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Looking for Robb family relations My 4x grt grandfather was James Robb circa 1797  family names are Felix ,James ,,Alexander and John these male names run through the generations Some moved to Belfast and beyond any connections would be great.


Wednesday 28th July 2021, 04:16PM

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  • Hello Anne,

    In your message to Ireland Reaching Out, you had mentioned Killead, County Antrim, and the names Felix, James, Alexander, and John Robb.

    See below for James, Alex, and John Robb:

    I located the family of 54 year old James and 40 year old Susan Robb in the 1851 census of Ireland, living in the townland of British, Civil Parish of Killead, County Antrim. The census transcription, and copies of the original 1851 census pages come from the National Archives of Ireland link at:

    To view the 1851 census transcription for the Robb family, go to:

    Once the census downloads, make sure you click on “Show all information” to view the full transcription of the census page from left to right.

    The census shows that James and Anne were married in 1834, and that they could both read and write. James’s occupation was “Spirit Dealer.”

    The census also shows that James, Susan, and their six children were all born in County Antrim. Four of the older children could read and write. The children are 15 year old Nancy, 13 year old Jane; 11 year old Alex; 9 year old John; 7 year old David; and 5 year old Susan. Also counted in the census is their 3 month old daughter Martha, who had died in 1846. Her cause of death is just recorded as, “Decline.”

    This census, in effect, also acts as a mortality schedule for family members who had died in the 1840s.

    Below are four links that will take you to copies of the original 1851 census pages for the Robb family. The pages are handwritten and can be difficult to read. You’ll have to rotate the census pages to read them:

    The first full census returns of Ireland are from 1901 and 1911. You are fortunate that the 1851 census is available at all, as most of the Irish census returns in the 19th century, (except for what are known as “census fragments”), were destroyed. For more information about pre-1901 census returns see:

    Ages of individuals in Irish census returns can be notoriously inaccurate. But if James Robb’s age of 54 in the 1851 census is correct, or perhaps off by a year or two, he may be the James Robb you had mentioned as being born circa 1797. I also suspect that he and his wife Susan had more children than those in the household in 1851. This would be in addition to Martha, who died in 1846, five years before the census was taken on Sunday night, 30 March, 1851.

    A map from the website link shows that the townland of British is just north of the Belfast International Airport, which is several miles east of Belfast City. See the map at:

    I also located the townland of British on an Ordnance Survey Map of County Antrim from the 1837 to 1842 time period. The map, which comes from the GeoHive website, is attached to this reply.

    There will not be a civil registration marriage record for James Robb and Susan. The Irish government instituted civil registration in 1845. But at this time only Protestant and civil marriages were recorded. Catholic marriages were not recorded at this time.

    Full civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths for all religious denominations began in Ireland in 1864.

    The 1851 census shows that James and Susan were married in 1854. All their children in the census were born before the civil registration of births in 1864. To find records for the Robb family, you would need to look for them in church parish registers, with the understanding that the church registers of their particular religious denomination.

    I suspect that your Robb family belonged to the Presbyterian Church. If the Robb family did not belong to the Presbyterian Church, please let me know.

    The information below deals with accessing Killead Presbyterian Church records.

    The 1851 census shows the Robb family were living in the townland of British, Civil Parish of Killead. This means I had to find out if there were Killead Presbyterian Church registers of marriage and baptism that predate the year 1834, which is the year that James and Susan were married, according to the 1851 census.

    I found the information I was looking for at the website, which shows that Killead Presbyterian Church registers of baptism are available from 1826 to 1849, and that marriages are available from 1826 to 1901. See:

    The Killead Presbyterian Church registers are held by the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), in Belfast, but these registers are not online, and you would have to go to PRONI in Belfast to search the registers in person, or hire someone to go to PRONI and search for the Robb family in the Killead registers for you.

    The other option you have is to write to the Killead Presbyterian minister, Rev. John Murdock, and ask if he or a church staff member could search the Killead registers for the marriage of James Robb and Susan in 1834, and the baptisms of their children. The marriage record will tell you what Susan’s maiden name was. Susan’s maiden name may also be recorded in the baptisms of the Robb children.

    The years of baptism, or approximate years of baptism for the Robb children can be determined from their ages in the 1851 census, even tough their ages may not be precise in the census.

    For example, the 1851 census shows that:

    Nancy is 15 years old, placing her year of birth circa 1836.

    Jane is 13 years old, with an approximate year of birth circa 1838.

    Alex was 11 in 1851, and so he was born circa 1840.

    John was 9 years old in 1851. His year of birth would be circa 1842.

    David was 7 years old in 1851, with a year of birth circa 1844.

    Susan was 5 years old in 1851, with a year of birth circa 1846.

    The 1851 census also shows that James and Susan’s daughter Martha was 3 years old when she died in 1846. She would have been born circa 1843.

    For more information about Presbyterian baptism and marriage records in Ireland, go to the FamilySearch link at:

    Contact information for the Rev. Murdock and his staff can be found at:

    For the history of the Killead Presbyterian Church, as well as a photo of the church, go to:

    You may receive a reply from the Rev. Murdock or one of his staff that genealogical research can not be done for you. You may be referred to the Killead Presbyterian Church registers held by PRONI in Belfast. In this case you would either have to go to PRONI and search for registers yourself, or hire someone to research for you.

    The Ulster Historical Foundation (UHF) in Newtonards, County Down offers research services for a price, and can search the Killead Presbyterian Church registers at PRONI. For more information about the UHF research services, go to the following links: and

    Good Luck Anne,

    Dave Boylan


    National Archives of Ireland 1851 census
    Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)
    Killead Presbyterian Church website
    Ulster Historical Foundation (UHF)


    Wednesday 4th August 2021, 01:38PM

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