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Finding Findley and John

James R. McMichael (+1 281.367.2908, JimMcMcl at gmail dot com)

In the Ireland Research Report of 1995 for Clan Ewing in America,[1] we find the following information and comment:

MUSTER ROLL, 1631, LONDONDERRY & DONEGAL (D1759/3c/2) Ďbeing the names of all the men between 16 and 60 years and fit to bear armsí

Raphoe Barony; lands of the Duke of Lenox

Patrick Porter - no arms

lands of the lady Conningham, widow of Sir Jas C., undertaker of 2,000 acres -

ffyndlay Ewing - sword & snaphance

Patrick Porter - no arms

Patrick Porter - sword & snaphance

Findley [2] or ffyndlay is found on the lands of the widow of Sir James Conningham, in the Barony of Raphoe. The obvious next step was to check up on Sir James. After a search of several books on the Plantation Period, it appeared that his full title was Sir James Cunningham of Glengarnock, Dacostrosse and Portlough. The latter was the name given at the time to the portion of Donegal he had been assigned by King James I to maintain and populate. It comprised the northern part of Raphoe, between the Foyle and the Swilly, bounded on the north part by Innishowen. That narrows ffyndllay ís likely home to the parishes of Templemore, which at the time took in Burt, Fahan, which at the time included Inch, or Desertegney. This is a relative small area. It was good, arable land with some bogs and woods. Sir James had 2,000 acres in all, later obtaining some from the nearby Duke of Lenox. He was heir to his father in 1601 and received his patent in 1610, 2oth July, being one of the few sought as an undertaker by the King himself. His own lands were in north Ayrshire, the estate being at Braidstane and all were quite profitable, though by the start of his patent finances were quite precarious and he sold and mortgaged land in Ayrshire, Stirlingshire, Dunbartonshire and Perthshire to be able to take his Ulster lands. By 1623 he was dead ....

The above information gives us a clue as to where the earliest Ewings in Ireland lived and possibly the area where they came from in Scotland. Assume you are one of these undertakers in the early 1600s. Where do you go to recruit people to move to your acreage? Remember, they do not want the Irish. From what I have I read, the undertakers recruited people to move from the area where the undertaker had lived before moving to Ireland.

Letís look closer at the above information. First, the researcher indicates the area is in the Barony of Raphoe. And that barony is south of Inishowen[3] but has a boundary with the Barony of Inishowen. With it being south of Inishowen, it falls in the parish that is currently called All Saints. Based on the area being in All Saints Parish, and All Saints Parish having not been a part of the Templemore Parish, as far as I can determine, is there a possibility that additional information might be in some church records?

In my February article,[4] we learned about new information for Findley and John Ewing:

Ewing, Findley, of Coole McItean, County Donegal, yeoman, was granted Irish denization on 19 July 1631 (IPR).

Ewing, John, of Letterkenny, County Donegal, merchant, was granted Irish denization on 19 July 1631 (the same day as Finlay).

We can pretty well define the area referred to as Coole McItean by looking at the grants to the undertakers, described below. One of the problems with looking at the records of the early 1600s and trying to locate the townland on the maps of today is that the names have changed in some cases as well as some of the townlands have disappeared.

Many, if not all, of you have used Google to search the Internet. In case you did not know, Google is taking old books that are not protected by copyright (or other constraints), digitizing them and making them available on the Internet at I have found some of these books in my searches and they are interesting reading. William Riddle did an article a few issues back[5] about how search the Internet. Try playing with searches and include Ireland (which says you are looking for items with your search phrase and Ireland). You will get hundreds, thousands, millions of hits. To look at a hundred or so them will take a good bit of time. But, realize that the 99th hit may just have something that will help you!

I invite those readers who have Internet access to do a Google-based searching exercise. Go to and do a search for The Plantation in Ulster. Near the beginning of the results will be: An Historical Account of the Plantation in Ulster at ... by George Hill. The book was published by M'Caw, Stevenson & Orr, Ltd., Dublin & Belfast, in 1877.[6]

This is a book you will want to review and read. Actually, I would encourage you to look at the entire book over a period of time. In the right panel on your screen, you can scroll down a couple of inches or so. Then, you will see where you can search the book. At this point, I want you to look at pages 293-296 and 505-513. The easiest way to get to those pages is search the book for McAula and you should get a couple of hits. Use those to get you to page 294 and 508. Those pages give the townland names of the land that was given to the undertakers.

