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North of Ireland Family History Society

Today was spent at the North of Ireland Family History Society in Newtownabbey, about 20 minutes from downtown Belfast. In addition to their main location, they have nine additional branches If you have North of Ireland ancestors (including the three additional counties of Ulster) you should consider joining this Society. In addition to their unique library, they are experts in DNA and offer a number of programs (some on Zoom) as well as a week long DNA Summer School. Here is the agenda from this past August.

NIFHS is closely aligned with FamilyTreeDNA and sponsors a number of DNA Projects. Anyone with Northern Ireland ancestry should move their results to FTDNA and join the North of Ireland project. This allows you to compare your results with a subset of your matches who also have ancestry in the north of Ireland. In addition to the North of Ireland project, they also have projects in Ballycarry, IslandMagee where they are proactively testing members of those communities.

Here are some comments from today.


I'm excited that Y expert guy, Vincent, at Northern Ireland Family Historical Society confirmed that my Kennedy Y goes back to Niall of the Nine Hostages which dates back to Medieval Ireland. I joined the Northern Ireland DNA project with my kits . I cannot wait until I can add a few more DNA kits I manage to the project. It was a good day. The staff were so friendly and helpful and treated us with biscuits. Besides it is always a good day to joke with a red headed Irish man who drove our bus. He was so very good.


I had an enjoyable day today upon opening my DNA. I was shown how to sort my matches from my family tree DNA to my mothers and father side of the family. I looked up information to research tomorrow in PRONI. I found a list of emigrants in the ordinance survey memoirs. I found the McKee's and McKeevers listed. I copied the list with my phone. They may possibly fit into my family line because they are from 1833/34.


We talked about Family Tree for DNA and why you could and should do the Big Y test to help trace your family history. They are a great resource library and I found 2 books about the Bells from Scotland and Ireland and immigration to America and Australia.


Today’s visit to the NIFHS was very Interesting. After receiving a briefing on the North of Ireland DNA project we were all in. Fascinating work is underway. I spent time adding information to the project database and reviewing their library material for family records. Winding down our visit to the Emerald Isle.

Not everyone went to NIFHS today. A number of the group had been there on past trips and elected to continue their work at PRONI.

Happy Hunting!

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