Public Benefit

The North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) exists to provide a public benefit as well as resources and services for its Members.  The Society can provide organisations planning events with speakers or a stall with family history research information.  In addition it welcomes visitors to its meetings and to its Research Centre.  The Society also arranges courses for the general public.


The Society’s Education & Development Officer organises programmes of courses that are usually open to the general public as well as to Members.  Details of forthcoming courses and how to apply can be seen at the Courses page.  The courses range from those aimed at people just starting their family research and wanting to know where to find information to those aimed at experienced researchers wanting to write up their research in the form of a book.  There are also courses on specific sources of information, on particular techniques and on new developments such as the use of DNA analysis.  Some courses consist of a single session, usually two hours; others entail a series of sessions, typically one a week. Charges for the courses are low.


Each of the Society’s Branches around the North of Ireland holds meetings most months of the year and visitors are welcome to attend – see the online Events Calendar for details of the hundred or more events held each year.  If you are a visitor at a meeting, please introduce yourself to the person chairing the meeting.  There is no obligation to join the Society but, if you wish to do so, the Branch Treasurer will be happy to give you a Membership application form and outline the benefits.

Research Centre

The Society’s Research Centre at Newtownabbey has a wealth of material to help people research their families.  This material includes books, maps, directories, journals, CDs & DVDs, microfiches and transcriptions of parish register records, graveyard inscriptions, newspaper announcements and other miscellaneous records.  Visitors are welcome and are invited to make a small voluntary donation.  The Research Centre is opened at certain times by volunteers who are happy to show visitors around and then leave them to browse the resources.  See the Research Centre pages for details of the rooms and their contents and how to get there.  There is ample free parking there and there is a café on the site.


NIFHS Members are often invited to speak at meetings of other organisations on a variety of topics, which are best summed up by listing the Society’s Objects:

To promote and encourage the public and personal study
of  world-wide family history, genealogy, heraldry and local history
with particular reference to the North of Ireland.

We hope to publish a list of speakers and topics but meanwhile, if you would like a speaker, please send an email giving the details with your contact information to


The Society provides stalls at a variety of events each year, ranging from some of the largest family history fairs in the world, through medium sized craft shows, to small one day events in local libraries.  We offer free advice to those seeking to find out more about their families and stock books, booklets and leaflets, some free, to help them.  If you would like a family history stall at an event you are organising, please send an email giving the details with your contact information to