. Wm was Land Steward to Lord Gosford and Hannah was 2nd daughter to Clark Louden Esq of Dennismullen, Armagh.

    One minor item. You mention the couple being married in 1862 by special licence. However there’s a civil certificate showing they married in Armagh register office (witnesses William Smith & Sarah Cox).:

    There doesn’t appear to have been a church wedding.

    There was a Sarah Cox death registered in Armagh on 10th June 1868, aged 36. You might want to look at it, in case it’s William’s namesake.

    The Gosford estate papers are in PRONI so perhaps there may be mention of William there.

    Marriage registration started in April 1845. If William’s first marriage was before that it will be much harder to trace. You need to search church records. Not all pre 1845 records have survived and of those that do, not all are on-line.  Tradition was to marry in the bride’s church, so you can’t even assume it was Presbyterian. Death registration didn’t start till 1864 so you won’t find a death certificate for her either. Presumably she’s buried near Gosford Castle. I would try the graveyards near to Gosford Castle in case she has a gravestone. According to the Ulster Historical Foundation site there are 3 likely graveyards there: Mullaghbrack Church of Ireland, Markethill 1stPresbyterian and Markethill 2nd Presbyterian. (Many Presbyterians were buried in Church of Ireland graveyards so I would definitely check it).

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Monday 22nd Feb 2021, 11:42AM
  • Hello Elwyn,

    Thank you for your prompt reply.  You confirm that I have been on the right track in at least some of my searches and give me valuable tips for digging further.


    I am embarrassed: for some reason, despite knowing that William Cox's wife, Hannah, remarried (1871) it did NOT occur to me that William had died. I suppose (maybe because of his age?) my (21st C) thinking (re an 19th C lifestyle) was of a marriage breakdown, and that each just went on with life.  Consequently, I hadn't looked for William's death details around that date. Now, working in a window between1868 (birth of his last child) to 1871 (widow Hannah's remarriage) I feel more confident that official docs on the GRONI website will be worth looking into.

    I thank you for, and will follow up on, each of the sources you suggest for records on other Armagh COX family members. Siblings of William are a special mystery to me; as is the Sarah Cox who keeps popping up. I do believe William's father,Thomas Cox, is a key link and I will have to look further into Scottish ancestry for success on that line. (BTW - I toured the Eilean Donan Castle (2016) and was impressed with your 'modern chocolate box 20th C. Replacement'. We don't have any 18th C castles in Canada! :-)

    A few comments on 'other' stuff :

    - the term 'by special licence' (marriage William Cox-Hannah Loudan 5.16.1862) is used in the Belfast News Letter announcement, yet as you point out, the civil records show a marriage in the Armagh registrar's office. My online search to understanding the difference (in Irish culture) brought me to this:
    Church of Ireland  Marriages .....may be celebrated

    by special licence (granted by the Bishops of the Church of Ireland) or
    on production of a certificate from a Register of Civil Marriages.


    Presbyterian Church

    Marriages according to the ....Presbyterian Church may be celebrated,

    by special licence (granted by the Moderators of the Presbyterian Church) or

    after publication of banns or


    Might that mean one of them was of the COE religion and the other Presbyterian – so they had to satisfy both regulations?? My search for the LOUDAN's religion didn't help. I am sure the COX s were Presbyterian.

    -re the STEGG/STAGG surname: a civil record of George's birth (England), plus documents related to his emigration to Canada and later census records of his residence here, indicate the STAGG spelling. One of George's Stagg brothers became a well known and highly respected homesteader on the Canadian Prairies (Saskatchewan).

      Again, a sincere Thank You for your help with my genealogy interests and with your interest in helping all genealogists. Your time, expertise and help is so very much appreciated.





      Thursday 25th Feb 2021, 02:36AM
    • Rheta,

      Here’s a link to the marriage certificate for Hannah and George Stegg. Her address in 1871 was Newtownards, which is in Co Down. It confirms she was a widow (not a bigamist). The marriage was in St. Anne’s Church of Ireland in Belfast.

      Hannah’s father Clarke Lowden is listed in Griffiths Valuation for Dunesmullan in 1864. He appears to have died in 1864 aged 64.

      Here’s what appears to be thesame family in the 1901 census:

      And that couple’s marriage in 1893:

      Samuel’s father was Clarke Loudon (so Samuel was Hannah’s brother). Clarke Louden’s wife was apparently Elizabeth.  She died in 1890 and the Valuation records show the farm passing to Samuel in 1892. Informant for the death was her daughter Bella Louden.…

      Regarding marriage by Special Licence, there were several different ways of giving notice of intention to marry. The most common was by banns, whereby your names were read out in church, normally on 3 separate Sundays. If bride and groom attended different churches then they would be read in both. If you were marrying in a Register Office (an option available from 1845 onwards) then the banns were pinned to a public notice board outside the building for a specified period before the ceremony.

      However if you were in a hurry or if you didn’t want too much publicity, you could apply for a licence or a special licence.  If marrying in a Register Office, then an ordinary licence would suffice. (And that’s what the 1862 certificate mentions in this case). Special Licenses were normally for marriages away from the Register Office or church.  So if for some reason you couldn’t attend church or the Register Office or had some other compelling reason then you could apply for a special licence. So you’ll see special licenses for someone who married in a private house, a hospital or some such location. Where the bride was heavily pregnant and about to give birth, couples sometimes got a special licence. It was quicker, though more expensive, and also allowed a ceremony at home.

      The Presbyterian church rarely used banns. (I have no idea what the theological reasons were). They mostly used licenses for marriages in church and special licenses (which only the moderator could issue, as you have discovered) for marriages elsewhere. But in this case the ceremony was in the local Register Office and according to the wording on the certificate was by licence, not by Special Licence. So the newspaper notice appears to be slightly inaccurate. I can’t suggest why.

      Why did they choose to marry in a Register Office? Who knows? Register offices were popular for mixed marriages i.e. Catholic – Protestant, but Presbyterian & Church of Ireland couples rarely had issues about which church to use. Obviously atheists favoured a Register Office, as did Brethren. Brethren don't have anyone qualified to conduct a marriage service, and so they always use Register Offices. For her second marriage Hannah married in the Church of Ireland suggesting that was her denomination, by then anyway. (Tradition was to marry in the bride’s church.). She again obtained a licence for that marriage. You may note 2 of the other couples on the same page married by banns.

      Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

      Thursday 25th Feb 2021, 05:40AM
    • Hannah Loudon was baptized at the Second Markethill Presbyterian Church June 10, 1836, the daughter of Clark Loudon and Elizabeth Gordon who were married June 10, 1831, also at Second Markethill Presbyterian Church.  Records available online at the Markethill Presbyterian Church website. All of her siblings also baptized there.  I do not see any Cox baptisms or marriages noted. I am descended from Clark Loudon Sr. and Jane Dougan, married 1777 through their daughter Mary, who married James Rafferty.  Their daughter Jane Dougan Raffety is my 3rd great grandmother.  Regards, Brenda



      Monday 24th Jan 2022, 01:09PM

    Post Reply

    Close this