Byers Families in Church Records

On this page: 

A collection of PDFs which details Byers marriages, births and deaths from each of the churches in the list below. Bailieborough Parish Church is not included as I found no references there to Byers.

Listings for Byers in Cavan Church Records (plus a few for Ney, Wedlock, Johnston, McIlwaine and Coote)

First Presbyterian Church, Bailieborough (also known as Corglass Church)

Three miles from Bailieborough is Corglass Church. Its first minister was installed in 1714 and the present building dates from 1795. There are limited occurrences of Byers (the church was associated with my grandmother's family of Ney and it's where my grandparents are buried).

See the PDF below.


      Photos of Byers grave and Corglass Church 

Nowhere was the support for the United Irishmen greater than in Bailieborough where Corglass was known as the Church of the Rebels. At the Battle of Rebel Hill in 1798, 300 were bayoneted or drowned as they tried to retreat across the lake to avoid the Yeomanry. Many who escaped were subsequently killed at Bloody Bridge and their blood was said to have turned Parker's Lake crimson red.

Rev. Thomas Byers MA DD (born c.1878 in Virginia, most likely 18 November 1877 to Joseph and Martha Byers - see Ballyjamesduff Presbyterian PDF; ordained at Rothesay, Scotland, 1912) was minister here (1921-24) and later Moderator of the General Assembly (1946).  He had been a schoolmaster before studying for the ministry. After First Bailieborough he was minister of Ormond Quay, Dublin (1924-1952). He married Roberta Shiels Dixon (died 27 December 1944); Thomas died 22 October 1964 aged 86 years. 

See also this book by Thomas Byers: The Presbyterian church in Ireland: Ormond Quay and Scots Church, Dublin; a record of three hundred years (Dublin, Brunswick Press, 1950).

Thomas's son, Rev Victor Gordon Byers (ordained 1940), was a Chaplain to the Forces in World War II. He moved to British Columbia in 1959 (Ellesmere-Westridge Presbyterian Church, North Barnaby).

Rev Dr Thomas Byers from In Old Corglass by Rev Warren Porter, 1964.

This is the War Memorial in Corglass which mentions Rev Thomas Byers for his work with the YMCA during those years.

More details of the other names are given online here.

Photo courtesy of Leslie McKeague.

The first PDF below includes excerpts from In Old Corglass, “an outline of 250 years in First Bailieboro’ Presbyterian Church”. These include the Rev. Byers's foreword and the section about his ministry in Corglass. 

Rev Byers in old Corglass.pdf Rev Byers in old Corglass.pdf
Size : 58.813 Kb
Type : pdf


Bailieborough: A Pictorial Past, by Leslie McKeague, Bailie Publications, 2010, is a fascinating collection of photographs and memories of the town through the ages.

It can be ordered


Second Presbyterian Church, Bailieborough and Trinity

These are two distinct churches here. The Second Presbyterian Church was built in 1770 at Urcher, one mile outside Bailieborough. Only its graveyard now remains. The church was demolished when the new Trinity Church was built in 1887 on the Virginia Road in Bailieborough.

The few occurrences of the name Byers are in the PDF below.

Photo of Trinity Church courtesy of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.   

2nd Presbyterian, Trinity, Bailieborough.pdf 2nd Presbyterian, Trinity, Bailieborough.pdf
Size : 99.275 Kb
Type : pdf



Ballyjamesduff Parish Church 

There are a few Byers families connected with this church. A couple of births and a number of burials are listed in the PDF below.

In Samuel Lewis's
A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837, Ballyjamesduff is described as "a market and post-town, and a district parish, in the barony of Castlerahan, county of Cavan, and province of Ulster, 8.5 miles (S.E.) from Cavan town, and 44.75 miles (N.W. by W.) from Dublin; containing 3,227 inhabitants, of which number, 863 are in the town.

"The town is situated on the old mail coach road from Virginia to Cavan, and consists of five streets, containing together 150 houses.

"... The parish was created in 1831, by disuniting nine town-lands from the parish of Castlerahan, five from that of Denn, two from Lurgan, and four from the parish of Kildrumferton. ... The church is a plain edifice, erected in 1834 by aid of a grant of £900 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and subscriptions amounting to £200."

        Photo of Ballyjamesduff Parish Church © John Dee, 2010

Ballyjamesduff Parish Church.pdf Ballyjamesduff Parish Church.pdf
Size : 44.211 Kb
Type : pdf



Ballyjamesduff Presbyterian Church

This was a key centre for Byers families and the PDF below has a large number of Byers connections (13 pages in all). Please note that more baptisms have still to be added - from 1851 onwards).

