My connection to the Hunter surname is through Jane Hunter, my great-great grandmother.  Some records show her as "Jean" Hunter and my understanding is that Jane and Jean were interchangeable in those days.  It is my belief that Jane was born to James Hunter and his wife (unknown forename) Fraser who lived in Derrydorragh town land, Macosquin Parish, Londonderry, Northern Ireland.  However I have been unable to verify exactly where this Hunter family lived with actual records.  I would greatly appreciate if any Hunter researcher can shed some light on this!

According to a member of  the Bann Valley mailing list, Derrydorragh is located between Garvagh and Coleraine, about four miles south of Coleraine and eight miles north of Garvagh.  Below is Jane Hunter's death record, listing her parents.

Jane HUNTER   b: Abt 1818 Londonderry, Northern Ireland, married to John GIRVAN 2 Dec 1841 Campbeltown, Argyll SCT  
Jane's death is recorded as follows:
DEATH:  20 January 1896, Argyleshire, Campbeltown, At Saddell Street,Campbeltown.
JANE GIRVAN, 78, widower of John Girvan, Shoemaker.
Father-James HUNTER, Bleachfield Worker (deceased)
Mother-(blank) HUNTER, maiden surname FRASER (deceased)
Cause of Death:Senile debility,several years.  Informant:John Girvan,son.

This Hunter surname has been passed down through the various family lines as a middle both Jane Hunter Girvan, and James Hunter Girvan. My brother, uncle, and great- grandfather are all James Hunter Girvan.

Following is correspondence I have received concerning the Hunter surname in Londonderry, which I share in case other Hunter researchers may find it of use.


Subject:   Re Hunter Family 
Date:        Sun, 12 Jan 1997 13:57:10 GMT 
From:       Brid McGinley 
(Note:  Don and Brid McGinley live in Northern Ireland and graciously researched what they could find on the Hunter families in Londonderry for me - I thank them)

Hi Barb,
Don here. I looked up Civil Survey 1654-1656 for Co Londonderry. Derdurragh is a townland in the Parish of Camus. This land was granted to the Company of Marchant Taylors London. "The Parish of Camus is bounded on ye East with the River of the Bann, on the South with the Parish of Agha Doowey, on the West with the Barony of Keenaght and on the North with the Parishs of Killowen and Dunboe."

 This land was part of the Plantation Lands i.e. the Plantation of Ulster 1609

The Annals of Derry...These lands were deemed forfeit by the Crown... and the purpose was to settle these lands with British and Scottish subjects and establishing the Protestant Religion in that district.. the City of Derry and 4000 acres contiguous..the town of Coleraine and 3000 acres contiguous... and an intervening district between the river Lough Foyle and the river Bann containing about 20,000 acres.. should be conveyed by charter to the Corporation of London.

In the Plantation papers .. in 1620 that the manor of " Merchant Tailors' Hall, alias Macosquin, is in the hands of Valentine Hartopp, Esq, who is newly come to dwell here.

With reference to Derry Clergy and Parishes by Leslie 1937, I see CAMUS-JUXTA-BANN = "The curved townland near the Bann" (alias Macosquin)= "the Plain of the Conquest".  Camus means curved stream and the name of the parish has reference to the course of the River Mourne opposite the Church.

A Monastery is said to have been founded by St Comgall at Camus in 780 . Early 13 century the O'Cathans (now O Kanes) founded a Cistercian Monastery at Macosquin which was also known as " de Claro Fonte".  An Abbot of Macosquin, John O Flannra became bishop of Derry in 1401.

 A curate at Camus juxta Bann in 1863 was Nathaniel Henry Hunter, he was a brother of Arthur Jackson Hunter and son of James Stevenson Hunter, P.C.of Learmount b.1839 at Learmount rectory.etc.

 There appear to be a number of clergymen called Hunter. Arthur J., John, James S., Robert A..

Arthur Jackson Hunter married Barbara Anne Stevenson Sep 1885. Tablet erected in Lifford Church by the women of the Parish in her memory.

Does any of this ring a bell?. This is as far as I can bring you. The best bet now is to write to the rector at Macosquin, Church of Ireland, Co. Derry, and you may have more success.

You will probably know that Derry is Doire in Gaelic and the literal translation is Oak Grove. Doire is incorporated in many place names all through Ireland, Ireland once being covered in trees. After the conquest of Ulster all the trees and wooded areas were felled and the trees were exported to England for building purposes there, ie. Shipbuilding etc. It was after this time that the wolf became extinct in Ireland and the safe havens for Native rebels were no more.

