Speer of east Tyrone - Survey of early church records

This page provides a series of transcripts of early baptismal, marriage, and burial records for the Speer surname in east Tyrone. In studying these records, it was hoped there might be sound linkages between the 17th & 18th century sources (as summarized in the General Timelines section) and early 19th century records including census substitutes such as Tithe Applotment books (c.1830s), and Griffith’s Valuation (1859 for the Unions of Cookstown and Magherafelt).

Because this researcher’s primary objective was to study the line descending from Solomon Speer and Jane Stevenson—which objective was completed successfully—this survey of parish registers was conducted for the purpose of providing a starting point for other researchers who might be interested in the descendants of Alexander and Martha Speer of Drumbanaway. The final section on this page provides an outline of Parish records recommended for further study.

Transcriber’s notes:

  • Text appearing within [square brackets] constitute the transcriber’s notes and attempts to fill in illegible characters.
  • Most, if not all, Church of Ireland churchyards contained sections for Protestants, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics.
  • A considerable amount of 17th and 18th century data has been collected for the Speer surname in the parishes of Ballyclog and Donaghenry. These parish names appear in boldface, below.
  • General conclusions:
    • Not surprisingly, given the scant availability of church records pre-1800, this survey resulted in only a handful of baptismal, marriage, and burial entries.
    • It would appear that only one of the parish records, below—the baptismal entry shown in teal-coloured font, under the parish of Arboe—represents a potential connection with the Speer family of the parish of Ballyclog. The father, William Speer, might have been the same man who was a resident of Irey townland until the early 1770s.
    • Any attempts to tie these to the very few Speer households recorded in the Tithe Applotment books (c.1830) and the later Griffith’s Valuation (1859) should be made only after a thorough survey of the parish records has been done,—and even then, by proceeding cautiously, and giving due regard to the appropriateness (not just the fit) of the evidence. Of course, as time went by, people migrated to other parts of the county and province, and many emigrated overseas, and thus, thier names might not be found in the records.

The range of transcripts covers the following parishes:

(1) Source: Church of Ireland. Parish of Arboe, County Tyrone. Vestry Book and Parish Register. 1773-1831. Held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archvial ref. PRONI D1278/1 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-13).

  • 1779-04-05, Vestry minutes: John Speer, one of the several signatories (as churchwarden or sidesman) in the Vestry minutes (Church of Ireland), with the Rev. John Chrystie, curate. Transcriber’s note: Having been recorded in this capacity in the minutes on this occasion, and not more frequently, suggests that Mr Speer was serving on the Vestry as a Presbyterian representative.

(2) Source: Church of Ireland. Parish of Arboe, County Tyrone, Diocese of Armagh. "Baptisms 1777–1813, Births 1825–1871, Marriages 1783–1845, and Burials 1776–1871." Compiled by Zara K. Mettam. Compilation hosted online in the Family History Library's "Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620–1881” database, www.familysearch.org (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2018-11-30). 

  • 1778-04-05, baptism of Solomon, son of William and Jean Spear.

Transcriber’s notes:

  • Only one reference was found to a Speer in Ardboe during the 18th century, some sixty years before the Vestry minutes entry above, viz.:—in 1719/20, John Speer of Carnan who, with Robert Speer of Tattymacall, county Fermanagh (a descendant of the Tullybrick, county Armagh family), were overseers of the will of Alexander Pringle of Ballynahone, county Tyrone. Source: Paterson, T.G.F. T.G.F. Paterson Manuscript Collection. No. 57, Vol. 4. "Abstracts of Wills, Family Charts, etc.." Abstract of the will of Alexander Pringle of Ballynahone, county Tyrone, dated 15th & 16th September 1719, proved 17th January 1719/20; to be buried in Tynan, county Armagh; citing Robert Speer of Tullymacall, co. Fermanagh, and John Speer of Carnan, county Tyrone, two of the trustees and witnesses. Held at the Armagh County Museum (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-08).
  • The naming of Solomon in the 1778 baptismal entry, above, suggests a connection with the Speers of Ballyclog. In 1772, a William Speer was mentioned as the former occupant of Irey townland in the parish of Ballyclog when a leasehold in that townland was advertised for sale in the Belfast News-Letter. Source: Belfast News-Letter, 28 April 1772 (pg 3). Advert for the sale of the leasehold in a farm in Eary townland [parish of Ballyclog], near Stewarthall, formerly held by William Speer. Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2018-08-24).

