Monday, 6 July 2015

Volunteers transcribe 1915 Merchant Navy Crew Lists
A second entry (click image to view), for his next
voyage, provides the name of the home townland.
A brand new website launched last week that will be of interest to those whose ancestors were sailors and worked in the Merchant Navy.

The site – – holds indexed transcriptions of crew lists and agreements from the British Merchant Navy for 1915, the year after WW1 had started. It's free to access, holds details of several thousand men born in Ireland, and has been placed online with the co-operation of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. The transription and indexing work was carried out by volunteers.

Crew Lists were written up by the ship's masters at the end of each trip. Only the voyages that ended in 1915 are included in this collection.

For sailors on voyages involving 'home' trade ie ships that were engaged in short crossings from one part of the British Isles to another, such as from England to Ireland, there may be several entries in a result list, each showing a different voyage completed.

This can be very handy, as I've just discovered. I was searching for a Michael Santry born near Clonakilty in 1895. The first result shows an M Santry, a Marconi Operator of the right age, born in County Cork (hmmm, nearly all Santrys come from County Cork!), sailing on a ship called Tonawanda from 10 December 1914 to 2 February 1915. This could be him. But a second crew list – same ship, same job title, includes the ever useful home townland: Castlefreke. From this I can identify exactly the branch of my extended tree to which he belongs. His parents were Michael Santry and Mary Driscoll, and I know already that he survived the war.

Researchers with maritime connections will also find useful info in the FAQs, including this brief resume of where to find more crew lists: "Not all crew lists have survived. A 10% sample of all Merchant Navy crew lists is kept at the National Archives (TNA) in Kew. The remaining 90% of crew Lists from 1861, 1862, 1865 and all later years ending with a five (1875, 1885, 1895 and so on up to 1995) are at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. From 1863 onwards, 90% of all other years are kept at the Maritime History Archive in Newfoundland. Crew lists from the Second World War 1939-45 and from before 1861 (where they have survived) are at the National Archives."

(Thanks for Liverpool Col for letting me know about this new site.)

Irish genealogy, history & heritage events, 6–19 July

Tuesday 7 July: Wills & Their Whereabouts, with Steven Smyrl discussing testamentary records. First of the 'Your Ancestors and the Nation’s Archives' lecture series presented by Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI) and the National Archives of Ireland. Venue: Reading room of the National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street, Dublin 8. 5:15pm. Free but need to book email

Tuesday 7 July: Nuns in medieval Ireland: the other monasticism, with Tracy Collins. Host: Friends of Christ Church Cathedral. Venue: The Music Room, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. 1:15pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 8 July: Family history and genealogy sessions, with Margaret Bonar and Betty Craven. Donaghmede Library, Donaghmede Shopping Centre, Grange Road, Dublin 13. All are welcome and admission is free. 2:30pm to 4pm. Booking is essential, tel: 085 1444883.

Wednesday 8 July: Tara in the Bronze Age, with Dr Eoin Grogan. Host: Tara Lecture Series 2015. Venue: Hill of Tara Visitor Centre, Navan, Co Meath. 8pm. Free. Come early as seats are limited.

Saturday 11 July: Genealogy workshop, with the Mayo Genealogy Group. Venue: National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. No need to book. 11am–1pm. Free. New members always welcome.

Saturday 11 July: Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa: his life and after-life, a HistoryIreland Hedge School with Leeann Lane, Judith Campbell, Conor McNamara and Shane Kenna. Venue: O'Driscoll's pub, Reenascreena, West Cork. 7pm. Part of the Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa Centenary Commemorations programme.

Tuesday 14 July: Motherhood in the 17th-century parish registers, with Clodagh Tait. Host: Friends of Christ Church Cathedral. Venue: The Music Room, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. 1:15pm. Free. All welcome.

Wednesday 15 July: The Mound of the Hostages, with Prof Muiris O'Sullivan. Host: Tara Lecture Series 2015. Venue: Hill of Tara Visitor Centre, Navan, Co Meath. 8pm. Free. Come early as seats are limited.

Thursday 16 July: c995: Dublin's first coinage: The money of the Hiberno-Scandinavians, with Andy Woods. Second of the Milestones of Medieval Dublin monthly lunchtime lectures series hosted by the Friends of Medieval Dublin. Venue: Wood Quay Venue, Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8. 1:05pm. Admission free. NO booking is necessary.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: latest updates

During the last two weeks of June, Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (IGP-web) added the following records, photos and transcriptions to their ever-growing free online archive.

IRELAND* Genealogy Archives
Cemeteries:    Funerals By J. & C. Nichols, Ltd, Dublin 1919-23 (updated)
                      Funerals by Assorted Accounts, 1919-1928 (updated)
Newspapers:  Tipperary Vindicator 2nd May 1865 - Obits Various Locations

ARMAGH Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Tynan Church of Ireland Cemetery (partial)

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Deansgrange Cem. Headstones, North Section Part 7
Mt Jerome Cemetery Headstones - Part 105

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives
Headstones   : Carrick on Shannon, St. Mary's Graveyard (partial)
Cemeteries    : Diffreen (R.C.) Cemetery Extracts
                     :Glencar Church of Ireland Cem. Extracts

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives – Headstones
St. Munis, Forgney (CoI) Headstones (partial)

MEATH Genealogy Archives – Headstones
St. Mary's Graveyard, Galtrim Parish

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Drumlion Cemetery, Crohan, Part 1 & 2

WESTMEATH Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Church of St. Livinius, Killulagh (partial)

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Askanagap Graveyard Headstones (additional)

*IRELAND covers multiple counties and general files.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Questions, questions, questions

The Genealogical Society of Ireland (GSI) prides itself on its campaigning spirit. You can see this on its website's home page, where 'Campaigning' heads up a list of other roles the Society cherishes.

