Launch of Index to Census of RC Parish of Ballymena, Co. Antrim

The IGRS is pleased to announce the launch of an  index it has produced to a census of the residents of the Roman Catholic (RC) parish of Ballymena (also known as Kirkinriola), Co. Antrim. The census was compiled about the year 1887 and notes details of approximately 2,200 individuals. The youngest was only two weeks old at the time of the enumeration, while the oldest was born at the very end of the eighteenth century.

The original record can be found at the beginning of a register of baptisms for Ballymena parish on the National Library of Ireland’s new online database of Roman Catholic parish registers, launched in early July 2015. Each entry in the IGRS index is hyperlinked to the scanned image of the relevant page of the census on the NLI website.

Ballymena RC Census

Section of page 61 of the Ballymena census, c1887.

For each individual their name, address, age and relationship is noted. In addition the census also notes information under a further eight other headings or categories:  First Confession; First Communion; Confirmation; Last Easter Communion; Communicating How Often; Mass; Sodality; and Rosary.

Beyond the approximately 35 streets in the urban area of Ballymena, the rural areas covered by the census include these townlands: Ballyclava (?), Ballygarvey, Clogher, Clintey, Clonavon, Dunclug, Spencetown (?), Ballycowan, Ballylesson, Ballykeel, Ballycraigy, Ballymarlagh, Caherty, Crebilly, Cross, Crumkill, Deerfin, Dunnyvadden, Kilgad, Lisnamurrin, Liminary, Tanneybrake, Tully. 

Catholic Church Ballymena

All Saints RC Church, Ballymena.

There are more than 250 surnames and their variants included in the database.  The three most popular surnames are O’Hara (121), McCauley (53) and Esler (28). There are single references to Braithewaite, Brogan, Crawford, Curran, Darragh, Deany, Delat, Ellis, Eustace, Gribbon, Kirke, Maguire, Marks, Marrow, McCausland, McIlmunn, Molloy, Sayers, Stule and Winterhalter among others.

It is clear too from a good number of the surnames and christian names noted that many of those enumerated are the descendants of mixed marriages. Many Ulster-Scot and “Planter” surnames are represented among the Catholic inhabitants, for instance: Agnew, Bell, Boyd, Graham, Grant, Hatton, Johnston, Kerr, Laird, Magill, McKenzie, Millar and Wilson.

The index is available to IGRS members in this website’s Members’ Area.

Why not join the IGRS today? For more details see here.

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