The original meeting place, dating back to 1721, was said to have been at Oldcastle. Mr John King was installed in 1826 but he moved to become minister of the newly erected congregation of Bellasis in 1833. [See Bellasis for many more Byers connections]

From the Ballyjamesduff Presbyterian Church Session Book

[On the] last Wednesday of October 1848 the Presbytery of Bailieborough met in Ballyjamesduff Presbyterian Church and ordained the following [five] elders … Mr William Byars and Mr Samuel Byars.

03 August 1851

Session met and after prayer were present J Ritchie Modr., Wm. Byars and Wm. Coote. The names of credible persons were mentioned from whom members of session had heard of a statement to the effect that Mr Samuel Byars, Elder, had been guilty of the sin of drunkenness.
Revd. J. Ritchie and Mr Wm. Byars were appointed to converse with him during the week in accordance Sect.2 par.3 Code of Discip. Page 57 and report to Session.

The Ballyjamesduff Presbyterian Church Session book is held by the Presbyterian Historical Society.


Ballyjamesduff united with Bellasis in 1925 and sermons ceased to be preached at Ballyjamesduff in 1980.

I have not yet had any luck in finding a copy of Gerard Langtry's book
The Presbyterian Church and congregation of Ballyjamesduff 1721-1980 (Ballyjamesduff, s.n., 1984) which should be of interest.

The following short paragraph is based on an online source: Ballyjamesduff in the 1980s - and who lived there in the past.

John and James Byers were associated with Byers' Hardware in Dublin Street; the Byers family was associated with the Percy French Hotel (Wilson's Imperial Hotel) on the Virginia Road; the Market House in Granard Street was bought by James Byers in 1930 for £75; he was also associated with the Food Market in Main Street.

When I visited Ballyjamesduff in September 2001, o
ne shop-front then survived, the building derelict, with BYERS above the window (since removed). I chatted to a GP’s daughter, aged c. 65, who remembered various Byers connections in the town.  She said that “Old Mr Byers owned the hotel, lots of property (houses, she said), and a grocery shop which also sold chips.”

All the family were long gone, she said; the son John had moved to Dublin. Ballyjamesduff Presbyterian Church had closed in the 1980s; it was now a building site. Most burials had taken place at Bellasis Presbyterian Church … but there was a very old, now closed, cemetery at the top of Piggery Hill at a bad bend on the Virginia road out of Ballyjamesduff.

So, after a brief look around the few graves at Ballyjamesduff Church of Ireland (nothing relevant was found), I set off for the Piggery Hill cemetery, which was behind old, locked, and very rusty gates.

Sure enough there were some gravestones standing amongst the very long wet grass. There may well have been other stones under the grass and out of sight. Several ditches (perhaps dug out in more recent times?) traversed the graveyard down towards a modern bungalow. Clearly the graveyard hadn’t been accessible for years.

I scrambled over the stone wall and immediately found some Byers graves. A couple were highly ornate and substantial, particularly that erected by James Byers of Derrylaghan House in loving memory of his father William Byers of Cornacrove House (Grave No.4 in my PDF listing below).

Sadly there was much evidence of vandalism, though some of this may have been caused by falling tree branches. The place is gradually going to rack and ruin. There were also some graves in the name of Morrow.
The details from the stones which I could decipher are listed in the PDF.

Above: Grave No.5 (see PDF listing)

Top left: Grave No.4

Bottom left: Grave No.1

Ballyjamesduff Presbyterian Church.pdf Ballyjamesduff Presbyterian Church.pdf
Size : 356.096 Kb
Type : pdf
The following person is listed in the World War I Roll of Honour for the congregation of Ballyjamesduff Presbyterian Church:
Private Joseph Byers, 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers, of Ahagashel, prisoner of war.                  


Bellasis Presbyterian Church

This is another important church for many Byers families and the listing in the PDF below is extensive (10 pages).

The site for Bellasis Presbyterian Church was given by a grandfather of Rt. Rev. Dr Thomas Byers (Moderator of the General Assembly 1946). His other grandfather was the chief organiser and treasurer of Bellasis Church. His father was an elder of Bellasis. See also First Presbyterian, Bailieborough (Corglass) above.

The congregation was formed in 1833. Work on the church had to be abandoned when the local rector and agent forbade it. The church was eventually built on a site given by a different agent about a mile further east in 1837. 

From 1953 Bellasis was united with Trinity, Bailieborough, and Seafin. This union was dissolved in 1973 and Bellasis was serviced by the minister for Kells and Ervey.

There's also this book by Thomas Byers: The Presbyterian church in Ireland: Ormond Quay and Scots Church, Dublin; a record of three hundred years (Dublin, Brunswick Press, 1950).

