Strongs of Donegal: The Website! Pulling the Puzzle Together

Strongs of Donegal: The Website! Pulling the Puzzle Together-----
A Hypothesis concerning the History of the Donegal Bay Strong Families


One of the problems in developing a working hypothesis concerning the relationships of the various Strong family lineages traceable to the area around Donegal Bay in Ulster has been the difficulty in tying together family members associated with seemingly unrelated locations in the area. How could it be that George and Thomas Strong, found in the Hearth Money Rolls for Killaghtee Parish in 1665, were related to the John Strong found in Ballintra in 1701, or the Will Strong found in Ardeelane Townland in Drumhome Parish in 1726, or the various Strongs of Carnhugh at a later date? This webpage is an attempt to provide a rationale for joining them all together.

Think, for a moment, about the structure of a puzzle. Most puzzles have a framework and a structure. They take various forms and are of various types... picture-puzzles, crossword puzzles, etc. Our Donegal Strong Puzzle has a form and a structure... and some unique features as well. To start with, the frame of the puzzle is geographic.... the area of the puzzle is around Donegal Bay, stretching from Ardara on the northwest Donegal coast to Sligo, and easterly to Enniskillen in County Fermanagh. It is surrounded by the confines of the north of Ireland, over into Lowland Scotland, and south into border England... and indeed there are insets from further afield... other parts of England and Scotland at large.

There is a great deal of information concerning the various political and religious subdivisions in the area which has become available in recent years. The available information to be found on the web amplifies the individual research efforts of many, many researchers, surnamed Strong and other surnames with roots tracable to the area around Donegal Bay. Reference to Donegal Genealogical Sources by Lindel Buckley is highly rewarding. Many researchers are participants in the Y-DNA studies which have sprung up. See the Strong DNA study and Results and the Family Tree DNA Public Pages version . There is also an FTDNA "Donegal Bay and Enniskillen Families" geographical DNA study, involving many of the allied families rooted in the area. Some of the research data accumulted from these efforts has been put into a geographical context at Donegal Strong Townlands

Internally, there is a chronological structure that moves through time, flowing with the events of the history of the area within the framework through a period of about 400 years, from roughly 1600 to the present. Each of the individuals who lived, worked, and died within the framework and during the time structure of the puzzle constitute singular parts of the puzzle. The puzzle is multi-dimensional as well: each individual Strong was related to a Harron, a Spence, a Dudgeon, a Kilpatrick, and on through the list of related families. The shape of the puzzle seems to shift through time as we move along the "time-line". The pieces of the puzzle were spread world wide by the individuals who emigrated out of the framework... and various pieces have been lost forever, leaving us with the additional task of conjuring up their features so that we can fit them into the remaining parts of the puzzle which still exist.

Putting the puzzle together becomes an exercise in hitting a moving target. As the shape of the puzzle shifts and the parts scatter around the globe we seem to find a piece here or there, and then try to find where it fits... all the while trying to keep focus on the part of the puzzle which is relevant to the particular puzzle piece... before our minds shift to another shape image. Not the least of the problems has been the necessity to rely on secondary sources, and the efforts of many other individuals to examine and transcribe or interpret primary sources. Undoubtedly much has been missed and is yet to be discovered.

Keeping all of this in mind, and recognizing the difficulties involved, here is one more attempt to put the puzzle together. We have already described the geographic framework of the puzzle. Let's try examining the time structure of the puzzle. In attempting this, I have had the benefit of the structure provided in the "Some Donegal Sources" web page provided by John D. McLaughlin, as well as information gathered from various sources, some of which are transcribed on web pages again provided by John D. McLaughlin. The PRONI summary of their collection of The Murray of Broughton Papers (D/2860) has been useful. I have also had reference to various written sources, cited in the text below. The hypothesis which begins to take shape attempts to relate various events involving Donegal Bay Strong records as compiled in the Irish Strong Database, and information gleaned from other families, together with some speculation arising out of the results of the Strong Surname Y-DNA Study to this time line and discussion. You are invited to visit the hypotheses which are taking shape re the descendancies from Thomas Strong and George Strong, found in the 1665 Hearth Money Roll for Killaughtee Parish, County Donegal. Hopefully, the present Timeline and & References to Records will help provide illumination for those hypotheses.



