I have received the following from Lindsay:
“This is a very brief history of our Youngs. Over the years I have heard loads of explanations of various families coming from Scotland to Ireland. Only a small number of these stack up with any real facts. In the main only the folk with money, land or position are recorded in the historical record. In County Down most of the indigenous local population were ‘lost’ when the Scots came over. The original folk were Roman Catholic and had Irish names such as O’Neill. Portaferry was and is still regarded as a center for those folk. Most of the Middle Ards peninsula was a bog which was systematically drained and inhabited during the 1700’s and early 1800’s. Our Youngs slowly moved in.”
“The Ards Youngs were not a top level family, however they would have been fairly high in the pecking order. By 1850-1900 they were not as influential, but then who was? By the size of their houses certainly circa 1800 they must have been fairly important.”
“Two important Youngs I should mention, who are not supposedly connected to us also lived in the area. The Filson Youngs, lived in Portaferry. Filson Young himself hobnobbed around the nobility and was a journalist who ended up in England. When he wrote about the “Battle of Jutland”; he was on board a battleship and was quite full of himself. His siblings were doctors who operated around Portaferry and then in Scotland and England. Their family deny any connection, claiming the father who was a church minister came to Portaferry from Londonderry (originally from the East of Scotland) and married a Filson woman there. We have some reservations on this story. One is that even if they are not the same Young family (and we know Youngs were in Londonderry), we have Filson connections too!”
“The second important Young was James Young. He was born in Ballymoney in County Antrim and was a famous Belfast comedian. So why did he retire in Ballyhalbert of all places when he could have gone anywhere including his own beloved Ballymoney? We still require a satisfactory explanation before we rule him out!”
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ‘ARDS’ YOUNGS
“This is a concise history in a time line.
Pre1600 – Fantasy Period
1600-1730 – Speculation Period
1730-1800 – Known, but not quite proven period
1800-1860 – The Early known Young’s
1860-2004 – Living memory Period
Several features may help to identify these Young’s:-
“Occupation, Some direct or indirect connection with the sea, sailor (merchant or RN), fisherman.
There is also some evidence of a strand of twins running through the families.
Pre 1600 – Fantasy
Just like most folk in Ulster, the Young’s claim to come from Scotland. What happened in Scotland may only be discovered through DNA studies. Folklore has several suggestions.
2) From Argyll and the Western Isles
4) Galloway Irish
5) Border Reivers
7) North East Scotland
Just about the whole of Scotland!
1600-1730 – Speculation
Currently the first known possible connection came to Belfast from Scotland, probably Glasgow, and were merchants. This may be the connection with the sea and the ongoing Shipping and fishing connection. Lands were purchased in Fish Quarter on the Ards Peninsulas of County Down by John Young, a Belfast merchant. His family may have spread and could have populated various parts of Antrim and County Down. Young is a fairly common name, but there are strong pockets in Ballymoney and Ards, but also Ballynahinch are and many of the Coastal towns. There are also Londonderry connections. There are many leads that suggest connections, but none yet proven.
1730-1800 – Known but not quite proven.”
“The first Young that is currently regarded as being related is William Young 1739-1823 and buried at Templecranny. He lived in the area of Fish Quarter, but also near Portaferry. During this period Strangford and Portaferry were very important; Belfast was only developing.
1800-1860 –The Early known Young’s
It is thought the Young family c1800 was fairly affluent and locally fairly important. They were Protestant in a predominantly Roman Catholic area, although very tolerant in their views. Subsequently this family’s wealth dispersed. The wealthier became businessmen and JP’s. Some of the wealthier ones moved north to Belfast, Newtownards, and Kircubbin. Perhaps the less wealthy, but still well regarded, moved 3 or 4 miles east to the coast at Cloughey, Ratalla, Portavogie, or Ballyhalbert. The group with Portaferry/Newtownards is the one that we will develop from here on.”
“During the period 1800-1850 many other families moved out, principally to Canada, America and the New World. Until recently it was felt that the Young’s moved east to fill the vacuum left by the emigrating families. There appears to be no Young’s for instance who moved to Amherst Island in Canada despite a very strong connection of the two areas.”
“Despite believing that some families would have emigrated and there
are plenty of ‘lost known connections’ only recently has it been
discovered that one part of the Family moved to Australia.
During this period the current major groups living in the area were formed.
Four main groups formed:-
The Cloughey Youngs – Seamen and Lifeboatmen
The Ratalla Youngs – Fishermen, Lifeboatmen, Farmers
Portavogie Youngs – Fishermen.
These four developed more independently although each group moved around each others area. The Dunevelly Young’s either moved out or gradually died out without issue.”
1860–2004 Living Memory Period
The generations formed in the 1860’s are the first recorded in ‘Official’ Birth Marriage and Death records and reported in the 1901 and 1911 census. Although an important part of the local population, the ‘Youngs’ were one of about 10-20 major local families. When the female line is examined, and male marriages are considered, the Young’s were intermarried with almost every other major and many more minor families locally.
Although the Youngs tended to marry into non-conformist families, usually within the same local church, some groups of Youngs married Roman Catholics. This reinforces the evidence that generally they were a tolerant group although still fairly religious. This makes the Dunavelly connection more understandable too.
Samuel Young, subsequently a Protestant Nationalist MP for East Cavan, one of the Dunevelly Youngs, became a businessman, owning Limavady Distillery and being a Director of Bernard Hughes, a Bakery in Belfast. Bernard Hughes was a prominent and highly respected Roman Catholic businessman in Belfast.
“The other Youngs became predominately Fishermen, Sailors and Shipbuilders/repairers. The Ratalla, Kirkistown and Cloughey families became heavily involved with the Cloughey Lifeboat. The late 1800s were a bad time for illness and diseases and many families suffered from epidemics. Groups of Youngs moved away. Belfast increasingly became the economic center where families moved, particularly with the rise in Shipbuilding. One family moved to the USA. In 1896 one Group from Ratalla/Cloughey moved to Troon. This group kept links mainly with other Portavogie families, and the other Young connections got lost, probably with the deaths of parents and brothers and others who had no issue. The ‘Scottish Youngs’ became a locally well known family too, although ordinary working folk. Many of their family married other folk from Cloughey/Portavogie and Ballyhalbert. They even married into another branch of the Young’s who also subsequently moved to Troon.
Today many of the Youngs in ‘Ards’ area do not realize that virtually every Young there is related. Indeed every family there has some connection with each other, some many times. Youngs have married Youngs.
Looking at Youngs generally, in Scotland and the North of Ireland the forenames are always so similar.
The Youngs in Troon are more spread out now around Ayrshire and further to England/Wales. The odd one has moved abroad but not many. Traditionally the most popular first names are: Andrew, David, Hugh, Thomas, Robert, Samuel, William, James, Francis, & John. Feminine names are: Ann, Margaret, Mary, Jane, Sarah, Letitia, Isabella, Helen, Ellen, & Essie.
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