Ulster Historical Foundation has been conducting genealogical research for nearly seven decades and has helped tens of thousands of people learn more about their Irish roots. To date, we have completed over 14,000 in-depth genealogical reports, organised over 30 family history conferences, and delivered presentations on Irish history and genealogy at hundreds of locations around the world.

Specialists in archival research

The members of the Foundation’s research team have the knowledge and expertise to break down the brick walls you may have encountered and assist you in your family history research. Our team is led by the Research Director, Dr William Roulston, and Gillian Hunt, our Research Officer.

Both of them have been with the Foundation for over 20 years. Their expertise and that of our experienced panel of genealogical researchers will prove invaluable in helping you find those elusive ancestors.

As an organisation that grew out of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), the Foundation has always placed a high value on using original source materials in research. While the easy availability of records online has revolutionised genealogy, it is also true that many documents can only be accessed in person in the archives. Our genealogists have a thorough grasp of the archives and know how to mine the records to extract as much as possible on your family history.

If you are unable to visit the archives in person (or indeed if you have become frustrated with dead ends in your own investigations), we will carry out the research and examine original documents held in the archives on your behalf.

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About Dr William Roulston

William Roulston grew up on the family farm at Bready, County Tyrone. He joined the Ulster Historical Foundation as a researcher in 1997, becoming Research Officer in 2002 and Research Director in 2006. He was awarded a PhD in Archaeology by Queen’s University Belfast in 2004 for a thesis on places of worship of the Established Church in the north of Ireland, 1600–1740. He is involved in a number of organisations in the heritage field and serves as a Member of Council of both the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society and the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland, and is the Convener of the Reformed Presbyterian Church History Committee. He has lectured widely on a range of historical and genealogical subjects in the UK, Ireland and North America.

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William is the author of a number of books looking at different aspects of the history of Ireland and the sources for its study, including Restoration Strabane, 1660–1714 (2007), Three Centuries of Life in a Tyrone Parish ... Donagheady, 1600–1900 (2010), Abercorn: The Hamiltons of Barons Court (2014), Foyle Valley Covenanters (2015), Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors, 1600–1800 (2nd edition, 2018), Researching Presbyterian Ancestors in Ireland (2020) and Researching Farming Ancestors in Ireland (2021). He was co-editor of Fermanagh: History and Society (2004), Transatlantic Lives: The Irish Experience in Colonial America (2019) and Lough Neagh: An Atlas of the Natural, Built and Cultural Heritage (2022), and co-author of Exiles of ’98: Ulster Presbyterians and the United States (2018).

About Gillian Hunt

Gillian Hunt is Research Officer with the Ulster Historical Foundation and manages the Foundation’s many genealogical activities; she has been with the Foundation since 2001. As well as looking after the genealogy side of the Foundation's work, Gillian carries out research for clients and is a hugely experienced user of the General Register Office and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, where she sits on PRONI’s Stakeholder Forum. She regularly teaches courses in Northern Ireland and gives talks on family history in the rest of Ireland, the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, co-presenting our annual North American lecture tours since 2014.

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Gillian also co-delivered (with Fintan Mullan) the British Institute’s week-long Irish genealogy course in Salt Lake City in October 2018 (hosted by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History) and again in October 2022 this time online. Gillian has carried out the research for a number of television programmes, as well as appearing in several of them, most recently BBC’s ‘Stephen Nolan: Ulster-Scots, My Family and Me’

About Fintan Mullan

Fintan Mullan is Executive Director of Ulster Historical Foundation, which he joined in 1995, and has been responsible for the management of this successful Belfast-based, educational non-profit since 2001. He has extensive experience in Irish family history research and is a regular international speaker on Irish genealogy, having spoken in Ireland, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most of the lower 48 states of the USA. He has managed the production of over 150 Irish history and genealogy titles. Fintan has helped to ensure that the Foundation has been at the forefront of developments in Irish genealogy, including heritage tourism products and the provision of online resources. He helped to pioneer www.rootsireland.ie, the unique database with over 22 million Irish historical records. He is a non-executive director of the Irish Family History Foundation.

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Get to Know our Researchers

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  • Family History Conference June 2016 13
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  • About us gillian participant