This initiative was set up to provide a platform on which to accommodate clear and easy access to the local social, genealogical and environmental history and development of the Doagh area.
The implementation of the project was discussed at a public meeting in Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Mossley Mill and later at a meeting of the group, now known as Doagh Village Partnership. This body, comprising members of local community organisations, churches, education, business community and local elected representatives, was set up to drive forward the local vision identified in the Doagh Village Masterplan published in 2011. A steering group of local historians was then formed to develop the Doagh Ancestry and Townlands initiative.
Through the offices of Newtownabbey Borough Council a successful application was made to the local action group, GROW South Antrim, for Rural Development Programme funding. A grant of 75% of the costs required to set up the Doagh Ancestry and Townlands initiative was awarded. Newtownabbey Borough Council contributed the remaining 25% and the local community provided the considerable voluntary input and expertise necessary to identify the various elements involved in the process as well as to develop the programme at the crucial early stages and into its planned future development. Historian Dr William Roulston of the Ulster Historical Foundation was appointed to encourage and guide the group, research and collate available material and to co-ordinate and inform the development of the website content, production of the planned booklet and exhibition materials and the placing of townland markers.
The initial project was based on a similar, successful model launched in the Bready area of County Tyrone and has proved to be ideally suited for use as an interactive resource which will be freely available to members of the local Doagh community and indeed to any other interested individuals or students of local history.
It is hoped that the project will continue to expand and will provide a means of recording for posterity the many stories, memories, documents and photographs still available but in imminent danger of being lost forever with the passing of generations.
The sharing and publication of accurate historical information as well as the anecdotal and cherished memories of local community members, or of those who have moved away from the area, will preserve for future generations a knowledge and understanding of their own heritage. It will also hopefully reinforce a real feeling of identity and belonging to a community which has played such a significant role in the evolution of local society.
Chair, Doagh Ancestry and Townlands Steering Group