Wednesday 25 March 2015

AncestryIreland adds BMDs for Antrim and Down

The Ulster Historical Foundation (ULF) has added more than 27,000 Church of Ireland records for Counties Antrim and Down to its AncestryIreland database. You can see the details in the table below.

These new baptism, marriage and burial records are from 24 parishes and were transcribed by the ULF's Emeritus Research Director, Dr Brian Trainor. The burial registers contain a wealth of information of use to both the family and local historian and are full of interesting entries. The ULF has provided a useful overview, and the following details:

In Ardkeen's register there was noted the burial entry of Henry Cleland, aged around four months old, in 1823 with a note by the minister that he was “found dead in a field with a letter mentioning his name. Perished from cold and hunger; Coroner's inquest wilful murder.”

Occupations were sometimes recorded, especially if the deceased was in the military or the clergy. Ballyculter burial register occasionally contained the occupation of the deceased, particularly if they were servants. For example, the following men were recorded as :Daniel Kain “Lord Bangor’s man”, William Wilson “gardener to Mr Price” and Roger Wade “steward to Mr Hoey”. This may be the only record of their employment which now exists.

Carrickfergus register contained an entry of the burial in May 1776 of Mr McCracken, “the buckle beggar”. A buckle beggar was someone who performed marriage ceremonies “in a clandestine and irregular manner”.

The history of a local area can also be seen through the Church records. For example one can see in the Blaris (Lisburn) register the arrival of the Duke of Schomberg’s army in September 1689 by the increase of the deceased who were serving in that army. These were not only soldiers, for example in December 1689 John Redbird “master baker to [the] Duke of Schomberg” died and in January 1690 Thomas Mansfield, “one of King William’s bakers” was buried.

The burial records of sailors, fishermen and those who had drowned are found in coastal areas. In Ballyhalbert in January 1864, for example, three men who had been shipwrecked were buried, including John Morrison from Douglas on the Isle of Man. This register also records the burials of two men from the HM Cruiser Bayano which was torpedoed by a German submarine in 1915. Also Donaghadee’s burial register contains an entry for James Conlin, a tide-waiter (customs officer) who was “killed by a fall on the quay” in October 1783.

In the majority of entries the cause of death was not recorded, but unusual incidents were often noted by the minister. For example in Ballyphilip, the death of Patrick Kelly, aged 15 years from Portaferry, in June 1876 is recorded as being from "a fall from a velocipede” (an early bicycle). Carrickfergus CI’s register details the burials of four men in October 1752 who were “killed with the bursting of a cannon” while Magheralin’s records contain an entry for Edward Lunn, an innkeeper who was buried in July 1817; he “died suddenly at Maze races”.

Many of the burial records also contain the name of the father, husband or next of kin of the deceased, providing additional information on each family. Some also record ages at death and, occasionally, occupations.

Name of Church County Type of record Years covered
Aghalee CI Antrim Marriages 1811 – 1844
Ardkeen CI Down Burials 1746 – 1875
Ballinderry CI Antrim Marriages 1840 – 1845
Ballyclug CI Antrim Marriages 1841 – 1844
Ballyculter CI Down Burials 1812 – 1871
Ballyhalbert CI Down Burials 1855 – 1922
Ballymacarrett CI Down Marriages 1827 – 1844
Ballymoney CI Antrim Marriages 1807 – 1844
Ballyphilip CI Down Burials 1831 – 1883
Bangor CI Down Burials 1814 – 1829, 1841 – 1846
Blaris (Lisburn) CI Antrim Burials 1661 – 1720
Blaris (Lisburn) CI Antrim Marriages 1663 – 1735
Carrickfergus CI Antrim Burials 1740 – 1870
Comber CI Down Burials 1683 – 1881 (with gaps)
Comber CI Down Marriages 1683 – 1845
Donaghadee CI Down Burials 1771 – 1786, 1817, 1818, 1820 – 1841
Down CI Down Burials 1752 – 1785, 1795 – 1829, 1837 – 1871
Dromore CI Down Marriages 1784 – 1845
Drumballyroney CI Down Burials 1839 – 1873
Finvoy CI Antrim Marriages 1812 – 1845
Glenavy CI Antrim Marriages 1708 – 1845 (with gaps)
Inver (Larne) CI Antrim Baptisms 1806 – 1826, 1836 – 1864
Inver (Larne) CI Antrim Marriages 1817 – 1845
Kilkeel CI Down Burials 1816 – 1884
Kilmore CI Down Burials 1822 – 1856
Kirkinriola (Ballymena) CI Antrim Marriages 1807, 1809, 1819, 1822, 1823 – 1841
Magheralin CI Down Burials 1783 – 1865
Magheralin CI Down Marriages 1783 – 1845