Time Line & References to Records Description Strong Family Tenant Records
c.650-700 AD: The Killaghtee Cross: stands over the grave of Aedh or Hugh, who was probably original founder of Church at Killaghtee; See Brid Ward, “St. John’s Point, County Donegal”, self published, copywrite 2010, Printed by: Browne Printers Lted, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland; ISBN:978-0-9565908-0-0; p.233-236   
1006:Battle of Clonfert; Death of Brian Boru, Last High King of a united Ireland
1208:David O'Doherty was killed at Fahan while repelling an O'Neill raid. His descendants became McDaibhid [or sons of David], and the surname evolved into "McDevitt", and "Devitt"According to Fergus Gillespie, author of "Gaelic Families of County Donegal", in the volume "Donegal History and Society", McDaibhid was the most recent and last Gaelic family name to have evolved in Donegal. The surname "Devitt" as pronounced in Donegal sounds like "David" Comment: Certain members of the Devitt family were subsequently intermarried with members of the Strong family.
1337-1453:The Hundred Years War between England and FranceSee generally:"A Brief History of The Hundred Years War", by Desmond Seward, published by Constable and Co.Ltd, London 1978; revised edition, pub. by Constable & Robinson 2003; ISBN 978-1-84119-678-7
1381:The Peasants'Revolt in southern England, sparked by heavy taxation
1414-1419;1423-28:John Talbot, scion of the Welsh Marches, serves as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland under King Henry V
1453:Fall of Bordeaux; English Loss of Guyenne & Retreat from France
1455:Beginning of The War of the Roses... the struggle for the crown of England between Lancaster & York
1513-1547:Reign of Henry VIII
1513: England defeats Scotland in the Battle of Flodden Battle of Flodden
1524:Niall Mor McSwyne, grandson of the 1st Chief of Banagh, died at McSwyne's Castle[See Brid Ward, p.107]
1544:Henry VIII divorces Catharine of Aragon; splits from Rome, establishment of Church of England
1545-1550:The Pilgrimages of Grace; English opposition to the split from Catholicism
1547:Death of King Henry VIII;
England defeats Scotland in the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh
Battle of Pinkie
1558:Loss of Calais, last English foothold in France
1558:The Reign of Queen Elizabeth I begins
1588:The Surrender of the Gaelic Lords in Donegal (Lands re-granted)
1594-1603:Nine Years War"The scorched earth policy of Lord Deputy Mountjoy towards the end of the Nine Years War brought famine, fever and death to Ulster and partly paved the way for the eventual defeat of the Gaelic chiefs". Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86
1600: The English began establishing
a military base in Derry
   
1601: State Papers of Ireland The names of all the chief places of strength in O'Dogherty's country called Ennisowen, as well castles as forts; also of those in McSwyne Fanat's country."
1601: State Papers of Ireland Handwritten Notes by Sir Henry Dockwra on the septs of Inishowen (Not published in the standard edition of the State Papers)
1602: Ballyshannon in County Donegal was finally taken by the English.
1602: Pardon List (Inishowen) (The standing army of Sir Cahir O'Dogherty) Fiant 6655 - Queen Elizabeth
   
March,1603:Treaty of Mellifont, concluded Nine Years War, bringing the whole of Ireland under control of the British Crown for the first time See Brid Ward, “St. John’s Point, County Donegal”, self published, copywrite 2010, Printed by: Browne Printers Lted, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland; ISBN:978-0-9565908-0-0; p.259
and see Treaty of Mellifont
1603: Ascension to the English Throne by King James VI of Scotland, sometimes known as James VI and I
1603: Failed Uprising of Hugh O'Neill
1607: The Flight of the Earls
1608, April: The Revolt of Sir Cahir O'Dougherty
1608: The Irish lord McSwine's estate centered on Killybegs was confiscated by the crown in 1608 His seat, Castle Rahan, situated on St.John's Point near Killybegs in the Parish of Killaghtee was to become part of the Castle Murray holding on the townlands of Rahan Near and Rahan Far, which was part of the more than 40,000 acre Boylagh & Bannagh estate of the Murray family of Broughton, Wigtownshire, Scotland.
1608:The Plantation of Ulster begins
   
