Monday, 31 August 2015

Irish genealogy, history/heritage events, 31 Aug–12 Sep

Tuesday 1 September: Registration & Research tips for new members. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Omagh Branch. Venue: Omagh Library, Spillars Place, Omagh, Co Tyrone, BT78 1HL. 7:15pm.

Tuesday 1 September: The Tudor Conquest of Ireland: Untold stories, with David Edwards. Genealogy at Lunchtime series of lectures. Host and venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1–2pm. Free. No booking. All welcome.

Wednesday 2 September: Describing the Ards in 1683: the William Montgomery manuscript revisited, with Ian Montgomery. Part of the 'Up Down' series of lectures. Host and venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Free but need to book your place by email to or telephone to 028 90534800.

Wednesday 2 September: Reinterpreting the Revolution: A Centenary Discussion on the Easter 1916 Rising. Hosted by J P O'Malley, the panel will include prominent historians Diarmaid Ferriter, Maurice Walsh and R F Foster. Venue: London Irish Centre, 50-52 Camden Square, London NW1 9XB. Doors open 7pm. Price: £8/6 concession. Tickets and details.

Thursday 3 September: Northern Ireland in the 1950s - a Look Back in Time, with Dr Peter Smyth. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Belfast Branch. Venue: Holywood Arches Library, 4-12 Holywood Road, Belfast BT4 1NT. 7:30pm.

Thursday 3 September: The Irish in European warfare in the 17th Century – military origins of diaspora, with Padraig Lenihan. Genealogy at Lunchtime series of lectures. Host and Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1–2pm. Free. No booking. All welcome.

Saturday 5 September: Charlie: the Hedge School. Venue: Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Panel: Martin Mansergh, Brian Hanley, Donal Fallon, Colm Keena. 3pm. Sold Out.

Sunday 6 September: 1916–2016: what are we commemorating? A History Ireland Hedge School, chaired by editor Tommy Graham. Venue: Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Panel: Martin Mansergh, Jason Burke, Roisin Higgins, Conor McNamara. 3pm. Sold Out.

Tuesday 8 September: Defending Ireland from the Irish: the 1867 Fenian Rising, with Jerome Devitt. Host: South Dublin County Libraries. Venue: County Library, Library Square, Tallaght, Dublin 24. 7:00pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 8 September Family history and genealogy sessions, with Margaret Bonar and Betty Craven. Donaghmede Library, Donaghmede Shopping Centre, Grange Road, Dublin 13. All are welcome and admission is free. 2:30pm to 4pm. Booking is essential, tel: 085 1444883.

Tuesday 8 September: Anglicans Aren’t All Anglo! – Church of Ireland records, with Rosaleen Underwood MAGI. Fifth of the 'Your Ancestors and the Nation’s Archives' lecture series presented by Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI) and the National Archives of Ireland. Venue: Reading Room, National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street, Dublin 8. 5:15pm. Free but need to book by email: Everyone welcome.

Tuesday 8 September: The House on Bunion Hill: an Irish census project, with Ray Gillespie. Genealogy at Lunchtime series of lectures. Host and venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1–2pm. Free. No booking. All welcome.

Tuesday 8 September: Northern Ireland Civil Registration records, with GRONI staff. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Lisburn Branch. Venue: Bridge Community Centre, Railway Street, Lisburn, BT28 4XP. 7:30pm to 9:30pm.

Wednesday 9 September: Researching Ancestors in the Army in India, a free workshop with Valmay Young of FIBIS. Venue: British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1, UK. 2pm. Free but you need to book by emailing Details.

Wednesday 9 September: Building the Silent Valley Dam, 1923 to 1933: setting the record straight, with Philip Donald. Part of the Up Down series of lectures. Host and venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Free but need to book your place by email to or telephone to 028 90 534800.

Wednesday 9 September: Ireland Reaching Out, with Mike Feerick. Host: Western Family History Association. Venue: Lackagh Parish Centre, Lackagh, Co. Galway. 8pm–10pm. Details.

