Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Camnish Doughertys

My paternal 3rd great grandparents were James Dougherty and Isabella McLaughlin. I discovered these names while researching their son, Rev James Dougherty of Vermont. I have no information about the birthdates or marriage date for James and Isabella.

The family story goes that we are originally from the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal. Inishowen is the name given by Judge Marcus' son Charles J. Doherty to his country home in the Laurentians north of Montreal. Over years of research, it became clear that my line of Doughertys arrived in North America from Camnish, near Dungiven, which today is in County Derry. Not all of James and Isabella's children were born in Camnish, possibly none of them. In fact, based on published eulogies and other resources, Rev James was born in Park, Banagher or possibly Learmont. Were any other of James and Isabella's children also born in Park or Learmont? The family was definitely in Camnish by 1826, when my great great uncle James was baptized at the Dungiven church, St Patrick's. I have a copy of that record, thanks to one of my internet cousins. Certainly, Isabella was in Camnish when she died on 2 Apr 1830. We have a copy of her burial record from St Patrick's. Inishowen and Dungiven have very small populations even today. I wonder what their populations were in the early 19th century.

Here's what I definitely know about James and Isabella's children:
There were likely daughters too. One source mentions that Rev James was one of four brothers. We know that Thomas and Joshua stayed in Dungiven. More about Thomas' family will be written in the next post.

I did find Thomas and Joshua listed on page 163 of the transcribed 1831 Derry census. There are two interesting column headers in this document: surname standardised and surname as spelt in census returns. In the first column, the spelling is Doherty, while in the second column, Dougherty is given. This suggests that my ancestors used the Dougherty spelling, but that Doherty was used in public documents. Why?

There are Dohertys who settled in other areas of Quebec's Eastern Townships -- Sherbrooke and Farnham. It's been suggested that these are also descendants of James and Isabella from Dungiven, but I'm still looking for sourced proof. There is another line of Dohertys who settled in the Lotbiniere area of Quebec -- one of them married one of the other Dohertys in Sherbrooke. In addition, a descendant of the Lotbiniere Dohertys and I share DNA. More unsolved mysteries. 

James and Isabella are responsible for the naming of many of their descendants for at least the first three generations carrying those names, causing great confusion for their 20th century descendant, the family historian.

The never ending story continues....

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