1608-1618: Land Grants in Donegal Land Grants (1608) - Pynnar's Survey (1618)
1609: Pardon List (Donegal) Pat. 6 James I (Primarily Inishowen but also General Donegal Names)
1609: Inquisition at Liffer Pat. 16 James I (The Herenagh septs of Donegal)
1609: Inquisition at Derry Pat. 16 James I (The Church Lands of Derry)
1609-1616: Allocation of Lands in the Province of Ulster See Map
1609-1641:The Plantation of Ireland,
initiated by King James VI and I
Dunkineely (Killaghtee Parish and part of Killybegs and Inver) is apportioned initially to William Stewart of Mains. [See: Felim O'Brien, "The Creightons of Inver and Killaghtee", Donegal Annual 1985, No.37; p.42]
1609-1613: Murray Estate established in Co.Donegal The Murray of Broughton Estate: See Also the PRONI discussion of: George Murray of Broughton who was one of a group of minor Scottish undertakers who obtained land in Boylagh and Banagh at the Plantation. Katharine Murray and Marryan Murray, alias Scott, appear in a 1638 rent roll of the estate. They apparently were named among the children of George Murray, Laird of Broughton, and at the time of their father's death in Lifford in 1613, had not been duly legitimised. In consequence, Broughton's Donegal estates reverted to the Crown. See: "Two Early Seventeenth Century County Donegal Rent Rools", by Simon Elliott, Donegal Annual, No.54 (2002), pp.61-65. Note the apparent profligacy of George Murray of Broughton. This begs the question whether he may have had MALE illegitimate children bearing names other than Murray whose descendants today would bear Murray genetic Y-DNA markers. However, no such DNA evidence has been found to date [2010].
1613-1618: Murray Estate in Co.Donegal consolidated by John Murray of Cockpool The Murray family seat was at Cally, near Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbright, in South-west Scotland. John Murray was a younger son of Sir Charles Murray of Cockpool, a Dumfriesshire laird descended of a long line of courtiers. Family influence had led to his introduction as a young man to the Scottish court, where he succeeded a brother as Master of the Horse. Murray accompanied James VI to London in 1603, and attained positions of exceptional trust. It was he who welded the George Murray of Broughton forfeited estate and other nearby properties into one estate. A distant relative of the Broughton family, he was subsequently created 1st Earl of Annandale. See: "No more to be got off the cat but the skin: Management, Landholding and Economic change on the Murray of Broughton Estate, 1670-1755", by Graeme Kirkham (being Chapter 12) in Donegal History and Society, ed.by Nolan, Ronayne, & Dunlevy; Geography Publications, Dublin, 1995; p.357,358; and "Two Early Seventeenth Century County Donegal Rent Rools", by Simon Elliott, Donegal Annual, No.54 (2002), pp.61-65.
1622: Chichester Leases (Inishowen) Leases by Chichester in Inishowen
1628: Rent Roll of Derry Heads of Household in Derry
1630: Muster Rolls
Strong Family [use "find on page search" for 'Bannagh']
Muster Rolls of Donegal (Settler Population). Includes John Murray's Boylagh & Banagh Estate. No Strongs appear in the Muster Rolls.
May,1631-30Aug1638: Murray Estate Rent Rolls
Strong Family?
Found in the muniment room at Scone Palace, Perthshire home of the Earl of Mansfield, collateral descendant of John Murray of Cockpool: two early and remarkably detailed rent rolls, relating to the Manor of Ballyweele and the Corporation Lands of Killybeggs (but excluding the Rosses and other of the Propertions of the Murray Estate in Boylagh & Banagh). See:"Two Early Seventeenth Century County Donegal Rent Rolls", by Simon Elliott, Donegal Annual, No.54 (2002), pp.61-75. Note that while No Strongs are found in this reproduction of the rent rolls, the rolls apparently do NOT include the Castle Murray Estate... thus it remains open to question whether any Strongs might have been tenants in Killaghtee Parish at this early date.
1640: Death of John Murray, 1st Earl of Annandale; succeeded by only son, James Murray as 2nd Earl of Annandale
Rising of 1641: Irish Rebellion: by the native Gaelic Irish
1641: McSwyne's Castle, aka Castle Rahan, aka Castle Murray, in Killaghtee Parish, near Killybegs:
Just to the east of Killybegs along Donegal Bay is a promontory known as St. John's Point. It is a six mile long spit of land protruding like a gnarled finger south-westward into the Bay. It has a considerable number of historic sites, and was apparently taken over by the English at the time of the Plantation. Castle Rahan, located on a promontory on the point, dated from the mid-fifteenth century. Confiscated, during the Plantation it was initally given to the Scots Planter, William Stuart, and then to John Murray, later Earl of Annandale, for whom one Herbert Maxwell was an active agent. The castle was garrisoned and held during the 1641 Rising by local planters who were part of Sir Ralph Gore's regiment. See: M. Kenny, "English Silver Coins, 1560-1640", Donegal Annual, Vol.XIII, No.4, 1980, p.491-492; and C.Conaghan, "The Antiquities of St.John's Point", Donegal Annual (1977) p.53,54.

