In 1994 Belfast and Nashville became Sister Cities. Since then there have been a number of initiatives to build closer links between the two cities and to develop cultural, tourism and business opportunities. These include the Belfast-Nashville Songwriters Festival, which celebrates and promotes the musical connections of our shared cultural heritage. Other linkages have been developed in the fields of education, community development, academia, tourism and family history.

The Ulster Historical Foundation was able to contribute to the development of these links in a number of ways. On 20 February 2009 the Foundation teamed up with the Belfast-Nashville Songwriters Festival and the Lord Mayor’s Office to present a special Belfast genealogy workshop which was open to the public and held in Clarendon Dock in Belfast. The speakers included the well-known Belfast author Glenn Patterson.

Belfast Nashville booklet cover reduced

In early 2010 the Foundation was commissioned to prepare the text for a booklet on the historical and familial connections between the two places. The resulting publication looked at the story of Nashville’s connections to Ulster, highlighting the Ulster background of some of the key figures in the city’s development, and also provided information on how anyone wishing to research their Irish and Scotch-Irish ancestors can do so in Belfast’s archives and libraries.