Friday, 24 June 2016

FindMyPast to mark Somme centenary with free access

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, FindMyPast will be giving free access to its World collection of 65million military records. This free access will run from Monday 27 June at 9am to Monday 4 July. I'll be back with more details after the weekend.

The WW1 Battle was a major event in the history of the island. Among the dead were more than 3,500 Irish soldiers (the figures are not certain) and many additional thousands were physically injured or mentally scarred from their experiences.

On the first day alone, the 36th Ulster Division suffered 5,500 casualties, all of them Protestants, including 2,069 soldiers killed. Two months later, as the Battle continued with another British offensive, some 1,200 men from the mainly Irish Catholic 16th Division were killed and 3,100 injured, nearly all of them coming from the other three provinces of Ireland.

Before you start digging into FindMyPast's collection for your own family's military history, you might like to read a more detailed account of the Battle of the Somme and its legacy across the island. A good factual overview can be found on the Department of the Taoiseach's website, together with a useful list of the Irish Regiments and their recruiting areas.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: latest update

McGarry / Conlon headstone, Sligo Town Cemetery.
Photo courtesy Kev Murray
Click image for larger view.
A little later than usual, here's your summary of the records and photos submitted by volunteers and uploaded to Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives in the first half of the month.

MAYO Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Balla Old Cemetery
Teampall Maol Cemetery, Foxford
Westport Road (CoI) Cemetery

SLIGO Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Ahamlish Cemetery - Old, H-W (Transcribed)
Sligo Cem. Middle Pt, Section C (A-Lo)

Genealogy Archives -
Newspaper Records:
Vindicator, Evicted from Lattera 8 May 1844
Vindicator, Intent to Register to Vote 1846
Vindicator, Licenced for sale of spirits 7 Oct 1846

WESTMEATH Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Crowinstown (Parish of Delvin)

Last shout for Ancestral Connections Summer School

Ancestral Connections:  Roots to the Rising 2016.
UCC's Summer School is now in its fourth year.
Ancestral Connections, the genealogy summer school held at University College Cork (UCC), will be getting underway in just a couple of days time. There's a meet and greet reception on Sunday (26th) evening, with five days of lectures and field trips (not to mention some fun social events) starting on Monday morning.

There are still a few non-residential places available on the course, so if you live locally or can make your own accommodation arrangements, take a look through the timetable and see which day or days you might like to attend.

The full details and costs of the summer school, which is presented by some of Ireland's best-known genealogists, can be found on the UCC website.

Last minute bookings can be made by contacting course co-ordinator Lorna Moloney – E: T: 085-8721184.

Bishop's Bank of Philadelphia: C19th ledgers go online

Digital Library@Villanova University
Digital Library@Villanova University.
Click image for larger view of this entry.
An exceptionally useful collection of bank ledgers has gone online for the first time at the Digital Library at Villanova University.

It consists of three ledgers, each of about 700 pages, which note the money deposits made by working Catholics into what was popularly known as the Bishop's Bank in Philadelphia. The Bank was set up in May 1848 by Bishop Francis P. Kenrick to provide men and women with a safe place to save and receive interest on their money, and was managed by Mark Antony Frenaye, a businessman who served for many years as the financier and treasurer of the Diocese of Philadelphia.

Although set up for all Catholics, by far the majority of the Bishop's Bank's customers were Irish, and their approximate age and county of birth in Ireland is noted with details of their deposits. In some cases, additional information such as physical descriptions or family connections are recorded. You can find an interesting overview of the history of the Bishop's Bank at the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center, which holds the original ledgers and journals.

Now digitised and free to access online, the Bishop's Bank Collection can be viewed in high-quality scans at the Digital Library. They have not been indexed.

(Many thanks to Kyle Betit @CatholicGenealogy for letting me know of this development.)

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Ancestry DNA has tested 2million customers in 4 years
Ancestry DNA has announced the passing of another milestone: it now has 2million customers genotyped (DNA tested) and says it is the first and only consumer genetics company to achieve a customer base of such a size.

