Why Was the Brother Not the Bondsman and Migration Timeline Questions on the Neills

Sometimes it just takes time for things to “click.” And sometimes even after things click there are more questions than answers.

In writing up my Irish problem on Annie (Murphy) Neill, I realized that I had not fully researched the bondsman (Edward Durbin) on her 1865 marriage to Samuel Neill in New Brunswick, Canada. In thinking about the problem I realized that Samuel’s brother Joseph would have been the logical choice to have signed Samuel’s bond.

Why wasn’t Joseph on the bond?

Joseph and Samuel immigrated to New Brunswick together, arriving in 1864 along with Joseph’s wife and daughter.  They are listed as immigrants from Limavady on page 158 of Irish Passenger Lists 1847-1871: Lists of Passengers Sailing from Londonderry to America on Ships of the J. & J. Cooke Line and the McCorkell Line, Brian Mitchell, Genealogical Publishing Co., Balto., MD. 1988.

There are three main reasons why Joseph may not have appeared on Samuel’s bond:

  • He had already left the area and headed to Illinois where the family was living in 1870 and where Joseph’s wife, Anne (Brice) Neill had relatives.
  • He wasn’t speaking to Samuel at the time or was in some way unable or unwilling to sign the bond.
  • The second bondsman had to be able to attest to the bride’s eligibility to marry as Samuel could attest to his own.

It is possible that Joseph and Samuel Neill did not migrate from New Brunswick to Illinois at the same time. Places of birth for their children will have to be analyzed for clues as to potential differences in their years of migration to Illinois. This is a different question from the bondsmen question but one that needs to be answered as well–if possible.




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