Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Knox Families of Donegal

Donegal's Ivan Knox
Ivan Knox is a retired self made business man and much more, he is also a published poet and historian of the families and events of the Finn Valley in County Donegal.  He has a website with excellent data on not only the Knox families of old Donegal, but of the many families they are related to by marriage. 

Link: Knox Family Records  

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Sale on Ulster Heritage DNA Testing

The Ulster Heritage DNA Project uses Family Tree labs in Houston, Texas.  The lab is currently running a 72 hour only sale on DNA testing.  This is an excellent time to participate in the Ulster Heritage Project and a much reduced rate.

Dear Family Tree DNA Project Administrator,

It seems that every time we run a super sale that a few people email us days later that they were traveling, sick or just hadn't looked at their emails in time, so for all of you who have wanted to entice a friend, neighbor or reluctant relative to get involved in Genetic Genealogy here's one more opportunity, but it will last for only 72 hours.
These are the only two options on sale, and they are geared specifically for newcomers. This sale will end on Saturday, August 25, at 11:59PM.
New Customers Only Current Price SALE PRICE
Family Finder + Y-DNA 12 $339 $249
Family Finder + mtDNA $339 $249

 If you take advantage of this sale, just tick the Ulster Heritage Project and your results will automatically go into our project.

Link To Join:  Ulster Heritage DNA Project

Family History Class in Belfast

(from the Ulster Historical Foundation) 
Our popular family history class returns on the 25th September. This is a 10 week course taught at Stranmillis University College, Belfast on Tuesdays from 7pm to 9pm. We look at census, church and civil records as well as wills, estate papers and valuation documents. The course also includes a visit to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). Price £55.00 (£45.00 concession). For further information and booking please contact or 028 9038 4345.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Important discovery on Rathlin Island

ARCHAEOLOGISTS discovered prehistoric flint tools which suggest human beings lived on Rathlin Island 7,500 years ago - around 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The five-year survey by a University of Ulster team, sponsored by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), was the most comprehensive ever taken into the island’s archaeology.
In addition to the survey’s fieldwork on the island, researchers investigated artefacts that are held or documented in other museum collections on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Project leader Dr Wes Forsythe, of the Centre for Maritime Archaeology at Coleraine, said the quantity and quality of flint tools and ceramics unearthed during the survey have greatly exceeded researchers’ expectations.

The team unearthed prehistoric sites that had not been recorded previously.
Dr Forsythe said: “Finding a flint in north Antrim is not surprising in itself but finding hundreds of worked flint tools in one area, scattered across three fields that we chose at random because they had just been ploughed for spring seeding, is pretty remarkable anywhere.
“Rathlin had a real richness of prehistoric finds.”

A book by Dr Forsythe and his colleague Rosemary McConkey describes the survey and its findings.
‘Rathlin Island: An Archaeological Survey of a Maritime Landscape’ was launched at a ceremony on the island recently.

The illustrated text describes new evidence about prehistoric and medieval settlement and the kelp industry, fishing and agriculture. Finds included a huge haul of flint tools, polished axe-heads, pottery, a bronze finger-ring and lignite jewellery.  Post-holes detected inside one cave during excavation are thought to be the first such examples discovered in the United Kingdom.

The discovery is important because it indicates the erection of a structure on poles, perhaps a protective screen or windbreak – an aspect of early human activity in caves not previously found here.
Dr Forsythe said: “For archaeologists, Rathlin has always been something of an enigma. It is always throwing up things that disrupt the pattern of how we understand prehistory, and it’s still doing it. I don’t think there is a parallel anywhere in Ireland or Britain for post-holes inside a cave.”
The Vikings’ first documented raid in Ireland was on the monastery at Rathlin in 795 AD and Dr Forsythe hopes that future excavation might unearth another link with the Norsemen, at a spot known as “the Dane’s Burial” in the north of the island.

“It is possibly a very rare example – and it would need to be tested by excavation – of a Viking ‘boat burial’,” he said.  “The site looks as if it has been damaged some centuries ago, maybe by people looking for gold in it. Nevertheless it is a mound which is boat-shaped, and which was never recognised before this particular survey.”  NIEA will call on the survey when deciding on future planning applications.

