Posted by: Dorothy Arthur | November 24, 2008

My own family of Erskine

It is reputed that the Erskines came over to County Antrim from Scotland in 1602, probably dispossessed by a landlord who was making his farm larger, moving to the townland called Leitrim. The farm was rendered vacant in 1651 after the uprising of the native Irish when a Scottish regiment came through the lowland parts of County Antrim and forced the native Irish to go west.

My family came to Dunaverney to approximately 100 acres. Dunaverney is a town land 5 miles east of Ballymoney along, what is now known as, the Kirk Road. Over the years, the farm became divided up into 3 or 4 farms.

The earliest source should have been the Hearth Poll Tax register of 1660 to 1669. No Erskines appeared which means they either had no Hearth (unlikely), were poll tax evaders, or most likely the soldier doing the register couldn’t be bothered registering the houses in Dunaverney, as was common in up to 30% of the houses in some areas. The first source I found was the presence of an William Askin (as it was commonly spelt) in the 1740 Hearth Poll register for the Ballymoney Area, although another source stated Aron [or Adam] Then in the 1766 Religious Census of the Ballymoney area, three Erskine families were mentioned: two William Erskins and a James Erskine. The first William Erskin was the father of Alexander, who married Elizabeth Blair in 1767, William who married Mary Blair and was living in Ballymoney in 1766,1785 and 1803, Margaret (bapt 1751) and possibly James. In the 1796 Flax Grower’s Register, Elizabeth Erskine (possibly the wife of Alexander) had one wheel of flax.
In the1803 agricultural census, William Erskine was in one house and Widow and Alexander Erskine were in another. I found a burial registered in the Parish Church records of a James Erskine on the 5th June, 1808, aged 81. Presbyterian and Church of Ireland deaths were registered and buried together in the Ballymoney Old Church Graveyard.


  1. Would your family history in County Antrim provide any evidence of Erskines who emigrated to Pennsylvania, say, in the early 1700s? The name Askey (Ereskin, Askin, Askins, Arsekin variously spelt up until the 1840s) and its bearer Thomas anecdotally came to America, but it’s impossible to verify that from any credible source here. Any ideas? Thanks

  2. Sorry, I haven’t come across any Thomas Erskines in my family and yes the spelling was varied.
    The story in the family is that 3 Erskine brothers came to N.Ireland, 2 settling in Co. Down and one in Co. Antrim.
    However there is another Erskine branch near Antrim – I have in touch for years but I could try and make contact if you are interested.

  3. Dorothy,

    Ha Ha… I was going to ask the very same question that Donald posed. Thomas Erskine (Askey, Askay) appears to have come to America in the early/mid 1700. He is purported to have been born on 25 July 1727 in Country Antrim. It is family tradition that the Erskines moved to Antrim from Scotland. It would be quite interesting if the other Erskine branch could be the one I have been looking for to tie my husband’s American ancestry to the one across the pond.
    Thank you!

  4. James Erskine also known as Askin lived Magheramorne near Larne until his death 1885. He was married to Agnes Macready and had 1. Robert Erskine [d 1892]who married Margaret Blair and had James and Robert who migrated to Victoria, B.C. Canada.
    2. William to New York[d 1901], 3.Thomas to Australia.[d 1917]

  5. Try small town histories. Also, google James Erskine of Lowellville and Mahoning County. This is my great grandfather. There are two printings of this title, the second of three volumes has photographs. The first printing has text and photographs. None of the Erskines. Arthur Erskine from Pennsylvania married James Erskine’s daughter. They were first cousings. Dr. Arthur Erskine pioneered women’s cancer treatment. His wife is still alive, as far as I know. James had two marriages, many children. My grandfather is one of five, I think. The first wife died, and my great aunt met one of the first set of daughters, at a Gaelic Dance. They live in Baltimore, MD.