But the campaign-veterans at the GSI may have become a bit too enthusiastic.

On page 2 of the June 2015 issue of the Genealogical Society of Ireland's Ireland's Genealogical Gazette (incorporating Genie Gazette), the newsletter writer asks that its 'friends at AGI' (meaning Accredited Genealogists Ireland) publicly clarify something it (AGI) has already clarified to the ever-inquisitive Genealogical Society of Ireland: namely that it (AGI) is not incorporated – ie it is not a limited company. In case anyone does not know, AGI is an association of (mainly) self-employed professional genealogists.

Now you have to ask (at least, I did), why is the Genealogical Society of Ireland asking this through its newsletter?

Whatever the reason, it seems to have cast some doubt on the legitimacy of AGI. I saw a forum post along those lines within days of the Gazette being published. It read: '...[Genealogical Society of Ireland] questions their [AGI’s] name... Is the AGI a good organisation to be associated with?’

I have been quietly asked by two other people in the past month whether or not AGI is legit?

Reluctantly, AGI has put a statement on its website: it is an unincorporated entity.

I'll spell this out: As Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI) is an unincorporated entity, it is clearly not the incorporated (limited) company named elsewhere in the newsletter story.

The subject of corporate status is dull and I'm sorry to inflict it on readers of Irish Genealogy News but this story is here for a reason. It looks like another example of bullying.

The Genealogical Society of Ireland's newsletter has been published since 1996, so you can imagine it has a good sized readership. Its Facebook page has 5,488 followers/friends/likes and its Twitter account 1269 followers.

Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI)’s Facebook page has 825 followers/friends and it has no Twitter account, no blog and no newsletter.

Given its much stronger voice, is this a fair way for the Genealogical Society of Ireland to pose questions?

Levelling up the balance somewhat, I'd like to ask the Genealogical Society of Ireland's Board why it is happy to send off letters and throw out questions to other parties but doesn't like to respond to them itself?

Sean J Murphy's Open Letter to the Genealogical Society of Ireland is still awaiting a reply after more than 12 months.

I am sure the Genealogical Society of Ireland's members would like an explanation for how the GSI Board came to reward its Board member John Hamrock with the position of Chairman after he had been censured by the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) for plagiarism. How many of the Board knew about this? When were they told? How many were aware of the Open Letter's publication just one month after their new chairman took up his position? If not then, when did they become aware of it?

And having now become aware of it, when are they going to clarify their position on plagiarism publicly?

Tracing Irish Ancestors with Family Tree magazine
Click for the July/August issue's contents
The July/August issue of US-based Family Tree Magazine has just been published and carries my guide to the 12 top websites for tracing Irish ancestors.

It was a pleasure to work with the editor, Diane Haddad, and I'm delighted with the attractive presentation of the seven-page spread and the strap banner on the cover.

Choosing the 12 websites was harder than I'd expected, not least because I had to keep in mind the US perspective, but also because I really had only 11 spots available. One website had a guaranteed place in the line up, even though it doesn't yet exist: the National Library of Ireland's RC parish registers site, to be launched next Wednesday!

Researching the feature was also a very useful exercise for me, personally, because I had to revisit some of the sites whose records I've mined over and over in my own research and thought I'd exhausted.

Revisiting proved beyond doubt that websites are being continually updated, whether with new collections or partial record sets or with improved search mechanisms; nothing seems to stand still. I was surprised and delighted to find quite a few records for my family among collections I know I've searched before.

PRONI to host Crime & Society lecture series

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) will be hosting a five-part lecture series on Crime and Society throughout the month of October. I wouldn't ordinarily publish details of a lecture series so far in advance, but PRONI's lectures often book up way in advance, so I'll make an exception.

Each lecture will be presented at 1pm, as follows:

Thursday 1 October : 19th-Century prison records, with Chris Colvin

Thursday 8 October
: The women's suffrage campaign, with Margaret Ward

Thursday 15 October: Female political imprisonment during the Irish Civil War, with Laura McAtackney

Thursday 22 October: DeLoran: Back to the failure, with Graham Brownlow

Thursday 29 October: NIGRA & decriminalisation, with Jeff Dudgeon & Richard Kennedy

All lectures at PRONI are free but you have to reserve your place by email to or telephone (+44) 028 90 534800.

School registers for Kilkishen, Co Clare transcribed

The School Registers of Kilkishen National School in Co Clare have been transcribed and made available, free, on the County Clare Library Local Studies site.

Dating from 1899 to 1925, the boys' register comprises 249 records. For the girls, they date from 1901 to 1922 and comprise 224 records.

The details recorded in the register include full name and either date of birth or age last birthday, townland, occupation of parent, name of previous school, if relevant, and date of entrance to the school.

All the children are recorded as Roman Catholics.

The transcription work was carried out by Mona O'Connor.