Friday, 30 January 2015

Discounts, tutorials & free lecture recordings from ULF

The Ulster Historical Foundation has been very busy in the last few weeks, and not just because of a 50% discount offer on its 1.7m birth, marriage and death records (see my blogpost for more details). Note that the sale has been extended to 9 February.

In addition to the half-price sale promotion, the organisation has been creating video tutorials to help its Guild members and visitors to the site to get the very best from their searches of its databases. Videos on Getting Started and using the Baptism and Marriage databases have been joined today by a tutorial on using the Graveyard Inscription database. They can all be viewed here.

Another development is the digitisation of audio recordings from some of the Guild's past conferences. The ‘Voices from the past’ lecture series is available only to members of the Guild and presents a rare opportunity to enjoy some very distinguished academics and archivists, some of whom are no longer with us, giving advice on using historical sources in Ireland. This week’s additions include:

Valuation records: A valuable resource for Genealogists,
with Trevor Parkhill
New Light at the Cape of Good Hope, with Prof. Leslie McCracken
Family Research in the Registry of Deeds, with Dr Katharine Brown
Sources in PRONI relating to education, with Dr Roger Strong

To launch the Voices from the Past series of recordings, the ULF has made Dr Katherine Brown's lecture on Family Research in the Registry of Deeds freely available to all on the ULF's homepage.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

More new Irish titles join British Newspaper Archive

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=5947&awinaffid=123532&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.findmypast.ie%2Fsearch%2Firish-newspapers
Another three Irish titles (see below) have joined the line-up in the British Newspaper Archive's online database. In addition, a good number of the newspapers already in the Irish collection have been topped up with additional editions, particularly the Athlone Sentinel, Dulin Evening Post, Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent, Dublin Morning Register, Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier, Tipperary Free Press and Waterford Mail.

The new titles are:

Belfast Protestant Journal: 1844 to July 1850
Current Prices of Grain at Dublin Cork Exchange: Oct 1860 to mid-Feb 1861
Tipperary Vindicator: 1859 and 1864

As with all uploads to the British Newspaper Archive database, the new titles and all the additional editions have simultaneously been added to the FindMyPast Irish newspaper collection, available via the Ireland and World packages.





AncestryDNA arrives in Ireland and the UK

My AncestryDNA kit, pre-dribble
AncestryDNA has today officially launched its genetic family history DNA test on this side of the Atlantic. Having launched in the US more than two years ago, it is now available in Ireland and the UK, and will launch to other international countries later this year. It has more than 700,000 people in its database at this point.

The company is a subsidiary of Ancestry, the world's largest online genealogy research, and uses advanced DNA technology to reveal genetic ethnicity. Its test examines a person's entire genome at over 700,000 genetic locations, and allows you to 'discover distant relatives you never knew you had, as well as revealing your ethnic mix from the past 500-1000 years or more.'

The size of the international (so far, about 99% American) database will be of benefit to those of Irish heritage in both Ireland and the UK as it will allow us to connect with the descendants of our emigrant ancestors. The company predicts that the vast majority of Irish and UK customers will connect with 3rd or 4th cousins immediately. As well as furthering our own research, taking the test has the added potential to help Irish-American family historians pinpoint their ancestor's place of origin in Ireland, which is so often the biggest challenge in their research.

I shall let the official press release tell you more: 'The AncestryDNA test uses microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, which surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations via a simple saliva sample. Analysis of the DNA data provides a prediction of the locations of ancestors from 26 separate world-wide populations including Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and South and North Africa.

'In contrast to Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, which only test one line of your family and generally provide information about ancestry several thousand years ago, the AncestryDNA autosomal test targets the last few hundred or thousand years. This enables people to learn more about their more immediate family history.

'AncestryDNA can also help people identify relationships with unknown relatives through a list of possible DNA member matches. These results are a great starting point for additional research, collaboration, or to help people expand their family trees.

'Ancestry subscribers in the UK and Ireland will also have the opportunity to use new online interface tools to link their DNA results with their existing family trees and research. With millions of family trees online at Ancestry, more people than ever before will now be able to connect with new relatives and share their results.'

Costing £99 plus shipping, AncestryDNA kits are dispatched within six days of an order, with the test results taking from 6-8 weeks to be delivered. Tests are available for purchase at www.ancestrydna.co.uk.

Ancestry kindly sent me a complimentary kit, which arrived in a neat and well-designed box yesterday (see pic of contents above).

Now, I've already had Y-DNA and Family Finder tests done, both through Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), and both requiring only that I swab my mouth for 60 seconds.

The AncestryDNA test is different, but hardly onerous. You can't eat, drink, smoke or chew gum (!) for half an hour before the test, so I decided it was a 'first thing in the morning' task. According to the instructions, you have to spit saliva into the sample tube. Now, I'm a girl, so I don't spit (I remember two of my brothers trying to teach me how to spit when I was about seven... I failed), but I can dribble. Especially when my porridge is overdue. So I dribbled away for a few minutes until I'd provided the required amount, then followed the rest of the instructions and packaged up the sample for its return journey.

It's on its way. It will be interesting to see how the test results from AncestryDNA compare with the FTDNA results.

NLI invites tenders for its summer Genealogy Service

The National Library of Ireland has issued a Request For Tenders (RFT) for a supplier of genealogy services from 18 March to 31 October.

The Library runs a free Genealogy Service all-year round; it is available without appointment, Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:45pm, and is provided by the Library's own small genealogy team.

During the main tourist and visitor season, however, the Library team is complemented by a contracted team of professional genealogists and the days of operation are extended to include Saturday mornings (9:15 to 12:45).

As you'd expect, the RFT sets out the duties required of the contractor team, and there's nothing unusual in the description provided. But I just wanted to share this element:

    • Assist users with online resources, including the NLI’s parish register website, microfilm
      and printing.

My red. Don't the words look good!

Closing date for receipt of tenders: 20 February (Noon).

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

NLI Reading Rooms: late opening Thursday 5 Feb

The Reading Rooms at the National Library of Ireland will be closed on the morning of Thursday 5 February (staff meeting, apparently).  So, too, will the Genealogy Service.

The cafe and exhibitions will be open as usual.

The Reading Rooms and Genealogy Service will reopen to the public at 1:30pm.






Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Back To Our Past: 2015 dates announced

Ireland's only major annual conference and exhibition – Back To Our Past – has announced its dates for 2015. They are:

Friday 16 October – 12pm to 6pm
Saturday 17 October – 11am to 6pm
Sunday 18 October – 11am to 6pm

This will be the fifth consecutive year of BTOP, which brings together a significant proportion of the genealogy and related industries to exhibit their wares and services as well as offering three full days of family history, heritage and dna lectures.

Once again, the show will be held in the Industries Hall at the RDS in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Details of the lecture programme won't be published for some months; for now, just get the dates in your diaries.

Exhibitors should contact the organisers on 00 353 1 496 9028.

Irish Emigration in the 19th century: seminar

On Friday 13 February, Edenderry Historical Society is to host an evening seminar exploring Irish Emigration in the 19th century.

Here's the line-up of lectures:
  • The Irish in South Africa: a miscellany, with Dr Ciaran Reilly
  • 'We are all well and fat': the Tuke Irish in Minnesota, 1880-1930, with Dr Regina Donlon
  • In seach of Irish emigrants in the American Civil War, with Damian Shiels
  • Fleeing famine: assisted emigration from Earl Fitzwilliam's Co Wicklow estate, with Fidelma Byrne
  • Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore Irish Famine refugee, superstar of American music, but today, unknown, with Jarlath McNamara
Venue: Edenderry Town Hall, O'Connell Square, Edenderry, Co Offaly.  
Time: 7pm start. Ends c10pm.  
Admission: €10  
All welcome.