Author Topic: Searching for my great granddad - William Armour  (Read 3640 times)

Offline laurenarmour

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Searching for my great granddad - William Armour
« on: Wednesday 08 April 15 09:37 BST (UK) »
Hi there,

About 5 years ago my granddad began tracing his paternal ancestors. My granddad is an only child, and the only family member he had (not from him mother's side) was his dad. He knew his dad, but knows little about his life. According to my granddad, he kept very quiet about his origins and my granddad believes this is because he didn't know anything himself.

His name was William Armour (no middle name) and he passed away in 1990. We've managed to locate his death record, which also clarified his DOB etc. So far we have the following information:

Name: William Armour
DOB: 1916
Birth month: 3
Birth date: 14
Death year: 1990
Death district: Gravesend

We haven't been able to find his birth record. We have no information on his parents. We know he was born in Northern Ireland, and was taken in by an orphanage (no idea when).

A family took him in (again, we don't know when) because they needed an extra hand on their farm in Ballymoney. The mum and dad were called Cassie and Tommy Cooper (potentially Cassandra and Thomas, although this isn't certified) and they went on to have a child of their own called Molly. My granddad believes Molly was a similar age to his dad. Molly went on to marry Robert McFee, and ultimately became Molly McFee.

My great granddad lived with the Cooper's until he was around 20 years old, when he moved to Peckham. He maintained a relationship with Molly, Cassie and Tommy and went over to visit them numerous times - he even took my granddad and my dad over to meet them all the way up until the 1980s.

My nan and granddad continued receiving Christmas cards from Molly until around 2 years ago - so they're unsure whether she's still alive. All they know is that she lived in the Antrim area. Molly and Robert didn't have any children.

So my great granddad moved to Peckham and met his wife Ivy Elizabeth Martha Bowden - my granddad's mother, born 1911 in Camberwell. They set up a shop (Armour's stores) and had my granddad in 1946. They later moved to Gravesend (around the late 70s, early 80s) until she died in 1989, and he died the following year.

My granddad said his dad never spoke about his real family. He doesn't even know if he knew anything about them. We have no idea where the surname Armour came from, as he obviously didn't take Cassie and Tommy's surname.

For this reason, I think Armour must have been his birth name, although this isn't clear. For all we know, he could have been with another family before the Cooper's and took their name.

This isn't a huge amount to go on - but any helpful tips or hints would be gratefully received! My granddad spent a number of years looking into this and has hit a brick wall, so I'd absolutely love to help him get some answers!

Many thanks.

Offline trish1120

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Re: Searching for my great granddad - William Armour
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 08 April 15 10:19 BST (UK) »
Williams Marriage Cert may have extra info and would be worth purchasing;

William ARMOUR, Sept 1943, Gloucester R, 6a 789
Ivy BOWDEN on same page.

Trish :)
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Offline ShaunJ

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Re: Searching for my great granddad - William Armour
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 08 April 15 10:41 BST (UK) »
There's a birth in Ballymoney RD registered in the second quarter of 1917: William Armour  volume 1 page 103
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Offline Sinann

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Offline aghadowey

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Re: Searching for my great granddad - William Armour
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 08 April 15 11:13 BST (UK) »
Welcome to Rootschat. I live just outside Ballymoney and go there several times a week. We aren't allowed to post details of any living people so you might need to remove your grandfather's details from your original post.

A few things which may make your search more complicated than it would seem-
1) 'Ballymoney' is the name of a town, registration district and area (and this goes up into North Antrim but also crosses over the River Bann into Co. Londonderry)
2) if William Armour was born in the Ballymoney area then the birth ShaunJ found is certainly a possiblity. Details on a death certificate depend on the knowledge of an informant so there are often inconsistancies
3) Cassie is usually a nickname for Catherine, Kathleen, etc. rather than Cassandra
4) if William was born locally then the 'orphanage' could have been Ballymoney Workhouse (now demolished)

However, we do have some useful bits of information to start with-
1) do you have the most recent address for Molly (Cooper) McFee? (don't post it here online but it may help find Molly or at least a recent death for her
2) do you have any old addresses for the Coopers? any newspaper clippings or old letters which could help find details on them?
3) if Molly (Molly often a nickname for Mary) was born in the Ballymoney area and was roughly the same age as William then it's likely she has already died- if your family heard from her only a few years ago she might be a bit younger than William
4) do you know what religion the Coopers were? William would likely have attended church with them and there might be records available locally
Away sorting out DNA matches... I may be gone for some time many years!

Offline aghadowey

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Re: Searching for my great granddad - William Armour
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 08 April 15 11:46 BST (UK) »
I may have found the Cooper family outside Ballymoney but need to check graveyard records which I've packed away upstairs and also to see if Lauren has any more clues.
Away sorting out DNA matches... I may be gone for some time many years!

Offline laurenarmour

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Re: Searching for my great granddad - William Armour
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 08 April 15 12:12 BST (UK) »
Ah this is all amazing.

I did find their marriage record, I wasn't sure whether it would be worth ordering a copy? Would the print copy contain any more information that could be of help to me?

