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Robert Wilson and Susan Wilson (nee Susan Allen) of Kilstrule/Milltown Newtownstewart Strabane ealy 1900's/late 1800's

Hi,  I am researching my ancestor Robert Wilson (aka Andrew Wilson or perhaps even known as James). He married Susan Allen at Drumclamph Church Tyrone on 28 August 1903. I have this certificate as fact.The 1901 census shows him living with his mother Sarah Wilson (aged 47), brother Charles and sister Sarah. Robert was 23 years old at the 1901 Census. The family were Church of Ireland members.                             No father is mentioned in the 1901 census.              I am interested to find Robert Wilson's birth details, also I would like to know the fate of his father Robert Wilson.   If I could find his mother Sarah's maiden name, I would be very happy. Can anyone help ?  Thank you           Robert Wilson, after marrying Susan Allen had 10 children. The entire family moved to New Zealand around 1925-6, and I am descended from there.




Sunday 29th January 2017, 01:14AM

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  • Stevie,

    I noticed this neighbour in Kilstrule, who might be related (she was in the adjacent house):

    And in 1911:

    Sarah Wilson (senior) died 29.8.1904 at Kilstrule, aged 55. Her death certificate states she was a spinster. The 1901 census does describe her as a widower but it’s possible she may never have married. Her daughter Sarah was the informant and would presumably have a fair idea of the situation.

    I found a likely birth for Charles on 27.8.1882, registered in Strabane.

    Likewise for Sarah Margaret on 18.9.1883. The informant was Maggy who I suspect was the Marjorie in the 1901 census. (Maggie and Marjorie are interchangeable). So they might be sisters.

    Both births were illegitimate, as suggested by the 1904 death certificate for their mother.  (Search under civil records).

    I had a look for Robert’s birth but could not find it but presumably it too was illegitimate. You might want to keep searching. Try leaving the forename box blank as not every child was named when the birth was registered.

    A father’s name only appears on an illegitimate child’s birth cert if he is present at the registration and confirms paternity. (Otherwise anyone might be named with obvious difficulties later).

    You could have a look at the church baptism records. Assuming the children were baptised, the record sometimes says who the reputed father was. The births appear to be in the parish of Ardstraw, and the family were Church of Ireland. There are 3 churches in that parish. I do not know the area well enough to say which of the 3 the family are likely to have attended. Ardstraw itself has records from 1882, Baronscourt 1877  & Drumclamph 1877. All 3 did have earlier records which were sent to Dublin for safekeeping but ironically were destroyed in the Public Record Office in the 1922 fire, during the civil war. So you might not find a baptism for Robert but you should find Charles and Sarah.

    There’s a copy of the surviving church records in PRONI (the public record office) in Belfast. They are not on-line and a personal visit is required to view them.

    If the parents weren't married, you may struggle to get any information about the children's father Robert. It's such a common name that I see no easy way of distinguishing him from others in the area. (Assuming he was still alive and in Tyrone, there were 54 people named Robert Wilson in the county in the 1901 census).

    Sunday 29th January 2017, 02:43AM
  • Thank you Elwyn. Very helpful reply, thank you for taking the time to do this.     I found the death record you mentioned for Sarah Wilson senior, so that is another piece of my puzzle.    I agree with the birth records for the children Charles and Sarah Margaret, so that seems correct. I took your advice and looked again for Robert (son)-  my new search turned up a James Wilson born 4 July 1877 in Newtownstewart, no father mentioned, the mother being Sarah Wilson, witness being Ann (Unreadable, looks like Glaps or Glafs), found on                 The informant Magey or Maggy is another lead. I'll check the neighbours census records as you suggest.                 The lack of any Robert Wilson senior on birth records does suggest illigitimacy as you say. Perhap the Robert Wilson (senior) noted as the father in the marriage of Robert Wilson (son) to Susan Allen in 1903 was put there to keep respectability ??                            I'm planning a trip to Newtownstewart next May (2018)- as a newbie at genealogy, I am still learning but would be great to discover as much as possible before my visit. It's a long way from New Zealand !! (but my ancestors did the trip in one cabin with 10 children  on an old ship, so I'm sure my return journey will be a breeze compared to their courageous emigration. )  Cheers and thanks again. Stevie

    Sunday 29th January 2017, 09:16AM
  • Stevie,

    With a birth certificate, the father’s name only appears on an illegitimate birth in the circumstances I described. However with a marriage certificate it doesn’t ask whether you were legitimate, simply who your father was.  So if you know, you give that information regardless.  You do see marriage certificates where the father’s name box is blank. If the person was a foundling or adopted they often didn’t know and so the box stayed blank. On the other hand, I am sure quite a few people made a name up too, to cover things over. 

    If you are looking for where the family lived in Kilstrule in 1911, the Valuation Revision books put them in a row of 4 cottages owned by the local council. Charles was in 8bb and John in 8bd. These were single story buildings with 2 windows in the front (according to the census). *b etc is not a street number. Houses didn’t have street numbers in those days and the townland alone was sufficient to get a letter delivered etc. The revision records show Charles and Johns names against both properties until 1929 when that series of records finishes.

    Looking at Griffiths maps I think they were along the modern Kilstrule Rd, not far from the junction with Greenville Rd. About 4 miles west of Newtownstewart. Looking at the road on Google Earth today I don’t really see any sign of them. So, in common with many of those old houses, they may have been knocked down. There are some new private houses there one of which looks to be where some of the cottages probably stood.. You might try knocking on a few doors to see if you can find someone with local knowledge of the area. At one time the properties were rented from the big farm on Greenville Rd, owned in the 1930s by the Ramsay family. They might still be the owners and possibly they may know about them. In my experience big farmers often had aerial photos taken. You might get lucky and find an old photo from them.

    Good luck with your research and with your visit.

    Sunday 29th January 2017, 10:23AM
  • Monday 30th January 2017, 04:38AM

    Attached Files

  • An auntie of mine visited Strabane 20 years ago and took this photo of the Wilson family house, already in a state of disrepair. Probably demolished long ago.  She said there was a new highway close by. That's all the information I have. Cheers Stevie

    Monday 30th January 2017, 04:40AM