Location, location, location

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Location is the key to unlocking family history. In Ireland there was and remains a deep attachment to place. In previous generations ordinary people married close to home within the parish or regional boundaries where they resided. Exploring the local history of a region is vital for those interested in family history. Identifying the place of origin of our ancestors, the location, the townland increases dramatically chances of successful research outcomes. Family research almost become pointless when one does not have at least a County of origin.

Location is key to unlocking the sources that reveal family names. Many sources were created on a national level broken down by county, barony and parish but there are also regional sources specific to areas and these all need to be consulted. Many local history groups exist in Ulster and some of these publish works on an annual basis and often contain local sources of information not available anywhere else. Below, I have made a list of the many local history societies in Ulster that are active and that make such a valuable contribution to promoting the history of their regions. All history is indeed local history.

Knowledge of the local area where our ancestors settled helps to contextualise any research findings. Understanding local history of a region adds to our understanding of the lives that they lived and the cultural and social influences that shaped our ancestors world-view. Families often resided in the same region for generations so local history allows us to develop a knowledge and empathy of our forbears’ lives.

Finding the exact location where our ancestors resided and visiting the area, the field, the house where they lived the landscape that they viewed can be an emotional experience, especially for those of the diaspora who return to see their roots. Ultimately, research does suggest that when it comes to self-perception and well-being, local culture and history do matter.

The list below is not prescriptive - apologies to any local history society that I have failed to include.

LOCAL HISTORY GROUPS
Abbey Historical Society
Antrim and District Local History Society
Ardboe Literary, Photographic and Historical Society
Ards Historical Society
Armagh & District History Group
Aughnacloy & Truagh Hist. Society
Ballinascreen Historical Society
Ballinderry Historical Society
Ballintoy and District Local Historical and Archaeological Society
Ballygawley History Society
Ballyhegan & Kilmore Community Heritage Association
Ballywalter Historical Society
Banbridge and District Historical Society
Bangor Historical Society
Bayburn Historical Society
Bellaghy Historical Society
Briefne Historical Society
Broughshane Historical Society
Cappagh Historical Society
Carrickfergus & District Historical Society
Carryduff Historical Society
Clogher Historical Society
Coagh & District Local History Group
Coleraine Family History Society
Coleraine Historical Society
Comber Historical Society
Cookstown Local History Group
County Donegal Historical Society
Craigavon Historical Society
Creggan Local History Society
Cullybackey & District Historical Society
Donaghadee Historical Society
Donaghmore Historical Society
Donegal History Society
Dromara History Group
Dromore Diocesan Historical Society
East Belfast Historical Society
Glenelly Historical Society
Glenravel Historical Society
Glens of Antrim Historical Society
Gortin Historical Society
Killeeshil & Clonaneese Historical Society
Killowen Historical Society
Killultagh Historical Society
Kilrea Local History Group
Larne & District Folklore Society
Lecale & Downe Historical Society
Lisburn Historical Society
Lisnaskea Historical Society
Loughbrickland Historical Group
Maghera Historical Society
Markethill Historical Society
Mourne Local Studies Group
Muintirevlin Historical Society
Newbuildings Historical Society
North Belfast Historical Society
North of Ireland Family History Society
North West Arch. & Historical Society
Old Newry Society
O'Neill Country Historical Society
Poyntzpass & District Local History Society
Randalstown Historical Society
Rathfriland Historical Society
Rock & Dist. Historical Society
Roe Valley Historical Society
Rostrevor Historical Society
Saintfield Heritage Society
South Belfast Historical Society
Stewartstown and District Local History Society
Strabane History Society
Straid Historical Society
Templecorran Historical Society
Templepatrick & District Historical Society
Upper Ards Historical Society
Warrenpoint Historical Group
West Belfast Historical Society
West Tyrone Historical Society

http://www.fuls.org.uk/


Early map of Ulster




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