Thursday, 28 May 2015

Back To Our Past 2015: dates and venue changed

The organisers of Back To Our Past (BTOP), Ireland's major annual genealogy get-together, have published revised dates for this year's show and a (minor) change of venue.

The show will move forward one week to be held on Friday 9th (Noon to 6pm), Saturday 10th (11am to 6pm) and Sunday 11th October (11 to 6pm).

Speaking to Irish Genealogy News today, Show Director John Lowe said the date swop resulted from concern among some advertisers that the Quarter Finals of the Rugby World Cup, scheduled for the original weekend dates, might cause a clash of interests. (Whether this was a concern about a clash of interest for potential visitors or the exhibitors' staff, I didn't ask.)

Ireland has some chance of being in the quarter finals, apparently.

Because the usual BTOP venue – the Industries Hall at the RDS – is not available for the new dates, Back To Our Past will move to the Serpentine Hall. All the genealogy exhibitors and all the family history and genetic genealogy lectures will be held in the same area, which is a distinct and dedicated venue adjacent to the Main Hall and the Over 50s Show.

The BTOP website is in the process of being amended. The eagle-eyed will note that the daily admission fee has been reduced by 50% to €5.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

RootsIreland adds more parish records for Co Wexford have added Roman Catholic parish register transcriptions to their County Wexford database, as follows:

Parish Baptism Marriage Burial
See also Glenbrien
1804 - 1853
1848 - 1901
1803 - 1851
1848 - 1904
1865 - 1958
(Chapel of ease of Oylgate parish)
1860 - 1880
1860 - 1880
1860 - 1880

It's good to see the Co Wexford holding growing at a reasonable pace. It used to be such a black hole for online records!

Public holiday, 1 June: opening/closing arrangements

Monday 1 June is a public holiday
in the Republic of Ireland
There's a long weekend coming up in the Republic of Ireland. If you were planning on using the time to carry out some research, be aware that most relevant institutions will be operating on public holiday schedules, as below.

The National Archives of Ireland will be closed on Monday 1 June, reopening at 9:15am on Tuesday 2 June.

The Reading Room and the Genealogy Service of the National Library of Ireland will operate to normal weekend hours (Saturday 9:30am to 12:45pm; Sunday closed), but will not open on Monday 1 June.

Exhibitions at the National Library of Ireland will be open on Saturday and Sunday as usual (Kildare Street: Saturday 9.30am–4.30pm; Sunday: 1:00pm–5:00pm. National Photographic Archive in Temple Bar: Saturday 10am–4.45pm; Sunday: 12pm–4.45pm). Bank holiday Monday opening will be from 12pm to 5pm only at both locations.

Dublin City Library & Archive will be closed on Saturday 30 May and Monday 1 June, as will all branch libraries in the Republic.

The General Register Office Research Room at Werburgh Street, Dublin, will not open on Monday 1 June. It will reopen at 9:30am on Tuesday 2 June.

The Research Room of the Representative Church Body Library will be closed on Monday 1 June, reopening at 9:30am on Tuesday 2 June.

NOTE: This bank holiday applies only in the Republic; Northern Ireland institutions will be working to normal hours, having had their early summer holiday the previous week.

GENUKI inititiates major overhaul of 20-year-old site
The vast and free website GENUKI, which describes itself as a virtual reference library of information of particular reference to UK & Ireland genealogy, is undergoing a major site-wide update. It's the first major overhaul in the 20 years the service has been running, and coincides with the availability of much improved and much less technically challenging Content Management Systems for maintaining websites.

By removing much of the need for computer expertise, the switch to the Drupal platform will not only ease the task of current GENUKI maintainers, it will also make it easier to recruit more volunteers to maintain the pages.

While the team is attempting to retain much of the previous 'look and feel' of the system, at least initially, there will be some minor changes as part of the process. As the transition progresses, additional ways of viewing GENUKI's data will become available.

Unsurprisingly given its size (142,000 files/6047 Mbytes at the last count), the GENUKI site will be converted in stages, starting at the top. Many of the County pages, for example, are currently being worked on in the background but it may be some months before those pages are converted and made live.

One update that can already be seen is a login facility on the home page. Don't be concerned. This is just for the maintenance team. Access to GENUKI is and will remain as open and free as ever.

It is a non-commercial service, maintained by a charitable trust and a group of volunteers in co-operation with the Federation of Family History Societies.

