by Paul Richmond
The inscriptions carved into the headstones at Rashee Old Graveyard, an ancient and well-hidden burial ground screened by mature trees located just north of Ballyclare, span three centuries and tell of emigration, religion, revolution and attitudes to death, whilst the surnames which appear on the stones, almost all of which are of Scottish origin, highlight Co. Antrim’s deeply rooted ties with Scotland.
The simple, but robust, stone corpse house (or ‘mort house’) of 1831 which stands in the north-western corner of the yard acts as a reminder that, in the few years leading up to 1832, the threat of freshly buried bodies being quietly disinterred and secreted out of the graveyard was an all too real one. The panic, which had been whipped into a frenzy by reports of Burke and Hare’s infamous spree in Edinburgh, was abated in 1832 with the passing of the Anatomy Act which meant that the supply of bodies for anatomical dissection was no longer limited to just those of executed criminals (although similar mort houses still continued to be built, and used, for a number of years afterwards).
Corpse houses of a similar date to that found at Rashee can be found in the neighbouring old parish graveyards in Kilbride, Ballynure, Ballylinney and in the yard which surrounds St. John’s in Donegore (built in 1832). The Ordnance Survey memoir for Kilbride parish, written in October 1832, sheds light upon how the identical mort house in that parish’s old graveyard was used: ‘The dead bodies are deposited in this vault for 6 weeks before interment; subscriptions from 1 guinea to 1s, non-subscribers pay 10s, which sums are kept. It is supposed to defray the expense of building a new wall round the graveyard, which is now in contemplation’.i
In 1875, more than forty years after the threat of bodysnatching had ended, an elderly man’s body disappeared from a plot at Rashee under rather different circumstances. James Johnston, aged 79, was buried in the graveyard in the summer of that year and, a few months later, an elderly friend visited the yard and was horrified to find that the grave had been dug up and the old man’s body removed. This bizarre case caused quite a stir in Ulster and eventually led to the prosecution of Mary Boyce and William Todd who had earlier been spotted removing Johnston’s body from the grave. Todd and Boyce, who were fined 5 shillings and £5 respectively, had removed the old man’s body from the plot as they believed he had ‘no right’ to it. By the time that the case came to trial, in April the following year, ‘The place in which the body was finally put had not yet transpired’.
Rashee Old Graveyard is a particularly humbling one to visit, perhaps more so than other, later, nineteenth-century graveyards in Ulster, as elaborately carved headstones decorated with armorial bearings stand adjacent to eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century graves which are simply marked by small boulders lifted from the surrounding fields. A number of these stones, I believe (judging from their clearly man-made, sculpted edges), are quite probably remnants of the ancient church known as Rath-Sithe, which is believed to have been established by none other than St. Patrick himself and stood on, or near, the present site of the graveyard. The boundaries of this ancient church are known to have still been visible at Rashee in the 1860s, during which a local farmer ploughed up human remains on his land and the Rev. F. C. Young discovered Danish relics on the site of the old graveyard.iii It would therefore surely make sense that local farming families who were too poor to afford a headstone would indeed have used any available remaining masonry from the nearby venerable old church as a fitting Christian marker for their family graves. There is some suggestion, too, that the mort house of 1831 was also built using stones taken from the ruins of the old church.
Bizarrely, the Ordnance Survey memoirs for the parish of Rashee, which date from the late 1830s, fail to mention the old graveyard once: one can only assume that the graveyard was as well kept a secret then as it still is today.
A number of local, landowning gentry families and prosperous gentlemen farmers appear to have buried their dead at Rashee, the most notable being the landed Owens family of Holestone and Tildarg, who have an unusual caged vault-like memorial (consisting of an iron barrel-vaulted cage which arches over the family’s adjoining plots and sits firmly on a low stone wall, which was probably designed to act as a giant mort-safe, ensuring that grave robbers could not access the plot – such mort-safes were common across Scotland, but much less so in Ireland. The Owens’ unusual memorial was mentioned, and pictured, by Joseph Skillen in his article ‘The Resurrectionists in County Antrim’ in the Ulster Journal of Archaelogy, Third Series, Vol. 2, 1939).
