Wednesday, 7 December 2016

'Tis the season: free genealogy services at NAI & NLI

Now that we're comfortably into December, it's time for my annual reminder that the free Genealogy Advisory Services at the National Library and the National Archives are not at their busiest, so this could be a perfect opportunity to drop by for some specialist help with your brickwall or to ask for guidance on 'where to go next'.

Both services operate full-time, five days a week, year round, as follows:

National Archives of Ireland

Reading Room, Bishops St, Dublin 8
Mon–Fri: 9:30am–5pm
Readers Ticket required. (Reading Room closed this week only.)
More details.

National Library of Ireland

Genealogy Room, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Mon–Wed: 9:30am–5pm; Thurs & Fri: 9:30am–4.45pm.
More details.

There is no appointment system. You just turn up and wait your turn, but queues are a lot less likely in December than during the busy summer season.

Book launch – Seven Signatories: Tracing the Family Histories of the Men who signed the Proclamation

Seven Signatories: Tracing the Family Histories of the Men Who Signed the Proclamation has been published in paperback.
Available from the publisher at just €7.99
and from good bookshops
Written by professional genealogist Paul Gorry MAGI FIGRS, the book was originally produced in digital format as a special Easter issue of Clann, the magazine of the Irish Family History Foundation / Roots Ireland, as the IFHF's contribution to the 1916 Rising commemorations. Since then it was decided to give the project permanency and greater exposure by producing it in book form.

Kildare County Council and Merrion Press/Irish Academic Press took on the task of publication.

The Family Histories of the Seven Signatories is an indepensible genealogical history that uncovers the disparate lives that came together through the will for Irish independence. The backgrounds and experiences of their families were essential components in the determination of their ideas – each firmly their own – of an Irish republic. Told individually, their extended histories collectively explore many of the complexities that defined 19th-century Ireland.

The book would make a lovely Christmas present for the genealogist or historian in your life, and at just €9.99 (or €7.99 via the publisher), you don't even have to feel guilty if you buy it for yourself! It's available from Merrion Press and bookshops.


PRONI launches free online historical maps viewer

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has launched a free online historical maps viewer for the six counties of present-day Northern Ireland: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone.
Zooming in on the Whiterock linen production area in
Belfast, now under a housing estate.
It allows you to search and browse seven historical Ordnance Survey maps and four contemporary basemaps (including aerial imagery), and displays county, parish and townland boundaries as well as information on sites, buildings and landmarks of historical interest.

The historical maps available are from the 6-inch County Series mapping and, for more recent options, the Irish Grid, as follows:

Edition 1 (1832 – 1846)
Edition 2 (1846 – 1862)
Edition 3 (1900 - 1907)
Edition 4 (1905 - 1957)
Edition 5 (1919 – 1963)
6” Irish Grid (1952-1969)
1:10,000 metric Irish Grid (1957-1986)

The functioning of the viewer and its ability to layer and compare the maps is pretty straightforward. I didn't encounter any difficulties with it when I had a trial run last night, but I'd recommend reading the clear instructions on the viewer home page linked above (or from the right-hand drop down menu) to get you up to speed without delay.

Monday, 5 December 2016

NEHGS to digitise RC Archdiocese of Boston records

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has announced a historic collaboration with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts, to create a database of 10 million Catholic records dating from 1789 to 1900.

The collection will include baptisms, marriages and burials, plus first communions, confirmations, sick calls and deaths.

It will be jam-packed with Irish emigrants, as well as a huge number of Italians and Germans who collectively made Boston such a major immigration port during the 19th century.

The Archdiocese of Boston is one of the largest Catholic dioceses in the United States, encompassing more than 130 communities in Massachusetts. According to the 2010 Religion Census, 45% of the state's residents consider themselves Catholic — a statistic that would shock the original, overwhelmingly Protestant, colonists. Catholicism was illegal in Massachusetts until 1780, and violent hostility still reigned in Boston decades later.

The arrival of thousands of Irish Catholics fleeing the Famine horrified the resident population in the 1840s and early 1850s. In 1854, when it was estimated that one in three people living in the city was Irish-born, the Know Nothing party of bigots gained a landslide electoral victory with their slogan 'Americans must rule America' and sought to strip the new arrivals of jobs and workers' and voters' rights. Fortunately, the Know Nothings were roundly defeated two years later.

But back to today's news...

On completion of this significant digitisation project, the resulting NEHGS database on will contain more than 10 million searchable names, making it the largest genealogical collection of American Catholic records online.

The timescale for the digitisation project hasn't been revealed.

Irish genealogy & history events, 5-17 December

Monday 5 to Friday 9 December:  Reading Room closed to the public for annual media preview. National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street, Dublin 8. Free Genealogy Service will not operate on these dates. Reopens Monday 12 December.

