table below sets out many [but not all] of the sources
that you will need to consult when researching families
and localities in Co. Londonderry and North Antrim.
The table indicates the sources available for different
periods of time. Within this website most attention
is paid to the period c.1850 to c.1930.
from family circle.
from family circle.
but very unlikely.
but less likely.
Records - BDMs.
Records - BBMs.
Newspapers - BDM notices.
Records - All BDMs from 1864.
Records - BBMs.
Newspapers - BDM notices - increase
Records - Non-Catholic Marriages from 1845.
Church Records - BBMs.
Newspapers - only a few.
Church Records - BBMs.
Newspapers - even fewer.
1901 & 1911 Census Returns.
1851 Census Returns for parts of Co. Antrim.
1831 "Census" for Co. Londonderry.
1803 Agricultural "Census" for parts
of North Antrim.
1796 Flaxgrowers' List.
1740 Protestant Householders' Returns.
1660s Hearth Money Rolls.
1630 Muster Rolls.
N. Ireland General Revaluation of 1935 plus revisions
and later revaluations.
Griffith's Revisions c.1860-c.1930.
1820s/30s Tithe Records.*
1830s Townland Valuation.
of Deeds - from 1708.
Also seen as a census substitute.
on the links in the left-hand menu will
take you to webpages that contain information on the
nature of each source, whether it is universally available
within the area covered by this website, some guidance
on how to use it and where you can access it, particularly
online. The right-hand menu contains links to databases
that I have created from census substitutes that relate
to Co. Londonderry and North & Mid Antrim, covering
the period c.1630 to c.1860. Also, you might want
to read my paper - Some
thoughts on researching families and localities.
the order of the links in the left-hand menu, and
the same order adopted in the table above, might give
the impression that you should always begin with BDMs,
then move on to Census Records and then on to Valuation
Records.The diagram below is a better representation
of the search process for the period c.1850 to c.1930.
You can begin anywhere you wish. It really depends
on the initial questions that you are asking and that
depends on "where you are coming from".
The diagram below is assuming that you are primarily
interested in researching ancestors so the key records
are arranged around the centre circle. If your main
intention was to research a locality - then the diagram
below would be a bit different - but more or less
the same sources would be involved - read
1935 N. I. General Revaluation
and its revisions will allow the search
to continue well into the twentieth century.
and Church Records not only provide the basic genealogical
information, they also indicate where the family lived
at different periods. Civil marriage certificates
are particularly important because of the fact that
they give the names of the fathers of the bride and
groom, thereby providing a gateway to the previous
generation. The Griffith's Printed Valuation of c.1860
lists the occupiers of houses and land by townland
and street within the region. It is often seen as
a substitute for the 1861 Census. However, its great
value is that it gives details of the holdings held
by each occupier and assigns numbers and letters to
the land and houses on these holdings. These numbers
and letters are also shown on large scale maps that
allow us to identify exactly where our ancestors lived
in the middle of the nineteenth century. Perhaps the
most important source is the online 1901/1911 Census.
These census returns provide a gateway back into the
nineteenth century and a starting point for the "journey"
towards the present. As well as providing socioeconomic
data and detailed information on all persons living
in the house on the night the census was taken, it
also shows us where each family was living within
a townland or street. However numbers assigned in
the census to the houses where each family lived should
not be treated in the way that we treat modern street
numbers. To find out exactly where a family lived
in a street or townland it is necessary to match the
list of houses in Form B1 in the census with the houses
listed in the Griffith's Valuation. For more information
on this process go to the c.1860 to c.1930 Griffith's
Revision Books webpage. See my paper on Locating
Properties and Families within a Townland or Street
and the examples illustrating this process at the
Case Studies link in the top menu. Note also
that the Griffith's
Revision Books are now online at PRONI.
you move back into the earlier part of the nineteenth
century evidence on families and localities becomes
more limited and is often circumstantial. The real
problem is the availabity of BDMs. Church registers
are not always available and those that are can be
patchy with regard to dates and usually do not contain
as much information as later registers or civil registers.
Remember, however, that Protestant civil marriages
date from 1845. The table above lists a number of
sources that are generally known as census substitutes
and although, evidence from these is often circumstantial,
they may prove fruitful. I have databased many of
these and you will find links to these
databases in the right-hand menu. For locality studies
estate records can be the most useful source but unfortunately
they are not always available.
back into the eighteenth and seventeenth centuries
becomes even more difficult. Often all we can do for
this period is to look for a family name in census
substitutes such as the 1740 Religious Returns or
the Hearth Money Rolls of the 1660s. However, without
the evidence from church registers, which is often
absent, the name does not become a person.
order to use any of these sources you need to know
something about administrative divisions within counties.
This information is provided at the Administrative
Divisions link in the top menu. The top menu
also contains a link to Case Studies where
you will find working examples of the process of researching
families and localities in Co. Londonderry and North
Antrim, particularly in the nineteenth and early twentieth
are links to the repositories that house the above
records. The most important of these repositories
for researching Ulster ancestors is the Public Record
Office of Northern Ireland [PRONI], Belfast. These
repositories have now more material online - particularly
useful is the PRONI
eCatalogue. I have also included links to the
GRONI and GROI which hold civil records of births,
deaths and marriages. Note that each of the links
below will open in a separate window or tab.