CPT Peter Knight’s Command of Colonial Fort

Virginia Highway Marker E-70. [1]

On 21 Sep 1674, the Grand Assembly, held at James City, Virginia, enacted Act I – An act for the safeguard and defense of the country against the Indians. [2] to defend the northern frontier of the colony against the Susquehannocks and other Indian groups. The act provides for 8 garrisons and specifies the number of men each county is to provide. Ammunition, provisions, tools, surgeons, medicines, horses, pay to footmen and horsemen, compensation for families of those slain, and compensation for owners of horses killed are all specified. Rules of engagement and articles, rules and orders to be observed (26 in all) by the men are specified.

Act I specifies that 34 men out of Northumberland County, 25 men out of Lancaster County, and 25 men out of Middlesex County be garrisoned at one fort or place of defense on the Potomac River at or near John Mathew’s land in the county of Stafford (now Fairfax County), of which fort Captain Peter Knight is to be captain or chief commander.

Virginia Historical Highway Marker E-70, Colonial Fort, stands near this site at 38° 46.763′ N, 77° 3.111′ W, next to the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Belle Haven, Virginia. [1]

CPT Peter Knight (1620–1705) is 10th great-grandfather of MKS in the Knight branch.

[1] Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Historical Highway Markers, database search > E-70 > Colonial Fort, Fairfax (County). Virginia Department of Historic Resources, 1999 (photograph).
[2] William Waller Hening (editor), The statutes at large; being a collection of all the laws of Virginia, from the first session of the legislature, in the year 1619; …, Vol II (New York: R. & W. & G. Bartow (printer), 1823), pp326-336; digital images, Hathitrust.org (https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.35112104867892).

James Spratling’s Earmark

Livestock owners in the Colony of Virginia protected their rights to their livestock with earmarks, shapes cut into the animal’s ears. Earmarks were preferred there in the 17th century over branding. [1]

These earmarks were recorded in the county court to help in the return of stray livestock, or litigation over stolen livestock.

Our James Spratling recorded his earmark with the County Court of Lunenburg County, Colony of Virginia, on 4 Nov 1760. [2]

James Spratling’s earmark, 1760.

His earmark is described as “a Crop and Slit in the Right Ear, and a Swallow fork in the Left.”

These same earmarks are still in use today. [3]

James removed from Lunenburg County to Henry County, Virgina, before 1777. On 25 Nov 1779, he recorded a different earmark with the Court there [4]—it is difficult to read, but appears to say: “Under Kut in each Earr.”

James Spratling (1742–1812) is 6th great-grandfather of MKS in the Spratlin branch.

[1] Virginia DeJohn Anderson, “Animals into the Wilderness: The Development of Livestock Husbandry in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake,” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 59, no. 2, 2002, pp377–408; digital images, JSTOR (https://www.jstor.org/stable/3491742).
[2] County Court, Lunenburg County, Virginia, County Court order books, 1746-1865, Order books, 1759-1762; database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS42-T9J3-6?i=235&cat=398428), image 236, verso.
[3] Arizona Department of Agriculture, Registered Brands, 2021, p5; digital images (http://searchagriculture.az.gov/docs/brandbook.pdf).
[4} Henry County, Virginia, Order and Minute Books, 1777-1904, General Indexes, 1777–1904, Order Books, v. 1-6 1777–1797; database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS42-PXSG?cat=400740), image 61, recto.

Spratling with a “T”

Conventional wisdom assures us James Spratling (1742–1812), husband of Winifred Munday, is the son of John Spradlin (1712–1769) and Mary English (1713–1756). And this conventional wisdom goes on to assure us John is the grandson of Andrew Spradling (1652–1733) of New Kent County, Virginia, apparently Andrew Spradling the Immigrant.