Other notable graves include those of the Rev. Stafford Pettigrew (but the headstone is now toppled and the inscription barely legible), who was supposedly the second Presbyterian Minister at Ballyeaston and began preaching there in 1698 (his death was noted in the early funeral registers of Belfast 1st Presbyterian Church); the Rev. William Montgomery, a one time Presbyterian minister at Ballyeaston; Rev. Samuel Hilditch (listed on Rev. Pettigrew’s stone); Mr. George Birnie, a Royal Navy surgeon; Mr. John Orr, Gentleman, of Greencastle; and Mr. William McClean, merchant, of Belfast, who was apparently active in the 1798 Rebellion (as his epitaph records him as having been: ‘one of the original Volunteers, a genuine Theophilanthropist, a distinguished Patriot in the worst of times and in all relations of life a truly honest man’).
The John Orr who lies at rest in Rashee was a wealthy linen bleacher who settled in the Greencastle area (just outside Belfast, on the shores of Belfast Lough) who, clearly, must have had earlier links to the area surrounding Rashee. In 1776 he leased an extensive property in Greencastle to Nicholas Grimshaw, a Lancashire man who had only very recently arrived in Ulster, and it was in John Orr’s old flax mill near the shore of Belfast Lough (at a landing place which was once known as ‘the Lime-stones’) that Grimshaw subsequently erected the first machinery for spinning cotton in the whole of Ireland.
The Owens family’s caged memorial at Rashee consists of four separate tablets set into a low, square wall and would appear to be the only monument to a large-scale landowning family in the graveyard. The Owens’ memorial, therefore, is to Rashee Old Graveyard what the Adair family’s two memorials are to nearby St. John’s, Donegore.
The rise of the Owens family’s status in the area can be charted by the various detailed epitaphs which proudly record the marriages of successive members of the family into other increasingly important Ulster families: one married a Rector of Clough in the late 1700s; one, in 1828, the daughter of a High Sheriff of Co. Antrim (and granddaughter of William Sturrock, Archdeacon of Armagh); whilst a later member of the family, James Owens, married into the family of Robert James Tennent, D.L., the owner of Rush Park, Whiteabbey, Co. Antrim (now demolished). James married Evelyn Margaret Tennent (who was born at her father’s house at Hercules Place, Belfast, in 1841) in Kensington, London, in 1861, and died in 1900: his widow Evelyn died in Naples in 1916.
The Owens’ large property at Holestone originally belonged to the Gillilan family, who arrived in Ireland from Scotland at the time of Charles II, but it later passed into the Owens family after the marriage of one Henry Owens to Jane Gillilan in 1724.
A small number of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century headstones in the yard commemorate the families of prosperous local farmers, with intricately carved armorial bearings and family mottoes. Luckily, a number of these carvings, and their accompanying inscriptions, were faithfully recorded in the summer of 1899 by the notable Ulster historian F. J. Bigger who visited Rashee Old Graveyard as part of his quest to compile a record of headstones which displayed family crests in the graveyards of Co. Antrim. Twelve headstone inscriptions from Rashee, ten of which included armorial carvings, were later published by Bigger and Hughes in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology as part of an extended feature entitled ‘Armorial Sculptured Stones of the County Antrim’ which appeared throughout 1900 and 1901 (the Rashee inscriptions appear in Vol. VI, July 1900, No. 3). (The ten inscriptions with armorial bearings published in the journal were those of the Allen[x2], Kirkwood, Houston, Hume, Alexander, McAlexander, MacLellan, Orr and White families.)
Incredibly, by 2005 all twelve of the headstones recorded by Bigger and Hughes could still be found at Rashee, although all were in differing states of preservation: one had sunk to such a depth that half of the original inscription was invisible; one was shattered into three pieces; one had been destroyed after a large section of the epitaph crumbled away; and a number of the others had been worn to illegibility by the elements.
The intricately carved slate headstone erected by Alexander McAlexander in memory of his wife Janet Logan in 1758, which had come loose from its foundations and had been propped up against another memorial, disappeared completely from the graveyard during 2006. However, it bizarrely – but thankfully – reappeared two years later in 2008, propped up against a tree in the graveyard. This stone is a particularly interesting one as it proves kinship between the McAlexanders buried at Rashee and the Alexanders buried at nearby Ballylinney. The motto ‘Quod Tibi Ne Alteri’ and an identically carved set of balanced scales can be found on both memorials. Balanced scales can also be found at Rashee carved into the much later headstone of Conway ‘McNeice’ (so spelt) of Cogry, whose wife Martha was an Alexander before marriage. Carved scales were a common emblem of immortality in funereal art, referring to the weighing of the soul on the Day of Judgement, but the Mc/Alexander family’s headstone carvings were definitely heraldic: the Mc/Alexanders of Rashee and Ballylinney were no doubt descended or, at least, believed themselves to be descended from the Alexanders of Auchmull who were an old landed Aberdeenshire family with a family crest and motto which exactly match the latin inscriptions and balanced scales carved into the headstones at Rashee and Ballylinney. Therefore, at Rashee we have evidence of Ulster families striving to declare and perpetuate their earlier Scottish roots.
Similarly, the family arms of Colonel Walter Whitford, a son of the seventeenth-century Scottish minister and ardent Royalist of the same name, which were granted to him in the late seventeenth century were believed to be visible on a headstone – in 1899 – somewhere in the graveyard (and also on a headstone somewhere in Ballyeaston) but Bigger made no mention of these carvings in his research and I have never seen such a headstone at Rashee (Colonel Whitford was believed to be an ancestor of ‘the Ulster Whitefords, of Whitefordstown, near Ballyeaston’).v The only Whit(e)ford headstone currently located at Rashee is one which was first erected to the memory of William Whitford of Ballyboley townland who died in 1853 aged 62, but there do not appear to be any armorial carvings upon it (although, admittedly, like many of the other memorials, this stone has fractured into three large segments so, possibly, an inscription might be found on the underside of one of the heavy pieces).
There are two other interesting headstones at Rashee with armorial carvings, erected by the Gilmer and Howie families, which must have been overlooked or dismissed by Bigger during his visits to the graveyard in 1899 as he failed to mention them in his research. The Howie grave has two headstones on it which, unusually, stand at opposite ends of the family’s narrow plot, with the inscriptions facing each other. Robert Howie, who died in 1862 aged 72, was the owner of the Old Park Print Works in Belfast and lived near it at the large estate known as Old Park in North Belfast (now demolished). Howie seems to have inherited the Old Park property through his wife, Esther Howie, nee Anderson, who was a daughter of Thomas Anderson of Old Park.
In the centre of the graveyard, surrounded by rusting cast-iron railings, lie the shattered remains of the Birnie family’s headstone. This memorial has been broken by a mature tree which grows nearby but the name of ‘George Birnie, Surgeon R.N.’ is still legible on one of the fragments. George Birnie, born about 1791, was a Royal Navy surgeon whose observations on the symptoms of tropical diseases were frequently published in medical books and journals throughout his career. He was able to closely observe the effects of these diseases upon his shipmates whilst serving on vessels in the Caribbean and along the west coast of South America in the early decades of the nineteenth century. During the 1820s, whilst serving as surgeon on HMS Conway, Birnie wrote a manuscript on his observations of the climate and diseases of South America, extracts from which later appeared in an 1827 volume written by Captain Basil Hall about his travels in that continent.vi Earlier in Birnie’s career, whilst serving as assistant surgeon on the HMS Antelope in the Caribbean in early 1817, he wrote a long letter outlining his astute observations on yellow fever which was published in The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal of 1817.
At this time Birnie himself suffered a severe attack of the disease and was laid up in hospital in Barbados, recovering after five days; his shipmates weren’t quite so lucky – 110 cases of the disease broke out on HMS Antelope between the ship’s arrival at Barbados in March 1816 and January 1817, with 31 fatalities.vii His letter also highlights the frighteningly primitive cures used on board naval vessels at the time, with blood letting, the external application of mercurial ointments and cold baths being the principal treatments employed (Birnie, however, was ‘decidedly against the use of the cold-bath’!).viii George Birnie was promoted to surgeon in 1819 and notice of his promotion appeared in The Edinburgh Magazine in that year. In the late 1830s George would appear to have been serving as surgeon on the HMS Blenheim, when the vessel was being used to transport convicts to Australia, with one journey to Tasmania in 1837 taking the ship exactly four months to complete.
Birnie was also active in Belfast’s medical circles and was an early member of the Belfast Medical Society during 1824-1825 and 1838-1845. The 1843 Belfast Directory finds G. Birnie, Surgeon, R.N., living at 21 York Street, just a few doors away from the home of the celebrated and gifted young Belfast doctor Andrew George Malcolm (who later died young in 1854).
