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McKee-a family of "weavers"

McKee-a family of "weavers"

Posted: 6 Apr 2013 10:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: McKee
I am seeking any information or sources for further research for the following family members:
David McKee, b. 1809 Belfast, Presbyterian
William McKee, b. 1829 Belfast, Presbyterian, son of David
They were a family of "weavers" and lived for a short time in Scotland before immigrating to Canada in the 1840's. Are there sources for the Presbyterian Church in that time period? What about "weavers"? Any known records? Thank you, Maymie

Re: McKee-a family of "weavers"

Posted: 7 Apr 2013 6:50AM GMT
Classification: Query
Maymie, Hello. My family, the Watsons, were also weavers from Antrim County - later than your family. Gilert Watson contacted me several years ago. He has researched the Watson families from Antrim County. He has my family leaving Belfast in May 1863 and arriving in Philly in July 1863. My family settled in the United States, New Jersey. He informed me that the United States transported cotton to Northern Ireland but during the Civil War it was not possible - and poverty forced many families to leave. Go luck with your search. Judie

Re: McKee-a family of "weavers"

Posted: 7 Apr 2013 9:21AM GMT
Classification: Query
Weaving was very common in Ulster. Mostly it was a rural activity (because you needed ground to grow flax). Most weaver families had a hand operated loom in their house and wove at home in the winter months when no agricultural work was available. They then sold their produce at local markets. Originally they wove cotton (imported from the USA) but following US independence, and interruptions to supply, they switched to linen because that could be grown in Ireland, whereas it’s too cold and damp for cotton. There are no specific records of weavers. Every agricultural labourer was also a weaver. Mechanised factories gradually made home weaving obsolete and by 1900 it had pretty much disappeared.

Belfast has about 50 Presbyterian churches. Not all were open in 1809. Belfast expanded enormously in the 1800s and many new ones were built. Copies of the records of most Presbyterian churches are held in PRONI, Belfast. Few are on-line and so you would need to either go to PRONI or get someone to do it for you.

Here’s a bit of background about weaving in Ulster:

http://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/flax-plant.html

Here’s a link to the church records:

http://www.proni.gov.uk/index/research_and_records_held/cata...

Re: McKee-a family of "weavers"

Posted: 7 Apr 2013 2:56PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: McKee
Very interesting information. I was thinking that the potato famine may have been a factor in their immigration. My g-grandfather, William and his father David worked in conjunction with carding mills after they immigrated to Ontario, so they were weaving wool and apparently continued to do so into the 1890's. As you suggest, there is evidence that they also farmed. Thank you for the links. I'll check them out. Maymie

Re: McKee-a family of "weavers"

Posted: 7 Apr 2013 3:08PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 7 Apr 2013 9:32PM GMT
Surnames: McKee
Hi - thanks for the reply. One of my g-grandfather, William's, youngest daughters,(Louise McKee) married a Harry J. Watson from Ontario (1901). He went to dental school in Detroit and opened a practice in Michigan. I don't know if he was from a family of weavers, but it's not unlikely. Tragically, Louise died shortly after the marriage so I didn't research the connection any further. It's all so interesting isn't it? Maymie

Re: McKee-a family of "weavers"

Posted: 7 Apr 2013 3:18PM GMT
Classification: Query
The famine was factor in some people’s decision to emigrate but the worst years of the famine were 1847 – 1850, so if they had gone to Scotland before that it may not have been the primary reason. And Belfast wasn’t as badly affected in the famine as other parts of Ireland. People had been pouring out of Ireland all through the 1800s. The famine simply speeded the process up.

The main driver for leaving was to get better paid work. One of Ireland’s problems is a lack of natural resources. There’s no coal, oil, iron ore etc, and so apart from a modest amount of shipbuilding in Belfast and the Belfast linen mills (which mostly only employed women), it did not really get the industrial revolution that benefited England and Scotland where mills, steelworks, ship building, coal mining and all their support industries were major employers creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Much better paid than subsistence farming or weaving. Added to that you had the effects of a massive population explosion in Ireland – up from 3 million in 1750 to 8 million in 1841 (no-one is really sure of the reasons why but reduced neo-natal deaths seem to be a factor) and the famine. So some push factors and some pull factors saw huge numbers of people leave Ireland. Something like 2 million people emigrated from Ireland in the 1800s.

If you look at the Scottish censuses for the Glasgow area in the late 1800s, you will see that about every fifth person recorded there was born in Ireland. Scotland was a particularly popular place to go to work because it was easy and very cheap to get to.

