Thursday, 29 January 2015

NLI invites tenders for its summer Genealogy Service

The National Library of Ireland has issued a Request For Tenders (RFT) for a supplier of genealogy services from 18 March to 31 October.

The Library runs a free Genealogy Service all-year round; it is available without appointment, Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:45pm, and is provided by the Library's own small genealogy team.

During the main tourist and visitor season, however, the Library team is complemented by a contracted team of professional genealogists and the days of operation are extended to include Saturday mornings (9:15 to 12:45).

As you'd expect, the RFT sets out the duties required of the contractor team, and there's nothing unusual in the description provided. But I just wanted to share this element:

    • Assist users with online resources, including the NLI’s parish register website, microfilm
      and printing.

Don't the words in red look good!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

NLI Reading Rooms: late opening Thursday 5 Feb

The Reading Rooms at the National Library of Ireland will be closed on the morning of Thursday 5 February (staff meeting, apparently).  So, too, will the Genealogy Service.

The cafe and exhibitions will be open as usual.

The Reading Rooms and Genealogy Service will reopen to the public at 1:30pm.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Back To Our Past: 2015 dates announced

Ireland's only major annual conference and exhibition – Back To Our Past – has announced its dates for 2015. They are:

Friday 16 October – 12pm to 6pm
Saturday 17 October – 11am to 6pm
Sunday 18 October – 11am to 6pm

This will be the fifth consecutive year of BTOP, which brings together a significant proportion of the genealogy and related industries to exhibit their wares and services as well as offering three full days of family history, heritage and dna lectures.

Once again, the show will be held in the Industries Hall at the RDS in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Details of the lecture programme won't be published for some months; for now, just get the dates in your diaries.

Exhibitors should contact the organisers on 00 353 1 496 9028.

Irish Emigration in the 19th century: seminar

On Friday 13 February, Edenderry Historical Society is to host an evening seminar exploring Irish Emigration in the 19th century.

Here's the line-up of lectures:
  • The Irish in South Africa: a miscellany, with Dr Ciaran Reilly
  • 'We are all well and fat': the Tuke Irish in Minnesota, 1880-1930, with Dr Regina Donlon
  • In seach of Irish emigrants in the American Civil War, with Damian Shiels
  • Fleeing famine: assisted emigration from Earl Fitzwilliam's Co Wicklow estate, with Fidelma Byrne
  • Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore Irish Famine refugee, superstar of American music, but today, unknown, with Jarlath McNamara
Venue: Edenderry Town Hall, O'Connell Square, Edenderry, Co Offaly.  
Time: 7pm start. Ends c10pm.  
Admission: €10  
All welcome.

Monday, 26 January 2015

BBC documentary, Ireland's Great War, starts 1 Feb

A two-part TV documentary, Ireland's Great War, begins on Sunday 1 February at 6pm on BBC One Northern Ireland. It's part of the BBC's World War One Season.

Made by 360 Production, the film charts Ireland's role in the First World War. At the outset of the Great War, Ireland was still part of the British Empire, but was on the verge of a civil war between Nationalists and Unionists. When Britain declared war on Germany, both sides joined up and three Irish Divisions were formed, with the first seeing action during the disastrous Gallipoli campaign. While Irish soldiers fought and died abroad, a little-known Republican minority sparked Dublin's Easter Rising, forcing Britain to allocate much-needed troops to Ireland.

Re-examining the full story of Ireland and the Great War are Diarmaid Ferriter of University College Dublin, Richard Grayson from University of London and Timothy Bowman from the University of Kent.

Following its broadcast, the one-hour episode will be available on the BBC iPlayer. I'm not sure what access limitation will be imposed.

Irish genealogy and history events, 26 Jan to 7 Feb

Monday 26 January: The Sabbath Disturbed: The Curragh Mutiny Recalled, with Liam Kenny and James Durney. Host: Clondalkin History Society. Venue: , Arás Chronáin Irish Cultural Centre, Watery Lane, Clondalkin, Co Dublin. 8pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 27 January: After the Workhouse: Providing shelter and relief in Kilrush 1921–1939, with Rita McCarthy. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm. Free for members. €5 for non-members.

