I'm currently sitting at JFK airport waiting for my 9 pm flight to Dublin. This in the last year for my Dublin and Belfast Research Trips and I have very mixed feelings. I've enjoyed the past 12 years, but the time has come. That's not to say that I won't go back to Ireland...I'm sure I will. Maybe with a bunch of friends where we can all research during the day and hang out at night. I'm planning to spend a lot more time in the future working on my own research. Today's blog is the fourth in the series about the Johnston family of County Leitrim. When I started researching this family, I only knew that my great grandmother had a sister. I now know, she had at least two sisters and a brother. The brother has been a focus as I've been trying to identify a male descendant in the Johnston line that I can DNA test. That would have to be a descendant of William, the only male I've identified so far. It would be hard to believe that James, the father of William (Margaret, Rachel and Eliza) didn't have siblings. There are numerous Johnston families in close proximity, but so far I have been unable to connect James to any of these other Johnston families.
The key resources that connected William to my Johnston family were land records. William inherited the leases from his stepmother, Jane the second wife of James Johnston of Unshinagh in 1877. He expanded his holdings though acquiring leases on additional properties in Unshinagh and Laghta, which he purchased through the Land Acts (LAP) between 1918 and 1925. In 1927 he transferred ownership to his son Wesley and retired to Gola, in Fermanagh where he died in 1930. What follows is the sketch on William. As with the others, let me know if you have any comments, corrections.
Son of James Johnston and Unknown
6. William Johnston (James2, James1). Born bet 1848 and 1852 in Leitrim (birth year calculated from his age on the 1901 Census and his death record). William died in Gola, Aghavea, Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, on 12 Dec 1930; he was 82.
On 27 Nov 1895 when William was abt 43, he married Fannie Johnston in the Methodist Church, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland. Born on 15 Feb 1866 in Derrykeeghan, Enniskillen, Fermanagh. Fannie was the daughter of David Johnston (abt 1826-26 Mar 1881) & Anne Jane Moore (abt 1835-6 Oct 1900). Fannie died in Brookeborough, Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, on 1 Dec 1944; she was 78.
William Johnston and Fannie Johnston (her maiden name as well) had the following children:
28 i. George Moore Johnston (21 Nov 1896-1958)
29 ii. Wesley Johnston (25 Mar 1898-2 Nov 1980)
30 iii. Adele Johnston (Nov 1902-1 Feb 1903)
31 iv. William Ernest Cecil Johnston (19 Jun 1904-5 Jan 1942)
Based on his age in various documents, William was the final known child of James Johnston and an unknown mother and was born between 1848 and 1852. A number of online family trees show Jane as William’s mother, but James Johnston and Jane Johnston were not married until 1858, and James was listed as a widower. It is likely that William’s mother died between 1852 and 1858 when James remarried. All of the known children of James and his first wife were minors at that time.
The connection of William to James is based on land records. The James listed in Griffith’s Valuation in Unshinagh is probably the grandfather of William. It is unclear when this first James died, but at his second marriage, James’ (the father of William) residence was listed as the Kinlough Gate House. As noted in the second Revision Book for Unshinagh, Rossinver Parish, Leitrim James Johnston is crossed out and replaced by Jane [Johnston] in 1862. This would indicate that James died prior to that date and Jane had taken over the lease (as William was a minor, Margaret and Rachel were married and Eliza was a spinster).
Jane continued to hold the lease on the property until the lease moved to William (Jane) Johnston in 1877. The use of the agnomen (Jane) is to identify this William as a separate individual from other Williams in the same townland, in this case the landlord who was also William Johnston. This practice was part of Griffith’s Valuation instructions…when two individuals of the same name reside in the same townland they must be differentiated with an agnomen [second name]. Sometimes it’s the father’s name, or an occupation, or in this case the [step]mother’s name.
The 1901 Census (31 Mar 1901) gave William’s age as 49 making his birth abt 1852. William is therefore the son of James by his first wife, since in his marriage to Jane Johnston on 24 Mar 1858 he is listed as a widower and William’s birth predates the marriage. The family were residents of house 21 in Unshinagh (Kinlough DED, Leitrim). Others in his household were his wife, Fannie (35) and his two sons, George (4) and Wesley (3). There was also an Eliza Jane Johnston (59) (born about 1842). She was listed as William’s unmarried sister and her occupation listed as a seamstress. All but Fannie were born in Leitrim…Fannie was born in Fermanagh.
