Friday, 1 August 2014

Military Archives: maps & drawings ready for scrutiny

Some 2,200 barrack maps, plans and drawings have been added to the resources available at the Military Archives Reading Room.

These visuals are part of the Military Barracks Maps, Plans and Drawings Collection which holds details relating to the construction and maintenance of military barracks in Ireland from c1830 to c1980. The collection contains many previously unseen architectural drawings from the British War Office, the Royal Engineer Corps, the Ordnance Survey and the (Irish) Defence Forces Engineer Corps.

This is the second release from this collection. The first saw a sample of 650 images made available on the Military Archives website when it first launched (they can be viewed here). This latest additional material, available only in the Reading Room provides a fully searchable, hyperlinked database of 3,400 individual sheets, most dating from the major period of barracks construction in the mid to late 19th century. These documents are viewed on a large monitor, which allows for full panning and zooming across the images.

The Reading Room is at Military Archives, Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines, Dublin 6. You need an appointment (telephone 00 353 (0)1 804 6457). Opening hours are 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Thursday.

More post-Truce Compensation files listed by NAI

The National Archives of Ireland (NAI) has uploaded lists to its online catalogue of the Finance Compensation (post-truce) files for Counties Cork (FIN/COMP/2/4) and Kerry (FIN/COMP/2/8). These files deal with claims for compensation for loss of or damage to property that occurred as a result of military action between July 1921 and March 1923, under the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923.

This is the second batch of files from this collection to join the catalogue. Those for County Limerick (FIN/COMP/2/13), County Longford (FIN/COMP/2/14) and County Louth (FIN/COMP/2/15) were uploaded in May (see blogpost). You can read more about this collection and search the listings for each of the five counties on the NAI website.

I've had a good root through the Cork listing of 1988 files (the largest so far) mainly because it's my paternal county and I was interested to see if any of my Dad's family or neighbours made any claims. They didn't, but a distant branch of the Santrys did, and I'm curious to learn more. I shall make sure to check on the file next time I visit the Reading Room.

In the Cork collection, and I'm sure in all the counties, claims were made by people from all sections of society. The likes of Georgiana Dorothea Harnett, countess of Bandon (her claim submitted from London) and Robert Henry Boyle, earl of Shannon (claiming from Government House, Madras, India), are listed alongside many merchants, farmers, drapers, blacksmiths, carpenters and shopkeepers, and so on. There were claims, too, from many famous businesses, among them Eason's, Marconi International, Beamish & Crawford, Anglo American Oil, a handful of of bank branches and, for some reason I've yet to work out, a significant number of creameries.

The total Finance Compensation (post-truce) collection comprises some 20,000 files. Below are a few examples of the details available from the Cork and Kerry catalogue. In each case, the original file is available to researchers at the NAI Reading Room in Bishop Street, Dublin:
  • Jeremiah J Hegarty, Home Farm, Ballyvourney, County Cork. Seizure and destruction of property at Cappagh East, County Cork, on 25 February 1923; seizure of livestock by unknown persons at Ballyvourney on 10 June 1922.
  • John Roche, Labacally, Glanworth, County Cork. Seizure and damage to motor car by unidentified armed men at Labacally on 1 July 1922; destruction of crops by fire at Labacally on 8 October 1922.
  • Patrick Sugrue, farmer, Spa, County Kerry. Roof of dwelling house damaged by bullets during fighting between National troops and Irregular forces at Spa on 2 August 1922; donkey cart damaged by National troops at Spa on 6 December 1922.
  • Mary Guerin, High Street, Tralee, County Kerry. Shop goods destroyed and cash taken at High Street, Tralee, by National troops on 17 September 1922.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Genealogy At Lunchtime: 20 talks at the NLI

Each talk starts at 1:05pm. Free. Just turn up.
Tomorrow will see the start of this year's Genealogy At Lunchtime series of 20-minute talks at the National Library of Ireland (NLI).

Organised by Eneclann and Ancestor Network, each of the talks covers an important area of potential genealogical discovery and is followed by a Q&A session when researchers can raise issues relating to that day's topic. The speakers include genealogists, historians, service providers and other specialists and the range of topics is wide.

The first lecture will be delivered by Brian Donovan of Eneclann and FindMyPast who will be talking about digital sources for Irish family history.

Allowing for the bank holiday on Monday, the second lecture will be on Tuesday 5 August, and will see Rev Patrick Comerford present his talk "Hatch, match and beyond… finding trails and tales in parish records".

The series then continues on every remaining weekday in August.

If you haven't already selected the talks you want to attend, it's about time to do so. You can see the full list of topics and speakers posted in May (it's been slightly updated since then). Alternatively, the list is on the NLI website; click the image above.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The 20,000-records-in-a-day Indexing Challenge

This Saturday, 2 August, will see an attempt to index 20,000 records in one 12-hour period at the LDS Church in Clondalkin, Co Dublin.

