Friday, 26 August 2016

Ancestry offers free access to Irish and UK records this weekend
Ancestry is offering free access to its Irish and UK records this weekend. The offer extends to 11:59pm IST/BST on Monday 29 August.

To take advantage of the free access, you'll need to have a registered account, but you won't need a subscription of any sort. If you don't already have an account, simply sign up with your name and email address (no financial details are requested) and you'll quickly be sent a user name and  password. It's that simple.

Scroll through the full list of collections included in the free package – you'll see you could get a lot of research done with those record sets if you pace yourself well!

Happy researching!

Bank holiday Monday (29th) in Northern Ireland

It's a bank holiday in Northern Ireland on Monday, 29 August. All public libraries, as well as PRONI, GRONI and the Linen Hall Library will be closed for the day, reopening to normal schedules on Tuesday 30th.

Having had its late summer public holiday at the beginning of the month, the Republic of Ireland is open for business and research as usual.

Autumn edition of Irish Roots magazine published

Available in print and digital formats
A new edition of Irish Roots magazine has been published. Produced by mother and daughter team Maureen and Julie Phibbs in County Wicklow, the magazine is editorially independent of all commercial family history companies. As such, it carries a wide range of genuine news stories from across the Irish genealogy industry as well as helpful research advice features from expert genealogists from around the globe.

This quarter's main features include advice on tracing County Louth ancestors, a dip into the enviably extensive Coollattin Estate Papers, and the final part of a series exploring the family histories and careers of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Keeping the  history juices flowing are two more informative features. The first investigates the development of the urban native middle-class, while the other provides an overview of the Brehan Laws of Ireland's old Gaelic order and how these impacted on women, children and families.

There's also a preview of a new film 'Strange Occurrences in a Small Irish Village', which explores the big question of faith, in a small Irish village: Knock, in Co Mayo; a look at Ireland's changing adoption laws; and my own What's New? Review of record releases and developments over the last three months. Researchers from North America and Australia will benefit from two features with an international research focus: the care of the poor in America during the 1800s, which looks at hospitals, asylums and schools; and how C19th Irish emigrants to Australia maintained connections with Ireland and responded to pleas for assistance back home.

Add in a Q&A page, letters from readers, detailed notes from around Ireland's genealogical and historical societies,general news, book launches and forthcoming events and you have a terrific read.

The magazine is available in print format or digital format (see all the options at If you're not already familiar with the publication, take a look at the video below for an idea of what you've been missing.

Back To Our Past returns to Industries Hall in October
As previously advised, Dublin's annual genealogy exhibition Back To Our Past (BTOP) will be returning to the RDS in Ballsbridge from Friday 21 October to Sunday 23 October for its 7th consecutive year.

Last year, BTOP's organisers had to rearrange its dates at fairly late notice after it became clear that the Ireland Rugby Team might make it to the Quarter Finals of the Rugby World Cup (they did, and it proved, sadly, to be their last game of the tournament).

As a result of the date switch, the event had to change venue within the RDS complex, moving to the Serpentine Hall, a somewhat smaller and frankly, gloomier, space than the Industries Hall where BTOP had successfully been held in each of the previous five years.

Speaking to the BTOP team earlier this week, I was advised that the 2016 event, which once again incorporates the internationally-acclaimed Genetic Genealogy Ireland conference, will be returning to the brighter and bigger Industries Hall. This is good news not just for its improved light and size but also because it has far superior facilities for the lecture programmes.

The BTOP website will be updated in due course. In the meantime, half-price tickets are currently available.