George Birnie married Isabella Beggs who had extensive joint landholdings with her sisters in the townlands of Carnduff and Ballysnod near Larne, Co. Antrim, but the couple appear to have been childless. George Birnie died in Belfast on 8th October 1845, aged 54, and it would appear that at least one member of his family followed in his footsteps as a partially legible fragment of the Birnie memorial seems to refer to a nephew who was also a surgeon in the Royal Navy (he was George Birnie Hill, the son of Edward Hill of Ballyclare and Sarah Beggs). After George’s death his widow Isabella lived on at York Street for more than 30 years until her death in 1878.
For such a small country graveyard a surprising number of other distinguished Co. Antrim medical men can also be found buried at Rashee. Douglas Semple, born about 1816, a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of London, died aged just 40 in the Ballycarry area:
‘Erected to the memory of Douglas Semple, Surgeon, late of Dudley, M.R.C.S. London, who died at his Father’s House, Broad-Island, 18th April 1856 aged 40 years. Also his brother Arthr. Semple who died 28th Novr. 1823 aged 19 years. Also his brother James Semple who departed this life at Broadisland on the 30th August 1875 aged 80 years.’
Douglas can be found on the 1851 census of England living at 160 Tower Street, Dudley, with his 38-year-old unmarried brother, Archibald B. Semple, who was also a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Douglas, in 1851, was a 35-year-old unmarried surgeon’s assistant and both he and his older brother were born in Ireland. Douglas was a Licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and was admitted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1852. ‘Broad-Island’ is better known as Templecorran, or Ballycarry, which is about 11 miles from Rashee, but clearly the Semple family must have had earlier roots in the Rashee area.
Beside Douglas Semple’s headstone stands another, presumably connected, Semple memorial which was erected by the Royal Black Preceptory of Ligoniel, Belfast, in memory of one of their members, David Semple, who died at Ballysillan, Belfast, in 1875 aged 60. David’s wife, Betty Semple, and his married daughter Mary (she married Henry McNeill at Ballysillan Presbyterian in 1872) as well as six unnamed children are also mentioned on the headstone.
A local doctor, Patrick Ramsay Hay, is also buried at Rashee. He was born in Ballyclare on 14 September 1825 and died at Clatteryknowes townland in Glenwherry on 10 October 1891. Also, Dan Peden Simpson Hill M.D., Surgeon, who died in 1904 aged 41, is commemorated on a large headstone first erected in memory of his great grandparents, Robert and Isabella Wilson, nee Hill, of Cogry, who died in 1842 and 1857, respectively.
As with Douglas Semple’s headstone – which seems to infer that a move to Ballycarry from Rashee probably occurred in the family’s not too distant past – a large number of memorials at Old Rashee expose patterns of local migration within the area. Although the majority of headstones at Rashee, unsurprisingly, refer to a cluster of about 20 local townlands, scattered throughout several neighbouring parishes, there are a significant number from the second half of the nineteenth century which refer to once locally-rooted families as now being of Larne, Carrickfergus, Ligoniel or Belfast. These families, however, all of whom preferred to be buried with their ancestors at Rashee, clearly retained a sense of connection to the area even after migration.
Whilst the later headstones shed light on where local families migrated to, inscriptions on the earlier memorials offer clues as to where some of the families came from. One such stone is the Stewart memorial erected by Robert Stewart ‘in Memory of his Grandfather William Beggs of Scrabby’: William Beggs was presumably from Scrabby parish in Co. Cavan (or is ‘Scrabby’ perhaps a misspelling of Scrabo, Co. Down?).
Similarly, one of the Howie family’s impressive headstones in the north-east corner of the yard records the erector’s mother, Ann Howie, who died in 1817 aged 55, as ‘late of Paisley’, therefore implying that the family had quite recently arrived in the area from Scotland at the time of Ann’s death.
Interestingly, some local place-names which seem to have dropped out of common usage are recorded on a small number of headstones, place-names which will no doubt cause difficulties for future family historians. ‘Whitridge’ appears on the Sa(u)nderson family’s headstone of 1805 (which, like the Birnie stone, has been broken by a mature tree): Whiteridge is an area in Glenwherry parish near Glenwherry Presbyterian Church, but not a townland. There are indeed a number of Saundersons from Whiteridge buried in the Presbyterian graveyard in Glenwherry. The families of Glenwherry apparently had a long-standing tradition of burying their dead at Rashee as, with no established Presbyterian congregation in their own parish during the 1700s and early 1800s, they had been encouraged by Antrim Presbytery to align themselves to a neighbouring congregation, with nearby Ballyeaston apparently being their chosen one.ix
The Howie family’s headstone in the north-east corner of the yard also records another minor place-name which I have so far failed to trace. The erector, John Howie, is described as being of ‘Fence (or ‘Fenee’) Green’ but this place-name does not seem to match any known ones in Co. Antrim or Scotland and may well have been a minor place-name, known only locally and perhaps relating to a bleach green, which has since disappeared from everyday usage (as mentioned, Howie lived at Old Park, Belfast, so the mysterious place-name may actually relate to somewhere in that vicinity).