  1. Andrew Spradling (1652–1733) and Ann (Unknown) Spradling (1652–unk)
  2. Andrew Spradling (1689–1738) and Elizabeth (Chaddock) Spradling (1693–1717)
  3. John Spradlin (1712–1769) and Mary English (1713–unk)
  4. James Spratling (1742–1812) and Winifred (Munday) Spratling (1751–1835)

Years ago, this author embraced this conventional wisdom, copying and pasting the line into our family tree. But does the conventional wisdom of 100s of unsourced on-line trees equal truth? A few minutes spent comparing an abstracted source to the primary source and a few Big Y-700 DNA tests have destroyed the conventional wisdom, replacing it with a blank sheet of paper.

The most extensive research of James Spratling and Winifred Munday was conducted by Marion S. Wattenbarger [1] before 1998. Marion’s research focuses on establishing that James’ wife Winifred is Winifred Munday, daughter of James Munday of Caroline County, Virginia. Her well-sourced research is a treasure chest, providing the primary sources for the life of our James Spratling.

But perhaps the most interesting thing about Marion’s research is what is not there—not one word about James’ parents or origin. Marion was the brave genealogist among us. She stuck to what she could prove.

How did James Spratling come to be the son of John Spradlin and Mary English?

Well, an abstract of course! So much easier to read an abstract than the cursive handwriting of the primary source—is cursive writing even taught in schools any more.

Records of Hanover County.
The Small Book, 1734–1735.

Jany., 1773.

Mary English, extor of Jno. Spradlin. Security Michael Gentry, Saml. Gentry.

Abstract of The Small Book, 1734–1735, Records of Hanover County. [2][3]

Our imagination fills in the rest. Mary is John’s wife—ok, that part is not hard to imagine as the wife is often the executor of the husband’s estate in this era. But he needs a birth date. He needs a death date. And throw in a child while we are at it. Or perhaps that came later, John being discovered in the area, with a very unique surname, the right age to be the father of our James, an ancestor in need of parents.

But something is already amiss. Do you see it? Why is a Jany. 1773 record in the 1734–1735 records of Hanover County, Virginia. Well, it isn’t.

In the primary source [4], image 23, left-hand side of the page, we find something very different.

In the record dated 5 Mar 1733 (O.S.), we find the probate for John Spradlin, deceased in 1734, not 1769, whose wife Mary Spradlin is executrix, with Samuel and Nicholas Gentry posting bond.

  • 5 Mar 1733 (O.S.), not Jany., 1773.
  • Mary Spradlin, not Mary English.
  • Nicholas Gentry, not Michael Gentry.

The primary source is clearly referring to John Spradlin (1678–1734) who married Mary Gentry.

Where did Mary English come from? Flip back one page to image 22, right-hand side of the page. There we find the 7 Jul 1727 (O.S.) settlement of the estate of John English, Mary English extor. This record and the record at the top of image 23, left-hand side of the page, are both missing from the abstract.

Mary English is her married name in the primary source. However, in the 100s of unsourced on-line trees, Mary English is her maiden name, and she is the daughter of John and Mary English.

The marriage of John Spradlin (1712–1769) and Mary English is an abstraction error, two records conflated into one. He does not exist.

Not convinced? Want to bet?

Descendants of Andrew Spradling (1652–1733) and James Spratling (1742–1812) have taken Y-DNA tests with FamilyTreeDNA. See the data on the Spradlin Project.

The descendants of Andrew Spradling are haplogroup R-FGC21301. Three descendants of James Spratling, including this author, are haplogroup R-BY67253. These two haplogroups are estimated to share a Most Recent Common Ancestor between 127 and 155 generations ago, between 1600 B.C. and 2400 B.C.

The Spradlings and Spratlings of the Colony of Virginia are not related in either the genealogical or the historical time frame.

The parents of James Spratling are unknown.

James Spratling (1742–1812) and Winifred Munday (1750–1835) are 6th great-grandparents of MKS in the Spratlin branch.

