BALLINASCREEN Historical Society has launched its 36th publication: ‘Kilcronaghan Gravestone Inscriptions – Old Church, Mormeal and Presbyterian Church, Tobermore’.
It is the society;s fourth book on the gravestone inscription series. Ever since the formation of Ballinascreen Historical Society in 1980, the society’s publishing programme has encompassed neighbouring parishes, towns and villages. In the early days, books relating to the parishes of Desertmartin and Kilcronaghan, and the towns of Maghera and Magherafelt, made their appearance. This year has been the society’s most successful year ever, with a record membership of 103 paid-up members and good attendances at the monthly meetings. Full details of the society’s meetings and 35 previous publications may be found on the website – www.ballinascreenhistoricalsociety.com.
Within the 72 pages of the new publication there is much to the interest the general reader, but those with South Derry family connections may now have access to invaluable, and previously unavailable, family records. The ancient church at Mormeal reveals around 150 inscriptions displaying 119 different surnames. Here you will find the six year old uncle of one of the 19th century’s most famous scholars. In another place a Presbyterian minister lies beside his three week old son who died on December 25th at 3pm, 1761.
At the back of the church is interred the Rector of whom it was said, in 1801, that he could be trusted with anything but one’s purse and one’s bottle! Nearby lies the long-forgotten Parish Priest of Desartmartin and Kilchronaghan (sic) who died in 1788. At the Presbyterian Church in Tobermore 69 gravestones reveal 64 surnames ranging in the index from Anderson to Wisner. Here the reader will learn about the 8 year old “boy soldier” who was buried with military honours in 1915 and about the Presbyterian clergyman who ministered to the Tobermore congregation for 50 years.
Within this book all the inscriptions have been painstakingly transcribed – there are surname indexes for each graveyard, a lengthy foreword and appendix, several photographs, a graveyard plan and even a location map. The books are now on sale (£4) in most local shops in Tobermore and Draperstown and it is anticipated that many of them will make their way around the world to help connect exiles with home and heritage. Copies of the book may also be obtained by post from Ballinascreen Historical Society, c/o 5 Tobermore Rd, Draperstown, BT45 7AG for £5 including postage.