Friday, 29 August 2014

Brendan O'Carroll most watched WDYTYA? for 3 years

Last night's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC TV was watched by 5.3million viewers, the highest audience recorded during the last three series of the popular genealogy programme.

The programme set out to uncover the murderer of Peter O'Carroll, the grandfather of comedian Brendan O'Carroll, the creator of Mrs Brown's Boys, who was shot in an execution style assault at his hardware shop in Manor Street, Dublin in October 1920.

As the pieces of the story came together, the name of the probable murderer was revealed through a Witness Statement in the Bureau of Military History collection.

This Bureau was set up in 1947 to gather statements from the individuals who either participatated in or witnessed events connected with the Independence movement between 1913 and 1921.

Still relatively unknown, this collection has been available online, free, for just over a year. You can find out more about the Bureau of Military History Witness Statements in this article by Nicola Morris MAPGI, director of Dublin-based Timeline Research Ireland, the company which carried out the research for the Brendan O'Carroll episode.

The 60-minute-long programme itself is available to watch via the BBC's iplayer for the next two months.

Great Houses of the North West: new radio series

A radio series on the Great Houses of the North West has been launched on Ocean FM.

Funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht through The Heritage Council, the new radio series examines the historical role and future prospects of a number of Great Houses in Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Roscommon, Leitrim and Fermanagh.

The passage of time and new historical research has changed our understanding of the role of the Great House. It's now recognised that, far from being isolated from the lives of the majority, the Great House played an important role in rural Ireland until well into the twentieth century. It was a world where many strands of Irish life came together – Anglo, Irish, Protestant, Catholic, nationalist, loyalist, artist, writer, Gaelgoir, worker, tenant, soldier, politician and clergyman.

The Great House also epitomises a rich architectural tradition, European in origin but distinctly Irish.

All the houses in this 25-week radio series are expertly described by specialists in their relative fields.

The series will commence this Sunday at 9am. Below are the broadcast dates for each programme.

Annaghmore – 31 August
Temple House – 7 September
Castlecoole – 14 September
Castle Dargan – 21 September
Cavancor– 28 September
Coopershill – 5 October
Crom Castle – 12 October
Enniscoe House – 19 October
Florence Court – 26 October
Hazelwood House – 2 November
Kevinsfort – 9 November
Kilronan Castle – 16 November
King House – 23 November
Lissadell House – 30 November.
Lough Eske Castle, Drumnacarry – 7 December
Lough Rynn Estate – 14 December
Markree Castle – 21 December
Newpark – 28 December
Oakfield Park – 4 January
Portnason House – 11 January
Rathcarrick House – 18 January
Salthill House – 25 January
Brownhall, Ballintooey – 1 February
Westport House – 8 February
Woodhill, Ardara – 15 February

Ocean FM broadcasts on 102.5-105fm to South Donegal, Co.Sligo and North Leitrim from studios in all three counties.

Recent additions to NAI catalogue

Search the NAI's online catalogue
The National Archives of Ireland (NAI) has added the following items to its online catalogue:

  • Cork District Probate Registry: testamentary records relating to the years 1983 (2004/100), 1984 (2005/32), 1985 (2006/5), 1986 (2007/5), 1987 (2008/5), 1988 (2009/5)
  • Dundalk District Probate Registry: testamentary records relating to the years 1983 (2004/105), 1984 (2005/43), 1985 (2006/7), 1986 (2007/7), 1987 (2008/7)
  • Galway District Probate Registry: testamentary records relating to the years 1983 (2004/102), 1984 (2005/44), 1985 (2006/8)
  • Kilkenny District Probate Registry: testamentary records relating to the years 1983 (2004/97), 1984 (2005/45), 1985 (2006/9)
  • Letterkenny (Lifford) District Probate Registry: testamentary records relating to the years 1983 (2004/118), 1984 (2005/22), 1985 (2006/6), 1986 (2007/6), 1987 (2008/6), 1988 (2009/6)
  • Limerick District Probate Registry: testamentary records relating to the years 1983 (2004/69), 1984 (2005/46), 1985 (2006/10), 1986 (2007/10), 1987 (2008/10), 1988 (2009/10)
  • Embassy of Ireland to Argentina: 2001 transfer (2001/14)
And not forgetting the newly-keyed Wills Calendars for 1923-1934 and 1950-1951, which were uploaded last week (see blogpost).

