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    Bobby Forrest, B.A (Hons), Record Agent.
The '
Ulster Record Finder'
    With fourteen years research experience in the P.R.O.N.I archives and with a particular interest in sources that pre-date civil registration, Mr. Forrest has published the original ‘Scots-Irish Origins’ series of E-books focusing on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a period which saw the overthrow of the old Gaelic order and the embedding of the plantation in Ulster and Scots-Irish settlement. These books are available for immediate download at:

Researching ancestry in Ireland in the period before civil registration is difficult and requires the use of appropriate research methodologies and strategies. It is necessary to consult a wide-range and variety of sources both primary and secondary. In order to provide more detailed examples of the sources and how they can be used to research the history of families and localities are included below [Note: – these family papers are a summary of the notes compiled from many, many hours of personal research in the archives].

Hillhouse Family of Artikelly, Aghanloo, Limavady 1600-1750 - View Here

Forrest Family of Limavady and the Roe Valley, 1650-1918 - View Here

The case studies of each of the above families relate, in the main, to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with much of the material gleaned from the archives of P.R.O.N.I. Each example tells the story of the family and makes explicit the sources that were used to produce that history. Attention is paid not only to the genealogical side of the family history but also to the localities where each of the families lived and worked. These two case studies were included in a new CD publication ‘Researching Derry & Londonderry Ancestors’ published 2010 by William Macafee.  More Details


Parish registers are a particularly interesting and rich source for family and local history. Recognising that they are historical treasures in manuscript form and having a particular interest in County Londonderry, we decided to database some of the early church registers beginning with Limavady and the Roe Valley area covering the period 1699-1842. This enables us to provide Free Surname Look-up Service. Currently the database holds over 7000 unique entries but we hope to add further details from other parish registers in due course as time and resources permit.


Many local history societies also carry out sterling work in Ulster. Local publications should not be ignored as they can provide useful additional material that can support the family historian. For example, The Bann Disc', the Journal of Coleraine Historical Society, has published a number of my articles on local genealogical sources that were transcribed from the archives of P.R.O.N.I:

Bann Disc Volume 9, 2003: ‘The Maxwell Given Manuscripts’ in P.R.O.N.I’ Part One
Bann Disc Volume 10, 2004: ‘The Maxwell Given Manuscripts in P.R.O.N.I’ Part Two
Bann Disc Volume 12, 2006: ‘Some early wills relating to Coleraine and District’ 1637-1832’
Bann Disc Volume 15, 2009: ‘Coleraine and District – some early marriage strays, 1655-1771’


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