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Showing posts from September, 2017

Aghanloo Old graveyard

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Situated about two miles outside of Limavady, Aghanloo Old Graveyard resides in the townland of Rathfad. It sits on a raised hill on a bend in the road overlooking the main road to Magilligan (OS reference C679279). Aghanloo New graveyard can be found at Aghanloo Church of Ireland in the parish of Drumbane, which was built in 1826.


On a recent visit I copied some of the older headstones that were still legible such as that for the Henry family of Dirtagh, Aghanloo.

HENRY: Erected to the memory of John Henry, Dirtagh, who died June 4 1861 aged 84 years. Also his wife Rachel who died July 18 1862 aged 70 years. Also their son William Henry who died March 20 1891 aged 61 years.

I believe that this Henry family resided on a farm of about 44 acres in Dirtagh that they called Flowerfield. John Henry's wife was Rachel McMillan and they had 12 children eleven of who emigrated to the USA between 1836 and 1860. William remained on the family farm with his parents.

A History of the family was…

What's in a name?

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SURNAME VARIATIONS:
The onset of civil registration of births in 1864 proved to be a catalyst in the process of standardizing the spelling of surnames in Ireland. However, there are some surnames where their spelling in early documents bears no seeming relation to their spelling in later documents.

Some examples of modern spelling of the name compared to older usage:

Alexander - McCalsenor & McElsinor, 

Ballentine - Bannatyne

Bradley - Brillaghan, Brallahan, O'Brillaghan, O'Brullaghan

Connor - McNogher, McNogher, Nogher

Cummings - Kimin, Kimming, Miskimmin, Miskimmings. McCumings

McAfee - McDuffee, 

Patton - O'Payton

Pollock - Poake, Polke & Poague

Trainor - McCreanor & McCraner

Uprichard - Pritchard, O'Prichard & Bridget

The latter surname Uprichard is reputedly of Welsh origin and the surname is strong in the area between Banbridge and Lurgan.

The registers of Donaghcloney Church of Ireland are well preserved and fairly complete from 1697 and in the registers we…

Rev Samuel Butler first Minister of Magilligan Presbyterian Church

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The Rev Samuel Butler, the first minister of Magilligan Presbyterian Church from 1814 through to 1862 seemed to have an interest in family history as some of the entries for baptisms and marriages are unusually detailed. An example of two marriages are given below and give the names of those present at the weddings:

Marriage No 103
John Fleming son of William Fleming of Liverpool unto Sarah Ross youngest daughter of William Ross farmer of Ballymulholland, Magilligan. The bride groom lives with his uncle Conolly Fleming of Drumavally. The marriage of the above pair John Fleming & Sarah Ross took place in the house of the bride's father William Ross on the evening of Wednesday the 21st August 1839 with consent of friends. Some of the company present were Mr & Mrs Thomas Ross of Ballymulholland - Abraham James Moody of Gortmore and his brothers John and Henry Bruce Moody & sister Margaret Ann Moody. Of Mr William Ross & Mrs Ross and son Richard Ross and the four daug…

Marriage pre-civil registration: some thoughts part two.

Continued:

The banns of marriage are the public announcement in a Christian church that a marriage is going to take place between two specified persons. The purpose is to enable anyone to raise any legal impediment to it. Obligatory notification of the intention to marry was to be given in church on three consecutive Sundays (but written records of these are relatively rare). Couples were ‘allowed proclamation’ that having satisfied the minister’s criteria, he allowed the banns to be read out and posted up. Sufficient time was, therefore, allowed for the preparation and proclamation of marriage banns on three successive Sundays prior to the wedding. When anyone applied to have banns published a fee was lodged. Banns were published and read in two parishes, which added to the cost. The importance of proclamation may be seen from the fact that the Presbyterian Synod of Ulster in 1701 unanimously approved that a minister who transgressed the rule of proclamation ‘three several Sabbaths sh…

Marriage pre-civil registration: some thoughts part one.

MARRIAGES BEFORE THE INTRODUCTION OF CIVIL REGISTRATION
Having transcribed hundreds of marriages from several parish registers in the Roe Valley and the wider north Derry area it seems clear that marriages were not recorded systematically before 1845. The pattern is haphazard and even sporadic in many registers. Those that were recorded were entered at the discretion of the minister and tended to be from the higher social order. Marriage details are the raw material of genealogical research providing as they do the names of spouses that reveal a wider network and pattern of kinship. Compulsory civil registration of Protestant marriages in Ireland began in 1845 and Catholic marriages in 1864. Thus, in the period before civil registration the primary source for marriage records lie with church registers where they are extant. 
Under the Public Records Act 1867, an amendment of 1875 and the Parochial Records Act 1876, Church of Ireland parish registers of marriages prior to 1845 and of bap…

Parish histories in newspapers

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I have discovered that the Londonderry Standard newspaper which became the Derry Standard from 1888 occasionally published complete parish histories in its pages. I am aware of four parishes that were covered in the county but I am sure there are many more yet to be discovered. 

The four parishes are Banagher, Faughanvale, Glendermott and Tamlaght Finlagan.

'Banagher, it's early plantation days' Derry Standard 20 August 1900

'Faughanvale parish' Derry Standard 12 Nov 1900

'Some items of historical interest about the Waterside/Glendermott parish' Derry Standard 17 Feb 1902

'History of the parish of Tamlaght Finlagan (Ballykelly) Derry Standard 13, 18, 22 & 25 May 1908 (this is a substantial history).