[1] Marion S. Wattenbarger, “James Spratling and His Wife, Winifred (Munday), Caroline and Henry Counties and Wilkes County, Georgia,” Tidewater Virginia Families: A Magazine of History and Genealogy, Virginia Lee Hutcheson David, editor, 12 vol. (Berwyn Heights, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc., 2016), 6:1 (May 1997 – Feb 1998):30-38.
[2] “Records of Hanover County.”, The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 21, no. 1, 1912, 49; digital images, JSTOR (https://www.jstor.org/stable/1922081).
[3] Gary Parks (indexer), Virginia Land Records From The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary College Quarterly, and Tyler’s Quarterly (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1982), 85; digital images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/sharing/23352612?h=abdcc6).
[4] County Court, Hanover County, Virginia, Deeds, wills inventories, and settlement of estates, 1733–1735, Miscellaneous probate and land records, 1733–1792, Item 1, Deeds, wills, inventories, and settlement of estates 1733-1735; database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99P6-3SFR?cat=365146), image 22-23.

Photo Friday—Eliza and Matthew Swann

Eliza Roxana Adams is the daughter of Reverend Ezra Adams and Isa Proctor. She was born in Esquesing Township, Halton County, Upper Canada (now Acton, Ontario), in 1828, while Ezra was temporarily superannuated (retired) from the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada. Church records report Ezra was at the time “worn down by disease incurred in the swamps of the western country.” Despite this, he ran a school house in Acton during this time.

In 1847, Eliza married Reverend Matthew Swann, also of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, in Markham Township, York County, Province of Canada. They had 7 sons and 6 daughters.

Based on their marriage date and place, in Find Alpheus Adams’ Mother : Part VI, we conjecture Eliza did not accompany Reverend Thomas Hurlburt, her sister Elizabeth Almira Adams Hurlburt, and her brothers Henry Proctor Adams and William Case Adams to the Indian Mission Conference in Oklahoma and Missouri from 1844 to 1850 or 1851.

For two portraits over 100 years old, these are in amazing condition!

Eliza Roxana Adams (1828–1906) is 4th great-grandaunt of MKS in the Watne branch.

Matthew Swann (1822–1910) is husband of Eliza Roxana Adams.

[1] Ancestry.com member cswann40 (photographs).


We have learned much about our Knight line, and much about the process of genealogy, from Laura Knight Jadczyk. Her website Once a Knight is Enough, Knight Genealogy reflects over two decades of research of her Knight line, back to our shared ancestry in the Knights of Colonial Virginia.

As we climb our tree back through Colonial America, things get murky. Records are sparse. Families were large, and, they, well, they ran out of given names. Jr. was attached to a young adult male to distinguish him from his uncle, so Jr. does not share his given name with his father. The given name of a deceased child was given to a sibling born later. Records were lost, or destroyed—though not as often as we pretend. And they moved a lot.

The life of a relative in that era may now only be reflected in a single reference, in a original record that has not been microfiched, and digitally scanned—it is not on-line.

Laura demonstrates the benefit—no, the necessity—of looking at every record for a surname of interest, and the records of their Allied families, to make headway in Colonial America.

After our recent focus on the Irish lines of our Watne branch—Porter, Gallagher, Walker, Hannah, Virtue—it is time to tackle our direct paternal line, Spratlin(g). As with our Knight line, we are headed back to Colonial Virginia.

Step one, don’t forget what Laura taught us.


If you are researching your Spratlin(g) line in Colonial Virginia, join in. We need the help!

Plantagenet Ancestry of William Farrar I

In Sisley Jordan Farrar—Ancient Planter, we met Sisley’s husband William Farrar I. William is a descendant of an Angevin (i.e. Plantagenet) King of England—King Edward I of England. [1]

Portrait in Westminster Abbey, thought to be of Edward I.

