Friday, 6 May 2016

Two new books for Derry-Londonderry research

Derry specialist Brian Mitchell MAGI, has written two new books that will be of interest to genealogists with connections to Derry City and its county.

The People of Derry City, 1921: Extracted from the Derry Almanac and Directory.
Because the 1926 census for Northern Ireland has been destroyed, the first post-1911 census that survives for the city and county of Londonderry is that of 1937. Under existing legislation, this won't be released to the public until 2038, which leaves the annual editions of the Derry Almanac as the closest surviving census-type documents for Derry city in the period from 1912 to 1936.

Brian has transcribed the 1921 Almanac using five fields: surname of head of household, first name of head of household, street address, house number, and Almanac page number of the respective listing. The resulting book holds details of 8,288 heads of household in the city, creating a useful census substitute for Derry City during a period of political and social turmoil, just before Partition.

Published by Clearfield, the 172-page paperback is available via, price £15.94, or via for $22.95.

The second book is The Place Names of County Derry, which consists of two parts.

Part One delivers a list of 1,750 place names, in alphabetical order, as recorded in the 1901 census returns for the city and county of LondonDerry. It includes the names of all townlands, and street names for all towns. Against each place name (i.e., townland or town and street) is recorded the following information: District Electoral Division, Parish, Registrar District, Poor Law Union, and the name of the C17th Landowner.

Part Two provides a series of parish reports for the county. For each of its 46 civil parishes, the book details topographical features, population in 1831, the names of its principle towns, the top ten surnames in the mid-C19th, and information about the major record sources for that parish such as church registers (religious denomination and commencement dates); graveyards and their location in the mid-C19th; and census returns and census substitutes dating from 1663 to 1911.

Published by Clearfield, the 106-page paperback is on sale at for £13.16 and for %18.95.

Brian runs the Derry Genealogy Centre for Derry City and Strabane District Council and is author of several acclaimed books including A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland (an essential for family historians from beginner to advanced level), A Guide to Irish Parish Registers, and Derry-Londonderry: Gateway to a New World. The Story of Emigration from the Foyle by Sail and Steam.

Two more Irish newspaper titles join online BNA

The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) has added another two Irish titles to its online database. They are:

The Dundalk Examiner and Louth Advertiser: This weekly paper, launched in 1880 as an extension of the Newry Examiner and Nationalist in tone, circulated in the northern half of Ireland. The initial upload to the BNA comes with all 208 editions published in 1902, 1903, 1908 and 1909. The BNA plans to add editions spanning 1881 to 1930.

The National Teacher, and Irish Educational Journal: All weekly editions for 1892 have joined the archive. The strapline beneath the fabulously confident masthead indicates the paper's intent and audience: 'The only Journal in Ireland owned by the National Teachers and representatives of their interests – A weekly Record of Educational movements and a medium of Discussion and Correspondence for Irish National Teachers'.

These additions mean there are now 116 Irish titles in the British Newspaper Archive.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

FindMyPast releases second tranche of US marriages has released a second tranche of United States marriage records.

Like the first instalment, this second batch holds 10million records, a significant proportion of them coming from Indiana, New York, Illinois, Maine and Pennsylvania. One million of them are making their online debut.

The records include marriage date, bride and groom names, birthplace, birth date, age, and residence as well as father’s and mother’s names. As a result, this release adds about 30million names to the collection.

This release marks the second stage of an ambitious project that will see Findmypast, in partnership with FamilySearch International, digitize and publish at least 100 million records from more than 2,800 counties across America. The collection will span 1650–2010 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

The records are available to search with a 'US & Canada' or World subscription package. The 'US & Canada' package is offered only by; The World package is offered by all four FindMyPast territories. You can find out more by clicking on your 'local' territory flag below.

FindMyPast Ireland
FindMyPast USA
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FindMyPast Australia/NZ

New book – 1348: A Medieval Apocalypse – explores the Black Death in Ireland
Through the lives of eight people, Finbar tells
the story of a chaotic and gruesome period
of Irish history
A new book exploring the Black Death in medieval Ireland has been published by historian and podcaster Finbar Dwyer, founder of the popular

1348: A Medieval Apocalypse – the Black Death in Ireland is Fin's second book. It focuses on the lives of eight people who experienced the chaos of the time. Among them are James Butler, 2nd Earl of Ormond; Gyle de Burgh, the wife of sir Richard Mandeville; Johanna Stackpoll (a previously unknown Dublin widow unearthed through Fin's research); and Friar John Clyn, a priest and chronicler from Kilkenny.

