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The above James HUNTER is my direct ancestor. He apparently had a large family. His daughter Margaret married James MCNEA (Architect) in Belfast in 1845.  Family story says his sons, I don't know how many, emigrated to America.  I would love to know more about him, his wife, his family and if the story is true. One of James and Margaret MCNEA's daughters Elizabeth Grace born 1849, states on Census that she was born in Hillsborough.  As I live in Australia, any help would be most appreciated.


Friday 4th August 2017, 08:49AM

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  • Margaret Hunter’s marriage to James McNea was registered in Belfast on 10.6.1845. (The husband’s name is recorded as McRea. That’s probably a transcription mistake). The marriage certificate should give you her address and other information about her. You can view the original certificate 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.

    Statutory birth registration didn’t start in Ireland till 1864 so you won’t get birth certs for any children born 1845 – 1863. I found one female birth for the couple on 31.10.1864. The family address then was “Old Lodge, Belfast”.

    For the children born before 1864 you would need to search church records but to do that you would need to know which church the family attended. Any ideas?

    Here’s a bit about James McNea:

    PRONI (the public record office) holds some leases for James McNea in the series D3747/2/1 to 5. (They are not on-line and so you would need to get a researcher to look them up for you).

    Can’t see a death for James McNea in the statutory indexes, nor a will for him.  Looked for marriages for the children in the Belfast area. Didn’t see any.

    Post the details of the marriage cert here and we'll see if we can give any more help.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 4th August 2017, 12:43PM
  • Thank you for your reply, Elwyn.  I'm sorry it's taken me a while to respond.  Thanks to my 3xcousin Sue, we now have most of the information about the descendants of James and Margaret. It is their siblings and parents who elude us.  However, I did as you suggested and herewith the details from the M. Cert.  *. Marriage sol at of May Street....Presbytery of Belfast.  10 June 1845 between James McNEA,  30, bachelor, Architect, Belfast, fa James McNEA Farmer.........and.........Margaret HUNTER,  26, spinster, no occ, Hillsborough, fa James HUNTER, CLERK of Manor Court.  Both signed.  Witnesses were Thomas HUNTER and William HUNTER. *     I used the other credits to look at the D info for a Henry HUNTER of Hillsborough, died 15 Nov 1872, aged 74. If I looked at the "full" index, rather than just the "enhanced" , would it have given me his parents names, please.


    Sunday 20th August 2017, 02:33AM
  • The Manor Court was a civil court where people could pursue small claims (usually for unpaid bills). It met once a month or something like that. The Lord of the Manor normally presided. In Hillsborough, I’d assume that was the Marquess of Downshire who owned Hillsborough Castle until 1922. (It’s now the Queens residence in Northern Ireland). See:

    So Margaret’s father would have been the clerk of the court. Normally a respected position, often with some legal training, the clerk would advise the presiding official on points of law as well as recording the cases and their outcomes.

    This may be a reference to James Hunter, in Lisburn St, Hillsborough in Slater’s Directory for 1846 (see under Gentry):

    He was gone by the time of Griffiths Valuation in 1863, suggesting he may have died by that year.

    He may also have contributed 2 shillings to the Poor Fund in 1836. See:

    Margaret appears to have been Presbyterian. (She was married in a Presbyterian church and normal practice was to marry in the bride’s church and denomination). Her age indicates she was born around 1819. Hillsborough has 2 Presbyterian churches. Hillsborough itself only has baptisms from 1833 which is too late. Annahilt Presbyterian has records from 1780 (with a couple of years missing).  The Church of Ireland is probably also worth checking. Their records start in 1686. Copies of these records are in PRONI in Belfast. They are not on-line and a personal visit is required to view them.

    Regarding the death certificate, an Irish death certificate contains the following information: date and place of death, full name, sex, marital status, age, occupation, cause of death, informant’s details and date of registration. Parents names are not normally listed (save sometimes for children). 

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 20th August 2017, 07:39PM
  • James Hunter 
    Birth:  About 1800 - Fermanagh, Ireland (Northern Ireland)
    Death:  Before 1861 - Fermanagh County (Fermanagh), Northern Ireland
    Marriage:  About 1819 - Fermanagh County (Fermanagh), Northern Ireland
    Spouse:  Ann Hunter     

    • Children

      • James (1820-1853) 
      • Elizabeth (1824-1833) 
      • Eliza (Elizabeth) (1833-1875) 
      • Margaret (1837-1901) 
      • Robert (1838-1878) 


    • James Hunter   1835 Cassidy, Derryvullan, Fermanagh, Ireland


    • Name:James HunterCemetery:St Mary's RC Coa GraveyardBurial or Cremation Place:Ballinmallard, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland


    Tuesday 21st November 2017, 10:43PM