Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Major update to (free) Church of Ireland registers list

As promised a year ago, the RCB Library in Dublin has updated its list of Church of Ireland parish registers with the addition of registers held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

The listing, which was gifted to the genealogical community last year, now accounts for all the original and copy registers in the RCB Library, the National Archives of Ireland (NAI) and PRONI as well as those held in local custody. After many years being a partial listing, it can now considered to be definitive as far as all original collections are concerned.

Running to 98 pages, the list has been through many versions over the years, and had become unwieldy. Additionally, it was proving to be confusing for researchers because rather than use parish names, many inner-city churches in Dublin and the other major cities were grouped together under the name of the saint to whom they were dedicated (e.g. St Anne; St George, St Peter etc.).

In an extensive project, all of the data in the original list has now been reviewed by Dr Susan Hood of the RCB Library who has overseen its evolution as a digital record, and one that is purely alphabetical arranged by parish name (parishes within the main cities are also listed alphabetically under the name of each city).

Furthermore, the list has been colour-coded, making it easier to quickly determine:
  • the registers that have been transferred to the RCB Library
  • the small number of collections available in NAI
  • the relatively-small number of originals in PRONI
  • the materials that were destroyed
  • the collections that continue to be held in local custody.
The new colour-code for originals in PRONI is a light purple, making it possible for researchers to see at a glance what collections are available in this format at the principal repository for Church of Ireland records in Northern Ireland.

Additionally, microfilm copies of many collections of parish registers throughout the nine counties comprising Ulster are also available in PRONI; for a comprehensive list, consult PRONI's website.

The electronic list will continue to be maintained, amended and updated on a regular basis by the RCB Library and permanently available on the Church of Ireland website.

Speaking from the RBC Library in Dublin, Dr Susan Hood thanked Ms Lorraine Bourke of PRONI for her co-operation with the project, and commented that “completion of the project represented a further positive collaboration between the Representative Church Body Library” and the national repository for archives in Northern Ireland.

View or download the Table of Church of Ireland parish registers throughout Ireland (baptisms, marriages, burials & copies).

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Of plagiarism and bullies: my Inbox overfloweth

What a few days! Not only was I involved in a three-day whirl of celebrations for my husband's 60th birthday (three parties and not a genealogist in sight – bliss!), my Inbox has delivered a stream of support for my blogposts of Friday last in which I focussed on lifting the lid on some very objectionable behaviour within the Irish genealogy industry.

I'm a bit up to my ears with work and volunteer (genealogy) duties today, but I'll be returning to the positive emails I've received and to some new stories now circulating that support my view that the industry is severely tainted by bullying and unprofessional behaviour.

My Inbox also brought two negative emails. Just two. The first came from someone who works in partnership with Eneclann. She said she did not recognise the nasty world I related in my blogpost and she described me as 'an outsider' (not sure what that's about). I'll reply to her in due course, but I'll be exploring some of her themes on this blog over the next few days, in any case.

And then there was an email from Deirdre Breen who is the legal director of Ancestor Network and is named as the wife of John Hamrock in the dedication to his book Tracing your Roscommon Ancestors, published by Flyleaf Press. She advised that I could be joined in any defamation action the company takes against Sean J Murphy.

Now, I haven't mentioned Ancestor Network before but since the company's legal director has done so, I'd better join the dots. John Hamrock, who I referred to in my 'Plagiarism: the GSI should respond to the claim' blogpost, is not only the ex-chairman of the Genealogical Society of Ireland, he is a director of Ancestor Network, the company that, in partnership with Eneclann, provides the genealogy service to the National Library of Ireland.

Anyway, moving on from the contents of my Inbox....

You might like to take a return visit to Sean J Murphy's Open Letter to the Genealogical Society of Ireland which he updated yesterday. He has uploaded the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG)'s Professional Review Committee's ruling in favour of his complaint against John Hamrock, which states that the latter's behaviour and activity was 'in violation of the Code of Ethics'.

