Wedding Wednesday – William Hall and Sarah Tierney – 1861

Source: Ulster Historical Foundation, 49 Malone Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The wedding of my great-great-grandparents, William John Hall and Sarah Tierney, took place at Saint Anne’s Church of Ireland, on 13 May 1861. It is always so exciting to find family records from over one hundred fifty years ago! I have belonged to the Ulster Historical Foundation in Belfast for a number of years, and they are a great source for anyone with Northern Ireland roots. If you know the name of the church that your ancestors belonged to, you can also usually contact them for help. Saint Anne’s is now called the Cathedral Church of Saint Anne, and the staff will assist with genealogical searches, for a fee.

My family is very lucky in that my father’s first cousin, Sal Rafferty Mayer (1909-1998), typed up four pages of family history in the 1970s. Sal’s first name was Sarah – most likely named after Sarah Tierney, or Sarah Hall. Without this source, our searches would have taken much longer, especially with such a common surname as Hall. Below, is an excerpt of Sal’s research on our wedding couple. You can see some of what she had was wrong, but the basic facts are here, along with a few interesting personal notes.We now know our ancestor was William John Hall, but most likely he was remembered under his middle name of John. His wife was remembered as Sarah Toomey, or possibly Tiernan. From current family research we now know her last name was Tierney. The wedding record above had her name as Susan Tierney. It is always a good idea to search a broad range of names. You can click on any of the images to enlarge them.

From the research of Sal Rafferty Mayer on the Hall family.
From the research of Sal Rafferty Mayer on the Hall family.

Doing a search yesterday on Family Search, the website of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I found the record below about the marriage. Interestingly, now she is listed as Sarah Tierney.


William and Sarah Hall had at least seven children: Mary – 1864; Anne – 1865; Joseph – 1867; William John – 1867; Agnes – 1868; Elizabeth “Lizzie” – 1870; and Sarah – 1873. From cousin Sal’s research, it is possible that only four of the children lived to maturity. With the three year gap from the marriage to the first child, Mary (my great-grandmother), it is also possible that at least one other child may have died in infancy. Mary Hall married Bernard Doran in Belfast, in 1884.

Doing some more research on William and Sarah Hall, I now have their official death certificates from Northern Ireland. The family lived in West Belfast, at Springfield Row. In the 1800s this area was called Springfield Village. William’s occupation was still listed as “Baker” at his death, so the family information that he was a machinist seems wrong. William’s certificate was signed with the “X” of his widow Sarah Hall, and Sarah’s was signed by her daughter, Elizabeth. From their ages at death, and also at their marriage, most likely William Hall was born in 1837 and Sarah Tierney in 1841 [Source; Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency, Oxford House, 49-55 Chichester Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT1 4Hl. Death Certificates sent 7 July 1014].

WilliamHall1881SarahTierneyHall1890 Many thanks to second cousin Robin Rafferty Benish for sharing her family research, and for the excellent research of my sister, Veronica. Wedding Wednesday is a blogging prompt suggested by Geneabloggers. Good luck searching for your family marriage records!

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