• reiltinmurphy

Family details: Laverty/Millar

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The family were farmers at Deerfin near Ballymena, Co.Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Mary Ann Millar née Laverty ( 1866-1938 ) writes about her parents James Laverty ( 1836- c1905 ) and her mother Rose Anne Johnston ( c1840-1880 ) called Mary in the story. James and Rose Ann (Mary) married in 1863.

Rose Ann (Mary) has a brother, Robert Johnston (1841-1937), Fenian, a timber merchant, based in Belfast, his wife Madge (Margery, Margaret) Magee (married 1840) has made Granma’s bonnet - their three children visit the farm, Maggie (1864-1902), James, and Anna Johnston (1864-1902), who will become poet Ethna Carberry editor of Shan Van Vocht, she marries author Seumas McManus in 1901 but dies a year later. I have found no children for Maggie, Anna or James.

Uncle James Johnston, the ship’s doctor, is given as Rose Ann (Mary)’s brother. Having searched for him I conclude that Mary Ann has included a family character too good to leave out as he is Dr. James Johnston (1777-1844), an brother of Rose Ann (Mary)’s grandfather Robert Johnston married to Catherine O’Hara, as he has written the books credited to “Uncle James” - see ‘A Directory of Ulster Doctors (who qualified before 1901)’.


There is an Aunt Sarah, a nun, but I’m not sure whose sister she was.

Granma and Granda are Mary O’Hara (1812-1882) and Hugh Laverty (1802-1883). Mary O’Hara is the daughter of Mary O’Hara and Hugh O’Hara: through Mary O’Hara and her sister Catherine O’Hara (married to Robert Johnston) the family connects with the ancient O’Hara Pedigree.

Family legend has Mary O’Hara, referred to as “Grandmama O’Hara” by my mother, based in “Crebilly Castle” which led me down many false roads in my family search - we were tenants of, not members of, the O’Hara family at Crebilly House but belong to part of the family which branched in the mid 1700s.

The Memoir suggests that Hugh Laverty’s brother is Monsignor James O’Laverty P.P. of Holywood, Co. Down (1826-1907), historian and antiquarian.

Mary Ann had a twin, Rose Laverty (1866-1881). She also had other siblings, John Patrick Laverty (1864-1929). Harriet Laverty (1868-c1891) married Dyas Magill in 1889 (he remarried and had children but it seems Harriet had none living). Henry Laverty (1870- ). Daniel Laverty (1872- ) a coach builder, married Kate in 1896, their son Seamus a journalist in Dublin married Maura Kelly (known as Maura Laverty cook, author and broadcaster), their son James was unmarried, daughter Maeve married Thomas Carney and they lived in USA, and daughter Barrie married Philip Castle. James Laverty (1875- ). Joseph Hugh Laverty (1877- ).Alexander Laverty (1880- ) married Margaret Keating in 1904.

Mary Ann Laverty married Joseph Millar ( 1864-1915), cabinetmaker, in 1889 (not, as she tells us, on her 21st birthday!).They had seven children: Rosena Millar (1891-1966). Annabella, named after Anna Bella Johnston (Ethna Carberry) only on her birth certificate and headstone, is known as Isabella, Bella, Cecie, Celia, Celie and Lalla, this last being the name I gave to my beloved Grandmother who was never sure of her own name - Annabella “Isabella” Millar (1892-1969) married Richard Gregory Dowd (1881-1967) in 1917. Josephine Millar (1894- ) married Francis McCay in 1920.William Millar (1896- ). Joseph Millar (1898- ). Mary Ellen (Eileen) Millar (1902- ) married Andrew Flatley, they had one son, Tom Flatley who married Eileen ?, they have one son. James Millar (1905- ), pharmacist.

“Isabella” and Richard had three children and moved from Belfast to Monkstown in Co. Dublin after the Belfast Blitz:- milliner Marie Conleth (Connie) Dowd who studied at the Grafton Academy and had a hat shop on South Anne Street in Dublin; Sculptor Peter Dowd who studied at the National College of Art and taught at the then Dunlaoghaire School of Art; and Róisín Dowd who studied painting at the National College of Art where she met her husband John Murphy from Cork and with whom she spent a lifetime working with stained glass at Murphy Devitt Stained Glass Studios in Monkstown and Blackrock in County Dublin.

Róisín and John are my parents. I have one sister, two nieces and three nephews, but as far as I can make out there is only one other living relative from the long list of people on Mary Ann’s side of the family and, coincidently, nobody on my grandfather Richard Dowd’s side either.

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