Fantastic source of North Antrim genealogy info and all-round great guy Nevin Taggart from the North Antrim Local Interest blog contacted me in July (I know, I’ve got a backlog of blog posts to thrash out!) with some exciting news for this site; he had located a baptism record for my paternal great-grandfather William McDowell Jamison.
Up to this point, William was as far back as I’d managed to trace my Jamison lineage. The earliest mention I’d found of William was on the 1901 census as a 57-year old father of several children, living in the Bushmills locale. He appears again on the 1911 census, as does my grandfather Charles Frederick Jamison, then an 18-month old infant.
I’ve made efforts to locate a birth certificate for William online and by contacting the churches around Bushmills, but to no avail. All I had to go on, based on the 1901/1911 census data was a likely birth date of around 1844.
Nevin had located a baptism record online for William, which answers several questions; William was baptised just after Christmas 1845, so we was probably born just before Christmas, and his birthplace was the parish of Comber, County Down. Comber is situated south of Newtonards, just to the north-west of Strangford Lough; looking at the Northern Ireland coast, County Down is situated to the south-east of Belfast, whereas North Antrim lies to the north-west. So William wasn’t born in Antrim, where he later settled. Interestingly however, William’s youngest son, my grandfather Charles Frederick, settled in County Down with his wife Eliza and as far as I can ascertain, most if not all of his children, including my father, were born in the Ballynahinch/Annahilt areas, just over twelve miles from Comber.
I’ve updated the family tree file with the following details from William’s baptism record: I suppose I should rename the family tree now as we’ve worked back to William’s parents!
Name: William McDowell Jameson
Father: David Jameson (note the alternative spelling of Jamison).
Father’s occupation: Labourer
Parish: Comber, Co.Down
Date of baptism: 28/12/1845
Denomination: Church of Ireland
The McDowell Connection?
The fairly distinctive name of my great-grandfather made it very likely that this was a record of his baptism, but then Nevin outdid himself by turning up even more info!
The same David and Matilda Jameson went on to have a total of ten children according to another family’s tree on Ancesty.com;
William, born 1845
David, born 1848
Thomas, born 1849
Adam, born 1851
Matilda, born 1855
Margaret, born 1856
James, born 1860
Catherine, born 1862
Elizabeth, born 1864
Susanna, born 1866
William appears to be the eldest surviving child, but it was from the birth record Nevin located on the Groni website for William’s youngest sister, Susanna, that the names cinched it; Susanna’s mother’s name is given as Matilda Jamison, nee McDowell. A birth date of 1825 is also provided for Matilda.
Several older members of my family on both sides have their mother’s maiden name as their middle name, and it appears that Matilda and David named their eldest son the same way. So the McDowell connection confirms that these finds by Nevin are indeed records of my great-great grandmother and grandfather, and their ten children.
I’ve reached out to the family who feature Matilda and David on their family trees on Ancesty.com (neither Jamisons or McDowells), and hope to hear from them and make more connections. The birth dates for William and Susanna on this family tree tie up with the records of their birth found elsewhere by Nevin, so I’m certain this is the same family, and I can add McDowell to Matilda’s name. With my boundless thanks to Nevin for turning up this next step back in time; watch this space as I run with this info and try to go back another generation into the 1700s!