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Note from the House of Grimmet

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Surname/tag: McIlvaine
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HOUSE OF GRIMMET ID#09/045 PAGE 12 Page 12/13 (Note: Paragraph separations and Wiki ID nos added by A. Torrey for easier reading and reference)

John McIlvain and Sarah Clark emigrated to Ireland with the Clark and Orr families taking with them their first three children, who were born in Scotland. (We might note at this point that the "V" in Scots is pronounced "W" in Irish so the records in Ireland show "McIlwain".) They settled at Ballykeel, Islandmagee, County Antrim. This is north of Belfast, separated from mainland Ireland by Larne Lough.
Anjou says"He does not seem to have owned any land, but had a lease of six acres near the foot of Muldersley Hill and not far from the present Ballycarry(Ballymacarry?) station on the Northern Railway running from Belfast, to Larne on the opposite shore of Larne Lough.
John is buried there and his stone reads "Here lyeth the body of John McIlwain, who d 9/7/1735 aged 79." Researchers in Belfast have not been able to find any reference to this particular McIlvain family, but there are still people of that same name in the area of Islandmagee. The area was populated almost entirely by Scots Presbyterians from around 1640 onward. John and Sarah had four more boys who were born in Ireland. Thomas stayed in Ireland and his daughter was Janet who married James Keim. James and Janet had a daughter whose name was also Janet. Her headstone is pictured in the book "Gravestone Descriptions, County Antrim Vol l, Island Magee". It has the Keim Crest and Arms and the inscription "Here lyeth the body of Martha Keim who d 5/11/1752 aged 5 years". Also James Keim's wife, Janet McIlvain, who d 5/20/1774 aged 56 years. Also James Keim who departed this live 11/1793 aged 60 years.

The term "Scotch Irish" denotes Scots who came to Ireland, not a merger of the two races. Under Charles II(1649-1685) and James II (1685-1688) Presbyterians in Scotland had no peace and many came across the channel into northern Ireland. They looked upon themselves as settlers and boasted of their Scotch extraction--to apply the name "Irishman" to them was considered an insult. There was little or no intermarriage with the Catholic Irish. In this McIlvain family there was none.

The English Established Church was to be the only one tolerated in Ireland. So again the Scots Presbyterians started to emigrate, this time to the colonies. They were unable to bear any longer the persecutions of the Church of England, by which all dissenters, Catholic and Presbyterian alike were under the ban of the prelates. Their ministers were forbidden to solemize marriages and the children of such marriages were treated as illigetimate. From 1700-1750 Counties Down, Antrim, Armagh, and Derry were nearly emptied of Protestant inhabitants. The reason why there was not also an exodus of the Catholic Irish to America at this time is probably that they were so much poorer than the Scots.


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  • House of Grimmet "A Family Genealogy" by William L. Ordway BIOGRAPHY: !Source: The House of Grimmet "A Famiy Genealogy" by William L. Ordway (McIlvain Family)

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I'm excited to get my DNA done next month!
posted by Derek Huff