Winters Genealogy


The Winters Family Line

The origins of our Winters family were in the South East of County Limerick, near the Tipperary/Cork border.

John WINTER is the earliest known ancestor. He was born before 1744, and was living in 1785 at Ballintubber, Co. Limerick, Ireland.

According to the records of the Castle Oliver Estate, the Rt. Hon. Silver Oliver leased 34 acres in 1785 to John Winter in 'Ballintubber' (probably the present-day townland of Ballintober, about 3 miles due east of Kilfinnane). Castle Oliver was the seat of the Oliver family, who had lived there since the 1600s, and the estate comprised around 20,000 acres.

Nothing is known of John Winter's place of birth or early years. Silver Oliver had invited Irish Palatines from the Rathkeale area onto his estate in 1759 - they were descendants of the original settlers who had emigrated from the German Palatinate in 1709 and were given land in West Limerick. Although Winter is a Germanic surname, no evidence has been found so far to link him with the Palatine settlement on the Oliver estate. The surname does not appear to be present in the lists of original Palatines who settled in Ireland. A Henry Winter and family were on the list of Palatine emigrants arriving in England in 1709, and a John Winter was a Palatine emigrant from Amsterdam to Pennsylvania in 1737. However, the surname Winter was widespread across Northern Europe at the time, and is not regarded as being specific to the German Palatinate.

The presence of our John Winter in an area settled by Palatines may be coincidental. Indeed, an anecdotal reference to this is made in a journal article by Vivien Hick, [1] which describes later Winters descendants as "Associated Families":

"The Palatines in the Kilfinnane and Glenosheen area in the 1950s were according to Pilib Ó Conaill: Barkman; Barrer; Bovanizer; Fitzelle; Legere; Piper; Schumacher; Sherrit (Sherwood); and Steep. Associated families were Henchy; Winters; Childs; Bishop; Thornhill, and Touchstone."

We are fortunate that John Winter's 1785 lease was a so-called "lease for 3 lives" as it gives the names of three of his children: John Winter, then aged 20, Chris Winter aged 17 and Phil Winter aged 8. (A lease for lives was granted for the duration of the lifetimes of a specified number of named people, usually 3).

The first mention of the Winter(s) family at Upper Sunville was in the 1833 Tithe Applotment Book, which recorded a John Winter (assumed to be the son named in the lease for 3 lives) paying a tithe on 27 acres of land there. The farm remained in the family for the next 130 years through four generations that followed.

The Winter(s) family line was closely associated down the years with the churches of Particles, Kilflyn and Kilfinnane in Co. Limerick. There is an excellent account of the history of churches by J A Murphy. [2] The information about Particles church and parish is particularly useful as there is little documented elsewhere.

The names of specific persons in this Family Line can be found in the Surname Index.
The family history can also be explored through:

- A Chart showing the relationships and family groups visually.

- Royal Irish Constabulary Service Records.

- The results of y-DNA tests of male Winters descendants.

- A Schematic Diagram showing the connections between the various Family Lines documented on this website.

  1. Vivien Hick, "Images of Palatines from Folk Tradition, Novels and Travellers Accounts" (Béaloideas - Iml. 64/65; 1996/1997); Stable URL ↩

  2. J A Murphy, The Church of Ireland in Co Limerick, 2014, URL on ↩