This website contains historical and genealogical data relevant to the Dundas families of County Fermanagh, Ireland. I would like to Acknowledge my Inspiration, Sources and Assistance for much of the material on this website, including:

  • Ethel Barber Gregg of Co. Sligo, Ireland
  • Connie Sanders Dundas, of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
  • John James Dundas, Rooskey House, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
  • Doug Fletcher, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Sharryn Dundas Phillips, Yarrawarrah, NSW, Australia

The first Dundas ancestors were recorded in County Fermanagh records of 1609. Further records appear in William Coles Enniskillen Inventory of 1622 and the Muster Rolls of Fermanagh, 1629-31, which are contained in MSS 4770 in the British Museum.

“They came from Scotland as Plantation Tenants, principally with William Cole and Sir John Hume.” “A distinguished branch lived at Roscor.” There were 55 Dundas voters in Fermanagh in 1962 according to the Rev. W.H. Dundas in his book, “Enniskillen-Parish and Towns”. Peador Livingstone, also acknowledged the Dundas Family in his book, “The Fermanagh Story” as being a Plantation Family. In “A History of Castle Caldwell and Its Families”, John B. Cunningham (1980) says, “...on 26 April 1708, an Independent Regiment of Foot had the following officers:

Sir James Caldwell, Co. and Capt.

James Dundas, Lt.

He refers to “...a lease of land near Belleek in 1760.”

Scottish-Irish Connections

Actually, there appear to be three possible branches of Dundas that emigrated from Scotland to Fermanagh. One group may have come as early as 1609 with Walter Dundas of Magdalens, 3rd son of Sir Walter Dundas of Dundas, XVIII by Anne Menteith. They seem to have settled around Enniskillen. A James Dundas, probably from the Arniston branch of Dundas, also arrived, according to research done by John James Dundas of Roosky House, Drumcose. They settled farther west near Church Hill, Monea, Bolusty, Roscor and Belleek.

Another third theory, is that many of these west (Lower) Inishmacsaint Fermanagh Dundases were directly descended from Dundas of Dundas by Elizabeth Dundas, half-sister of Walter and Hugh. She married Sir James Dundas of Newliston. Perhaps he was the “James Dundas with Sword” listed in the 1631 Muster Roll of Fermanagh. There were many Hugh Dundas listed in this area of Fermanagh in later years. Hugh Dundas, Lt., a son of Walter Dundas of Magdalen served under Charles I (1625-49). I note that Lt. Hugh Dundas (b. circa 1622) and Cornet Patrick Dundas received a settlement for service in 1667, 26 years after the Rebellion of 1641, when Charles II, paid his father's debts.

There were several later Patricks in Roscor. This was a very unusual given name to have originated in Scotland, however, we have now found other Patricks…in the Newliston-Philipston and Breastmill branch near Edinburg. The Newliston branch began circa 1400 from James Dundas of Dundas XI.

New research done by Catherine Elliott of England has found a series of letters that reveal an Arniston son named James Dundas who went to Ireland with a relative of his mother's Home (Hume) family. Probably this was Sir John Hume. Here is an excerpt from her website:

RH4/191 National Archives of Scotland 16/6/1615: "Renunciation by Sir James Dundas, eldest son of Sir James Dundas of Arnistoun, in favour of his father of his right to the Maynes of Arnistoun".

There was obviously a difficulty between Sir James Dundas and his son which can be seen from a letter written by Katherine Douglas to Walter Dundas, a copy of which can be found at the Scottish Archives under ref GD75/578: "Letter from Katherine Douglass, [spouse of Sir James Dundas of Arniston], to Sir Walter Dundas, laird Dundass, asking that he will aid her son, because of "the misliking quhilk my husband hes consaviet this lang time touarts his sone, quhilk is maist unnatraill, and dayly incresis", with counsell, "till it pleis God to wirk in his father's hart that he may sum day be satled". She dares not say more "bot I cannot be ansuerable befoir God and not dischairg ane deuty to may auin barne".

A further letter from Sir James Dundas of Arniston to Walter Dundas, ref:GD75/579: ""my foolisch sone is over the watter ... I think he shall be returnit this Monday" and asking for advice"

Although not yet proven, it is possible that the James Dundas who went to Ireland and is shown on the Muster Roll of 1631 in Co. Fermanagh, (Devenish parish), under Sir John Hume's men and arms, could have been James Dundas, younger of Arniston, or even a son of his. Sir John Hume built Tully Castle in 1613 and the nearby Village of Drumenagh, later to be called Church Hill.

It is interesting to note that James' mother, Katharine, died in 1615, which is when James renounced the rights to Arniston.

There is an epitaph for The Laird of Arnestoun the younger, dated 1617. I am unsure whether this was for James or for his elder brother George. See http://www.archive.org/stream/workssirwilliam00touggoog#page/n72/mode/2up/search/arneston

RH4/191 National Archives of Scotland 28/4/1612: "Disposition by William Oliphant to James Dundas, son and apparent heir to Sir James Dundas of Arniston, of the tacks and teinds of the lands of Birkensyde".

So this is the chronology of that possible Arniston connection to Fermanagh:

1592 - Sir James Dundas was first married to Katherine Douglas c. 1592 and they had 6 children.

1594 - James Dundas is born.

1612 - Katharine wrote a letter to the Clan Chief, Sir Walter Dundas, asking for him to aid her son due to the friction with his father.

1612 - Disposition by William Oliphant to James Dundas, son and apparent heir to Sir James Dundas of Arniston, of the tacks and teinds of the lands of Birkensyde. Birkensyde is in nearby to Arniston in Gorebridge.

1613 - Sir John Hume built Tully Castle, Drumenagh, Co. Fermanagh

1615 - Katherine's husband, Sir James, then wrote a letter to Sir Walter Dundas saying "my foolish son is over the water and may return on Monday"....asking for advice.

1615 - Lady Katherine Dundas dies

1616 - Sir William Mure writes an epitaph for Lady Arnestoun

1617 - The Laird of Arneston Younger dies. Poet Sir William Mure writes a poem. Was this possibly James' brother George?

1619 - Sir James Dundas of Arniston, marries 2nd wife, Mary Hume

1620 - James Dundas (1620-1679), son of Sir James and Mary Hume, is born. He is later known as 1st Lord of Arniston and is Knighted.

1622 - James Dundas is on Drumskeagh Estate and on William Coles Enniskillen Inventory and also on the Jury

1630 - A James Dundas appears on the Muster Roll of Sir John Hume in Co. Fermanagh, Winter of 1629-1630 "With Sword Only"

A further Chronological chart of these times is shown here.

There were hundreds of Dundases in Fermanagh in the 1850’s. In Sir Richard Griffith’s Primary Valuation of County Fermanagh in 1862, there were 61 Dundas heads of household with “Rateable Property”, although 84 properties were listed with Dundas names. In that year, there were 12 Dundas property owners in Bolusty More, Bolusty Beg, Drumcrow West, Sruhanure, Callagheen, Drumbadmeen and Roscor. Today (2020), very few with the Dundas surname can be found.

Today, their Dundas descendants are spread across Fermanagh, England, Australia, Canada and the United States.

by Bill Barber email to: wjbarbernh <at> gmail.com

This was the Bolusty Beg home of my great-great-great grandfather, Henry Dundas. This photo was taken circa 1930. His son, my great-great grandfather, James, would live nearby at Bolusty More, followed by his son, my great grandfather, Noah Dundas and his family. Additional info about the Dundas of Bolusty can be found thru the menu at the left.

Further connections between these various Dundas branches can be found via Family Tree DNA site http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Dundas/