Jane Johnston – My 2nd Great Aunt or… Is She?
A daughter, sister, wife and mother – Jane Johnston was born about 1854 in Lough Eske, Co. Donegal. Jane is one of six children born to John Johnston and Isabella Smyth – OR is she! Her older “sister” Catherine is my 2nd great grandmother.
Parish records reveal that Jane Johnston of Ardnableask married William Elvin of Castlenavean, Stranrolar on 16 Mar 1875 in the Donegal Church of Ireland. The Marriage Record shows that John Beattie and George, whose name is illegible; witnessed the couples union. William’s father was recorded as James Elvin; however, Jane’s father was recorded as “Johnston” his first name was not given!
Jane and William’s married life began in Donegal, by 12 Mar 1876, and the birth of their first daughter, Mary Jane; they were living on the Lower Road in Londonderry. Records indicate they were living at the home of Jane’s sister and brother in law; John and Catherine Chambers. In 1879 and the birth of their second and third children (Elizabeth and John James) the family still resided on Lower Road; records confirming that the “occupier” was still John Chambers.
Sometime between the birth of their son, John James, on 24 Dec1879 and his death on 29 Jun 1881 the couple and their small family had moved to Scotland. John James, their third child was born in Londonderry and sadly passed away in the small town of Calder, Scotland. “Calder can be found in West Lothian, Scotland, and is located four miles west of Livingston. In the 19th and 20th Centuries it was an important centre for the oil shale economy.”
It would seem, as many had during that period in time; the family had moved to Scotland in order for William to secure work. The 1881 Census of Scotland disclosed the family was living at 41 Close in the village of Calder, and William was working as a labourer in the iron works.
In October of 1881, a few short months after the death of John James, Jane gave birth to their fourth daughter Isabella. Their family continued to grow with the birth of their second son, and fifth child; Joseph in June 1884. Once again the family suffered another death – sadly, Joseph too died in infancy in March 1886.
Baptismal Records from St. Columb’s Cathedral, for their sixth child and fourth daughter – Margaret, dated 11 Nov 1888; confirm that once again the family had returned to Londonderry. At this point in time the family was living on Nailors Row with William working as a labourer. The family was complete in 1891 with the birth of their last child – another daughter named Catherine; she too was baptized at St. Columb’s Cathedral.
On 27 Apr 1892 tragedy struck the Elvin family once again. William passed away at 113 William Street, Londonderry in the presence of his brother in law, John Chambers; with whom the family was still living. His death record indicates his cause of death was “disease of kidneys & albuminuria”. It would seem that the males in the particular line of the Elvin were not destined to live long lives.
At the time the 1901 Census of Ireland was taken Jane and her daughters were living in 15 Argyle Terrace. An article in the Derry journal, published on 27 Mar 1903; entitled “Sales of House Property in the City” stated “Three new houses of six apartments each and scullery, situate Nos. 28, 30, and 32, Argyle-terrace, were purchased by Mrs. Jane Elvin, Mrs. Sherrard and Mr. Patrick Woods respectively at £200 each.” 28 Argyle Terrace is that home that Jane remained in until her death.
On 15 Jun 1940 Jane passed away in her home on Argyle Terrace; her nephew Alexander Love (my great grandfather) of 47 Abercorn Road was present. Her death record noted her death was due to “a cerebral haemorrhage due to arterio sclerosis due to senility”. Jane, along with her husband William and daughter Isabella; is interred in the Derry City Cemetery.
Some mystery surrounds Jane. Although I, and several distant cousins; have searched for her Birth and Baptism Records … none are to be found. Approximately fourteen years separate her assumed birth year and that of her closest sibling. Her father’s Christian name is not on her Marriage Record – which may or may not be relevant. Although I have acquired a lot of information on Jane, much more remains to be found on this particular Twisted Limb.
“In the end, we’ll all become stories” Margaret Attwood.