(With thanks to JC.)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Kilmurry Ibrickane RC baptisms for 1839 transcribed

County Clare Library has added another interesting set of transcribed baptism records, this time from Kilmurry Ibrickane parish register. The 219 records cover all of 1839 and were transcribed and donated by Marie Crowley of Derry working from LDS microfilm.

Each of the entries includes the child's name and date of baptism, the father's name and surname, the mother's name, and the name of sponsors. The mother's maiden surname and the parent's townland is also presented in all but a handful of cases.

In a separate Notes column are a number of instances where the baptism is recorded as 'conditional'. I've not come across this before, and I'm sure many others haven't either, so I asked a highly experienced genealogist for an explanation. He tells me this probably means the child had been already been baptised in something of a hurry, typically because the the infant was not expected to survive long; in these circumstances, the RC church allows (then and now) a baptism to be performed by anyone, not just a priest. So in these 1839 instances, the parish priest might subsequently have performed formal baptisms just in case (ie Conditionally) the first baptisms had not been carried out correctly.

Monday, 25 May 2015

National Library of Ireland appoints new director

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has announced the appointment of Dr Sandra Collins to the role of Director.

Dr Collins joins the National Library of Ireland from her role as the Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) in the Royal Irish Academy where she established and led an ambitious national research centre developing both policy and e-infrastructure for digital preservation of cultural and social data.

Her career has included leadership roles in research, industry and public service, with earlier positions at Science Foundation Ireland, Ericsson telecommunications, and Dublin City University.

She is originally a mathematician and received her PhD in 1996 from UCD in the area of nonlinear fluid dynamics.

Announcing the appointment, NLI board member Paul Shovlin said: 'We are very pleased that Sandra is joining the National Library as Director. Her experience and interest in digital preservation in particular is of huge importance as the Library is particularly engaged in the digitisation of records.

'The board and staff of the NLI look forward to working closely with her over the coming years. With the decade of commemoration now underway and with 1916 commemorations just around the corner, her leadership, expertise and skills will be hugely valuable,' he added.

Speaking about the important role of the National Library of Ireland, Dr Collins said: 'I am delighted and honoured to take up this post. The National Library of Ireland has such a recognised place in Irish society, culture and learning. I look forward to working together with the staff and Board to build upon the trusted services and grow the research and digital innovation that the National Library delivers, both here in Ireland and across the world with online access.'

Having been appointed for a period of five years, Dr Collins will take up her new position on 31 July 2015.

Irish family history & heritage events, 25 May to 6 June

Monday 25 May: The Last Voyage of the RMS Lusitania, with James Scannell. Host: Clondalkin History Society. Venue: Arás Chronáin Irish Cultural Centre, Watery Lane, Clondalkin, Co Dublin. 8pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 26 May: William Bald and the making of the Antrim Coast Road, 1832 to 1840, with Desmond McCabe. Part of the Antrim Coast in the Age of Industry, 1750 to 1890, lunchtime lecture series. Host and Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Starts at 1pm. Free but need to book at or (+44) 028 90 534800.

Tuesday 26 May: Women in the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection – A reassessment and new sources, with Cecile Gordon. First of the Military Archives MSPC Lunchtime Lecture Series. Host and Venue: Rathmines Library, 157 Rathmines Road Lower, Dublin 6. 1pm–2pm. Admission free. Booking essential at the library or online.

Wednesday 27 May: Open Genealogy Consultation, with Lisa Dougherty. Host and Venue: Irish American Heritage Museum, 370 Broadway, Albany, New York 12207, USA. 11am to 2pm EDT.

Wednesday 27 May: Edward Bruce in Ulster, 1315, with William Roulston. Part of the Ulster Scots Connections; People, Place and Practice series. Hosts: PRONI, MAG-Ulster Scots Academy, Ulster Scots Community Network and Ulster Scots Agency. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Free.

Wednesday 27 May: Researching Ancestors in the Army in India – Free Workshop, with Valmay Young. Host: Families of British India Venue: British Library (St Pancras), 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, UK. Booking required; email 2pm.

Thursday 28 May: Rolling heads: Medieval battle injuries in Ireland, with Kathryn Power. Host: Ballygarvan & District Local History Society. Venue: Park Hotel by Radisson, Cork Airport, Cork. 8pm. €5 for non-members.

