Earliest Presbyterian registers in Ulster

A number of early Presbyterian registers are extant. Only a handful of registers contain baptisms or marriages before the year 1700 (I have listed these below). The earliest recorded date for a Presbyterian baptism in Ulster is June 12th 1674 in Millrow (Antrim) Presbyterian church. The  most complete set of records appears to be those for Lisburn Presbyterian church with an almost complete run of baptisms from 1692 to 1927. There are unfortunately two gaps in the registers 1733-1735 and 1765-1778 accounting for about an eighteen year period but overall coverage is excellent for anyone with Presbyterian ancestors in Lisburn.

Antrim Presbyterian (Millrow)
Baptisms, 1677-1733, 1753-85, 1791-2
Marriages, 1675-1736

The earliest baptism in Millrow dates to 12 June 1674 but unfortunately I am unable to interpret the handwriting for the surname:
Surname not recognisbale

Archibald (?) had baptised by John Shaw at Ahoghill Co of Antrim June 12th 1674 (a son named) Stafford.

The next legible entry is dated June 17th 1677 when Robert Grier of Ballyarnet had a child baptised Thomas. In effect, the Millrow Presbyterian baptismal register begins in 1677.

Ballykelly Presbyterian
Baptisms: 1699-1707, 1709
Marriages: 1699-1729, 1731, 1733-1735, 1737-1740

The first baptismal entries for Ballykelly occurred on Sunday 8 Oct 1699 when five children were baptised by the Rev John Sterling:
Robert of Jon Cros of Ballykelly 8 Oct 1699
William of James Rid of Ballykelly ibid
Thomas of David More of Ballykelly ibid
(Blank) of Alexander Rodger of Ballykelly ibid
(Blank) of Rob Culbertson of Fochenveal ibid

The Ballykelly registers contain about 600 baptisms for the years 1699-1709 (about 60 baptisms per year) and 500 marriages between the period 1699 and 1740.

Drumbo Presbyterian
Baptisms: 1699-1723, 1764-73, 1781-92
Marriages: 1706-21, 1772, 1782-3, 1786-91

First Killyleagh Presbyterian
Baptisms: 1693-1757
Marriages: 1692-1757

Baptisms begin in Killyleagh in 1693 - the first entries are as follows:
Sept 16th 1693 Jon Jackson ch(ild) baptised James by Rev Mr James Bruce
Sept 24th 1693 James Syers ch(ild) baptised James ibid
Sept 24th 1693 Will'm Twinam's ch(ild) baptised John ibid
Sept 24th 1693 And'w McKee's ch(ild) baptised Grizell ibid
Sept 24th 1693 Henry Murdogh's ch(ild) baptised Elizabeth ibid

Marriages actually begin earlier than baptisms in the Killyleagh register:
March 4th 1692 John McCrabbet md to Jane Watson by Rev Mr James Bruce
March 6th 1692 James Petticrew md to Jane Clark ibid

Lisburn Presbyterian
Baptisms: 1692-1732, 1736-64 and 1779 onward
Marriages: 1688-1696, 1711-1718/19 and 1782 onward

A typed manuscript for Lisburn contains 694 baptisms for the years 1692-1700 (around 80 baptisms per year).
Baptisms begin in 1692 but it seems the early register was difficult to read
1. Child of James Mellike(?)

The first baptismal entry with an address was entry number 10.
10. James son of John ffulton of Deriachy

Magherafelt First Presbyterian (Dawson's Bridge)
Baptisms 1703-1706

A typescript copy of the Dawson's Bridge register begins as follows, 'Register of the children's names baptized in the Cong'n of Dawson's Bridge the 1st of Nov 1703 & the time therof together with the names of their parents & of the townlands wherein they dwell:
Two baptisms occurred on the same day and are the first recorded in Dawson's Bridge (Castledawson)
Nov 3 1703 James of James Reid, Drumrainey
Nov 3 1703 Mary of William Lenox, Bolinagarve

Portaferry Presbyterian
Baptisms: 1699-1786
Marriages: 1750-1784

The first baptism for Portaferry Presbyterian church occurs in 1699 and the second in 1700 (unfortunately the address of the first entries is not available due to a tear in the first page of the register).
1699 Aug 20th Anne McCleery of John (McCleery)
1700 Apr 11th William Martin of John (Martin)

These early registers are priceless containing as they do the names of thousands of Presbyterian families in the early eighteenth century.


  1. How would I find out if any baptism records from 1804 in Armagh County, Ireland from the local Presbyterian church for a Joseph Henderson born June 12, 1804.
    I was informed that the church records may have been destroyed in a fire but that the PRONI may have copies of the same records.
    How do I find out if this is true without investing a large sum of money only to find out that there are no baptism records for 1804.


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