Genealogy at Castlereagh

Genealogy is an increasingly popular pastime, if you believe that your family may be included in the Registers of our Congregation, then you can access the following Records of Castlereagh Presbyterian Church on microfilm, these can be searched in person at either the Presbyterian Historical Society Offices in Church House or at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland , both of which have their offices in Belfast.

The Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland

Who are we? How did we get here? What is Presbyterianism? We all want to know something of our past and where we come from. Who were our forebears and what were they like? So if you would like to learn more of where Presbyterians come from and how they came to Ireland the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland can help.

Founded in 1907 the society seeks to explore and promote an understanding of Presbyterianism in Ireland. This is achieved by various means, including the collection and preservation of printed material, archives and artefacts, the productions of publications and an annual programme of tasks and outings.

If you would like to find out more about the history of Presbyterianism in its various branches or about the history of a congregation or details of the career of a Presbyterian minister or you want to write a history of your congregation or you are exploring family and local history or maybe you are a student needing information for a dissertation on some aspect of Presbyterianism in Ireland, either go to our website ( or contact us personally. The society can also offer to give talks to groups.

Presbyterian Historical Society
26 College Green
Northern Ireland


Microfilm Ref



Baptisms 1816-1922;
Marriages 1816-1904;
Communicants Lists 1854-1893;
Session Minutes 1859-1942;
Committee Minutes 1870-1916

Register Dates Notes
MIC 1P/431A/1 Register of Baptisms 1816-1851 1816-1825 and 1832-1851 (the latter not in date
Register of Marriages 1816-1845 order and are different from /2 and /3 below)
MIC.1P/431A/2 Register of Baptisms 1824-1832 1816-1825 and 1829-1845 (the latter not in date
Register of Marriages 1825-1832 order and are different from  /2 and /3 below)
MIC.1P/431A/3 Register of Baptisms 1832-1849
Register of Marriages 1832-1844
MIC.1P/431A/4 Register of Baptisms 1850-1861
MIC.1P/431A/5 Register of Baptisms 1854-1992
MIC.1P/431B/1 Register of Marriages 1845-1863
MIC.1P/431B/2 Register of Marriages 1863-1866
MIC.1P/431B/3 Register of Marriages 1886-1904
MIC.1P/431C/1 Lists of Communicants 1854-1870
Session Minutes 1859-1870
MIC.1P/431C/2 Communicants Roll Book 1872-1893
MIC.1P/431D/1 Session Minutes 1874-1942
MIC.1P/431E/1 Committee Minutes 1870-1890
MIC.1P/431E/2 Committee Minutes 1895-1916

Exciting Developments for Genealogists

In addition to the above microfilm, the Church has a copy of all Baptisms from 1799 to 1921 and all Marriages which took place in Castlereagh from 1816 to 1921. There is a cost of £10.00 to provide this information. Please contact the Clerk of Session with as many relevant details as possible, for further details. The information will be presented in an alphabetically sorted, Excel spreadsheet.


The following entries, taken from the ‘Guide to Church Records’ may also be of some interest to you.

Presbyterianism came to Ulster from Scotland in the 17th century, but its freedom was severely curtailed by penal enactments to the extent that it was illegal until 1782 for Presbyterian ministers to perform marriages, even of Presbyterians and only from 1845 could they legally marry a Presbyterian to a member of the Church of Ireland. Religious and civil persecution resulting from the Penal Laws meant that many Presbyterian baptisms, marriages and burials are to be found in the registers of the Church of Ireland, albeit sporadic, until well into the 18th century. Burial registers for Presbyterian churches are uncommon as there were few Presbyterian burial grounds. Although Presbyterian registers and those of other denominations were not subject to state control and therefore there was no requirement to place them in the Public Record Office of Ireland for safekeeping, though there are still a few registers going back into the 18th century. Records since Civil Registration was introduced, can now also be traced at theGeneral Register Office (Northern Ireland) in Belfast or The General Register Office in Dublin. These Repositories contain Registers of Births and Deaths (from 1864) and of Marriages (from 1845).

A feature of Presbyterianism is the number of places which have more than one Presbyterian church and are referred to as 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Frequent disputes over doctrine or the choice of a minister, or just the need for more accommodation, led to the creation of new congregations, and building of new churches. Many of the churches now known as 1st, 2nd or 3rd began as seeding congregations which broke away from the original Synod of Ulster in 1733. The Seceders took a strong Evangelical stand and in particular objected to an Act of Parliament in 1712 which accepted patronage as an accepted method of appointing ministers. However, as the Synod of Ulster and the Secession Synod gradually resolved their differences and eventually hold the same doctrines, the secessionist congregations were re-united in 1840 into the Synod of Ulster. Another complication arises from changes in designation of churches. For example, a new congregation was formed in Ballymoney in 1834 and was known as 2nd Ballymoney but, when the Seceders joined the Synod of Ulster in 1840, the seceding congregation was given the name 2nd Ballymoney and this new church (hitherto 2nd Ballymoney) became 3rd Ballymoney. A History of Presbyterian Congregations in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland 1610-1982, published by the Presbyterian Historical Society is a useful tool when unravelling these problems.