[ arbor : tree ] + [ borealis : northern ]

Family & Local History Studies

A worker's cottage in Derrykintone townland in the parish of Aghaloo and county of Tyrone.
Caledon Estate worker’s cottage in Derrykintone townland in the parish of Aghaloo, county Tyrone. Photograph & edit by Alison Kilpatrick ©2003 :: Arborealis at



This website presents family and local history studies researched and ongoing projects undertaken by Alison Kilpatrick. Arborealis features blog articles, biographical sketches, genealogical outlines, timelines, transcripts, and local history notes. These articles, transcripts, and notes describe our ancestors’ origins primarily in England and Ireland, the local history of selected places of origin in their home counties, and their migrations within Britain and Ireland or to far-flung places overseas.

The featured image, above, depicts an estate worker’s cottage in Derrykintone townland in the parish of Aghaloo and county of Tyrone. The Earl of Caledon built a dozen or more of these cottages in the early 1800s just outside the western wall of his demesne. Formerly a farmer and horse breeder in nearby Glenarb townland, our third great grandfather, James Huggins (1775–1860), lived in this cottage during his elder years. His daughter, Anne Jane (1812–1893), and her husband, John Rodgers (1809–1913), who was employed as herd for the Earl, also lived in the cottage.

This page includes a description about Arborealis and suggestions for how to explore family and history topics on this site, then continues with introductions to the family history research, local history studies, and transcripts, extracts, indexes of archival records and transcripts sections, and blog posts. This introduction concludes with a brief biographical sketch of the author and editor.


Stylized photograph of Northern Red Oak leaf by Alison Kilpatrick 2011; representing the strength and breadth of connection in family and local history.

The word, Arborealis, was coined by the editor in 2006. It combines two Latin words—arbor for tree, in a nod to our collective roots through family and social history, and borealis for northern, to acknowledge the clime in which this site is published. This portmanteau evokes the Latin name of one of our native trees, Quercus rubra var. borealis, the Northern Red Oak. The mighty oak, in all its forms, evokes an ancient symbol of strength, knowledge, and endurance in many cultures. In our part of the world, oak savannahs form the northern reach of the Carolinian forest region. The leaf exhibited here was collected in another province, in the Annapolis Valley in western Nova Scotia: it is probably a Northern Red (Q. rubra) – Black Oak (Q. velutina) cross.


  • Read the blog articles, many of which provide introductions to essays and detailed research findings in other sections.
  • Subscribe for e-mail deliveries of blog posts to your in-box.
  • Cruise through the family history, local history, and records sections.
  • Use the search function to find articles of interest: one search box is placed at the top, right corner, while a second has been installed at the bottom of the sidebar.
  • Please mind the caveats and advice given in cautionary notes about conducting research, use the genealogical research standard to support your work, and cite the sources consulted in detail. Refer also to the scope of work represented on this website, as also Arborealis‘s privacy statement, our copyright notice and terms and conditions for accessing this site.
  • Contact the editor to share information of mutual research interest or contribute to ongoing projects, or to request permission to use information published to this site.


Our Irish family history interests range from county Mayo in the west to county Derry in the north and counties Armagh and Tyrone in mid Ulster. Surnames include Burke & McDonnell, Kirkpatrick or Kilpatrick and McKay, Flavell, Gilmore, & Jones, and Huggins, Kennedy, & Thompson. Our English ancestors included Dunford or Durnford of Tarrant Gunville in Dorset, Miles of Keymer in Sussex, and Wawman of Daventry in Northants. The paternal line presents a family history mystery:—should our family name have been Causton of London, Lamport of Steyning in West Sussex, or some other unknown surname altogether? — Continue reading


This section covers a range of projects including local history notes for villages and parishes inhabited by our English and Irish ancestors. The scope of this section includes several townlands in the parish of Aghaloo in south Tyrone, Corbrackey, Derryanvil, and Druminallyduff in the parish of Drumcree as also Blackwatertown in the county of Armagh, Lislea and other townlands in the parishes of Kilrea and Tamlaght O’Crilly in county Derry (also known as Londonderry), and Claremorris and Castlebar in the county of Mayo. Occasional notes appear for places to which our ancestors migrated. — Continue reading


This part of Arborealis features a growing collection of transcripts, extracts, and indexes compiled from archival and published records. Subjects range from selected records found in archival documents, primarily Irish in origin, church records, civil registrations, memorials of Irish deeds, historical newspapers, land records, military service records, regimental histories, timelines, and wills and probate. — Continue reading


Here you will find newsy bits about new research projects, as well as updates for works in progress. Selected historical items are also highlighted, for example, transcripts of rare documents with interpretive notes, historical news articles, events that served as inflection points in our ancestors’ stories, for example, the Great Famine, unsolved family history mysteries, and discovery of “research” problems arising from leaps in logic or failure to adhere to the genealogical proof standard. — Continue reading


Alison Kilpatrick is an amateur genealogist with a keen interest in local history and historic newspapers. Arborealis was created to present Alison’s research findings in family history and local history relevant to her research interests. The scope of Alison’s work is primarily in Ireland and England, and to a lesser extent, owing to a dearth of early records, Scotland and Wales. She has been engaged in this research since 1999. These interests also include those places where our ancestors migrated within Ireland and Britain, or overseas in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, the island of Saint Helena, Scotland, and the United States. — Continue reading

The Arborealis logo is an outline of a Northern Red Oak leaf.

We invite you to explore these resources on Arborealis, and hope that you find the pages engaging and of interest to your own family history or local history studies research objectives.

End notes :

Source citation for this page: — Kilpatrick, Alison. “Family and Local History Studies.” Published to Arborealis,

All rights reserved.

Updated 22nd Nov. 2023.