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Letter from J W Kernohan to JST

Sept. 22nd 1920

Dear Mr Torrance

Since my last letter to you I have made time to go down to the country of
the Torrenses along the Bann. First I visited the Ballymoney district in
Co. Antrim, and motored out to the old Vow Graveyard to see and copy the
Torrance stones, of which I had copies from two separate parties; but
both disagreed, so I prepared myself with rubbing paper, ball, chalk,
etc. to get the proper inscriptions. This picturesque old spot above the
river should surely appeal to the American Torrances and be looked upon
as a kind of Mecca; for it would seem to have been the early burying
ground of the families from the Co. Derry side. *(The river divides the
two counties). The natives insist that they brought their dead across the
river in boats from "The Derry", as it is termed. I give the exact
inscriptions on accompanying paper. I also equipped myself with a small
camera and secured photos which print quite well and can be enlarged if
you so desire it. I had forgotten my photography but did not chose to
have additional expense of employing a professional. They are quaint

Then I took a few days in the Garvagh Aghadowey district, examined four
graveyards, cleaning many of the oldest stones in order to find a
Torrensone. I had little success there in that way; but I interviewed
relatives and visited the clergy to see all their records and copied
some. I have now to follow up some of the information from relatives
elsewhere suggested to me. You suggested applying to the families, but
they seem to have little to help us at least of an early enough date. I
have some of the local people pursuing the search. One of the clergy I
did not succeed in getting at home, but I am writing to see if he has any
early records. You can read the enclosed rubbing for yourself. The stone
being defaced at one part it is uncertain, but you see how Hugh (Huey)
persists. Early monumental inscriptions are few with us at least as very
early as these. Travelling expenses are so high that I have more than
exhausted your money. Places are a good deal apart and motoring is very
expensive. The Bills in Dublin are being continued at intervals as our co-
operative search could not be continued thus after 1730. But I would
recommend you to continue the Exchequer Bills to the end of the Century i.
e. to 1800. There is no knowing what may turn up. Sometimes a flood of
light is thrown on a family by these records. I have another bill found
by my searcher when doing a few years at the end of the century, but it
is of the family nearer Derry or Myroe. I have also found there is a
fragment of an early register of this district, and I'll have it gleaned.
Hugh is a name that has never turned up among them yet. I am sorry so
little results come from my visit, but I am leaving no stone unturned. It
is absolutely impossible to get gravestones searched unless one does it
oneself. Even the Church records are not safe in a person who has no
interest. I hope to send in my next a chart getting in more particulars
from inquiries set on foot after my visit. I now send you state of your

Sept. visit to Ballymoney          .  s.  d.
      & Vow. out of pocket exp.    2   8   2
      visit to Garvagh, Aghadowey  3   0   6
      my time 5 days               5   0   0
      Previous expenditure        12   2   3
                                  22  10  11 

You sent me at first 20

Faithfully yours
J W Kernohan

*In the left hand margin at this point occurs a note:
"A Wm. Torrens in the 18th Century had a Ferry on the Bann."


Documents attached:
Hand-drawn map of area around Vow Ferry
Churchyard and church records 4 pages
List of wills: 2 pages
List of deeds found in land index 1708-1810
Deed: Rev John Torrens of Laughtilube
Memorial of lease Hugh Torrens of Ballynarog

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Last modified: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 14:08:14 GMT