The birth record of William Armour in 1917, Ballymoney - I ordered this earlier this morning, so fingers crossed it'll give me another lead!

I'm trying to get some more details on the Coopers. I'm pretty sure my nan would have an address somewhere which would be an enormous help.

Are there any other details that you think would be really helpful that I can try to find out? Obviously I have absolutely no idea about dob's for Molly, Cassie or Tommy.

Offline aghadowey

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Re: Searching for my great granddad - William Armour
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 08 April 15 12:31 BST (UK) »
Will post what I have so far so that you can see if any of it could fit and to save others from searching for the same family. Please remember that this is not at all confirmed yet.

Finvoy Presbyterian Church headstones- same grave:
Catherine Cooper age 88 died 2 Feb.1990 (wife of Thomas)
Thomas Cooper age 76 died 13 Nov.1976 (husband of Catherine)

another headstone:
Isabella Cooper age 73 died 4 May 1917 (wife of Thomas, mother of Thomas, William, Maggie, Mary Jane and James Taylor
James Taylor Cooper age 70 died 17 Nov.1950 (son of Thomas & Isabella)
Maggie Cooper age 70 died 5 Mar.1946 (daughter of Thomas & Isabella)
Margaret Cooper age 68 died 4 Apr.1881 (wife of William)
Mary Jane Cooper age 77 died 23 Apr.1946 (daughter of Thomas & Isabella)
Thomas Cooper age 24 died 28 June 1893 (son of Thomas & Isabella)
Thomas Cooper age 73 died 28 May 1914 (husband of Isabella)
William Cooper age 82 died 19 Sept.1898 (husband of Margaret)
William Cooper age 63 died 14 Nov.1934 (son of Thomas & Isabella)

another grave:
Samuel Cooper died 31 July 1942
Eliza Jane Cooper died 19 July 1940

There could be other Cooper burials here not listed on the headstones. The details here taken from a survey done in 2001 so there may be more recent burials.

more to follow...
Away sorting out DNA matches... I may be gone for some time many years!

Offline aghadowey

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Re: Searching for my great granddad - William Armour
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 08 April 15 13:30 BST (UK) »
Family tree for Coopers of Carrowreagh- I have not included all details since it's really William Armours connection with Thomas & Cassie Cooper that you are looking for.

William Cooper (c1816-19 Sept.1898) m. Margaret (c1813-4 Apr.1881)
1.   Thomas Cooper (c1841-28 May 1914), farmer, Carrowreagh, m.(29 Mar.1869) Isabella Taylor (c1844-4 May 1917)- 8 children (1 died before 1911- Thomas)
     Marriage: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGZZ-Z69
     1888 Bassett`s Book of Antrim: T Cooper, Carrowrea, farmer
     http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Antrim/Dirraw/Carrowreagh/129446/
     Probate of the Will of Thomas Cooper late of Carrowreagh Finvoy County Antrim Farmer who died 28 May 1914 granted at Belfast to William Cooper and James Falconer Farmers. Effects £229 10s. 0d.
     1.   Thomas (8 Nov.1868-28 June 1893)
          Birth: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FPD7-1J4
     2.   Mary Jane (c1869-23 Apr.1946)
     3.   William (11 Sept.1871-14 Nov.1934)
          Birth: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FPB3-FVR
          Cooper William of Carrowreagh Finvoy Ballymoney county Antrim farmer died 14 November 1934 Probate Belfast 1 August to James Cooper farmer. Effects £59 15s.
     4.   John (29 Apr.1873) m.1 Mary J (c1877-bef.1908) m.2 (c1908) Elizabeth (c1870)
          Birth: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FPBK-K8N
          http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Antrim/Dirraw/Carrowreagh/945705/
          http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Antrim/Dirraw/Mullans/129616/
          1.   Thomas Cooper (c1900-13 Nov.1976) m. Catherine (c1902-2 Feb.1990)
               Headstone erected by James T. Cooper.
               1949 Belfast & NI Directory: Thomas Cooper, farmer, Carrowreagh
          2.   Maggie (c1902)
          3.   William James (c1906)
     5.   Margaret “Maggie” (21 Aug.1875-5 Mar.1946)
          Birth: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGZG-883
          Cooper Maggie of Carrowreagh Finvoy Ballymoney county Antrim spinster died 5 March 1946 at 1 Henry Street Ballymoney Administration Belfast 16 December to Hannah McKennon widow. Effects £317 3s. 11d.
     6.   Hannah (21 May 1877 Carrowreagh-alive 1946) m.(8 Sept.1905 Ballymoney) James McKenna
          Birth: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGN7-F2H
     7.   James Taylor (25 Sept.1880 Carrowreagh-17 Nov.1950)
          Birth: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FP73-2X8
          Cooper James Taylor of Carrowreagh Finvoy Ballymoney county Antrim farmer died 17 November 1950 at the Robinson Memorial Hospital Ballymoney Probate Belfast 20 February to William Ferris farmer. Effects £1210 7s. 6d.
     8.   Samuel Cooper (c1884-?31 July 1942) ?m. Eliza Jane (d.19 July 1940)

Away sorting out DNA matches... I may be gone for some time many years!