Wednesday 28 May: Mary Martin: Legacy from Loss, with Isabelle Smyth. Last of the 'WWI Ireland: Exploring the Irish Experience' lunchtime lecture series. Host and Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. All welcome. 1:05pm. Booking not required

Thursday 28 May: Genealogy and its uses, with Lorna Moloney. Host: Ballygarvan and District Local History Society. Venue: Cork Airport Hotel, Cork. Free to members. Non-members €5 on the door. 8pm. Admission to lectures are free to members. €5 on the night for non-members.

Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. Free, but
booking required: or 028 90534800.
Thursday 28 May: Letters of 1916, Belfast launch. Bring your family letters written 1 November 1915 to 31 October 1916 to digitize and add to the Letters 1916 archive.
5:30pm to 6:30pm: Open Session: Demonstrations, Meet the Team, Transcribe and Digitise.
6.30pm to 7:45pm: A year in a life: a series of talks exploring life in Ireland a century ago, highlighting letters from PRONI’S collection, with Prof Susan Schreibman, Stephen Scarth, Ian Montgomery and Jason Burke.
7:45pm to 8:30pm: Reception.

Tuesday 2 June: Iron and Stone: the Earls of Antrim as Victorian industrialists, with Ian Montgomery. Last of the Antrim Coast in the Age of Industry, 1750 to 1890, lunchtime lecture series. Host and Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Starts at 1pm. Free but need to book at or (+44) 028 90 534800.

Tuesday 2 June: The Importance of the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection - Understanding revolutionary Ireland and beyond. Second of the Military Archives MSPC Lunchtime Lecture Series. Host and Venue: Rathmines Library, 157 Rathmines Road Lower, Dublin 6. 1pm–2pm. Admission free. Booking essential at the library or online.

Wednesday 3 June: Ulster Scots Language, with Gary Blair. Part of the Ulster Scots Connections; People, Place and Practice series. Hosts: PRONI, MAG-Ulster Scots Academy, Ulster Scots Community Network and Ulster Scots Agency. Venue: Discover Ulster Scots Centre, The Corn Exchange, 31 Gordon Street, Belfast, BT1 2LG. 1pm. Free.

Wednesday 3 June to Saturday 6 June: Women and the Great Hunger in Ireland conference. Host and venue: Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, USA. Speakers include: Jason King, Ciarán Reilly and Margaret Ward. Full programme and registration details.

Thursday 4 June: Common Currency: The Shared Inheritance of Ulster and North America, a one-day conference hosted by the Ulster Historical Foundation. Venue: Discover Irish-Scots Centre, The Corn Exchange Building, Victoria Street, Belfast. 9am to 4pm. Free. Lunch and refreshments provided. Need to book. Programme and booking.

Friday 5 June: Putting a price on the War of Independence, with Nuala O'Connor and Diarmaid Ferriter. Host: Visual Carlow. Venue: Borris House, Borris, Co Carlow. 6pm. Tickets €12.50. Booking.

Saturday 6 June: The larger houses of County Tipperary, with Barry O'Reilly. Penultimate session of The Big House in County Tipperary 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 6 June: Ireland's other great war – Ireland and the Napoleonic Wars, a one-day conference to commemorate the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo. Host and venue: Department of History, Renehan Hall, Maynooth University, Co Kildare. €25 or €15 for concessions, includes tea/coffee and light lunch. Details.

Saturday 6 June: Guns and Hoses: the story of the Dublin Fire Brigade during 1916 and the revolutionary years 1913-1922, with Las Fallon. Host: Stoneybatter & Smithfield People's History Project. Venue: The Cobblestone, 77 North King Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7. 4:30pm. All welcome.

Saturday 6 June: WW1 Roadshow – East Belfast and the Great War. Venue: East Belfast Network Centre, Templemore Avenue School, 55 Templemore Avenue, Belfast BT5 4FP. 10am to 3pm. Free event. Living Legacies team providing advice on preserving artefacts; 10:30am launch of Row on Row: East Belfast Remembers 2015; 11am lecture: The Shipyard and the Home Front during WW1, with Philip Orr; 1:30pm lecture: Researching East Belfast and the Great War, with Jason Burke; 2:45pm Playing of the Last Post by The Hounds of Ulster. In addition, Nigel Henderson will be providing family history and WW1 research advice.