Source: Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Coagh Congregation, county Tyrone. Microfilm copy held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. MIC1P/446 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-19).

  • 1840-05-07, Birth: Eliza, daughter of Robt. Spear and Isabella Edm[–]ston of Drumads [parish of Tamlagh], baptised 1840-06-2[–].
  • 1841-04-14, Birth: R[oora–] [Robert?] John, son of Ja’s Bell and Eliza Speer of Drumads, baptised 1862-01-12.
  • 1842-[—]-31, Birth: James, son of Robert Speer of Drumads; baptised 1842-04-03.
  • 1842-05-[–], Birth: Ca[th] Jane, daugher of W’m Sp[eer] of Drumads, baptised 1843-07-02.
  • 1842-09-04, Baptism: William, son of Robert Speer and Isabella Erm[–]s[—]n of Drumads.
  • 1845-11-18, Birth: John, son of Rob’t Speers and Izabella [E]rmston of Drumads, baptised 1846-02-15.
  • 1847-01-04, Birth: Isabella, daughter of Rob’t Speer and Izabella, of Drumads, baptised 1847-12-[-]9.
  • 1855-07-01, Baptism: Mary Jane, daughter of Rob’t Speer and Izabella of Drumads.
  • 1862-11-[–], Birth: William, son of Ja’s Bell and Eliza Speer of Drumads, baptised 1863-07-05.

Source: Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Cookstown Congregation, county Tyrone. Microfilm copy held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. MIC1P/43 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-18).

  • 1842-05-07, Birth: William, son of John Speares and Mary [Nelson or Wilson] of Tullyveagh, baptised 1842-06-05.

Source: Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Cookstown 2nd Congregation, county Tyrone. Microfilm copy held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. MIC1P/463 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-18).

  • 1853-08-07, Birth: Sarah, daughter of John Spear, farmer, and Sarah Bole, of Dern[ama]less, baptised 1853-11-04. Transcriber’s note: possibly Drumnamoless, in the parish of Clonfeacle.
  • 1861-10-13, Birth: Isabella, daughter of John Spier, weaver, and Marg’t Hill, of Claggan, baptised 1861-11-17. Transcriber’s note: There were townlands named Claggan in the parishes of Artrea, Pomeory, and Derryloran. There were several more children born to this couple.

note re relationship to Errigal Keerogue branch

Source: Church of Ireland. Parish of Desertcreat, parishes of Tyrone and Londonderry. Microfilm copy held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. MIC1/9/1 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-20).

  • 1819-02-21, Marriage: Marg’t Speer and Alex’r Moncrieff of Mullenure, after Banns.
  • 1838-01-04, Marriage: John Spear of Ballinderry, townland of Derraghrin, and Sarah Harty or Shanty, townland of Waterand; by licence with consent of parents, 4th January 1838. Witnesses: Ej[--]h Bo[-]d, Peter Muleloon [Muldoon?]; by the Rev. Alex’r Geo. Scott.

Source: Church of Ireland. Parish of Donaghenry, county Tyrone. Baptism of [unnamed] Speer of Anapho[y]e, c.1769. Microfilm copy held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. MIC583/29 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-23).

  • [undated, but c.1769], baptism: [forename illegible] Speer of Anapho[y]e was bapt. priv.

Source: Church of Ireland. Parish of Donaghmore, county Tyrone and Diocese of Armagh. Parish registers: Baptisms, 1748-1937; marriages, 1741-1883; burials, 1741-1901; index of baptisms, 1748-1883; index of marriages, 1741-1883; index of burials, 1741-1883; vestry minutes, 1781-2; confirmations, 1823-75. Microfilm copies held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. PRONI MIC583/2 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-09-05).

  • 1779-03-26, baptism: James, son of William & Eliz’th Speer

—> location; note re survival of Eglish church records

Source: Batchelor, Rev. J.M. “The burial records of Old Eglish Churchyard, Co. Armagh as recorded in the Church of Ireland register in St. Mark’s Parish Church, Armagh 1750–1757 and 1770–1775, compiled by the Rev. J.M. Batchelor, Rector of Eglish and Killylea.” Dúiche Néill. Journal of the O’Neill Country Historical Society (county Tyrone). Vol. 5 (1990). Transcripts by Alison Kilpatrick (2017-09-14).

