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LAIRD


DONEGAL, IRELAND

The following information was provided by
Steve Henkel


The Laird Family of County Donegal, Ireland
and their descendants in America, 1700s and 1800s.

James Laird was born about 1792, probably in County Donegal, Ireland, 
to parents not yet identified.
     The following is a Memorandum by one of his granddaughters, 
Emily Laird Dallery, written in 1956.  She died in 1966 at age 92. 
 She wrote at least two slightly different versions, one of which 
has come down through Katherine Laird Pippitt, the other through 
Edgar Laird Dallery.  (Here we have merged the two versions 
together).  Some of what she says must be taken with a grain of 
salt, as it appears to be colored by excessive family pride (e.g. 
the family never owned a large estate in Ireland, as far as we have 
been able to determine), by a memory clouded by age, and by some 
strong religious and ethnic prejudices, which were common at the time.

     "[Katherine's] great grandfather James Laird was born in 
Ireland or Wales; no dates known.  Can trace relationship back to 
'William of Orange' whoever he was.  Great grandfather... 
inherited [and] owned... a large estate and had many servants... 
in Letterkenny, County Donegal, North of Ireland.  Some folks used 
to say he was Laird by name and a Laird (Lord) by 'position'.  
Great grandmother's name was Anne Mitchell Laird of Scottish 
descent.  They had eleven children, seven sons and four daughters.  
Sons were Nathaniel, John, Martin, Walter, William, Andrew, and 
James A. Laird (your grandfather).  Daughters were Anne, Rebecca, 
Emily, and Ellen.  [In the Dallery copy, the order changes to... 
Sons: James A., William, Martin, Walter, Nathaniel, Andrew, and 
John; daughters Rebecca, Ellen, Emily, and Ann.].  When her 
husband died, Great Grandmother brought her eleven children 
to America in a sailing vessel, taking at least two or three 
months [in the Dallery version... three months to reach 
New York City, where they all lived until they married].

     Presumably her statements were based on family tradition, 
since she was born in the U.S. in 1873.  Her parents were both
 dead by 1890, when she was only 17, so she may have received 
her information from a sibling -- most of whom were not much 
older than she.  Unfortunately (as so often happens with 
facts passed down by "family tradition"), the few genealogically 
significant relics available from the 18th and 19th century do 
not bear out the above details.  There were few large estates 
in County Donegal during the period, and none in Letterkenny, 
as far as we have been able to determine.   From Griffith's 
Valuation (1847-1858) one of the few extant Irish census 
documents of the period (most of Northern Ireland's records 
having been burned in a fire in Belfast early in this 
century), it appears that James and Anne Laird lived in 
the small parish of Raphoe, in the townland of Muntertinny, 
where they leased 35 acres of land from Mrs. Angel I. Stewart, 
a local aristocrat.
     James's birth and marriage dates come from a note written 
by Anna Mitchell Sadler (circa 1870-1960), another one of 
James Laird's granddaughters, stating that James was 35 when 
he married Ann Mitchell, who was 18 and was born May 1, 1809.  
From this, we deduce that the couple were married about 1827, 
and that James was born about 1792.
     James probably died in Ireland during the period 1850-58 
(age abt 58-66). There is a James Laird (along with several 
other Lairds who may or may not be related to our James and 
Anne) listed in "Indexes to Irish Wills", Vol V, Derry and 
Raphoe, edited by Gertrude Thrift, London, 1920.  Thrift 
lists "Laird, James, Tullyvenny, 1855".


