13 November 2012

The Adamsons from Ballymacanallen

Sarah Ann Adamson was married to James Smith and was my great great great grandmother. She was born in around 1828 in Ballymacanallen, Co Down, Ireland. Her parents were Thomas and Ann Jane.

Sarah Ann's whole family came out to Australia, in dribs and drabs. The following table shows the details:

Name Year of emigration Ship Religion Native place and county Relatives in the colony
Margaret Adamson 1849 John Bright Church of England Near Gilford, Co Down No relatives in the colony
Thomas Adamson 1849 John Bright Wesleyan Near Gilford, Co Down No relatives in the colony
Mary Jane Adamson 1851 St Vincent Presbyterian Gilford, Downshire Sister and brother living in Sydney
Sarah Ann Adamson 1852 David McIver Church of Scotland Ballymacanallen, Co Down Brother and 2 sisters living at North Shore
George Adamson 1852 David McIver Church of England Tullylish, Co Down Thomas living somewhere in Sydney, Mary Jane and Sarah Ann living at North Shore
Thomas (father), Anne (mother), Martha, Ellen, Eliza, Nancy, Alexander and Robert 1855 Nabob Presbyterian All from Sego, Armagh, apart from Anne, who was from Tullylish, Armagh (actually Co Down) A son, Thomas Adamson, living in York St, Sydney

Margaret and Thomas were the first of Sarah Ann's siblings to come out. Although it seems that Mary Jane arrived by herself, she actually arrived with her husband Henry Donaldson, also from Gilford, whom she married on the voyage - they were married by the ship's surgeon apparently. George and Sarah Ann arrived next, though George seemed quite confused about which sister he was travelling with - presumably because the single men and women weren't allowed to mix on the ship. Then the parents Thomas and Ann Jane brought all the rest of the children out - son Thomas paid immigration deposits for Thomas, Anne, Alexander and Robert a year before they emigrated (interesting that deposits were not required for the girls). Curiously, Thomas and Anne seem to have dropped their ages by about 20 years in order (I assume) to qualify to emigrate.

Ballymacanallen is a townland 4km north of Gilford, in the parish of Tullylish, Co Down, Northern Ireland. I tend to think they were probably all from Gilford, but the parents Thomas and Anne and the younger children may have moved on to Sego before they emigrated to Australia - who knows why. Ballymacanallen seems to have been a small farming community at the time.

Thomas was listed as farm labourer when he emigrated, as were his sons Thomas and Alexander, with son George listed as a labourer. It would appear that they all worked in labouring jobs here in Australia as well. Son Thomas bought 12 acres, 3 roods of land in "Willoughby" (possibly Crows Nest now) in 1853, though I can't work out exactly where this was - having more than one Thomas Adamson living in the North Sydney area makes it hard! Thomas the son (who, confusingly, is generally known as Thomas Adamson snr) built a weatherboard cottage at 10 Munro St, North Sydney, which still stands, and perhaps this is on part of the land he bought in 1853.

The thing which surprises me the most is the listed religion for each of the family members - there's a variety - Church of England (presumably this was "translated" from Church of Ireland), Church of Scotland/Presbyterian (are they the same thing?) and Wesleyan. Firstly I was totally surprised that there was a Presbyterian presence in Ireland. I does suggest to me that somewhere along the line the Adamsons had ancestors who moved to Ireland from Scotland. Secondly, I do wonder how attached the members of the family were to their listed denominations - afterall Mary Jane said she was Presbyterian, her husband Henry was listed as Church of Scotland, and although they married on the voyage, their marriage was registered at the Sydney Wesleyan Methodist church. Sarah Ann was Presbyterian, but married her Wesleyan husband James Smith in the same Wesleyan Methodist church. Some members of the family were buried in the Presbyterian section of Gore Hill Cemetery though, so I guess some did keep to the Presbyterians.

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