Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The 20,000-records-in-a-day Indexing Challenge

This Saturday, 2 August, will see an attempt to index 20,000 records in one 12-hour period at the LDS Church in Clondalkin, Co Dublin.

A similar event was held last year. The 2013 goal was rather less ambitious at a 'mere' 10,000 records, but the indexers had pushed that target aside by the time lunch was over and just carried on. They ended up with more than 21,100 records indexed. As last year, members of the Church are asking for volunteers to come along and help with entering information from historical records into an online database.

I've no details about which record set they'll be working on (last year it was the UK's Kent Register of Electors 1825 to 1900) but wherever the collection originates, indexing the data will allow other genealogists to research their ancestors.

You don't have to commit to the entire 12-hour session! Just turn up anytime between 7am and 7pm.

The organisers promise lots of fun, lots of food and lots of indexing.

Venue: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9th Lock Road, Clondalkin, Co Dublin.

Bank holiday arrangements, Monday 4 August

There's a bank holiday in the Republic of Ireland this coming Monday, 4 August. Here are the changes to standard opening times for the main repositories and institutions used by genealogists:

Dublin City Public Libraries
will not open on Saturday 2 August or on Monday 4 August. Normal schedules resume Tuesday 5 August.

The National Archives of Ireland will be closed to the public on Monday 4 August and will re-open on Tuesday 5 August at 9.15am.

The National Library of Ireland
Reading Room will be closed on Monday 4 August and there will be no Genealogy Advisory Service operating on that day. However, the Yeats exhibition at Kildare Street will be open 12pm to 5pm. All back to normal (9:30am) on Tuesday 5 August.

The GRO Research Room
at Werburgh Street will be closed on Monday 4 August, reopening Tuesday 5 August 9:15am.

Local branch libraries
will be closed on Saturday 2 August and Monday 4 August, reopening for normal hours on Tuesday 5 August.

Northern Ireland is open for business as usual on Monday 4 August but mark your diaries with a note that it'll be enjoying its own Late Summer Bank Holiday on Monday 26 August.

Just published: the largest-ever book in Irish language

The largest book in the Irish language ever-written by a single author was recently launched at the National Museum of Ireland in Mayo.

Compiled by Dr Fiachra Mac Gabhann, Logainmneacha Mhaigh Eo comprises almost 7,500 pages and is divided into 10 volumes corresponding mainly to Mayo’s baronies.

The author told Irish Genealogy News: "The work took over a decade to complete and features collected historical references to the 3,500 townland and island names of Mayo with attendant linguistic analysis, proposed Irish forms of the names (with translations), collections of non-administrative local names from western parts of the county (such as Achill and Inishturk), complete with indices in both languages.

"The historical references span from the writings of Bishop Tírechán (late 600s) to the Ordnance Survey of 1838."

An extensive array of sources in several languages were employed and over 300 local people were interviewed and recordings of Mayo Irish speakers from the last half century explored.

This mighty work has been published in a limited print edition by Coiscéim; all ten volumes are also available on a cd in pdf format. To obtain a copy, contact Gnó Mhaigh Eo on (094) 9047027.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Merged Waterford Archives upgrade online resources

As you may remember from my report in mid-June, Waterford City Archives and Waterford County Archives have been amalgamated. While there are still two venues, one in the City and one in Dungarvan, 45km away, and no immediate option of bringing the full collection under one roof, there is only one archivist: Joanne Rothwell.

Despite having to now split her time between the two existing venues, Joanne took time out to tell Irish Genealogy News about how more of the archives' materials will be making their way online.

"Instead of the two distinct websites we had before, details of both archives can now be found on the combined City & County Council's brand new site: From the Culture & Heritage section of the Home Page, visitors can quickly navigate to find details of the archives and the collections each holds.

"But the new site has also allowed us to introduce a dedicated section to Researching Family History. It has a much more prominent placement on the Home Page, and we are signposting some of our most popular collections there. Researchers can click through to the type of collection they want – Newspapers or Burial Records, for example –, or they can click the section title to explore a menu of other material."

The result of this is that some of the material previously somewhat 'hidden' on the old sites is easier to find. The Waterford Newspapers War Archive is a good example of this. The database holds an extensive collection of articles dating from 1914 to 1918 and from 1939 to 1947; it's easy to use and a mine of information, but was under-used because researchers didn't know of its existence or couldn't locate it on the old site.

