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[Bann Valley] Church records and cemeteries--Castledawson, Bellaghy, Ballymena
My ancestors are from the townlands of Ballymacombs and Ballynease, right near
where the Bann connects with Lough Beg and next to Bellaghy.
Before the Presbyterian Church was formed in Bellaghy (late 1820s), the families
recorded births and marriages at the Castledawson Presbyterian Church, just
southwest of Bellaghy (maybe three miles away).
I was fortunate enough about two years ago to be able to purchase the entire
microfilm of Castledawson's church records from about 1800 to 1845. I found the
birth records of my g-g-grandfather and his siblings, which I had never imagined
I would find. To get the records I had to ask the current minister of the
church to write a letter of permission to PRONI. I then paid PRONI to make and
send me a copy. I have also tried to buy the records for the Bellaghy
church--which records do not start I believe until about 1840 or 1850, but I
have had no luck reaching the current minister, who also serves the Magherafelt
church. Magherafelt has records from before 1800 and I would like to buy that
film as well, but again, no luck.
I will be doing research in Belfast in October this year and have decided to try
to access the church records either at PRONI or the Presbyterian Historical
Society which I read somewhere has an index for church records in Northern
Ireland. I'm trying to confirm the information about the indexes but have yet
to hear from them.
I know that one can pay to have the genealogical society in Derry City look up
records but it's a bit pricey for those of us in the U.S.
I have a few questions for this list:
---Boyd listed the church records at the Coleraine library on microfilm: do you
know if they have the Bellaghy or Magherafelt church records there also?
---Does anyone know if Castledawson's Presbyterian church has a cemetery with
old headstones (ca. 1800-1850)? The Bellaghy CI has my people from the Presbyterian church as
it was a common graveyard for protestants, but I haven't been able to find some
lines and wondered if the cemetery in Castledawson might have them.
--Finally, for my McCullough ancestors from the area, I have one clue that a
relation, one Nathaniel McCullough, was resident in Ballymena in the late 1700s.
He's listed in a deed from a family that married into mine, and was a witness at my g-g-g-grandmother's marriage in 1812 in the Castledawson church. What would be the Presbyterian churches from that era for Ballymena?
Thanks for any help you can give.
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