In 1817 First Ballymoney Church gives a Samuel Hunter, farmer and linen merchant. No kin, handed farm to nephew Forsythe.

Don and Brid.


Hi Barb,

The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland / Parishes of Londonderry 1831/1833/1835-6 for North East Londonderry Vol 22 Published 1993

This book shows that I was probably on the right trail when putting Derrydorragh in the parish of Macosquin.

1835 Derrydorragh bridge, on a by (road) called the Derrydoragh road, in bad repair, northern arch 12 feet, southern arch 12 ft 6 ins , breadth of bridge between parapets 21 ft etc...on Derrydoragh road from Coleraine to Garvagh.

Graveyard at Camus ...The oldest tombstone on which the inscription is legible is erected in the memory of John Hunters, older and younger, date 1693.

Emigration to America 1833 1834 from the parish David Hunter, 32, from Leck to Philadelphia in 1834 . Hanah Hunter, 24, from Leck to Pa 1834

Social Economy 1835 The progress of improvement in this parish, although frequently seriously checked by war and particularly the war of 1641, has rapidly advanced in the last 70 years....
Part, however, of the credit of this improvement is owing to the character of the parishioners themselves, who are chiefly descendants from English and Scotch ancestors. They all exhibit that industry and good conduct so conspicuous wherever the Plantation settlements have taken place.... The parish is infested by running beggars from distant parts of the county. Owing to the abundance of turf, the cottiers class, among whom are the poorest of the parishioners, has increased on the western part of Mr. Richardson's estate. There are at least 50 paupers who actually subsist by begging.

The religious denominations are Protestants, Presbyterians, Covenanters, Seceders, Catholics.

Emigration has diminished the supply of agricultural labourers and has taken away the best and most well conducted of them. It has increased in the parish since the decay of the linen trade.

That's as much as I can come up with as this time. Hope you find it interesting. ..........Don and Brid

Hi Barb,

I read your posting in "The gathering" and thought I would drop you a line. I too am looking for a James Hunter. Probably not the same one but who knows?

My James was born abt 1780 and sailed on the "Success of Leith" ( a whaling ship) out of Bo'ness (Borrowstoness),Scotland in 1806 and 1813 as a master seaman (steersman). Married Ann Hewson 1830 in South Leith (now a part of Edinburgh) (could be second marriage as he was 50) had two sons James and Thomas. He appears on the first South Leith census but when asked were you born in this County he said no and checked the box marked foreign (english/Irish/other) so I cannot be sure where he was born.

By the next census he was dead. My suspicion is that he came from Ireland. I am trying to find some info on the crew lists in case he gave a next of kin or place of birth, but crew lists didn't become mandatory until much later. Anyhow here it is for what it's worth. If you have anything from your Irish connections that might tie in with my story I would appreciate you dropping me a line.

 Tom Hunter: email -  (email may be out-of-date)

My only lead to Londonderry is a document from 1818 that gives passage to a James HUNTER, wife 2 son and 2 daughters to travel from New York to Kingston or York, Upper Canada. I do know that my James was from Northern Ireland and was a Methodist minister or lay minister. He married a Mary Ann Atcheson and they came to Canada through New York City in 1817 - 1818. He was a tailor and a Methodist minister who later bought and built sawmills and a grist mill on the Don River by York Mills Road and Leslie St. He died in 1871, in York Township. I have succeeded in locating most of his descendants and that they stayed in the Toronto, Ontario area.

Thomas J. Hunter - email: (email may be out of date)


From Danny in Londonderry, March 2000

The following are taken from the "Irish Passenger Lists - 1847-1871" by Brian Mitchell, published by the "Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc." Baltimore, Maryland, Library of Congress Catalogue card No.0-8063-1206-8

Here are the list of Hunters that I found who sailed from Londonderry, N.Ireland.

Adam Hunter from Coleraine sailed to St. John, Canada on the PATIENCE in 1853.

Isabella Hunter from St.Johnston, Co.Donegal, Ireland sailed on the LADY EMILY PEEL in June 1864 with 3 children aged 7, 2 and 1, no names.

Ellen Hunter age 20 and Margaret Hunter age 18, both from Derry sailed on the MARY ANN in 1857 to St.John, Canada.

Daniel Hunter age 18 from Derry sailed on the ARGENTINUS in 1857 to Quebec, Canada.