Strong Family: Note, IF Strongs were among the defenders of the castle in 1641, a muster roll would likely show them. NO SUCH document has been found as yet, and the implication from the fact Strongs are missing in other early documentary research until the 1665 Hearth Money Rolls is that there were in fact no Strongs in Donegal until c.1660-65.
1641The Gore Family in Donegal and Fermanagh Wikipedia: "Sir Ralph Gore, 2nd Baronet (died 1661), was an Irish politician, soldier and baronet. "He was the eldest son of Sir Paul Gore, 1st Baronet and Isabella Wycliffe, daughter of Francis Wycliffe. Gore succeeded his father as baronet in 1629. He was Member of Parliament (MP) in the Irish House of Commons for Donegal County from 1639 until 1648. In the Irish Rebellion of 1641, he was appointed colonel of 500 men by King Charles I of England to end the riots. On 23 April 1639, he married Anne Caulfield, second daughter of the 2nd Baron Caulfield of Charlemont. Gore was succeeded in the baronetcy by his only son William."
However, in The UK National Archives website, in folio "Undated items for 1642 HL/PO/JO/10/1/140" is a listed Petition to the House of Lords in 1641, as follows: "Petition of Lieutenant Colonel Audley Mervyn to Commissioners for Irish affairs: Sir Ralph Gore was commissioned to raise a regiment to oppose the rebels in Ireland; prays that now Sir Ralph Gore is dead, he [Lt.Col. Mervyn] may be appointed colonel." and see National Archives Main Papers HL/PO/JO/10/1/185: 25 April 1645 -- Petition of Nicholas Loftus, Deputy Treasurer-at-Wars for Ireland. Prays for protection against Captain Christopher Whitscott, who sues petitioner for £280 for twenty butts of sack supplied to Colonel Audley Mervyn."
Referal to the Wikipedia article concerning Audley Mervyn leaves one wondering if Col. Mervyn may have deliberately mis-led the House of Lords concerning the status of Sir Ralph Gore !?

Note, the Gore family apparently held an estate in southwest Co.Donegal and western Co.Fermanagh.
1641-1652: Rising in Ulster, followed by a civil war in Ireland
"The 1641 and Cromwellian Wars were again followed by famine and fever. Petty, the Cromwelliian map-maker wrote that almost 40% of the population of Ireland was lost by sword, plague and famine between 1641 and 1652, and that the years 1649-53 accounted for two thirds of these losses." Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86
~1642-1646: Names of the "Cromwellian" Adventurers for Land in Ireland
From "Irish Pedigrees" by John O'Hart, vol 2
(Note: Adventurers awarded Lands in Ireland ~1653 in payment for funds advanced to the Parliamentary forces)
1646-1649: The English Civil War,
ending with the beheading of King Charles I
1649-1659: The Commonwealth era,
under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell
1651: Cromwell Invades Ireland
1654: Civil Survey (Donegal) Holders of land and leases in Donegal in 1654
1654:Index to the Civil Survey Names Appearing in the Civil Survey of 1654
1658: The Murray Estate in Southwest Donegal James Murray, 2nd Earl of Annandale, died childless; the Boylagh/Banagh estates were claimed by his young cousin Sir Robert Chrichton by virtue of James Murray's will
1659: Census of Ireland Principal Irish names and (Landlord) "Tituladoes"included as resident claimants to the Castle Murray Quarter of Rahan Near and Rahan Far were Sir Robert Murray Knight of Glenmir, Archibald Pearson, John Gregg and James Crighton, Gentleman. James Crighton was probably a brother of Sir Robert Chrichton. Another cousin, Richard Murray of Broughton also claimed the estates by virtue of a Deed of Conveyance made before the will. [see Brid Ward, p.107]
1660-1689:The Restored Stuart Monarchy
of Kings Charles II and James II.
Early 1660's-1672: Murray Estate in Boylagh & Banagh, Co.Donegal Following a complex legal dispute, possession of the Estate was gained by Richard Murray of Broughton. Murray and his wife resided in Killybegs for several years, returning to Scotland in 1672 during an acute downturn in the Irish economy. The Murray family was never again to reside on its Irish lands. Richard Murray seems to have been financially strapped throughout the period of his ownership, and was forced to mortgage or sell portions of the property. He sold a large area of the original Donegal property, including the Rosses and a significant estate around Mount Charles to his cousin Sir Albert Conyngham in the 1660's. There was a subsequent dispute between Murray and Conygham as to whether the transaction amounted to a mortgage payable from Estate revenues for a limited term of years (Murray's view), or was a total alienation of the property (Conygham's view). Conyngham ultimately prevailed. See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357-359. It can be speculated that the earliest members of the Strong family to appear in County Donegal may have been brought there by Richard Murray. This MIGHT be a function of the possible relationship between them as speculated in DNA Study Note #7 re origins of Donegal Bay Strongs. Examination of the primary sources, the Rent Rolls and correspondance of this period could be quite helpful!