On page 295 of the book we find:

7. Grant to Cuthbert Cuningham (152) The small proportion of CoolemcItrien ... The premises are created the manor of CoolemcItrien ....[7]

Some of the townland names have changed and you can not find them on a parish map. To pinpoint where I believe Findley lived, I will give you some numbers that you can find on the following All Saints Parish map.[8] [9]


All Saints Parish

Undertaker                                     Numbers on Map

3. Alexander McAula                      2, 3, 40 (light brown) and part of 39

4. John Cuningham                       1, 29, 30, 32, 36 (blue) and part of 39

6. James Cuningham                    13, 18, 22, 23, 28, 37 (green)

7. Cuthbert Cuningham                 5, 19, 24, 38, 44 (orange)

The above is not a complete list since some of the townlands given in the grant could not be found on the map. When we look at the 1659 Census of Ireland Modern Townlands, we find listed under 'Taghboine Parish ... Ballihaskan qr., Col McIltraine qr. land, Ruskie qr. land ...' and that leads us to believe that No. 8 on the map is also part of the land Cuthbert Cuningham received.

It appears that we can safely say that Findley Ewing lived on one of the townlands on the map colored orange or green or one of the townlands that borders those two colors. It appears that it could be No. 8 on the All Saints Parish map. Burt Parish shares the north boundary line for All Saints Parish.

When we look at the Civil Survey for 1654, County Donegal, Barony of Raphoe, Parish of Taboyne, we find the following:

Anna Coningham, the heire of Sr. James Coningham Brittish Protestant

Culmacatraine [8], Gorteree [24], Belliheskie [5], Rusky [38], Drumay [19], Dramillian [ ?], Portlogh [37], Letrum [28], Monglash [31] & Clune [10], Corcamen [13], Drumlocher [18], Tillianan [44]

Anna Coningham holdeth ye prmises by Patent granted in the name of Jas Coningham of Balliachan for the use of the sd Heretrix of Sr. James Coningham of Glengormocke.

Also, we find in the 1654 Civil Survey:

John Ewen claimes the Quartr. land of Gortree by deed of Purchase from Alex. Coningham freeholder thereof.

Gortree is 24 on the All Saints Parish map and that puts John quite close to where Findley lived.

Next, we know that James Cunningham sold land in Ayshire, Stirlingshire, Dunbartonshire and Perthshire so he could take up his lands in Ireland. I would guess that area in Scotland is were James Cunningham tried to recruit people, among them:

Alexander Ewing of Culmcatryan

John Ewing of Gortree (also named in the 1654 Civil Survey). [A John mcEuan is listed in the 1640 muster rolls under Sir James Cunningham at Raphoe Parish. Might be the same person. His name is also spelled McEwen in the Civil Survey.]

Humphrey Ewing of Creighaduff

to move to Ireland.[10]

From a description[11] of Volume 3: Londonderry Lands and Families of Rev. George Hill's An Historical Account of the Plantation in Ulster

This book tells the story of the Londoners coming to settle in Ireland. The settlement included the lands of: Loughinsholin, which had previously belonged to Tyrone; the old county of Coleraine which had belonged to OCahane; a small portion of the county of Donegal, including the island on which the city of Derry stood; and a small portion of County Antrim adjoining Coleraine. These were handed over to twelve London companies for plantation ... and united to form the present county of Londonderry (Derry).

In the following quote,[12] we find several families that lived close to a Ewing family in the colonies:

On, one and the same day, namely, the 1st of November 1614, John Cuningham, afterwards Sir John, leased several parcels of his lands. James Robbins, Robert Hunter, and John Martin, rented the quarter called Ardie [no. 1 on the map]; William Boyle, the quarter called Moyle [no. 32]; James Patterson, Alexander McKilchany and John Plowright, the quarter called Monegragane [no. 29]; John Molsed, Robert Allane, John Fyeff, Donnell McKilman, and John Wilson, rented the quarter called Playter [no. 36]; Bernard Coningham, James Boyl, John Bryce, William Sare, Donnell Gillaspick, John Fleminge, Donnell McEvene, William McCassack, Alexander Colewell, John Wigton, John Ramsay, Stephen Woolson, Andrew Calwell and William Coningham, rented the quarter called Moyfadda [no. 30]; Andrew Coningham and Robert Boyl got the quarter called Donboy [no. 17?]; and Donnell Connell, the 5/16 part of Roghan [ no. 39] adjoining Monegragane [no. 29]. [Inquisitions of Ulster, Donegal, (5) Car 1, page 506, footnote 160.[13]]

Folks, the above is like driving down a country road in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania or some other state with your grandchildren and describing where your great-great-grandparents lived as well as uncles, aunts, and etc. Remember, the above is in the first few years of the 1600s.

