New season to commence for family history branch

Newtownabbey Family History Society members pictured at a recent DNA workshop held at the local NIFHS Library.
Newtownabbey Family History Society members pictured at a recent DNA workshop held at the local NIFHS Library.

Newtownabbey Family History Society is encouraging people interested in researching their family history to become members.

A new season is set to start on Monday, September 11 in Glengormley High School.

The group will meet at 7pm in the Drama Theatre.

Chairperson Kyle Irwin, said: “The society provides a forum for people to learn more about tracing their family history. There are two journals provided each year, access to talks in other branches and also the opportunity to hear speakers and visit research facilities. Talks are open to the public and are free for members.”

The NIFHS Library at the Valley Business Centre contains a rich resource of publications including old street directories, maps, church records and a wealth of other material useful for family history or local history projects.

Kyle added: “We can offer advice on DNA testing and provide the testing kits. This a new and exciting extension to the field of genealogy and many folk have found far flung relatives this way. There are courses on how to start off and develop a family tree.”

There are over 50 members in the local branch. The group is keen to welcome others along, with a varied programme starting this month. Many of the members have managed to trace ancestors back through the generations and have the experience to advise those just starting out on their quest to discover more about their roots.

Talks for the year ahead in Newtownabbey include “Famine and Migration” by Paddy Fitzgerald, Ulster American Folk Park and “Clifton House and Mary Ann McCracken” by Louise Cavanan. There will be a talk on “Carnmoney War Graves” by Nigel Henderson, followed by “Queen Victoria’s Gene” by Jenny Cummings and “A Belfast Story” by Sharon Dickson.

The branch usually meets on the second Monday of the month. At the registration meeting on September 11 there will also be a pop up shop showcasing society publications. Visitors and friends will be most welcome. More information can be found at www.nifhs.org/branches/newtownabbey/