Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The first Thompsons in Ulster

(NB: If you're reading this on Facebook, the original post is from my blog) Tim Thompson from Spokane, Washington State, USA, was in touch with me a few weeks ago, asking about Ulster-Scots heritage. A lot of the early records have been lost over the years. From those that have survived, here's a list of the first Thomsons/Thompsons in Ulster:

- a Rev Andrew Thompson was ordained at Ballywillan in County Antrim in 1615
- a John Thomson at Blackabbey in County Down, 1617 (a tenant of Sir Hugh Montgomery)
- a Robert Thomson in Londonderry in 1617
- a James Thomson was recorded at Lifford in County Donegal in 1617
- a Robert and his father David Thompson at Dunluce, County Antrim in 1634

Tim has traced his family tree back to a Hugh Thompson who emigrated from Belfast with his wife and sons to Virginia around 1750. Our own family tradition is that the first Ulster Thompsons in our tree came from between Kilmarnock and Troon in Ayrshire and settled near Ratallagh just south of Portavogie.

Old family papers that we have from the mid 1800s show the name was spelled Tamson (ie, how it was pronounced, and also the Scottish version of the name - this 1891 map shows Tamsons in Lanarkshire and Midlothian), but towards the later 1800s it had been adjusted to Thompson.

You can search the early records, from 1606 - 1641, here, thanks to the excellent Ulster Historical Foundation.



Unknown said...

Mark; It is interesting you were or may have been related to Thompson of Blackabbey - We the Anderson's lived for a couple of years at Blackabbey Road / Killyvolgan Road, back in 1975. I remember it to be a beautiful and tranquil place, however I recall it to be rather spooky! - Mark