I'm hoping someone will have some suggestions for tracing my Martin and Jamison ancestry in Down prior to 1830. With Martin and Jamison being so very common in Down, and with these families being poor, and finally with the loss of records because of conflicts in Down, I'm having a hard time determining my ancestors. I've searched over the last 15 years, nearly everywhere online. I've contacted churches where I know marriages took place. I've posted numerous queries on many message boards. I've even taken an atDNA test in hopes of finding cousins who have had better luck in finding our ancestors. Plus, I've scoured Down cemetery listings. All to no avail. To make my search even more confusing, is that my MARTIN ancestors were weavers and my LITTLE ancestors blacksmiths, so they moved around within Down to have employment.

Above, Dundrum Castle, County Down, 1791, from Antiquities of Ireland by Captain Francis Grose. via Wikimedia Commons

In hopes that possible cousins read this post, here are the condensed specifics of what I know so far:

Joseph MARTIN was born about 1807. He and Elizabeth "Betsy" JAMISON were married about 1832 likely in Dromore, Down. Betsy may be the daughter of George JAMISON and Elizabeth KINNEAR. They had a daughter Elizabeth born 3 May 1810 Dromore.

Betsy, my 3rd great grandmother, died before August 1836, as Joseph married Mary ADAIR on 1 August 1836 Dromara Presbyterian Church. She the daughter of John ADAIR and Mary SHAW, born in 1807 in Dromara.

Joseph and Betsy's daughter Elizabeth Jamison Martin, was born 1832 in Dromore. She married David LITTLE 1 Oct 1856, Banbridge Presbyterian (Dromore). David the son of Andrew was born 1834. Both David and his father were blacksmiths. Joseph lists Lisnacurran as his residence and Andrew, Dromore on Elizabeth's and David's marriage certificate.

Joseph, Mary and all of the children (Betsy's and Mary's), including new son-in-law David Little went to the US in November 1856. They settled in western Maryland, now Garrett County.

I doubt that I'm the only one trying to narrow down a popular surname before 1830 in Down and elsewhere in Ireland, so figured any responses might be helpful to others and okay to post this here.

Thanks for any guidance; and hope to connect with cousins, however distant.

Beth Golden
Decatur, GA, US

Tags: Down, Family History, Genealogy

Views: 506

Replies to This Discussion

Forgot to mention that I'm happy to share more details, sources, and where I've searched.

Beth, I admire both your persistence and the clear-eyed insights you've highlighted here. Down does seem to offer a particular set of challenges, as you suggest. Keep us posted.

Thanks for your appreciation of my challenge and how I've tackled it so far. At the very least, and thankfully, I've learned a lot about Down (and all of Ireland) history over the years. I will persevere and when I finally find the answers, you'll be hearing me exclaiming all the way across the pond :) Thanks to TWG for helping me along the way and all you do for others too.

I feel your pain Beth, I'm O'Sullivan on my Fathers side and Sullivan on my Mothers, there's just so many.  Good luck on your search!

Oh dear Jean, sorry you face the same dilemma! Wishing you all the best in your search, too. Oh, and to make my genealogy life really thrilling, my father's surname is Brown! :)

So nice that my post is a Featured Discussion and that someone added the picture and reformatted the text. Thanks!!

I know a man from Galway named Adrian Martyn, who is an historian on all things Martyn! His branch is one of the Seven Tribes of Galway, but I think he'd be a good one to ask!  He has published a couple of books on the Martyns, and I'm sure he knows about the origin of the different spelling of the surname as well. You can find him on Facebook and on LinkedIn and simply drop him a line, or send him a link to your post! Let me know if you have difficulty contacting Adrian. I'll contact him myself if you do!

Thanks so much, Claire! I'm fairly certain my Martin ancestors are not part of the Martyn tribe, but came over from England. However, DNA ethnicity reports claim I am 10% Irish, so I may be wrong and Adrian may indeed be helpful. Unfortunately, I cannot find his page on Facebook and do not subscribe to LinkedIn. Would you please contact him for me? all the best

Claire, I was able to finally able to contact Adrian Martyn. fingers crossed :)

Another possibility for finding your ancestor with a common name - submit an article to the local paper. I did so with the Dromore Leader. Unfortunately, I didn't hear from anyone in my current family circle in the Dromore area, but you may have better success.

Great idea Beth!

thanks, Jean!

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