Co Tyrone, Ireland Genealogy
My Tyrone Lines
Surname Index Page
Irwin Genealogy
Dunbar Genealogy
Kirkpatrick Genealogy
Wilson Genealogy
Ross Genealogy
Graham Genealogy
Surnames of interest: Dunbar, IrwinKirkpatrick, Wilson, Ross & Graham.
Genealogical research in Co Tyrone, like anywhere in Ireland, is a frustrating process. Thanks mainly to the bombing & subsequent fire of the Irish National Archives during the early years of the Irish Civil War in 1922, which saw many of the stored records destroyed. This included almost all parish registers prior to 1800. By order of the British authorities in the early 1800's, all parish records which were not stored in a suitably safe manner in the church had to be send to the National Archives for storage. This, combined with the loss of most of the records in the archives, meant the loss of almost all parish records prior to the early 1800's. After that date many parishes kept their own copies, hence copies of many post 1800 PR's survive. Whilst many of the Ulster settlers were Presbyterian, there were few Presbyterian churches prior to 1800 and births, marriages & deaths were recorded in the official Church of Ireland registers. Given the widespread persecution the Roman Catholics faced, it is not surprising that surviving parish registers for that denomination prior to the mid 1800's are rather scarce. Those churches which survived the English invasion of Ireland became part of the Church of Ireland when the Church of England broke with Rome. There are very few Catholic churches in Co Tyrone that predate 1800. Whilst many of the Church of Ireland parishes in Northern Ireland kept copies of their records post 1800 (as did the new Presbyterian & Catholic churches), very few of these have been transcribed and made available via sources such as the International Genealogical Index (IGI). Much of the limited Co Tyrone material in the IGI is in fact submitted material rather than transcribed PR's and should be accepted with due caution. Additionally, unlike in England, all census records prior to 1900 were destroyed once the statistical analysis was complete. The 1901 & 1911 census' survived and are available (see below).

Lewis's Atlas, comprising the Counties of Ireland, 1837
All is, however, not lost and there are records available for genealogical research in Co Tyrone, at least back to 1800, both online and off-line. The IGI does contain some records for Co Tyrone, however few of these appear to be actual parish register extracts and many contain names & dates but no locations (useful as supplementary sources). The full 1911 census is available online, courtesy of the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). According to the 1911 census website, the 1901 census is due online sometime in late 2010 (hopefully). PRONI also provides two other useful online sources, the first a list of signatories of the Ulster Covenant & Declaration in 1912. This contains the names and partial addresses of all signatories as well where they signed. It provides a useful addendum to the census of the previous year. PRONI also provides an online index & abstracts of surviving wills. The abstracts usually provide details on address of the deceased as well as name & address of the next of kin (usually a near relative). If you are fortunate to get back to the early or mid 1800s, the Griffith's Index contains a list of all land owners and leasees. The online edition contains a snapshop of the index around 1860 (the year varies according to the parish and some are listed for several years). The index gives a description of the land being leased. Whilst any one person may have been leasing several properties at the time, it should be possible to determine which one was the actual residence (many consisted of land only without a residence or the residence was sub-leased out). There are several versions of the Griffith's Index online, the most comprehensive listing is at Ask About Ireland. The 1796 Flax List, more accurately known as the Spinning Wheel Bounty List, contains a list of all farmers who grew sufficient acreage of flax as to entitle them to free spinning wheels or a loom, depending on the acreage. The list proper gives the townland and how many spinning wheels & looms were granted. A full list for a small number of parishes are available online, however for most parishes only the name of those receiving the bounty are listed. Additional records are available, but not online. The 1901 census is available on-site at PRONI, as are surviving parish registers. Some surviving PR's are also available on film from the LDS (but are not in the IGI). Also available from the IGI is the CD-Rom set, "United Kingdom Vital Records Index" (2nd Ed, 2001). For Co Tyrone a selection of civil registrations of marriages (1850s) & births (1860s & 1870s) are included. Locations are limited to either a town or the civil parish. The Tithe Applotment Books, covering the 1820s & 1830s, are available on CD-ROM & also via some pay-for-view websites. These contain similar but more limited material to the Griffith's index. One last source that is invaluable for Co Tyrone research is the County Tyrone genealogy website (formerly the rootsweb Co Tyrone site, but now at a new home). This site has a wealth of material, although its content varies considerably from parish to parish.