Descendants of Christopher and John Gibson and of Thomas Johnston
Northern Ireland to Pickering, Ontario 1840's
Last Updated March 30, 2010 -- Update James Gibson family information; Add link to Oakwoods Cemetery family information web page

Welcome! This is a very much "in progress" web site reflecting my very much "in progress" (sometimes slow or none) efforts to identify all of the descendants of two brothers, Christopher and John Gibson, and of the second husband of the widow of Christopher, Thomas Johnston. All three of these men were born in Northern Ireland and by the early 1840's were living in Pickering Township (Ontario County), Ontario. [Actually Ontario was officially called Canada West at that time, though many also still referred to it by its then-recently obsolete name, Upper Canada.]

This effort is ultimately designed to bring back together the far-flung descendants of these men. The reasons for that are both for the present re-connection of the family and also for the effort to learn more about the family's history in Northern Ireland.

The 1923 violence in Ireland destroyed the Public Record Office in Dublin. And most of the historical records of the centuries of the births, marriages and deaths of all families across Ireland were suddenly gone. Thus it is my hope that the bits and pieces of family stories and photos and heirlooms that have survived in the various branches of our family can somehow bridge the gap that exists in the official paper trail.

Origins in Northern Ireland

All that I know at this point about the Irish origins of the three men is the following:

  1. Christopher Gibson's son James reported his birthplace as Armagh when he married 8 Sep 1870 (in Pickering to Janet Smith). Christopher (birthdate unknown, but probably older than John, so about 1810) had married Elizabeth Gray in Northern Ireland about 1833. They had three known children there: Ellen (c 1834), Thomas (c 1837) and James (c 1839). By about 1842-1843, they were in Canada, when their fourth child Christopher was born.

  2. John Gibson's son Christopher's daughter gave the birthplace of John (born c 1812-1813) and his wife Margaret (Sprout) as County Down on the 1929 death certificate of her father. John and Margaret married in Northern Ireland about 1835 and had three known children there: Jane (c 1836), John (c 1838) and Margaret (c 1840). By about 1842-1843, they were in Canada, when their fourth child Sarah was born.

  3. Thomas Johnston is the one about whom I know the least. He was born in Northern Ireland about 1800-1802. So he was about 40 when he married Christopher's widow. When did he come to Canada? Had he lived elsewhere in Canada before coming to Pickering? Had he been married before? Did he have other children? Did he have family in Pickering Twp or nearby? Where in Northern Ireland was he born? All of these questions remain unanswered with no clues. The only bit of information is that the 1851 census does not show any other Johnston children with the family; so if he did have other children then they were not with him in 1851 (when he was almost 50 so that his children would almost certainly be grown and have families of their own).

Family Diaspora

The descendants have spread far and wide. Here is an overview of what I know thus far, which is very much incomplete and in progress.

More to Come

I have a great deal more very specific information which I will be putting out here eventually. So please check every couple of months to see if I have posted anything new.

Click here to return to my main family history page.

Contact Information

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Walter Wesley Johnston
1865 Herndon Avenue, Suite K-187
Clovis, CA 93611-6163
(559) 299-3406