Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2002-07 > 1025962359
Subject: Re: [Scotch-Irish] Presbyterian church certificates
Date: Sat, 6 Jul 2002 06:40:34 -0700
>One of the early Presbyterian records I have in 1734 in Lancaster, Pa - says of my ancestor's brother - that they (the Elders) have "seen his certificate from Ireland." This apparently refers to the fact that he had a certificate of church membership.
THis is a piece of paper that was commonly provided to show that he was a member in good standing in a congregation. Very few of them survive.
In 1734 in America there were very few organized churches, as we know them. Ditto for Ireland, by the way. Many were still worshipping in fields and sod meeting houses. I will check but I think it was in 1730 or so that the Cumberland Valley folks first requested a minister of the Donegal Presbytery in PA.
>I do not know where in Ireland he came from. Are there records in >Ireland that will show his membership in the Presbyterian church >there - or is it like looking for a needle in a haystack until I know >for sure what county he is from?
It is evidence that he probably came from Ireland. If you have been assuming that he did because of family tradition, this is much better evidence. However it will not help you place him in Ireland specifically.
In Falley "Irish and Scotch-Irish ANcestral Research" there's a whole chapter on Presbyterian records. Lots of info in books like Betit and Radford's "Discovering your Irish Ancestors". I can't possibly put it all in an email message. At most any list can simply point you to these sources. If you really are interested in finding ancestors you will pursue these sources. I feel back I can't inject you with all the info I know or have access to but even if I did in the end you would still not be able to go any further -- unless you'd learn to do research -- ie hunt down more stuff. That's our key skill.
Other places to learn more are www.familysearch.org. EXCELLENT how to info that'll take you right to their catalog and PRONI. All this stuff is on our webpages as well-- and more I'm forgetting right now (see http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~merle) .
What I've found useful to researching this early is to get a very good understanding of the local congregation and the people. He didn't come alone. He came to that specific place because others in his community or circle of associates had come. If he was very religious then he went there because others of his congregation also went there.
You also become very familiar with the history of the PResbyterian church in Ireland. There's plenty of info on it in standard books (see webpages). Some of these are in LDS. SOme are inexpensive paperbacks.
You need to collect evidence. You need to know if he was a main line Presbyterian or a Seceder or a Covenantor. You need to know the name of his minister and the middle names of his children. He may have named them after ministers or religious figures. There are any number associated with the Covenantors, for instance.
You research his minister and his associates.
People don't think often. They say their ancestor came with the Rev Martin and they don't know where he came from. Really? How weird since the congregation of the Rev Martin in Ireland is well known. It was right there in Antrim. Read the history of the Covenantor church in IReland. There it is. Get a history of the Kellswater church. You can buy it over the Internet. The one I have provides the names of families who have been associated with particular Covenantor societies since
their founding. They take the name of the townland. Find your ancestor
with one of those names living with other families of the same names --
you've found your society and the townland in Ireland -- probably. It's
good circumstancial evidence that allows you to pursue estate records and local history.
There's a film in LDS with a map of every Presbyterian congregation that was known to exist in Ireland. If you track down the websites of the Irish Reformed PResbyterian church and the other denominations, you will locate most of them as well as some history. The URLS are on our webpages: http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~merle ).
Is this fast? NO. Is it easy? NO. However if you take an course in Irish genealogy they will usually tell you that you can't trace average Joes (and Patricks and Roberts) before about 1820. So you are researching in 1734 and you want it fast and easy? ME TOO <grin>!
I just add that because a lot come here not knowing this and then they get mad and stomp off because we said they couldn't do it on the Internet. Sorry, I wish I could do it on the Internet, but if I do it at all I am achieving what some believe to be impossible.
Anyone else with methods to suggest to Linda -- pipe up! We're once again pioneers here and many times we discover a technique that is new. That's how come we can make progress inspite of the odds.