Search the Ulster Covenant
Search and view digitised images of the original signatures of almost half a million men and women who signed the Ulster Covenant or women's declaration in opposition to Home Rule on 28 September 1912.
Before you start
To carry out a search, input the search criteria in the right field(s) and click on the find button. The Ulster Covenant can be searched by any of the following, but surname is the most straightforward and therefore the recommended method:
Addresses can be difficult to search because in some cases the name of a town is given but not the street - but in others the street name is given, but no town.
Searching is also possible by parliamentary division, district and agent in charge, although this can be difficult because of lack of consistency in the original recording method.
You may enter more than one search criterion. Refining your search is recommended in order to restrict results to a manageable number. For example, searching simply on surname for 'Wilson', returns more than 5,500 hits, but searching for surname 'Wilson' and forename 'Joseph' would return 106 hits.
A 'wildcard' feature has been built into the search facility. This feature may help you to find a name or address when you are unsure of the spelling. For example, inputting 'Bally' in the address field will retrieve addresses such as Ballymena, Ballymoney, Ballycross. The wildcard feature is built into each of the following search fields:
Sort search results
Sort options are available on the search the covenant page. You can sort your search results alphabetically, by surname, forename, gender, address, parliamentary division, district, place of signing or agent in charge. Results can be organised into ascending or descending order.
Other application features
Selecting the 'Clear' button resets all search fields to their default values.
You can specify the number of 'Results per Page' by selecting an alternative value from the drop-down menu. The default value of 10 can be changed up to a value of 50.
Once a set of results has been returned it is possible to select the 'Modify Search' button at the bottom of the results page. This allows you to further refine your search without having to retype the original search criteria.
Accuracy of transcription
This database of names was created by transcribing nearly half a million original signatures. This massive task was complicated by the fact that the handwriting varies in quality, with many of the signatures being difficult to read. Also, some were signed by the aged and infirm and in other cases members of the same family seem to have spelt their surnames in different ways.
Townland names are affected in the same way and consistency is absent. In most cases the names are spelt as they were pronounced locally, rather than in conformity with the official standardised spelling. Some subjectivity has therefore been used in interpreting names and addresses. The result is far from perfect.
Images can be viewed as 'png' (Portable Network Graphics) - a web optimised version of the scanned document, or 'DjVu' - an image of the original scanned document. The default setting opens images using Png.
'DjVu' allows you to view an image of the original scanned document. To view images using DjVu, select the DjVu button under 'Choose image format' on the 'Search Results' page. Before you can view images, you must first download a DjVu viewer. You can do this by clicking on the DjVu download button which appears on the 'Search Results' pages when the DjVu option is selected.
When viewing the documents on screen, there is no visible difference in image quality. However, printing from DjVu is more straightforward and may be a better option for visitors wishing to print a larger volume of images.
You can print a copy of the image/s if required. Closing the image window will take you back to the results page. For further information see viewing and printing images.
Printing in ‘png'
The ‘png’ viewer is essentially used as an accessible medium for viewing images as it does not require the user to add/download any additional software.
It is possible to print images from the ‘png’ viewer, however, you must first save the image unto your computer. Do this using the ‘save this image’ icon (icon of a floppy disc) which appears at the top left-hand-side of the image itself. You should then be able to print the image using your computer’s image managing software.
Note: trying to print without saving the image first will result in a clipped version of the image (if you use the ‘print’ icon at the top left-hand-side of the image itself) or no image at all (if you use the ‘print’ options within your browser).
Printing in ‘DjVu'
Printing from ‘DjVu’ is quicker and easier as you do not have to save each image to your computer in order to print. Visitors wishing to print a larger volume of images may wish to download the DjVu.
More useful links
- About the Ulster Covenant
- PRONI - Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
- Family and local history records