I have a copy of the history of the parish of Tamlaght Finlagan (which I uncovered in the Presbyterian Historical Society in a file on Ballykelly Presbyterian Church, the article having been cut out of the paper so it was hard to decipher all of the dates). Th…

Tenison Groves, record agent

PRONI T808 The Groves' Mss
PRONI has 27 boxes of material around 20,000 copies of genealogical working papers and abstracts of miscellaneous documents, c.1650-1920, compiled and copied by Tenison Groves, a professional genealogist and antiquarian who worked at the Public Record Office of Ireland in Dublin from around 1900 until after the Four Courts Fire of 1922. The genealogical material has been arranged roughly by surname in small volumes, some of which relate to one name only, some to a group of related families, others to several surnames starting with the same letter. The arrangement of the material is variable, alphabetization has not been adhered to, not all variant spellings have been noted, place names are difficult to trace. The great importance of this archive is that it contains extracts from documents which were destroyed in the Irish Civil War in 1922. It is particularly rich in will abstracts which appear in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland index to pre-…

Will of Archibald Campbell Strabane, 1623

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Below is a copy of an early will transcribed by the genealogist Tenison Groves from the Record Office in Dublin before the destruction of 1922. Groves' handwriting can be difficult to decipher and often written in pencil. Thankfully, Groves typed up much of his work and these transcriptions are available in PRONI reference T808. What is unusual about this early will of Archibald Campbell is that he was described as a labourer and no family members are mentioned. His will was witnessed by five persons described as his 'neighbours'. In addition the name of six persons were given to whom he owed money.

WILL OF ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL, 1623

McClay gravestone inscriptions PRONI

The McClay Papers PRONI
PRONI document reference D3672 consists of 14 volumes of loose-leaf manuscript deposited by Mrs E McClay. The material consists mostly of gravestone inscriptions from North Antrim and Co. Londonderry. They seem to have been compiled in the 1960s. There are 14 folders 10 of which have gravestone inscriptions, handwritten on loose-leaf sheets. The folders are D3672/ The Hollow Roman Catholic Church; Ballykelly Old Roman Catholic; Limavady Roman Catholic (St. Mary's); Limavady Covenanters; Limavady Church of Ireland; Drumachose Presbyterian Church; First Limavady Presbyterian Church; Derrylane Presbyterian Church (outside Limavady); Drumsurn Old Chapel; Drumsurn New Chapel; Old Drummond (near Limavady); Balteagh Presbyterian Church, Largy Presbyterian; Ardmore New Churchyard, Balteagh Church of Ireland (near Limavady). Park Church of Ireland; Fincairn Roman Catholic Church, Park; Carnabane (near Park) Roman Catholic Church; Straid Old Church (near Park); Banag…

Roe Mill Road, Graveyard, Limavady

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ST CANICE'S CATHOLIC GRAVEYARD, ROE MILL ROAD, LIMAVADY
The Church of St Canice was built on the Roe Mill road site in 1783 but fell into disrepair after the new chapel of St Mary's was built on Irish Green Street in the years between 1836 and 1838. Some Catholic families continued to use the old graveyard well into the twentieth century.

The wall surrounding the graveyard was erected in 1883. A fund had been established for the construction of the wall to which Michael King of Strangemore, Dungiven contributed the handsome sum of 28 pounds, 13 shillngs and 10d (Derry Journal 12 September 1883).

The earliest headstone appears to have been that dedicated to the O'Neill family in memory of their daughter Mary (this headstone is no longer legible).

O'NEILL
"As a tribute of parental affection this stone was placed here to the memory of a dutiful daughter Mary O'Neill who departed this life 18th June 1810 in the 20th year of her age."

The headstone with the e…

Strabane Corporation Minutes 1755-1812

Prior to 1841, local government in nearly thirty Ulster towns was controlled by a corporation. With the exception of Carrickfergus and Downpatrick, which were medieval boroughs, these corporations were seventeenth-century creations. Records relating to about half of these corporations have survived including those for Strabane in County Tyrone.

The corporation minutes for Strabane also contain other miscellaneous records such as Grand Jury presentment 1773-1810; Common council book 1813-1847 and Borough Court Book 1814-1816. I have extracted the names of the doctors and apothecaries that appeared in the Corporation minutes from 1775 to 1812.

In the Grand Jury records a recurring theme throughout the minutes was the state of the paths and roads often blocked by dung heaps and the lack of hygiene in the town was a constant source of irritation. Things got so bad that in 1780 the Grand jury imposed a fine of 10 pence on over sixty named individuals for failing to clear the dung heaps in …

1821 census Forkhill parish - a wonderful discovery!

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A complete copy of the 1821 census for the parish of Forkhill was discovered in the archives of the Jackson Charitable Trust in 1999.

The minutes of the trust reveal the nature of the discovery and the subsequent publication of the complete census in a local publication.

Extracts from the minutes (1789-2006)

1999 – An estate copy of the 1821 Forkill Census and 1820 Church and County Cess list was found in the Trust’s archive. The secretary had the data computerised.

2003 – The 1821 Census data was given to Professor Leslie Clarkson of Queen’s University Belfast for analysis and publication. At the same time the text was given to Mullaghbawn Community Association for publication, to which the secretary contributed an introduction. The Community Association invited the Trustees to a ceremony of handing over the material in February 2003, and to the book launch in November 2003. The title of the publication is ‘Kick Any Stone’ and it is a most handsome volume.

http://www.jacksoncharitabletrus…