Saturday, 1 March 2014

Week 9 - Henry Simms

Henry Simms (1830 - 1890)

Carrickfergus Castle in Northern Ireland
My great great grandfather Henry Simms was born  August 6, 1830 in Carrickfergus, County Antrim in Ireland and christened on September 12 th.  He was the son of another Henry Simms (1795 - 1873) and Catherine Patterson (1797 - 1875).  He married Jane Lattimore on the 23rd of January in 1852.  According to their marriage cerificate, both were listed as residents in the Middle Division of Carrickfergus Borough and neither had married before, Henry was of full age, but Jane was a minor. They married in the “meeting house” according to the form and discipline of the Presbyterian Church by licence. They were married by James White and in the presence of William Dorman and Mary Millar. (Thanks to Alison Vogel from New Zealand for this information)
Henry farmed on a property known as Horsepark near Milebush, Carrickfergus and is listed in the Bassett’s Antrim Directory in 1888.  Their marrige documents online and some of their chidlren's birth registrations have the surname spelled as "Simm".
 I have a CD of Celtic Songs in my classroom and always enjoyed one particular instrumental track on it.  It was so ironic when I happened to look at the liner notes and found that song was called "Carrickfergus"! You can click the link to a YouTube versions of it by Charlotte Church with the lyrics below and  another version here.
Henry Simms died on October 20, 1890, aged 60 years. He died of pneumonia, which he had had for 12 days. He was at this time a widower and a farmer. The will of administration, registered in Belfast, granted his assets to his son, Samuel.  His assets wer 1389 pounds, which was apparently quite a tidy sum of money at that time.

Henry and Jane had 14 children, 10 boys and 4 girls.  Two of these, my great grandfather William and his younger brother Samuel emigrated to the present day Ottawa area of Ontario, Canada in 1880 and 1908 respectively.  William had married Agnes McAllister that same year before leaving Ireland.

Four other siblings, Henry, Agnes, John and Alex left for New Zealand between 1895 and 1898.  John settled near Christchurch and the others in North Otago, New Zealand. 

The remaining siblings stayed and farmed the land and their descendants continue to do so today.  Horsepark farm is still in Simms hands being run by Harold and Ian, grandson and ggrandson of my great grandfather William's brother Robert. It is described as a dairy operation at the first farm on the south side of Liberty Road heading west from its junction with Redbrae Road. Both Harold and Ian have represented Ireland in International ploughing matches and are members of Kilroot Ploughing Society.  It looks like beautiful country and another to visit on my bucket list!



  1. The u tube link was interesting, never heard that song before. Lots of other links from there - parades, the Olympic flame going thru there in 2012. Look at a map of that area and expand out to include Scotland and Lockerbie is on the opposite side pretty much (from last week!). Donna

  2. I am hoping that I will finish the year on the blog and then get it published into a book (see but will miss the links and the maps, unless there is some way to include them too? Have not really looked into it yet!

  3. Thanks for this page. I am descended from Margaret Simms (sister of Henry Simms 1830). Both of her sons came to NZ (James Wilson and Robert Sims) and I am descended from Robert. I will try to contact you directly through Ancestry. - Alice

  4. Nice to meet you cousin Alice! My email is