A five-minute sample of the latter's tale is told in a preview podcast – The Great Mortality – here.

The book is available in audio, hardback and eBook and costs €9.99, €7.49 and €19.99 respectively. It is available only at

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Kilmainham Gaol ceremonies to mark the executions of each of the Leaders of the 1916 Rising

Stonebreakers Yard, Kilmainham Gaol
As part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary programme, official ceremonies to commemorate the executions of the fourteen Leaders of the 1916 Rising will take place between the 3rd and the 12th of May at the Stonebreakers Yard, Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin 8.

There will be individual ceremonies to commemorate each execution on the centenary date of the execution and the ceremonies will be attended by a Minister of the Government and relatives of each of the Leaders.

Each ceremony will comprise of a number of elements including the reading of the trial documents relating to the charge against the accused man, the plea that was entered, the verdict of the court and the witness statements provided.

A member of the Capuchin Friars will also attend and deliver a reading from the memoirs of the individual Friar who attended each of the men prior to their execution.

There will also be a wreath laying service with a Military colour party, Military Police wreath bearer and a Piper’s lament.

The dates for the ceremonies are:

Tuesday 3 May: Patrick Pearse, Thomas Clarke, Thomas MacDonagh

Wednesday 4 May: Joseph Plunkett, Edward Daly, Michael O’Hanrahan, William Pearse

Thursday 5 May: John MacBride

Sunday 8 May: Con Colbert, Eamonn Ceannt, Michael Mallin, Sean Heuston

Thursday 12 May: Seán MacDiarmada, James Connolly

Speaking in advance of the commemorations, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “These ceremonies will be deeply personal occasions for the relatives of those who were executed 100 years ago. Their deaths led to a change in public opinion on the Rising and precipitated a period of political and social unrest in Ireland which could not have been predicted in the run up to the events of Easter 1916. It is my hope that these ceremonies will provide relatives with a solemn and respectful opportunity to remember the lives of their family members.”

Kilmainham Gaol will remain closed to the public until 2pm on each of the dates when the ceremonies are to be held..

Monday, 2 May 2016

Save 20% on Ancestry DNA: Ireland and UK only
Ancestry is offering family historians in Ireland and the UK a 20% discount on its DNA testing kits. The discount brings the price per kit down to £79. Shipping costs are £20 for a single kit and £10 for every additional kit.

The text of the company's own advert (not shown here) says this is a 'NEW LOWER PRICE', which may mean this is a permanent reduction in price.

On the other hand, it also says 'Save 20%', which suggests a higher standard price.

I've asked for clarification, but in the meantime I'd suggest anyone really keen to buy at this price treats this offer as a temporary one and places their order without delay.

Richmond Barracks and Goldenbridge Cemetery to open to the public in June

Richmond Barracks was officially opened at a special ceremony in Inchicore, Dublin 8, today. This was where the leaders of the Irish Revolution, along with over 3000 Irish rebels, were held in the aftermath of the 1916 Rebellion before they were sentenced.

Today's ceremony took place in the gymnasium where the rebels were sorted and the leaders identified. Those who were court martialled on Tuesday 2 May 1916 included Pádraig Pearse, Thomas Mc Donagh, and Thomas Clarke.

The Barracks won't open to the public until next month, when it will become an interactive multi-media tourist attaction tracing the story of the site from military barracks, to housing estate to school.

In addition to the interactive exhibition, the site houses a landscaped garden area and a tea room, and tours of the facility will include the adjacent 2-acre Goldenbridge Cemetery, which will open to the public for the first time. Goldenbridge opened for burials in 1828 following the Catholic Emancipation and was Dublin's first RC cemetery.

Richmond Barracks has been redeveloped by Dublin City Council is one of the nine 'Permanent Reminders' of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.