Friday, 28 April 2017

Bank holiday weekend - closing/opening arrangements

Monday 1 May is a public (bank) holiday in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, so, with only one notable exception, no state-controlled libraries, archives and other repositories will be open, but please note the following:
  • In the Republic, most city and town libraries are closed not just on the Monday public holiday but also on Saturday 29 April.
  • The Linen Hall Library in Belfast will open normal Saturday hours ie 10am to 4pm.
  • The free Genealogy Advisory Services at both the National Archives of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland will not operate on Monday.
  • Exhibitions at the National Library of Ireland will be open on Saturday and Sunday as usual (Kildare Street: Saturday 9.30am–4.45pm, Sunday 1:00pm–4:45pm, and National Photographic Archive Gallery in Temple Bar: Saturday 10am–5.00pm, Sunday 12:00pm–5.00pm). Bank holiday Monday, exhibitions open from 12pm–5pm at both locations.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Free access to FindMyPast's BMD & Census records

FindMyPast is offering a long weekend of free access to its global Census and Birth, Marriage & Death records.

This includes 1.9billion records held under the World search category 'Birth, marriage, death & parish records', or the 'Census' sub-category will be completely free to view. (Note: land and survey records are not included.)

To gain free access, follow one of the links below.

You'll need to have a registered account; if you don't already have one, this is easy and quick to set up, with no financial or personal details required beyond your name, email address and chosen password. If you're completely new to family history, take some time to read the details and follow the links on the landing page.

FindMyPast Ireland. Free access ends 11:59pm IST on Monday 1 May.

FindMyPast UK. Free access ends 11:59pm BST on Monday 1 May.

FindMyPast USA. Free access ends 6.59pm (EDT) on Monday 1 May.

10% off FindMyPast's 12-month World package

FindMyPast has announced a 10% discount on its 12-month World subscription package across all of its territories (but please note the different expiry dates below).

No matter which FindMyPast you sign up with, you get access to the exact same huge database of records from around the world. The World package includes the Ireland and Britain collections, including the 1939 Register and British & Irish Newspaper collections (the latter currently including some 106 Irish titles), the USA and Canada collections, and the Australia and New Zealand collections.

Taking the discount into account, the cost of the annual subscription is: €161.55 | US£215.55 | £140.36 | AUS$215.55. In each case, it is charged in one up-front payment and gives you access to eight billion records.

Select your preferred currency below. You'll be able to sign up from the landing page and the discount code will be automatically applied.

FindMyPast Ireland
10% off 12-month World subscription
Expires 11:59pm IST, Sunday 7 May

FindMyPast USA/Canada
10% off 12-month World subscription
Expires 11:59pm BST, Sunday 7 May
FindMyPast UK
10% off 12-month World subscription
Expires 11:59pm BST, Sunday 7 May

FindMyPast Australia/NZ
10% off 12-month World subscription
Expires 11:59pm AEST, Sunday 30 April

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ancestry World Archives Project update shows several Irish interest collections coming our way soon
From the Ireland, Famine Relief Commission
Papers, 1844-1847. Click for expanded view
Ancestry's World Archives Project (WAP), which sees volunteer researchers index digitised record collections that are then made available free on the Ancestry database, has published some impressive stats about its achievements in 2016 and an updated list of current projects.

Among the ongoing projects is the Ireland, Famine Relief Commission Papers, 1844-1847, a collection consisting primarily of letters relating to crop failures, studies on potatoes, donations to the relief funds, and reports on prices, health and social conditions in certain parts of the island. Many of the papers are lists of names; others are letters from local relief committees, witnesses describing conditions, local clergy and other officials.

Indexing of this WAP has been going on since late 2014 and, with more than 14,000 image sets still outstanding, is 57% complete*.

The update also notes collections that will soon be searchable on Ancestry. I've picked out a few of obvious Irish interest, and some others that may be worth exploring when they come online:

  • A List of Emigrants from England to America, 1682-1692, 1718-1759
  • Australia, Newspaper Vital Notices, 1841-2001
  • The Belfast Newsletter (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1738-1925
  • Ireland, Police Gazettes, 1861-1893
  • Ontario, Canada, The Ottawa Journal (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1885-1980
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Runaway Servants, Convicts, and Apprentices, 1728-1796
  • South Australia, Australia, Passenger Lists, 1853
  • South Australia, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1862-1947
  • Tasmania, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1884-1933
  • Victoria, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1855, 1864-1924

To see the full list of current and soon-to-be-live WAP projects, see the WAP blogpost. The list represents a total contribution by the volunteers of more than 12.6 million records. And they'll all be free. Congratulations to everyone who takes part in these projects.

