Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Historic Towns Atlases released online for C18th towns

The Royal Irish Academy has released more digital editions in its Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) series. This time, it's the development of the 18th-century town that's under scrutiny.

This is the period in which the Big House flourished in the countryside, and their wealthy owners often looked to transform their local town by remodelling its layout with graceful parades and ornamental avenues, enclosed parks overlooked by quality housing with uniform frontages, and a good handful of architectural style statements in the form of neo-classical public buildings.

Dundalk, Maynooth and Dublin (part II, 1610 to 1756) are the towns explored in this release.

Each of the digital editions is published with the relevant chapter from Reading the maps: a guide to the Irish Historic Towns Atlas by Jacinta Prunty and H.B. Clarke (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 2011) and includes the full text of the printed edition (essay, topographical information, bibliography, appendices, notes for each town) as well as a selection of maps.

The Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) is a research project of the Royal Irish Academy that aims to record the topographical development of a selection of Irish towns both large and small. It has been publishing maps and publications about Ireland's towns and cities since 1986, and is part of a wider European project that explores historical towns according to a fairly rigid formula of detailed enquiry and presentation. The 'formula' allows comparisons across the continent.

The resulting publications examine the topographical development of each town during key periods in their history.

Clues to the town's past religious life, defence and security, local and national government, industry, trade, transport, education and leisure habits are explored within the accompanying maps. Dense and accurate, these atlases reveal fascinating details about the physical environment and communities our ancestors lived in.

The digital editions exploring Towns in the 19th century (Bray, Belfast part II, 1840–1900) are expected to be published next month.

See the line-up of more than 20 digital IHTA editions here.

DNA Day 2017: AncestryDNA reduced from €95 to €70

As you should know from the flurry of discounts offers reported on Irish Genealogy News over the last six days, today is DNA Day 2017.

I've just been advised that Ancestry also has a money-off saving on its DNA test for Irish residents who want to pay in Euros, rather than Sterling, thereby avoiding currency exchange and other greedy bank charges. The Ireland offer reduces the price from the standard €95 to €70. Shipping costs are additional. See the AncestryDNA Ireland page for details.

For convenience and price comparison, you'll find all the current offers on the Special Offers page of my website, Irish Genealogy Toolkit.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Ballymena Weekly Telegraph joins online BNA

The Ballymena Weekly Telegraph has joined the online British Newspaper Archive (BNA). It is the 36th Northern Irish title in the database.

The initial upload sees editions available for 1904, 1906–1916, 1921–1929, and 1931–1957. When complete, the holding for this paper will eventually span as follows:

  • 1894–1918 The Ballymena Weekly Telegraph
  • 1918–19 Ballymena Telegraph
  • 1921–59 Ballymena Weekly Telegraph

Along with all other papers in the BNA's database (which include the Ballymena Observer) this title automatically joins the Irish Newspaper Collection as part of FindMyPast's Ireland and World subscription package.

Irish genealogy and history events, 24 April to 6 May

Monday 24 April: Nomadic, Titanic's little sister, with Frances James. Plus AGM. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Larne Branch. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112-120 Glenarm Road, Larne, Co Antrim. BT40 1DZ. Free. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 25 April: Islandbridge - People, places, pictures, with Patrick Hugh Lynch. Host: City Hall Lunch-time Lectures Series (Dublin CC). Venue: Council Chamber City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2. Doors open 12:30pmm. Talk starts 1:10pm. No booking required. Seats allocated on first come - first served basis. Admission free. No booking required, but come early to ensure a place.

Tuesday 25 April:: Great houses of Belfast and their families, with Roger Dixon. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Belfast Branch. Venue: C. S. Lewis Room, Holywood Arches Library, Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 1NT. 7:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 25 April:: Tracing your Irish ancestry, a workshop with Jill Williams FIGRS. Host: Consulate General of Ireland. Venue: CG of Ireland, 16 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh, Scotland EH3 7TT. 2pm–4pm. Free. Places are limited so be sure to register your attendance by email to

Tuesday 25 April:: Marcus Keane and Fr Michael Meehan: Two figures from Clare's Famine landscape, with Dr Ciarán Ó Murchadha. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm. Free to members, €5 for non-members. All welcome.

