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Discover Your Clan Heritage in Northern Ireland with European Heritage Open Days 2013

On the 14th and 15th of September, over 360 heritage sites and properties will be open for FREE to the public as part of the European Heritage Open Days (EHOD) 2013. Come peek inside some of our most beautiful and historic buildings.

The EHOD weekend will also offer a huge number of freely accessible genealogy resources at locations that are normally only open throughout the working week – so should you want to trace your family history, the weekend presents a perfect opportunity for locals and visitors alike to investigate their family connections.

We’ve listed the resources and locations to get you started!

For those who want to investigate their personal heritage further, there are a number of resources for this that will be available throughout the weekend;

  • The Public Records Office will have special opening hours for genealogy hunters, and provides talks and tours to show you how to take advantage of their archives and discover your past.
  • The Libraries of Northern Ireland will also have special opening hours throughout the weekend, offering local history support with main Heritage collections housed in Armagh, Ballymena Central, Belfast Central, Derry Central, Downpatrick, Enniskillen, Newry City and Omagh libraries, available during Saturday 14th September.
  • Online history resources, such as Ancestry Library Edition, are also free to library members at any public library as well as local newspapers on microfilm and other Irish history and local studies material. Just ask a member of staff during your visit for more information.
  • The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies Library (MCMS) at the Ulster American Folk Park houses a unique collection of books, periodicals, maps etc. reflecting the main interests of the Ulster American Folk Park including Migration History and the History of Ireland and America in the 18th and 19th centuries on Saturday 14th September.
  • The Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich Memorial Library Archive will open on Saturday from 10am – 5pm, providing a free, independent public reference library which houses important collections relating to Irish history, the Irish language, ecclesiastical history, the Irish abroad and Irish sport.
  • St Aidan’s Kilmore in County Armagh provided the only local graveyard in the community for over 600 years, and genealogy trackers are invited to come and avail of free refreshments with a guided tour around the graveyard every hour on the hour – with enquiries noted and assisted. Crafts and local produce will be available on the morning of Saturday 14th Sept.
  • St Augustine’s, as both an ancient Christian site circa 546AD and with its earliest gravestone dated 1611 will also have archived material available throughout the weekend. As will Kilbride Presbyterian Church and Graveyard who will be offering Family activities between 1 - 3 pm and guided History tours throughout the weekend.
  • Hanna’s Close in Kilkeel, Co. Down has teamed up with Tracing Your Mourne Roots in order to help and accommodate those coming to Mourne to find out more about their ancestors.  The Tracing Your Mourne Roots project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and aims to explore the unique history and heritage of the Mourne area, finding out who lived here and discovering what life was like from as far back as the 1800s. Those coming to Hanna's Close can take their search further by visiting the Tracing Your Mourne Roots exhibition in the Nautilus Centre, Kilkeel while on their exciting journey to explore their ancestry. The project is currently surveying the five main graveyards in Kilkeel, so visitors can see where their relatives are buried at the click of a button.  On 14th September Hanna's Close hopes to bring the entire Hanna Clan together to celebrate the generations of people who came from the very spot. All members of the clan are invited, including those from Sorbie in Galloway, Scotland where the Hanna Clan originated. With all the different branches of the clan together along with the local people and visitors young and old, European Heritage Day at the Close promises to be an afternoon full of fun for everyone!

For more information on tracing your family connections, see our Ancestry Section.

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