*If you think you could spare some time to help move along the Famine Relief Commission Papers collection, take a look at the detailed overview page.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Historic Towns Atlases released online for C18th towns

The Royal Irish Academy has released more digital editions in its Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) series. This time, it's the development of the 18th-century town that's under scrutiny.

This is the period in which the Big House flourished in the countryside, and their wealthy owners often looked to transform their local town by remodelling its layout with graceful parades and ornamental avenues, enclosed parks overlooked by quality housing with uniform frontages, and a good handful of architectural style statements in the form of neo-classical public buildings.

Dundalk, Maynooth and Dublin (part II, 1610 to 1756) are the towns explored in this release.

Each of the digital editions is published with the relevant chapter from Reading the maps: a guide to the Irish Historic Towns Atlas by Jacinta Prunty and H.B. Clarke (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 2011) and includes the full text of the printed edition (essay, topographical information, bibliography, appendices, notes for each town) as well as a selection of maps.

The Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) is a research project of the Royal Irish Academy that aims to record the topographical development of a selection of Irish towns both large and small. It has been publishing maps and publications about Ireland's towns and cities since 1986, and is part of a wider European project that explores historical towns according to a fairly rigid formula of detailed enquiry and presentation. The 'formula' allows comparisons across the continent.

The resulting publications examine the topographical development of each town during key periods in their history.

Clues to the town's past religious life, defence and security, local and national government, industry, trade, transport, education and leisure habits are explored within the accompanying maps. Dense and accurate, these atlases reveal fascinating details about the physical environment and communities our ancestors lived in.

The digital editions exploring Towns in the 19th century (Bray, Belfast part II, 1840–1900) are expected to be published next month.

See the line-up of more than 20 digital IHTA editions here.

DNA Day 2017: AncestryDNA reduced from €95 to €70

As you should know from the flurry of discounts offers reported on Irish Genealogy News over the last six days, today is DNA Day 2017.

I've just been advised that Ancestry also has a money-off saving on its DNA test for Irish residents who want to pay in Euros, rather than Sterling, thereby avoiding currency exchange and other greedy bank charges. The Ireland offer reduces the price from the standard €95 to €70. Shipping costs are additional. See the AncestryDNA Ireland page for details.

For convenience and price comparison, you'll find all the current offers on the Special Offers page of my website, Irish Genealogy Toolkit.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Ballymena Weekly Telegraph joins online BNA

The Ballymena Weekly Telegraph has joined the online British Newspaper Archive (BNA). It is the 36th Northern Irish title in the database.

The initial upload sees editions available for 1904, 1906–1916, 1921–1929, and 1931–1957. When complete, the holding for this paper will eventually span as follows:

  • 1894–1918 The Ballymena Weekly Telegraph
  • 1918–19 Ballymena Telegraph
  • 1921–59 Ballymena Weekly Telegraph

Along with all other papers in the BNA's database (which include the Ballymena Observer) this title automatically joins the Irish Newspaper Collection as part of FindMyPast's Ireland and World subscription package.

Irish genealogy and history events, 24 April to 6 May

Monday 24 April: Nomadic, Titanic's little sister, with Frances James. Plus AGM. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Larne Branch. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112-120 Glenarm Road, Larne, Co Antrim. BT40 1DZ. Free. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 25 April: Islandbridge - People, places, pictures, with Patrick Hugh Lynch. Host: City Hall Lunch-time Lectures Series (Dublin CC). Venue: Council Chamber City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2. Doors open 12:30pmm. Talk starts 1:10pm. No booking required. Seats allocated on first come - first served basis. Admission free. No booking required, but come early to ensure a place.

Tuesday 25 April:: Great houses of Belfast and their families, with Roger Dixon. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Belfast Branch. Venue: C. S. Lewis Room, Holywood Arches Library, Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 1NT. 7:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 25 April:: Tracing your Irish ancestry, a workshop with Jill Williams FIGRS. Host: Consulate General of Ireland. Venue: CG of Ireland, 16 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh, Scotland EH3 7TT. 2pm–4pm. Free. Places are limited so be sure to register your attendance by email to

Tuesday 25 April:: Marcus Keane and Fr Michael Meehan: Two figures from Clare's Famine landscape, with Dr Ciarán Ó Murchadha. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm. Free to members, €5 for non-members. All welcome.

Wednesday 26 April: The life and times of J B Malone, founder of the Wicklow Way: map-maker, soldier, historian and author, with Michael Fewer. The Old Dublin Society. Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive Conference Room, 138–144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. 6pm. Free. All welcome.

