Can I just add to the story.
Hugh and Robert Thompson who lived in Druminiskill, had a sister - Isabella Thompson.
She married William Taylor, who was born in 1810. They are both buried in Druminiskill.
William Taylor was my gr gr grandfather.
He and Isabella had several sons, one of whom was called Thompson, after his mother's
surname, and another one, Guy, was my gr grandfather. My grandfather was called William
Thompson Taylor - named after both his grandparents (William Taylor, and Isabella
For a photo of William and Isabella's grave stone, see my Taylor grave photo at
Sent from my iPad
On 28 Feb 2014, at 09:48, Barbara Vaughan <bvaughan(a)libero.it> wrote:
With the kind and expert help of Viola Wiggins, I think I've
mystery. To summarize the mystery, I have a photo passed down in my
family, of an elderly woman named Mary Thompson, who was 109 years old
when the photo was taken in 1863. The woman is posed with two young
ladies, daughters of the Earl of Enniskillen, whose estate at Florence
Court is now a National Trust property. Her residence is given only as
Killesher Parish. I was given this photo by my aunt, Edith Vaughan, born
in Derrygiff, in the Parish of Cleenish, not far from Florence Court. My
aunt said that we were related to her in some way, but she couldn't say
how. We had no knowledge of Thompsons in the family. From the elderly
woman's clothing, it's obvious that she was from a very modest
(euphemism for poor) family. I've always assumed she was a tenant of the
Coles, and that she was posed with their young daughters just because of
the human interest; she is 100 years older than the younger daughter.
The text below the photo, taken by W.R. Bailey, sounds like newspaper
copy, so maybe it was published somewhere.
Here is a link to the photo:
Here is an enhanced image of the text, which scanned poorly, and had a
scratch through it:
I already knew that a Mary Thompson lived in Druminiskill, Killesher
parish, Barony of Clanawley, at the time of Griffin's Valuation,
published in 1862 for this area. She was a tenant of the Earl of
Enniskillen. There were also a William, Robert, and Hugh Thompson in
Druminiskill at that time. Mary Thompson owned a small amount of land,
but no buildings, so she must have lived with one of the others, maybe a
son. She's the only Mary Thompson I could find a record of around this
time, although there may have been other Mary Thompsons at the time who
wouldn't have been listed on Griffith's Valuation. I had no way to
connect this Mary Thompson to my family. If she were the Mary Thompson
in the photo, she would have been 108 at the time of the valuation.
My grandmother Charlotte Vaughan, née Brown, was from the townland of
Rossmacawinny, Killesher Parish, and members of the Brown family of
Rossmacawinny are found in the Freeholders Poll Register of 1788, in
Griffith's Valuation, and in the 1901 census. Rossmacawinny is very near
Druminiskill, so my suspicion was that Mary Thompson was related to us
through a Brown connection, although this was just speculation.
The first big break in the case, thanks to Viola Wiggins and Seamus
McCanny, was the discovery of a death notice for a Mary Thompson, of
Druminiskill, who died on the 28th of March 1865, aged 110 and just
about a month shy of 111, so she is definitely the Mary Thompson in the
photo, and also the Mary Thompson listed in Griffith's Valuation.
A Hugh Thompson and a William Thompson were tithepayers in Druminiskill
in 1828. I assume these might be the sons of Mary Thompson. If they were
born in the 1780s, when Mary Thompson was in her late 20s or early 30s,
they would be in their 40s at that time. They would have been in their
80s at the time of Griffith's Valuation, but after all, longevity seems
to run in the family. Robert, also listed in Griffith's Valuation, might
be the son of Hugh or William, and would have been too young to pay
tithes in 1828.
On the 2nd of December, 1827, Mary Thompson, daughter of William
Thompson and his wife Mary, was baptized in County Fermanagh. I don't
know the church or the town, but she might possibly be the granddaughter
of Mary Thompson the elder. Her father William would have probably been
in his 40s at the time if he were Mary Thompson's son, which isn't
impossible. This item was also relayed to me by Viola.
One of my big stumbling blocks was that my grandmother lied about her
age (taking off 8 years) both in the 1901 census and in the 1911 census.
(She was such an upright old lady when I knew her! Who would have
thought it?) Her stated age would have her born in 1875. This had me
searching in the wrong decade, and I happened to find a different
Charlotte Brown, born in 1873, who seemed to be the right one. Her
mother's birth name wasMargaret Green, so no Thompson connection.
The next break was the discovery of the marriage, on the 28th of March,
1850, of Mary Thompson, daughter of William Thompson, to John Brown, in
Fermanagh. Once again, I owe this to Viola. I was dubious, though,
because it seemed too early for this Mary Thompson to be the mother of
my grandmother, born (as I thought) in 1873 or 1875. Besides, I thought
my great-grandmother was Margaret Green, not Mary Thompson. However, it
seemed this Mary Thompson might be a relative, and I was very
interested. For one thing, it seemed quite possible that this was the
William Thompson paying tithes in Druminiskill in 1824, and listed in
Griffith's Valuation in 1862.
By chance, a few days ago, I discovered that Charlotte Brown, daughter
of Margaret Green, died at the age of 20. Obviously, this was not my
grandmother. I began searching for other Charlotte Browns, but couldn't
find a single one. I was beginning to think the puzzle was insolubile.
Then, yesterday, I remembered that I have my grandmother's passport, and
that this would have her exact date of birth. That's how I discovered
that I was searching for her birth in the wrong decade! Once I looked
for earlier dates, I found her easily. On the 29th of October, 1867,
Charlotte Brown was born; her father was John Brown, and her mother's
birth name was MARY THOMPSON. So I think the mystery is solved! Not only
that, but it seems I have a direct link from Mary Thompson the elder to
William Thompson, and to his daughter, Mary Thompson Brown, my
great-grandmother, who married John Brown, my great-grandfather.
There are only two doubts. The first is whether there might have been
another generation between Mary Thompson the elder and Mary Thompson the
younger. Perhaps William Thompson the tithepayer is a different William
from the one in Griffith's Valuation. I think this is unlikely, though,
as it would imply very early marriages, which were rather rare in
Ireland at that time. The second doubt is that William Thompson might
have been a nephew, rather than a son, of Mary Thompson the elder. I'm
ordering an official copy of her death certificate in the hope that it
lists the next of kin. In any case, Charlotte Brown Vaughan, my
grandmother, is probably the great-granddaughter of the Mary Thompson in
I have been searching for this connection for over two years, and have
been puzzled by it ever since I saw the photo as a little girl; My
interest in Mary Thompson induced my aunt to give the photo to me,
rather than to one of her other nieces or nephews. We have always
wondered how we were related to this woman, and had all sorts of
speculations about it. We didn't even know if she was in my father's
maternal or paternal lines. Last week, I was talking to my brother about
my genealogical endeavors, and he asked immediately whether I had solved
the Mary Thompson mystery. I told him that probably it was impossible,
because so many Irish records were destroyed. In just a few days from
posting my question on the list, I have the answers. I can't begin to
express my gratitude to all of you, but especially to Viola Wiggins, who
has truly gone beyond the call of duty.
By the way, the excitement over this is spreading throughout my large
family in the US via Facebook today!
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