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Session Book of Aghadowey, 1702-1725

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AgahadoweyIn 1905, J. W. Kernohan, Secretary of the Presbyterian Historical Society in Belfast, Ireland, transcribed the beginning years of the session book for Aghadowey, County Londonderry, Ireland at the request of a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The member subsequently donated Mr. Kernohan’s transcription, which covers the period 1702 – 1725, to NEHGS. The manuscript begins in 1702, since the earlier years are lost.

In the summer of 1718, a number of ships bearing passengers from Coleraine and Londonderry, Ireland arrived in Boston - the first organized mass migration of Irish and Scots Irish people to America. Among these passengers were Presbyterians from the area of Aghadowey, County Londonderry, Ireland, and their minister, Reverend James McGregor. Many of the Aghadowey immigrants eventually established the community of Londonderry, New Hampshire. A good history of this migration is available at The 1718 Migration.

A session was composed of the ministers and elders of a congregation. Session records cover financial, legal and disciplinary matters. A good discussion of the types of topics that may be addressed by the session is located in Short History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland by Prof. John M. Barkley, M.A., Ph.D., D.D., F.R.Hist.S. Many session books have been microfilmed and are available at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. However, the Aghadowey Session Book has not been microfilmed and is available only at the Presbyterian Historical Society, Church House, Fisherwick Place, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Charles Knowles Bolton, in his book Scotch Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America [Boston: Bacon and Brown, 1910], described the acquisition of the Agahadowey Session Book by the Presbyterian Historical Society and the contents of the book. Bolton’s description is available online at Scotch Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America.

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Posted by Ryan Woods at 09/19/2011 03:35:00 PM | 

Excellent factoid and accurate. There is an Ulster website that transcriped the original online, but I prefer to see the original microfilmed.
As you can see, I'm the author for the "American" material on the website. I will be doing another lecture Sept. 2012 on this migration in Ballymoney, County Antrim, NIR. It would be nice to point to this website as a source of info. Unfortunately, the amount of material is dismal from NEHGS. The Scotch-Irish were the second largest ethic group, and primary military force of the Revolutionary War. Due to their pioneer lives, and some political issues, their history has been relatively washed out of New England. Most of it is still hidden in those states.
If you or NEHGS is interested in developing from this migration more material for website or publishing, please feel free to contact me at the below numbers
Colin Brooks, NEHGS member since 2003
The 1718 Project
Posted by: ( Email ) at 9/28/2011 6:37 AM

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