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Countries I have Visited

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Some research Tips

I have had many emails regarding research in Ireland and what software to use etc. So we put together some of our favorite picks for you to look at here

Dr Desmond McCourt (OBE) a good friend of Bogstown

 

Dr Desmond McCourt (OBE) – Memorial Tribute by E. Estyn Evans

 

Desmond McCourt (Des, or Dizzy as I always called him) was one of the most interesting of the hundreds of students who passed through the Department of Geography at The Queen's University of Belfast when I was its head; and I am delighted to contribute this foreword to the Festschrift which he so richly deserves.

He came to me from 'Inst.' in 1942 with a reputation as a rugby wing-forward: during his time at Queen's he was playing regularly up to international standard and was often conspicuous in the lecture-room, thanks to the injuries he bore as a result.

He graduated in 1946 with honours at the top of the first division of the second class. The external examiner was my revered teacher Professor H.J .Fleure, who told me that he found in Desmond's scripts

hints of a rare quality which could not be fully tested in a written examination. They were written in a crisp and lucid style which was uncommon among undergraduates.

On the strength of his dissertation he was awarded a research scholarship and his MA thesis on archaic forms of rural settlement in Ireland, presented in 1947, led to the award of a fellowship and to a

PhD degree in 1950. At the same time I was able to give him some part-time teaching, and he also did relief teaching at Campbell College, Belfast. Old pupils […]

Eliza Mary Laird (c1815-1852) - by Judy Green

My great grandmother Eliza Mary Laird was born c.1815 in Northern Ireland. When Eliza and her husband Andrew Kerr came to Australia as Bounty Migrants in 1841 Eliza is listed on the shipping records as born in Donegal, daughter of James and Sarah Laird. However she may be connected to James Laird (c.1767-1852) of Bogstown Farm, Shantallow where Co. Donegal borders Co. Derry. This James Laird had married Beth Boggs (c.1784- 1859) at St. Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry, on 9 March 1807. James Laird of Bogstown had a brother John and John Laird was character referee for Eliza and Andrew when they applied for Bounty migration. Bogstown was an 18th century farmhouse and farm buildings with a row of labourer’s cottages within a stone courtyard and situated in the townland of Shantallah bordering on Co. Donegal. The farmhouse had been the residence of several generations of a family of Scots plantation settlers called Boggs. When Eliza was aged about 17 she married Andrew Kerr (c.1801 -1865) who came from a well-established Londonderry family of shoemakers. Andrew was the son of shoemaker Robert Kerr (c.1775-1864) who had married Jane Walsh (c. 1779-1835). Robert’s parents were Andrew Kerr (shoemaker) and Margaret Campbell. The Kerr family had originated in Ayr, Scotland and like the Lairds and Boggs were plantation settlers in Londonderry. Between 1608 and 1620 the English were concerned about Catholic Ireland and handed over Co. Derry to 12 London companies who encouraged Protestants to settle there and Derry became “Londonderry”. During the 17th and 18th centuries many Scots Protestants became plantation settlers in Londonderry. Derry is the Gaelic name for “oak wood “. St. Columba established a monastery there in the 6th century and as if he knew of the troubles ahead – the great siege of Londonderry and the confrontations […]

Life Gets Teejus, Don't It - by Carson Jay Robison, 1890-1957

The wonders of Google.  My Dad could only remember a few lines from his childhood related this 1948 song "I open the door an' the flies swarm in.  I shut the door an' I'm sweatin' again"  I told him to Google those few words and up came the whole song in seconds.   Something lost for 74 years is found in a flash, what interesting times we live in.

Sun comes up and the sun goes down. The hands on the clock keep goin' around. I just get up an' it's time to lay down. Life gets teejus, don't it?

My shoe's untied but I don't really care. I ain't a-figurin' on goin' nowhere. I'd have to wash an' comb my hair. That's just wasted effort.

Water in the well's gettin' lower an' lower. Can't take a bath for six months or more But I've heard it said, and it's true I'm sure, That too much bathin'll weaken' you.

I open the door an' the flies swarm in. I shut the door an' I'm sweatin' again. I move too fast an' I crack my shin. Just one durn thing after t'other.

My old brown mule, he must be sick. I jabbed him in the rump with a pin on a stick. He humped his back, but he wouldn't kick. There's somethin' cockeyed somewhere.

There's a mouse a-chawin' on the pantry door. He's been at it for at least a month or more. When he gets through there he's sure goin' to be sore. [Chuckles]  There ain't a durn thing in there.

Hound dog howlin', he's so folorn. Laziest dog that ever was born. He's howlin' 'cause he's a-sittin' on a thorn — Just too tired to move over.

