This was a big change this year, as the Ulster Historical Foundation has moved out of Belfast to Newtownards in County Down. We used to just walk a few blocks from the hotel, but now is about a 30-40 minutes taxi ride...but according to the researchers it was well worth it. If you are planning to visit, be aware that it is in an Industrial Park and you might think you're in the wrong place. It took our taxi driver a few minutes to find it...he wasn't using his GPS, but I pulled it up on Maps and we worked our way around the Industrial Building and were welcomed by Fintan, Gillian and William Roulston. They moved to this location in early March of 2020 and were shut down by COVID two weeks later. If you've attended any of the Ulster Historical Foundation's US Tours in March in each year, you'll likely recognize Fintan and Gillian. If you haven't, watch the calendar for next year's schedule. If you would like to sponsor an event, I'm sure they'd love to hear from you. In 2019 five Societies from Sarasota to the Villages sponsored an Event in Tampa. It was sold out almost immediately! This past March Fintan was again back in the US and Gillian joined him virtually. I was able to attend the event at the Heinz Center in the Pittsburgh area, virtually.
The first order of business was coffee and pastries...thank you. My group was the first they had hosted in their new facility. What followed was a wonderful presentation by William Roulston on Estate Records. These are the records of the estate management and cover leases, rentals, maps and correspondence. You never know what you're going to find in these records. They are original records and you need to read them page by page where they cover the time and place where your ancestor lived. Some of these records go back into the 17th and 18th centuries and may be the only place their name is listed. Here's a blog I wrote on the topic.
The Library at UHF is excellent focused on Ulster (which remember contains the six counties of Northern Ireland, plus Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan). They also have a book store with copies of the books UHF publishes as well as many other research focused books.
"Trip to UHF was super. Lots of great info and staff was most helpful in answering questions and helping find additional material. They have an outstanding library of diverse materials"
"The visit today was the highlight of the Belfast research trip for me. It was wonderful to sit and wonder through a unique array of Irish local history and genealogy books and then be able to purchase some of the books for sale at the Ulster Historical Foundation. The staff helped us find material related to our research and William Roulston gave an impressive presentation on Landed Estates which provided me with new information which I had not known. Put this on your list to join and hopefully visit someday."
The trip out to Newtownards was definitely worth it.
Just received an update from Mirta
"The info I found at the UHF was excellent. First, Mr. Roulston gave me a book written by David Bell “Watch and Clockmakers in Northern Ireland” which had several pages written about my family. The book contained specific information about my 5th great grandfather, John McCabe moving to Newry, and some info about his shop in Baltimore, Maryland. I will be digging into that tomorrow at PRONI. The book also had pictures of several watches made by his brothers Thomas and William McCabe.
UHF had books on the Huguenots which had several references to my Maziere family. So I have even more data to research. UHF have published 2 new books about researching Farmers in Ulster and Presbyterian research that I will purchase when I get back to the states."