Here is the line from King Edward I of England to William Farrar I:

13. Edward I of England, King of England (1239–1307)
> m. Alianore de Castille

12. Joan of England [of Acre]
> m. Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Glouchester

11. Alianor de Clare
> m. Hugh le Despenser, 2nd Lord Despenser

10. Edward Despenser, Knight
> m. Anne de Ferrers

9. Edward Despenser, 4th Lord le Despenser
> m. Elizabeth de Burghersh

8. Anne Despenser
> m. Hugh Hastings, Knight

7. Edward Hastings, Knight
> m. Muriel de Dinham

6. John Hastings, 9th Lord Hastings
> m. Anne Morley

5. Elizabeth Hastings
> m. Robert Hildyard

4. Katherine Hildyard
> m. William Girlington

3. Isabel Girlington
> m. Christopher Kelke

2. William Kelke
> m. Thomasine Skerne

1. Cecily Kelke
> m. John Farrar

0. William Farrar I (1583–1637)
> m. Sisley NN (Bayley) (Jordan) (Farrar)

Sisley NN (1600–1637) is 11th great-grandmother of MKS in the Knight branch.

William Farrar I (1583–1637) is 11th great-grandfather of MKS in the Knight branch.

King Edward I of England (1239–1307) is 10th great-grandfather of William Farrar I, and 24th great-grandfather of MKS in the Knight branch.

[1] David Faros, Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth-Century Colonists (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1996).

17,350 and Counting

The early part of 2020 was devoted to finding Alpheus Adam’s maternal line using a combination of genetic genealogy and old-fashion research into the history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada and the United States. And 2020 closes as we found possible parents for Andrew Porter Sr. in County Donegal, Ireland.

At the end of 2020, there were 17,350 family members in our family tree.

Andrew Porter Sr., or Jr.?

In an earlier post, Irish Ancestral Homelands of the Watne Branch, we learned where the Gallagher-Walker and Hannah-Virtue families were living in County Donegal when they left Ireland for Canada West (now Ontario) by 1851.

We have learned we must research a group of Allied Families—Gallagher, Hannah, Hindman/Hyndman, Kerr, Love, Porter, Virtue, Walker, and others—to understand any one of them.

We have found them living close together, intermarrying, serving as witnesses on birth and marriage records, and moving on as a group to new places in search of a better life for their families.

Despite the progress made in finding their homelands, the whereabouts of Andrew Porter Sr. in Ireland remains a mystery. It is time to resume our search.

Please buckle your seat belt.

Until a record is found that explicitly lists the homeland for an ancestor, we are left to try to match the details (e.g. name, parents’ names, date of birth, religion) from their confirmed records with potential records for them back in a potential homeland. It can be a complex puzzle to solve, requiring research into multiple generations of their family to accumulate enough circumstantial evidence to provide confidence we have identified the correct person. And the last puzzle piece may not exist.

Starting from Andrew Porter Sr.’s confirmed records, we are faced with a few challenges:

  • his birth is listed variously between 1815 and 1831
  • his parents’ names are unknown
  • his homeland is listed merely as Ireland

It is therefore difficult to disambiguate between multiple Andrew Porters in Ireland (and there are many).

What do we know about Andrew Porter Sr.?

From family history, we are told in Hannah 1896–1996 [1] that Andrew was born in Donegal, Ireland, in 1829, and immigrated to Canada in 1852. Further, we are told that Andrew and his wife Jane Gallagher were the only children in each family. At least two of these “facts” are incorrect—Andrew was in Canada by 1851, and Jane had at least six siblings—but who is counting!

In the records of Canada, we learn that Andrew was born between about 1815 and about 1831. The earliest record, and therefore perhaps the most accurate, the 1851/2 Census of Canada, lists his birth as about 1826. In all of these records, Andrew is listed as being born in Ireland, not specifically County Donegal.

[Note: You may remember from prior posts that the 1851/2 Census of Canada was actually begun on 12 Jan 1852.]

Andrew lived in Manvers Township, Durham County, Canada West, on 12 Jan 1852, and removed to Holland Township, Grey County, Canada West, by 1861. Andrew is actually listed as owning land in Holland Township by 29 Dec 1851. [2] We therefore presume he removed his family to Holland Township soon after the 1851/2 Census of Canada.

Holland Township lots in red, Manvers Township lots in green.

[Hover the cursor over or click on a pin to see more information.]

