Bowles DNA Project
Robert Bowles of The Bowles of Fethard, co. Tipperary took leave from the Tipperary Militia, which was stationed in Galway at the time, to travel to Strabane, Tyrone from June to September 1811. That was immediately after the birth of his daughter, Grace, in Enniskillen in May 1811. It seems very strange that his wife would have travelled from their home in Tipperary to Enniskillen when expecting a child and then to Strabane unless there was a family connection there. There were Bowles in Enniskillen which might indicate a connection between them and his Tipperary family. In Strabane there were Boals who may have been their relations but more likely the connection was the Woods family of Strabane. Robert's mother, and their child's namesake, was Grace Woods of Fethard. There were other Woods in Fethard but it was uncommon. There were lots of Woods in Strabane. To research the possibility that it may have been the Woods who were the Bowles of Tipperary's connection to Tyrone I have studied this family somewhat and am interested in learning more.
Woods in Strabane
The Woods family farmed at Solus near Strabane. This sometimes appears as Tamnasolis or Sollace in records. The earliest records I have found date back to the 1740's. A 1744 "list of 20 tenants in Parish of Ardstraw who say they set out their tyth according to your Lordship's directions but now they are threatened to be put into the Bishop's Court for substraction" includes # 18 Oliver Woods. His Lordship was the Earl of Abercorn. Fearing that the Jacobite disturbances in Scotland would spread to Ireland Abercorn instructed his agents to draw up a list of firearms in his landholdings. The resulting Muster Roll of 1745 includes John and Alexander Woods at Tavanasolus in the Manor of Donelong.
A map of the Abercorn Estate from 1804 showing Sollus townland and the Donnalong Fort
There are two gravestones in the old Donagheady cemetery which document the death of an Andrew Woods at age 80 in 1773, a Robert Woods in 1789 and a 36 year old Andrew Woods also in 1773. ref. The Abercorn Estate map (PRONI ref. D/623/D/1/16) shows a John Woods of Sollus a tenant of Donelong Manor in 1777. John, William and Alexander Wood all of Tavanasollis, Donelong are in the Abercorn Rent Books for 1794-1809. John Woods of Tamnasollus is in the list of 1835 leases of Donelong Manor. The Griffiths Valuation of Donagheady, co. Tyrone from the mid-1800's includes Andrew, Henry, Mitchell and John Woods. ref.
The Index to 2nd Donagheady Presbyterian Marriages 1838-1926 on PRONI film 1/P/459 includes several references for Woods in this area. ref.
Would anyone know of a Grace Woods born here about 1748? Could you tell me anything more about the origin of the Woods family or anything regarding their possible connection to the Woods in Tipperary?
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