The Robinsons of Ballyarr!

“They Too Hailed From Donegal…” 

On 20 Nov 1909, at the age of seventy; in Garryharry, Churchill, Co. Donegal, Fanny Sweeney, a farmers widow; passed away.  Her son John was the informant of her death.  She was my 2nd great grandmother, mother to Lizzie Sweeney, who married my great grandfather Thomas Murdock.

Fanny Robinson - Marriage & Death Record

Fanny, a child of James Robinson and an unknown mother (her name currently remains elusive) was born about 1839 in Co. Donegal.  In 1859 she married James Baxter Sweeney in the Ramelton 1st Presbyterian Church; a Twisted Limb that I followed (literally) back to Ireland in the summer of 2014!

My recent research now has me exploring my Robinson ancestors; following this particular Crooked Branch back one more generation!  The marriage record of Fanny Robinson and James Baxter Sweeney reveals that the Robinsons lived in Ballyarr, Co. Donegal in 1859; and her father James was a farmer.  In turn, the Griffiths Valuation record of 1858 confirmed that James Robinson (my 3rd great grandfather) was leasing plots 11 and 12 from Thomas Patterson.  The Robinson farm was located in the Town land of Ballyarr, Parish of Tullyfern, Union of Milford, Barony of Kilmacrenan in Co. Donegal.

Robinsons of Ballyarr

My 3rd great grandfather James Robinson passed away on 14 Jan 1868 at Ballyarr, Co. Donegal.  The Civil Death Record confirms that he was a farmer and was widowed at his time of death.  John Robinson was with him at his time of death.  So, my “unknown” 3rd great grandmother Robinson was deceased prior to Jan 1868!  A little clue moving forward…

James Robinson of Ballyarr

The Census Record shows that only one Robinson was still living in Ballayar in 1901.  Hannah Stewart (70 yrs) was listed as a widow and the head of the family.  She was living with her daughter Jane Robinson (26 yrs) and her niece Mary Tease (14 yrs) at 5 Ballyarr!  Hmm… so, where does Jane fit?

1901 Census

A Civil Birth Record for Jane Robinson of “Ballyare” was unearthed.  Jane, my 1st cousin 3 times removed; was born on 30 Oct 1870 to John Robinson and Hannah “Teas”.  The record also revealed that John was a farmer.

John Robinson and Hannah “Tease” were married on 10 Mar 1863 in the Parish of Trenta, Co. Donegal.  John was a farmer, as were his father James and father in law Moses.  Moses Tease and Alexander Robinson witnessed their union.  Another clue was discovered in the Church Marriage Record!  Who is Alexander Robinson?  Is he another of my 2nd great uncles that I had been previously unaware of?  The search will continue for Alexander!

Further “hunting” led me to the Civil Death Record of John Robinson, my 2nd great uncle; who sadly passed away much too young at the age of 35.  His wife, Hannah Robinson, was present at his death, on 1 Jun 1872.  Almost 10 years later, on 7 Feb 1882; Hannah Robinson of Ballyarr married William Stewart of Breen.  Sadly, by the time the 1901 Census was taken… Hannah Stewart of 5 Ballyarr was a widow once again!

There is no question the 1901 Census of the residents at 5 Ballyarr became somewhat of a “Gold Mine” for me!

About CJ Murdoch

Looking For "Dead People"! My Journey Back In Time - Tracing my ancestors and researching the counties, cities and towns where they resided. Taking a “Glimpse” into their lives and stories and the times in which they lived; all in an effort to learn about their “Dash”! “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning – to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the second with tears, but he said that what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.” I have always been interested in researching my family tree and “hanging out” in cemeteries. Like most of us... I didn't ask enough questions when elderly family were still living. Oh, what I would give for 24 hours and a camera with my ancestors… just to sit and listen! I'm researching many family lines, including: Murdoch, Wilson, Berry, Love, Scott, Beattie/Beatty, Hendren, Sweeney, Robinson and Elvin; just to name a few. My families are predominantly from counties Antrim, Donegal and Londonderry. However, it seems that many of them, both maternal and paternal lines, originally hailed from Co. Donegal. I was born and raised in Northern Ireland and now live in Ottawa, Canada, making frequent trips back home to visit with my family. Of course those visits also include treks to the many burial grounds of my ancestors. My most recent trip back home was during the summer of 2019! Looking forward to August of 2020 when I will return. If you are interested in help tracing your ancestors I’d love to hear from you!
This entry was posted in Burial Records, Co. Donegal, Geneaology, Ireland and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Robinsons of Ballyarr!

  1. Pingback: From Garryharry, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal to Montgomery, Pennsylvania, U.S.A! | TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

  2. Patrick says:

    Tease is an unusual surname but there is one in the 1911 census boarding with a Stewart family in Derry, maybe related?

    Liked by 1 person

    • CJ Murdoch says:

      Hi Patrick, I took a quick look and did and little research on the 1911 census that you mentioned. You have now found me a new “twisted limb” to follow. Hannah Tease remarried after the death of my 3rd great uncle John Robinson. Her 2nd husband’s name… William Stewart. I looked for the birth record for Alexandra (transcription error – it should have been Alexander) and found that his father was Moses Tease of Trenta! Bingo! Another generation of the Tease family. I’ll research further – maybe a follow up blog is in the not too distant future! Thank you very much for your help. 🙂 Colleen


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