Ballymoney ancestors on TV

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Ballymoney Museum has been hosting visitors from across the world this week at the biennial Route Back Home family history conference.

The conference attracted tourists who wanted to find out more about their ancestors and this is the third time the museum has organised this hugely successful event.

Among the delegates was Kathleen Bradley McCarthy who had old letters passed down through her family. She knew they had been written by an ancestor who lived near Ballymoney and wanted to discover more. Kathleen’s story was followed by BBCNI and she will feature on the monthly Ulster Scots show ‘The Gaitherin’ on Thursday, 2 October at 10pm on BBC2.

With the support of members of the Coleraine Branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society, and other local experts, each delegate was provided with essential advice to help them find their family.

In addition, lecturers from the Public Record Office NI, Ulster-Scots Community Network, Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, Libraries NI and the Ulster Historical Foundation proved invaluable in discovering the missing links in the delegates’ family trees.

The conference included the launch of ‘Kilraughts Old Church Graveyard’, the latest book by genealogist Dorothy Arthur. The popular event attracted a large audience and enjoyed a fascinating talk by Dorothy featuring some of the more interesting headstones in the old graveyard.

Another highlights was an entertaining talk by local historian Alex Blair on the celebrated Ballymoney playwright, George Shiels.

The delegates at this year’s conference included some people returning for the second and, in one case, the third time.

It is hoped that the joy of discovering your Ballymoney ancestors will continue to bring tourists back to their “roots in the Route”.