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Kyle J. Betit is a professional genealogist, lecturer and author residing
in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kyle specializes in Irish and immigration research.
Kyle Betit is Research Director of ProGenealogists, Inc., in Salt Lake City
and the author of the Irish Genealogy Pages at
Just wondering if you can give me some direction. I am
trying to find out where in Ireland my great x4 grandfather,
James Austin, would have originated (1760 - 18??). I know
only that he was born in Ireland c. 1760 and then ended up a
few years later in North America fighting in the British
Legion under Lt. Tarelton. I understand that the British
Legion started as the 17th Light Dragoons which had been
stationed in Cork, Ireland from about 1765-1775. Therefore,
I am wondering if James Austin was actually from the Cork
area. I can't seem to find any records to substantiate any
Austins in Cork though. Also, perhaps he was from elsewhere
in Ireland, but ended up travelling to join the Dragoons
before they set sail for America. Is this likely?
The other reality could be that he immigrated to N. America
and then joined a loyalist regiment that was later absorbed
into the British Legion. However, I can't find his name on
any of the online lists of loyalist regiments. One other
clue, his family was Presbyterian after he finally settled
in Nova Scotia after the American Revolution. However, that
may be solely due to the fact that that was the only church
option in the area where he settled in Nova Scotia.
Any ideas where to take my research from here? There aren't
many Austins in Ireland and this seems to make the research
Thank you for your inquiry. I am a genealogy expert and
consultant for IrishAbroad.com, and I work as a professional
genealogist for ProGenealogists, Inc., based in Salt Lake
At the time of Griffith's Primary Valuation of Ireland
(early 1850s for County Cork), there were about 14 Austins
listed in the county/city of Cork (see
www.ireland.com/ancestor/). So the name was present in
Cork at that point, as well as spread throughout Ireland.
British military records tend to be very informative. Have
you tried finding records such as enlistment registers and
pay lists? These can be accessed at the National Archives at
Kew, England, and many are also available at the Family
History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah (www.familysearch.org).
I also think it is important that you try to identify
exaclty when and where he died, because often records were
created at the time of death that include information about
birthplace, parents, or other relatives. Civil registers of
death, church burial registers, newspaper death notices,
cemeteries and tombstones can all be sources of excellent
information. It would be helpful to confirm whether he was
actually born in County Cork or not, and then you could
research the Austins in Cork more extensively.
I hope that this was helpful. We would be glad to assist you
with some professional genealogical research time if you
would like. Research regarding 18th century Irish immigrants
can be quite difficult, but we have a lot of experience in