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See Phil Manus's Website

Derry Defenders

List member [email protected] suggests:
For starters, I want to suggest reading a book and an article and then following through with an examination of the bibliographies appended to each. A recent comprehensive study by the respected historical researcher and genealogist Brian Lacy will give one a comprehensive overview of the Siege. The book is SIEGE CITY: The Story of Derry and Londonderry published by The Blackstaff Press, Belfast, in 1990. You will come away from this book with an even-handed, well-written treatment of the approximately 30,000 persons, 10,000 of whom perished, who took refuge in the walled city and resisted the armies of James II in his efforts to regain the British throne.

A second source is the article "The Siege: Its History and Legacy, 1688-1889," by T. G. Fraser which appears in DERRY AND LONDONDERRY, History and Society, edited by Gerald O'Brien and Published by Geography Publications, Dublin, 1999. This articles treats the Siege briefly and follows up with a critical interpretation of its outcomes and effects to 1889. The reader will then have an informed understanding of the significance of the Siege and the aftermath of social and political consequences.

Lacy's book contains a Select Bibliography that lists anywhere from five to fifteen articles for futher study for each Chapter in the book. The most significant of these for genealogists is Robert Simpson, THE ANNALS OF DERRY, printed in a compilation of Derry articles, edited by John Hempton, printed in Londonderry in 1847 and reprinted by North-West Books, Limavady, 1987.

In addition, Philip Dwyer, THE SIEGE OF DERRY IN 1689, London, Elliot Stock, 1893, and John Graham, A HISTORY OF THE SIEGE OF ONDONDERRY, Dublin, William Curry Junior and Company, 1829.

You will note that the Hempton edition and the Dwyer book are old, out of print resources. You will have to find these books in the LDS library at Salt Lake City. The hard reality is that if you want the results you have to read and search the sources that contain the information you want. You can read modern sources until you are blue in the face but they do not reach to the personal level that the genealogist must access and that nineteenth century writers thought so important in establishing a data base of facts on which to base conclusions and historical generalizations.

Moving on now to the article, "The Siege: Its History and Legacy, 1688-1889, " the appended bibliography is indeed a rich one. Fraser writes "The most succinct modern account of the siege is J. G. Simms, THE SIEGE OF DERRY, Dublin, 1966. He also refers to several articles in newspapers The Londonderry Sentinel and The Derry Journal edited by Milligan as sources for the aftermath of the Siege and their effects. The editor's Notes are available at Magee College, Londonderry. First... the literary excellence of Lord Macaulay, THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND, v. 1, p. 772, pub. London (2 vol. ed.), 1889 [Always in print; check for a cheap paperback.]

Next, the two key contemporary accounts, MACKENZIE'S NARRATIVE OF THE SIEGE, printed in John Hempton, editor, THE SIEGE AND HISTORY OF LONDONDERRY (Londonderry, 1861), This is the KEY protestant dissenter account. This is the same book containing the Annals referenced above. This compilation is a PRIME source of information for genealogists.

The Hempton text also contains another PRIME sources, the doggeral manuscript poem found in Antrim referred to as "Londeriados." This is a quasi epic poem that names the primary individuals involved in the defence of Derry. This is an essential genealogical source, a MUST HAVE resource in finding the families and persons involved in the critical aspects of the siege.

In addition to Mackenzie, the standard contemporary account was that of the Rev. George Walker who presents the protestant Church of Ireland account. This book is known as A TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE SIEGE OF LONDON-DERRY (London, 1689), ed. by Rev. P. Dwyer, THE SIEGE OF LONDONDERRY IN 1689 (London and Dublin), 1893, republished with Introduction by E. R. R. Green (Mension, 1971), p. 14. Again, this book with take some looking for but the results will be there.

One can't escape the need for Colonel Colby, ORDINANCE SURVEY OF THE COUNTY OF LONDONDERRY (Dublin, 1837, reprinted with an introduction by Tony Crowe, Limavady 1990).

Finally, the last genealogically significant book listed in the Bibliographies of the two studies at the top of this bibliographical list is T. Witherow, DERRY AND ENNISKELLEN IN THE YEAR 1689 (Belfast, 1873).

Beyond the scope of the two primary references I cited and from which the above bibliography was compiled are two additional books that used in conjunction with the Doggeral Poem contain the key genealogical gold seam lodes of information.

The Biographical Notes to The Poem by the Rev. John Graham, Rector of Magilligan, in the Diocese of Derry expand on the references to persons in the poem and give paragraph length explanations and genealogical details for the hundreds of persons cited. These Notes appear in A HISTORY OF THE SIEGE OF LONDONDERRY AND DEFENCE OF ENNISKILLEN IN 1688 AND 1689. Reprinted Toronto, Maclear & Co., 1869.

The most COMPREHENSIVE GENEALOGICAL SOURCE is found in FIGHTERS OF DERRY: THEIR DEEDS AND DESCENDANTS, Being a Chronicle of Events In Ireland During the Revolutionary Period, 1688-1691, by William R. Young, London, Eyre and Sposttiswoode, 1932. This book develops with additional genealogical data the persons named in Londeriados. It explains relationships and marriages among the officers, gentry, and religious leaders showing how important and intertwined that social strata was and became.

THIS BOOK LISTS 1562 INDIVIDUALS and presents information on each, sometimes to the extent of several pages. It is indexed, but the index is inadequate and not complete, listing only the major entries. FIGHTERS OF DERRY is available from LDS as film #1363998. Do not waste you money and time trying to get the index and then ordering copies for, as I have explained, the index is so abbreviated it is inaccurate in relationship to the body of information provided in the book. One must really read the accounts of the families in which you are interested and then the familes referenced in those paragraphs, like rolling a snowball. A friend was able to acquire the entire text by having a genealogist in his employ copy the complete film using the printer on the microfilm reader. I don't know what the cost per page is for 353 pages but the total had to be considerable. [A copy of this book is in the Linen Hall Library in Belfast.]

I honestly was skeptical that I would ever find the detailed and comprehensive data and accounts in FIGHTERS OF DERRY. Maybe as a reader and a researcher I will at some point qualify for the Auxillary. "

List member Alexander Craghead <[email protected]> adds:
"I'd suggest also reading the "Craighead Family, A Genealogical Memior" by the Rev James Geddes Craighead, Philadelphia, 1876.

"I have a photocopied version. I have never seen an original but it is not overly rare. I'm sure that LDS has it, and many larger east coast collections do too.

"Rev. Robert Craighead was a witness and participant and there is some interesting information about these turbulant times, including politics and church affairs, at great length in the introduction. It is worth seeking out for anyone who wants a "Reader's Digest" version of the times, whether they are Craigheads or not. " See LDS film 897112 Item 3.

The Rev also wrote "The Craighead family : a genealogical memoir of the descendants of Rev. Thomas and Margaret Craighead, 1658-1876" on microfiche at 6060572.

"Scotch and Irish seeds in America soil : the early history of the Scotch and Irish churches and their relations to the Presbyterian Church of America " Microfilm of original published: Philadelphia : Presbyterian Board of Publication, [1878]. 348 p. 908268 Item 2

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