I’m just looking at widening my search. Would it be LIKELY that my G.grandfather would marry in a Presbyterian church if he was a catholic ? William Moore married Ellen/Eleanor Bradley in the Townsend Presbyterian church Belfast 1 April 1850 - certificate attached.
Thomas Moore is listed as father, a Staymaker. In my search I’ve found LIKELY records, but they are all Catholic.
Also, can anyone decipher the last place on the certificate- it says Townsend Church, Parish of Belfast,in ?????
Thanks against Penny
PennyElaineThursday 1st Jun 2023, 05:15AM
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The words you cannot make out are “Co. Antrim.” The church's full name is Townsend St Presbyterian. Opened around 1835 as Belfast's population expanded. It just closed last year.
Tradition was to marry in the bride’s church, so Ellen Bradley was apparently Presbyterian. Her husband could be any denomination, including Catholic. After the marriage she may have switched to his denomination. Sometimes though, with mixed marriages, the sons were brought up the father’s denomination and the daughters the mother’s. What denomination were William & Ellen's children? That should give a clue about possible denominations.
Most Catholic baptism records are on-line now. Many Protestant records are not, so you should not rule out the possibility that William was of a Protestant denomination simply because the only records you can find are Catholic. There could well be other baptism records in existence which are not on-line. To access them you would need to know where William was baptised and precisely what denomination (ie Church of Ireland Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist etc). Then look the records up in PRONI in Belfast.
Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘
You may already be aware of them, but there are records for what appears to be your Moore family in the FamilySearch database [https://www.familysearch.org]. If you search there, you can find William Moore under ID number G4R1-2MR, and can access the records for the others easily through that record, as you will see. The record lists William's father as Thomas Moore, and says that in 1850 he was living in Belfast and was a "staymaker", making corsetry. It says that William died in 1867 in Limerick, which is a long way from Belfast in the Republic of Ireland. There's a possibility that that was a different William Moore, and that the two families have gotten confused (that happens often enough at Family Search, as people attach their records to existing families without actually knowing of a certain connection).
The Moore surname is not uncommon in County Antrim, and there are Catholic Moore's there as well as Protestants. The record says that William died 25 August 1858, and that William and Eleanor had three children, all of whom later died (as did Eleanor) in Australia (I assume that's where you are). The record does not say where William died, but perhaps he died in Belfast and his wife and children then emigrated to Australia. Unfortunately, 1858 is prior to the start of civil records, so there may be no death record.
The record says that Eleanor was born in Carrickfergus about 1827, and that her parents were James Bradley (a bookkeeper) and Jane Neill. The town of Carrickfergus would have had a large Protestant majority back then, but there were some Catholics, and more would have lived in nearby rural areas. Neill is another of those names which, while of Irish origin (as O'Neill) can be either Catholic or Protestant in Northern Ireland (it's usually Catholic elsewhere). Her father is listed as Cornelius Neill, which is a very Catholic sounding name. The fact that they were married in a Presbyterian church does makes it likely that she was Protestant, but one never knows. There were more religious intermarriages than people are sometimes willing to acknowledge.
Carrickfergus is in County Antrim, and the Catholic parish records for Carrickfergus (the city and the parish have the same name) go back to 1821. They can be found at this link, in case you want to search for her there:
One good indicator may be where the children were baptized. The Family Search record indicates that the youngest child, Sarah Isabella Moore, was born in Belfast. The record was indicating that her birth year was 1864, but that could not be right, because it would have been six years after her father died (unless there's been a mix-up of two Moore families, as noted above), and her first child would have been born when she was only 14 or 15 (not impossible, but not likely). There were no documents really clarifying that date, so I've changed it tentatively to "about 1858". Unfortunately, Belfast has about 12 separate parishes which maintained parish registers back then, so even if she was baptized as a Catholic, it may be a chore to search them all (though you might just try 1857-1858 in each one). If you want to do that, you can access those registers using the interactive map at the link above for Carrickfergus (Belfast is just below Carrickfergus on the map).
My goodness. Thank you - very helpful.