If you are not familiar with the online guides the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI): www.proni.gov.uk in Belfast produces, you are in for a treat. One of my favorite ones is the Guide to Church Records: www.proni.gov.uk/guide_to_church_records.pdf
It’s under “Guides & Leaflets” then “Online Guides,” and then “PRONI Guide to Church Records.” Let me explain what this guide is and what it isn’t.
The Guide inventories church registers from denominations in the province of Ulster. This includes the counties of Northern Ireland, and counties Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland. The PRONI has done an excellent job of microfilming and collecting these records. If a particular register is still held locally, then this is noted. For the most part, the collections are by civil parish, and then by denomination, detailing the records, years covered, and reference number. Belfast City has its own category.
With the reference number, you can look at the record yourself at the PRONI, hire an agent, or perhaps see if it is on microfilm at the Family History Library (FHL): www.familysearch.org
As a finding aid, the PRONI Guide to Church Records is hard to beat. It also lists items in their collection which may be in another Irish province.
Now for what this guide is not. Not all denominations are represented in the PRONI collections. Notable ones would certainly include Adventists, Plymouth Brethren (Christian Brethren), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Salvation Army, independent and Gospel Hall congregations. This list of minority churches does not cover them all, but it does provide you with an idea as to the limitations of the work. However, coverage is very good for: Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, branches of Presbyterianism, Methodists, Society of Friends (Quakers), Congregational, Baptist, and Moravians.
This is a Guide I personally use anytime I have an Ulster case. If you have Ulster ancestors, it’s worth your time to explore.
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