Friday, 21 April 2017

RootsIreland adds index to 60,000 Mayo headstones has added an index to approximately 60,000 names on gravestone inscriptions in south Mayo; they've been abstracted from the gravestone collection held at the South Mayo Research Centre in Ballinrobe.

Some 160 burial grounds are covered in the records – see the full list here. They include a mix of religious denominations, and span most of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The index contains name and graveyard and in many cases also contains date of death, address and age of the decease. 

Wide range of FamilyTreeDNA test kits in DNA Day Sale
FamilyTreeDNA's National DNA Day Sale sees special discounts across nearly all its range of testing kits.

Its bestseller – the autosomal Family Finder test – has seen its price slashed to just $59, while its Y-DNA and MtFull Sequence tests and bundles of product across the categories have also received generous discounts.

See sale price list and product descriptions here.

The DNA Day Sale ends at 11:59 pm Central Time on Thursday 27 April, which is a day later than other promotions currently running with other DNA testing companies.

Irish Press Weekend: up to 30% discounts on offer

As you may have heard in today's news, the owners of the Irish Press newspaper group, Irish Press plc, have voted to wind up the business which has its roots in the earliest days of the Irish state. The company was famous for owning the Irish Press newspapers, which were founded by former taoiseach and president Eamon De Valera and started publication in 1931, but the presses ceased to roll way back in 1995.

The full span of Irish Press editions is available to search and view on the Dublin-based Irish Newspaper Archive database, where it is one of some 70 historical national and local titles, many of them right up to current editions.

To mark the turning of the final page of the Irish Press story, the Irish Newspaper Archive has made available free downloadable pdfs of the front pages of both the very first edition and the very last edition of the newspaper.

Additionally, a couple of special offers have been announced for subscriptions to the Archive. There's a 20% discount on a monthly subscription (use the Coupon Code Irishpress001) and a 30% discount on the cost of the annual subscription (use the Coupon Code Irishpress002). These discounts will expire on Monday 24 April.

AncestryDNA special offers for DNA Day
With DNA Day on Wednesday 26 April, Ancestry DNA is offering discounts on its testing kits.  The savings vary, as follows:

Ancestry DNA Canada: CAD$30 off

Ancestry DNA USA: 20% off.

Ancestry DNA Ireland & UK: A 25% discount (£20) reduces the price to £59.

Shipping costs are additional.

In each case, the special offer will run until 11:59pm on Wednesday 26 April.

FindMyPast opens up entire Australian and New Zealand collection for Anzac Day long weekend
FindMyPast is marking Anzac Day by making its entire Australian and New Zealand collection free for five days.

This collection holds 96 million records of military service, life events (BMDs), travel and migration, education and working life, court and legal records,  and more. You can see the full list of record sets here.

Click the image to the right and you'll not only be able to start searching for your ancestors by name, you'll also find a free quide to tracing your ancestors in Australia and New Zealand, and an invitation to register for a free webinar on Anzac Day.

To view the records you'll need a registered account. If you don't already have one, you'll be prompted to create one when you start searching the collection. It's a simple and fast procedure; you have only to provide your name, email address and password. No financial details are requested.

The free access period is now live and will continue until 11:59pm AEST on Tuesday 25 April.

Ancestry marks Anzac Day with five days' free access to its Australian and New Zealand military collections
To commemorate Anzac Day 2017 (25 April), has opened up its historical Australian and New Zealand military records collection for free access over the long weekend.

You can check out the full list of record sets included here.

If you don't already have a registered account with Ancestry, you'll need to set one up. This is easy enough to do, and you have only to provide your name, email address and a password – no financial details are requested. You can go straight to the Create a Free Account form here.

The free access weekend is now live and will continue until 11:59pm on Tuesday 25 April. 

“Anzac” stands for 'Australian and New Zealand Army Corps'. Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the day in 1915 during World War One when Australian and New Zealand troops went ashore at Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli peninsula. This was the Anzacs first major military action as part of the Great War, and they faced fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

National DNA Day: discounts on Living DNA test kits

National DNA Day is fast approaching. It's on Tuesday 25 April, and commemorates the publication in 1953 when papers on the structure of DNA by James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and colleagues appeared in the journal Nature.