  6. Thank you for the information about your book.
    I have ordered a copy and hopefully it will contain information about the Pattison and Young family.
    My only information comes from the marriage of James Young Pattison in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1875.
    It indicates he was born on Townhead St. Ballymoney, Ireland. His parents were John Pattison and Flora Young.
    If any of your additional research on Ballymoney might add some “clues” on this family it would be a wonderful bonus.
    Michael Ball

  7. Hi Dorothy,
    My family came out of Ballymoney – the Henry’s, Boyd’s, & Wallace’s. I see there names in your gravestone list. I would like a copy of your book but I see it is sold out. Can I still get a copy?Thanks so much

  8. Hi Again, Dorothy
    Also related to the Millar’s and McLaughlin’s.
    email me at:

    Thanks so much

  9. Hi Wanda
    ,The book is definitely not sold out. You should be able to buy a copy through this site. If there is a problem please contact me again.
    When yo order a copy I am happy to help you with your family name queries – these are al very common names around the area.


  10. hi i have been advised to contact you by christine bailey she thought you might be able to help i have irish relatives who according to what i have found so far came from toberbilly which i believe to be the antrim area they are james conner who was born 18/12/1823 and married mary jane maccay or mackay in june 1846 but cant get any further back with not been able to access records on the net
    any info much appreciated

  11. Hello there:
    After doing my own family history, I found this website and saw my relative’s name. Robert Erskine and Agnes Macready’s son James who married Margaret Blair and immigarated to Victoria was my great grandfather.
    It is a small world isn’t it.

  12. and their son Robert who was married to Hanna Rorison ( Hunter ) were my great grandparents

    Hi cousin 🙂

  13. We are looking for the father and mother of Jane or Jean Erskine she married Patrick Peter Smith born in 1791, lived in Gallowy or Allowy. They left for America, River John, early 1800, Patrick went first and Lady Jane left in 1810, with children and brother in law. She died on the Miramichi River during the great fire 1825
    Patrick Peter Smith later married Chirstina Duff, in the Campbellton -Tide Head area we have Smith’s lake and Duff’s lake. Part of my hertiage.

  14. Gallowy is probably Galloway which is in Scotland. My branch of Erskine’s have been in North Antrim since the 1600s. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  15. James and Agnes were my great great great grandparents. There son William went to New York. Trying to go back farther in family would love to share information.
    Your distant cousin,

  16. Hi,
    I am looking for any information about the Samuel Erskine family that lived on Lawther Street or Lawther Place in Antrim in the 1880’s. Samuel Erskine married a Margaret Robinson and had six children–one of whom was Archibald Robinson Erskine. I was told that Archibald Erskine ran a milk bottling company in the Tiger Bay area, and that Samuel, his father ran the Alexandra Provision Store.
    If this sounds familiar, I would love to hear from you, as Margaret Robinson Erskine was my ggrandfather, James Robinson’s sister. He immigrated to the US in 1889 to Boston, and Margaret Erskine’s family may be the only link that I can trace to find out more info on my Irish roots.
    Many thanks in advance,
    Myra Robinson Dionne

  17. I am researching the Erskines of Donegal, specifically, those from the townland of Umiskin, near Kilcar. I have been able to go as far back as my great-great grandfather, who was born around 1837.

  18. Is Roseyards on your list of projects

  19. I have started on Old Kilraughts and then it will be either Old Armoy, Old Ramoan or Ballintoy. I am trying to concentrate on the older graveyards at the moment. I did quite a bit of research into Chestnutts for my Derrykeighan book.

  20. I have a Thomas Erskine Askey on my ex husbands side of the family. He was born on 7/25/1727 in Antrim, Ireland and died on 11/24/1807 in Howared Township, Cenrre Co., PA.

    Thomas married Elizabeth (Betsy) Baker.. Elizabeth was born on 4/18/17745 in Germantown, Philadelphia, PA and died on 3/25/1830. Thomas and Elizabeth had 10 children.

    I have the line to the present time. If you think this is the information you can use. I will be happy to share.

  21. Unfortunately I have not been able to link my Erskines to this family. Dorothy

  22. Re Cathryn Thomas’s email March 31 2011. Agnes McCready was the wife of James Erskine of Magheramorne, not Robert.. Robert married Margaret Blair and stayed in Ireland. His two sons migrated to Canada.Would like to contact Cathyrn if possible.

