Our library contains hundreds of local history publications. These include histories of individual parishes, churches and congregations from across the province of Ulster and in format range from slim pamphlets to substantial hardbacks.

Studying the past in Ireland can be traced back centuries and one of the earliest printed histories for Ulster is Walter Harris' Antient and Present State of the County of Down, first published in 1744. This provides a fascinating insight into an Ulster county in the mid-1700s. A more recent facsimile reproduction of this book is in our library.

Samuel McSkimin was one of the pioneers of local historical writing in Ulster in the early nineteenth century. His major work, History of the Antiquities of the County of the Town of Carrickfergus, was first published in 1811. Several new editions followed, the last of which was updated by his great-granddaughter, Elizabeth J. McCrum, and published in 1909; a copy of this edition is in our library.

History and antiquities carrickfergus

Many of these histories contain a wealth of genealogical information on the families associated with the locality, often presented through lengthy appendices. The value of these listings cannot be overstated for often information is presented that is not accessible elsewhere.

To take an example from our library, Historical Sketch of Ballyalbany Presbyterian Church by S. Lyle Orr and Alex Haslett (1940) includes the following lists of names: subscribers to a call to Rev. Thomas Clark 1751, subscribers to the fund for rebuilding the meeting house, 1787, seatholders in the church, 1804, stipend payers, 1866, subscribers to the manse fund, 1873–4, signatories to a memorial opposing the wearing of a gown by the minister, c. 1873.