Wednesday 26 April: The life and times of J B Malone, founder of the Wicklow Way: map-maker, soldier, historian and author, with Michael Fewer. The Old Dublin Society. Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive Conference Room, 138–144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. 6pm. Free. All welcome.

Thursday 27 April: Delayed opening of National Library of Ireland, Dublin. To facilitate a staff development meeting, NLI buildings will not open until 11am.

Thursday 27 April: Dr P J O’Hara, a local doctor, with Brian O’Hara. Talk follows AGM. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Ballymena Branch. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, BT43 5EJ. 7:15pm. Free. All welcome.

Thursday 27 April: The Fitzwilliams of Merrion – the last of the line, with Des Smyth. Host: Rathmines, Ranelagh and Rathgar Historical Society. Venue: Rathmines Town Hall (Rathmines College), Rathmines Road, Dublin 6. 8pm. €3. All welcome.

Friday 28 April: First generation Irish, with Margaret Sullivan; Identifying Famine immigrants in Griffith's Valuation, with Donna Moughty; Mapping Irish locations online, with Pamela Guye Holland; Jumping the pond - Finding the origins of your Irish ancestors, with Donna Moughty; and Prejudice and Pride: Irish immigrants in Know-Nothing Boston, with Margaret Sullivan. Host: New England Regional Genealogical Consortium. Venue: MassMutual Convention Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. Details and program.

Friday 28 April: H.M.Coastguard in pre-Independence Ireland: the Forgotten Force, with James Doherty. Host: Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. Venue: St. Patricks Gateway Centre, Patrick Street, Waterford. 8pm. Admission: €5.00 (members free).

Saturday 29 April: Michael Collins, Dublin 1916-22, with Joe Connell Jnr. Host: Stoneybatter & Smithfield People's History Project. Venue: The Cobblestone, 77 North King Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7. Free. 4pm to 5:40pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 2 May: From Meeting House to Chapel: The evolution of Presbyterian and Catholic churches, with Finbar McCormick. Host: Institute of Irish Studies. Venue: Irish Studies Seminars, Queen's University Belfast, 6–10 Fitzwilliam Street, Belfast. 4:30pm. All welcome.

Thursday 4 May: May Day Magic: Fairies, Witches and Dew-Charms, with Dr Jenny Butler. Host: Muskerry Local History Society. Venue: Rugby Club, Ballincollig, Co. Cork. All welcome. Non-members €3. 8pm.

Thursday 4 May: 1916 Lives in focus Augustine Birrell, with Eunan O'Halpin; Thomas Clarke, with James Quinn; Desmond Ryan, with Lawrence White. Host and venue: Pearse Museum, St. Enda's Park, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16. 7pm. Admission is free, but booking is advised on 01 4934208. Details.

Friday 5 May & Saturday 6 May: Genealogy Days, with talks, tours, consultations and local genealogy societies. Host and venue: Irish American Heritage Museum, 370 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207, USA. Details to be posted in due course.

Saturday 6 May: The Mother and Child Scheme, with Andrew McCarthy Host & venue: Tipperary County Museum, Mick Delahunty Square, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. 10:30am. €5. All welcome. Seats allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Saturday 6 May: IGRS Open Day. Two lectures: Ireland’s Court Records – What survived 1922? with Steven Smyrl MAGI, and Finding the Irish in British and Irish Army Records, with Nicola Morris MAGI; AGM; light lunch and refreshments; Q&A session. An informal and informative event for members (£25) and non-members (£30). Venue: The Abbey Conference Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU, UK. Booking and full details.

