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Michael Watson and his wife Elizabeth Craig


Michael (Father James) and Elizabeth (father: William) married on the 14 Oct 1852 before leaving on the ship "Agincourt" in 1855 for South Australia, Australia. He was born in (~1828 Canoneill) and she in (~1832 Breagh, Tartaraghan) in Co Armagh according to their marriage certificate.

I am after information on their parentages as their daughter Isabella wed Alfred Benjamin Moore my grandmother's father.




Peter Copland

Tuesday 4th December 2018, 10:04AM

Message Board Replies

  • Peter,

    Tradition was to marry in the bride’s church, though that doesn’t appear to have happened in this case as Elizabeth was living in Tartaraghan and they married in Drumcree Church of Ireland.

    I would check both Drumcree and Tartaraghan’s baptism records for Elizabeth and perhaps her siblings.

    Drumcree’s baptism records start in 1788, Tartaraghan’s in 1825. However they don’t appear to be on-line anywhere. There’s copies in PRONI (the public record office) in Belfast but if you can’t get there in person you would need to employ a researcher.

    Researchers in the PRONI area:

    I see from the marriage certificate that both the fathers were labourers. They tend to be very difficult to trace, as they often moved about to follow available work. I checked Griffiths Valuation 1864 but there’s no Watson family in Canoneill. There is 1 Craig household in Breagh (Tartaraghan). That was Joshua who had plot 3D(b) which was a labourer’s house on Thomas Trueman’s farm. Possibly a relation of Elizabeth Craig? The Valuation Revision records show Joshua remaining there till 1891. He’s not in the 1901 census, but I can’t find a death certificate for him either so not sure what became of him.

    For Michael Watson’s death it’d be a question of searching the relevant records in the area in the same was as for Elizabeth. Starting perhaps with Drumcree Church of Ireland. Do you know what denomination he was? 


    Tuesday 4th December 2018, 10:49AM
  • Hi Elwin,

    Unfortunately, the ship's list does not say. He was buried in the Old Wesleyan Cemetery in Meadows South Australia. So, he was at least, not Catholic. Hopefully, he was of the Church of Ireland back in Ireland.. I don't know his DNA group, but his wife's Halogroup is T2a1a.




    Peter Copland

    Tuesday 4th December 2018, 10:42PM
  • Peter,

    I had a look at the 1901 Irish census for Armagh. There were 418 people named Watson. Just 12 were RC, 185 were Church of Ireland, 32 Methodist, 162 Presbyterian and the small remainder, a mix of other minor denominations, or no denomination. So statistically the most likely denominations are Church of Ireland and Presbyterian. You already have details of the Church of Ireland records. Portadown 1st Presbyterian has records from 1839 onwards which is too late. There are 8 Methodist Meeting Houses in the area. None has any baptisms before 1830. (They would have used the Church of Ireland prior to 1830). None has any marriages in the 1800s. Many Methodists carried on marrying in the Church of Ireland for many years after Methodism arrived in Ireland. They were reluctant to sever the ties with the Church of Ireland, plus they had few Ministers to conduct services anyway (relying heavily on lay preachers), and not all their Meeting Houses were licensed for marriages anyway. Let’s just hope Michael was Church of Ireland as that the denomination with the best records.

    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 and can offer FTDNA testing kits at a reduced price. (Go to DNA project on the website).



    Wednesday 5th December 2018, 02:37AM