Genealogy related courses at universities in Ireland

I'm returning briefly to Eneclann's so-called 'Polemical Corner' (see Friday's blogpost), in which the newsletter writer recommended just two courses of study that 'equip[s] graduating students with skills and qualifications in family history'.

It's not very well researched. Having carried out some very quick and easy research myself, I learned:

University College Dublin's three-year Genealogy/Family History Certificate is being discontinued (see my previous post). I rang the Admissions Office of UCD after reading of Eneclann's recommendation early last week and was told there would be no new intake of students. So this extremely popular course is no longer an option for those wanting top flight genealogy qualifications.

The University of Limerick's The History of the Family MA: To a written request about whether this course would be suited to a career in genealogy, course co-ordinator Ruan O'Donnell replied: 'The degree would benefit anyone in genealogy sector. However, it does not provide training in such methods being more akin to a social history masters than a training course in methods.'

University College Cork's two-year Genealogy Diploma (NFQ level 7), for some reason not mentioned by Eneclann, is open to students for 2015 intake. The course is led by Dr David Butler and 'combines practical skills with portfolio-based assessments'. Details.

University of Limerick's Certificate in History of Family & Genealogical Methods, also not mentioned by Eneclann, is another established course recruiting for September 2015. This course is for those looking to study the theory, methodology and practice of history of family and genealogical methods. The co-ordinator is Dr David Butler. Details.

University College Dublin Genealogy Cert discontinued

Sean J Murphy, the well-known and highly respected historian, genealogist and teacher, has advised Irish Genealogy News that University College Dublin's Genealogy/Family History Certificate is being discontinued.

Existing students of the three-year course will be able to finish their studies but there will be no new intake of students this Autumn.

Sean explains in more detail in his blog and talks about his plans for the future:

Monday, 29 June 2015

FindMyPast adds Co. Clare Guardians' Minute Books Ireland has released a collection of more than 63,000 Board of Guardians' Minute Books from two of County Clare's eight Poor Law Unions.

They cover the Kilrush and Ennistymon unions.

The Board of Guardians oversaw the running of the poor law unions as well as the hiring of teachers, staff and contractors so there's quite a mix of people recorded in the Minute Books. You can find mention of inmates, guardians, staff members and suppliers. There are also weekly statistical reports on the number of inmates, new arrivals, births, deaths and discharges and details of expenditure such as food suppliers and salaries. The number of inmates receiving medical treatments was also reported.

Guardians were elected by those who paid the taxes that funded poor law relief.

Each record contains a transcript and an image of the original handwritten minutes. The transcripts don't necessarily include the full details of the corresponding entry.

Irish genealogy and heritage events, 29 June–12 July

Monday 29 June: Using Online Resources for local and family history research, first of a three-part course with genealogist Mary Jackson (second and third parts on 13 July and 14 September). Host: South Dublin County Libraries. Venue: Lucan Library, Supervalu Shopping Centre, Newcastle Road, Lucan, Co. Dublin. Some experience of computers and the Internet is essential. 6:30-8:00pm. Free. Need to book: T: 01 6216422. E:

Tuesday 30 June: Witchcraft, heresy, magic & gender in the 14th-century Anglo-Irish colony, with Maeve Callan. Host: Friends of Christ Church Cathedral. Venue: The Music Room, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. 1:15pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 30 June: Family History Open Day, at Lisburn Library. Taster sessions using Irish genealogy websites including Ancestry; screenings of short films of Lisburn 1930s-1950s from NI Screen Digital Film Archive; North of Ireland Family History Society's Lisburn Branch will be on hand to help with queries involving ancestors from the local area. Venue and host: Lisburn Library, 23 Linenhall Street, Lisburn. 10:30 to 15:30. All free. Phone library for more details: 028 9263 3350.

Tuesday 30 June: Four Courts Memorial Lunch, commemorating the loss of records in the 1922 explosion. Organised by Western Australia Genealogical Society, Irish Special Interest Group. Based Bayswater, WA, Australia. Venue: An inner suburban Irish pub. Noon to 2pm. Booking essential. Email.

