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Found a William Ewing in Burt Congregation, Donegal

OK. My first hurtle has been overcome. Because we find Nathaniel Ewing marrying Rachel Porter in the Derry Cathedral, but we find others in the family at the Burt Congregation in nearby Donegal, my challenge was that there was not a William.... anywhere.... at least not mentioned in the Church records.

We all know that records are sparse at the end of the 1600s and the beginning of the 1700s in Ulster, but I'm learning how to navigate the few records that are there. My thinking went to land. We know that the Ewings were not likely landowners in Ulster because those landowners were tightly controlled by the Crown. Therefore likely they were renters. So that left me with the question of where to go to find the Landowners renter records.

I found a nice little book by Helen Meehan & Godfrey Duffy called "Tracing your Donegal Ancestors". For once I found a genealogy book that wasn't written for someone that was only looking as far back as the 1800s. It had a great deal of information on where to find sources all the way back to the 1600s. It turns out that landowner estate records are fairly easy to come by, and I found a Land Owner, Rt. Hon. William Forward, who had land in Moness, County Donegal, Ireland, not much more that one mile away from the Burt Congregation, where in 1727 apparently there lived a tenant named William Ewing.

"Wait" you say... wasn't our family known to have landed in New Castle Delaware on Dec 10, 1727? The answer is yes, but we have no evidence that the father (if the stories are true and his name was 'William' according to Nathaniel, grandson of immigrant Nathaniel) came with them, which would mean if he hadn't yet died, perhaps he was still in the old country.

SO, I found a William Ewing. I have not proven it to be THE William Ewing, or even IF the father of the seven brothers and one sister that went to New Castle Delaware was even named William. So I have more to go, but it is at least a start.

I haven't even looked in Coleraine yet. That's where James Porter, father-in-law of our Revolutionary War ancestor Patrick, said he was from. Remember Nathaniel married Rachel Porter? So the Porters were with us in Burt for sure. I'm looking for the connection between Nathaniel's Rachel and James, and I expect to find both Ewings and Porters in Coleraine until around the Williamite War of 1688-1691, after which the inhabitants there evacuated to the walls of Derry, and perhaps beyond to Donegal. We left Donegal for the New World most likely due to the Penal Laws which starting in 1695 began progressive levels of persecution against Catholics and Dissenters (Presbyterians who would not join the Church of Ireland...the Irish version of the Church of England).

Until I make more progress in Donegal and Coleraine, I'm not ready to tackle how we got there from the rumored Stirling Castle area.

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