Torrens Families: forefathers.

This page is a stab at trying to list the forefathers of the known lines. This is, of course, an impossible task! Certainly several lines are well documented back to one source ancestor in Ireland or Scotland. Where these lines are well documented I will try to list them here.

Also very relevant to such a list are immigrant ancestors. Many of the American lines trace with a good deal of certainty back to one immigrant forefather and I am trying to list all of these.

Lines in most other countries trace back to their Scottish/Irish ancestors but where such a connection has not been established these immigrant forefathers are worthy of inclusion here.

Clearly such a list is no small task and it is one with which I would gladly accept help, so if you have anything useful to add to this page, please contact me!

Many GEDCOM data files are available on the various branches of the family - some are available as trees on this site, some are linked to below, others please contact me.

Most of the GEDCOM files on this site have been transcribed from data in the two books:

Index of lines by country


Irish families.

  1. Hugh Torrens (Mayoughill) [1695-1779]

    Mayoughill is in Bann Valley, Ulster. This is my own line so a full tree of the descendants of Hugh and Eleanor Torrens and of Mayoughill is on site. The data was initially compiled by my father and it is also listed in RMT's book. It has since been expanded considerably.

    1. Hugh Torrens (Mayoughill) [1695-1779]

    This tree is in JavaScript, compiled by a RISC OS program called !GedcomWeb which outputs about the best WWW display I have seen of any software. Let me know how you find it. Since !GedcomWeb is a RISC OS program, you cannot us it on your PC!

    The tree has copious notes which may be turned off/on as you wish.

  2. John and Jean Torrence (Culnamen)[1717-1804]

    Jean is known (from the three letters) to be the daughter of Hugh Torrens (Mayoughill) but John's father is as yet unknown. We have been doing a lot of work on this line which is written up on The Torrens families of Culnamen. There is also a full tree of the descendants of John and Jean Torrens on site.

    The descendants include lines in:-

  3. James Torrence (Clogher, Co Tyrone)
    Listed in RMT (p120) but there are many doubts about the authenticity of this listing.

  4. Thomas Torrens (Dungiven)

    Probably the best listed line of the name and certainly the most famous.Thomas Torrence of Dungiven (Londonderry) Listed in RMT and includes lines in


    It is believed that the Torrens name has died out in this branch, but there are descendants through the females, including a line of descent from Sir Robert Richard Torrens
  5. Frances Torrens (Letterkenny, Donegal) 1786 - 1839

    Several members of this line are keeping genealogical records. The line mainly (exclusively?) American and is unusual in America for the spelling -ens. It if however well documented and a huge GEDCOM file is available. Contact is Robert C Torrens.


Scottish families.

  1. David and James (Scotland) [c 1750]

    This was once on David Torrens' www site where he listed this branch of the family, including much documentation. The site has disappeared.

  2. Henry Torrance (Borthwick, Midlothian) [b. abt 1778]

    Shelley Prelusky's ancestor. She says 'married Mar. 8, 1798 in Channelkirk, Berwick to Margaret Bertram b. abt 1778. Most of their kids were bapt. in Borthwick. Others were in Stow, Crichton and Cranston, Midlothian. Descendants in Canada.'

  3. Thomas Torrance (Larkhall, Lanarkshire) [c. 1750]
  4. Thomas Torrence of Newton Parish (Scotland). [d, Oct. 1761]
    Thomas married Elizabeth Heriot on 21 June 1700. This branch has been researched by Richard Torrance of Edinburgh.


Canadian immigrants.

There has been much crossing from USA into Canada and back so many of the lines are interlinked. However the Scottish lines of Henry Torrance (Borthwick, Midlothian) [b. abt 1778] and Thomas Torrance (Larkhall, Lanarkshire) [c. 1750] both have strong Canadian contents.


American immigrants.

  1. Sgt. Hugh Terence
    Terence has been interpreted as a variation of Torrens but this is most probably wishful thinking: this colourful character is almost certainly not an ancestor of any Torrens / Torrance / Torrence family but the file The descendants of Sgt. Hugh Terence is his claimed tree exactly as listed in RMT. See The Early Hughs of the Torrens Family in Ulster for a discussion of the relevance of the name Hugh and a discussion of the errors which surely exist. See also the story of A Genealogical Scam for the almost-certain explanation of how this legend came about.

  2. Albert Torrence (Cumberland Co. and Franklin Co. PA) [mid 1700s]
    Albert's line is listed in Robert M Torrence's 'Torrence and Allied Families'. However there is much doubt about what is listed there. In particular Albert cannot have been father to Samuel, Thomas or John Torrance, three brothers from Bann Valley. It is thought that Albert originated from the Clogher Torrences (Ulster). His early line needs careful examination!