  23. Dorothy – my gt grandfather is Hugh Erskine bapt. Oct 1862 1st Boardmills Pres Church, near Lisburn. His father was James Erskine, farmer, Ballynahinch, b. abt 1829 . James married Elizabeth Hawthorn, , 1855 at Cargycreevy Pres Church. James’ father was John Erskine, farmer Drumbo, bapt 1st Boardmills Pres, b. 1784, His parents William Erskine & Elizabeth Norrett, married 1792 1st Boardmills, their residence listed as Drumbo..
    In My Family Erskine you mentioned there being an Antrim Erskine connection. I would love to learn more about this – are they related to “my Erskines”
    I plan to order your Ballymena Graveyards & Church book and so look forward to hearing from you.

    My husband & I visited Lisburn & 1st Boardmills Pres ( now Trinity Boardmills Pres) last Sept . It was a wonderful & magical visit. I hope to return.

    Thank you for all your help. Dawn Harrison, Canada.

  24. Dorothy – a correction re my email a few minutes ago. . John Erskine was born 1784. His parents were William Erskine & Elizabeth Norret, married 21 March, 1782, not 1792, at 1st Boardmills Pres church, near Lisburn
    There is also a John Erskine, born Drumbo , 27 Jan 1793 to a John Erskine & Fanny (Frances) Smith, bapt. 1 st Boardmills Pres. This is also a probable Erskine connection & I suppose could be the alternate possible parents of my James Erskine , b. at 1829 my gt gt grandfather. John & Fanny also had a daughter Agnes Erskine, b. 5 June 1790, bapt. 1st Boardmills.
    All ideas appreciated.

  25. I am looking for my Great Great Grandmother, Mary Ann Erskine married to James Graham, they lived at 45 Euston Street in Belfast in 1883, where my great grandmother Evangeline Graham, was born. I found a William Graham married to Grace Boyd Mullen, who I think is my great grandmothers parents. Can you help with any family tree? I work on but have not found a way to verify. I have Mary Erskines birth certificate (dob 30 April 1864). Also have Evangeline Graham (mother Mary Ann Erskine) birth certificate. Trying to find/verify family tree connexions. My Grandmothers birth name 1909 Oct 12, was Mary Erskine Jamison. Thank you!

  26. The Mary Ann Erskine must be from a different branch from mine. I have full details of all the Erskine families in N. Antrim and I am not aware of any who moved to Belfast. Dorothy

  27. My fathers mother Jane Matilda Erskine was born at Seacash, Killead, (between Antrim and Crumlin b,9-OCT-1885 died Tara, LisNaLinchy 13-NOV-1965. Her parents were Thomas Wilson Erskine of Seacash b c 1844 d 16-FEB-1897 Ann Elizabeth Davidson b c.1856 died 24-JAN-1936 Park View
    Killead. T.W.Erskines parents were Hugh Erskine of Seacash b.c.1794 died 12-NOV-1862 Jane Matilda Hunter of Killead born c 1812 died 29-APR-1891
    Hugh’s parents were William Erskine of Seacash b.c.1760 died 4-SEP-1830
    Priscilla Lorimer of Kells b.c.1767 died 8-MAR-1853 Williams father was John Erskine of Seacash b.c.1728 died 3-MAR-1786 No details of mother.
    The family tree mentions at least two Erskines who emigrated to the US and who are buried there.
    James Erskine of Ballymagluff and Elizabeth Naomi Erskine did a great deal of research and left a geneology of their lines (which incorporates much of the above and a lot more) with the Lord Lyon King of Arms office in New Register House Edinburgh Vol 72 Page 7 also Geneology Vol iV p 33
    Please let me know if you can add more, or if some of this helps
    John Cowie Malcolm
    1 Crawlees Crescent
    SCOTLAND EH22 5HA Tel (+44) 07955057291

  28. Hi Dorothy,
    I am actually linked with you as a relative on FamilyTreeDNA. But, I just want to clarify that is correct with some of your information:
    My family line comes from James Erskine Orr of Mary Erskine and John Orr; daughter of John Erskine and Mary Speir; son of Patrick Erskine and Jean Wotherspoon; son of James Erskine and Sarrah Adam. Is this similar to your findings from one of those lines?


  29. Hi Melanie,
    Unfortunately, my Erskine family has none of these links. The earliest I can go back is to a William born in the late 1700s with 3 sons James b.1727, William 1735 and Alexander 1738. They all lived and died in the area around Ballymoney.

  30. Thank you Dorothy, This link: is that of the Orr side particularly. But, this is the family line in which the Erskine’s married into. I wonder where our DNA match from then? Thanks again and Happy New Year!

