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[Bann Valley] JOHNSTON in Kilrea


The Johnstons in Poldean (Scotland) used several uncommon names such as Archibald, Christopher, Francis, George, Herbert, Ninian, Samuel and Symon in addition to the more common ones that give us all headaches, i.e.:  John, Robert and William.  When Poldean was sold in the mid-1700s many of the Poldean branch (and their descendants from the Craigieburn and Corehead branches) scattered.  England was one destination.  There was a group in Nuneaton and another in Yorkshire (just NNW of York).  All were Presbyterians initially.  Many of them then went onto Ireland, Canada and Australia.  Before that in the mid-1600s some went to France and the port of Danzig of the Hanseatic League.  I have been in touch with one of my German Cousins and was told that one of our kin (several times removed) was Maximilian von Johnston, Chamberlain to the Emperor of Germany in 1895-96.  There are at least 2 vineyards in France currently owned and operated by other Johnston kin. 

So, I am not surpised to see a Francis in my line.  Indeed, it is fairly common in our line of Johnston families for an uncommon Johnston name.  Some consider it to be a "Catholic" name, but we have documentation of it in our families going back to the 1600s at least.  

I've had descendants of both Archie and Frank do Y-DNA testing, and they are exact matches to me for 67 markers - no doubt of our very close relationship.  What I have is a family that was looking for less strife and turmoil and more opportunity and moved from Scotland to England to Ireland and then to Canada.  Others, probably from a cousin of Frank, Robert & Archibald went to Australia - confirmed again by Y-DNA.

Our "French Connection" has found that his branch of our family was forced out of Scotland by Cromwell and into Ireland and ended up in France.  He has done extensive research and has connected our line back to Northumberland during the time when it was controlled by the Vikings.  When William the Conqueror took over England the family pledged their support as they were connected to him via marriage.  At this time our ancestor went north into Scotland up by Perth.  

The famed Irish architect Francis Johnston was from the Craigieburn branch of our family.

My father told me that 2 of his aunts travelled to Ireland in the 1920s to see if they could find some family members.  All were deceased.  The sisters visited a cemetery and copied the inscriptions from some tombstones.  They kept copious notes in a journal, but the journal has been lost in time and no one could recall where in Ireland they went to :-(

Frank and possibly Robert went to Canada first.  When Archie came over, he and Robert bought their farms very close to Frank's farm - again indicative of a close relationship.  Archie was an executor for Frank's estate.

I believe that I'm looking at a narrow window of from ca. 1806-1832 for my Johnstons in Kilrea.

Good hunting,


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