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In the 19th century, on my father's side of the family, there was quite a contingent of Rutherfords who were Manorhamilton Town Blacksmiths:


John Rutherford (1792-1862), his sons, Thomas (1817-1875) wife Rebecca, and George (1818-1864) wife Jane, and Thomas's sons, Thomas (1847-1894) (who later married Anna Griffith and became a publican) and George (1850-1905) wife Elizabeth Mckeown, were all town Blacksmiths and lived and worked with their families at the forges on Main Street, Manorhamilton.


I believe John Rutherford (who was a Master Blacksmith) and his son George also worked at the forge at Derrygonnelly, Fermanagh (leased by Blacksmith William Rutherford - unknown relation) as they were resident at Drummary in 1841 and George and wife Jane Magan (1824-1850) were married at Monea church in 1846 and had two sons Thomas (1848-1929) and James (1850) baptised there while living at Drumadillar.


George married Anne Anderson b.1830 in 1852 at St. John's Killesher and was Blacksmith at Drumduff. His mother Jane Walsh b.1794 and father John must also have lived there for a while as they were returned from Drumduff to be buried at Cloonclare Church of Ireland, Manorhamilton in 1861 and 1862 and I believe George was also buried there - but there is no headstone for them.


John Rutherford was my 3 x Great Grandfather. My grandfather William moved to England.


Firstly, I would love to hear from anyone who is related to or knows anything about these Manorhamilton Rutherfords.


Secondly, I am trying to work out where they came from, and if they were related to the Glenboy and Gortnalibbert Rutherfords. William Rutherford (1806-1892) and son Frederick (1846-1927) were Glenboy Blacksmiths but in Griffith's Valuation the only forges I can find in the Parishes of Cloonclare and Killasnet are the three on Main Street Manorhamilton. My Rutherfords and the Glenboy Rutherfords must have known each other but I don't know how closely they were related.


Any information kindly received!



Andrew Rutherford.


Sunday 18th Jun 2023, 12:06PM

Message Board Replies

  • Hi Andrew


    Thank you for your detailed post. You might want to add all this information to the body of your Ancestor Profile for John Rutherford in the parish of Cloonclare to double your chances of discovery. 

    • I've also got a long line of blacksmiths in my tree (not in Co Leitrim unfortunatley). What I do know is that they moved beyond the distances our farming ancestors would as landlords enticed them them to service their estates.
    • Also some members of the family would branch out into farming in the same area the blacksmith parent was trading 


    In the Flaxgrower's list of 1797, I see a James & Adam Rutherford of Cloonclare, a James Rutherford of Killasnet, and an Alan Rutherford of Drumlease.   One of these James Rutherfords is recorded as a Co. Leitrim Freeholder in 1799 (Finns Leinster September 18, 1799)

    So there's a good chance your Rutherfords will turn up in the Elphin Census of 1749 – have you searched that yet? (Its on FindMyPast). It might shine a light on point of origin it also records occupation such as "smith". 


    Hope this helps! 


    Rua, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘︎

    Saturday 24th Jun 2023, 07:16AM
  • Thanks for the information, Rua.

    That is very interesting about Blacksmiths moving to other areas. It makes sense as to why John Rutherford and his wife, son George and daughter Mary moved to Fermanagh while his other sons John, James and Thomas remained in Leitrim. It's also not actually that far from Manorhamilton to Enniskillen.

    I'm pretty sure the James Rutherford Flaxgrower of Cloonclare that you mention could well be related to my family.

    I think James Rutherford b.1791 who married Ann Waterton was the brother of my John Rutherford b.1792 and he appears as both a farmer and a weaver in BMD records. It's quite possible James Rutherford flaxgrower was their father although I would've expected my John's father to be a blacksmith.

    Daughter, Frances b.1819 (of James Rutherford b.1791 and Ann Waterton) married James Rutherford b.1825, her first cousin, (son of my John Rutherford) and he was a tailor. It would make sense that he was a tailor if his father in law (uncle) was a weaver, and his grandfather a flaxgrower. I have DNA matches to the tailoring side of the family as well as the blacksmith side. But I can't be absolutely sure that James b.1791 was the brother of John 1792 because as daughter Frances and son James were married first cousins, the DNA matches could be coming through both or either, unless anyone can tell me different? My family tree with all my Manorhamilton ancestors, that I know of, is on Ancestry in case anyone knows of them.

    I will look at the Elphin census of 1749 with great interest!

    Thank you.


    Sunday 25th Jun 2023, 12:11PM
  • Very interesting to hear of your Blacksmith ancestors and impressed you’ve found out so much. I too have a Blacksmith as an ancestor. Name Patrick McGuiggan who had a son, also Patrick born in 1829, so his father born end of 1700s or early 1800s. They were Roman Catholics. Armagh is the most likely area.

    I’ve tried looking for classification by trade without success. I suspect the link you suggest was confined to Church of Ireland members. I had expected to find apprenticeships/ qualification lists. But none so far. A Patrick does come up in Griffiths but occupation is given as farmer.

    I shall follow you links, thank you for those and if there is any other information you think might be useful I’d be delighted to have it.





    Friday 20th Oct 2023, 02:39PM

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