  • 1750-09-17, burial: Thomas Speer, young, Beltarran.
  • 1773-12-26, burial: James Spiers, child, Cabraugh.

Source: Church of Ireland. Parish of Tamlaght, parishes of Tyrone and Londonderry. Microfilm copy held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast). Archival ref. MIC583/5 (accessed and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2017-10-19).

  • 1859-02-22, Birth: Robert, son of Robert Speer, labourer, and Matty Speer of Coagh, baptised 1859-08-19.

Citing parish register copies held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Belfast):

  • Arboe:
    • Church of Ireland, baptisms, marriages, and burials, 1775ff with gaps (includes indexes); vestry mintues, 1775 census, confirmation lists
    • Ballygoney Presbyterian, baptisms 1848ff, marriages 1845ff
    • Roman Catholic, baptisms and marriages, 1827ff
  • Artrea:
    • Church of Ireland, baptisms 1801ff with gaps, marriages 1829–45, burials 1834–71, vestry minutes, communicants’ roll 1847
    • Coagh Presbyterian, baptisms 1839ff, marriages 1820ff with gaps; committee and session minutes held by the Presbyterian Historical Society
    • Roman Catholic, baptisms 1865–82, marriages, 1865ff with gaps
  • Ballinderry:
    • Church of Ireland, baptisms 1802–71, marriages 1803–45, burials 1802–71, confirmation lists 1824–1921, banns 1813–92; vestry minutes and preachers’ books in local custody
    • Roman Catholic, baptisms 1826–81 with gap 1840, marriages 1827–80
  • Ballyclog:
    • Church of Ireland, baptisms, marriages, and burials 1818ff, with preachers’ books and vestry minutes
    • Albany Presbyterian, baptisms 1841ff, committee minutes 1842ff, session minutes 1841ff, and other administrative records
    • Brigh Presbyterian, baptisms and marriages 1837ff, burials, 1884–1912, session minutes 1826–82, committee minutes 1835–41 and 1885–1930, communicants’ roll 1942–1929, family worship lists 1854–81, collections 1840–42
  • Clonoe:
    • Church of Ireland, baptisms 1824ff, marriages 1812ff with gaps, burials, 1824ff, vestry minutes 1783–1852, with confirmation lists, gravestone inscriptions, preachers’ books, etc.
    • Roman Catholic, baptisms 1810ff with gaps, marriages 1806ff with gaps, deaths 1806–16
  • Donaghenry
    • Church of Ireland Brackaville, baptisms 1836ff, marriages 1840ff, burials 1862ff, vestry minutes 1844 & 1848–70, banns 1897–1955, and several confirmation lists
    • Church of Ireland Donaghenry, baptisms and marriages 1733ff with several gaps, burials 1735ff with several gaps, vestry minutes 1738–1895, confirmation lists 1816–59, confirmation register 1843–91
    • Methodist Newtownkelly (Coalisland), baptisms 1830ff, and marriages 1944ff
    • Methodist Stewartstwon, baptisms 1868ff, marriages 1869ff
    • Roman Catholic Coalisland and Stewartstown, baptisms 1861–80, marriages 1862–79, deaths 1861–68
    • Roman Catholic Donaghenry and Ballyclog, baptisms 1822–40 and 1849–81, marriages 1822–41 and 1853–80, deaths 1822–39 and 1854–69
    • Stewartstown First Presbyterian, baptisms 1814–71
    • Stewartstown Second Presbyterian, baptisms 1824ff, marriages 1845ff
  • Tamlaght:
    • Church of Ireland, baptisms 1801–07 and 1821–70, marriages 1829–45, burials 1834–71, vestry minutes 1835ff, communicants’ roll 1847
    • Coagh Presbyterian – see entries under Artrea, above
    • Roman Catholic, baptism 1865–82, marriages 1865–81 and 1884–91

Consult the PRONI’s “An Irish Genealogical Source: A Guide to Church Records” (easily found via a Google, Bing, or Yahoo search; pdf version available online) for specifics as to types of records and years covered, and archival reference numbers.

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