Photos courtesy of, and © 2009, Chris McCollum, Building Conservation Surveyor.

Bellasis Presbyterian Church.pdf Bellasis Presbyterian Church.pdf
Size : 629.787 Kb
Type : pdf
The following two people are listed in the World War I Roll of Honour for the congregation of Bellasis and Seafin:

Private Robert Byers, Irish Rifles, from Stramaquirty.
Sergeant Samuel Byers, Irish Rifles, from Stramaquirty - wounded.


Billis Parish Church, Killinkere

Billis Parish Church, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, is in the parish of Killinkere (Billis is just north east of Ballyjamesduff). The church was built in 1844 and the PDF listing below contains four pages of Byers names.


LH photo of Billis Parish Church © Kieran Campbell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

RH photo from the cover of Billis Church Headstones and Burial Book Records, (to Oct. 1998) by Herbert W. Stewart - from the O'Hara of County Cavan, Ireland and New South Wales, Australia website.

Billis Parish Church, Killinkere.pdf Billis Parish Church, Killinkere.pdf
Size : 195.257 Kb
Type : pdf


Castlerahan Parish Church

The PDF below has just a single page of Byers references.

According to Samuel Lewis (1837), "Castlerahan, a parish, in the barony of Castlerahan, county of Cavan, and province of Ulster; containing, with the post-town of Ballyjamesduff, 6,960 inhabitants.

"This parish is situated on the road from Virginia to Mount Nugent ... Contiguous to the town is a small lake,near which a shaft was sunk some few years since, and indications of coal were discovered. ... Since the census of 1831, nine townlands have been separated from this parish to form, with portions of other parishes, the district parish of Ballyjamesduff.

"The church, a small ancient building, is in very indifferent repair."

And how much more so now!

Photo of Castlerahan Parish Church, attributed to Robert Keating Smith, © 2010 Doug Sinclair, and used with permission from his archives website.



Castlerahan Parish Church.pdf Castlerahan Parish Church.pdf
Size : 111.382 Kb
Type : pdf



Coronary Church, Knockbride (known now as Corraneary Church)

Corraneary Secession Congregation dates from the earliest years of the 18th century and celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2005. It was received into the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in 1955. The PDF below has three pages of Byers information along with a history of the church from 23 November 2005 on the Bailieborough community website archive.

This was the church where the Byers family from Beglieve (John Byers and Letitia Alice Byers, née Ney) worshipped and where their children were baptised.

Corraneary Church in August 2007

Coronary Church, Knockbride.pdf Coronary Church, Knockbride.pdf
Size : 136.701 Kb
Type : pdf

Drung Parish Church

Just one Byers in the next PDF - the first marriage, to Martha Caraher, of my great grandfather.

Samuel Lewis in 1837 described Drung as "a parish, in the barony of Tullaghgarvey, county of Cavan, and province of Ulster, 5 miles (E. N. E.) from Cavan town, on the road from that place to Cootehill; containing 6,015 inhabitants. ... The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Kilmore, united from time immemorial to that of Laragh, ... The church is a handsome building, lately repaired by a grant of £130 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners."

A photo of the church, can be found here.

Drung Parish Church.pdf Drung Parish Church.pdf
Size : 146.382 Kb
Type : pdf


Glennan Presbyterian Church, Co.Monaghan (also known as Glaslough)

plus Ballyalbany Presbyterian and Donagh Church of Ireland

On 4 Dec 2006, "Marmont Lodge" wrote on that "A large number of Byars (Byers) existed at Glennan Presbyterian Church, near Glaslough, North Monaghan. The name spelling varies between "Byers" & "Byars" which was decided by those who actually wrote up the Records - I think both versions are equally acceptable."

On 6 March 2007 "Marmont Lodge" added this:

These are some of the Byers families listed in North Monaghan Churches

1821  -  John & Ellen Byers at Derryveen, Donagh
1823  -  Alexander & Elizabeth Byers at Drumgaghan, Donagh
1827  -  Samuel & Nancy (Anne) Byers at Derryveen, Donagh
1828  -  Robert & Esther Byers at Drumgaghan, Donagh
1831  -  Joseph & Mari Anne Byers at Mullagh Peak, Donagh
1832  -  William & Margaret Byers at Drummully, Donagh
1834  -  William & Anne Byers at Derryveen, Donagh
1838  -  John & Anne Byers at Drumgaghan, Donagh
1838  -  James & Ellen Byers at Skinnagin, Donagh
1839  -  William & Sarah Byers at Glaslough

My PDF below details four further Byers marriages at Glennan, along with additional baptisms from Glenann, Ballyalbany Presbyterian and Donagh Church of Ireland - including some of those families listed by "Marmont Lodge".

