Family, are you in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland was not a place that came up very often on my travel radar, but while doing some research on my last name and family genealogy, I came across some information on Ancestry.com that told me the Laird last name was,”Scottish and northern Irish: status name for a landlord, from northern Middle English “laverd.” This bit of information piqued my interest on the northern region of Ireland.

While traveling in Edinburgh I kept hearing from a few locals how “very Scottish” (or should I say “verra Scottish” fellow Outlander fans? 🙂 ) my name was.  Growing up, the popular family theory of our historic origins were from Scotland. So, when I found this info about Northern Ireland I kept on researching and found on this website : Laird Family Association  that Laird is “..the Scottish form of Lord which is also found in the northern counties of Ireland in considerable numbers…” “How is a Scottish name found in the Northern counties of Ireland,” I asked myself.  I consulted the ever reliable Wikipedia which said, “An estimated 100,000 Scottish Presbyterians moved to the northern counties of Ireland between 1607 and the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.” Ahhh, so they may have been sent by the king to colonize Ireland and spread some of that good old religion. Everyone loves the religions.

Well finding info off the internet is fun and all, but this was something I had to find out for myself so during my trip to Ireland this Summer, I decided to head up north from my base in Dublin and pay a visit to some potential ancestral homelands.

I’m not really sure why Northern Ireland was not popping up on my travel radar before this trip because this amazing place is seriously one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring regions on Earth.

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Is it the romantic castles, whimsical bridges, or majestic Dark Hedges that capture the imagination?

 

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Dunluce Castle ruins.
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Carrick a Rede Rope bridge.

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Dark Hedges.

 

Is it the natural wonder known as the Giant’s Causeway that captures people’s imagination? Popular legend says it was once an ancient land bridge from Scotland to Ireland built by the mythical giant warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill.

 

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Perhaps there’s just something about the scenic beauty, the fresh, dewey air, the crisp spray of the ocean, and the varied and deep history of the region that captures people’s hearts.

 

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For me, it’s all that and maybe one day I will find out if it could be more.  So far , I have traced my branch of the Laird Family Tree all the way back to the 1700s prior to the Revolutionary war in the U.S. so my Laird ancestors have been in the States for a while. Perhaps any ties to the “Old Country” were forgotten long ago. I had a limited amount of time in Northern Ireland so I couldn’t dig as deep into research as I wanted to. However, I plan on returning one day. If not for research definitely just to visit this beautiful place again.

Researching my family tree is an ongoing project for me so hopefully with time I will be able to find the answers I am looking for. Are you interested in your family history? How far back can you trace your ancestry to? I encourage everyone to get into their family history. You never know what you will find, or where it may take you.

If you have any tips or questions about researching family history, tell me in the comments!

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Jamie is a writer with a passion for adventure, history, and more. When she’s not out exploring the world, Jamie is at home in sunny San Diego, CA chasing sunsets and carne asada fries, preoccupied with research, or invested in a good book and a cup of tea.

13 thoughts on “Family, are you in Northern Ireland?

  1. So beautiful… I’m planning to travel to Ireland one day as well to explore the land of my ancestors. I’ve managed to trace part of my family tree back to 1095 A.D. and I was surprised to see my family is more Irish than we’d thought. Hope you can go back soon!!

    1. Thanks, Keri! That is so cool! Hopefully I can trace my tree back as far as you did. I’m hitting a wall at about 1730. You will love Ireland, and I hope you have a memorable trip when you do go!

  2. Good luck with your genealogy research! ^^ One of my older sisters is very into it, so my mother actually did some digging on our first trip over to Ireland in 2011, when part of our tour took us near a genealogical society. You might give their database a try?

    https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/proni

    We were able to find out that her dad’s side of the family (the main Irish influence) emigrated from County Down. But if I remember right, my dad’s side mainly has Native American and Scottish – my great great grandmother’s family lived in a village near Loch Ness before eventually finding their way to the Missouri farm my immediate family calls home to this day. Ironically enough though, my aunt on his side married a Laird – small world, right?

    1. Wow, that is rad! What a small world! Interesting info about your great great grandmother. Loch Ness looks so beautiful, kind of makes you wonder why they had to leave and make a new life here in this strange land :-). Thank you for that link! I will definitely check it out !

  3. So awesome – the pictures and your genealogy research. I just don’t know if I could cross on that Rope Bridge – maybe I just have to keep looking up!!!

  4. Sounds like our ancestors followed the same paths, Jamie. My family traveled from Scotland to Northern Ireland to the US, arriving here in the 1750s. I’ve wandered through Scotland and all over the US checking out ancestral homes but not Northern Ireland. It’s next on my list. Your pictures definitely reinforce my decision. Thanks. –Curt

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