He later removed to Manitoulin Island, Ontario; Hannah, Cavalier County, North Dakota; and Frobisher, Saskatchewan. We have not found anything in Andrew’s records from these three places pointing to a more specific homeland, so we omit their details.

Andrew died in Frobisher, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1907. Andrew has a son, Andrew Porter (1856–1941), so they are Sr. and Jr. respectively. We will therefore refer to him as Andrew Porter Sr. (1826–1907).

From what we have learned of the Allied Families, betting odds are that Andrew emigrated with the Gallaher-Walker and Hannah-Virtue families from Ireland to Canada West, and likely lived near them in County Donegal, Ireland.

But it is possible he was indeed an only child, perhaps even an orphan, and that he emigrated from elsewhere alone. If so, he would be the first such confirmed ancestor in our family tree.

This is what we knew about Andrew Porter Sr. until 22 Oct of this year when Porter cousin K. Werner pointed us to a DNA match with our Porter family DNA tests, that match having a family tree containing one Ann Lyons.

Who is Ann Lyons?

Ann Lyons is the wife of James Lyons (1804–1887).

On this 29 Dec 1851 map of Holland Township [2] below, and in the 1861 Census of Canada, we find a clan of Lyons owning land together there on Concessions XI-XII Lots 19-21.

Holland Township, 29 Dec 1851; Porter, Quinn, and Lyons lots. [2]

On the 1851 map, James Lyons owns Concession XII Lot 20. In the 1861 Census of Canada, James owns Concession XII Lot 19.

On the 1851 map, Andrew Porter Sr. owns land 2.5 miles south of James and Ann Lyons, on Concession II East Lot 78. In the 1861 Census of Canada, Andrew owns Concessions II-III East Lots 78.

Below is an interactive map with these same lots marked.

James Lyons resided on the upper two lots, Andrew Porter on the lower lot.

Interestingly, James and Ann Lyons appear to have arrived in Canada in either 1852 or 1853, and Andrew Porter Sr. is living in Manvers Township on 12 Jan 1852. Perhaps they were able to purchase these lots before departing Ireland.

Note the 1851 map and 1861 Census of Canada list different lot numbers for James and Andrew. Lots were routinely bought and sold, or passed down to children, easily explaining the differences.

James and Ann had at least 8 children, and presumably married in Ireland before 1832.

Their oldest son is William Lyons. On 1 Jan 1859, William Lyons marries Elizabeth Quinn. Note the Quinns on the 1851 map directly between Andrew Porter Sr. and the Lyons clan.

And on the marriage register entry for William and Elizabeth, what do we find?

James Lyons and Ann Porter, parents of William Porter. [3]

Ann Lyons’ maiden name is Porter.

According to Census of Canada records and her death record, Ann Porter Lyons was born in 1811 in Ireland, and died in 1886 in Holland Township. So she is approximately 18 years older than Andrew Porter Sr.

We have ten DNA matches with our Porter family DNA tests whose line up to a most recent common ancestor (MRCA) goes through Ann Porter Lyons. One of these is through Ann’s son William, three through Ann’s daughter Margaret, and six through Ann’s daughter Ellen. All ten matches share an appropriate amount of DNA with our tests for the MRCA to be Ann’s parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents (listed here in descending order of likelihood). Other relationships are possible.

That is what we know about Ann Porter Lyons in Canada, and from our shared Porter DNA. Therefore, Andrew Porter Sr. probably has a close Porter relative living a few farms over in Holland Township in 1861.

Hey! Wait a minute!

You’re asking yourself, “Didn’t we already look for Porters living in Manvers and Holland?”

We did.

In 1851/2, there are 37 Porters in Durham County that were born in Ireland. 34 of them are listed as Presbyterian, 2 as Wesleyan Methodist and married to Presbyterians, and Andrew Porter Sr. is listed as Church of England.

In 1851/2, there are zero Porters in Grey County that were born in Ireland.