  3. David Torrence and Alexander Torrence [1700s]
    Little is known of David and Alexander except they are listed in the 1748 will of Archibald Torrence. as being 'abroad'. This is presumed to mean America and this Alexander could well be the same person listed in Massachusetts in 1713. See below.

  4. Hugh Torrance = Sarah Cunningham (Franklin County, PA) [1701 - 1784]
    Hugh Torrance has been listed (RMT) as a son of Sgt. Hugh Terence: this is unlikely. Hugh's known sons include Adam, George (by first marriage) James and Hugh (by third marriage). All were born in Ireland and the only place where all four names occur in the Torrens families of Ireland at that time is in the Tamlaghtfinlagen group.

  5. Hugh Torrens (Mecklenburg County, NC.) [d. February 14, 1816]

    RMT (p 125) lists him as a son of James Torrance of Clogher, Tyrone. See Cedar Grove for information on this line.

  6. Hugh Torrens (Gaston County) [1732 - 1813]

    Hugh Torrens of Gaston County, USA. as listed in RMT.

  7. James H. Torrance [1486/51 - ????]

    A note written by Doris Torrance Coleman says ”He was born in Curdsville, Daviess County Kentucky in 1846 or 1851. At the present time I do not know who his parents, siblings or grandparents are.

    James married Louisa Isabel (Lou Belle) Hoskins, and she was born in 1855 in Daviess County. They had one child, my grandfather Joseph Alvin Torrance, also born in Daviess County, in 1870. He married Margaret (Maggie & Margaret were her nicknames, and she used them almost as often as her given name. They had eight children, one of which was my father Frank Thomas, born in Georgetown, Texas in 1903.•

  8. Robert Torrance (Woodbury CT and Middlebury VT) [1736-1816]

    Robert's father is known to be Hugh Torrens (Mayoughill). Robert's lineage is discussed and listed in Jared Sidney Torrance's 'The Descendants of Lewis Hart and Anne Elliott' and is well documented.

  9. Samuel Torrence = Jemima Parke (Woodbury CT) [c: 1700 - 1788]
  10. Thomas Torrence = Anna Mitchell (Woodbury CT) [c: 1718 - ????]
    These two brothers are assumed to be the two brothers of John Torrens of Culnamen, mentioned in the three letters. Erroneously listed by RMT as sons of Albert T.

  11. Alexander Torrance (Massachusetts c. 1713)

    Few facts are certain about this Alexander but he was first mentioned around 1713 in Massachusetts. It is not clear whether he was born there of was an immigrant. He married Mary Cannon on Sept. 26, 1738 in Dartmouth, MA and we do not have the date of his death. His son was William Torrance who begat Jeduthan Torrance who begat William Sinclair Torrance (all of MA) who was the first to migrate west via the Oregon Trail in 1846.

    Since records are so inexact, it seems possible that he was not born in America but is a first generation immigrant, if so possibly the self-same Alexander (brother to David) who were mentioned in the 1748 will of Archibald Torrence of Carnroe, parish of Aghadowey, Co. Londonderry as being' abroad'. This Alex is the only known Irish Alexander to have emigrated. The other possibility is that the line came direct from Scotland and not via Ireland.

    Information on this line has been compiled by Danna Torrance Mongoven and her husband who is a professional genealogist. His ancestry.com name is janealogy50. He can supply information on this line.


Australian immigrants.

There is much work to do on the Australians: those who have contacted us seem to have very small documented families which do not connect.

The line of Thomas Torrens of Dungiven has many connections with Australia - but it is not known how many descend from this line.


New Zealand immigrants.

The main New Zealand line is descended from the Bann Valley group and is well documented back to Hugh Torrens of Drumsara c (1822-30 Dec 1902). He is descended from John and Jean of Culnamen.


Spanish lines.

Little is known about how the Spanish lines connect: it could be a separate origin or the lines could have originated with an itinerant Scottish soldier.

Supporting this second theory is Robert Torrens, born in Spain in June 1833; resident in Carrigaline, County Cork, Ireland, in 1847; seaman who settled in Birkenhead and died there in 1903. Contact Bill Torrens, who is a descendant, with/for information.


South and Central American immigrants.

In all probability most of these descend from the Spanish/Basque families,though I have seen no documentary records. Much work remains to be done therefore and it would be interesting to trace this line back as far as possible!


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Page's Author: Richard Torrens
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Last modified: 2020