Friday, 21 April 2017

RootsIreland adds index to 60,000 Mayo headstones has added an index to approximately 60,000 names on gravestone inscriptions in south Mayo; they've been abstracted from the gravestone collection held at the South Mayo Research Centre in Ballinrobe.

Some 160 burial grounds are covered in the records – see the full list here. They include a mix of religious denominations, and span most of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The index contains name and graveyard and in many cases also contains date of death, address and age of the decease. 

Wide range of FamilyTreeDNA test kits in DNA Day Sale
FamilyTreeDNA's National DNA Day Sale sees special discounts across nearly all its range of testing kits.

Its bestseller – the autosomal Family Finder test – has seen its price slashed to just $59, while its Y-DNA and MtFull Sequence tests and bundles of product across the categories have also received generous discounts.

See sale price list and product descriptions here.

The DNA Day Sale ends at 11:59 pm Central Time on Thursday 27 April, which is a day later than other promotions currently running with other DNA testing companies.

Irish Press Weekend: up to 30% discounts on offer

As you may have heard in today's news, the owners of the Irish Press newspaper group, Irish Press plc, have voted to wind up the business which has its roots in the earliest days of the Irish state. The company was famous for owning the Irish Press newspapers, which were founded by former taoiseach and president Eamon De Valera and started publication in 1931, but the presses ceased to roll way back in 1995.

The full span of Irish Press editions is available to search and view on the Dublin-based Irish Newspaper Archive database, where it is one of some 70 historical national and local titles, many of them right up to current editions.

To mark the turning of the final page of the Irish Press story, the Irish Newspaper Archive has made available free downloadable pdfs of the front pages of both the very first edition and the very last edition of the newspaper.

Additionally, a couple of special offers have been announced for subscriptions to the Archive. There's a 20% discount on a monthly subscription (use the Coupon Code Irishpress001) and a 30% discount on the cost of the annual subscription (use the Coupon Code Irishpress002). These discounts will expire on Monday 24 April.

AncestryDNA special offers for DNA Day
With DNA Day on Wednesday 26 April, Ancestry DNA is offering discounts on its testing kits.  The savings vary, as follows:

Ancestry DNA Canada: CAD$30 off

Ancestry DNA USA: 20% off.

Ancestry DNA Ireland & UK: A 25% discount (£20) reduces the price to £59.

Shipping costs are additional.

In each case, the special offer will run until 11:59pm on Wednesday 26 April.

FindMyPast opens up entire Australian and New Zealand collection for Anzac Day long weekend
FindMyPast is marking Anzac Day by making its entire Australian and New Zealand collection free for five days.

This collection holds 96 million records of military service, life events (BMDs), travel and migration, education and working life, court and legal records,  and more. You can see the full list of record sets here.

Click the image to the right and you'll not only be able to start searching for your ancestors by name, you'll also find a free quide to tracing your ancestors in Australia and New Zealand, and an invitation to register for a free webinar on Anzac Day.

To view the records you'll need a registered account. If you don't already have one, you'll be prompted to create one when you start searching the collection. It's a simple and fast procedure; you have only to provide your name, email address and password. No financial details are requested.

The free access period is now live and will continue until 11:59pm AEST on Tuesday 25 April.

Ancestry marks Anzac Day with five days' free access to its Australian and New Zealand military collections
To commemorate Anzac Day 2017 (25 April), has opened up its historical Australian and New Zealand military records collection for free access over the long weekend.

You can check out the full list of record sets included here.

If you don't already have a registered account with Ancestry, you'll need to set one up. This is easy enough to do, and you have only to provide your name, email address and a password – no financial details are requested. You can go straight to the Create a Free Account form here.

The free access weekend is now live and will continue until 11:59pm on Tuesday 25 April. 

“Anzac” stands for 'Australian and New Zealand Army Corps'. Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the day in 1915 during World War One when Australian and New Zealand troops went ashore at Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli peninsula. This was the Anzacs first major military action as part of the Great War, and they faced fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders.