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Family Roots Explored At Ulster

1 July 2011

People from across the world have been tracing their family roots in Northern Ireland with the help of a summer school run by the University in partnership with the Ulster Historical Foundation. The 50 students come from the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.This is the second year this unique programme has been based at the Belfast campus. It includes lectures on local history, genealogy and migration, research visits to the Public Record Office, and visits to sites of historical importance. Dr Allan Blackstock from the School of English, History and Politics said: “The central idea behind the course was that to fully appreciate family history you need an historical sense of place and that’s why we visit historical sites. “The students say the course provides opportunities to see places they would never see on their own, and they spend time with others equally enthused about the subject rather than the usual fairly solitary task of conducting research.”The students had Belfast tours of the City Hall and also Parliament Buildings, where they were greeted by Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin and listened to a debate from the public gallery. They also visited historical locations in the countryside such as Sentry Hill House, the Ulster American Folk Park and Centre for Migration Studies at Omagh and Baronscourt House, where the students were welcomed by the Duke of Abercorn. Course certificates will be presented by Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Arts, at a special ceremony tonight. The summer school ends tomorrow with a bus tour of mid-Antrim and a reception by the mayor of Ballymena.