The bus picked us up at 9:00 this morning to deliver us to the Ulster Historical Foundation in Newtownards. It's about a 40 minute ride from Belfast. UHF moved from the center of Belfast to Newtownards in 2020 and I visited their new facility in May of 2022 with a Research Group. Fintan Mullen reminded me today that my group was the first one to visit their new facility since immediately after their move, COVID struck. I have to say that selfishly, I wish they were still in Belfast!
After coffee and tea, William Roulston, the author of Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors: The Essential Genealogical Guide to Early Modern Ulster, 1600–1800 (Second Edition) did a wonderful presentation on using Estate Records to find your farming ancestors. I have heard William speak on this topic before, but I learn something new each time.
After William's presentation there was time to research in their Library. They have an excellent selection of Ulster resources as well as a collection of genealogies written and donated to the Foundation. The genealogies range from multi-volume hard back tomes to computer created PDF's. It's a great way to preserve your genealogical research if, like me, you don't have interested family to pass it on to. You might also consider County Libraries where your ancestors lived.
We arranged for sandwiches to be brought in for lunch and during that time, Fintan Mullan did a presentation on school records. I had successfully used school records a few years ago after I heard Fintan speak on this topic. Below is the record for Bridget King who attended school from 1899-1903 and was struck from the roles 17 October 1903 with the notation "Gone to America."
I learned quit a bit more today and look forward to putting the additional information to work.
But don't just take my word for it...
I bought two book from the Ulster Foundation these books tied back to our trip with our hired driver who took Julia and Marty to our townlands and cemeteries. The Catholic Cemetery at Dungiven had over 125 head stone with the family name of McCloskey. The book I bought had a school record from the first school that stated 60 were McCloskey and 10 with other names. I think I found my family.
In researching,"Immigrants from county Antrim in Londonderry in the 1830s" I found two McKeever families who immigrated to America it's a family of 5 immigrating to New York in 1834 and a family of 5 immigrating to Quebec in 1834. "The Distribution of surnames and household in Ulster in the mid-19th century," I found that there were three householders in Magherafelt Kilcronaghan parish. These two findings could possibly be my relatives.
I really appreciated both presentations today! This was my second time for the Estate Records presentation but I still learned some new hints to follow. And the school records was entirely new to me - I never would have thought to look at those records. Now Im excited to see what I can find.
Today we had an opportunity to with the staff at Ulster Historical Foundation. We were able to locate our Great Great Great Grandfather John McConville and his address in County Down. We look forward to PRONI for further investigation of our ancestors.