Friday, 12 February 2016

FindMyPast adds Non-Conformist parish registers
Click to view sample of Limerick
Presbyterian baptism register
FindMyPast has added a collection of non-Conformist records dating from 1813 to 1946.

(Non-Conformist congregations were Protestant churches that were not aligned to the Church of Ireland.)

Never before online, the new collection is made up of registers of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches in Limerick City, Kilrush in Co Clare and Killarney in Co Kerry, and include baptism and marriage records, details of church attendance, Subscribers lists (Methodist) and Communicants Rolls (Presbyterian).

These are the new record sets:

Limerick Non-Conformist baptisms, 1822–1913: These registers include some 2,000 baptism entries which detail not only the name of the child and parents, but also the occupation of the father, the date of birth and residence. Click the image to the right to see a larger image of a sample from the register.

Marriages Limerick Non-Conformist marriages, 1813-1946: These registers include details of just under 1,000 marriages from Limerick, Clare and Kerry.

Limerick Non-Conformist Congregational records, 1911-1945: These 10,000-odd records include communicant rolls dating from 1911 to 1945 and Ballinacurra Sunday school rolls from 1914 to 1919.

The records have been in the care of the Joint Presbyterian and Methodist Congregation of Christ Church Limerick.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Ancestry to add 10million Irish RC parish records

In case the headline above is giving you déjà vu, I should point out that last week's news of the release of the same 10million Irish Roman Catholic parish registers was by FindMyPast. Today is Ancestry's turn.

So, just as the rumour mill foretold, both major databases will be adding an index and transcriptions to the National Library of Ireland's registers collection.

As with the intended FindMyPast upload, the new index will link to the NLI's images and will be released next month. The collection is made up of Baptism, Marriage and (a small number of) Burial records from over 1,000 Catholic parishes across the whole of the island of Ireland. The cut-off date for the collection is 1881/2.

John Slyne, VP, International Operations at Ancestry comments: “The Ireland Catholic Parish Registers is the single most important collection needed to trace Roman Catholic ancestors in Ireland in the 1800s and we are delighted to make it available through Ancestry. Providing the very best Irish records to our members is important to us and this collection helps us do that, taking the total number of Irish records to over 55 million. It also means we continue to provide the largest online collection of Irish Catholic parish records available anywhere, which is good for those in Ireland and also those across the World with Irish roots."

Ancestry already has several collections of RC parish records, including the complete collections for at least 73 parishes added two years ago, and only this morning released baptism, marriage, burial and confirmations records for Cusheen, a parish in Co Clare (see blogpost).

Last chance for FindMyPast discount before price hike

As already announced (see blogpost) the cost of all FindMyPast subscriptions will increase by 20% on Tuesday 16 February.

With the price jump just days away, here's your last chance to get a 10% discount on a 12-month subscription to FindMyPast's World package... just to be clear, this is a 10% discount on pre-hike prices.

The World package gives you access to not only the regular UK, Ireland, USA, Australia and New Zealand collections and all 588 Irish and GB newspapers in the British National Archive, it will (from next Tuesday) include the 1939 England and Wales Register and (from next month) an index to the National Library of Ireland's RC registers collection.

The 10% discount offer will expire at 11:59 GMT on Monday 15 February, so act quickly.

Just choose your FindMyPast territory below:

FindMyPast Ireland
FindMyPast USA
FindMyPast UK
FindMyPast Australia/NZ

NOTE (Friday 12 Feb): The deadline for this offer has been extended until the eve of the price hike. I've amended the blogpost accordingly.

Ancestry adds Crusheen Parish and School registers unexpected gifts!

The Roman Catholic parish registers for Crusheen, Co Clare, have joined Ancestry's Irish collection.

The indexed records span 1860 to 2014 and include the following books, all available for browsing:
  • Baptismal Register (1860-1900) 
  • Confirmation Register (1913) 
  • Liber Baptizorum (1860-1915) 
  • Liber Baptizorum (1900-1915) 
  • Liber Defunctorum (1940-2014) 
  • Matrimoniorum (1900-1939)

On a trial search, I looked for Martin Clancy, born 1888, and found two results. One took me to a typed transcript (the Baptism Register referred to above, created by Clare Heritage Centre, Corofin, Co Clare) showing the date of his baptism and the names of his parents, but not his sponsors. The other took me to an image of the actual entry in the baptism register (Liber Baptizorum above), where the names of his sponsors were given.

It's really good to see a confirmation register included.

A second gift from Ancestry comes with the upload of School Records for Crusheen parish, which date from 1862 to 1919. The details found for each student typically include the name and location of the school, and the name of the student, along with birth and enrolment dates.

There are also some District Inspectors Observation books, which report on matters such as the school's discipline and methods of teaching and the ability of the teachers to control and engage the students.

North of Ireland Family History Society releases Spring programme of short courses

Scrapbooking techniques can turn your family history
presentation into a momento in its own right
The North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) has released their Spring schedule of family history classes, and once again the line-up offers a good selection of topics to help family historians.