Wednesday 1 July: Curious tales of heroes, kings and saints at Tara, with Dr Edel Bhreatnach. Host: Tara Lecture Series 2015. Venue: Hill of Tara Visitor Centre, Navan, Co Meath. 8pm. Free. Come early as seats are limited.

Wednesday 1 July: The impact of losses in small towns during WW1, with Dr Clodagh Tait. Part of the Stand Up and Fight summer lecture series. Venue: Exhibition area, City Hall, Merchants' Quay, Limerick. 6:30pm. Free. Refreshments provided. All welcome. 

Thursday 2 July to Sunday 5 July: Dromana 800, a celebration of the Fitzgerald family taking in and around the Blackwater valley in County Waterford. Talks by some of Ireland’s leading historians, culinary delights at a Medieval Feast, music and concerts, a Georgian Fête and, on Sunday afternoon, bookable one-to-one genealogy consultations with IrishAncestree at nearby Villierstown.

Thursday 2 July: Genealogical sources for Carrigaholt parish, with Paddy Waldron. Part of the Carrigaholt Cultural and Hertiage Festival, Carrigaholt, County Clare. 7pm–8pm.

Friday 3 July: The aftermath of Magna Carta: King John's charter to Dungarvan, with Professor Seán Duffy. Part of Dungarvan 1215. Venue: Town Hall Theatre, Dungarvan, Co Waterford. 8pm. Followed by a performance of medieval music by Laoise O’Brien. No need to book. €5 at the door; includes refreshments. It's fully booked but the SOG are running a waiting list.

Saturday 4 July: Tracing Irish ancestry, with Rozalind McCutcheon and Jill Williams. A full-day course at the Society of Genealogists, London EC1, UK. Full details and costs.

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.

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.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Of scoops and poops

Last weekend, Eneclann, one of Ireland's largest genealogy research companies and partner to FindMyPastIreland (part of D H Thompson Family History), chose to follow up on an issue raised in the June issue of the Genealogical Society of Ireland (GSI)'s Genie Gazette.

It concerned Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI), the much respected collective of some of the country's top genealogists, some of whom have 30 or 40 years of professional experience. Many of them also have formal genealogical qualifications. The group recently changed its name from the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI).

Eneclann, in its newsletter's newly-created 'Polemical Corner' conveniently quoted GSI's Genie Gazette: ' Neither APGI nor the newly named AGI [have]… any State recognition as a professional accrediting body.'

Eneclann declared this a 'scoop'.

But it surely can't have been a scoop or a revelation to Eneclann because the company’s director, Fiona Fitzsimons, was a member of APGI for several years. She even served on its Council in 2000. Surely she can't have been unaware that her accreditation did not have state recognition? The association has never claimed it had state recognition.

Ms Fitzsimons resigned from APGI (now AGI) in December 2013. I've been told by more than one APGI member that there was a personal dispute between her and some of her APGI colleagues.

But back to Eneclann's 'Polemical Corner'....

In it, Eneclann advocates formal genealogy qualifications rather than accreditation as the way forward for Irish genealogy.
So I popped over to the company's website to 'Meet the Team' page (click the image, right, to view a copy of the page as I found it). Either the company has forgotten to acknowledge its staff's educational prowess or Eneclann has only one member of staff with a formal qualification in a family history related subject*.

Given its high profile in the industry and its partnership with FindMyPastIreland, this might be the real scoop.

*The Meet the Team page reports that one member of staff has a 'Masters in Family History from the University of Limerick'. There is no such course currently running and I can find no details of a past course of that name . The University of Limerick runs an MA in 'The History of the Family'. You can view a copy of the 2013-14 prospectus here (this was the most up to date I could readily find). The course looks fascinating and I'm sure it could be argued this is genealogy-related subject, but is it a genealogical qualification?

UPDATE, 30 June: See Genealogy course at universities in Ireland blogpost.