Bill's Genealogy Blog

Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.

My Photo
Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired online school teacher. I love family history. Since 2007, I have spent much of my time providing part-time support for the world's largest free family history site This is very rewarding. I have helped others with the Family Tree and related FamilySearch products.
In 2010-2018 Iserved in the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Centre. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Thompsons of Collow, County Tyrone, Ireland 
Like most people with genealogy on the internet, I receive a number of email messages. Some people provide updates or corrections to their family information. Others are seeking further information on people in my database. Some are responding to my blog. Most of these messages just require a few minutes of research and a simple reply. Others evolve into major projects.

The Thompsons of Collow project involved 8 researchers on three continents and dozens of documents. Firstly, who are the Thompsons of Collow? They are the Thompson family that lived in Collow Townland, Longfield West Parish, Tyrone, Ireland. Collow measures about one mile by a half mile and is not good farm land, but typicaly supported 4 to 8 families. See the Parish map at:

At the time of Griffiths Valuation of Ireland (1850s), Collow had the following homes:
Unoccupied (house)
Alexander ACHESON
Bernard M'AREE

William Thompson was the person who sparked the project. William's descendant Tim Spencer contacted me about the family. (See Tim's family website:
I felt that others had more information than I did, so I contacted six other researchers who had been in touch with me regarding the family.

Most of the researchers connected to the Thompsons of Collow through William Thompson. One descended from Catherine, and three of us connected through Ann Thompson, who married my 2g-uncle William Buchanan on 24 Mar 1846 at Lower Longfield Parish, Tyrone, Ireland. William and Ann came to Canada in 1847 with William's parents and siblings. (Family lore says that one or two of Ann's brothers came to Canada too, but failed to give their names.)

Ann's marriage certifcate identifies her father as James Thompson of Collow. Her death certificate gives her mother's maiden name also:
Death 024848-1911
Ann Buchanan, Nov 6, 1911, age 87y 4m 28d
Born June 9, 1824; of lot 33, con 9, Elma township; d/o James Thompson and Jane Long, both of Ireland.
Ill four days - died of old age; heart failure.

It was a surprise to learn that Ann's parents and most siblings immigrated to Australia.
Index to Assisted British Immigration 1839-1871
This is an index to Registers of Assisted British Immigrants 1839-1871
Family Name Given Name Age Month Year Ship Book Page
[Sorted by age]
Family Name Given Name Age Month Year Ship Book Page

Why would they have gone to Australia, when some family members already lived in Canada? The answer is probably that as assisted immigrants, the passage to Australia was free. And Australia gets a lot less frost and snow.

In Australia were found the death certificates of both her parents:
Deaths in the District of Duck Ponds in the Colony of Victoria Regitered by James Blair
Died: 13th October 1871, Shire of Corie, County of Grant, Parish of Moranghurk, Duck Ponds
Name and Profession: James Thompson, Coster; Sex and Age: Male, 86 years;
Circumstances: old age and general debility, 2 weeks, last seen by: Dr. John Day, 8th October 1871
Parents: Robert Thompson, tanner; Margaret Thompson M.N. Thompson
Informant: William M Clellan[?], son-in-law, Duck Ponds
Registration: James Blair, 15th October 1871, Duck Ponds
Burial: 16th October 1871, Geelong [?] Cemetery
Minister: Revd George Goodman, Church of England Clergyman; David McKay, James Alain, John Currie, witnesses
Born: Parish of Longfield, County Tyrone, Ireland; Resided in Victoria 16 years
Married: Longfield, County Tyrone, Ireland at age 22 years to Jane Thompson, M.N. Long
Children: Robert 60, William 57, Ann 50, John deceased, James 40, John 38, Gerrard 35, Margaret [illegible], Alexander [illegible], Jane 28, Catherine 26.

Deaths in the District of Geelong in the Colony of Victoria Registered by James Quillan[?]
Died: First May 1858, Bream Creek, Duneed
Name and Profession: Jane Thompson, m. name Long; Sex and Age: Female, 60 years;
Circumstances: Phthisis
Parents: Robert Long; Catherine Thompson m. name Sproul
Informant: John Thompson, son, Bream Creek
Registration: James Quillan[?], Third May 1858, Geelong
Burial: 3 May 1858, Geelong Cemetery; Wm Creig[?], undertaker
Born: Cty Tyrone, Ireland; Resided in Victoria 3 years
Married: Longfield, Tyrone, Ireland at about 20 years to James Thompson, Farmer
Children: Robert, William, Ann, John, James, John, Jared, Margaret, Alexander, Jane, Catherine
Notice that they even give Ann's grandparents names!!! How lucky can you get?!!

And the probate of James' estate gives further information:
4. That the said deceased left him surviving five sons and four daughters all above the age of twenty one years namely Robert and William and Ann at present residing in America, John at present in New Zealand, Alexander at present in Queensland, Margaret now the wife of William McClelland of Lara, Jane now the wife of Gabriel Hunter of Ballarat, Catherine now the wife of George B Hogg of Ballarat in the said colony and me this deponent who are his only surviving next of kin entitled by law to share in his property. 

So which of Ann's brothers came to America (Canada)? Robert and William! William is probably the same William Thompson recorded as the very first settler in the area that later became Elma township, Perth County, Ontario, Canada. The Buchanans followed shortly afterwards.

The research turned up a lot of additional information on the other William's family. From the evidence, there were two different William Thompsons of Collow, probably first cousins.

I will list some of the resources we used in a separate posting. This one is already longer than I intended.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bill. This is a great summary of the Thompson problem. I am coming back to this problem again and am trying to answer some of the questions that you and others have brought up. Hopefully I'll have something to report.

Patty Hopkinson

Friday, January 13, 2012 at 11:09:00 PM MST  

Post a Comment

<< Home