The topics range from traditional research methods, such as using newspapers, through to how to write up your research or present it using scrapbook tecniques. History, military research and heraldry are also covered in the programme, as are more modern techniques such as DNA testing or using Facebook to help with research.
  • Using Newspapers for Family History Research.
  • Writing up Your Family History. 3 sessions.
  • Life in Ulster in the 1830s.
  • Understanding Heraldry. 2 sessions.
  • Researching Military Ancestors. 2 sessions.
  • Tagging Your Family History: a creative craft class. 3 sessions.
  • A Beginners’ Guide to Facebook.
  • You’ve taken the DNA Test, what next? Understanding Family Finder. 3 sessions.
The classes range from single sessions to triple sessions; some are held during the day, some in the evening and some at the weekend, so every researcher should be able to find classes at a time that suits them.

They are open to NIFHS members and non-members alike, although members do get a discount.

When: The programme starts next week, on Tuesday 16 February, with a new class starting most weeks, and runs until April.
Cost: From £5 to £25.
Venue: The NIFHS Library and Research Centre in Newtownabbey. Some classes are run on days when the Library is already open so there will be an opportunity to do further research. (The Library opening hours are currently Tuesdays 2pm-8pm and the 3rd Saturday of each month 10.30am-12.30pm). For day-time classes, there is a café on site.

More details and a booking form are available at

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wicklow County Archives to find permanent home

Try out the free app
After more than seven years in its temporary home within County Buildings on the edge of Wicklow Town, Wicklow County Archives & Genealogy Service is planning to relocate to a permanent new home.

The move includes Wicklow Town library, which is currently situated just outside the famous Wicklow Gaol. The two complementary services will share their new accommodation.

Archivist Catherine Wright told Irish Genealogy News that the final decision has yet to be taken on where the new permanent home will be, but the options have been narrowed down to just two choices.

"It will certainly be in Wicklow Town and it will include a Readers' Room, something we've been lacking here at County Buildings," she said. "It will also be large enough to accommodate all of our 'current' material, and to allow us to display or exhibit samples of our wonderful collections." The existing premises in County Buildings will be retained as the archives' storage space.

At some point, Catherine will have to start the time-consuming task of ear-marking material for the move, but not just yet! She's been very busy with the county's 1916 commemmorative programme, and as part of that, has been heavily involved in launching an app:

The app aims to give the viewer a sense of everyday life in Co Wicklow during the year of the Rising, and does this through weekly updates of newspaper snippets from the county's two prominent news titles of that time – the Wicklow People and the Wicklow NewsLetter.

Although most of my mother's family had moved to County Carlow by 1916, some of my direct ancestors were still in Wicklow Town at the time of the Rising, so I was curious to explore the app and see what they'd have been reading and caring about and discussing with friends and neighbours. From the app I found that topics in their newspapers 100 years ago included the new bathing boxes for Bray seafront, a letter to the mother of a Rathnew soldier at the Front, a GAA tournament on the Murrough, war news from France and Belgium, a robbery at Atkinson's chemist shop in Rathdrum, and an account of the items for sale when the Cherry Tree pub in Killincarig (Delgany) went to auction. In the latter report, the items included an upright piano, stuffed birds, five guns and a donkey and trap!

In addition to the news reports, the app presents train timetables, adverts for fashionable goods and cure-alls, and some excellent vintage photographs of the county's towns and views.

It's worth a browse even if you don't have family connections to Wicklow! If you don't want to download the app, you can get its flavour on the website version at

The Diaspora of the Wild Atlantic Way conference

As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, Clare Roots Society will be hosting a third international family history conference – Diaspora of the Wild Atlantic Way – later this year, bringing together genealogy experts from around the world.

The conference will take place in Ennis, Co Clare, on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 September, with the main theme being the movement and migration of people from the west coast counties of Ireland to Scotland, Britain and beyond. It will also address emigration after 1916 and will feature a focus on genealogy in the future.

While the full programme is not yet finalised, there is already enough detail for researchers to start getting themselves organised for this major date in the Irish genealogy calendar.

The keynote speaker will be genealogy blogger Dick Eastman from the USA (EOGN), who is making his first trip to Ireland and has been involved in genealogy for over 30 years. Other confirmed speakers include Scottish genealogist and author Dr Bruce Durie (currently a Fulbright scholar in the USA researching migration) who will speak on Irish emigration to Scotland; author and genealogist John Grenham (Irish Roots), who will share his experience of researching emigration from the west of Ireland; and researcher and blogger Pauleen Cass (Family History Across the Seas), who has a particular interest in people who left from East Clare and will discuss the reasons some migrants chose Australia over America and other destinations.

On the Friday evening, an exhibition of emigrants' stories will be on display and the opening lecture – From the Rising to Refuge: America and the Irish Revolution – will be presented by historian Gavin Wilk who will discuss the emigrants who left Ireland after 1916 and their experience in America. Mike Feerick will give a short talk about Ireland Reaching Out and will officially launch the conference, and a conference dinner will be held.

The venue is Treacy's West County Hotel in Ennis, where special accommodation rates are available for conference attendees (mention Clare Roots Society when booking).

For updates and contact details, see the Society's website.