References to Stevenson in the parish of Seagoe, 1664-1755

After sorting early references to the Stevenson surname by county and, in several instances, further by parish, this week I began the task of opening biographical sketch pages for the families of Stewartstown, county Tyrone and Killyfaddy, county Armagh. While doing so, I noticed (again) a preponderance of Stevensons and Stephensons in the parish of Seagoe.

This seems a good point at which to refer the reader to a timeline of those early references and a map of part of the parish of Seagoe which plots them by various townlands (both links open in new windows). As shown in the map, this district is situated between the towns of Portadown and Lurgan. The river Bann forms the western boundary of the parish.

Of course, for the family historian, these several occurrences of the Stevenson surname—all in a neighbourhood rich in bleach greens and the manufacture of linen—beg the question whether these individuals were related or the frequency merely coincidental.

For example, were William Stevenson of Portadown and William Stephenson of Dublin acquainted with one another? or were they, in fact, the same individual? The former would remove to Scotland to carry on the linen trade near Edinburgh. Did he stop at Dublin in the years before? The Stephenson surname had been in Dublin since the 1600s, however, so this is an unresolved question.

Similarly, was John Stephenson of Hall's Mill near Gilford, and later of Newgrove, county Monaghan, the same man who was the eldest son of James Stephenson of Killyfaddy? It would appear not, as evidenced by a memorial dated the 3rd November 1753, whereby John Stephenson, originally of Killyfaddy, executed a leasehold for Ravenhill in the parish of Derrynoose, county Armagh.

Still, there is this preponderance of the surname in a small area. We will revisit the Stevensons in this parish as more deeds are transcribed, studied, and posted, with updates to the map for subsequent references.

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© Alison Kilpatrick, 2016. All rights reserved.
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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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