First out of the blocks with a topical discount is Living DNA. This testing company is based in the UK but is already making a name for itself in the global area since it launched last year. It says the Living DNA test is the world's most advanced, offering twice the detail of other ancestry tests. It breaks down your DNA mix across 80 world regions, including 21 in Ireland and Britain, and additionally provides details of ancestral migration pattens via your Motherline ancestry and, if the person being tested is male, Fatherline Ancestry.

It's good to see that the company will also shortly be introducing DNA Matching, giving researchers the choice to securely compare their DNA with other people's DNA in the Living DNA database.

You can find out more about the Living DNA test and enjoy a special National DNA Day discount by clicking on your preferred flag below (flag = currency and discount shown). The special offer is now live and will run until Wednesday 26 April.

Ireland - Save €30
Living DNA kit reduced to €129

USA – Save $40
Living DNA kit reduced to $119

UK – Save £21
Living DNA kit reduced to £99

Canada – Save CAD$40
Living DNA kit reduced to CAD$119.

Ancestry adds UK Military Indexes, 1920-1971

Ancestry has added an index of soldiers discharged from the British armed forces after 1920. It's called the UK Military Indexes, 1920–1971 collection.

The indexes include soldiers born between 1866 and 1901 and there are, inevitably, many Irish men among the 371,000+ individuals named in the collection.

Being an index, the information offered is relatively light but it's sufficient to identify the service man. Each entry should include the soldier's initial, surname and date of birth, together with their service number and rank, and a Ministry of Defence Reference. The latter allows the researcher to apply to the MOD for further details of the soldier's military service. A link is provided to guide researchers making such an application.

I'm glad to see this index online. Some years ago I applied to the MOD for the service record of an ancestor who had fought in the South Africa (Boer) War and served in India, and was still in the British Army in 1919, when his medal card showed he received an award. He must have left the service shortly after the award because the MOD could find no later discharge and could not, therefore, furnish his service records. Had this index been available, I wouldn't have wasted my time applying (there was a non-refundable charge of £30 at the time, if I remember correctly, AND I had to provide his 1949 death certificate).

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

IGRS London Open Day, Saturday 6 May

The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) will be holding its London Open Day on Saturday 6 May in Westminster.

Following the successful format of previous years, the event will start with refreshments, followed by two informative lectures by two of Ireland's leading professional genealogists (see below) and a finger buffet. For those that wish to stay on (most do), the afternoon continues with the AGM, which everyone may attend free of charge but only IGRS members may vote. The day wraps up with an Ask the Experts session; if you haven't yet managed to collar any of the professionals on hand, this is your chance to receive to ask your burning questions.

I've attended several IGRS Open Days in London and I can recommend them to members and non-members for their welcoming and friendly atmosphere, expert speakers, and a jolly tasty lunch! It's also a great opportunity for a relaxed chat with other Irish genealogists about developments in the industry or any problems you're having with your research.

The venue is the Abbey Conference Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU, which is just a stone's throw from Big Ben and the Westminster City Archives (where the AGM has been held in the previous three years).

Here's the programme for the day:

10:15 Registration, coffee and biscuits
10.45 Ireland’s Court Records – What Survived 1922? with Steven Smyrl MAGI FIGRS
11.45 Finding the Irish in the British and Irish Army Records, with Nicola Morris MAGI
13:00 Lunch
14:15 IGRS AGM (All welcome, but only members may vote)
15:30 Q&A session – Ask The Experts
16:00 Close

This being London, there's a cost involved but it's been kept as low as possible at £25 for members (£30 for non-members).

For more details and to book your place, see the IGRS website:

AmericanAncestors: Free access to 32 probate-related databases for one week

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is offering 7 days of free access to 32 probate-related databases. These databases hold some of the earliest probate records of colonial Massachusetts and other New England colonies and states, as well as New York, and New Brunswick in Canada. As such, they can be useful both to those with Irish ancestors who emigrated to North America and those who have 'missing' members of their extended ancestral family.

If you don't already have a Guest Account at the NEHGS website,, you'll need to set one up (here). It's simple enough and free. Guest access automatically includes access to a different set of 20-odd useful databases, so it's worth setting up, anyway.

In addition to the 32 databases included in the current free access offer, researchers will find a host of support information from the Society about probate records and their use in family history research. There's a webinar by probate expert David Allen Lambert, as well as videos on how to search for New York, New England and Massachusetts probate collections, plus written features providing guidance on finding these records and how to get copies of documents.

Free access to the probate collection will continue until Tuesday 25 April.