Bad news from re Monaghan

The civil registration index wasn't the only thing to disappear from over the last couple of months.

So did the following notice, which had been sitting in the news section of the site for a good two years:

'Roman Catholic records of Baptism, Marriage and Burial for County Monaghan (Diocese of Clogher) including images of the records will be added to the Church records already available on this website in the near future. Further information will be posted closer to the actual launch date, apologies for the delay in the addition of these records to the website.'

The notice has been removed and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has confirmed to Irish Genealogy News that the records will not be joining the site's database. No explanation is available. It's just a case of 'it ain't gonna happen'. And that's official.

WDYTYA?Live in Scotland gets underway

Who Do You Think You Are? Live opened its doors at 9:30am this morning at Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

For family historians of Irish heritage who are heading that way today or tomorrow, you'll be pleased to know that you can get specifically Irish genealogy advice and direction from any one of these four exhibitors:

Ancestor Network:
This collective of professional genealogists from Ireland offers research, education and several other services. Find out more by visiting Stand D17.

APGI: Members of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (MAPGIs) will be providing free Irish genealogy consultations on Table 7, as well as being part of the SOG's 'Ask the Experts' Sessions.

NIFHS: The North of Ireland Family History Society supports its members with advice, a Journal, Newsletter, books, CDs, and a great Library. They're friendly, too! Meet them on Table 10.

ULF: The Ulster Historical Foundation offers research, education and publishing services. They also have a terrific range of books for sale. Grab a bargain at Table 9.

There's only one Irish-themed lecture at the Glasgow show. It's on Saturday, at 11:15am in Theatre 1, and will see Helen Kelly MAPGI presenting Starting your Irish Family History, which is aimed at beginners.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Early closing at National Archives, 17 September

Early warning! Be sure to put a note in your diary.

The National Archives of Ireland's Reading Room at Bishop Street, Dublin 8, will close early on Wednesday 17 September.

Everyone out by 3pm, please.

Waterford Funeral Book is a great new resource

A fabulous new resource for those with ancestors from Waterford was officially launched last night by Waterford City & County Libraries. It's the funeral accounts of Robert Thompson Funeral Directors, a company that has been in business in the City since 1786.

Unfortunately, the record books don't stretch right back to when the business was established. They start from 1876 and those up to 1918 are available for free download from the County Council's website in a series of four large pdfs (max 56Mb). Watch out for the leap-frogging of dates across the volumes.

They are intriging records, albeit you have to decipher some of the spelling of the accounts clerk. It took me a while to appreciate that the highly popular Ellim, Ellem, Ellam coffins sold by the company were, in fact, made of Elm, and that the herse was not a horse but a hearse. There are many trips to the 'a Silum' (asylum).

Here are a few examples that I cross-checked with the FamilySearch civil registration indexes:

21 June 1888: 'A herse to the a Silum', David Galivan, 5shillings. This probably relates to the death, registered in Q2 of that year, of 55-year-old David Galvin.

Early 1903: Patrick Norris. The funeral expenses of £16 included eight journeys made by Mrs Norris to and fro Killivery, presumably in the week leading up to the funeral, an oak coffin, a hearse and four horses. Each driver was charged out at 2shillings and 6pence. Civil registration index suggests he was 72 years old.

17 March 1880: An elm coffin with hearse and pair and covered carriage was supplied to Kilmacow for Thomas Pender at a cost of £2 and 2shillings. (Death index has him as 26 years old.)

In addition to funeral accounts, there are some odd medicinal recipes dotted about in the books, some lists of drinks supplied to wakes, and many examples of the company sending carriages to collect or deliver people, presumably funeral-goers, to or from the railway station. Fascinating.