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  • Searching for the Whaley Ancestors:A Trip to the Past in Northern Ireland

    Robert Irving Soare


    From records in the Whaley family Bible and from references inthe Whaley Family History by Rev. Samuel Whaley [9], I knew thatGeorge Whaley, my great-grandfather, had been born in Tandragee,County Armagh, in 1815, lived on Whaleys Hill there, and had em-igrated to America in 1846. George later married Margaret Dunlopwho was from Gilford, County Down, born in 1825, and who emi-grated to America also in 1846. Their son, Albert Gray Whaley, bornin 1865 in Brooklyn, New York, was my grandfather.

    From the family Bible I knew the parents and grandparents of bothGeorge and Margaret and some other family members, too. I spenttwo weeks in Northern Ireland in July, 1994. My purpose was to verifythe facts I had, discover earlier ancestors, and to see the places wherethey lived such as Whaleys Hill, Tandragee, and Gilford, includingthe churches where there might be records. The trip was even moresuccessful than I had hoped.


  • Table of Contents

    Title Page 1Table of Contents 21 Arriving in Northern Ireland 32 Provinces, Counties, Parishes, and Townlands of Ireland 43 The Meaning and Spelling of Irish Place Names 64 Whaleys Hill and Tullyhugh 65 Anglican Church Records in Tandragee 96 The Public Records Office in Belfast 116.1 The First Whaley to Settle in Tandragee 126.2 Margaret Whaley Renews a Lease in 1793 136.3 Tithe Applotment 1830 156.4 Griffiths Valuation 1863 157 Ulster Folk and Transport Museum 16References 17Appendix A: Maps of Northern Ireland, County Armagh, Ballymore Parish 19Appendix B: Maps of Tandragee and Whaleys Hill 25Appendix C: Ballymore Parish records, Church of Ireland (Anglican) 28Appendix D: Entries from Whaley Family Bible 31Appendis E: The Meaning of our Maternal Surnames 34


  • 1 Arriving in Northern Ireland

    Saturday, July 23, 1994. The small plane took off from the runwayin Manchester, England heading for Belfast, Northern Ireland. Below inthe sunshine the red brick houses were tightly packed and grouped in smallcircles, lines, and rectangles, giving evidence of a heavily populated area. Asthe plane turned northwest I imagined I might be following a route similarto that of the first Whaley to go to Northern Ireland.

    From the Whaley history and other sources we know that the Whaleyfamily originated in England. Belfast records show that a number of Whaleymembers in Northern Ireland came from Whalley Abbey near Manchester.Our particular branch apparently descends from David Whaley of WhaleysHill, County Armagh, who is descended from Whaley of Kirkton, Notting-ham County, England, and he is in turn descended from Richard Whaley ofDarleston, Stafford County, England [9, pages 4345]. In any case the firstWhaley in our family to travel to Ireland probably followed a similar routeto mine from the midlands or northern England to Ulster.

    As I was thinking this the plane passed over the Isle of Mann, a smallIsland in the Irish Channel, and soon approached Belfast, the capital ofNorthern Ireland. In contrast to the Manchester area the area around Belfastis much more rural, with many fields, some with livestock grazing and somewith grain. The landscape is very green with small hills rising frequently. Itis as if some giant long ago put down balls of clay which blended into smallbut prominent hills suitable for fields or grazing. Many place names derivefrom these hills. For example, the area surrounding Whaleys Hill derivesfrom the ancient Gaelic Tullyhugh, which apparently means Hughs hill.I rented a car at the Belfast airport and drove to the city of Armagh, the maincity in County Armagh, and the center for both the Catholic and Anglican(Church of Ireland) in all Ireland, where I spent Saturday night at a bed andbreakfast run by Mrs. McRoberts in her charming house nearly a hundredyears old with lofty ceilings and many rooms and staircases.