1665: Hearth Money Rolls (Donegal)
Strong Family[use "find on page search" for 'Killaghty']
Heads of Households in Donegal. George Strong & Thomas Strong listed in Parish of Killaghtee , which was part of Murray Estate.
Irish Data Base Records #1446 & 1447 ===>
There is speculation they may somehow have been related to the Murray family or the Blair family. See: DNA Study Note #7 re origins of Donegal Bay Strongs [Note, "Hearth Money" taxation was used during The Hundred Years War, c.1337-1453, to finance military operations; see Seward, above.]
See: Analyses of "Townlands of Killaghtee" and "1665 Hearth Money Roll of Parish of Killaghtee"

First record of Strongs in Donegal Bay area;
established in Killaghtee Parish in the Murray Estate.
1673: Survey of tenures on Murray Estate The Survey listed two old leases for "lives in being", a variety of leases for between 21 and 41 years, and 19 freeholds. Five of the freeholds predated Richard Murray's possession, but the remainder had been set by him during his recent residence. See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357-359. A succession of Land or Estate Agents, including Robert Spence of Donegal-town, Capt. Thomas Knox, James Hamilton of Mount Charles, Co. Donegal, Andrew Patton, and Henry McDowell, thereafter managed the Estate for the Murray absentees in Scotland. Their voluminous correspondance contains "many shrewd comments on the development of the estate", and could be usefully mined for information concerning many of the tenant families. See: The Murray of Broughton Papers (D/2860); Kirkham in "Donegal Estates and Society"; and Elliott, "Two Early Seventeenth Century Co.Donegal Rent Rolls", both cited herein.

1684-1858: Index to the Diocese of Raphoe Wills Scroll down to "1743: Arthur Strong, Ardeellan"
1688: Death of King Charles II; succeeded by his brother, King James II Sir Robert Crichton and his three brothers disappeared from the scene in the last year of the reign of Charles II. Richard Murray was confirmed in possession of half Boylagh and Banagh and his cousin Sir Albert Conyngham who supported his claim got a "Commission of Grace Grant" of the other half. However, the descendants of Sir Robert Crichton continued to press their claims to the estate well into the 18th century. [see Brid Ward, p.107]

1689-1691: James II deposed,
first in England, then Scotland,and
following The Battle of the Boyne, in Ireland
"Plague followed the armies also during the Williamite Wars, especially at the seige of Derry when fever, flux and pox attacked both the besiegers and the besieged." Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86 "Fever stalks upon the heels of famine - and is an old story in Ireland, and when once a famine had begun, whether provoked by natural causes or by war, famine fever was never far behind. A generalised fever which was definitely a part of a generalised famine was either typhus or relapsing fever, or a mixture of both; and a constant and fatal associate of famine fever was famne dysentery." Mehan, p.68.
1690: Death of Richard Murray, in ScotlandNote: Richard Murray's influence on the management of the estate lasted from 25 to 30 years, and seems to have been more knowledgable than his successor heirs. His actual residence in Donegal from 1660's thru 1672, combined with on-going contacts in Scotland seems likely to have been the source of influx of certain tenant families from Scotland to Donegal. Possible origin of Strong family appearing in Hearth Money Rolls of 1665?
1691-1702: Battle of The Boyne completes
"The Glorious Revolution of 1689", and
establishes the reigns of King William III and Queen Mary.
1691: Thomas Knox, Estate Agent A month after the Treaty of Limerick, Thomas Knox, then agent for the neighbouring Conyngham estate, proposed that he should also act as agent for the Murrays and sought a power of attorney to act for the widow Lady Murray, and her son, John Murray, a minor and heir to the Estate. See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 359. Richard Murray's death left the widow Lady Murray somewhat at the mercy of Conygham and his agent, Knox. This may have led to settlement, circa 1696, of the ownership dispute in favor of Conygham; and probably also led to a later growth in the influence of Captain James Hamilton, of Mount Charles, in the management of the estate.

1694: William "Speaker" Conolly, of Co. Meath, and Speaker of the Irish House of Commons Per the PRONI Introduction to the Archived Papers of the Conolly Estates: "In 1694, Conolly married Katherine Conyngham, daughter of Sir Albert Conyngham, a Williamite Lt-General of the Irish Ordnance, and sister of Henry Conyngham of Mount Charles, Co. Donegal. She brought him a marriage portion of £2,300, in return for which he settled on her and/or on the issue of their marriage the first estates purchased by him in Ireland. They were the lands of Rodanstown (near Kilcock), Dollanstown, Batterstown, etc, stated as containing 1,427 acres in the barony of Deece, Co. Meath. His marriage allied Conolly to some of the most influential families of the North: the Leslies, Montgomerys, Hamiltons, Gores, Corrys and Knoxes, and to some useful friends in high places, for example James Bonnell, who married Jane Conyngham, Katherine's sister, and was later Comptroller and Accountant-General of the Revenue."

