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I am hoping to find information on William Little, who according to a record at the Ulster Historical Foundation, died and was buried in 1664 in Blaris, Lisburn Church of Ireland. UHF does not have a record for his birth or marriage. I'm not a member and don't have credits with them so can't access the death record to find out more. I've searched at WikiTree, Ancestry, FamilySearch, FindAGrave, Ros Davies' County Down website and a keyword internet search but without anything matching. I've also posted to Fiona's County Down message board, several projects at FTDNA and also WikiTree, but no responses so far.

Perhaps someone here has information on him. Earlier this year I found William Little in the 1633 Muster Roll for Iland Mahee (Island Magee) in Down and wonder if these 2 men might be the same.

Thanks so much!



Sunday 28th Aug 2022, 03:02AM

Message Board Replies

  • Beth,

    You are extremely lucky to have got back to the 1600s in your research. Few people get past the “1800” barrier as so few records exist in Ireland for those earlier times.

    The Church of Ireland in Lisburn (parish of Blaris) is unusual in having baptism records from 1637 onwards (with gaps), marriages from 1639 (with gaps) and burials 1639-1641 and then 1661 onwards. They must be amongst the oldest church records in Ireland. The majority of churches in Ireland have no records before the 1800s.

    The William Little who was buried in Lisburn in 1664 is likely to have been born before the start of those Lisburn records. Indeed he might not have been born in Ireland at all. According to MacLysaght’s “The surnames of Ireland,” Little is an English surname. That, and his being Church of Ireland and living in Lisburn all tend to point to Plantation settler origins. Hundreds of thousands of English, Welsh & Scots settled in Ireland in the 1600s and in the counties of Ulster in particular. His family was almost certainly part of that population movement.  

    The church/cathedral in Lisburn will not have any more information on this William other than his name and date of death. Possibly his age. He is extremely unlikely to have a gravestone as only the very wealthy had gravestones in the 1600s. His exact burial location will not be known.

    You ask whether the William Little in Lisburn is likely to be the same as the William Little in “Iland Mahee (Island Magee) in Down.”

    I think you may have Island Magee and Mahee Island mixed up. They are two separate places. Island Magee is in Co Antrim and is about 30 miles north from Lisburn. There is also Mahee Island in Co Down. That’s a small island in Strangford Lough about 20 miles east from Lisburn.  176 acres. In the 1860s there were 3 houses (all farms) on the island, so not heavily populated. (1901 census there were 3 houses and a population of 23, all but one of whom were Presbyterian, so of Scots origins). Looking at the Muster Rolls I don’t see any William Little entries for Co Antrim but there are 2 for Co Down, both on the Clandeboye estate so I infer that the Muster Roll William lived in Mahee Island.

    I doubt the 2 Williams are the same person. It was a common enough name and the Muster Rolls have 8 William Little households listed around the counties of Ulster.

    You are unlikely to get back any further in your research, at least based on paper records, as they simply don’t exist. And I as I explained, the timescale is such that William is probably part of the big migration into Ireland in the 1600s and so almost certainly his family came from somewhere in Britain, so that also tends to bring Irish research to a halt. DNA may get you further though.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 28th Aug 2022, 08:29AM
  • Beth,

    RootsIreland provides a transcription of the information on William's 1664 death record, as follows. William Little, d 28 Oct 1664, COI, parish of Blaris, Lisburn, Antrim, lived in Lisburn, "son of Thomas Little." No age given.

    It would cost you a few dollars to join RI for a day, so you might consider it in order to save time and to have access to a wealth of records.


    I hope this helps.


    Sunday 28th Aug 2022, 06:04PM
  • Beth,

    Patricia’s information is helpful. In my experience, it’s very unusual for parents names to appear in a burial record, save where the burial was for a child. So I suspect that the 1664 burial for William LITTLE may relate to a child. Does that fit with your family tree?

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 28th Aug 2022, 09:09PM
  • Thanks so much for all of the assistance!


    Sunday 16th Oct 2022, 01:57PM

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