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Re: 1660 and all that

Dear Richard, I've been somewhat out of circulation lately. James has had a
bad couple of months; he gets depressed, or more accurately anxious, and
this autumn has been particularly difficult. He has finally begun to
improve; indeed, has improved enough to enjoy a work trip to Germany, where
he is this weekend, so I'm finally able to lift my head and look at
Torrenses! I have been looking at Judy hergisheimer's material, and have
re-allocated ten Torrenses in the light of it: I had completely merged two
families of Smith Torrenses. It may not be 100 percent accurate yet, why
hell did they keep on using the same names..... I thought about starting on
a completely speculation free tree. I didn't get very far; I was tryingto
strip away all assumptions, and I discovered that it leaves us very little.
The Garvagh census is a prime example; we have been happily assuming that
Samuel and Mary Ann are listed along with their children, and we have
embroidered that basic assumption to allow for two families to two wives.
I'm actually happy enough with that; but it is an assumption. Any one of
these names could have been a maiden aunt or a cousin or a son and his new
wife who had not yet found a house. I startedto query our assumptions about
the Garvagh census when I realized that we assumed a nuclearfamilyfor
Samuel[two families], but in the next household, we were making quite a
different assumption about who was in the household. I mean Hugh and
Ester's household. It occurred to  me that we have perhaps been wrong to
conclude that John and jean and ALexander are dependents in Hugh's
household; it seems to me that it is somewhat unlikely that they would have
lived like that, when we know that Jean at least was active until 1802.The
head of a family stayed the head until death, generally speaking. Hugh we
know had a son Alexander; he could also have had children called John and
Jean, who may have died or been married in 1821; John could even be
landless John in the census (no. 48)   SO if John and Jean were still
living on their own somewhere else, Alexander and Robert could have been
with them. This would explain why we don't have Robert in the Garvagh list.
He can't have been in AMerica in 1796. They may still have adhered to
Bovedy church, or even Aghadowey, and hence be outwith Garvagh's list.
Once I got that far in my ratiocinations, I began to query root and branch
stuff like how do we know for sure that it is JOHN and Jean? The only bit
of evidence is the belief that John and Jean are the people in Hugh's
household; if these are Hugh's children instead, then we don't know Jean's
husband's name. I think it probably is John, but we don't know for certain,
do we?  At that point I desisted. But what do you think? Is it feasible to
be completely assumption-free? It's hard to do a family tree out of the
material at our disposal without assuming things.

I was studying your {extremely useful} little booklet, and I notice that in
the section on Mayoghil p. 24, you don't mention the possibility of  Robert
T. of Stranorlar as a son of Thomas and Margaret McComb. It looks to me
likely enough that he is their son. Perhaps this possibility didn't make it
into this edition of the booklet? The John the labourer  in Mayoghil may be
as you suggest a son, but I wonder--I should have thought that Robert and
Hugh are more like Mayoghil names; John the labourer's son is David, which
sounds like itcould even be Carnroe?? (On the subject of not making
assumptions-and I know I'm the most guilty of making assumptions of anyone
around...perhaps we shouldn't assume that Hugh in his grandfather's
household in Mayoghil is James's son--of course he is almost certainly
James's son; but other explanations are possible. One of the girls could
have had what was tactfully called a "bye wean"; an illegitimate son; or
one of them could have married a Torrens. Both things happened in other
families, and both would have produced a grandson named Torrens.

Where did the info. that Hughof Mayoghils' wife was Jean Cochrane come
from? I still would have liked her to be a Margaret, a niece of James Orr;
why else would they have used the  name James for the eldest son in a line
of Hughs.

On a slightly different front--have you had a chance to look up the Mormon
searchable site yet? It is a mixed bag, of course, but promises to be very

Some evening we should try arguing in real time--bouncing emails back and
forth-I'm sure you can immediately think of excellent arguments against me!
Not hard to counter-accuse me of being assumption-prone! I'd need to get a
better email  connection than I've had recently.
That will do for tonight. I wrote to Nancy McLaughlin tonight as well. All
the best Linde