Research in Ireland - 2002
In August 2002, I travelled to Belfast to visit the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and to visit the area called 'Tullyard', where the Australian Wawn family came from.
To start with, we really only have two (Irish) statutory records about Wawn's in Ireland:
1867 Alexander Wawn married Anne Jane Craig in Leckpatrick Parish Church, Artigarvan, Co Tyrone on 27 June 1867. I have the marriage certificate. The certificate also appears in the Church Register (on microfilm at PRONI).
1858 Griffiths Valuation - Robert Wawn is listed in the 1858 Griffiths Valuation (it is a land survey for tax collection). He owned 18 acres and 15 perches of land. It is interesting he was a landowner (ie had some money), as most of the land in the area was leased from the Duke of Abercorn. The landlords were rather tyrannical at the time and the short term nature of leases were a major problem to farmers.
Starting with the one fact we knew (the 1867 marriage), I searched the PRONI for the Leckpatrick Parish Church. Fortunately, the Parish Register survives (many Irish records were destroyed by the government in 1922 and previously during WWI).
The Leckpatrick Parish Church is in a village called 'Artigarvan'. It is about 4 miles north east of Strabane (a largish town). 'Tullyard' is about 13 miles south west of Strabane. So, the Parish church is about 17 miles away from the family home Tullyard. I will come back to this point later.
Unfortunately, the copy of the register is difficult to read. You are not allowed to duplicate any portion of the Register without the prior written consent of the current minister (which of course I did not have).
However - the following details are of interest:
1. The church was formed in 1836. An Alexander Wawn and a John Wawn signed the articles of 'Resolution' for the formation of the Church on 11 August 1836. There are about 30 names who signed the resolution. If Alexander and John did sign it in 1836 (it is diffficult to be sure on microfilm), then they are another generation to Alexander and John mentioned earlier as they were not born until 1841 and 1847 respectively (Alexander 1841 and John 1847 's father was definitley Robert Wawn). So, I think we may have two new, 'elder' Wawns. I will refer to them as Alexander (Leck 1836) and John (Leck 1836) for the time being. Perhaps they are brothers to the elder Robert Wawn ?
2. In 1867, Alexander Wawn (b c 1841) married Anne Jane Craig . The marriage certificate appears in the Register (I also have a copy). Anne Jane Craig's father was 'Robert Craig'. Robert Craig figures prominently in the affairs of the church, as does the Craig family in the region. His grave is in the grounds of the church and I have taken some photos of them
3. Other prominent names in the register and general area include Craig, McCrea, Knox.
I will be doing some further research in Belfast.