Tuesday 27 January: Violence, law and migration in modern Irish history, with Dr Richard McMahon. Followed by Q&A session. First of the 2015 Slattery Lectures 'Migration: Ireland, Europe and Beyond'. Hosts: Trinity College Carlow and Carlow College. Venue: Cobden Hall, Carlow College, College Street, Carlow. 5–7pm. Free. All welcome. Enquiries.

Wednesday 28 January: The Medical Front, with Dr Robert Whan. Host and Venue: Newry & Mourne Museum, Bagenal's Castle , Castle Street/1A Bank Parade, Newry BT34 2BY. Starts at 7:30pm. Light refreshments served. Free but need to book by phone to 028 3031 3173 or email

Thursday 29 January: Researching WW1 Servicemen – Suggested sources, with Nigel Henderson. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Ballymena Branch. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Baid Arts Centre, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena. 7:15pm.

Friday 30 January: 16 Dead Men, The Easter Rising Executions, with Anne-Marie Ryan. Host: Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. €5. Non-members welcome.

Friday 30 January: Irish society and identity in Victorian Melbourne, with Sophie Cooper, and Writing from the Congested Districts: J.M. Synge and the Modernisation of the West of Ireland, with Seán Hewitt. Host: IES Irish Studies. Venue: Room G22 (Ground Floor), Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. 6-8pm

Sunday 1 February: Cobh Lusitania Centenary 2015. A recital on the 49 bells of the cathedral commences at 5 pm, followed by the Cobh Confraternity Band in the Promenade and a short ceremony where the 1,198 victims of the wartime tragedy will be remembered. At 6 pm schoolchildren will read the names of the 169 victims buried in the Old Church Cemetery in Cobh as the Irish Coastguard launch flares from the quayside in Cobh and from the ramparts of Fort Mitchel on Spike Island. Details.

Monday 2 February: History of Derry through the River Foyle, with Roy Hamilton. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Foyle Branch. Venue: City's Central Library, 35 Foyle Street, Derry, Co LondonDerry BT48 6AL. 7pm. All welcome.

Monday 2 February: Family and Business Memories of Killyleagh – T M Martin and Sons, with John Martin. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Killyleagh Branch. Venue: Killyleagh Masonic Hall, 50 High Street, Killyleagh, BT30 9QF, Co Down. 8pm. All welcome.

Monday 2 February to Friday 27 February: Londonderry Papers Exhibition. The exhibition focuses on the ‘Ark’ club set up by Edith, Lady Londonderry, in 1915 and immortalised in the Dodo Terrace at her gardens at Mountstewart. Members of the Ark club read like a roll call of the great and the good in British and Irish society at the time. Members were given a nickname, based on an animal or a mythical creature. Venue: Comber Library, Newtownards Road, Comber, Co Down BT23 5AU. Telephone for more details: 028 9187 2610.

Tuesday 3 February: Hidden pages from WW1, a seminar exploring previously unknown archival sources on soldiers and civilians, recounted by the curators who recovered them. Five short presentations (from 7:30pm), a Q&A session, private viewing of the cathedral's Lives Remembered exhibition and wine reception at 7pm. Chaired by Bryan Dobson. Hosts: Irish Society for Archives and St Patrick's Cathedral. Venue: The Lady Chapel, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. Open to the public, free and no need to book.  Details.

Tuesday 3 February: The Digital Mapping of Ireland’s Eighteenth-Century Built Military Heritage: Or, Rambles in Rural Armagh, with Ivar McGrath. Host: School of History and Archives Research Forum. Venue: Room K114, University College Dublin. 4 p.m. Free admission. All welcome. Details.

