Tuesday, July 27, 2010

William McCown, White Slave

Everyone who gets into genealogical research of their family surname, dreads a
result such as this. In this case, we don't know when our earliest ancestor arrived in America or what his given name may have been or whether he was Protestant or Catholic or what his circumstances were.

I have said repeatedly that I have neither the right nor the knowledge to judge my ancestors, never mind apologizing for their circumstances, that is God's province and not mine. In this case, this particular William McCown, of County Donegal was captured by Oliver Cromwell's troops in 1650. He survived the the ocean trip to America but there was sold into slavery under the direction of Oliver Cromwell's government. White slaves were treated just like black slaves and if they ran away were beaten and if they did it again they were branded on their forheads with an R.

This William McCown ran away and was not caught. Praise God!

I doubt that he was either the first or last native of Ulster to suffer such a fate at the hands of Cromwell and his Ironsides, particulary since there were zero English Puritans among the native Irish. Since most of Ulster had been
through the great plantation of Ireland by 1635, and the native Irish were Roman Catholics, Cromwell used the expediency of killing a great many of them to get control of Ulster and remove the Roman Catholics. It was very effective.

If it should turn out that we find this William McCown in our family line, then we will celebrate his successful escape. But, feel shame on his behalf? Never in a thousand years! Each of us has enough to answer for without answering for our ancestors, and from what little I got from a Google search using the term, McCown, Donegal,this William did nothing wrong that I know of.

So, the genealogical research will go on as usual, remembering that most of the Irish in America were forced to leave Ireland by religious, economic conditions or outright warfare.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Fair Coane Gets a Break

The fair Coane had been reading this blog for awhile before contacting me about a possible connection between her family and mine. She has furnished some very valuable information used in the blog as well as being used by other researchers.

Things are tough when you are looking in the window, but can't participate, but now, a male in her paternal line has taken the 37 marker Y-DNA test. All I know to date about the result is that their Coane line has the Niall of the Nine Hostages
haplogroup and my line does not. It is a matter of her line being M222+ and mine being M222-.

This is not a major surprise since their Coane Coat of Arms includes an O'Neill crest. Now the crest is explained. There may be O'Connor's in the mix as well because many of them also share M222-. If you have been tested by FTDNA but have not had them test your sample for deep subclades, that is where you will find such things as M222+ or -.

In the Coane line, unless her male relative has had the deep subclade test, it must have been so strong that FTDNA predicted the haplogroup. FTDNA is very careful with their predictions and usually, you can take them to the bank.

I really get a kick out of it when someone has done so much good research but can find no one in the paternal line to take the test and gets a windfall like this.

Congratulations to the fair Coane and her male relative as well!

Our trip to Fermanagh is really shaping up. We had a siege of paper work that all had to be done right now, and now, we can relax for a bit. As planned, we will be met at the airport by one of John Cunningham's drivers and be driven directly to Belleek, County Fermanagh, a two hour trip during which we well see about 80 miles of beautiful scenery. The fair Coane recommended John Cunningham's tour service in glowing terms and already he has been very helpful. If you are interested, email him
at Adam4Eves@aol.com. (No, I will not comment on his choice of email address)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This is a Banner Day in This Blog

Today was a day like all days until I received notice both from Jim McKown and FTDNA
that Jim is only the second McKown/McCown who is an exact 12 marker match with me.

The other match is a known cousin, Sam McCown.

Jim has signed up to be tested to 67 markers and those results should all be in by late in August. There are about 39 McCown/McKown members of the McCown Surname Group,
so this is great news at least by one of Irish descent and, hopefully two of Irish descent. I will keep you current on this as Jim's results are received.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Adventure to Fermanagh is Taking Shape

Airfare and trip insurance fees were charged to our credit card today and a huge fee for passport renewals was sent in for expedited service. I don't know if this is prejudice against Protestants of Irish descent or not.

