One of the largest collections of privately owned papers to be deposited in PRONI is D2977, the records of the MacDonnell family, the Earls of Antrim. This collection, which contains approximately 50,000 documents, comprises the administrative records, dating from the early seventeenth century, of a landed estate which at one time included the whole of the four northern baronies of County Antrim, an area of more than 330,000 acres (approximately 520 square miles). The greater part of the archive is given over to nineteenth and twentieth century documents generated by the day to day running of the estate and its related businesses, which included mines, railways, fisheries and harbours, however it also contains important earlier material and documents which throw light on the lives not only of the Earls but their tenants and employees.
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