Ancestral Clues and Lessons: John Neill

I know precious little about Irishman John Neill. He lived in the NewtownLimavady area of County Derry, Ireland, in the 1860s when his son Joseph married in the Drumachose Parish at the Derrymore Presbyterian Church. John had another son Samuel. The brothers were born in the 1830s. What I have learned about John and about research by researching John:

  • the importance of siblings. Samuel’s my direct ancestor but I have learned more about John from researching Joseph.
  • poor Irish are difficult to research.
  • DNA may help. One reason I’ve submitted to a DNA genealogy test is to potentially find some matches on my direct male line as John is my direct patrilineal ancestor.
  • don’t stop researching. After years of research, I may have located another child of John–a daughter who stayed in Ireland.

5 thoughts on “Ancestral Clues and Lessons: John Neill

  1. Mary Hammond says:

    “Poor Irish are difficult to research.” Why especially difficult?
    Because they aren’t on any “society” pages?
    Because they don’t bother with formalities like marriage banns, christenings, etc?
    Because they don’t own any businesses or post ads in newspapers?
    What else?

    (Especially when their names are very common, as my Irish ancestors’ were.) Poor and common!

    • mjnrootdig says:

      Those are all excellent reasons. And, like the poor anywhere, they simply don’t leave many records. Compounding the issue in this case is the fact they aren’t too many records during the early part of John’s life.

      But…there may be a record of his death. I just need to try and determine which John Neill it is.

  2. Alicia Genin says:

    I have those poor Irish. The biggest favor they did for me was to move to Scotland before moving to the US in 1892. They turn up in the English censuses for 1880 and 1890 and in a marriage record with witnesses and parent’s names. (this was a boon!) This great grandmother of mine also went back to Ireland to have her first child who was baptised in Killalla and the record has witnesses. The family myth was that they had come from Ireland, but they had taken about 20 year detour! On the paternal side, also Irish, the family ended up in Liverpool. They were in England for two generations before moving to the US in 1896. There too, they turn up in censuses and in a lucky break, the place in Galway from which my great great grandmother came was mentioned. So, if you are not finding folks in Ireland, check Scottish and English records.

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