1696:Murray Estate: Many 21 year Leases were granted as a result of the work of Thomas Knox and other Estate agents. See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 361.
1697: Hamilton Family established at Brown HallThe Hamilton (Brown Hall) Estate: Probably by virtue of distinguished service during the Revolution of 1688 as a member of the Enniskillen Defenders, Captain James Hamilton obtains lease on Trinity College Lands and is established at Brown Hall in Drumhome Parish, Tirhugh Barony, Co. Donegal. See: "The Actions of the Enniskillen-men", by Andrew Hamilton, London (1690), Reprint edition, Castlepoint Press, Colvend, Dalbeattie, Scotland (2001); and see The Significance of the Hamilton Family (in The Donegal Strong Puzzle)

1699: Murray's, Absentee Landlords, distanced from tenantry

Murray Estate Agent Thomas Knox pointed out to John Murray, now of age, that 'were it not for the care and management of Col. Conyngham, as matters now stand, there are but few tenants on your estate that would acknowledge you in a sixpence, other than on their own terms'. The uncertainties and factional feeling arising from the legal dispute between the Murrays and the Conyghams had created a schism between the Murray family and its major tenants. There were a 'dozen of gentlemen' described by Thomas Knox in correspondance of that year as holding 'estates' from John Murray who were freeholders occupying more than 12,000 acres of the property. Several of these freeholders also held leaseholds on the estate and they constituted a locally powerful and entrenched group with wide-ranging kinship ties between them, to the family and, to a lesser extent, with the Murrays. Many of the families had been in the area for several generations. By 1700, however, these ties of kinship and obligation were breaking down and the support of this group - 'raised and bred up even from nothing' by their connection with the Murrays, as Knox put it - could no longer be relied upon. See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 360.

It seems likely the events of the period 1689-1699 led a number of Murray Estate tenants to seek opportunities elsewhere, including leases of other properties from nearby landlords, including the Hamilton family and the Ffolliot family, both of which had been active in the defense of the Donegal Bay to Enniskillen region during the Glorious Revolution. See: "The Actions of the Enniskillen-men", by Andrew Hamilton, London (1690), Reprint edition, Castlepoint Press, Colvend, Dalbeattie, Scotland (2001)

1701Jul31: Strong Family Irish Data Base Record #1792 ===> Drumhome Church of Ireland burial record:
Rebecka Strong, daughter of John Strong, Ballintra.
Implies that by 1701, Strongs were branching out, establishing tenancies on Estates other than that of Murray. Ballintra was and is a placename closely associated with Brownhall and the Hamilton Estate, and included Aghadowey and Drumbarron Townlands, where Strongs held tenancies for many years.
1703-1798: "Century of Peace" in Ireland During which the planted Protestant Ascendency ruled economically, socially, and politically.
1704: The Penal Code enacted against Catholics
1704: John Murray dies, succeeded by his brother, Alexander Murray See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 360.
1708Feb13: Strong Family Irish Data Base Record #280 ===> Drumhome Church of Ireland burial record:
George Strong, Ballintra.
Was this the same George Strong as that found in the 1665 Hearth Money Rolls? Was it George who moved, leaving Thomas as a tenant of the Murray Estate? Can the DNA divergence between kits #5811 and 6643 (possible descendants of George: DYS385b=15) & #6761 and 8431 (possible descendants of Thomas: DYS385b=16) be traced to this point in time?
1708: The Test Acts enacted to assure
Protestants in Offices and Power
1715-21: Famine in northwest Ulster "The year 1715-16 was cold and frosty all over Europe and was the coldest on record. Because of the late Spring, the harvest was poor and severe famine followed in north west Ulster. In 1718, Bishop Nicholson of Derry wrote of the dismal marks of hunger and want on the faces of the peopele of his diocese.... In 1721, he wrote.... 'we seem to be brought to the brink of a famine...'". Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86,87.
1716: Ffolliot Estate: Death of Henry Folliot
Third Baron of Ballyshannon
With the death of Henry Folliott in 1716 the title, Baron of Ballyshannon, became extinct and much of the Folliott property was subsequently sold... (to William Conolly, Speaker of the Irish Parliament)... See: Note re History of the Folliot Family
1718: Murray Estate: 21 year Leases previously granted due to expire See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 361.
1718: William Conolly purchases Folliot Estate near Ballyshannon
William Conolly's Ballyshannon Estate: Part of the Conolly Estate of Co.Donegal was originally granted in about 1610 to Francis Gofton, Auditor to the Lord Deputy of Ireland. Gofton then sold his Ballyshannon Estate to Sir Henry Folliot. 36 = Estates #37)} According to John B. Cunningham's article, "William Conolly's Ballyshannon Estate 1718-1726", Gofton's successor, Lord Folliott sold the estate to William Conolly, his legal advisor, in 1718 for £52,000. The estate had a stated rental income of £2,000 fer annum plus £450 for the Erne Fishery. The Ballyshannon estate totalled some 18,900 acres. Conolly also rented "College" lands in the area from Trinity College, Dublin, to the extent of about 1719 acres for £292-18-10.5. Additionally, he had an estate in Co. Fermanagh around Ballinamallard, called Newporton, totalling 4212 acres with a rental of £582-4-11, and lots in the town of Ballyshannon, the fishery of Ballyshannon, the warren at Finure, Mills, Tenements on the Carriggboys side of Ballyshannon, a tanyard and storehouse at Balleek, and Tenements and mills at Ballynemallar. 37 = Estates #38)} Note: No Strongs appear in the 1718 Rent Rolls of the Ffolliot Estate when sold to Conolly.
1719: Alexander Murray assumes control of Murray Estate
grants series of 7 year leases.
See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 361-362.
1724-1730's: Famine in northwest Ulster " What we know of this period comes from the Boulter Letters. Boulter, an English born liberal-minded clergyman, appointed Primate of Ireland in 1724, believed that the least accident in the harvest was sufficient to produce little less than a famine every other year. Accoring to him, many hundreds of the landless poor died on the roads as they moved around in search of food. He also wrote that the grain failure caused the poor to eat potatoes... ". Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86,87-88.

