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Presbyterian Presbyterian’s are predominantly of Scottish decent.
The religious and civil persecution means that some earlier Presbyterian baptisms, marriages and burials may be found in the registers of the Church of Ireland.
Currently some registers remain in the custody of the parish, some have been deposited at Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) National Archives Ireland (NAI) the Representative Church Body Library (RCB Library) Dublin. The RCB Library has recently updated its list of Church of Ireland parish registers, which includes full details of what exists, the dates covered and where to locate them.
For full details see: Us/library/registers/Parish Registers
Catholics in towns and cities were not prevented from trading and many merchants gradually became affluent, actively funding priests and the building of churches.
In contrast the majority of Catholics in rural areas were very poor, and could not afford to build churches and support the clergy until much later.
The earliest registers commence in 1674, but it was not until 1819 that the Synod required ministers to keep a register, a practice, which did not become widespread until the 1830’s. Until 1782 it was illegal for Presbyterian ministers to perform marriages, and it was only from 1845 that they could legally marry a Presbyterian to a member of the Church of Ireland so many marriage entries may be found amongst in Church of Ireland registers.
The Presbyterian Historical Society’s library contains a great deal of manuscript material relating to Presbyterian families. PRONI have also microfilmed a number of Presbyterian Church records, a list of which can be found on their website.
The deterioration in the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Pope Pius V, led to the passing of a series of Penal Laws.
These sought to discriminate against Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters (such as Presbyterians), in favour of members of the established Church of Ireland.
The church and the state could not be separated and religious affiliation assumed a great political significance.
As the penal laws prevented those not members of the established church from maintaining their own burial grounds most burials were recorded in Church of Ireland burial grounds.
More details about the various churches in Ireland and the exact records they generated can be found in James Ryan’s Irish Church Records.