Unsurprisingly, the most frequently found local place-names on the headstones are the five townlands which comprise Rashee parish: Ballynashee; Carnlea; Dunamoy; Tildarg and Rashee. Families in the five adjoining parishes also used the yard regularly, as townlands in Ballycor, Connor, Kilbride, Glenwherry and the Grange of Doagh also feature heavily on headstones.
A small number of the inscriptions at Rashee refer to emigration to America and Australia; there are two headstones from about 1840-1860 and two from the 1880-1900 period which mention local men and women who left Co. Antrim bound for foreign shores. Samuel Wilson of Ohio commissioned an early headstone, probably during the 1840s or 50s, which records his parents, James Wilson and Jane Robinson, who both died young in the 1830s. Similarly, John Allen ‘of America’ erected a headstone in memory of his father James who died 1 February 1834 aged 75. Illinois in the US and Boorhaman in Australia are recorded on the memorials of, respectively, the Todd and Aitcheson families.
John Todd emigrated from Co. Antrim about 1870 and settled in Illinois where he farmed land for many years in Nachusa Township, Lee County, and died at Eldena on 1 March 1918, aged 72, after ensuring that his parents, Robert and Bridget Todd of Cogry, and his brother Nathaniel, were suitably commemorated back in Rashee. ‘Todd’ is a common surname in the graveyard, with no less than eight Todd headstones, four of which mention Cogry.
The gradual improvement of literacy in the area becomes apparent when one compares the surviving eighteenth-century headstone inscriptions with those of the nineteenth century. Surnames such as ‘Houston’, ‘Archibald’, ‘Maybin’, ‘Gault’ and ‘Allen’ were frequently carved as ‘Howstun’, ‘Aresbal’, ‘Mebon’, ‘Galt’ and ‘Alland’ throughout the eighteenth century. The four memorials to the Maybin family, who seem to have been rooted in Dunamoy townland in Rashee throughout the 1700s and 1800s, perfectly illustrate how the accepted spelling of family names can be modified over time. The earliest stone, from 1781, records the death of Patrick ‘Mebon’, a stone from the early 1840s was erected by Patrick ‘Mayben’, whilst two later stones both spell the surname as ‘Maybin’. Similarly, the Barkley headstone, which was used repeatedly by generations of the same family to record burials between 1719 and 1868, displays three variations of the same surname: ‘Barkli’; ‘Barklie’; and ‘Barkley’. The death of Agnes ‘Barkli’, nee ‘Dunalson’, who died on 13 September 1719, aged 50, is one of the earliest deaths recorded at Rashee. Agnes’ death, though, as seems customary, does not seem to have been recorded on the headstone until after that of her husband, ‘Archebald Barkli’, who died seven years later in 1726. The Barkley headstone is also unique at Rashee for its striking, eighteenth-century, deeply carved image of a winged angel which fills the entire reverse side of the stone. Floridly carved scenes and emblems such as those on the Barkley headstone are more commonly found in the graveyards of the Scottish Lowlands; headstone carvings in Co. Antrim are rarer and, where they do survive, seem much more restrained than their Scottish counterparts.
The graves of local landowners, medics, ministers and merchants are of interest to the historian but it will undoubtedly be the headstone inscriptions of the small-scale farming families which will predominantly be of use to genealogists. Whilst many members of these farming families will have surely emigrated to America, Canada or Australia during the 1800s, the inscriptions at Rashee suggest that many of the ‘old’ families of the area remained firmly established in the area for hundreds of years despite the departure of many of their sons and daughters throughout the generations. Some families remained rooted in one townland throughout two, or even three, centuries: the extended Maybin family, for example, continued to live in Dunamoy for 150 years; the Todds were concentrated in Cogry since at least the late 1700s; the Gilmers seem to have deep roots in Rashee townland; and the Owens, no doubt due to their large properties, remained in Holestone and Tildarg throughout the 1700s, 1800s and early 1900s.