Different photos of the church can be found through any good search engine - but try this photo here.

Glennan Presbyterian Church, Co. Monaghan.pdf Glennan Presbyterian Church, Co. Monaghan.pdf
Size : 182.011 Kb
Type : pdf



Kildrumferton Parish Church (Crosserlough)

The PDF below is just one page long, but encompasses some five Byers families.

In 1837, Samuel Lewis descibed Kildrumferton: "or, Crosserlough, a parish, partly in the baronies of Upper Loughtee and Clonmahon, but chiefly in that of Castlerahan, county of Cavan, and province of Ulster, 9 miles (N. W.) from Oldcastle, on the road from Killesandra to Ballinagh ; containing 9,687 inhabitants.

"... In 1831, four town-lands were separated from this parish to form part of the perpetual curacy of Ballyjamesduff, to the incumbent of which the vicar of Kildrumferton pays an annual stipend of £20. The church is a very neat structure, rebuilt in 1819, for which the late Board of First Fruits granted a loan of £550, and recently repaired by aid of a grant of £114 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners."

The church is about one and a half miles from the village of Killnaleck and it was built in 1814.

Photo of Kildrumferton Parish Church from the Wilton pages website


Kildrumferton Parish Church.pdf Kildrumferton Parish Church.pdf
Size : 55.598 Kb
Type : pdf


Killinkere Parish Church

Another single page PDF - but with quite a lot of Byers information.

Killinkere Parish Church was built in 1817, making it the oldest of the churches in the Virginia Group of
Church of Ireland Parishes. The others in the group are Lurgan Parish Church in Virginia (built 1821), Munterconnaught Parish Church (built 1831), and Billis Church (built 1844).

A list and map of the Killinkere townlands (49 according to the 1851 census) can be found on the Maps page.

Photo of Killinkere Parish Church

Killinkere Parish Church.pdf Killinkere Parish Church.pdf
Size : 153.955 Kb
Type : pdf


Knockbride Parish Church

The references in the three page PDF below all relate to the Byers family of Roosky, Killycloghan and Beglieve. Other names in this PDF are Gamble, Ney, Johnston(e) and Wedlock.

In 1837, Samuel Lewis described this Parish as being "5 miles (N.) from Bailieborough on the road to Cootehill ... The church, a small but very neat edifice in good repair, was built by a gift of £100 and a loan of £550 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1820."

Photos of Knockbride Parish Church and Johnston / Wedlock gravestone.

Knockbride Parish Church.pdf Knockbride Parish Church.pdf
Size : 145.138 Kb
Type : pdf


Lurgan (Virginia) Parish Church

One page of records can be found in the PDF below.

This fine church is in the town of Virginia. The website at notes that Virginia was then a thriving market town. The 1821 church "replaced a much older church located within the town land of Lurgan believed to have been built around the thirteenth century and served as an Anglican place of worship when English and Scottish settlers arrived during the seventeenth century. ... The Virginia church caught fire on Christmas night of 1830 and traces of burnt timber can still be seen within the tower as the roof was completely destroyed by fire. While the church was undergoing repair worship was held in the Virginia market house (now the courthouse) where it went recorded that weddings and baptisms also took place during this period ..." 

Photo of Lurgan Parish Church  

Lurgan (Virginia) Parish Church.pdf Lurgan (Virginia) Parish Church.pdf
Size : 101.783 Kb
Type : pdf



Mullagh Parish Church, Co. Cavan

The PDF below offers a single page of Byers information.

Mullagh was described by Samuel Lewis in 1837 as being "6 miles (N. N. W.) from Kells (Co. Meath), on the road to Bailieborough. ... The church is a neat structure in good repair, built in 1819, at an expense of £1107 ..."

A photo can be found online here.

Mullagh Parish Church.pdf Mullagh Parish Church.pdf
Size : 96.077 Kb
Type : pdf


Seafin Presbyterian Church

There are only two Byers marriages in the PDF labelled Seafin Presbyterian Church below.

Like Ballyjamesduff Presbyterian Church, Seafin is now demolished.

The church dated from around 1827.

In 1925 it was united with Trinity, Bailieborough, and in 1953 Trinity, Seafin and Bellasis were united.

The brief history PDF below details its lifespan.

The wonderfully atmospheric photo was taken by Dr Paddy Halligan of Bailieborough - for which thanks.
Seafin Presbyterian Church.pdf Seafin Presbyterian Church.pdf
Size : 90.585 Kb
Type : pdf
Seafin Presbyterian brief history.pdf Seafin Presbyterian brief history.pdf
Size : 6.686 Kb
Type : pdf