Family History Society can help support search for ancestors

Bill Longmore (right) Chairperson of the Larne branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society is pictured with John Ritchie who gave a talk on the First World War. INLT 04-026-PSB
Bill Longmore (right) Chairperson of the Larne branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society is pictured with John Ritchie who gave a talk on the First World War. INLT 04-026-PSB

Larne Family History Society is encouraging local people interested in researching their family history to become members, as it prepares for a new season of meetings.

Chairman Bill Longmore said the Society also offered support, advice and experience for those trying to trace their ancestors.

“The Society provides a local forum for people to learn more about tracing their family history, there are two journals provided each year from the North of Ireland Family History Society, free access to talks in any branch and also the opportunity to hear speakers, and visit facilities where they can research more. Talks are all open to the public, and free for members,” he said.

Bill highlighted that the C4 facility at Newtownabbey contains a rich resource of old publications including old maps, birth, death and marriage registers from the Presbyterian Church, old street directories of Belfast, as well as other material.

“Through our membership of the North of Ireland Family History Society we can also offer information on DNA testing and there are courses on how to start off and develop a family history record,” he said.

The Larne man said that there are around 30 members of the local branch, most from the town but others from the surrounding areas.

He said that the group was keen to welcome others along, with a varied programme starting again in September.

Some of the members have managed to trace ancestors back to the 1600s and 1700s and there are many with experience to advise those just starting out on the quest for their family’s past, Mr. Longmore said.

Talks for the year ahead in Larne include those on the Landed Estate Papers by Gillian Hunt of the Ulster Historical Foundation on September 18, a talk on the history of the Kelly family and the Kelly coal boats by Kelly Wilson in October, the Linen Hall Library archives in April and Larne Main Street in the 1950s by Liam Kelly in May.

There will also be visits to the C4 library in Newtownabbey, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the major Back to Our Past event in Belfast in February.

“In February next year we are looking forward to the Back to our Past event coming to Belfast and people interested in tracing their family tree might be interested in going to this.,” said Mr. Longmore.

The first meeting of the new season will be at Larne Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club at 7.30pm on Monday, September 18, when Gillian Hunt from the Ulster Historical Foundation will talk about Landed Estate Papers.