Ann Mitchell was born 1 May 1809, probably in County Donegal, Ireland, to parents not yet identified. Ann and her children probably emigrated to U.S. between 1856 and 1858, and may have lived with son John Laird (b abt 1828, married in NY on 20 Nov 1856) in New York City for a couple of years before Ann secured her own apartment at 164 Sixth St. sometime before May 1859. The Laird family is listed in "Trow's New York City Directory" (est. 1842, compiled by H.Wilson) starting in 1859 (covers period 1 May 1858 to 1 May 1859). Ann Laird, wid. James is not listed in editions from 1851-1852 to 1857-1858, but is in subsequent listings as follows: 1858-59 as of May 1, 1859: Laird, Ann, wid. James, h 164 Sixth 1859-1860 " " 1860: " " , h 78 Hammond 1860-1861 through 1863-1864: Same as above. 1864-1865 as of May 1, 1865: Laird, Ann, wid. James, h 139 W. 18th 1865-1866 " " 1866: Laird, Ann, wid. James plus Laird, Ann, wid. Martin, h. 139 W. 18th. (This Martin, deceased by 1866, may or may not be Ann's son Martin, b 1846/47 per 1870 census.) 1866-1867: Laird, Ann, wid. James plus Laird, Ann, wid. Martin, h. 139 W. 18th. 1867: Same as above 1867-1868 " " 1868: No listing for either widow. 1868-1869 " " 1869: Laird, Ann, wid. James, h 217 W. 18th 1869-1870 through 1873-1874: Same as above. 1874-1875 and on: Missing in this directory.
James and Ann had the following children: 1. Nathaniel Laird, b 1827/1828 in County Donegal, Ireland. He married about 1855/56 (age abt 28) Mary -----, and died
probably between 1860 and 1866. Nathaniel was a witness at the wedding
in NY City, on 19 Apr 1856, of his sister Annie and cousin Edmond Laird, at the Charles St. United Presbyt. Church. At the same church, on 19 Aug 1866, a "Mary Laird, widow of Nathaniel Laird", was received, apparently from an Episcopal parish. According to undated note from Anna Mitchell Sadler, Nathaniel married (apparently to Mary ----, probably abt 1855/56), and they had 3 children. 2. Anne Laird, b 1835/36 in County Donegal, Ireland. She married Edmond Laird 17 Apr 1856. Edmund is a cousin (exact relationship not yet determined by us) of his spouse Anne. According to Anna Mitchell Sadler's note, Edmund was "no good". Also, she says, Edmund's sister Jane married a cousin, "Z. Laird". Marriage date and place is per church records. 3. John Laird, b 1835/36 in County Donegal, Ireland. The records of the Charles Street Church list a John Laird who married Eliza Jane Pearson 20 Nov 1856 at the church. Witnesses were Sarah Blair and Mary Jane Blair (frequent witnesses at Charles St. Church; probably wife and daughter of Hugh H. Blair, the rector). Death date not known. 4. Emily Laird, b 1835/36 in County Donegal, Ireland. Per church records, an Emily was received into the Charles St. UP Church on Sep 22/26 1866, and was married there on 4 Feb 1867 to John G. Armstrong. John and Andrew Laird, her brothers, were witnesses. Emily was "certified" in the church 3 Jan 1872 (#780, "listed 23 July 1868... daughter of Mrs. Laird"). The church records for 5 Oct 1878 show: "#1345 Oct 5 1878 John G. Armstrong -- A Policeman; #1346 [same date] Mrs. Emily Armstrong -- formerly Miss Laira (sic)". The couple were dismissed from the church on 6 May 1880, to "Presbyterian Ch", presumably because they moved out of the area. 5. Ellen Maria Laird, b 1837/38 in County Donegal, Ireland. In the 1860 census, Ellen is listed with her mother and family as "tailoress". She was received into Charles St. UP Church 22/26 Sep 1866. Apparently she never married. She is listed as living with her mother Ann in the 1870 census record. 6. James A. Laird, b 1837/38 in County Donegal, Ireland. He married Matilda Crawford about 1866. He is our direct ancestor. See detailed notes on him elsewhere. 7. Walter Laird, b 1839/40 in County Donegal, Ireland. He apparently married, though we have found no record. "Walter lived in NY City and whole family are dead", says Anna Sadler in a note, though she says they have 5 or 6 children. 8. Andrew Laird, b 1841/42 in County Donegal, Ireland. He married Margaret ------ about 1865. Andrew was witness at sister Emily's wedding in Feb 1867, when he was about 25 years old. Although we have not found a record of his marriage, Anna Sadler says Andrew and wife had 6 children. There is an Andrew Laird, married and with 6 children, appearing in the 1880 Illinois census for Mercer Co. IL as follows: Andrew Laird, age 38, b Ireland; Margaret, age 36, b Ireland.... plus six children, all born in IL: Martha Jane 13, David 11, Annie 9, Emily 7, Maggie 5, and Minnie 3. We are entering those data here, because of the good age and name fit. 9. Rebecca Susan Laird, b 1835/36 in County Donegal, Ireland. She was received into the Charles St. church on 21 Jan 1866, and certified by the church 7 May 1874. She was called "Rebecca Susan Laird (new Mrs. Mitchell)" in the church record (#614), and is called "youngest [dau] of Mrs. Laird Sis[ters?]". Anna Sadler says she had 8 children in 12 yrs, although our search has turned up only two. Mrs. Sadler said in 1956: "Rebecca married a Scottish man named Robert Mitchell and their daughter and one son are still alive. Andrew, the son, lives in Westchester County NY and has been many years with W and J Sloan [a large furniture store] in New York." She was married 29 Jan 1874 per church record. Witnesses were James Mitchell (perhaps brother of the groom) and Mary Waugh (future wife of William Laird, Rebecca's brother). 10. Martin Laird, b 1835/36 in County Donegal, Ireland. She married Edmond Laird 17 Apr 1856. His death between 1861 and 1 May 1865 (perhaps in the War Between The States?) is evidenced in the NYC Directory for 1864-65, which lists "Ann Laird, wid. James plus Ann Laird, wid. Martin" at home at 139 W. 18th St. Her name does not appear as such before that issue. Anna Sadler says they had 5 children, but this seems unlikely in view of the short time (3 or 4 years) that he was alive after marriage, barring one or two sets of twins. 11. William Laird, b 1835/36 in County Donegal, Ireland. He married Mary Waugh 30 Jun 1874. Marriage date and place is per Charles St. UP Church records, which also indicate witnesses were William Waugh Jr. and Ellen Waugh (probably siblings of the bride, indicating that her father's name was William Waugh). Same church shows a baptism on 28 Jan 1878 of Mary Mitchell Laird, dau of William and Mary Laird. William was recvd at church 30 Apr 1874, dismissed 11 Jul 1881 to U[nited?] P[resbyt.?] Church of Newark NJ. Anna Sadler says he had 4 children.
Much of the information we have been able to trace on the children of this family has come from the records of the Charles Street United Presbyterian Church in New York City, which several members of the family attended in the 1860s and 1870s. The church itself is no longer in existence, but microfilmed church records are available through ther LDS Church genealogy library.
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