Re: McKee-a family of "weavers"

Posted: 7 Apr 2013 9:31PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: McKee
I really enjoy getting the historical background for the time period I'm researching. thank you for sharing the information, Maymie

Re: McKee-a family of "weavers"

Posted: 26 Oct 2014 12:58AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: McKee
I know this thread is a year ago but i wondered if anyone knows more?
My ancestor is James McKee born in Newry, Down and were weavers too. Family lore is that they were from Scotland in origin but we are unable to locate the parents etc. James, his brother William, his sister Martha and her husband Wm Blue, left for the US in 1826 but the ship landed at New Brunswick. Eventually they all ended up Missouri. They were devout Presbyterians. I understand the first census of that area in 1821 was burned in the Dublin fire. I hope to have N.I. genealogist look into the parishes but maybe someone will link with us from the close Antrim area?

Re: McKee-a family of "weavers"

Posted: 26 Oct 2014 10:04AM GMT
Classification: Query
I think Weaving seems to need a spinning wheel and more importantly a loom. Would wool weavers have anything to do with Cotton weavers eg Muslim thin/ coarse OR Linen weavers.

A record exists Flax Growers of Ireland, 1796
See http://www.failteromhat.com/flax/antrim.php
The Irish Linen Board published a list of nearly 60,000 individuals in 1796. Spinning wheels were awarded based on the number of acres planted. People who planted one acre were awarded 4 spinning wheels and those growing 5 acres were awarded a loom. Donegal and Tyrone had the highest number of awards. Dublin and Wicklow were not included in this list. These extracts contain the name, parish and county. The barony was listed instead of the parish in a few of the records. Also known as the Spinning Wheel list or the Flax Growers Bounty
Co Antrim has no McKees! It does have M’Caa, M’Kays [and Magees.I have not extracted. ] Something is wrong check if there is another transcription or original Perhaps I should have looked under barony!
Co Down has 17 McKees

Listed in Smyth & Lyons Belfast street directory 1808 is a William McKee, woollen draper, 1 Bridge Street see www.lennonwylie.co.uk

Listed in Bradshaw's General And Commercial Directory 1819 is a David McKee at 47 St Margarets Street muslim manufacturer see PRONI street directory

Listed in Matier's Belfast Directory 1835-1836 is a Henry McKee weaver in 27 Winetavern st Belfast see PRONI street directory Henry or any other McKee weaver is not listed in Martin's Belfast Directory 1839

Listed in Martin's Belfast Directory 1842-1843 is an Alexander McKee tailor in Eliza street see PRONI street directory

Listed in Belfast Directory 1843 street directory see www.lennonwylie.co.uk a few extracts from the McKees included
McKee, Alexander, Tailor, 6 Eliza Street.
McKee, Henry, Lodgings, 12 Union Street.
McKee, James, 15 Green Street.

Listed in Belfast Directory 1852 street directory see www.lennonwylie.co.uk a few extracts from the McKees included
In 1852 McKee, Alexander, tailor, 23 Pottinger's Entry
McKee, Ann, lodgings, 12 Union Street
McKee, Henry, car man, 16 Little Patrick Street
McKee, James, designer, 3 James's Place
McKee, James, sewed muslin manufacturers, 2 Gamble Street and 19½ Corporation Street; residence, 13 Dock Street
McKee, James A., of Jennymount Flax Mill, York Road
McKee, Samuel, sewed muslin manufacturer, 45 Great Patrick Street

I have run out of time, so that it. Hoping you can connect up

Re: McKee-a family of "weavers"

Posted: 26 Oct 2014 10:33AM GMT
Classification: Query
Greygilbert,

That your ancestors were Presbyterian, combined with their coming from Ulster and having a name that is reasonably common in Scotland all point strongly to their being of Scottish origins. Presbyterianism was invented in Scotland and brought to Ireland (and elsewhere) by Scots settlers. The main movement of Scots to Ireland was in the 1600s when some estimates say that 100,000 settled there (representing something like 10% of the entire Scottish population at the time). There was a famine in Scotland in the 1690s and that led to a big rush then. So the 1600s are probably the era when your ancestors settled in Ireland. However, apart from a few major landowners, there are no records of the individual settlers. Beyond knowing that most settlers came from either the Forth/Clyde area or southern Scotland, there is rarely any clues as to their more exact origins.
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