Ballyhalbert History

Family Research


Are you researching your family tree?  Did you have relatives who came from Ballyhalbert?  Please send us details of the information you are looking for together with background details and we will post it on this page.

Can you provide any information in response to these queries?  If so, please let us know.  See our Contact Us page for details of how to get in touch.

The 1911 Census is now available online to search:-


I am currently doing some research for a museum in USA about William Lemon who was born in Ballyhalbert around 1763.  He was the son of William Lemon (coast guard officer for Ballyhalbert) and Jane McKelvy. William (born c1730 d1822) and Jane (d1820) are buried in Donaghadee graveyard so the family may have originated from that town.

I am hoping to gain some background information about Ballyhalbert in the late 18th century and if possible find out more about The Coast Guard Station. 
When I was a child in the 1960's, my family would stay in a small cottage in High Street close to the shops / general store.  It was owned by a George McMaster and his family for circa 150 years before it was sold on.  When we stayed at the cottage in the summer, we looked forward to the mobile butchers and mobile chip shop coming around.
On walks to the harbour, we would pass the graveyard.  We were told that one of the oldest graves was of a little drummer boy, possibly from the 17th century?  Also, at the garage / petrol station there used to be carved lady taken from the bow of a sailing ship.
Later on, as an adult, I took part in a parachute jump at the airfield.  The training took place, I think in the then disused general store in High Street.
Can anyone add to the memory's?

In the 1970's I lived for a short time in Ballyhalbert in a home owned by John & Eleanor (Ellie) Patton. They were my grandparents. My father and his brother lived at the home in Ballyhalbert during WWII while grandfather worked in Belfast.

Opposite us my Great Grandfather and his wife (Granny Great) lived - their name was Watson. I was a young kid at the time I lived there but I attended the primary school and remember the airfield area. I seem to remember a dairy or livery being opposite the home we lived in by the local shop? Does anyone have any photos of High Street?

This site is terrific and while I don't know a great deal about my ancestors and their history in Ballyhalbert I would be interested in anything anyone can add.

I am the Director of the Amherst Historical Society in Amherst Massachusetts, USA and am delighted to visit other online Historical Societies. Keep up the good work and I hope to visit Ballyhalbert again on a visit in 2005 - I still have family in Portavogie.

Fiona Russell


JOHN WILLIAM DAVIS 1878 to about 1954
My name is Roy Davis and I now live in Melbourne Australia. About 50 years ago in about 1953 or 54, I remember standing beside the Ballyhalbert sea wall opposite my grandparents home and watched the funeral procession of my grandfather JOHN WILLIAM DAVIS of Bayview House Ballyhalbert with Tommy White from Kircubbin following the procession in rubber boots and a shovel over his shoulder.
If there is some kind Ballyhalbert resident with a digital camera, could you please locate my grandfather's grave and put the photo in the Ballyhalbert Graveyard album on this website.
If there are any really old graves or famous people in the graveyard, could you photograph some of these also for the website.
Thank you
Roy Davis (formerly of Ballyhalbert & Kircubbin)


I have been researching my family tree here in New Zealand and have dicovered through my great grandfathers death certificate that he was born in Ballyhalbert. He was Henry Ennis b approx 1841, married Sarah Mcdowell and emigrated to NZ in 1875.  Is there anyone or anywhere in Ballyhalbert that would have records etc of the villagers around that time that could help me in my search. I'm afraid I seem to have come to a dead end and would very much appreciate some help if possible.
Thank you
Colleen Carlsen


I was wondering if you keep family records of the village? My family emigrated from Ballyhalbert from 1909 through 1921. Eventually all settling in the Chicago area. I have found the census of 1901 on line and they are all listed. I am looking for information on my great grandparents families. John Bell and Isabella Wilson Bell. Children were John, Hugh, William (my grandfather), Robert, Peter, Isabella, Samuel, & Sarah. I have been told that we were related to Johnstons, McMasters. Peter Wilson , my great grandmother's brother remained in Ballyhalbert, I believe. Thanks very much for any information!

Patrick Bell
I am looking for some information about Ellen MacAlpine (born in Scotland around 1865/1870) who married a William Curragh of Kircubbin.  Do you have any idea when the MacAlpine family moved from Scotland to Ballyhalbert?

Ellen MacAlpine was my great-grandmother.

Best Regards,
Colin Curragh


I was delighted to find your website. I am a grand daughter of Thomas and Margaret Gowan Johnston who had a farm near Ballyhalbert. My father, Samuel, was the oldest of nine children. He left Ireland in 1909 for the U.S. His brother and sisters, not in order, were Christina, Alice, Agnes, Robert, William, Hugh, James,and David. The last four brothers settled in the U.S. The last sibling, Agnes (Nan), died in Oct. 1989 in Ireland.

I am coming to Ireland with five of my family on or about June 22, 2008. We hope to learn more about the family. I would like to know if Robert Stewart of Kircubbin is still there. He was a great friend of the Johnston family.

Best regards, Margaret (Johnston) Broderick
My paternal great grandparents, John Reid and his wife Eliza McKee emigrated from Ballyhalbert to Amherst Island in Ontario, Canada in the early 1830's. John was born in 1803 and Eliza 1814. They had two children born in Ballyhalbert, Robert in 1832 and Ann in 1834 and another ten in Canada. From those 12 children I have almost one thousand desendants and  would now like to get more information from Ireland. If anyone can help me with information about John and Eliza or direct me to any organization which could enquire for a fee, I would appreciate the help.
    Thank You
    Don Lane,