Growth has been impressively speedy. After launching in the United States in May 2012, the company's dna testing product arrived in Ireland and the UK in January 2015 (see blogpost), and in Canada and Australia last June. This was followed by an announcement that the company had tested its one-millionth customer.

In February this year, the global rollout continued with the test becoming available in 29 more countries.

Ancestry has created a special presentation to broadcast news of its DNA success, and takes the opportunity to throw a few more big figures our way. The company's main (non-DNA) database now holds 17billion genealogy records and 70million family trees.

Societies come together for posthumous presentation

The late Randal Gill,
former President of the North of Ireland Family History Society
On Saturday, at the North of Ireland Family History Society's Library and Research Centre in Newtownabbey, a posthumous presentation was made to the family of the late Randal Gill, a founder member and former President of the Society, to mark his election as a Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS).

Randal had been a member of the IGRS since 1982, and the Award of Fellowship was made to recognise his outstanding contribution and dedicated service to the genealogy community in Northern Ireland and further afield.

Randal is recognised in Irish genealogical circles as having made an immensely significant contribution to the development of Ulster genealogical knowledge and resources for over forty years. His pursuit of family history began in 1967 when a cousin from Australia visited Northern Ireland and together they began to research the family of Randal’s mother.

This proved to be the spark that inspired his lifelong interest in genealogy and family history.

In 1979, Randal was one of the founding members of the North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS), serving in various roles, including twice as president of the Society. His enthusiasm for Ulster family history drove him to be a most generous individual with his time and knowledge. He thought nothing of travelling the length and breadth of the North of Ireland, attending NIFHS branch meetings and giving informative talks, which were often highly entertaining. His biggest contribution to the NIFHS was the building up of its library to be one of the most important resources for Ulster genealogy and local history. It was fitting then, that after his untimely and sudden death in 2012, that the NIFHS named their library in Newtownabbey 'The Randal Gill Library'.

At the event, IGRS President, Fergus Gillespie, former Chief Herald of Ireland, said: “Our pleasure in recognising Randal Gill’s unique contribution to Irish genealogy in early 2012, with his election as a Fellow of the IGRS, was overtaken by sadness when we learned of his premature death so shortly afterwards. Randal’s work in promoting Ulster genealogy and the North of Ireland Family History Society was unrivalled. He was without doubt a most knowledgeable and generous individual and a man most deserving of this Fellowship.”

NIFHS President Ann Robinson said “Randal was for years a vital part of our Society and his sudden death in 2012 was a great loss to us, as both a committed member and as a friend to so many. We are very pleased that Randal's family are here with us today to accept the Fellowship on his behalf. It is wonderful that this presentation recognises his important contribution to family history across the North of Ireland for over four decades. His legacy lives on in a network of family history branches and in the library materials that are available to family and local history researchers worldwide.”

IGRS President Fergus Gillespie presented a posthumous Certificate of Fellowship of the IGRS to the family of the late Randal Gill, formerly President of the North of Ireland Family History Society. In the photo (L-R) are Fiona Gill (niece), Deirdre Hammond (sister), Adrian Gill (brother), Fergus Gillespie, and Ann Robinson (President, NIFHS).

(Photos courtesy of NIFHS)

More updates to Co. Clare Library's Local Studies site

County Clare Library's Local Studies Department has updated its excellent website with the following:

The 1916 Rising in Clare newspapers – This online archive presents a number of transcribed extracts from three of County Clare's historical newspapers: The Saturday Record, The Clare Champion and The Clare Journal & Ennis Advertiser. The chosen extracts report the events and aftermath of Easter Week and include editorials written from a local perspective.

The transcription and compilation team at the Library included Maureen Comber, Anthony Edwards, Jackie Dermody and Mona O'Connor.

RC Marriage Records for Kilmurry Ibrickan Parish, 1839-1857 – Marie Crowley of Derry is continuing her project to transcribe the marriage register of the Roman Catholic parish of Kilmurry Ibrickan. The latest tranche of transcription sees the available records span from 1839 to 1857 (with gap from August 1852 to September 1855).

The transcriptions are being made from the National Library of Ireland's online images and are presented in three formats: in chronological order, by the surname of the groom, and by the surname of the bride.