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  1. My maternal grandfather, William Vance, and grandmother, Annie, came from Bellaghy and for a time owned a grocery and general provisions shop on Main Street. (opposite Steele’s shop). My mother, Elizabeth, and her two sisters, Beatrice and Mary Vance, were brought up in the town together with a brother, William, who emigrated to Australia without me ever meeting him. He became married out there but my aunt May was the only one in the family to keep in touch with him. (Another of these inter-family squabbles of which I know nothing!).
    Beatrice married a Jim Hutchinson, who took over my grandfather Vance’s business, and they had two girls, Carol and Lorna, my cousins. They both now live in England. My aunt Mary, known as May, never married, as far as I know, and eventually moved to Portstewart where she lived until her death. My mother married Robert Knox of Kilrea (1939) and I was born in 1942. We ended up in Portstewart in about 1947.
    This is a very brief summary of my Bellaghy connection but I have very happy memories of the place when my mother, father and I paid regular visits to see the Vance family members until the start of the troubles in 1968. My grandfather, William, also came every year to Portstewart for ‘The Convention’.
    I left for Scotland in that year and still live here in Paisley, just 8 miles from Glasgow. I’m married with two children both of whom live and work in London so I don’t see much of them. I hope that you can contact me if you can fill me in on all the Bellaghy history. Just as an aside: my mother was a friend of Sarah Heaney, the aunt of Seamus, and another: Tom Hutchinson, Jim’s brother, started up Tayto crisps in Tandragee and never looked back!
    Looking froward to hearing from you
    Alastair Knox

  2. Hello there

    Just a long shot, I am researching a historical disaster on September the 28th 1853. The shipwreck of the Annie Jane which foundered of Vatersay in the Western Isles about 400 emigrants drowned with 102 survivors. I have just found an article in the Northern Whig 05/Nov/1853 describing the return of some of the survivors to Bellaghy. They were Jane Farrel who lost her whole family, father James mother Kitty sister Sally and brother David? Also the Kelly family who all survived no names are given in the article and there were two Kelly families in the list of survivors, William, Mary and Amelia or the second group Patrick and Ellen Kelly. The mother is named as Amy Anderson daughter of a respectable farmer and there is a child survivor belonging to the family not on any of the lists called Rachael.
    Would love to put flesh on the bones and find out if they stayed on dry land or emigrated again, any information would be appreciated, plus would like to identify the right group of survivors or any others from the area who lost their lives in that awful tragedy.

    Thanks for reading

    1. Thanks for your post: check out the Linen Hall Library, Belfast for newspapers published here at that time. We will mention this to our members at our next meeting (Sept/Oct) and will forward to you any more information we might come across.

  3. Hello

    I wondered if anyone in Bellaghy has heard of an address in the area (house or street perhaps) called Kernamin where a family of Duggans used to live? Grateful for any information.

    Thank you.

    Kathryn Duggan

    1. Kathryn,
      We’re looking into it; we’ll mention it at our next meeting and then get back to you.

  4. I have just found your website and would like to purchase a copy of the history of Bellaghy (142 pages) the e-mail address given has bounced back. Could you let me know how to obtain a copy of this book please ) My mother’s family are from the area
    William John Catherwood and Elizabeth Duffin/ James O’Neill and Elizabeth McAleese/Nathaniel Catherwood and Catherine Scullion (Revlin). Robert Catherwood and Mary Anne O’Neill were my grandparents. My mother was born in Bellaghy in November 1935. Therefore I am keen to learn more of Bellaghy.

    1. Sarah,
      Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, there are more no copies available for sale. Try Magherafelt Public Library.

  5. Wondering if anyone is able to shed any light on a particular surname. I have a surname listed as Macklevar, Mcelver, McIvor, McAlva, McIlva and Macalvar on certificates pertaining to one person in a family. What surnames should I be researching???? The family lived Tamniaran/Castledawson/Bellaghy area in the early 1800’s. The particular woman with this varying surname is Ann/Nancy Logan (nee Mc?????) married to Daniel Logan, the mother of Ann Logan (mother of James Henry Scullin, as mentioned in your pages). Pointing me in the right direction would be very helpful. Thank you ( I live in Australia)

    1. Monica,
      Thank you for your query. Try PRONI, the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland. Good luck with your research.

  6. I am researching my family the McErlean’s. I noticed that there is a Tom McErlean tag on many recent posts.. I believe the family is from Magherafelt. I am looking for birth, baptism and marriage records for Charles McErlean and Bridget Quigley. Would appreciate any thoughts… Marie Kathleen McErlean Hunter, NJ, USA

  7. I am writing this in hopes that you may have some additional information regarding the following:
    I will mention that I sent a similar note to the Maghera Historical Society and they so far have not added much to what I’ve written below. They did mention that they didn’t think structures from that period still exist for that area. Since Drumard is sort of mid-way between Maghera and Bellaghy I thought it worth to send the note below to you also.
    My spouse’s is Katharine Farrell Baum. Her gg grandfather was James Farrell, born 15 Aug. 1822 Drumard, Derry Co. While working on the family genealogy we came across the 1935 Parliamentary Papers which discussed the Maghera riots of July 1830. On the 12th of July 1830 the home of James Farrell and other homes were burned. There is as I’m sure you are aware, considerable information written about this event in those 1935 Parliamentary Papers. James Farrell Jr., a ten year old lad, son of the above also testified at that hearing. This lad would have been about the age of our James Farrell at that time.
    We note that in the 1831 census for Drumard Townland that there are twelve adult Farrells living in close proximity of one another. There is a Jas Farrell in #63 that has 3 males 4 females. There is in #65 James Farrel that has 5 males and 2 females. We would like to believe that our James Farrell, our earliest known Irish ancestor, was most likely among those households.
    Would you have any information that would shed more light on this subject? Is it possible that James and Charles left parents, other siblings whose families still live in the area? Also, would it be possible to locate at least the location where the homes listed in the 1831 census stood?
    Our James migrated to the United States around 1847 and his younger brother Charles (b 1833) a year or so later. We have a good record of the two men once they arrived in the State of Wisconsin and thereafter.
    Any information or suggestions of other avenues to research on this subject would be most appreciated.
    Thank you, Lynden and Kay Baum.

  8. Dear Friends
    I am trying to solve a puzzle in my family (who isn’t eh?) and Iive in Australia so not able to pop over to Bellaghy. I am of the McCanns of Swatragh and Derry and my great grandfather Joseph Mccann married Elizabeth Barton (Lizzie) in about 1901 in Derry I think. Anyhow Lizzie’s father according to 1901 census was Edward Barton and they lived in Bellaghy, his wife was listed as Catherine and I am atttempting to work out if her maiden name was Reilly or Diamond. I was cetain she was Catherine Diamond but my half uncle says she was Kate Reilly? HELP!

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