A similar event was held last year. The 2013 goal was rather less ambitious at a 'mere' 10,000 records, but the indexers had pushed that target aside by the time lunch was over and just carried on. They ended up with more than 21,100 records indexed. As last year, members of the Church are asking for volunteers to come along and help with entering information from historical records into an online database.

I've no details about which record set they'll be working on (last year it was the UK's Kent Register of Electors 1825 to 1900) but wherever the collection originates, indexing the data will allow other genealogists to research their ancestors.

You don't have to commit to the entire 12-hour session! Just turn up anytime between 7am and 7pm.

The organisers promise lots of fun, lots of food and lots of indexing.

Venue: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9th Lock Road, Clondalkin, Co Dublin.

Bank holiday arrangements, Monday 4 August

There's a bank holiday in the Republic of Ireland this coming Monday, 4 August. Here are the changes to standard opening times for the main repositories and institutions used by genealogists:

Dublin City Public Libraries
will not open on Saturday 2 August or on Monday 4 August. Normal schedules resume Tuesday 5 August.

The National Archives of Ireland will be closed to the public on Monday 4 August and will re-open on Tuesday 5 August at 9.15am.

The National Library of Ireland
Reading Room will be closed on Monday 4 August and there will be no Genealogy Advisory Service operating on that day. However, the Yeats exhibition at Kildare Street will be open 12pm to 5pm. All back to normal (9:30am) on Tuesday 5 August.

The GRO Research Room
at Werburgh Street will be closed on Monday 4 August, reopening Tuesday 5 August 9:15am.

Local branch libraries
will be closed on Saturday 2 August and Monday 4 August, reopening for normal hours on Tuesday 5 August.

Northern Ireland is open for business as usual on Monday 4 August but mark your diaries with a note that it'll be enjoying its own Late Summer Bank Holiday on Monday 26 August.

Just published: the largest-ever book in Irish language

The largest book in the Irish language ever-written by a single author was recently launched at the National Museum of Ireland in Mayo.

Compiled by Dr Fiachra Mac Gabhann, Logainmneacha Mhaigh Eo comprises almost 7,500 pages and is divided into 10 volumes corresponding mainly to Mayo’s baronies.

The author told Irish Genealogy News: "The work took over a decade to complete and features collected historical references to the 3,500 townland and island names of Mayo with attendant linguistic analysis, proposed Irish forms of the names (with translations), collections of non-administrative local names from western parts of the county (such as Achill and Inishturk), complete with indices in both languages.

"The historical references span from the writings of Bishop Tírechán (late 600s) to the Ordnance Survey of 1838."

An extensive array of sources in several languages were employed and over 300 local people were interviewed and recordings of Mayo Irish speakers from the last half century explored.

This mighty work has been published in a limited print edition by Coiscéim; all ten volumes are also available on a cd in pdf format. To obtain a copy, contact Gnó Mhaigh Eo on (094) 9047027.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Merged Waterford Archives upgrade online resources

As you may remember from my report in mid-June, Waterford City Archives and Waterford County Archives have been amalgamated. While there are still two venues, one in the City and one in Dungarvan, 45km away, and no immediate option of bringing the full collection under one roof, there is only one archivist: Joanne Rothwell.

Despite having to now split her time between the two existing venues, Joanne took time out to tell Irish Genealogy News about how more of the archives' materials will be making their way online.

"Instead of the two distinct websites we had before, details of both archives can now be found on the combined City & County Council's brand new site: From the Culture & Heritage section of the Home Page, visitors can quickly navigate to find details of the archives and the collections each holds.

"But the new site has also allowed us to introduce a dedicated section to Researching Family History. It has a much more prominent placement on the Home Page, and we are signposting some of our most popular collections there. Researchers can click through to the type of collection they want – Newspapers or Burial Records, for example –, or they can click the section title to explore a menu of other material."

The result of this is that some of the material previously somewhat 'hidden' on the old sites is easier to find. The Waterford Newspapers War Archive is a good example of this. The database holds an extensive collection of articles dating from 1914 to 1918 and from 1939 to 1947; it's easy to use and a mine of information, but was under-used because researchers didn't know of its existence or couldn't locate it on the old site.

Joanne tells me that some historical City maps will be added in the next week or so, and photo collections will be joining the line up, too. The Burial Registers of St Otteran's, which date from 1862 to 1916 (with a few gaps), will also be added in pdf format, and more newspapers will be added to the general newspaper collection within a couple of months.

It's worth stressing that everything that was available on the two old websitse has migrated to the new site. Nothing has been withdrawn. The intention is only to improve and add to the online offering, not reduce it, and Joanne is working on the new site on a daily basis. Sometimes this may mean a collection or database 'disappears' temporarily. Such events will be short-lived, however. It's usually a sign that fresh text or material is being uploaded to a collection.

The new site is still very much 'under-construction', but it is certainly starting to come together. "We're putting a lot of time into making the new site more user-friendly and making our resources more accessible," says Joanne.