Thursday 10 October 2019

North of Ireland Family History Society to mark its 40th year with a busy programme of celebratory events

Earlier this week, the North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) launched its Ballycarry DNA Project in the County Antrim town. The project is a community initiative that will explore the relationships between people with ancestral connections to Ballycarry and identify if the families living side-by-side in the past were related to each other.

It's an ambitious project, bringing together traditional genealogical and local history research and the science of genetic genealogy to provide the local community and people with familial links to it, with a clearer picture of the small town's history.

Click image for more about the NIFHS 40th Anniversary plans
The launch was the first of a series of events that will be taking place during the next year to celebrate the organisation's 40th anniversary. And they deserve to celebrate, for those forty years have seen the Society develop from a family history group formed in Bangor in 1979 with 51 members to an organisation with a dozen other branches in the North of Ireland, and well over a thousand members, many of them overseas.

The next scheduled event in the 40th programme is a talk by US-based professional genealogist Donna Moughty, who is well known in Ireland for organising family history tours to Dublin and Belfast for US researchers.

On this occasion, however, Donna will be presenting Finding Your American Cousins, exploring both the information you need before you 'cross the pond' to find your emigrant ancestors as well as looking at the type of records available in the US, especially those that are online.

The event will be held at the Templepatrick Hilton Golf and Country Club (Castle Upton Suite) on Sunday 20 October at 2:30pm. There's an admission fee of £5, payable at the door, and there's no need to book. You'll find more details here.

Next summer, the NIFHS will be back at this location to enjoy a special 40th Anniversary Reception. The day will begin at 10am with light refreshments and followed by a number of guest speakers, some entertainments, a hot fork buffet lunch, and plenty of time for guests to socialise with other members, families and friends of the Society before wrapping up what is sure to be an interesting and fun day. There will be special accommodation rates and packages for guests wishing to stay overnight. More details, including costs, will be available in due course.

While some resources and elements of the anniversary programme are being organised centrally, branches will play an important role with a series of local events at libraries, market stalls, fairs and so on (these will be in addition to the monthly talks and workshops run by each of the branches) as well as marking the year with other activities. For example, Lisburn branch has prepared a guide for those researching their ancestors in Lisburn and the parish of Blaris. The 48-page booklet contains details of resources to help those who are beginning family history research as well as more experienced researchers. It includes details of collections dating from the early 17th century to the 20th century and costs just £6. Click image, left, for details.

It's going to be a hectic but enjoyable year for members of the Society, and IrishGenealogyNews will keep you up to date with news along the way.