William took over the lease of property 22 from Patrick Tehan in 1909.
In the 1911 Census (2 Apr 1911), William was listed in house 16 in Unshinagh (Kinlough DED, Leitrim), age 60 making his birth about 1851, so consistent with the 1901 census. This adds additional evidence that William was the son of James and his first wife. The rest of the household included his wife Fanny (44), and three sons George Moore (14), Wesley (13) and W E Cecil (6). Fanny indicated that she had given birth to four children with three living. Their daughter, Adele, born in 1902, died in 1903 at about 3 months. Eliza, William’s sister (69) is also living with them as well as 1 servant.
In the Revision Book Cancelled in 1914, William’s lease hold is increased slightly to 36 acred 2 Roods and 37 Perches and renumbered as 1433. In addition William has taken over the lease of Patrick Tehan and the combined property is numbered 1443, 1444, 1445.
In 1915, William purchases the land holding, previously listed as 12 and in 1918 also purchases the property of Mary Ann Corry (13, 14) and the formerly Tehan land (now both In Fee)
In 1925, William purchases the land from Robert Long previously listed as 15/16.
Finally, in 1827, all of the land purchased by William Johnston is passed to his son Wesley who holds the land until 1966 when he sells to the Irish Land Commission and retires to Gola in the parish of Aghavea in County Fermanagh.
William Johnston of Gola county Fermanagh farmer died 12 December 1930
On 28 May 1930 probate was granted at Belfast to Andrew Morrow merchant. Effects £78 1s. 6d.
His will written 9 Dec 1930 left his “farm in Ardmore” to his wife Fanny during her life, and then to son Cecil Johnston. He appointed David Lunney of Enniskillen and Andrew Morrow of Brookborough as Executors.
i. GRONI, Index and Images Online https://geni.nidirect.gov.uk, 1930 Lisnaskea, Death of William Johnston, Registration Number D/1931/151/1019/12/69
ii. “1901 (3-31-1901) Irish census, County Leitrim, household return, Unshinagh, Kinlough (DED), house 21, William Johnston; digital image online, National Archives Ireland (http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie : accessed 1 Jun 2012).
iii. “Civil Registration,” Marriage, Ireland, Digital Image, IrishGenealogy.ie, 1895 Enniskillen, Marriage of William Johnston and Fannie Johnston, Group Registration ID 2235300
iv. “Civil Registration,” Births, Ireland, Digital Image, IrishGenealogy.ie, 1895 Enniskillen, Birth of Unnamed Female Johnston,daughter of David Johnston and Anne Jane Moore, Group Registration ID 7969073.
v. “Johnston Tree on Ancestry (5898459),” Deb Johnston (deb80917).
vi. “Revision Books,” Republic of Ireland, Valuation Office, Dublin, Ireland. Viewed May, 2022, Leitrim, Kinlough DED, Unshinagh townland Property 12, 1862 p. 38.
vii. “Revision Books,” Republic of Ireland, Valuation Office, Dublin, Ireland. Viewed May, 2022, Leitrim, Kinlough DED, Unshinagh townland Property 12, 1877 p. 40.
viii. “1901 (3-31-1901) Irish census, County Leitrim, household return, Unshinagh, Kinlough (DED), house 21, William Johnston; digital image online, National Archives Ireland (http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie : accessed 1 Jun 2012).
ix. “Revision Books,” Republic of Ireland, Valuation Office, Dublin, Ireland. Viewed May, 2022, Leitrim, Kinlough DED, Unshinagh townland 1900-1914 Property 22, p. 68
x. “1911 (4-2-1911) Irish census, County Leitrim, household return, Unshinagh, Kinlough (DED), house 16, William Johnston; digital image online, National Archives Ireland, http://census.nationalarchives.ie : accessed 1 Jun 2012.
xi. “Revision Books,” Republic of Ireland, Valuation Office, Dublin, Ireland. Viewed May, 2022, Leitrim, Kinlough DED, Unshinagh townland 1900-1914 Property 12 (1433), p. 66.
xii. GRONI, Index and Images Online https://geni.nidirect.gov.uk, 1930 Lisnaskea, William Johnston D/1931/151/1019/12/69.
xiii. Probate of William Johnston of Gola, Brookborough, Fermanagh, 28 May 1931, copy from PRONI, Belfast.
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