The Ulster Historical Foundation has been involved in a number of historical consultancy projects in recent years which represent a significant development on our more traditional activities of carrying out research into family history and publishing books of an historical and genealogical nature.
In conjunction with Bready Ulster-Scots and District Development Association, the Foundation implemented a wide-ranging project with several different elements. The Bready Association was formed in 2001 to promote an interest in, and appreciation of, the history and culture of the Bready area in north-west County Tyrone. In 2004 the Association successfully applied to the RDC under the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (Peace II) for funding for a project to erect name stones at the boundaries of townlands along the public roads in the area. Townland names would thus be preserved and future generations would be aware of their existence and value to the local community.
In addition, it was decided to create a website devoted to the history of the townlands of Bready and the families who lived in them. This website was given the name Bready Ancestry (www.breadyancestry.com) and it includes information on the heritage of the Bready area and a searchable genealogical database containing thousands of records relating to individuals and families who lived in the area over the last 400 years. The Foundation worked with BRS Systems to create this website. The Foundation also researched and designed a 30-page booklet about Bready, a leaflet and ten interpretative panels each covering a different aspect of the history of the area. The panels will be on display in the cultural centre in Bready which will be completed early in 2008.
To make people aware of its heritage, Ballymagorry and District Development Association created a scenic walkway and successfully applied for a grant from the Rural Development Council towards erecting interpretative panels at two historic sites in the neighbourhood of the village of Ballymagorry. The Ulster Historical Foundation was given the task of researching, writing and designing the interpretative panels and a leaflet explaining to locals and visitors alike something of the history of the area. The leaflet also incorporated a map showing the scenic walkway and highlighting places of interest along its route. The interpretative panels dealt with respectively Old Leckpatrick Graveyard, the oldest burial ground in the locality, and Strabane Canal, once an important communication link and provider of employment in the area. The project was launched on 2 September 2005 and has generated much interest.
In 2005 the Ulster Historical Foundation was commissioned to compile a database of records for Newry and Mourne District Council to be included on a new genealogy website which the council was intending to develop. The records digitised included the Householders Index to the area, 1803 agricultural census for Newry parish, deeds and other documents from the Kilmorey and Crossle collections in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Newry and Mourne wills, 1727–1858, and names for Newry from the 1900 Belfast and Province of Ulster Street Directory. Over 14,000 individual names were indexed as part of the project.