Here are some interesting facts about County Down from the people at Findmypast.

Co Down is the county in Ireland most associated with our patron Saint Patrick as he is thought to have first arrived in Ireland through the county and to be buried there. 

Is your family associated with Co Down? Keep these facts in mind if researching your Co Down roots:

1. County Down surnames

Some of the most common Irish family names associated with the county include Campbell, McGuinness, O’Neill, Gilmore and Hamilton. Does your Irish name come from County Down?

2. County Down districts

When tracing your ancestors’ births, marriages and deaths you’ll need to know the civil registration districts that lie within the county’s borders. There are 8 – Banbridge, Belfast, Downpatrick, Kilkeel, Lisburn, Lurgan, Newry and Newtownards.

3. County Down early directories

Early street and trade directories are a great way to discover what your ancestors did for a living and where exactly in County Down they lived. Try Bassett’s County Down Guide and Directory (1886) for example.

4. County Down's US Presidential link

Former President, George W. Bush has roots in County Down. His five-times great-grandfather, William Holliday was born in Rathfriland near Banbridge.

5. County Down parish records

There are a range of parish records on Findmypast, perfect for uncovering your early Down ancestors. You’ll find baptism, marriage and burial records from churches in Annaclone/Anaghlone and Ballyroney.

* Originally published in 2016. Updated in 2024.