County Down

"Down, a county of Ireland, in Ulster, 42 m. long and 34 broad; bounded E by the Irish sea, W by Armagh, NW by Antrim, and S by Carlingford bay and the ocean; divided into 60 parishes, and sends 4 members to parliament. It is in general fertile; has numerous bleach-greens; and in the rough parts many horses are bred. Copper and lead are found; also a black marble susceptible of a high polish, slate, coal, freestone, and crystals. Pop. 329,348. Chief rivers, Lagan and Newry."
[From The New London Gazetteer (1826)]


Archives and Libraries



A list of the cemeteries & church graveyards on the Find-A-Grave website.



The 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 census returns were almost all destroyed in a fire in 1922, whereas the 1861 1871 1881 and 1891 census returns had earlier been destroyed on the orders of the government.

Transcripts of full details from the 1901 and 1911 census returns, and for what remains of the earlier census returns (for the whole of Ireland), are available and fully-searchable free-of-charge on-line on the National Archives of Ireland website.


Church Records

  • A guide to the parish records held at PRONI in Belfast can be found in this PDF file.
  • The National Library of Ireland (in Dublin) holds many Catholic Parish Registers, including those from County Down. Many of these have been digitised by the National Library of Ireland and can be searched online here.

Description and Travel



The transcription for this county from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.



Online Resources:

Research Services:



From Fianna:

12 Miles of Mourne (annual), Mr. F. Hammond,
Mourne Local Studies Group, Kilkeel, Co. Down

Seanchas Dhroim Mor (annual), Very Reverend B. Treanor, P.P.
Parochial House, 141 Rathfriland Road, Dromara, Dromore, Co. Down

Saintfield Heritage,
Miss C. Cole 12 Thorndale Park Carryduff BELFAST BT8 8HZ

Ulster Folklife (annual),
The Ulster Folk Transport Museum, Cultra Manor, Holywood, Co. Down

Upper Ards Historical Society Journal (annual),
Mr. C. Murray, 57 Lisbane Road, Kircubbin, Co. Down