Link:  Rathlin Island Important Discovery

Friday, 17 August 2012

Ballintoy Shore

Ballintoy Shore
Another beautiful photography from the photographer Nevin Taggart; the Ballintoy shore line.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

MacFarlane in Ulster

Members of the MacFarlane Highland Scottish clan settled in Ulster in the sixteenth century, as did many other families from the Scottish Gaeltacht.  The MacFarlane, or more properly, Mac Pharláinn, families were native to the lands west of Loch Lomond.  Many of the Mac Pharláinn families that settled in Ulster were in the Redshank colony in the old Portlough precinct in east Donegal. The Redshanks in the Portlough precinct were part of an elaborate plan initiated by the fifth Earl of Argyll, Giolla Easpuig Donn Caimbeul.  His niece was the famous Iníon Dubh, mother of Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill, and it was on her lands that many Caimbeul sponsored Highland Gaels settled. 

The ruins of Iníon Dubh's castle near Porthall; photo copyright  Jim McKane 2012

In the sixteenth century  Clann Chaimbeul spread from their homelands in mid Argyll extending their bases and influence in both the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland.  Clann Chaimbeul was the most successful kinship group in early modern Scotland.  Their great advantage was they were Gaels, but could operate not only in their traditional Gaelic society, but also in the emerging British world, including the Scottish Lowlands. The earls' (of Argyll, head of Clann Chaimbeul) main base was Inveraray on Loch Fyne, and there they had access to the Firth of Clyde and the western seas including the North Channel passage to Ireland.  The Mac Pharláinns of Arrochar were drawn into Lord Argyll's elaborate network of allies and they were one of the many Redshank families that settled in east Donegal.

For more information of Mac Pharláinn families in Ulster follow the link below.

Link:  Mac Pharláinn in Ulster

Dunnalong Archaeological Dig

The Dunnalong dig 2012 is up and running!
A programme of archaeological works involving Derry City Council, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork (CAF) at Queen's University Belfast, the Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA) at the University of Ulster in Coleraine and the Peace III Partnership has been devised and put in place to bring the archaeology and communities of a small part of the north–west of Ireland closer together, in a groundbreaking archaeological project which will include professional archaeologists, the media and members of the wider community.
For the next two weeks, archaeologists will converge in grassy fields on the banks of the Foyle in Co. Tyrone to explore a highly significant, but surprisingly poorly known archaeological site – Dunnalong Fort or Dun na Long ('Fort of the Ships').
 Ronan McHugh is managing the site and is very knowledgeable and approachable. Feel free to come along and meet Ronan and the rest of the team during the course of the survey and excavation.
Ronan McHugh

For more information and photos from the dig use the link below.

Link:  Dunnalong Dig

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

August Archaeology Dig in Maine

The Maine Scots-Irish Project is sponsoring an archaeology dig on 21 through 24 August, 2012, at Bowdoinham, Maine.  Volunteers are needed.

For more information contact John Mann:

Presbyterian Family History Conference News

Return to the Cradle of Irish Presbyterianism 16-21 September 2013 is a family history conference to be held 16-21 September 2013. 

Over six days you will discover the history of Ulster first-hand through excursions to some of the province’s most historic sites, be assisted to carry out research for yourself, and listen to talks by acknowledged experts in their field.

If you are interested in finding out more about your Irish Presbyterian ancestors or wish to explore the history of Presbyterianism in the province of Ulster this is the perfect opportunity in which to do so.

Link:  Return to the Cradle of Irish Presbyterianism

2013 is a very important year for Irish Presbyterianism. It is the 400th anniversary of the arrival from Scotland of Rev. Edward Brice, the first Presbyterian minister to settle in Ireland.

Brice made his home at Ballycarry near the east coast of County Antrim, where the impressive ruins of his church still stand. Brice was just the first – many others would follow and within a few decades Presbyterianism in Ireland had an identity of its own. Irish Presbyterians made a huge impact on this island and around the world.