Thursday 27 April: Delayed opening of National Library of Ireland, Dublin. To facilitate a staff development meeting, NLI buildings will not open until 11am.

Thursday 27 April: Dr P J O’Hara, a local doctor, with Brian O’Hara. Talk follows AGM. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Ballymena Branch. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, BT43 5EJ. 7:15pm. Free. All welcome.

Thursday 27 April: The Fitzwilliams of Merrion – the last of the line, with Des Smyth. Host: Rathmines, Ranelagh and Rathgar Historical Society. Venue: Rathmines Town Hall (Rathmines College), Rathmines Road, Dublin 6. 8pm. €3. All welcome.

Friday 28 April: First generation Irish, with Margaret Sullivan; Identifying Famine immigrants in Griffith's Valuation, with Donna Moughty; Mapping Irish locations online, with Pamela Guye Holland; Jumping the pond - Finding the origins of your Irish ancestors, with Donna Moughty; and Prejudice and Pride: Irish immigrants in Know-Nothing Boston, with Margaret Sullivan. Host: New England Regional Genealogical Consortium. Venue: MassMutual Convention Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. Details and program.

Friday 28 April: H.M.Coastguard in pre-Independence Ireland: the Forgotten Force, with James Doherty. Host: Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. Venue: St. Patricks Gateway Centre, Patrick Street, Waterford. 8pm. Admission: €5.00 (members free).

Saturday 29 April: Michael Collins, Dublin 1916-22, with Joe Connell Jnr. Host: Stoneybatter & Smithfield People's History Project. Venue: The Cobblestone, 77 North King Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7. Free. 4pm to 5:40pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 2 May: From Meeting House to Chapel: The evolution of Presbyterian and Catholic churches, with Finbar McCormick. Host: Institute of Irish Studies. Venue: Irish Studies Seminars, Queen's University Belfast, 6–10 Fitzwilliam Street, Belfast. 4:30pm. All welcome.

Thursday 4 May: May Day Magic: Fairies, Witches and Dew-Charms, with Dr Jenny Butler. Host: Muskerry Local History Society. Venue: Rugby Club, Ballincollig, Co. Cork. All welcome. Non-members €3. 8pm.

Thursday 4 May: 1916 Lives in focus Augustine Birrell, with Eunan O'Halpin; Thomas Clarke, with James Quinn; Desmond Ryan, with Lawrence White. Host and venue: Pearse Museum, St. Enda's Park, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16. 7pm. Admission is free, but booking is advised on 01 4934208. Details.

Friday 5 May & Saturday 6 May: Genealogy Days, with talks, tours, consultations and local genealogy societies. Host and venue: Irish American Heritage Museum, 370 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207, USA. Details to be posted in due course.

Friday 5 May to Sunday 7 May: The Historic Settlement in South Kildare, conference. Hosts: Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement and Castledermot Local History Group. Venue: Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow. Programme. Full Conference Registration €50; students €20.

Saturday 6 May: The Mother and Child Scheme, with Andrew McCarthy Host & venue: Tipperary County Museum, Mick Delahunty Square, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. 10:30am. €5. All welcome. Seats allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Saturday 6 May: IGRS Open Day. Two lectures: Ireland’s Court Records – What survived 1922? with Steven Smyrl MAGI, and Finding the Irish in British and Irish Army Records, with Nicola Morris MAGI; AGM; light lunch and refreshments; Q&A session. An informal and informative event for members (£25) and non-members (£30). Venue: The Abbey Conference Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU, UK. Booking and full details.

Friday, 21 April 2017

RootsIreland adds index to 60,000 Mayo headstones has added an index to approximately 60,000 names on gravestone inscriptions in south Mayo; they've been abstracted from the gravestone collection held at the South Mayo Research Centre in Ballinrobe.

Some 160 burial grounds are covered in the records – see the full list here. They include a mix of religious denominations, and span most of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The index contains name and graveyard and in many cases also contains date of death, address and age of the decease. 

Wide range of FamilyTreeDNA test kits in DNA Day Sale
FamilyTreeDNA's National DNA Day Sale sees special discounts across nearly all its range of testing kits.

Its bestseller – the autosomal Family Finder test – has seen its price slashed to just $59, while its Y-DNA and MtFull Sequence tests and bundles of product across the categories have also received generous discounts.

See sale price list and product descriptions here.

The DNA Day Sale ends at 11:59 pm Central Time on Thursday 27 April, which is a day later than other promotions currently running with other DNA testing companies.