  31. Also, I am related to James Erskine and Sarrah Adam…

  32. My grand aunt was Maggie Wrynn, married Erskine and lived in the Lisburn area in the 70s. I remember visiting her home. She was from Kiltyclogher and as we have few details of her and my grandmother’s parents and life I am keen to get in touch with Maggie’s children and grandchildren. Her sister was called Catherine (Kate)

  33. My father was James Erskine and he,we lived at Ballymaglaff and my mother was Elizabeth Naomi Erskine.

    I would love more information of my fathers side of the family.
    I know he was from Killead,Seacash,county Antrim

    Janet Cooke (born Erskine from Northern Ireland)
    460 Deacon Rd
    Mayne Island
    BC. V0N 2J2

  34. to Janet Cooke of Mayne Island,B.C
    Don’t you have a brother, David Erskine, of Killilea,Co.Down?
    David has a collection of Erskine family records (including family portraits),assembled by yr.parents which they used to draw up the family record which they lodged with the Lord Lyon King of Arms.
    David made some photocopies for me of some of them, one of which showed the name of the three brothers father.It was Alexander Erskine
    The LL’s office very kindly gave me a black and white photocopy of the geneology for data use only, so I gave a copy to Betty Megahey (M.S Erskine) of Cherry Tree Farm,TemplePatrick.Betty knew yr parents and I went to see David and Kelsie once last year
    Having taken the ferry from Schwartz Bay to Tswassen several times, I must have passed Mayne Island!…the last time in september when I went to see the museum in Vancouver with the First Nation material with my friends, the Forresters of Victoria (It is a small world….)
    (p.s My earliest memories are of Seacash,Killead,in feb 1941)
    My home address is 1 crawlees crescent,mayfield,dalkeith,scotland EH22 5HA

  35. Yes. That is correct. My oldest brother David. I stayed with him last Spring.

    I have a well done up Family tree ,Mum gave me,
    but bit confused,by it all!

    Can’t even remember when my father died Date?

    Did my father James Erskine,have a middle name?

    Alexander,was his father? Correct? Married who?

    What profession did he have? Lived where when my father a child?

    Small world. Yes! Drop by,see us next time you pass our island!

    I met Betty Megahey a few times and last time I trimmed one of her ponies feet,,,,,,,,many years ago!
    I also went to a farm she newly bought.
    Many thanks for your prompt response.

  36. Janet,

    My family lived in BC! Most settling in Chilliwack, BC. There are rumours of my g.g.grandmother going to visit Erskine’s in Vancouver that were her family. It could have been the Island? My family comes from James Erskine Orr (1823-1862) whose mother was Mary Erskine (1788-1882) I believe her father’s name was John Erskine (maybe 1764?) Any connections?

  37. I’m searching for information on my 3x great grandmother Mary Ann/e Erskine. All I know is that she was born approximately 1841 and married William Hanna on Christmas Day 1864 in Bangor. I do not have any leads on her parents or siblings and if she is linked to someone that you have researched, I would love to know more about her. Erskine was given as a middle name to her grandson and was carried through the line. Thank you

  38. Hi

    My great grandfather, Robert Erskine moved to Toronto, Ont in the late 1880s. I have a copy of a Will from his father, William Erskine Sr, who had a farm in Tildarg, Antrim, Ireland, listing his wife, and other children. Do you have any information on this branch? More about William Erskine Sr and his parents, siblings? Some of his Robert Erskine’s brothers had moved to Philadephia, US. Thank you.

  39. Unfortunately my Erskine family were in the one area in N. Antrim outside Ballymoney from the 1600s. I don’t know anything about Erskine of Tildarg. Dorothy

  40. Sorry – This is not one of “my” Erskines. If I do find out anything I will be in touch. Dorothy

  41. Thanks

  42. Dorothy.
    My name is Geoffrey Sprague. My grandmother(Moms Side) was an Erskine. I have traced Erskine back to Alexander born in 1720 in Londonderry Ireland. Married Elizabeth Butters. Moved to Bristol, ME. I can’t seem to be able to find his father’s name. His wife was Barbara Weir. They apparently lived in Londonderry. If you have any information that you can share would be appreciated.