Monday 5 DecemberAgnes Jones – Pioneering Nurse, with Gerald McGill. Plus Members' Research Meeting. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Foyle Branch. Venue: Derry Central Library, 35 Foyle Street, Londonderry, BT48 6AL. 7pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 6 December: Frongoch & 1916, a series of new 1916 exhibitions – Official Launch by Catriona Crowe. Host: Digital Repository Venue: National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts, Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7. Noon. All welcome. No need to book.

Wednesday 7 December: Family History Online, a workshop for beginners. Host: Libraries NI. Venue: Lisburn City Library, Linenhall St, Lisburn BT28 1FJ. 10:30am to 12:30pm and 2pm to 4pm. Free. Booking essential – T: 028 9266 9345, E:

Thursday 8 December: WWI Ireland: Exploring the Irish Experience, an exhibition tour. Host and venue: National Library of Ireland, 2/3 Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Booking is not required. All welcome. 2pm.

Thursday 8 December: Derry City Cemetery and its burial registers (newly transcribed), with the Council's Archive team. Host: Derry City and Strabane District Council. Venue: Tower Museum, Union Hall Place, Derry~Londonderry, BT48 6LU. 7:30pm. Free. All welcome. Details.

Friday 9 December: Women of the Rising, with Dr Margaret Ward. Host: Enniskillen Library, Halls Lane, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh BT74 7DR. 12:30pm. Free. All welcome.Booking advised: T 028 6632 2886 or

Saturday 10 December: Ower the Sheugh – considering the Irish and Scottish migrations across the Narrow Sea in historical prespective, with Dr Paddy Fitzgerald. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Tyrone Branch. Venue: Omagh Library, Dublin Road, Omagh, BT78 1HL. 10am. All welcome.

Saturday 10 December: The National Library's History & Heritage, an introduction to the Library's rich architectural history and the Signatories exhibition, plus a guided tour of the Reading Room.  Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Admission free. All welcome. 1pm. No need to book.

Saturday 10 December: Finding the Source: A Survey of Irish Genealogical Websites and Databases, an intermediate level workshop with Miles Davenport. Host and venue: McClelland Irish Centre (Norton Room), 1106 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85004, USA. 10:30am to 1pm. Non-Members: $20/Members: $15. Need to register. Details.

Sunday 11 December: Family History Fair. Venue: Great National Abbey Court Hotel, Dublin Road, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, 11am- 4:30pm. Admission free.

Monday 12 to Friday 16 December: Preservation Week at PRONI. There will be no document ordering service. Search Room and self-service microfilms will operate to normal hours. Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast.

Thursday 15 December: School and Education Records, with Valerie Adams. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, North Down and Ards Branch. Venue: 1st Bangor Presbyterian Church Hall, Main Street, Bangor BT20 4AG. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Friday, 2 December 2016

RIC Service Records 1816–1922 join FindMyPast

FindMyPast has added a collection of some 486,000 Royal Irish Constabulary Service Records dating from 1816-1922. Released in association with the National Archives, the collection includes a wide range of registers and returns including disbandment records of both British and Irish recruits, service number allocation for ranks and officers, details of the force's clerical staff, nominal rolls by county, and much more.

Joining a separate collection called Royal Irish Constabulary History and Directories is a selection of publications dating from 1840 to 1925. If you have an RIC ancestor, this is where you can learn more about the day to day administration, organisation, salaries and regulations of the force.

Regular readers of Irish Genealogy News will know that Ancestry recently added the Royal Irish Constabulary Pensions, 1873-1925, collection to its database, which would seem to be a good additional record set to search. Details.

Seems to be a good time to have RIC ancestors!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Latest updates from IGP-Archives cover ten counties
Gowna (CoI) Graveyard, County Cavan. Photo courtesy
Dave Hall and IGP. Click image for larger view.
The team of volunteers at Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (IGP-web) has been very busy in the second half of November, as you can see from the number of headstone collections photographed and transcribed in the list below.

Some of these packages have been completed by new transcribers who heeded the call from IGP Archives for help earlier this month. (Round of applause, to each of you!)

ARMAGH Genealogy Archives – Cemetery Records
Tandragee Church - list of rectors

CAVAN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Arvagh (CoI) Graveyard
Gowna (CoI) Graveyard
Ballyconnell (CoI) Headstones (Updated)

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Mt Jerome Headstones, Parts 141-145 (750 new)

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Cavanaleck Presbyterian Graveyard

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Kiltoghert Graveyard (R.C.) (Updated)

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Moyne (R.C.) Graveyard
Kilglass (CoI) Cemetery
St. Columb's Cem., Mullinaghta
Ballinamuck (R.C.) Cemetery

MAYO Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Turlough Abbey Cem. (Updated)
Meelick Cemetery, Swinford (Updated)
Ballinrobe Cemetery
St. Martin's Cem., Foxford

SLIGO Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Sligo Cem. Middle Part, Section D (A-H)

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Adamstown Graveyard
Selskar Abbey including Headstones
Mayglass Graveyard & Church (partial)

WESTMEATH Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Rathowen (CoI) Graveyard