Genealogical and Historical Research Service in County Louth, Ireland - Joe Biden ancestors


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US  President  Joe  Biden
and  his  Irish Finnegan  Ancestors.

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Spinning and Weaving in north County Louth.

If one looks again (see 01 initial research) at Jane Finigan's entry on the Marchioness of Bute Passenger List her occupation was listed as 'spinsterefs'. That is 'spinsteress' and means a person who spins yarn. One online index to this passenger list gave her occupation as 'spinster' which signified a single or unmarried woman. There were some 'spinsters' listed on this Passenger List.

1850 Marchioness of Bute, Passengers, Finnigan

With Jane Finigan, and children James, Stephen and Patrick Finigan, were Jane Boyle, age 18 years, a servant, and Elizabeth Boyle, age 18 years and also a spinsterefs.

In 1796, in Ireland, a Scheme was devised, by the Trustees of the Linen Board, to provide a Premium (that is a type of grant aid), to encourage the growth of flax.  The aid involved the provision of spinning wheels, looms etc.. It provided that anyone who sowed good sound flax seed in suitable ground between 10 March 1796  and 1 December 1796 would get, for not less than sowed:-

1 acre   - 4 spinning wheels;

3 roods - 3 spinning wheels

2 roods - 2 spinning wheels

1 rood   - 1 spinning wheel

5 acres - a loom or spinning wheels, reels or hatchells to the value of 50 shillings

5 acres above the first 5 acres - a like Premium to over 5 acres.

      So the Premium applied to persons who held at least 1 rood of good suitable land.

      From the 57 of the 64 civil parishes listed for County Louth, in what is generally termed the Spinning Wheel Premium List 1796, over 3,200 persons obtained spinning wheels etc.. It appears some civil parishes may have been included together, for example Gernonstown in Kilsaran.

      In the Carlingford Civil Parish among the 95 persons mentioned were:-

Thomas Finnigan  - 2 spinning wheels;

John Boyle - 1 spinning wheel;

Daniel Finnigan - 1 spinning wheel;

Michael Finnigan - 1 spinning wheel.


      By the 1830s spinning began to decline but may have lasted longer in the northern part of the county because of its closeness to Armagh and Belfast where linen continued as an important commodity.
      In 1851 a report in The Nation newspaper (page dated 18 October 1851, index 25 October 1851, mentioned a scheme, in the north-west of County Louth, to revive the industry.
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© MP McConnon, MC Research, Seabank, Castlebellingham, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland.
(Original uploaded 6 January 2022). Last update 12 January 2022.