The Family of Robert McIninch and Elizabeth Colgon,


from County Antrim, Ireland to Hastings County, Ontario



Article by Patrick M. Shea [Notes 1 and 2]


Robert McIninch was born circa 1792 in County Antrim, Ireland [26] [3]. He married

Elizabeth Colgon, who was born circa December 1793 in Ireland [4], probably sometime

during the early 1820s. Oral family history recounts that Robert and Elizabeth lived near the

Giant’s Causeway, which is on the north coast of County Antrim, a few miles northeast of the

town of Bushmills [33]. Robert and Elizabeth were members of the Church of Ireland, and

Robert became a freemason in 1812 [26].


Church of Ireland parishes adjacent to the Giant’s Causeway include Billy, Ballintoy, and

Dunseverick. The early Billy and Ballintoy parish registers were destroyed by the fire at the

Four Courts in Dublin in 1922, and the Dunseverick parish register only begins in 1831, when

the parish was carved out of the Billy and Ballintoy parishes. Because the Billy and Ballintoy

parish records were destroyed, there is no church documentary evidence of the births of either

Robert or Elizabeth (or, therefore, of the identity of their parents) or of the date of their marriage,

assuming that each of them was baptized, and that they were married, in one of these two parishes.


There is a record, however, of a Robert McIninch (who is a son of Archibald McIninch and

Peggy Murray or Macay, and a sibling of John, Daniel, Alexander, Mary, Sally, Nancy, and Peggy)

living in the Parish of Ballintoy, Townland of Dunseverick Mill, in April 1803 [6]. Although it is

not certain that this is the same Robert who later married Elizabeth Colgon, this is likely him.


Robert and Elizabeth had at least six children, and all of these were born in County Antrim.

They were: William, born circa 1824-1825 [13]; Elizabeth, born 12 April 1825 [5] [23];

Patrick, born circa January 1830 [5] [12] [15] [18] [20]; Ellen Jane, baptized 20 October 1832 [7];

John, born 28 May 1837 [8]; and Henry, born 13 April 1835 [9], 21 November 1839 [22], or

9 March 1840 [29]. [10] [11].


Robert and Elizabeth and at least five of their grown children (William, Elizabeth, Patrick,

John, and Henry) emigrated from County Antrim to Canada in the early 1850s, likely traveling

up the St. Lawrence through Quebec City, Montreal, and points west. It is unclear whether they

all emigrated together, or whether they arrived in more than one wave [22] [26] [29]. By the

mid-1850s, however, it seems that they were settled on land outside of the town of Stirling,

Rawdon Township, Hastings County, Canada West (now Ontario) [14], a farming community

approximately 12 miles northwest of the city of Belleville, Hastings County, Ontario. Robert and

Elizabeth may have had other children who did not emigrate to Canada.



“Robert McIninch and Elizabeth Colgon”, page 1 of 9, by Patrick M. Shea, Copyright 2006.

McAninch Family History NL, v.XIV n.1 / January 2006 / Frank McAninch, Editor / page 2006-02


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