Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
© Rosalind Davies 2001
Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only


Q. Why did you start this website?

A. I'd been researching family in England & Wales and found it easy to use the Census & BDMs but when it came to Irish research, I was appalled at how difficult it was. Ray and I travel back to Co. Down every 2-3 years to visit family & friends and over the years I've collected a lot of resources and local knowledge which I'm happy to share with others. I believe that family history information should be accessible and affordable. This site is free.

Q. I know my family came from Castlewellan so why have you got them under Clough/ Loughinisland?

A. There are 72 parishes in Co. Down but only about 32 places where you could register a birth in mid 1800s. The nearest registry places for Castlewellan would have been Clough or Bryansford . Similarly people from Crossgar registered at Killyleagh , Downpatrick or Ballynahinch.

Q. I know my ancestor was buried in (Movilla) graveyard so why can't I find a gravestone?

A. Not everyone left a headstone in those days. Only those with disposable incomes e.g. shop keepers & wealthy farmers usually erected a headstone. Often a person was buried in the family plot but nothing was recorded on the headstone.

Q. Why can't I find an ancestor's marriage in the parish where they lived?

A. Often the couple got married in the bride's parish which may have been different to the groom's home place where they eventually settled. Always search the parish where you think the bride came from.

Q. Do the land records, Griffiths Valuations of 1863 & Tithe Applotment Books 1823-1838 give details of the family?

A. No - only the head of the house was named on the lease. If it's a female then she's either a widow or a wealthy single woman who's inherited the property/lease from the male relative.

Q. There's a DR in the last column after my ancestor's entry what does it mean?

A. At the top of the last column it a link to my Site Notes page which gives an explanation of all the abbreviations.

Q. How do I join the Claim-a- Relative Scheme? How do I get my name beside my ancestor's entry?

A. If you want your name beside an ancestor's entry with a link to an email address so that others researching that family can contact you- just send me an email (email link in Task Bar at top & bottom of all pages)

Q. Why haven't you listed the father on a birth entry?

A. When the father isn't listed it usually suggests that the child was illegitimate.

Q. Why haven't you listed the bride/groom's father on the marriage certificate entry?

A. This usually mean's that the bride/groom was illegitimate but occasionally it may have been left off for other reasons. e.g. the transcriber couldn't read it or the couple didn't supply the information . Getting the original marriage certificate is the best bet. Try or if it was after 1846.

Q. We've always spelt our surname Smyth (or Neal etc) so why have you got it listed under Smith ( or Neill etc)?

A. Spelling wasn't very important until universal education c. 1880 so before that you spelt the name how it sounded. Even if your ancestor could spell their own name often it was a clerk or clergyman who filled out the forms so it depended on whether they were familiar with that name or not. I've seen some surnames spelt differently with the registration of each child.

Q. My ancestors name was Nancy so why do you have it listed under Agnes?

A. Nancy and Agnes seemed to be interchangeable. I think Nancy started out as a pet name . I've sometimes seen Ann & Nancy interchanged. Other 'nicknames' are Sarah as Sally or Sadie; Maggie for Margaret; Essy or Easter for Esther

Q. Do I have to trawl through the whole page looking for a child's birth entry?

A. No. Use the Find button in the Edit section of your Toolbar to list all entries with the Christian name that you're looking for.

Couldn't resist posting this email;

Dear Ros, you are my Star of the Co Down. Yet again well done to 'you' to be so recognised. but still you personally deserve some urgent honours from the Academic Culture in all Ireland like an Hon PhD. with paid for graduation ceremony attendance with the whole family, full expenses, hotels, the lot for the whole family, to celebrate your achievement of your website, not least that it is run from the other side of the planet. I would emphasise not from within Ireland, UK, Europe, even the USA, but Australia..

I have long dreamt that the other five counties, then the other 8 counties, then all the other 31 counties would develop their local entrepreneur like you Ros Davies, who is now a branded name with her free website unless you use it commercially. Or if not , then as technology grows you would become recognised as the one and only entrepreneur with the foresight, the unselfish management and personal survival stamina, to succeed for so many years as the example for Ireland and IT , and be applauded by the whole community of Ireland indeed by the world. I cannot believe QUB has not yet become aware of your contribution to culture, perhaps a race will break out Dublin , Belfast etc. I am sure somewhere wheels are creaking.

Please feel at ease to quote my recognition of your cultural worth anywhere and to whoever
Jim Gracey Cambridge UK
Co- founder of Irish Booklore, Blackstaff Press, The Linenhall Librarys Northern Ireland Political Collection, Choice and Parade Gift Shops Cambridge, and currently co-owner of a retirement bungalow with Warden nearby.

by Ros Davies