Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Reduced summer service for Irish Genealogy News

I'm waving the white flag as a temporary measure
I've been on the verge of doing this for a few weeks but today, however reluctantly, I know I have to wave the white flag and take a short break from the blog. I've been struggling with a backlog of work-work for some time and if I'm ever going to catch up, I really must focus on it.

So I shall be head down until the middle of next week (when there's a lovely gift coming your way... more about that on 3rd/4th) and will then bring you a limited blog service until mid-August, at least.

August is usually a pretty quiet period for record releases and I'm not expecting anything particulary significant, but you never know.

If I hear of any major news along the way, I'll make sure to report it, if only briefly, but otherwise, I'll hang fire. I'll do catch-up posts as and when I can.

Royal Navy records reveal place of birth for thousands of mid-C19th Irish sailors

Ancestry has added another of its 'Web Search' collections, meaning it has uploaded a searchable index to a record-set held on a third party website.

In this particular case, the record set is the Royal Navy Ratings’ Service Records, Series ADM 139; some 90,000 records strong in total, it holds the details of many thousand Irish sailors*.

Ancestry has called the index the Royal Naval Seamen Index, 1853–1872.

Importantly, in all but a tiny number of cases, the town where the man was born is recorded in these service records (see image, right, of some search results). With most of the sailors born in the 1810–1845 period, this collection may be the only surviving documentation providing this vital piece of information.

I found two records of interest for my Santry One-Name Study, and one that was especially revealing. It related to a 14-year-old William Santry who signed up as a Boy 2nd Class in 1862. Not only was his date and place of birth recorded as 6 October 1848 in Baltimore, County Cork, and a personal description provided (4ft 9inches, fair skin, light hair, grey eyes), his father had to provide name (John Santry) and signature on account of his son's young age.

From that information, I was able to nip over to (my preferred site for my Cork ancestors)  to find William's baptism record in Skibbereen parish, his mother's name and the name of his siblings, as well as his parents' marriage record. Not bad for 15 minutes' research, even if I did have to pay TNA £3.45 for images of the service records!

*I can't be certain exactly how many Irishmen are indexed because when I search using Ireland as the place of birth, I get 5,300 results, all of them in the south. When I search using Northern Ireland as the birth place, another 1,000-odd results are returned. I'd have expected a higher proportion of the 90,000 records (as per the catalogue entry) to be Irish.

The Cork Constitution joins British Newspaper Archive British Newspaper Archive has added The Cork Constitution to its online database. This staunchly Protestant and Unionist newspaper ceased publication on Independence.

So far, the complete editions published in 1890 and 1891 are available for exploration on the site. Unusually, there is no note of the BNA's plans for this title, but I'd expect more editions to be uploaded in due course.

The addition of this title means there are now 121 Irish newspapers in the BNA collection. This same collection is also available as part of a FindMyPast Ireland or World subscription package.

Monday, 25 July 2016

John Grenham launches a six-part series of Irish genealogy webinars
Genealogist John Grenham MAGI FIGRS has been busy creating a series of webinars for Irish family historians of beginner to intermediate levels of experience.

Called The Foundations of Irish Genealogy, the six-part series was launched last week within the Legacy Family Tree Webinar Library.

The individual webinars are as follows:
  • The Raw Materials of Irish Genealogy - 1 hour 21 minutes
  • The Major Records I - General Register Office – 1 hour 4 minutes
  • The Major Records II - Irish Censuses – 52 minues
  • The Major Records III - Irish Church Records – 1 hour 6 minutes
  • The Major Records IV - C19th Irish Property Records – 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Bringing the Major Records Together - 48 minutes.
While each webinar is available individually, the full series is included in the monthly membership subscription of US$9.95, along with handout notes.

John sets out at the beginning of the series to quash many of the myths about Irish genealogy, especially the one about all the records were destroyed in 1922. He told Irish Genealogy News: "If you really, really, really want to look on the bright side, you could say that the destruction of all those records in 1922 simplified Irish research. Which is what makes it possible to get a good overview of almost everything that's relevant to almost all researchers. And that's what the series tries to provide. Plus it's a chance to tell all my old jokes to a fresh set of victims."