Samuel Hunter from Strabane, Co.Tyrone, N.Ireland sailed with his family, Wife Elleanor Hunter and children Mathew, Nancy, Samuel, David age 6, Mary age 8, Jane age 4, Margaret 6 months, and a Margaret Jane.  They sailed on the COLLINGWOOD in 1847 to Quebec, Canada.

David Hunter 30 Bishop St., Derry, sailed on the MINNEHAHA in April 1870.

John Hunter age 18 and Eliza Hunter age13 from Limavady, Co. Londonderry sailed on the ARGENTINUS to St. John, Canada. (Year not transcribed)

Isabella Hunter age 40 from Omagh, Co.Tyrone sailed on the VESTILINDEN in 1853 for Quebec, Canada. With her were her children Eliza Jane age 16, Rebecca age 13, Sarah age 6.

Scott Hunter from Limavady, Co. Londonderry sailed on the VENICE in 1847 to Philadelphia. With him were his wife Elizabeth, Robert age 8, William age 3 and John age 6 months.

Hugh Hunter from Coleraine sailed on the ENVOY in 1851 to Quebec, Canada. With him were his wife Elizabeth, children Isabella, Samuel age 13, Hugh age 10, George age 7, Mary Ann age 4, and William age 6 months.

Elizabeth Hunter from Milltown, Milford P.O. Co.Donegal sailed on the MOHONGO in May 1867.

Robert Hunter age 40 from Drumlamph, Co.Londonderry sailed on the MAURITIUS in 1854 to Quebec, Canada. With him were his wife Phoebe age 40, James 13, Jane 11, Susan 9, George 8, Samuel 6, Robert 3, Thomas, infant.

Hugh Hunter from Moville sailed on the ELIZABETH in 1864 to Philadelphia.

Rebecca Hunter age 25 from Derryarkin, Co.Londonderry sailed on the SUPERIOR in 1854 to Philadelphia. With her were her brothers and sisters, Sarah Ann 10, Robert 9, Joseph 7, Martha 5, and Hugh 1.

James Hunter of Milford, Co.Donegal sailed on the SUPERIOR to Philadelphia in 1853.

Jane Hunter and Margaret Hunter from Newtonstewart, Co.Tyrone sailed on the SUPERIOR to Philadelphia in 1852.

Jane Hunter age 19 of Lifford, Co.Donegal sailed on the SUPERIOR in 1856 to Philadelphia.

Jane Hunter of Portrush, Ballywillan, Co.Antrim sailed to America in April 1866.

John Hunter age 6 and William Hunter age 4 from Collyreyne (Coleraine, Co.Londonderry ?) sailed on the SARAH in 1849 to St.John, Canada.

John Hunter age 21 of Donegal sailed to Quebec on the VESTILINDEN in 1853.

John Hunter age 19 of Ballymoney, Co.Antrim sailed on the MARY ANN in 1856 to St.John, Canada.

John Hunter age 22 of Castlederg, Co.Tyrone sailed on the ELIZABETH in 1857 to Philadelphia.

John Hunter from Kinnavary, Milford, Co.Donegal sailed on the MINNEHAHA in April April 1869.

Joseph Hunter from Colyrow, Aghadowey P.O. Co. Londonderry sailed to America in March 1867.

Margaret Hunter from Cavanny, Milford, Co.Donegal sailed on the VILLAGE BELLE in April 1868.

William Hunter from Carnmony, Milford P.O. Co.Donegal sailed on the VILLAGE BELLE in April 1868 with a Martha Hunter.

Mary Hunter from Milton, Milford P.O. Co.Donegal sailed on the STADACONA in June 1870.

Nathaniel Hunter from Derry sailed on the ELIZABETH in 1857 to Philadelphia.

Richard Hunter age 16 from Milford, Co.Donegal sailed on the SUPERIOR to Philadelphia in 1854.

Rebecca Hunter age 9 from Loughneas sailed on the HELEN THOMPSON to Quebec, Canada in 1847

William Hunter from Carnmoney, Milford P.O. Co.Donegal sailed on the VILLAGE BELLE in May 1866.

William Hunter age 20 from Newtoncunningmam, Co.Donegal sailed on the ELIZABETH to New Orleans in 1860.

William Hunter from Omagh, Co.Tyrone sailed on the ISABELLA in 1850 to Quebec, Canada.

Thomas Hunter from Derry, Co.Londonderry sailed on the Isabella in 1850 to Quebec, Canada.


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