The permanency of certain farming families in the area, such as the Flemings, Pattersons, McKinstrys, McAdoos and Gilmers, has resulted in particularly detailed and, hopefully, permanent records of their members’ lives. For example, the McKinstry family’s memorials chart its members throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from Henry McKinstry, born circa. 1757, to Thomas John McKinstry who died in 1907, aged 21.
The Fleming family of Strawpark townland in the parish of Kilbride faithfully recorded almost 100 years of deaths within their family on one single, enormous headstone (the townland is repeatedly inscribed as ‘Straypark’ on the headstone, which was the accepted spelling of that place-name for many years). The inscription charts the lives of at least three or four generations of the family, starting with Richard Fleming, born circa 1801 (who married Agnes Montgomery in 1827), and ending with the death of his son, John Fleming, in 1918, aged 79. The loss of numerous infants and young adults throughout the course of the nineteenth century fills every other available inch of space between.
That so many headstones with detailed and lengthy inscriptions, covering two or three centuries of one family’s members, can be found at Rashee is testament to the fact that settlement within the cluster of several parishes radiating out from Rashee seems to have been somewhat more permanent and uninterrupted than it was amongst farming communities in certain other regions of Co. Antrim. Furthermore, the strong sense of place and belonging held by folk from Rashee and its surrounding farmlands is discernible from the large numbers of people who had left the area during the nineteenth century, and then migrated within Co. Antrim, who made a conscious effort to ensure that their bodies were ultimately returned to the old, familiar earth at Rashee.
Some families have been established for so long in the area that they can boast of a full ‘set’ of headstones, ranging from the humble field-stone grave markers of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to the High Victorian, marble, urn-capped monuments of the late 1800s. At least 9 field-stones with carved initials survive at Rashee and many others without any markings can be found positioned on various graves throughout the yard. Immediately beside the headstone erected by Thomas John and Hessie McKinstry in 1907 in memory of their 21-year-old son, Thomas John Jnr., sits a small stone with ‘WMK’ carved upon it which quite probably marks a much earlier McKinstry plot. Also, two old stones with ‘LOGAN’ and ‘H A LOGAN’ carved into them sit beside the spot where the McAlexander family’s carved slate headstone originally stood (Janet McAlexander, who died in 1758, had been a Logan before marriage).
Rashee Old Graveyard is a veritable microcosm of County Antrim’s history with every layer of the area’s eighteenth- and nineteenth-century social structure represented somewhere in the yard. The graveyard’s burial register, which would shed more light on the history of the families buried there, is known to exist but, unfortunately, it is believed to be in private hands.
The mature trees which give the graveyard such a unique atmosphere have had both a positive and a negative impact on the headstones. Over the years the trees have greatly sheltered the headstones from the elements, ensuring that the inscriptions have remained sharp and legible (much more so than those at the old graveyard in neighbouring Ballylinney which is exposed and windswept). However, the same mature trees have shattered or toppled numerous headstones throughout the yard and in, some cases, literally consumed sections of the memorials.
When one considers how the headstones recorded by F.J. Bigger in 1899 have become worn, broken, sunken or even removed (but then returned) it becomes clear what a temporary resource headstone inscriptions are and how important it is to ensure that the stories they tell are fully recorded.
i Ordnance Survey Memoirs, County Antrim 11, Volume 29, editors: Angelique Day and Patrick McWilliams
ii Belfast News-Letter, 19 April 1876
iii Through the Ages to Newtownabbey, Robert Armstrong
iv A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland by Sir Bernard Burke, printed 1863, pg. 1140.
v The Genealogical Magazine, Volume 2, 1899, Princeton University
vi ‘Notice on the Climate of the Western Coasts of South America and Mexico, and on its Effects on the Health of the Residents and of Strangers. Extracted from a MS. Memoir on the Climate and Diseases of South America, By George Birnie, Esq. R.N. Surgeon of his Majesty’s Ship Conway’, Extracts From a Journal Written on the Coasts of Chili [sic], Peru and Mexico in the Years 1820, 1821, 1822 by Captain Basil Hall, Royal Navy, Edinburgh, 1827.
vii ‘Mr Birnie on Yellow-Fever’, The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal Volume 13, George Ramsay & Co., Edinburgh, 1817.
viii ‘Mr Birnie on Yellow-Fever’, 1817.
ix Historical Sketch of First Ballyeaston Presbyterian Church, 1676 to 1930, Rev. W J Harrison, 1930.