From the above, one name really pops out at me: Alexander McKilchany. Do you remember when you took the trip to Ireland via (suggested in one of my previous articles[14]) and on your screen you saw Elaghbeg and to the left you could see Carnashannagh and just above Carnashannagh is the name Kilmackilvenny. John Ewing (1648-1745) married Jennet McElvaney. John is not my ancestor, but, if he was, I would be 'fired up' and ready to dig, dig, dig. There may not be any connection between all of those names but it would be fun trying to determine what they all mean.

How big of an area are we talking about? From where you are, if you went three-and-a-half miles east as well as west and four-to-five miles north as well as south, that would be about seven-by-ten miles. Possibly, most of all of the area in County Donegal we are interested in would fit in this area.

Possibly, a lot of you have seen the following information:

Papers in the court house in Lifford, the assize town of Donegal County, show that in 1603 a license was issued to David Ewing of Cavan, authorizing him to plant trees, as elsewhere seen.

The above is from page 113 in Clan Ewing of Scotland by Elbert William R. Ewing, published in 1922.[15] Lifford is not very far from Letterkenny the best that I can determine.

If David Ewing was forty years old in 1603 when he planted the trees, he would have been born about 1563. The year 1603 is before the plantation period started. Therefore, he was not recruited by an undertaker to move. He could be from any place.

As indicated earlier in this article, Findley and John Ewing are identified as being in Ireland in 1631. Assuming they are about forty years of age, they would have been born about 1590. That could easily be a time that David Ewing was having children. Do we assume that Findley and John were recruited and moved during the plantation period? If so, they would have been in Ireland before 1625. If they were married at that time, they could have been born around 1585.

This is probably a good place to end this article. I have no idea if I am making any progress or not, but, I believe as a group we could find some answers. One person can not find an answer for all the questions that we as a group may come up with. It needs to be a team effort. Please send me your contributions, comments, observations and suggestions at JimMcMcl at gmail dot com.

James R. 'Jim' McMichael is a fifth great-grandson of Alexander Ewing (1676/77-1738) who emigrated to the colonies in 1727 with wife, Rebeckah, and their three children. Alexander was a son of Robert Ewing, Townland Elaghbeg, County Donegal, Ireland. Jim published his Ewing history: Alexander Ewing (1676/7-1738) and Descendants,[16] in 1999. Jim served as Editor of the Journal and Treasurer for nine years. Currently, he is the Clan Ewing Genealogist. For relaxation, he gets in two-to-three rounds of golf each week. On occasion, he scores his age or better.


[1] See the full report at /research/Document_ReIreland_Report.html

[2] Findley is spelled several different ways.

[3] This barony of Inishowen is also spelled Enishowen and Innishowen

[4] McMichael, James R. Nailing Down Ewing Facts, J. Clan Ewing, Vol. 14, No. 1 (February 2008), pp. 5-9.

[5] Riddle, William E. Web Site News, J. Clan Ewing, Vol. 12, No. 4 (November 2006), pp. 5-8.

[6] John McLaughlin alerted me to this book by sending me some of its pages concerning the townlands that belonged to James Cunningham.

[7] CoolemcItrien is found spelled several different ways.

Hopefully, you are already familiar with the maps that are available at this site.

[9] For those that get the Journal electronically, you will be able to see the townland marked in the cited colors.

[10] See the Ireland Research Report 2, page 1, where the researcher identifies where James Cunningham lived in Scotland. The report is available at /research/Document_ReIreland_Report.html. In other documents, I have read about the undertakers recruiting people from the area where the undertaker had moved from to Ireland. But, I do not have the sources.


[12] Hill, Rev. George. An Historical Account of the Plantation in Ulster, M'Caw, Stevenson & Orr, Ltd., Dublin & Belfast, 1877. p. 506 (footnote).

[13] This is another book at Google Books.

[14] On page 9 in: McMichael, James R. Nailing Down Ewing Facts, J. Clan Ewing, Vol. 14, No. 1 (February 2008), p. 5-9.

[16] Available online at the Ewing Family Association web site (