I have been looking for immigration records for my 3rd great grandfather, John Wilson. He emigrated from County Down, Ireland to the US in 1812, according to a family datasheet whose author is unknown. This datasheet lists his wife as "a daughter of Peter Taylor". (Her name is Mary Ann.)

John Wilson was born in 1800, according to his headstone. If he was 12 when he came to the US, I assume he was traveling with family. I cannot find his mother or father's name, the father was "killed in the second war with England" (according to datasheet). I cannot find any Wilson family in ship records for that year, or even close to that year. I have looked at immigrantships.net - but maybe I'm expecting too much for records that old!

When I look at historical records for 1812, they state that immigration was limited, due to the war, which makes sense to me.

I have found another family in Jefferson County, Ohio, which is where John lived most of his life, who came to the US in 1918. Unfortunately, I have also found about 4-5 different John Wilson's living in the same area at the same time. This makes my research difficult, to say the least, but I have been able to find estate records, children, newspaper publications, etc. so I have John well documented. I just can't find where/when he came to the US!

I do want to mention that Jefferson County, Ohio has a great presence online as far as naturalization records, birth/death/marriage, probate, etc. and I have poured through those amazing records one page at a time, looking for information!

  • 1
    "The second war with England" would be the War of 1812. If John's father died 1812-1814, it was probably on US or Canadian territory. Have you explored the possibility the family was in Canada first?
    – bgwiehle
    Jun 10 '15 at 17:12
  • Never even considered it! Where would I look for proof of that?
    – Deb
    Jun 10 '15 at 17:16
  • Also, I always read the line "the great grandfather in the paternal line was killed in the second war with England. He left landed estate in County Down, Ireland." as to mean that John Wilson's father was killed in Ireland, not in the US. Have I been wrong all this time?
    – Deb
    Jun 10 '15 at 17:39
  • 1
    "War with England" implies the writer was speaking from the American perspective. However, that does not rule out that John's father was still a British subject (whether settler or soldier) at the time of his death. Leaving property (if true) would be more likely if an officer than other options. There are lots of options for military and land records, but someone more conversant with the period and place should be able to provide more specifics.
    – bgwiehle
    Jun 10 '15 at 22:20
  • 1
    If John's father had died in Ireland, referencing war would have been irrelevant, or might have been phrased to reference the Napoleonic wars (England vs France).
    – bgwiehle
    Jun 10 '15 at 22:27

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