Friday, 24 April 2015

Co Clare Government Proceedings join FindMyPast

And here's another FindMyPast release, straight into the Ireland and World collections: the County Clare Government Proceedings 1732-1882.

As the collection name implies, this record set shows how the county was run in the 19th century. The records relate to the Grand Jury, the early form of County Councils and include the Grand Jury Presentments and lists of all those who served on the Grand Jury right back to 1689.

If that sounds a bit too highfalutin for your ancestors, hang on.

Presentments were generally orders for money to be paid for various work around the county. This could be anything from maintaining the roads to hiring a teacher or a doctor for the workhouse or a clerk for the courthouse. Entries usually include the details of the job and the name of the person hired to do it, as well as the amount that was due to be paid.

There are 42 volumes of grand jury presentments dating from 1784 to 1792 and 1870 to 1900.

Also included in the collection are letters and circulars to the grand jury.

FindMyPast releases military records, including PoWs

To mark the centenary of the battle of Gallipoli this weekend, Findmypast has released some new military collections from WW1, as well as a huge group of parish record sets for Yorkshire in England.

Here are some brief descriptions of this Friday's deliveries:

Prisoners Of War, 1914-1920
Containing over 43,000 records with images, Prisoners Of War 1914-1920, is the first collection in a series of PoW records to be digitised and published by Findmypast in partnership with The National Archives. These latest additions consist of 10 series of British Foreign Office document’s relating to prisoners held by the Ottomans during World War One They not only include the names of military personnel taken prisoner – both allied and foreign – but also the names of civilians, merchant seamen, fishermen, diplomatic employees and more. They will eventually form part of a wider Prisoners of War Collection, 1715-1945, which on completion will span 230 years and date back to the Jacobite rebellion.

Consisting of lists and general correspondence, the records contain the names, ranks and locations of PoWs and provide insights into life in the Ottoman camps. They contain details of requests made by inmates for items including footballs and biscuits, details of visits by foreign diplomats and reports on camp conditions. The amount of information in each record can vary depending on the type of document and the amount of detail recorded at the time of the event.

Much to my surprise I found a distant relative: William Santry. His townland of origin – Scilly, Kinsale, Co Cork – is recorded in the document so I knew immediately to which family line he belonged; all the men of that family branch made their living on the sea, typically as fishermen, coastguards and merchant seamen. His records in this collection show he was 17-years-old and an Ordinary Seaman serving on the Merchant Ship King George when he, together with 26 colleagues, was captured in December 1916. He was held in the Brandenburg PoW Camp until 1918. Another young lad from Kinsale, John O'Sullivan, was among this group of PoWs.

Australian Imperial Force, Nominal Roll Of The First Railway Section 1917-1920: A very small (453 records) collection of transcripts revealing the names of railway employees who formed the 1st Railway Section of the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force. Typically, the transcript includes name, address and age.

New South Wales, Returned Soldier Settlement Miscellaneous Files 1916-1939:
Did your New South Wales ancestor serve in World War One and become a soldier settler? This record show has details of those servicemen who took part in the soldier settlement scheme and applied to show their eligibility for land. The returned soldiers pursued poultry farming, fruit farming, pig farming, horticulture, market gardening, and other agricultural industries, and settled in various regions around the state. The details provided in this collection includes their address and post-war financial history.

The Australian Military Forces WW2 missing and prisoners of war records list details of some 23,000 servicemen who were recorded as missing or as PoWs in the Pacific theatre of World War Two. The records relate specifically to members of the Australian armed forces who were captured or went missing while serving in the Far East and South West Pacific islands as of 30 June 1944.

Each record includes a transcript that can give the individual’s service number, rank and unit, as well as a note of whether they were missing or had become a prisoner of war. For those listed as POWs, the location of the camp in which they were imprisoned was also recorded. The prisoner of war camps listed span from Borneo to Keijo in Korea, from the Netherlands East Indies (modern-day Indonesia) to Malaya, from Thailand to various camps in Japan itself.

Yorkshire parish registers
I'm not sure exactly what was available previously, but FindMyPast says more than 6million additional records have been uploaded to this collection, which spans 1538-1914. It includes birth, marriage and burial registers, banns, and bishops' transcripts of birth, marriage and burial records.

Bishop’s transcripts were abbreviated copies of the parish records sent to the Diocesan bishop each year. They can be an invaluable source of genealogical information when the original record has not survived.

Irish newspapers
Today's FindMyPast Friday announcement includes mention of four new newspapers being added to the database. I've already covered these arrivals on this blog, so I'm not going to repeat myself, but it's always worth making a reminder that all 72 Irish newspapers in the British Newspaper Archive are included in either the Ireland subscription or the World subscription.

The collection now stands at over 7.7 million articles and covers more than 175 years of Irish history, from 1748 to 1924.

IARC to host 10-week series of genealogy workshops

The Irish Ancestry Research Centre (IARC) in Limerick will be hosting another series of Genealogy Workshops in partnership with University of Limerick from Thursday 30 April.

The series includes ten workshops, each presented from 10:30am to 1pm (includes 20-minute break) on Thursdays in IARC's offices at 58 O’Connell Street, Limerick City.

It's designed to attract all levels of family historian, so you can choose to attend all the lectures in the series, or pick and choose the topic(s) in which you feel you most need to improve your knowledge.

