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I am trying to research my great-grandfather's family who were a long line of master mariners in Bangor. I am a bit stuck at a wall with Thomas Ferguson born around 1816 and his wife Anne McCartney. His father would be Matthew Ferguson. Any help in this family would be greatly appreciated.




Thursday 22nd Feb 2024, 09:46PM

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  • Ellen,

    Thomas’s marriage to Anne McCartney in Bangor 2nd Presbyterian church in 1848:

    Noted this probate abstract:

    Ferguson Matthew of 50 Groomsport Road Bangor county Down retired master mariner died 5 November 1932 Probate Belfast 6 January to Elizabeth Ferguson and James Macartney harbour master. Effects £1492 6s. 5d.

    Presumably one of Thomas’s children:

    I don’t see a death for Mathew Ferguson senior. Death registration started in 1864 so suspect he died before that. National Archives London has a record of a Mathew Ferguson, Master Mariner, who was born in Glasgow in 1796, qualified as Master in 1851 in Peterhead and drowned at sea 24.12.1860. BT124/4 at National Archives.  Might not be your man. Just someone else of the same name.

    I searched the British Newspaper Archives for mentions of a Capt Mathew Ferguson connected with Bangor but did not find nay mentions of the senior man. (I did find some mentions of his grandson Mathew in a court case relating to a death on his vessel).

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 22nd Feb 2024, 10:41PM
  • In Griffith’s Valuation, 1863-1864, of Co. Down, there was one head of household called Matthew Ferguson:

    Source         Surname      First Name   Townland     Parish          County         

    Griffith          Ferguson     Matthew       Aghnaleck     Annahilt        Co. Down


    There was a James in Annahilt parish and a Jane:

    • Griffith          Ferguson      James          Ballymurphy  Annahilt        Co. Down

              Griffith          Ferguson      Jane   Cluntagh Annahilt Co. Down

    You can see more information at the free site


    Thursday 22nd Feb 2024, 10:44PM
  • Elwyn and Patricia, thank-you so much. 

    What I know for sure:

    William Ferguson, born 1878 (my great grandfather who came to the US in 1906)

        Siblings: Margaret, Annie, Robert, Joseph, Isobel, Ellen

    Parents: Capt. Matthew, born 1849, and Anna Kane (McKean) born in Scotland; 2nd wife was Elizabeth Coey

    Matthew's (1849) siblings: William, Capt. Joseph, Jenny, Capt. Thomas

        Parents: Capt. Thomas Ferguson, ~1815, (story says he left for the Am and Australian gold rushes.) Died in Australia in 1885 and Annie McCartney

    Father of Capt. Thomas, ~1815, is Capt. Matthew Ferguson, no clue about his wife or any dates.


    I believe ultimately the mariner Ferguson line in Scotland and mine in Bangor tie together, question is where. There are two mariner lines in Bangor and it would not surprise me to if they connected somewhere. Right now, it is keeping them straight. 

    I appreciate any guidance to trace back farther.

    Also, is there any reason that Robert Ferguson would travel to Canada and very soon after arriving enlist in the Canadian 2nd Contingent? Why not enlist in Ireland or closer to home? He enlisted under the name Albert Ferguson. That's another puzzle I am hoping to sort out.

    As for dying at sea, William, Joseph, and Thomas all died at sea.

    Thank-you again, every bit helps guide me and is appreciated.






    Saturday 24th Feb 2024, 12:55AM
  • There was always a lot of movement between Ireland and Scotland and large numbers of folk from Scotland have lived in Counties Antrim & Down over the years. It's only 12 miles across at the closest point. There used to be a large pelagic fishing fleet that followed the mackerel and herring around the coast each year as they migrated. So fishing boats from places like Grimsby or Peterhead were often in ports in Ireland. That led to marriages and folk moving. (Peterhead is still a big fishing port though it's mostly deep sea now). But I am struggling to think how we might find out why and when your family moved.

    Likewise Robert going to Canada. If he used a different name in Canada, it would make you wonder if he had a reason for concealing his true name. Did he leave Ireland in a hurry? Trouble with the police or with a girl were the usual reasons.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 24th Feb 2024, 03:11PM
  • Elwyn, thank-you for your insights and information. Each added bit of information helps build a structure.

    Very grateful,




    Sunday 25th Feb 2024, 03:53PM

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