The Old Presbyterian Churchyard

Sarah (Eve) Adams, my 5th great-aunt, married an Irishman by the name of John Strong Adams on 2 March 1803. He was a clerk to her uncle and she thought he had exceptional taste in literature. Sarah and John made trips to Ireland to visit his family in Randalstown, County Antrim, Ireland.

On one of those trips, John died. A memorial in the family cemetery in Augusta, Georgia, tells that John “died in Randalstown, Ireland, and was buried in his father’s grave, June 5th, 1812.”

The connection to Randalstown and the last name Adams made me wonder if John was related to my Adams ancestors in the same area. A little research and help from a kind stranger in Ireland got me the will of what turned out to be John’s father, Thomas. The will not only listed John Strong Adams as his son but mentioned my ancestor, John Adams, as his brother. This makes John Strong Adams my first cousin seven times removed.

The Thomas Adams family was supposed to be buried in the graveyard at the Old Congregation Presbyterian Church in Randalstown. After walking the main street of the town, we drove to the church. In a soft drizzle, we searched the entire graveyard behind the old church built in 1790 but didn’t find any Adamses.

Finding a funeral in progress at the church, we tried the auxiliary building next door. We found some people preparing a meal and the groundskeeper. He pulled out the cemetery map and told us he had not heard of Adams in that area. There were none on the map, but there was a small corner of the cemetery behind the auxiliary building that was not indexed on the map. Most of the headstones in that section were overgrown or unreadable. 

While we didn’t find what we were looking for, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. My best guess is that they are in the section of the graveyard that isn’t mapped. But seeing the beautiful church my Randalstown Adams family probably worshiped in was worth the stop.

This post is part of my Ireland Genealogy Trip series.

4 thoughts on “The Old Presbyterian Churchyard

  1. Theresa Sanders says:

    Fascinating! We own John and Sarah Adams’ house that they built in 1808, We keep finding small shards of plates and glass in the backyard. It gives us a glimpse of what life was like for them two centuries ago!

    Liked by 1 person

    • julie says:

      That’s amazing! We were going to come to Charleston for spring break to visit some relatives, but obviously our plans changed. Maybe we’ll make it there later this year.


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