It appears that Andrew Porter Sr. is the only male Porter born in Ireland and listed as Church of England in either Durham or Grey County in 1851/2.

In 1861, there are 59 Porters in Durham County that were born in Ireland, 10 of them listed as Church of England.

In 1861, there are 10 Porters in Grey County that were born in Ireland, 5 of them listed as Church of England.

But we have not found anything to connect these post-1851/2 arrivals to Andrew.

And Anne Porter Lyons? Church of England.

Are there more?

Ann Porter Lyons is interesting. Before we search for Ann in Ireland though, are there more Porters nearby?

We searched our Porter family DNA matches again and found we share MRCA Francis Walker and Anne Hindman with DNA match P. Walker. Her line passes through their son George Walker up to them. Three other DNA matches share this same line through George up to them.

In 1851/2, widow George Walker and two children—William, age 6, and Ann, age 2—are living in Manvers Township next door to David Kerr of the Allied Families. We have not been able to locate which lots they lived on, but based on the census pages, they appear to live within a couple miles of our William Gallagher, John Hannah, and Andrew Porter Sr.

In 1861, George is living in Holland Township with only one child, William. Presumably, daughter Ann died during the prior 9 years. George is listed in the census as a tenant on Concession III East Lot 79, next door to Andrew Porter Sr.

P. Walker’s family tree provides an interesting lead for the name of George Walker’s wife. Can we confirm it?

The 1873 marriage registration for George and Mary’s son William Walker lists his mother’s name as Mary Walker. William’s 1940 death registration lists his mother as “– Porter”.

Mary, Mary Porter!

Unfortunately, Mary Porter Walker died prior to the 1851/2 Census of Canada. So we have little to go on. We can infer a little from the births of her husband and two children.

George Walker was born in about 1801. From that, we estimate Mary’s birth as about 1804.

William Walker was born between about 1845 and about 1847. From that, we estimate Mary’s birth as about 1824.

If Mary was born in about 1804, she would possibly have other children born as early as about 1821 to 1828.

But with William being listed as the oldest child, age 6, in 1851/2, there are likely no older children, and Mary is more likely born in about 1824.

George’s family emigrated from Ireland to Canada West between Nov 1838 and 1842. So it is possible George and Mary met and were married in either Ireland or Canada West.

With these four DNA matches sharing potentially two sets of MRCA, Walker-Hindman and Porter-unknown, we can not yet definitively say the shared DNA is from the Walker-Hindman or Porter-unknown side, or both. And our Porter family DNA tests also potentially include Walker-Hindman DNA from the Hannah-Virtue branch. There are many members of the Walker family living in Holland Township in 1851/2 and 1861.

But George Walker’s family lived near Andrew Porter Sr. in Manvers Township after his wife Mary’s death, and then moved next door to Andrew in Holland Township. Why did George do that?

It would be an amazing coincidence that Mary Porter Walker is not related to Andrew Porter Sr.

So “only child” Andrew Porter Sr. probably has two close Porter family members living near him in Canada.

Back to Ireland

Before we dive in, let us briefly review what we know about where this branch of the family lived prior to emigrating.

To date, everyone has been found living around Donegal Bay, located between Banagh Barony and Tirhugh Barony.

17. Donegal, 18. Drumhome, 25. Killaghtee, 27. Killybegs Upper, 28. Killybegs Lower, 30. Killymard, 36. Inver [4]

The Gallaghers were in Derries Townland, Drumhome Parish, County Donegal.

The Walkers were in Killymard Parish, County Donegal, and removed to Derries Townland before emigrating.

The Hannahs were in Derries Townland.

The Virtues were in Kilgole Townland, Drumhome Parish, County Donegal.

Everyone was therefore in either Drumhome Parish (18 on the map) or Killymard Parish (30 on the map).

So we have three new names—Ann and Mary Porter, and James Lyons; and three families of interest—Lyons, Porter, and Walker.

Where do we start? We know quite a bit about the Walkers in Ireland, so let us start there.

