Today was spent at the North of Ireland Family History Society Library at Newtownabbey (just north of Belfast). The Society also has branches across Northern Ireland and conduct educational programs as well as volunteer projects to index records. The Library has a number of unique records, including the correspondence files from the Presbyterian Historical Society.
In addition to the records they promote DNA testing and manage the North of Ireland DNA Project through FamilyTree DNA. If you have ancestry in Ulster (which includes the six counties of Northern Ireland, plus Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan) you should consider joining the project. If you have tested at FamilyTree DNA you can join this project, and if you have tested elsewhere, you can move your results to FamilyTree DNA for free. One of the project administrators, Martin McDowell gave a presentation on the project and then worked one on one with the researchers to assist them in moving (if necessary) their results and joining the project. Lot of positive feedback on this.
Some of the researchers headed to PRONI for the afternoon. There I just one more day for research there and everyone is anxious to get as much information as possible. Deb Thalner share DNA with my sisters (although not with me) and is also researching the Moag family. Her ancestor, Samuel Moag, left Ireland before 1830 and although she had his marriage record and the baptism of his three children prior to his departure, his father was unknown. Based on the marriage record I had placed him in Ballymurphy, along with John and Stewart Moag. My ancestors John (again) and William were in the next townland of Ballycrune. Here's what happened for her at PRONI this afternoon...
"Donna this was my best day yet!! After some time struggling on which records to look at in PRONI, I found the rent lists [in the estate papers of the Marquis of Downshire] for the townland I was researching. Lo and behold on the rent list it has a John Moag and it lists his son Samuel as one of the lease “for lives” people-and Samuel is my 3rd great grandfather! The location matches where I know Samuel lived, and his age is right, so I am pretty sure John is my 4th great grandfather. I cant wait to find more evidence to back that up, but it is a pretty exciting find. This will be the highlight of my trip. :). Deb"
This was an exciting find for both of us, because the "lives" in the lease also included the lessee along with his age of 58 at the time the lease was signed. This would make his birth about 1747 which is consistent with thenfirst John Moag listed in Boardmills Church. It still leaves questions as to the possible mother of Samuel since the last child we know of for this John and his wife Mary Petticrew was born in 1786. But it fills in a bit more information on the Moag family.
Tonight I had made arrangements to have dinner with Andrew Moag, a cousin I met a number of years ago, and with Deb. We had a great time...Andrew brought a photo album and information he had found about the area where he lives in Bangor. He also agreed to a DNA test (I always travel with a supply).
Tomorrow is the last day for research for most of the group. On Saturday, some are headed out to visit the areas where their ancestors lived while others head home. I think it's been a successful trip for most.