Joanne tells me that some historical City maps will be added in the next week or so, and photo collections will be joining the line up, too. The Burial Registers of St Otteran's, which date from 1862 to 1916 (with a few gaps), will also be added in pdf format, and more newspapers will be added to the general newspaper collection within a couple of months.

It's worth stressing that everything that was available on the two old websitse has migrated to the new site. Nothing has been withdrawn. The intention is only to improve and add to the online offering, not reduce it, and Joanne is working on the new site on a daily basis. Sometimes this may mean a collection or database 'disappears' temporarily. Such events will be short-lived, however. It's usually a sign that fresh text or material is being uploaded to a collection.

The new site is still very much 'under-construction', but it is certainly starting to come together. "We're putting a lot of time into making the new site more user-friendly and making our resources more accessible," says Joanne.

Who Do You Think You Are? TV show returns, 7 August
The show is produced by Wall To Wall
The 11th series of the celebrity-led genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? will open with an Irish themed story at 9pm on 7 August on BBC1.

The show's researchers will dig into the roots of actress Julie Walters to uncover the trail of her great grandfather, Anthony Clarke. He was one of the early members of the Land League, a revolutionary organisation which fought for the right for tenant farmers to own the land they worked.

Walters and the genealogy team visit County Mayo and unearth a tale of poverty, tyranny and triumph, set in a tumultuous time in Irish history.

Three weeks later the show will return to Ireland with Brendan O'Carroll. This episode revolves around Ireland's War of Independence and tells the story of O'Carroll's paternal grandfather, Peter, who was shot by British troops in an execution-style killing in 1920. Brendan's father, a lad of just nine years old, was also deliberately shot, but survived.

Here's the running order of the new 10-part series: Julie Walters, Brian Blessed, Tamzin Outhwaite, Brendan O'Carroll, Sheridan Smith, Mary Berry, Martin Shaw, Reggie Yates, Twiggy, Billy Connolly (the 100th episode).

The night before the new series kicks off – on 6 August, 10.35pm, to be precise – the BBC will celebrate the programme's 10-year anniversary and its upcoming 100th episode.

The War To End All Wars: a day of lectures, 31 August

The Maritime Institute of Ireland in conjunction with the Heritage Council is to host a day of lectures, discussions, debates and music on Sunday 31 August.

The event – The War To End All Wars, 1914-1918 – will be held at the Dún Laoghaire Club (aka Eblana Club), Eblana Lodge, 3 Eblanda Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. Here's the programme:

11:30am   Registration
Noon   Build up to war and those opposed, with Roger Cole, Peace & Neutrality Alliance
12:45pm   Living in Dublin 1913-1918 – social aspects, with Padraig Yeates, historian
1:30pm   The sinking of the mail boat Leinster, with Roy Stokes, author
2:15pm   The colonies and the freedom of small nations, with Padraig Mannion, researcher and editor
3:00pm   Uncle Sam's Navy, with Pat Sweeney, author
3:45pm   RMS Lusitania – arms and the ship, with David Snook, author
4:30pm   SS Kelp - Four flags in war, the story of a German ship captured and later used by Allied Forces, with Dr John Treacy, NUI Limerick
5:15pm   Winston Churchill: Worst Lord of the Admiralty? Speaker tbc
6:00pm   Lest we forgot or best we forget? Speaker: tbc
6:45pm   Music & songs of WWI, with William Byrne and guests
8:00pm   Approximate time of finish

Admission is by donation to cover costs. Suggested donation, €5 per lecture/€20 for the day.

More details at

Monday, 28 July 2014

Another small, useful & free source from Flyleaf Press

Jim Ryan of Flyleaf Press has published another of his very useful 'Small Sources', this time a list of more than 100 tenants of the Earl of Listowel in Kerry together with their rents due on 29 September 1755. Most of the tenants are recorded with their townland.

This is number 11 in the 'Small Sources' series, and it's free for all to access on the publisher's blog (click link above).

Although I've reported most of the earlier entries in the series, I seem to have missed number 10. This was a list of payments made in 1813, 1817 and 1820 to the poor in the neighbouring parishes of Killinick, Maglass/Mayglass, St Iberius and Kilmacree, all in Co Wexford. Although these are Church of Ireland parishes, some of the recipients may well have been Roman Catholic. See this Small Source here.