Francis Walker (1769– ) and Anne Hindman (1771– ) were married in Drumhome Parish on 6 Aug 1789.

At the time of their marriage, Francis resided in Killymard Parish. Anne resided in Derries Townland. After their marriage, they lived in Derries Townland.

For Francis and Anne, we have the baptism records for 10 children, all born in Derries Townland:

  • Catherine Walker (1793– )
  • Andrew Walker (1795– )
  • Elizabeth Walker (1797– )
  • Francis Walker (1798–1866) m. Elizabeth Hannah (1807–1888); Holland in 1851/2 and 1861
  • George Walker (1801–1882) m. Mary Porter (1824–1852); Manvers in 1851/2, Holland in 1861
  • Mary Walker (1801–1851) m. William Gallagher (1803–1881); Manvers in 1851/2 and 1861
  • Alexander Walker (1805–1881) m. Hannah Love (1802–1881); Holland in 1851/2 and 1861
  • John Walker (1807– )
  • Jane Walker (1809– )
  • Margaret Walker (1812– )

Note that we have death dates for the middle four children. What do they have in common? We know these four emigrated to Canada West, and there we find their death records.

Most of the Allied Families are represented here in this one family.

In this family, we see a marriage occurring between someone residing to the north of Donegal Bay, and someone residing to the southeast of Donegal Bay. We have found numerous other examples of this occurring between members of the Allied Families. We also appear to see a portion of a family emigrating to Canada West, and a portion staying behind.

Ok, what about Anne Porter Lyons, Mary Porter Walker, and our Andrew Porter Sr.?

On rootsireland.ie, we have identified about 100 vital records (birth, marriage, death) for Porters in the townlands of County Donegal around Donegal Bay between 1702 and 1895. Of these about 100 records, 56 are in Inver Parish, 14 are in Killybegs Upper Parish, 12 are in Drumhome Parish, and 10 are in Killaghtee Parish. This heat map allows you to explore the members of our family tree in these places.

But to date, we have been unable to associate any of them with Andrew Porter Sr. These include three baptism records for children named Andrew Porter. Without any leads to his parents or siblings, it has not been possible to confirm or even eliminate any of the three.

In the available on-line records of County Donegal, we have not been able to find a marriage registration for George Walker and Mary Porter. We have found one possible baptism record for Mary, a Mary Porter baptized 2 Feb 1807 in Tullynaught Electoral Division, which overlaps with both Donegal and Drumhome Parishes. She is the daughter of a John Porter and Margaret. This is a dead end for the moment.

Perhaps Ann Porter Lyons will provide a clue.

Before we proceed, we must stop here and acknowledge that the records of the parishes around Donegal Bay are incomplete. Baptism records are missing for known children of families. Marriage records are missing for marriages confirmed in baptism records of children. And families typically had 8–10 children, so in two generations, we are faced with about 100 first cousins from one set of grandparents, many sharing the same given name. Without a unique given name, it is difficult to confirm relationships.

Ok, with that speeding warning issued, we will spare you the hours of staring at records, and jump to one family of interest.

We have found a marriage record for an Andrew Porter and Isabella Henderson, and baptism records for seven children, the children all born in Drumadart Townland, Inver Parish, County Donegal.

Andrew was born in about 1788. He married Isabella Henderson on 15 Dec 1812 in Killaghtee Parish, County Donegal. At the time of their marriage, he resided in Killaghtee Parish, and she resided in Inver Parish, County Donegal. He died in Drumadart Townland, Inver Parish, County Donegal, on 17 Feb 1848, at the age of 60. Isabella was born in about 1789, and died in Drumadart Townland in 1854, at the age of 65.

The children of Andrew Porter (1788–1848) and Isabella Henderson (1789–1854), all born in Drumadart Townland, are:

  • Anne Porter (1813– )
  • Sarah Porter (1817– ) m. 1st Edward Allingham, m. 2nd James Freil (usually Friel)
  • Archibald Porter (1819– )
  • Catherine Porter (1822– ) m. John Strong
  • Isabella Porter (1824– )
  • Andrew Porter Jr. (1827– )
  • John Porter (1833– )

Do you see it? Ann Porter Lyons was born in about 1811. And our Andrew Porter Sr. was born in about 1826. We have our first two coincidences.