These are the workshop topics:

Session  1  – Introduction to genealogy and Irish genealogical sources.
Session  2  – Census 1901 and 1911.
Session  3  – Primary (Griffith’s) Valuation and Tithe Applotments.
Session  4  – Software for genealogy.
Session  5  – Irish mapping from a genealogical perspective.
Session  6  – Building your Family Tree.
Session  7  – Introduction to 17th- and 18th-century sources.
Session  8  – The Registry of Deeds and Parliamentary Papers.
Session  9  – Using newspapers for genealogical research.
Session 10 – Codes and ethics in genealogy

The cost of each workshop session is €35, while the full 10-lecture series is €290. Group discounts are available.

Researchers who sign up for the full series of ten workshops and complete the course assessment will be awarded a 'CPE - Certificate in Family History' from the University of Limerick.

For more details, contact IARC on +353 61 207114 or email: 

The Irish in Gallipoli: new online platform launched

http://gallipoli.rte.ieA new online exploration of the Irish experience in WW1's Gallipoli campaign was launched last night at

The new web platform has been funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and has been produced by Boston College in partnership with RTÉ and national cultural institutions.

Some 4,000 Irishmen were among the 130,000 who were killed in the Gallipoli campaign, which raged from April 1915 to January 1916. The new online presence shines a light on the Irish experience of Gallipoli, which was largely untold for many decades.

“While well remembered in the national stories of Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, the Irish role in the Gallipoli campaign was largely forgotten over the decades," said Minister Heather Humphreys TD at the launch.  "The Gallipoli campaign was followed so quickly by the 1916 Rising here at home, that little focus was placed on the thousands of Irish men who were killed fighting on the front in Turkey.

“Three Irish regiments of the British Army were involved at the start of the Gallipoli campaign and were among the first to try to storm the beaches and to suffer 1,000 casualties in just four days.

“As the campaign raged on, so too did the suffering. The lack of water, poor supplies and dreadful sanitation made for harsh conditions, coupled with the fact that the men were unprepared for the extremes of heat and cold. This new website brings these terrible conditions home to us in a vivid way.

“It is important that 100 years on, we remember and reflect on the stories of the Irish in Gallipoli, and ensure their legacy is preserved as part of our national story.”

The site features:
  • A series of guides explaining the background to the campaign and the Irish involvement.
  • A daily news tracker detailing events on the peninsula as they happened.
  • Daily eyewitness accounts from 8 Irish people who took part in the campaign.
  • Daily reports from the regimental diaries of the 4 Irish regiments that fought.
  • A daily death notice of an Irishman who died at Gallipoli.
  • A series of films, radio broadcasts and podcasts which focus on different aspects of the campaign.
  • A series of galleries containing over 500 images from Gallipoli in 1915.
  • Education packs for use across the various age groups in schools.
'The Irish in Gallipoli' is part of Boston College’s broader engagement with the Irish Decade of Centenaries, namely Century Ireland Century Ireland is a realtime historic newspaper that explores the day to day events of life in Ireland 100 years ago.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

20% discount on AncestryDNA until Monday, 27 April
Here's your chance to grab a chunky 20% discount from AncestryDNA for DNA tests ordered on or before Monday 27 April.

The UK and Ireland offer reduces the price from £99 to £79 and expires at 23:59hrs on Monday. These prices don't include shipping costs or applicable taxes, which are added to the bill.

The test maps your ethnic mix going back multiple generations and can also help identify relationships with unknown relatives through a dynamic list of DNA matches.

According to Ancestry's corporate statement yesterday, there are already 850,000 people in the AncestryDNA database, so you have a very real chance of connecting with a distant relative. And such relatives may well hold information vital to your family research!

The same promotion is also being run by in the US. This is available only to those in the USA, and costs $79+shipping etc. It will end at 23:59 ET on Monday 27April.

By the way, Saturday 25 April is DNA Day because it commemorates the day in 1953 when James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin and colleagues first published papers about the structure of DNA. It's been recognised since 2003.

Dublin Electoral Lists 1938–1964 now online

Great news for those with connections to the capital: Dublin City Libraries have uploaded the Dublin Electoral Lists from 1938 to 1964. All in one go!

These records list all those registered to vote in Dublin City in Dáil and local elections; the lists were used in polling stations at election time.

The database can be searched by name or by street, and there's a browse facility through the 49,000 images it holds, too, for those who want to check out the neighbourhood. The originals are held at Dublin City Library & Archive in Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

These records join the line-up of databases, which include the Dublin City Electoral Lists for 1908 to 1915. (I hadn't realised that the 1913 and 1914 lists had been added to the database since last July, so that's another good bit of news!)

Book launch: Irish Doctors in the First World War

Last night saw the launch of Irish Doctors in the First World War at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. If you have medical ancestors who fought in WW1, this book is a must purchase and must read publication, already acclaimed for its depth of research.

The editors – Patrick Casey, Kevin Cullen and Joe Duignan – have created a unique book that records the experiences of the 3,300 Irish doctors who joined the British armed forces. More than 240 of them were to lose their lives in the conflict, many with no known grave.

The 513-page hardback, which is lavishly illustrated with 120 colour and black & white photographs, comprehensively records the theatres of war and key campaigns including army, navy and air force, where Irish medics assisted and developed their expertise in caring for the wounded.

It includes an indispensable Directory of Irish Doctors who served in the First World War, compiled from available records and publications. Where the information was available, each profile contains the name, family details and military record of the doctor, including medals and honours awarded. There is also a Roll of Honour of Irish Doctors who died during the First World War.

Published under the Merrion Press imprint, the book is available from Irish Academic Press, price €31.50. The ISBN number is 978-178537-0045.