Thursday 10 September: 1315: The Bruce Invasion, with Seymour Phillips. Milestones of Medieval Dublin monthly lunchtime lectures series hosted by the Friends of Medieval Dublin. Venue: Wood Quay Venue, Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8. 1:05pm–1:45pm. Admission free. NO booking is necessary.

Thursday 10 September: Getting started in local history, with Séamus Ó Maitiú. Genealogy at Lunchtime series of lectures. Host and Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1–2pm. Free. No booking. All welcome.

Thursday 10 September: Irish Genealogy Resources: Finding Records for an Irish Ancestor. Workshop. New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Classroom A, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street New York, NY, 10018. Noon. Details.

Friday 11 September: Using American Resources to Find Ulster-Scot & Irish Ancestors, with Kevin Shue. Host: Ulster Historical Foundation. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Free. 1pm. Details and booking.

Saturday 12 September: A Scholar's Search: No Irish Need Apply? with Conar Donnan. Host and Venue: Irish Railroad Workers Museum, 920 Lemmon Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21223, USA. Donations Welcome. 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM EDT. Need to register.

Saturday 12 September: SS Nomadic, a Titanic Restoration, with Graeme Moore. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulvevard, Belfast. 1pm. Free. Booking is recommended, by email to or telephone to 028 90534800.

Saturday 12 September: Society of Genealogists Open Day. Free library tours (all fully booked) and lectures aimed at beginners. Venue: Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1, UK. 11am to 6pm. Details.

Saturday 12 September: Catholic Historical Society of Ireland Annual Conference. Venue: St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin. Four lectures: The use of relics and images in late medieval and early modern Ireland, with Raghnall Ó Floinn; Negotiating religious change and conflict in Ireland: female religious communities, c.1560-c.1640, with Bronagh McShane; “God never prosper the king”: sedition and Catholicism in 17th-century Ireland, with Eamon Darcy; A grand fancy fair and drawing of prizes: Catholic fundraising and Irish economic culture, 1850-1921, with Sarah Roddy. 10am to 3:15pm. Registration on morning of conference. Cost (lunch not included): €15 (€10 unwaged). Email for details:

Saturday 12 September: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland open for European Heritage Weekend. There will be a full service on the Saturday. This is a welcome opportunity for those who are unable to visit PRONI (Titanic Boulevard, Belfast) during the working week. 

Autumn edition of Irish Roots magazine published
The Autumn edition of Irish Roots magazine has landed on my doormat, and it's looking like another helpful and informative issue full of news about Irish genealogy projects, societies and collections, as well as loads of helpful advice on how to conduct your research – whether you're working backwards in time or even forward.

Donegal comes under the microscope with a feature about conducting research in that county and a piece about the Donegal Diaspora Project. The free online databases of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland are explored, and there's a round up of sources for Irish church records (all denominations).

The background to the recent historical release of the National Library of Ireland's RC parish collection is examined, too, alongside photographs taken of dignatories who attended the launch event.

Moving the research abroad to follow the families of Irish emigrants, you can learn about Irish Anzacs and an important database of records that commemorates them, and discover the best sources for learning about the Irish who became firemen in the United States of America.

And in the final part of a series providing guidance on locating the living descendents of your ancestors, there's an illuminating case study feature demonstrating some of the techniques that can be used to achieve your aim.

With letters to the editor, answers to reader's genealogy queries, my own What's New? Review and much more, there's plenty to read and learn in this issue.

Irish Roots is available in digital and print format, by subscription and by single copy purchase, from the magazine's online shop. It is also available for sale in some news/bookstores.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Irish Newspaper Archive continues to grow

The Dublin-based Irish Newspaper Archive has been busy in August growing its holding of editions for four newspapers, as follows:

  • Irish (Cork) Examiner: editions covering 1841 - 1989 are now online
  • Leinster Express: editions for 1959, 1976, 1988 & 2000 have been added
  • Sligo Champion: you can now search this newspaper from 1950 to current
  • Strabane Chronicle: editions published 1908 to 1979 are now available

The company advises that it is currently working on adding the following titles/dates to its database:

  • Irish (Cork) Examiner will be extended from 1990 to 2003
  • Kerry Evening Post will be joining the database with coverage planned from 1813-1917
  • Strabane Chronicle will see coverage extended backwards in time from 1980 to current.
  • Munster Express will see coverage extended from 1860 to 1917.

