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cowan of county tyrone

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  • cowan of county tyrone

    i'm looking into john cowan (c.1811-1879) and his wife margaret lammey or lammay (c.1812-1886).

    many trees have the birth for margaret as: b.17 jun 1812, tattymoyle, tyrone, northern ireland. parents given as simon and anne. the marriage as 6 apr 1837, donacavey, tyrone.

    they emmigrated 1852 "epaminondas" to south australia, with their children, the shipping list states they came from county tyrone. this is the only proof i have of where they came from. doesn't seem much online for county tyrone. how do i find any records for this presumably protestant family in northern ireland?

  • #2
    There’s 3 townlands called Tattymoyle. (Upper, Middle & Lower). All are in the parish of Donacavey. The tithe applotment records for Donacavey in 1827 show 3 Lammy farms in Tattymoyle Middle so that looks promising:

    There were still 2 Lammie/Lamie families farming there in the 1901 census. Church of England is the same as Church of Ireland (COI).



    Tradition was to marry in the bride’s church. Since we know the Lammey family were COI. Donacavey (Fintona) COI records start in 1800. So you might want to check them for the marriage. The records are not on-line anywhere so far as I am aware. PRONI (the public record office) in Belfast has a copy but that involves a personal visit or you could get a researcher to look them up for you.

    Going by the 1901 census, most of the Cowans in Tyrone were also COI though there were a few Presbyterians. If your family was Presbyterian then your family probably attended Fintona Presbyterian church, and that’s where their children would likely be baptised. It’s records start in 1836. Again not on-line but there is a copy in PRONI.

    So those are the 2 sets of church records I would look at.

    Statutory birth, death & marriage registration didn’t start till 1864 so the church records are really the only source for confirming the events you have. Sounds to me as though someone has already found the baptism in 1812 and marriage in 1837 so that seems promising. I’d start with the COI records.

    Northern Whig of 2nd Jan 1951 reports that John Cowan of Tattymoyle had been in court as a result of being drunk & disorderly. He was a schoolteacher and had had a couple of previous appearances for disorderly conduct and being drunk. His solicitor told the court he had now taken the pledge. £3 was estreated (money put up previously as surety against re-offending).

    Portadown Times of 30th December 1955 reports that a John Cowan of Tattymoyle had won £3 15 shillings in a Pools competition (a lottery).

    Might not be your family. Could just be a coincidence.

    Last edited by Elwyn; 10-03-23, 22:56.

    I am based in Co. Antrim and undertake research in Northern Ireland. Please feel free to contact me for help or advice via PM.


    • #3
      I was wondering if the actual records had been seen vs guesstimating they are correct. Nothing states margaret's parents.

      Though there is a john lammey who married jane cowan in fermanagh and they emmigrated to SA. Some sources think he is margaret's brother. It is thought the cowan's may be from fermanagh originally. This jane has a brother john, b.1822. So don't know if they are related.


      • #4
        Viewing the actual records will involve a trip to PRONI as they are not on-line. The baptism should give parents names but don’t expect too much from the marriage. In the 1830s often all you get are the couples names, the date and their 2 witnesses names. Sometimes a townland and occupation but not always.

        You speculate whether the family may be from Fermanagh. It’s possible but farmers didn’t move around much. (You don’t spend 50 years improving a farm and then throw in the towel and start again somewhere else, if you can avoid it.). Given the religious denomination and the general geographic area, I would expect the families to be Plantation settlers who arrived from Scotland or England in the 1600s.

        Possibly DNA testing may be a way of matching with others who have additional information about where the family originate. Family Tree DNA reportedly has more people with Ulster roots than any other company. That obviously increases the chances of finding a match. You might want to try them or, if you have already tested, you can transfer your results to them for no fee.

        The North of Ireland Family History Society is running an Ulster DNA project in conjunction with FTDNA and can offer testing kits at a reduced price. (Go to DNA project on the website).


        I am based in Co. Antrim and undertake research in Northern Ireland. Please feel free to contact me for help or advice via PM.