New resources for NLI's Genealogy Advisory Service

The free Genealogy Service is available without
appointment at the NLI's main Kildare Street building.
Visitors to the National Library of Ireland's free Genealogy Service are seeing some additional resources made available to them this summer.

Researchers have long been able to take advantage of free on-site access to a number of subscription websites, including Ancestry, FindMyPast, Irish News Archive, the Irish Times newspaper Archive and the Dictionary of Irish Biography. Well, recent upgrades have brought full access to Ancestry's Worldwide collection and to John Grenham's Irish Anceestors software to all the Genealogy Room's computer screens.

What is more, the 1bn-records database of the New England Historic Genealogical Society,, will also soon be available to visitors.

The Genealogy Service is located in the NLI's main building in Kildare Street, Dublin 2, and is open Monday to Wednesday from 9:30am–5pm and Thursday and Friday from 9:30am–4:45pm.

No appointment is needed. Just turn up. Those who can't visit in person can contact the service by email to or telephone +353 1 6030 256.

Irish genealogy & history events, 25 July to 7 August

Tuesday 26 July: 1916 and the Big House: a Kildare perspective, with Dr Ciaran Reilly. Host and venue: Castletown House, Celbridge, Co Kildare. €5, includes refreshments. 7:15pm. Booking required: T (0)1 628 8252 or E 8pm. Lecture held in the Hunting Room.

Tuesday 26 July: Mná - 25 years of searching - lessons & leads, with Sinead McCool, first of this year's NLI Genealogy at lunchtime lecture series. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin 2. Free. 1pm. All welcome, booking not required.

Thursday 28 July: The lonely sea and sky - the rescue of 168 German sailors in December 1943 by the MV Kerlogue, a tiny ship from Wexford, with Dermot Bolger. Part of the NLI Genealogy at Lunchtime lecture series. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin 2. Free. 1pm. All welcome. Booking not required.

Thursday 28 July to Saturday 30 July: Waterford County Museum Book Sale. Venue: Dan McCarthy's Shop, Friary Street, Waterford. 9am to 9pm every day. Wide range of books including novels, gardening, cookery, medical to sports and history.

Thursday 28 July to Monday 1 August: 5th Annual Spirit of Mother Jones Summer School and Festival takes place in various venue in Shandon, Cork City. Includes a mix of lectures, talks, discussions, music, singing and films. All events are free and there is no need to book, however some talks fill up very quickly so be on time to guarantee a seat. Details.

Monday 1 August: Bank holiday in Republic of Ireland.

Tuesday 2 August: Territory, maps and genealogy, with Paul McCotter MAGI. Part of the NLI Genealogy at Lunchtime lecture series. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare St., Dublin 2. Free. 1pm. All welcome. Booking not required.

Wednesday 3 August: The life and legacy of Roger Casement, a special event including exhibition and access to Air Corps Museum. Host: Ireland 2016 and the Defence Forces. Venue: Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Dublin 22. 11am to 5pm. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance. Details and booking.

Thursday 4 August: Explorations in Irish genealogy, with Fiona Fitzsimons. Part of the NLI Genealogy at Lunchtime lecture series. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin 2. Free. 1pm. All welcome. Booking not required.

Friday, 22 July 2016

New book explores the experience of death in Ireland
A new book – Grave Matters, Death and dying in Dublin, 1500 to the present – has been published by Four Courts Press. As its title suggests, it explores the experience of death, burial and commemoration in Dublin since the sixteenth century, and uses death as a way of understanding social conditions during the last five hundred years. It is edited by historians Lisa Marie Griffith and Ciarán Wallace.

Its contributions consider the role of the public funeral in establishing political hierarchies, the fate of the city’s Catholics during the era of the penal laws and the survival of the death penalty to 1990. They also explore the meanings of humble headstones, elaborate memorials and post-mortem photography. From Sir Francis Agard’s elite funeral in 1577, through the panicky burials during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1919, to the presentation of cemeteries as cultural tourism today, this collection of essays offers a fascinating analysis of life – and death – in Dublin.

You can see the full line-up of essay topics on the Four Courts Press's website where the well-illustrated 268-page book is on sale for €22.45.