Tuesday 3 February: From the Plum to the Pau France, with Claire McElhinney. Host: North of Ireland Family HistorySociety, Omagh Branch.  Venue: Omagh Library, 1 Spillers Place, Omagh, Co Tyrone BT78 1HL. 7:15pm. All welcome.

Wednesday 4 February: Military Antiques Roadshow. Bring along your WW1 artefacts to have them viewed and catalogued by experts, watch the documentary The Boys from East Belfast, and attend two talks at 2pm and 3pm. Host: Living Legacies 1914–1918. Venue: St. Mark's Parochial Hall: Heyn Hall, 2 Sydenham Avenue. Belfast BT4 2DR. 1–4pm. Free.

Wednesday 4 February: Seeking Refuge: Germany to Ireland in the 1930's, a half-day Conference. To mark Holocause Memorial Day, this event will examine the impact of the rise of the Nazi regime on Jewish communities in germany and Northern Ireland. Venue: PRONI, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, BT3 9HQ (Lecture Theatre). Starts 2pm. Three speakers. Free but need to reserve your place by email or telephone: 028 90 534800.

Wednesday 4 February: Charity during the Great Famine in Connaught, with Ciaran McCabe. Host: Strokestown Park Winter Spring Lectureseries. Venue: Strokestown House, Co Roscommon. 8pm. Admission €5.

Wednesday 4 February: The victualling trade in Cork during the American War of Independence, with Joe Varley. Host: Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. Venue: Crawford Art Gallery, Emmett Place, Cork.

Wednesday 4 February: The Home Front: Newry and Mourne in the Great War, with Dr Robert Whan. Host and Venue: Newry & Mourne Museum, Bagenal's Castle , Castle Street, 1A Bank Parade, Newry BT34 2BY. Time: 7:30pm. Light refreshments served. Free but need to book by phone to 028 3031 3173 or email.

Thursday 5 February:
Famine times in Blarney and district, wtih Michael Murphy. Host: Blarney and District Historical Society. Venue: Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney, Co Cork. 8pm. Everyone welcome.

Thursday 5 February: The Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland and its resources, with Valerie Adams. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Belfast Branch. Venue: Holywood Arches Library, Holywood Road, Belfast BT4 1NT. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Saturday 7 February: Photography and other pastimes, with Pat Holland. Part of The Big House lecture series. Venue: Tipperary County Museum, Mick Delahunty Square, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. 10am to Noon, with refreshments provided. €5 per session. Bookings: or 076 106 5564.

Saturday 7 February: Migration and the First World War, with Professor Keith Jeffery. The 14th Annual Irish Migration Studies Lecture. Host and Venue: Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park, 2 Mellon Road, Omagh, Co Tyrone BT78 5QY. 11am to 2pm. Tea/coffee registion from 10:30pm. Admission £12 (conc £10), includes morning tea/coffee, lecture and finger buffet lunch. Booking advised, by email or tel: 028 8225 6315.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Source information for Ancestry's new Death Indexes

I reported yesterday on the latest release from Ancestry: the Scotland and Northern Ireland Death Index, 1989–2013. I described it as a strange collection, and the lack of detail about its source didn't make it any less strange.

A similar collection, the England and Wales Death Index, 2007–2013, was released on the same day and it didn't reveal any insightful information about its source, either.

So, I contacted Ancestry and have the following details to pass on.
  • The source of both collections is GreyPower Deceased Data, compiled by Wilmington Millennium, a business that facilitates the prevention/detection of deceased identity fraud. (If you're really keen, you can Google the company name and get a clearer idea of what they do.)
  • The data is compiled from funeral directors' records and obituary notices.
  • The Scotland and Northern Ireland Index is estimated to include some 45% of deaths during the 25-year period.
  • The England and Wales Index is estimated to represent 55% of deaths during the seven-year period.
Knowing the level of coverage will help to explain why so many of you (thanks for the emails!) can't find people you know to have died during these time frames.

UPDATE, Saturday 24 Jan: Ancestry has now added some of the above to the search page 'Source Information' for each index.