The trail of my Irish ancestors leads from Ireland to Scotland, USA and Canada. Last year I had been researching my ancestors on my mother’s side. In the Censuses of 1911, they are recorded as being of the United Free Church of Scotland and are living in Belfast. They emigrated from Belfast to Canada in 1920 at a volatile time when the Irish Civil War was brewing.
Recently I have discovered more about my Irish ancestors on my father’s side who were also from the north part of Ireland. Aided with the marriage certificate from Scotland for great-grandmother Margaret (Maggie) McGinnes and great-grandfather Michael Solan, that I have had for some time, combined with some intense research I was able to link to my Irish McGinnes ancestors.
I discovered that there are Irish records online from various Catholic parishes here at NLI (National Library of Ireland). This is where I found original birth records in Latin for my great-grandmother Margaret McGinnes and many of her brothers and sisters. There were 11 children, all born around in or near Limavady, Londonderry (Derry), Northern Ireland. Luckily, the church had hung on to these records so they were not lost in the 1922 fire at the Public Records Office in Dublin. In later documentation, the birthdates of the McGinnes children were mostly recorded as some years later than that what their original Latin birth records from the Catholic Church in Derry stated.
To trace the McGinnes family to Scotland I was able to use the Ancestry site somewhat but the ScotlandsPeople site was invaluable. Here I found many original documents for the McGinnes family, including birth certificates, death certificates and Censuses of Scotland. I was able to do many crosschecks, ensuring that I did indeed have the correct McGinnes family. Margaret or Maggie McGinnes, who was my father’s grandmother on his mother’s side was one of the eleven McGinnes children, all born in Ireland who emigrated from Ireland to Scotland at some point after the birth of the last and eleventh child in 1877. Their parents were John McGinnes and Margaret Ann Haggerty. I was not able to find the family in the 1881 Scottish Census so chances are that they arrived in Scotland after 1881. The family turns up again in the 1891 census in the town of Wishaw living in a house at 5 Scotts Row, Berry Hill, Wishaw. By this time, Margaret Ann McGinnes has been widowed; husband John McGinnes, blacksmith, having died at this same address in Wishaw two months earlier.
Her daughter, my great-grandmother Margaret McGinnes, was also living at 5 Scotts Row, Berryhill when she married her neighbour, my great-grandfather, Michael Solan, whose address at the time of their marriage was 8 Berryhill Rows, Wishaw. Michael’s parents had also emigrated from Ireland to Scotland and Michael had been born in Scotland. The marriage took place on June 12, 1893, at the Roman Catholic Chapel in Craigneuk, Parish of Daziel.
After her marriage to Michael Solan, it appears that Michael may have gone on ahead of Margaret to the USA, as in 1894 immigration records show Margaret travelling alone by ship from Glasgow to New York, with intention to meet her husband in Springfield, Illinois. The ocean voyage lasted almost two weeks and she arrived in Springfield just in time to give birth to her first child, my grandmother, Margaret Solan.
Margaret McGinnes’s birthplace, Derry, later became part of Northern Ireland. Next county over, Donegal, where husband Michael Solan’s parents were born, became part of the Republic of Ireland.