Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2011-04 > 1302444624

Subject: Re: [S-I] Visiting PRONI for research
Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2011 14:10:24 +0000 (UTC)
In-Reply-To: <>

Ella brings up an important point. You probably need to check all the existent records you can. One reason is that sometimes events were recorded in unexpected places. For example many traveled to Derry to marry or baptize children in the Cathedral. Its records date from the early 1600s. You find many Irish surnames as well as Scots. Before mid century or later there was little difference between Presbyterians and the Established Church.

The reasons are right after the Plantations English ministers were very difficult to recruit so the established church (it was up and running well in Dublin and most of Ireland outside of Ulster) recruited Scots Presbyterian ministers. Around 1630 Bishop Laud began to attempt to enforce high church policy in Ireland ( He demanded that ministers accept a bishop. This has to do with apostolic succession as well as whether ministers were elected or called by the congregation (Presbyterianism and of course highly supported in Scotland as a principle of democracy) or appointed by, if not the Pope, by the head of the established church or his servants. It was the era of the Black Oath.

And see the birth of Presbyterianism in Ireland:

Ministers who wouldn't accept appointment by a bishop were thrown out of their congregations. Previously they had been financially supported by the government, as part of the established church. Now they had no stipend and largely the people were too poor to support them. Most returned to Scotland. Protestants were forced to take the Black Oath and those who wouldn't thrown into prison (including pregnant women). Many Scots settlers fled back to Scotland.

Of course that was followed up by the rebellion in 1641 of the Irish and the arrival of a Scots army in 1642. It signed the locals up to the Covenant and established the first independent Presbyterian church infra structures. That was followed by civil war in Britain and Ireland followed by Cromwell a decade later. And then by the Restoration in 1670 or so. Chaos!

They will generally tell you in an Irish genealogy class to check ALL available records because you cannot know for sure what your ancestor did or where he lived in. Though Presbyterians frowned deeply on couples who married in the established church, some had to to ensure legal heirs who could inherit property. Under the Penal laws only the Church of Ireland could legally conduct a marriage for a couple of mixed religions (this was later on).

Luckily these earlier records are published. See here for Derry's:

You may be able to find this volume free in Google Books, but it is undoubtedly in the Linen Hall Library. Everyone should check this volume for their surnames.

You can learn more about this in Falley's "Irish and Scotch Irish Ancestral Research" -- she has a separate chapter on each denomination and its records as well as historic events which impacted the denomination. She is very good for what exists and what to check. But since the book was written in the 1960s, you then research to determine where the resource is now. You check the FHL library via its on line catalog, worldcat (will tell you if it is in a library nearby), google. And check Ancestry too.

One 'no brainer' thing to do is download Legacy Family Tree and upgrade to the paid edition. It includes a research guide. You navigate to an individual in your tree and click on that tab. It'll display a list of sources you should check as well as where they are. You can check them off as you go along and generate reports of unchecked sources or checked ones. You can also get lists of indexes for Ireland or US states, etc, free at the FHL site. I have converted these from PDF to a spreadsheet and methodically checked the ones that make sense. The index guides will also tell you where the resource is. Many are in the FHL. .

In the 19th and 20th century research we often use original documents that we order or obtain at courthouses or from state or federal governments. As we move back in time these do not exist and we must learn to use different types of sources, often abstracted or transcribed from hand written manuscripts which we are not trained to read. Many times these are published and so indexed. It's a huge switch. Legacy's research guide can help us identify sources we should be checking.

It also helps at the start of our research project. Then we should check various compiled genealogies, even though these may be incorrect. Munsel, for one. Much is written about his errors. In PA Egle's published genealogies of Scotch Irish and German families come to mind. These are generally in Ancestry and often can be found free on the Internet. They need 'checked' because they could jumpstart your research. If they contradict your findings of 40 years, you will need to explain why your version is correct and the compiled resource is wrong. So our project starts with a fast check of these resources. You would also check indexes in PERSI to see if perhaps a distant cousin published an article on your family. This could jump start your research or cause you to exclaim "NO WAY!" You might be more correct because there is so much more material available to us now and we are better trained. There's an entire industry publishing books and articles on genealogy. Many excellent articles are free on line. So chances are you can easily become a much better genealogist than Aunt Vickie, poor dear, ever could. But she may have corresponded with many many female relatives and have left you a huge cache of marriages in fifty states. She did her part.

The skillbuilding section of the board of certification of genealogists has many valuable resources: . It also sells many valuable guides.

Here is the genealogical proof standard

This is free information that we can use to improve our skills. The benefit is that we leave work behind us that future generations can easily assess and expand. Otherwise they have to begin anew because it is no so clear why we arrived at the conclusions we did. Comments in our writings like "I know they came from Derry (and if you disagree with me I'll haunt you)" don't help much ! How come you think they came from Derry -- that's the important thing to document. "Because great grandpa told me so" may be the only clue anyone ever finds, but you may, by focusing on Derry, locate other evidence strongly suggesting that great grandpa was right. My grandpa, however, was wrong. He said "Derry". Elements of his maternal line did (NORRIS) but I meant Anderson. They were from Antrim -- we know based on info passed down to another line of our immigrant ancestor.

Linda Merle

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ella Patterson" <>
Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2011 6:40:50 AM
Subject: Re: [S-I] Visiting PRONI for research

Luck plays a large part in this as some churches have early records (ie Dromore Cathedral) and others don't. keep in mind that the Church of Ireland was the established church until 1845 and many Presbyterians would have attende the C of I before this date to protect their inheritance. Presbyterian HQ right in the Centre of Belfas tcan give you a few pointers

Church House,Fisherwick Place,Belfast,County Antrim,BT1 6DW. The new PRONI is not far from belfast City Centre. It depends on how mobile you are and what type of accommodation you want.

Ella Patterson
Cataloguing Department
Room 222, Floor 2
The Library at Queen's
Queen's University Belfast
10 College Park
From: [] On Behalf Of Geraldine McKeown []
Sent: 09 April 2011 04:15
Subject: [S-I] Visiting PRONI for research

My husband and I will be in Belfast in late May to research his McKeown line. The family came from Ireland to Delaware around 1832. We believe they came from Co Down. I seem to fit the description of a Newbie who is planning to research Presbyterian church records at PRONI and Linen Hall Library.I have been searching their websites. Can anyone suggest a plan of research in Belfast? It seems that the more I read the less seems to be available from this time period of 1780-1832. Also can anyone suggest accommodations in the area near the new PRONI location ?

Geraldine McKeown

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