Share This:

I will be traveling to Ireland next April for the first time! Excited doesn't begin to describe my joy about this. I would love to find out where my ancestors hailed from. Any help would be a Godsend to not only myself, but my entire family as well. Wouldn't it be grand to find a living relative from my bloodline?! 


My great grandmother Rose Bell Johnson's family came to the U.S. in 1848 aboard the ship "Diadem." They lived somewhere in Ireland, made their way to their Port of Departure in Messina (Italy?), then sailed to New York. The only other information I have is as follows: 
Head of household - John Francis Johnson (or Johnston) 45yrs old, who is listed as a SADDLER on the ships passenger list

Mother - Mary Ann 40yrs

Children - Angelina 14; Sophia 11; Richard 9; William 7; John 4 (my grt. grt. grandfather) & Cornelia who was born at sea. 


Estimated Birth Years:

- John Francis b. 1803. (Maybe went by Francis?)

- Mary Ann b. 1808.

- Angelina b. Aug 12 1833 London, England.

- Mary Ann Sophia b. 17 Oct 1837 Rotherhithe St Mary Parish, Surrey Co, England. Baptism 15 Nov 1837 Rotherhithe St. Mary England.

- Richard b. 1839.

- William b. 1841.

- John Samuel (my Grt Grt Grandfather) b. 25 Aug 1845 Ireland. Died 26 March 1907 in Ventura Co. California U.S.A.

- Cornelia b. 1848 (born at sea before 29 Sept 1848, when they made port in New York). 


Unsure if this my Grt Grt Grandfather (John Samuel) and fits with the family information I posted above:

Name: John Johnston

Date of Birth: 

Date of Baptism: 05-Jan-1845 <-- After he was born

Address: Belfast 

Parish/District: ST ANNE'S, SHANKILL

Gender: Male

County: Co. Antrim 

Denomination: Church of Ireland (COI)

Father: John Johnston

Mother: Mary McMullen


Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you willing to help me put the puzzle pieces together. Not just to find my family's origins, but to possibly find a living relative! I don't know if my heart could take it, but I'm willing to give it a go. :-)


Friday 14th Aug 2015, 05:25PM

Message Board Replies

  • According to Ancestry, Angeline Johnson was a passenger on the Diadem which left London and arrived New York 29.9.1848. (London seems amore likely port of departure than Messina). It also gives her place of origin as Ireland, rather than London. Though that may just mean she was living there, immediately prior to her departure.

    I looked for the family in the 1841 census for England & Wales but could not find them, suggesting obviously that they were living elsewhere. Possibly back in Ireland. (The Irish 1841 census has largely been destroyed).

    What was John Francis Johnston’s occupation? The name is so common in and around Belfast that you would need an occupation to try and find him.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 14th Aug 2015, 06:49PM
  • Elwyn Soutter, John Francis was listed as a "Saddler" on the passenger list from the Diadem. 


    Friday 14th Aug 2015, 07:32PM
  • I had a look in some street directories for Belfast (Martins 1842, and Hendersons 1843 and 1846) but did not find any Johnson who was a saddler.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 14th Aug 2015, 08:46PM
  • Elwyn, I appreciate you looking. If you come up with anything else on the other members of the family, maybe that will help. Perhaps there's even a living relative from one of my grt. grt. Grandfather John's siblings. Who knows :-)


    Friday 14th Aug 2015, 10:03PM
  • The trouble with the surname Johnson is that it is so common, so without a clue about exactly where the family lived it’s tricky. I searched for Cornelia and Angelina births, marriages and deaths in Ireland because these are very rare forenames. (I wasn’t looking for your family because we know about them but I though that if family naming patterns were followed, it might lead to cousins of the same name. I found one Cornelia Johnston in Ballyshannon born about 1869 but that was it. No Angelinas at all).

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Saturday 15th Aug 2015, 09:59AM

Post Reply