The birth dates for Andrew and Isabella Porter’s children above are all baptism dates, except for those of Andrew Jr. and John. So the first five children were born before these dates, possibly a few weeks, months, or even a few years before. Andrew Jr. and John were baptized 3 weeks and 1 week respectively after birth.

The Friel family is a potential new addition to the Allied Families. We have found two Porter-Friel marriages, and eight other Allied Family marriages witnessed by Friels.

In the 1825 Ireland Tithe Applotment Books, an Andrew Porter is listed in Drumadart Low Townland, Inver Parish, County Donegal, for a 22 acre lot with Hugh Henderson, Widow Vance, Robt Bealy, Hugh Cassidy, and Jas McJunkin. [5] There is only one Andrew Porter listed there for Inver Parish, so surely this is the tithe record for Andrew Porter (1788–1848) and Isabella Henderson (1789–1854).

In Canada West, Vance is a member of our Allied Families. Richard Hannah and future wife Catherine Montgomery lived with Samuel Vance in Manvers Township in 1851/2. Eliza Ann Vance married Robert Hannah in Victoria County, Ontario, on 1 Mar 1871. So we have another coincidence!

There is One more thing …

Our Porter family DNA matches include E. Porter, whose Porter line remained in County Donegal long after ours and immigrated to Massachusetts after 1941. Her Porter ancestor Patrick Porter (1805–1881) resided and died in Gilbertstown, Killaghtee Parish, County Donegal—the same parish where Andrew Porter resided and married Isabella Henderson.

And Patrick Porter’s son Thomas marries Mary Ann Baskin, daughter of Margaret Lyons of Ardlougher, Killybegs Lower Parish, County Donegal. Killybegs Lower Parish is the next parish over to the east of Killaghtee Parish. Two more coincidences!

That is a lot of coincidences.


Andrew Porter (1826–1907). [6]

It is likely our Andrew Porter Sr. (1826–1907) is Andrew Porter Jr. (1827– ), and his parents are Andrew Porter (1788–1848) and Isabella Henderson (1789–1854). That would make Anne Porter Lyons his sister. And Andrew would have four other siblings as well.

And we would therefore know Andrew’s birthdate and place—23 Jul 1827, in Drumadart Townland, Inver Parish, County Donegal.

We are still missing that one last piece of the puzzle—proof. Hopefully this research will help someone find a definitive source proving or disproving our theory.

Andrew Porter (1826–1907) is 3rd great-grandfather of MKS in the Watne branch.

Andrew Porter (1788–1848) and Isabella Henderson (1789–1854) are likely parents of Andrew Porter (1826–1907), and 4th great-grandparents of MKS in the Watne branch.

Ann Porter (Lyons) (1811–1886) is likely sister of Andrew Porter (1826–1907) and 3rd great-grandaunt of MKS in the Watne branch.

Francis Walker (1769– ) and Anne Hindman (1771– ) are parents of George Walker (1801–1882), and 5th great-grandparents of MKS in the Watne branch.

Mary Porter (Walker) (1804–1852) is wife of George Walker, and is of unknown but likely relationship to Andrew Porter (1826–1907).

[1] Hannah, 1896-1996 (Hannah, ND: Hannah History Book, 1996).
[2] Map of Holland Township (#46) (Quebec: Crown Land Department, 29 Dec 1851).
[3] Ontario, County Marriage Registers, 1858-1869, Grey County, 1858-1867, vol 13, image 13.
[4] Map of the Civil Parishes of County Donegal, username Bob Hilchey, rootsweb.com.
[5] Ireland Tithe Applotment Books, 1814–1855, Donegal, Inver, 1825, image 16.
[6] KMS Family Genealogy Digital Archive, Kathleen Lucille Watne Wetherbee collection.