  • 2 Provinces, Counties, Parishes, and Town-

    lands of Ireland

    The Province of Ulster. To investigate the family records one must firstunderstand the administrative units of Ireland under which the records areorganized and stored. (Maps of these are included in Appendix A below.)Ireland is divided into four provinces, Ulster, Leinster, Connaught, and Mun-ster, and each is divided into counties. Ulster lies at the northern end ofIreland. In ancient times Ulster was the most Gaelic of the provinces andthe least influenced by the English invasions, beginning with the Normaninvasions in the twelfth century. However, under Henry VIII and Elizabeth Ithe fighting between English and Irish was renewed. The Irish earls of Ulsterlost a series of battles to the English and left Ireland forever in 1607 underthe famous flight of the Earls. The English seized the opportunity to pop-ulate the now vacant lands with Englishmen and Scotsmen. Thus began theplantation period whereby land was leased on a long term basis to menfrom England and Scotland provided that they would come and farm it. Thisled to a tremendous influx of Protestants from England and Scotland from1600 to 1800, supplanting the former Irish Catholic population in Ulster,many of whom moved to other parts of Ireland. By 1800 the Protestants ofUlster were a majority, as they are today. So far as we know all the ancestorsof George Whaley and his wife, Margaret, Dunlop were descendants of theseProtestant settlers from England and Scotland who settled in Ulster. Tradi-tionally, Ulster had nine counties rather than six. In 1921 these other threecounties of Ulster and the remaining three provinces became independentof England and formed the Republic of Ireland. The remaining six coun-ties of Ulster became known as Northern Ireland, which is now roughlysynonymous with Ulster, and which is a part of the U.K.

    County Armagh and County Down. The province of Ulster presentlyconsists of six counties: Armagh, Down, Antrim, Londonderry, Tyrone, andFermanagh (see map). The two westernmost counties, Antrim and Down,have traditionally had the highest proportion of Scottish settlers because ofthe proximity to Scotland. Margaret Dunlop is from Gilford, County Down,and her ancestors are partly Scottish. George Whaley is from Tandragee,County Armagh, and the Whaley ancestors are English. The maternal names


  • of his mother and grandmothers are Gordon (which is Scottish) and Craw-ford and Waddle (which are probably English). Those of Margaret Gordonare Gray (which could be either Scottish or English), Harvey, and Gillespie(which are probably English). This illustrates the considerable intermixingof the Scottish and English settlers living in Ulster.

    Parish of Ballymore. Originally the parish was based on early Christianand medieval monastic and church settlements. From the 17th century thesame unit became a civil parish and by the mid-19th century the pattern ofcivil parishes was well established. They are used for both church records,like birth, death, and marriages, and also for civil tax records, census recordsand other civil records. Up to 1898 the civil parish was the major adminis-trative division. County Armagh is divided into 29 civil parishes. The parishcontaining the town of Tandragee is Ballymore.

    Townlands and Other Units. The townland is the oldest and smallestunit of Irish land division and is the ultimate goal of any family historyresearcher. The townland was named in ancient times and usually refers tosome identifiable landmark such as a hill, bog, village, forest, or church. Theparish of Ballymore is divided up into 48 townlands. Those nearest the townof Tandragee are called Ballymore (a dual use of the name for parish andtownland), Tullyhugh, and Cargans. From the books in Salt Lake City, Iknew all the other units containing Tandragee, but it was impossible to tellwhich townland contained Whaleys Hill.

    I have skipped other administrative units such as baronies, poor lawunions, probate districts, and dioceses (for both Catholic and Anglican churches),which have various records, but which I shall not discuss here. The admin-istrative units containing Tandragee and Gilford are as follows.

    Town Name.......County.......Barony...............Parish........... Poor Law UnionTandragee Armagh Orior Lower Ballymore BanbridgeTownship

    Gilford Down Iveagh Lower Tullylish BanbridgeTownship


  • 3 The Meaning and Spelling of Irish Place


    Many of the names of places in Ulster are originally Gaelic names whichwere anglicized sometime during or after the plantation period which beganaround 1611. Joyce [7] notes that Tully means little hill. It is oftencombined with a second part in place names such as Tullyhugh, Tullylinn,Tullymacann, Tullynacross in Ballymore parish, and there are many othervariations of Tully elsewhere. Bally means town or homestead and isoften combined with a following word, as in Ballymore, which means bigtownland Tandragee means back to the windward namely leeward.Armagh means Machas height, after a legendary Irish lady. The factthat these names were anglecized by those with no knowledge of Irish explainswhy there are so many different spellings for the same name, e.g. Tandragee,Tandaragee, Tanderagee, Guilford, Gilford, all of which appear on maps andrecords.

    4 Whaleys Hill and Tullyhugh

    Sunday, July 24, 1994. As I drove the forty minute trip from Armagh toTandragee, I passed the same green countryside as near Belfast, rolling hills,with grain growing and animals grazing. At the top of a hill the road cameto a T and entered the town of Tandragee. On the right hand side wasa large impressive church, St. Marks, the Church of Ireland (Episcopal),surrounded by an old graveyard. Instead of going there I turned right onChurch Street and drove past the church and a bit further into the townbecause I