1726: William Conolly's Ballyshannon Estate
Strong Family

The Conolly Estate of 1718-1726, non-inclusive of an additional "Fourteen Balliboes belonging to the Bishop of Raphoe", , extended roughly from Balleek to near Bundoran on the south of the River Erne, and on the north bank of the river it extended from the sea at Ballyshannon several miles northward towards Rossnowlagh and then inland to the east about five or six miles, to include Breesy Mountain about 5 miles northeast of Belleek. As described above generally, the landlord usually let out his estate in sizable areas to one substantial tenant or to a combination of substantial tenants. These tenants could sublet to others below them on the economic ladder at a profit for themselves, or they could retain their own parcel and farm it themselves. 38 = Estates #39)}

Cunningham's article studies the estate records of renewals of the leases in about 1726, at the end of the 31 year term of the first leases. Using the estate records from the time of the sale from Lord Folliott to William Conolly in 1718, he was able to compare the rent charges to verify the renewals were at generally higher levels. 39 = Estates #40)} The lease renewals in question related to the "freeholders" or middlemen.

Cunningham indicates that in the 1690's much land had been leased for 31 years at a low rent in the aftermath of the "Williamite War". A preponderance of Scots names are noted in the estate records for this period, and Cunningham suggests the source was Scots emigration to the north of Ireland which was apparently particularly strong in the mid-1690's due to a famine in Scotland around 1695-7. However, it seems quite likely the "Scots" names noted by Cunningham really were the surnames of various members of the Plantation Yeomanry which had been in the area around Donegal Bay since the very earliest days of the Plantation. Those very names are, of course, those under study in The Donegal Strong Puzzle.

Will Strong found in Rent Roll lease of Ardillan (Ardeelane) Townland
Irish Data Base Record #205 ===>

First of a number of records associating Strong Family with Ardeelane Townland

1727-29: Alexander Murray raises rents
while famine strikes
James Hamilton, Estate Agent argues for moderation.
"...scarcity of grain following poor harvests had reduced the circumstances of many.... As the crisis deepened, tenants who had agreed terms for new leases in 1727 refused to accept them... a ship lying at Killybegs was indented with as many passengers for New England as she can carry..."Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86,87.
Many tenants left the Murray estate; some to America, and some for other nearby estates. See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 362-3.
1730 Thomas Addi Audit of Lands & Rents for
Alexander Murray, Laird of Broughton,
Estate in Boylagh & Bannagh
See: Report of Thomas Addi in 1730 on the Murray of Broughton estate ; and See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 363-4. No Strongs listed.
Had Thomas' descendants moved to other nearby estates?
Note: subsequently finding Strongs on Murray Estate holdings implies a certain mobility within the tenantry... an ability to move back and forth between the various Estates as leaseholds became available.
1731 Thomas Addi installs bro-in-law, Henry McCulloch
at Killybegs as rent collector for Alexander Murray, Laird of Broughton,
Estate in Boylagh & Bannagh
See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 364. Dale Strong's family included an intermarriage with a McCulloch, probably a descendant of Henry McCulloch.
1734-45 Recurrent poor harvests in Donegal
with consequent famine and sickness
Many tenants break or threaten to break leases and emigrate to America. See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 367-8: July, 1736 letter from Alexander Crawford of Drumark and Drumgun (since before 1719) to Alexander Murray, complaining of Murray's broken promises, and difficulties in making a sufficient living, let alone payment of rents.

1739-41: "The Year of the Slaughter" "On 27 December 1739, severe frost set in and continued for several weeks almost without a break....Potato seed rotted... ... 1741 was known as the Year of the Slaughter because of the great number that died of starvation or of the diseases they got from eating unwholesome and putrid food such as rotten potatoes...". Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86,88-89.