Tin roof leaks an' the chimney leans. There's […]

Laird - Kerr Sydney Londonderry connection 1850

Andrew Kerr and Elisa Mary (nee Laird) resided at 113, Palmer-street Woolloomooloo in 1858 at the same time one street over Robert Laird and his wife lived at Crown Street.   There is a clear connection of both Andrew Kerr and his wife Elisa Mary (nee Laird) to Londonderry and indeed James Laird Esq of Londonderry (who at this time lived at Bogstown Farm Shantallow).   It also seems that there may be a link given the proximity of the families in Woolloomooloo.   To date no marriage information has been obtained on the Kerr's either in Australia or Londonderry. 

  

 

Elagh Laird's History by Alan Laird

Elagh is a townland to the North-West of Londonderry city in the parish of Templemore, Northern Ireland. […]

EA50 Laird Family Headstone Restoration Project

 

  After living in Singapore for 2 years now it has given me a much greater appreciation of  traditional Chinese culture.   A typical Chinese family will once a year visit and pay respects to their departed relatives for "grave sweeping" and have a deep belief that current day family prosperity and health is directly connected to their relatives grave.   Many cases exist in Chinese urban myth where a family members sickness was cured by a change or offering made at the family grave.     The Laird family Headstone marking plot EA50 at Londonderry Cemetery however due to time and the high price of Lead unfortunately the Bible which rests on a pillow now has many letters missing.   It is also not recommended to replace the letters due to both the high cost and the fact that they will again disappear.   Haslett Monumental Sculptors a family run business operating in the Londonderry area over for over 3 centuries has recommended a new black granite Bible book 20"x18"x3" and with raised panel cut letters.  The full restoration price is greater the GBP 1,000 and would include a much need repair to the broken base. 

 

    Wider view of EA50 Laird Family Plot

EA50 Headstone October 2009

New Bible Draft text

 

The family plot was purchased in 1886 for the burial of Mary Wilson 2ndyoungest daughter of Lucinda Laird elder sister of Ann Laird.   Mary left the family home at Durmnahogue near Letterkenny to work on Bogstown farm as a milk maid and unfortunately died of Tuberculosis in 1886.    Mary was buried first but never listed on the headstone the new granite inscription will correct this error. […]

Puslinch Ontario Laird's

The LAIRD Family of Guelph Ontario is an old and respected Puslinch family date their ancestry back to the late John Laird, who emigrated from Scotland to County Donegal, Ireland in about 1770, and there married Margaret Brown.   He had two brothers who emigrated to the United States of America about this time and were Captains on the Colonial side in the Revolutionary War.  For this service they received from the U. S. Government a city block on Juniper Street, Philadelphia. Neither were married, and on their death this property fell to the late John Laird's family and was sold for their benefit. The late John Laird Jnr, son of the late John Laird and Margaret Brown Laird, was born in County Donegal, Ireland in 1777.   He married Margaret Armour, and they came to Canada with their family in 1830 and setup in Pusinch township., where he purchased 500 acres at $2 per acre these were lots 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, on consession 7.    

He died four months after reaching Puslinch, and was one of the first to be buried in the old Guelph Cemetery. His remains were afterwards transferred to the Union Cemetery. The family had means, and the widow, who was a woman of more then ordinary ability, looked after the welfare of her family and carried on the task of making a home in the bush, so pluckily undertaken by her late husband. She employed help to start the clearing of the farms, which work was eventually finished by her sons. She died in 1862, age 75 years. Issue: Mrs. John Patterson, Mrs. Geo. Patterson, Mrs. Robert Cook, Hamilton, James, Joseph, died unmarried age 70 years, and Mrs. James Gibson.

Hamilton, born Co. Donegal, Ireland 1820, and died on his Puslinch farm in 1882. […]

1830's Life in Londonderry

A FASCINATING directory for the city of Londonderry – dating from the early nineteenth century – has been newly-published on the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) website, offering a rich insight into what it would have been like to live there one hundred and seventy years ago.

A New Directory of the City of Londonderry, 1839, paints a vivid portrait of the town just years prior to the Great Famine, when William Lamb was Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister and Hugh Fortescue was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

The old tome describes what was once a bustling centre of international commerce. Citizens could buy a range of local snuffs and West Indian cigars in William Smith’s of The Diamond, hobnob with a range of international consuls in the King’s Arms in Pump Street, and then rub shoulders with the famed shipbuilder William Coppin, who captained the Robert Napier Steam-Packet, between the city and Liverpool every Friday.

The whole gamut of civic society is covered by the directory, appropriately enough for “the capital of the County,” a city of “very great antiquity” and “a place mentioned in history at so early a period as 546, at which time St Columb founded an Abbey here for Augustinian Canons.”

Readers of the directory can easily imagine the local notables and holders of high office alongside the flaxspinners and public houses of the Cowbog and the butchers of the shambles.

Political life is, of course, covered and we learn that the city had just one double-jobbing Alderman in 1839. That was MP Sir Robert A. Ferguson, who is today immortalised as the “Black Man” of Brooke Park, a statue that formerly stood in The Diamond.

Ferguson was joined on the […]