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Re: [Bann Valley] Church records and cemeteries--Castledawson, Bellaghy, Ballymena

Hi Linda,

Hopefully I can help you a little bit!:-) Firstly, Bellaghy Presbyterian and Knockloughrim Presbyterian (Back of the hill) are 'Joint Charges' (i.e. they have the same minister).. There are TWO Presbyterian churches in Magherafelt, First Presbyterian and Union Road Presbyterian.
I am involved in a project to photograph graveyards (and subsequently transcribe them for the Bann valley site.. you'll find some of my work on there!).. So far, I haven't managed to photograph Castledawson. I HAVE photographed Ballyscullion Parish Church in Bellaghy, so if there are any grave photos that you want copies of, please just ask! As I'm sure you know, Bellaghy Presbyterian does not have a graveyard of it's own (which is pretty rare now for a Presbyterian Church).
However, the good news for you is that, yes, Castledawson Presbyterian does indeed have a graveyard! I can raise it to the top of my photographic mission if you'd like me to check it out for you!:-)
I'm almost jealous that you have the Castledawson Presbyterian film! I might get you to check out a few marriages for me!lol! :-)

Well currently, Barbara Braswell and I are transcribing Maghera Presbyterian Church's marriage records for the Bann Valley website.. Barbara obtained Maghera Presbyterian's film a few years ago.. she photographs the pages and sends them to me & I transcribe the text with the idea that this will be put onto the Bann Valley site to help other researchers! Funnily enough, I was talking to a friend at work today about a record I'd found of his great grandmother.. who was a McCullough from Ballynease / Ballymacombs. She'd been married in 1910... maybe a distant relation of yours?? Anyway, I'm attaching the photo of the page for your perusal!

As far as Ballymena goes, I'm not sure.. but I'll certainly look into it for you!

If there is anything I can do for you, please feel free to ask!:-)


--- On Thu, 7/8/08, brigid272@xxxxxxxxxxx <brigid272@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> From: brigid272@xxxxxxxxxxx <brigid272@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: [Bann Valley] Church records and cemeteries--Castledawson, Bellaghy, Ballymena
> To: BannValley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Date: Thursday, 7 August, 2008, 6:47 PM
> Hello All,
> 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.
> ~Linda Sewright
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