Williscroft & Woolliscroft

Worldwide One-Name Study


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The descendants of William Williscraft of Ireland

Some notes on William's possible grandsons. William who emigrated to Canada in 1828 and George who remained in Ireland.

The original work on this branch of the family was carried out by Bea Williscroft (1895-1992). Her work is now deposited at the archives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Over the years the information has been added to from many researchers. Bea’s ancestors had emigrated from Ireland to Ontario, Canada in the 1820’s. She was the Great Granddaughter of William and Sarah Williscraft.

On the 4 May 1827 at Flurry Bridge, County Louth, Northern Ireland William Williscraft applied to emigrate to Canada wife Sarah and eight of their children. On the application he stated that he had been a sergeant in the Yeomanry for 30 years. William and his family sailed for Canada on the 14 August 1827 and settled in Ontario. In 1800 William had married Sarah Neil at Shankill, Armagh. The couple had nine children between 1804 and 1821. John 1804-1874, George 1807-1895, Mary 1810-1850, William A. 1812-1869, Margaret b.1812, Sarah b.1814, Elizabeth Burton 1815-1893, Benjamin Burton 1819-1903 and James 1821-1885.

Records in Canada suggests that their eldest son was born in County Down. However, William and Sarah were living in Portadown when their daughter’s Sarah & Elizabeth were christened.  A William Williscroft is listed in “Bradshaw’s General Directory of Newry, Armagh, and the Towns of Dungannon for 1820” living in Portadown. He was a ‘reedmaker’ an occupation associated with the weaving industry.

There is also a William Wiliscraft listed for Clonlum Townland, Killevey Parish, Armagh, Northern Ireland amongst the Freeholder Records of 1823. This William was a tenant of Powell Farrell. The document also mentions James Wiliscraft who was most likely William's son. Leases were often taken out on the life of the youngest child to maximise the length of the lease.

In 1796 William Williscroft who was an ‘Orange Boy’ was living in Armagh. He was involved in an assault with others and committed for trial at the Lurgen Quarter Sessions. The event is mentioned  in two books ‘The Beauties of the Press’ and “The History of Orangeism” both are available online. This is possibly the same William as he was a member of the Orange Order when he arrived in Canada.

Bea's records state that William was the son of George Williscraft and Mary Carlan who married at Shankill, Armagh in 1760. He was baptised there on the 5 November 1770. George and Mary are known to have had two more children, William in 1768 and Jane in 1773. Bea thought that George was the son of George Williscraft and Margaret Smyth who married at Shankill, Armagh in 1737. George and Margaret are known to have had six children christened at all the entries from the parish records mentioned on Bea's original tree but she did say the records were very difficult to read. 

More recent evidence from England suggests to me that perhaps the original tree is incorrect. I believe it is possible that the George who married Margaret Smyth is the same George who married Mary Carlan. George died in 1795 and was buried at Lurgan the 14 July. His wife Mary most likely died in Tullylish, Co. Down in 1808. If Williams mother was living in County Down it may explain why his eldest son John was born there.

I think George and Mary also had a son called George, who is the George who’s will was proved at Portadown in 1831. Georges' wife was also called Mary. In 1812 he was living in Jersey and serving with the Army. 

This George is possibly the father of Alexander b.1789, Jane b.1793 and Mary b.1796. We know from Alexander's army records he was from Shankill, Armagh. Both Mary and Jane moved to England with their husbands. Jane's maiden name is recorded on the baptismal records of her children born in England. When Mary married for a second time in Manchester she said her father was George Williscroft a 'reedmaker'. This is the same occupation as the William who was living in Newry in 1820. A 'reed maker' was involved in making 'reeds' for the weaving industry. 

George and his wife Mary daughter Elizabeth who was christened in St Helier, Jersey in 1812.  Elizabeth also moved to England where she married her second husband Samuel Broadbent. At the time she said her father was George Williscroft 'an agent'. Jane states she was born in Dublin but Mary only gives Ireland as her place of birth.

Owner/SourceJill Dixon
Date6 Jan 2018
Linked toGeorge Williscraft (Name); William Harrison Williscraft (Name); George Williscroft (Name)

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