1743: Index to the Diocese of Raphoe Wills Scroll down to "1743: Arthur Strong, Ardeellan"

1744: "The Rot Year" "A hurricane in Killybegs in February 1743... The damp weather that destroyed the potato crop in 1744 caused the year to be remember as 'The Rot Year'... only 1 acre in 10 of grain worth reaping... Trouble ..on the Murray of Broughton Estate... Thomas Addi of Donaghadee sent on a fact finding mission for Murray..."Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86, 89-90.
1750: Alexander Murray dies, succeeded by his heir, James Murray See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 373. Speculatively, his 46 year ownership (1704-1750) of the Murray Estate may have significantly influenced the number of children in the various tenant families who were given the name "Alexander" during and after this period! Note, however, that Alexander was a relatively common Scottish name.
1751-2: Improved economy and James Murray raises rents at renewal time,
and grants longer terms of up to 3 lives in being or 31 years
directly to tenants, excluding middlemen.
James Murray contemplates sale of the Estate. See: Donegal Estates and Society, pp.357, at 372-3.
1773Feb13: Strong Family Irish Data Base Record #860 ===> Thomas Strong renting Meenanery Townland, Glencolmcille Parish; probably as middleman
Ballyara rent rolls are in the H.G.Murray-Stewart records, Edinburgh PRO, and should be examined for further details.
Thomas Strong rented townland from 1773 ff; probably resided at Ballyara; probably a descendant of Thomas Strong of Killaghtee, (1665).
1773 Controversy in Ireland concerning taxation of Absentee Landholders See: The Irish Absentee Tax Controversy of 1773, by Thomas F. Moriarty
Act of 1778 Catholics permitted to take leases
contingent on an oath of allegience
1778-1790: Catholic Qualification Rolls Names of Catholic Persons taking an oath of allegience to the Crown
1783, 1788: "Volcanoes and Gales" "In 1783, the Laki eruption rocked Iceland... volcanic dust in the atmosphere blocked out sunlight and 1784 was known over north west Europe as the year without a summer. The grain crops failed... Autumnal gales lashed the north west coast in September 1788 and caused much damage along Donegal Bay..."Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86,91.
1798-1815: The Napoleonic Wars,
including the British-American
War of 1812
1815-17: "The Dear Summer Famine" "The volcano of Tambora in Indonesia erupted in 1815, and a colossal amount of dust was blown up to the upper atmosphere where it remained for years. It's effects were felt worldwide. 1817 was remembered as the year of the dear summer... cattle were bled two or three times in the week ... that human beings might feed upon their blood...typhus epidemic... in 1817." Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86,91-92.
1816-1841: Hamilton Family estates at
St. Ernan's and Brown Hall
See "Forty Years as an Irish Landlord: (the life of Rev. J. Hamilton of St. Ernans)", by White.
1832; 1841: "The 1831 Cholera; and the 1841 Great Famine" "the root cause of the health problems [of Ireland] was poverty and it was not tackled; in a few short years, two great tragedies followed - the 1832 Cholera and the Great Famine". Helen Mehan, "Climate, Famine and Fever in Eighteenth Century Donegal", Donegal Annual, 2011, p.86,93-94.
1842-1880: The Great Potato Famine and
political movements to reform
Irish Land Tenure, economics and society.
1845: Death of Alexander Murray
Last of the Murray of Broughton lineage, seated at Cally, in Scotland
He was succeeded by Horatio Glanville Stewart, a collateral relative, aged nine, who changed his surname to Murray-Stewart. Thereafter references in the records are to the H.G. Murray-Stewart Estate. "During his minority, the estates were administered by Irish Trustees in Dublin who were ruthless in their treatment of the tenants." [Brid Ward, p.108]
1857: Griffith's Valuation of County Donegal [Searchable Database]
1881-1909: Irish Land Reform Acts
Government moves to buy-out landlords and sell lands to the tenantry
See discussion in Brid Ward, “St. John’s Point, County Donegal”, self published, copywrite 2010, Printed by: Browne Printers Lted, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland; ISBN:978-0-9565908-0-0; p.263
28 September 1912:The Ulster Covenant Lists See The Archive of the Ulster Unionist Council, held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland [Searchable, Free]
1982-present:Research Trips and Research by Alec Strong, Dale G. Strong, David Strong, and others, reviewing the history of the Strong Family in Donegal and Fermanagh through the preceding 400 years.
[Undated] Townlands of Donegal The Towns and Townlands of Donegal
[Undated] Townlands of Londonderry The Towns and Townlands of Londonderry


Go to the Table of Contents for Book II, The Donegal Strong Puzzle
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Please let us know if this page has been helpful! We would also appreciate being advised of any possible additions or corrections to the information set out here. Contact David B. Strong
First Draft:Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 3:30:11 PM
First Published: Friday, November 28, 2003
Updated: Friday, November 28, 2003 - 11:12 AM
Updated: Friday, December 31, 2010 - 11:53 AM
Updated: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 4:06 PM
Updated: Saturday, February 11, 2012 - 9:00 PM
Last Updated: Sunday, June 3, 2012 -

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