Archiver > NIR-ANTRIM > 2011-06 > 1309021277

From: "Dora Smith" <>
Subject: [NIR-ANTRIM] Where of these places was flax grown?
Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2011 12:01:17 -0500

Maybe sounds silly, but I actually doubt if it was in Glenwhirry. The land wouldn't support it. Not unless flax grows on poor land, which maybe it does.

One of my McKinstry Y DNA project members is descended from an entire family who came to western Pennsylvania, and shortly onto Ohio, from Ireland between 1790 and 1800. The children were all born in Ireland. They were farmers, and weavers, of both wool and flax, and they grew flax. Then they processed the flax, and spun the flax, before weaving it.. You have to have been specifically trained well to do that.

The first members of that family repeatedly said they came from Carrickfergus.

Question is what was meant by Carrickfergus. Could it for instance refer to a McKinstry family who lived six miles and four parishes away?

In what parts of eastern County Antrim was flax grown, among these places; Larne, Killwaughter, Templecorran and Carrickfergus, Islandmaghee, and the glen that begins in southern Glenwhirry parish and ends at the town of Ballyclare.

I've also got a question about why I couldn't find ANY McKinstry's in the 1796 flax grower's list. I even tried the default search that gave me McGinnisses and McConkeys, but only the same Robert McKinstry of County Armagh. Well, OK, I found one McKInstry. This Robert McKinstry of County Armagh was a wealthy man, though probably a farmer as well. Not your average McKinstry.

I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong.

My project member suggested I try M'Kinstry; that brought up nada. And McGuinesses.

Does anyone else have any ideas?

I didn't try McKinter yet. ;) But I'm frankly astounded that Ancestry didn't think it was more similar to McKinstry than McGuinness and McConker.

I understand if you basically grew enough flax to have use for a spinning wheel you got one?

Now, I have to say that there are signs that McKinstry's may as a whole have been more attached to growing sheep or cattle than to producing textiles. By mid 19th century they were often involved in trades and shopkeeping with "spirits", like many aspiring Anglo-Irish and Scotch-Irish families. But I'm still wondering if, if flax growing was so common, more McKinstry's wouldn't have been doing it. I thought that the Massachusetts Puritans at Salem grew flax in their gardens!


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