Northern Ireland public holiday closures, 31 August

Northern Ireland enjoys its Late Summer Bank Holiday on Monday 31 August.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) will be closed on Monday and will re-open on Tuesday, as will all public lending libraries. Those branch libraries that normally open on Saturdays will be open tomorrow; closed Monday.

The Linen Hall Library in Belfast will be open on Saturday (9:30am–4pm) but not on Monday.

This public holiday does not apply to the Republic of Ireland.

'Great Famine Voices' crowdsourcing project launched
A new crowdsourcing project has been launched called Great Famine Voices which seeks to build an online community of people willing to transcribe documents from the Strokestown Famine Archive, to research and share discoveries about some of those named in the documents, and to share their own family stories relating to the Famine and/or 19th-century emigration from Ireland.

The project website says: "Through your stories and records, we hope to elaborate upon the picture that the documents of the Great Famine Archive gives us.

"Together we can construct a clearer picture of this terrible yet fascinating time, while also raising awareness and bringing benefit to Strokestown."

Three documents have been uploaded to the website so far: the Cloonahee Petition, the 3rd Day Meal, and an 1842 Rental of the Strokestown Estate. The Cloonahee Petition has already been transcribed. The other two await transcription. They are full of names and will be a terrific resource for those with Roscommon ancestors once transcribed.

Find out more by exploring the new website:

Coleraine Chronicle joins British Newspaper Archive
Another newspaper making an August debut at the online British Newspaper Archive is the Coleraine Chronicle and Ballymena Weekly Advertiser.

All editions of the weekly paper from January 1845 to December 1851 have been uploaded to the database. The BNA notes that the archive will eventually hold editions from 1844 to 1871.

While taking a look at the 4 January 1845 edition of the paper, I came across the following sad story, billed as 'Infanticide':

Being as nosey as any other family historian, I had to find out what became of the unfortunate Margaret Holland, so I searched for a later occurrence of her name in the newspaper database and found a report of her trial, held three months later at LondonDerry Assizes.

By this time, a decision had been made not to charge Margaret with infanticide. Whether or not it was concluded that the baby had not been born alive isn't clear. Either way, Margaret was indicted for 'concealment of pregnancy and secretly disposing of the dead body of her female child.' She was sentenced to 'five months' imprisonment and to be kept to hard labour suited to her sex'.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Irish specialist Four Courts Press: 20% off books

Four Courts Press, the Dublin-based specialist publisher of Irish history, art and literature, is offering a 20% discount on all purchases made via its website until the end of September.

The company publishes around 50 books each year and currently has some 500 in print. All have gone through a rigorous peer-reviewed process; the Four Courts Press Editorial Panel consists of more than 20 academics of international standing.

To reflect the range of topics in the portfolio, I've made a short selection of some recent or reprinted titles that Irish family historians might like for their bookshelves (there are plenty more, believe me!):
  • Sending out Ireland's poor – Assisted emigration to North America in the nineteenth-century, by Gerard Moran
  • Medieval Ireland – Territorial, political and economic divisions, by Paul MacCotter
  • The Templars, the witch and the wild Irish – Vengeance and heresy in medieval Ireland, by Maeve Brigid Callan
  • The Irish Country House – Its past, present and future, edited by Terence Dooley & Christopher Ridgway (new in paperback)
  • Ireland and the Crimean War, by David Murphy
  • Philanthropy in nineteenth-century Ireland, edited by Laurence M. Geary & Oonagh Walsh
  • Strokestown and the Great Irish Famine, by Ciarán Reilly

To take advantage of the discount offer, enter the code SEPTSALE2015 in the "add coupon" box and click "apply" when checking out. Bingo, 20% off.

Don't miss this offer. Promos as good as this don't come around often.