I found that having a good travel agent is a great advantage in getting the best fares and seats for the money and most especially for giving great advice. We will be in Fermanagh for parts of 10 days with more than half of those days spent in Belleek. Belleek isn't easy to find even in a small county such as Fermangh and even with a good size fold out map from Michelin. It is relatively close to Donegal Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It is just southeast of Ballyshannon and a little west of Lower Lough Erne.

Judging by said map, it looks as though we will travel from Belfast and up the west side of Lough Erne going from the lower end of upper Lough Erne to the top of Lower Lough Erne. I think I am lost already, but, thank goodness, the tour guide or one of his associates will pick us up at the Belfast Harbor Airport and deliver us to our bed and breakfast accomodation in Belleek. I will not have to learn to drive on the wrong side of the street or get lost in transit. Barry McCain says that getting lost in Ireland is fun, but he is much more into adventure than I.

So, between Belfast and Belleek, we will pass all along the west coast of the lough including things we will come back to see later in the tour. If you haven't looked at Lough Erne on a map, you may be surprised to learn that upper Lough Erne is south of lower Lough Erne. In this case, it is because the River Erne rises in the mountains at the south end of the county and runs to the north so the terms upper and lower refer to elevation rather than compass directions. More later.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Grand Adventure to Fermanagh

We almost have all the ducks in line for a trip to Fermanagh. It will be our first ever trip to Ireland and have received some great suggestions from the fair Coane and husband,John,
Barry McCain and Patrick MacAuley. All gave some discrete insights and advice.

The trip will involve an eleven hour flight from San Francisco to Heathrow and then a change of both planes (from Boeing 777 to Airbus 319)and airlines. The transportation from Belfast to Belleek, Fermanagh, will be provided by John Cunningham
(a tip of the hat to the fair Coane and her husband, John).

This will be our first ever trip out of the country without a complete, predetermined package, and at my age, traveling a la carte, is a bit more exciting than I would like.

No personal genealogical research is planned, but we hope to visit many scenic and historical sites. The trip, if all the ducks line up will happen in September.

I look forward to relating the highlights on our return.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Few Words from William Roulston

I spent some time late last week checking the Calendars of the State Papers relating to Ireland for any further references to Maguires and McCowns.

By way of background, state papers concerning Ireland are preserved in The National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office) in London under SP/63. The documents concern the administration of Ireland in this period of enormous change. There is much information of interest about the Ulster plantation. Calendars of the papers covering the period 1509–1670 were published in 24 volumes by the Public Record Office between 1860 and 1911, under the title Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland.

I checked the following volumes:











Only one reference was found to a McCown who also bore the name Maguire and this was to our old friend Edmond Maguire McOwen who had been noted in the patent rolls in 1611. The reference found now amplifies what we know about him.

The document in question appears in the Calendar covering the years 1611-14 (page 70). It takes the form of a letter from Sir Arthur Chichester, the lord deputy of Ireland, to the Attorney General, dated at Dublin Castle on 6 June 1611:

“Warrant to draw out a fiant of letters patent granting a pardon, with the usual limitations, to the under named, being natives of the province of Ulster, who are to be removed from their ancient dwellings upon this plantation, and who fear to be prosecuted by their landlords for leaving them. Edmond Maguyre McOwyne of Tyrone gent[leman] with 13 yeomen, 11 labourers, 15 husbandmen, 1 victualler, 4 serving men, 1 smith.”

This is all very interesting for it gives us an insight into the position of the Irish just as the Plantation of Ulster was getting underway.

Although the ‘undertakers’, as the English and Scottish grantees were known (for they agreed to undertake the planting of their lands with British settlers) were expressly forbidden from having Irish tenants, in reality nearly all of them disobeyed this ruling and were quite happy to retain the Irish on their lands.

At the same time, there was considerable dislocation of Irish society during this period. As this document reveals, Edmond Maguire McOwen et al were concerned that they were to be forced to leave their homes and farms and so took precautions to protect themselves from being prosecuted by their landlords for doing so.

While we cannot as yet be certain this Edmond is the progenitor of your line, we have delved a little deeper into the world in which your ancestors lived in the early seventeenth century.

I’ll add this to the website in due course.