Until 1979 there was no record available to us of Samuel's predecessors. We did have, however, copies of letters from Ireland to James Ferguson previous to 1850. In one of them there is a reference to "your old Uncle Joshua". The baptismal records of Corroneary Presbyterian Church included the infant baptisms of James and Jane, children of Samuel Ferguson and Sarah Hooey. This was enough to provide incentive for further research.
In 1979 Eleanor and I, accompanied by cousin Olive Dodds of Winnipeg, visited the Corroneary area in Cavan County, Ireland. We were fortunate to meet Thomas Barron, a retired teacher who was making a study of the history of Cavan County. He already had in his possession a copy of the baptismal records of Corroneary Presbyterian Church, which included:
Apr. 19, 1818 - James, 1st child of Samuel Ferguson and Sarah Hooey.
Jan. 9, 1820 - Jane, 2nd child of Samuel Ferguson and Sarah Hooey.
Mr. Barron was quite familiar with the story of a Joshua Ferguson who lived in Killycloughan Townland. He died in 1772 according to the record of wills. Unfortunately the wills of that time were destroyed in a fire in Dublin. His farm extended into Latsey townland and it had a sandpit where the Seceding Presbyterians of Corroneary conducted their first service of worship around 1750. There is also record of further church services held in his home.
We provided Mr. Barron with a copy of the 1965 edition of the book, "The Descendants of Samuel Ferguson and Sarah Hooey 1817 -1965". With the information that it contained, along with some excerpts from early letters from Ireland to Canada, he undertook the task of researching for the ancestors of Samuel who came to Canada in 1821. He used tithe lists, assessment rolls and records of wills in his search. In due time he confirmed the fact that ROBERT FERGUSON of Drummartin Townland, which is "three Irish miles" or five English miles from Cootehill, had a son Samuel born in 1788. Another son was named Joshua, which was, no doubt, the "old Uncle Joshua" referred to in a letter to James in Ontario about 1845. He also learned that Sarah Hooey whom Samuel married in 1817 was the daughter of James Hooey from the adjoining townland of Kilnacrew, where he owned eleven acres of land.
Mr. Barron is quite convinced that the well known JOSHUA who died in 1772 was the grandfather of Samuel and Joshua and two other brothers. Unfortunately, we have no documents to prove it.
If you are interested, I could email you an electronic copy of our book as an attachment. It is one megabyte in size, over 350 pages and is in the free Adobe Reader .pdf format.
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