Ireland Genealogy Projects (IGP)
name Londondery, locally and historically known by
Irish names Derry and anciently as Doire.
The old city and surrounding urban and rural areas were administratively merged in 1969 and later became one of Northern Ireland's 26 districts in 1973.
Mired in the region's political turmoil, controversy surrounds the city's name. The British government officially refers to the city as Londonderry City, but since 1984 the city council has called itself the Derry City Council.
Nationalists generally use the local popular name Derry, as do many unionists, though the latter are more likely to use Londonderry in political discussion.
History of the Region
Centred on a hill on the west bank of the River Foyle, the old city is partially contained by well-preserved city walls (completed in 1618) 1.2 miles (2 km) in circumference. It is about 4 miles (6 km) upstream from where the Foyle widens into the broad Atlantic inlet of Lough Foyle. St. Columba established a monastery on the site in the mid-6th century, but the settlement was destroyed by Norse invaders, who reportedly burned it down seven times before 1200. Later the town served as a strategic point in the Tudor wars against the native Irish. In 1600 an English force seized Derry, demolishing Irish churches and the monastery. Shortly thereafter (in 1613) James I of England granted Derry to the citizens of London who laid out the new city, built stout walls, and brought in Protestant (both English and Scottish) settlers. The place was thereafter officially known as Londonderry. The new city was unsuccessfully besieged several times in the 17th century, particularly by the forces of James II in 1688–89. St. Columba's (Anglican) Cathedral, originally built in 1633, contains many relics of the siege of 1688–89.
Growth of the modern city dates from the 1850s, when linen shirt making became important. Clothing manufacture (now utilizing both natural and synthetic fibres) continues to be a significant industry; other local factories process foods and manufacture chemicals and other light industrial products. Londonderry served as a naval base during World Wars I and II; its contemporary port facilities, however, are of minor importance. A civil rights campaign seeking equal rights for Roman Catholics was inaugurated in Northern Ireland in 1968, and in 1969 street violence occurred in Londonderry. Intermittent disturbances into the 1980s were characterized by the use of firearms and bombs.
The district includes rolling lowlands and valleys that gradually rise to the wooded slopes of the Sperrin Mountains in the southeast. It is bordered by the districts of Limavady to the east and Strabane to the south, the Irish republic to the west, and Lough Foyle to the north. Salmon are commercially fished in the tidal portions of the River Foyle; and sheep, barley, and poultry are raised by farmers in the district. A comprehensive modernization program has resulted in extensive redevelopment within the old city; several industrial estates have also been established at the mouth of the River Foyle, along with new outlying residential areas and a second bridge across the Foyle. Area district, 148 square miles (380 square km). Pop. (1998 est.) district, 105,800.
Source: Britannica.com (full article - http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=50006&tocid=0)
Many Reiver families came to Derry in the early to mid 1600s. Click on button below.
County Derry [7 baronies]
All - Anciently inhabited by the Darini whose name may perpetuate in the name of the county. Very early known as Tir Cahan or Cathan-aght signifying O'Kanes's country. Coleraine - O'Cathain (O'Cahan or Kane) were chiefs of Creeve centered here. Keenaght - The O'Conor family here declined with the rise of the O'Kanes after the Norman invasion. O'Cathain (O'Cahan or Kane) were chiefs of Keenaght of Dungiven (Glengiven) centered here. O'Quinn is also cited as a chief of Moy Lugad, in Keenaght of Glengiven. Liberties of Coleraine - Liberties of Londonderry - Londonderry Borough - Loughinsholin - O'Hegarty is found centered in this area, as well as in Tirkeeran. An O'Kelly clan is noted here. Tirkeeran - O'Quinn, O'Kenny, O'Heitigein, O'Gnives, O'Hairnin, O'Looney, O'Neny, MacShane and O'Tierney are listed as chiefs of Moy Ith which comprised parts of Raphoe and Tirkeeran. The territories in the 12th century are given as Teallach Caghalain, Teallach Duibhailbe, Teallach Braenain. O'Caireallain (O'Carolan) were chief of Clan Diarmada (which contained Clondermot parish). O'Colgan was a chief in Tirkeeran in the 14th century. Misc -
County Derry Genealogy Centre
Harbour Museum, Harbour Square
35 Foyle Street
Tel: 01504 266888
Fax: 01504 269084
Coleraine County Hall
Coleraine Co. Londonderry
Tel: 01265 51026 Fax: 01265 51247
General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRO)
Oxford House, 49-55 Chichester Street
Belfast BT1 4HC
Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)
66 Balmoral Avenue
Belfast BT9 6NY
Query and Surname Resources
Other Londonderry Genealogy Websites
Genuki for Ireland Londonderry
Irish Times - Place Names - an excellent guide
On-line Irish Names Research Directory - surname listing for this county
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created for the County Derry Genealogy website are © 2001, 2002, 2003 by
Kathleen Woodside Freiburg.
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