  43. Sorry, my family of Erskine’s were all from N.Antrim and I can’t find any common links.
    Thank you, Dorothy

  44. Hi Dorothy. I have recented started to try and research my fathers family of Erskine’s and stumbled accross your site quite by accident. I can confirm that my ggrandfather was James Erskine b Mar 21, 1887, d Mar 25, 1937. He was married to Agnes Keenan. I am having difficulty with going back beyond that. I do know that my gggrandfather was William Erskine 1820-1900, possibly married to another Agnes. He lived at Hatfield House, presently the sight of the Glengormly Library. Could we possibly be related? Any help or direction you could point me in would be greatly apprectiated

    Erin (Erskine) Armstrong
    Langdon, Alberta

  45. Hi….I would have to look at my info. Don’t have it memorized. Are my William Erskine and James, the same as yours. I am planning on going to Antrim this summer for a few days.

  46. Hi Shawn, not sure if they are or not. Where can I see your Erskine’s to check?

  47. Hi….. Well, they are all attached to my Smith family tree on ancestry. I am not currently registered with ancestry, so not exactly sure how to give you the information. I have a will from William Erskine SR, from Tldarg, Antrim about 1893, leaving monies etc to sons in Philadelphia and my great grandfather, Robert Erskine of Toronto, where we are now.

  48. I don’t believe they are the same Shawn. My William Erskine b. 1820, d. 1900 in Antrim. I show him having 5 children with Agnes. 3 sons and 2 daughters, none of which travelled to the US. The John I mention was one of William’s sons. He was b.1850 and d. 1907. John owed a Cap and Hat Manufacturing business in Belfast. My link is with James, another of William’s sons and John’s brother. James is myggrandfather. Have I made sense?

  49. Thanks for the quick thorough reply. Always difficult. You would think there is some connection, but figuring exactly how is a challenge. Thanks again.

  50. Hello Dorothy!
    I’m hoping this might be the link I was looking for. I have an ancestor, James Franklin Erskine, b Jul 25, 1757 in Antrim Co. whom immigrated to the US by way of Charleston, South Carolina, USA sometime between 1788-1790. He was married to a Nancy Agnes Duncan and as far as I know, all of their children were born in America from 1790-forward. I am wondering if you have any James Erskines born in 1757 & if this information might be found in your book, if so. I am having the worst road block tracing this line past this James & look forward, with hope, to your reply.

  51. Hello Dorothy!
    I’m hoping this might be the link I was looking for. I have an ancestor, James Franklin Erskine, b Jul 25, 1757 in Antrim Co. whom immigrated to the US by way of Charleston, SC sometime between 1788-1790. He was married to a Nancy Agnes Duncan and as far as I know, all of their children were born in America from 1790-forward. I am wondering if

  52. Hi Dorothy,
    I have just started out in my family tree journey that has led me so far to my 4 th great grandfather, John Erskine who was also a farmer in County Antrim, circa 1800, in a place called Connor, which is just south of Ballymoney so there may be a connection? His son, my 3rd great grandfather, William,married Jane Woods if that helps?
    At this stage I have no idea as to his parents or siblings or where to start really?
    If you or anyone else have any info I would be so greatful for any help?
    Thank you.

  53. hi Dorothy
    Was Researching Robert Agnew 1856
    Spouse Jane Erskine Larne
    Was researching for friend we live in Queensland Australia Who’s Grandfather was Robert Agnew 1861 spouse Ellen McMurtury
    She came from islandmagee he from Larne
    1880 something cane to Queensland

    I’m from Co Down Northern Ireland
    When researching found I’m related to the Erskine Redhall Ballycarry discovered
    My fathers Cousin William Dickson B 1915 married Violet Eileen Stewart B1917
    Daughter Lynne Dickson m Robert William Erskine Newtownabby co Antrim

    Have strong feelings Erskine Ballycarry Larne could be related as they have son Alexander
    Margaret Montgomery Alexander married Erskine
    What do you think could be linked up to you
    Also I’m direct descend of James Orr first Orr Ballyblack Newtownards GGGG Grandfather David Orr Ballyknocken see Orr and Erskine on your page
    Thanking you for this web page had helped a lot will be reading all again

  54. Hi Valerie, Unfortunately my Erskine family have always lived in the N. Antrim area outside Ballymoney and have no links to the Co. Down Erskine families. Dorothy

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