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Welcome! This website was created on 09 Sep 2010 and last updated on 13 May 2024. The family trees on this site contain 434 relatives and 452 photos. If you have any questions or comments you may send a message to the Administrator of this site.
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About Families Related to Derek McDowell
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My Family History:
This site provides a record of my ancestry. It begins with the family names of my grandparents; McDowell, Taylor, Orr and Hoey. More family names are added as the research progresses. This project is a work in progress and will always be such.

The historical location for all my grandparents has been traced to County Tyrone, Ireland, going back to at least the early 19th century. The names McDowell, Taylor, Orr and Hoey were common in the neighbouring counties of Tyrone, Monaghan, Cavan and Fermanagh at that time. It is most likely that their ancestors arrived in Ireland from Scotland and England during the plantation period of the early 1600s. (Please refer to 'McDowell Families' under Useful Links on the left. This is the site of Peter Alford-Seymour in Ottawa, Canada. Peter has traced his ancestry back to the McDowells of County Tyrone and has carried out extensive research into their early history and  settlement of the McDowells in Ulster).

During the latter part of the 19th century it was common for country folk to migrate to the rapidly developing city of Belfast. This was mainly due to 19th century industrialisation making traditional weaving and tenant farming uneconomical. So it was that in the latter part of the 1800s most of the McDowell, Taylor, Orr and Hoey families relocated to Belfast. Later some went on to settle in Scotland and England. Some crossed the Atlantic to settle in the USA and Canada. There is even some evidence of my ancestors settlement in Australia and New Zealand, but more research is required into this. 
About the Research:
Regarding research for this project it should be understood that documentary evidence supporting Irish genealogy is often very difficult and even impossible to obtain. The central registration of Protestant marriages in Ireland did not begin until 1st April 1845. Furthermore, the civil registration of births and deaths only began in 1864. Before 1819 dissenting ministers were not required to keep records and many kept scant or no records at all. However, their record keeping was more thorough from about 1819 onwards. Genealogical research is further complicated by the fact that marriages in dissenting Churches were not recognised until 1845. Before that many dissenting Church (e.g. Presbyterian) marriages took place in the Established Church (Church of Ireland). Also, before the Burial Act of 1868 gave dissenting ministers permission to conduct burial services, only the clergy of the Church of Ireland had jurisdiction over funeral services for Protestants.  
 Generally, individual parishes of the Church of Ireland kept careful records, at least from the end of the 18th century. However, the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland on the 1st January 1871 (Irish Church Act, 1869) and the Parochial Records Act, required that the Church’s records for baptisms before 31st December 1870 and marriages before 31st March 1845 should become public records and be deposited in the Public Record Office, Four Courts, Dublin. Unfortunately, in addition to other important public records, almost half of the existing records of the Church of Ireland parishes were destroyed at the end of June 1922 when the Free State Army shelled the Four Courts to dislodge the occupying Anti-Treaty forces of the I.R.A. and the latter set off a large explosion to cover their retreat. This major loss of Church of Ireland records was offset to some extent by an amendment to the above Act that had allowed parishes to keep their records if these could be suitably stored. Consequently about 600 sets of records were never deposited. Fortunately, approximately a further tenth of the records had been copied by parishes and thus saved. The loss of records was more severe for some parishes than for others.

Although little remains of the earlier Census of Ireland returns, those for 1901 and 1911 are freely available online and are an invaluable source of information. The ‘Tithe Applotment Valuation Books’ and the ‘Primary Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland’ (Richard Griffith), which were undertaken between 1823 & 1837 and between 1848 & 1864 respectively, are most informative.

While carrying out ancestral research it must to be kept in mind that spelling of names often varied. Also, there was no standardised spelling for townlands until the late 19th Century. Numeracy was also poor and consequently significant mismatches occur in the 1901 and 1911 census of Ireland returns in ages recorded across the 10-year interval. It should be remembered that many people in years gone by were illiterate.
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Getting Around
There are several ways to browse the family tree. The Tree View graphically shows the relationship of selected person to their kin. The Family View shows the person you have selected in the center, with his/her photo on the left and notes on the right. Above are the father and mother and below are the children. The Ancestor Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph above and children below. On the right are the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The Descendant Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph and parents below. On the right are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Do you know who your second cousins are? Try the Kinship Relationships Tool. Your site can generate various Reports for each name in your family tree. You can select a name from the list on the top-right menu bar.

In addition to the charts and reports you have Photo Albums, the Events list and the Relationships tool. Family photographs are organized in the Photo Index. Each Album's photographs are accompanied by a caption. To enlarge a photograph just click on it. Keep up with the family birthdays and anniversaries in the Events list. Birthdays and Anniversaries of living persons are listed by month. Want to know how you are related to anybody ? Check out the Relationships tool.

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