Friday, 26 May 2017

29 May: Bank holiday in Northern Ireland

There's a public holiday in Northern Ireland on Monday, 29 May, so all repositories, archives and libraries will be closed.

The Linen Hall Library in Belfast will be open on Saturday, but not Monday.

While Northern Ireland takes the day off, it's a normal working day in the Republic of Ireland, where the next bank holiday is a week later (5 June).

Donegal's oral history recordings identified in database

Donegal Heritage Office will be launching an Audit of Oral History Recordings for County Donegal this evening (see below).

The Audit is the result of work carried out over the last year by Dr Tomás Mac Conmara, an oral historian from County Clare. He has identified more than 4,000 oral history recordings from 57 collections relating to County Donegal. They range from the professional work undertaken by Seán Ó hEochaidh of the Irish Folklore Commission to a family's recording of their grandmother's memories.

The purpose of the audit was to identify, in so far as possible, what has been collected at national, regional and local levels, and to put that information together for the first time into one database. This will allow more locals and people with ancestral connections to Donegal to explore that material where that is possible and ultimately engage more deeply with their own heritage.

"Oral history as a method of exploring our past enables a more personal and human story to unfold," said Dr Mac Conmara. "It leads us often to a deeper understanding of ourselves and of our history. The folklore and stories of local places and people are crucial to a more complete telling of our past.”

The audit will be accessible on the County Donegal Heritage Office website following its launch.

The launch will be held at 7:30pm at the County Museum, High Road, Letterkenny. All welcome. Details.

A day-long Oral History Training Workshop will be taking place tomorrow in Letterkenny. It is fully booked. If there is demand, the Heritage Office will consider holding another workshop in the future. Details.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Book launch: The Irish Revolution 1912-23 – Monaghan
A new book from Four Courts Press will be of interest to researchers with connections to County Monaghan.

The Irish Revolution, 1912-1923 – Monaghan
, by Terence Dooley, explores the Revolutionary Era from the perspective of this border county, which seemed likely to become a battlefield in a sectarian civil war until the First World War intervened with significant consequences for both Protestant and Catholic communities.

The 1916 Rising itself had little impact on Monaghan but its consequences did, as all communities were discommoded during the turbulent 1919–23 period by violence (sometimes sectarian in nature), the growth of lawlessness and agrarianism, the economic effects of the Belfast Boycott, and the imposition of the border with the new state of Northern Ireland.

After 1923, the people of Monaghan got on with living their lives in a changed political landscape. For many, the revolution brought a sense of lingering disillusionment: Monaghan unionists were aggrieved at their desertion by their fellow Ulster covenanters and nationalists were disappointed by how little the social and political order had changed.

Terence Dooley is director of the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses & Estates, Maynooth University. He is the author of The decline and fall of the Dukes of Leinster, 1872–1948: love, war, debt and madness (Dublin, 2014) and co-editor, with Christopher Ridgway, of The Country House and the Great War: Irish and British experiences (Dublin, 2016). His new 192-page paperback is on sale (€17.95) from Four Courts Press. ISBN: 978-1-84682-616-0.

London FamilySearch Centre's microfilms to leave Kew

The SoG is based at 14 Charterhouse Buildings,
Goswell Rd, London EC1M 7BA, close
to Barbican and Farringdon tube stations.
As announced some time back, the microfilms at the London FamilySearch Centre, currently at The National Archives in Kew, will be moving to the Society of Genealogists (SoG) in Clerkenwell.

The last day to view microfilms at The National Archives location will be Wednesday 31 May 2017. Following their removal and setting up at their new home, the microfilms are expected to be available for viewing at the SoG's Library and Education Centre before the end of June.

The London FamilySearch Centre is not closing. The computers and websites will continue to be available at The National Archives. It is just the microfilm library that is moving.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Two completed World Archives Projects for Ireland join the Ancestry database

Two of Ancestry's World Archives Projects (WAPs) of Irish collections have joined its main database. This means these newly indexed collections can now be searched by researchers, whether or not they have an active subscription. While you can search the index and view all the indexed records that match your query, you will need a subscription to view the images.
Ireland, School Masters and Mistresses, 1826

You may remember me blogging about the launch of this WAP back in November. It covers just one year, 1826, and includes data extracted from the Irish Education Inquiry's second Commissiners' report into the state of education across the island.

The names of 13,265 School Masters and Mistresses employed in schools in that year have been indexed, along with the location of the school in which they were employed, the parish and the county. The entire island is covered.

See the image right (click for larger view) to understand the data collected for the index.

Ireland, Poor Law Union Removals From England, 1859-1860

This is a small collection of just under 2,000 records. The WAP volunteers have indexed details of the Irish-born individuals living in England who were unable to prove they were 'legally settled' in their new parish. Usually, this meant being able to show evidence of being settled -- typically employment or marriage to a parishoner. The idea was to prevent people of no means becoming a burden on the parish chest. Failure to meet the required criteria could lead to forcible removal. If they could not fulfil the required criteria, they could be removed by force and sent back to their original parish of legal settlement in Ireland.

The image below shows part of a page in which removals from Gloucester were recorded. It records the date of removal, the name of the individual or head of household, and the port to which they were returned. The middle columns show (left) the numbers of adults in the party, and (right) the number of children. For example, on 26 July 1859, Bridget Patterson and her four children were returned to the port of Cork.

The free index-only record for Bridget would tell you the date, the removal place and the port of return. The full record, ie the image of the page, would additionally show that Bridget was given no financial assistance to facilitate her onward travel from the port. Some were. Some were not.

UPDATE, 25 May: Ancestry UK has just published a detailed blogpost about the Poor Law Union Removals from England collection (here). Well worth reading.

PRONI's Archives Unlocked - Lunchtime lecture series

PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast.
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has announced a new series of Thursday lunchtime talks. They don't start until August, but as PRONI events are so popular, I thought I'd pass on details now rather than wait for my usual fortnightly listing when they might be fully booked.

Each of the talks will be led by a member of PRONI's staff, will centre on archival collections in PRONI and will provide excellent insight on using these resources for family and local history. They will all be held at PRONI's offices.

Thursday 14 September: Drawn from our land: revealing maps from the collections, with Dr Glynn Kelso
Thursday 21 September: Prison records at PRONI, with Graham Jackson
Thursday 28 September: Sport in the Archives, with Andrew Toland
Thursday 5 October: Capturing the past – photographic collections and digitisation at PRONI, with Joy Carey & Lorraine Bourke

Admission is FREE, however booking is essential as spaces are limited. Tickets.

Irish Historic Towns Atlas: full digital series now online

The Royal Irish Academy has released the final planned editions in its Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) digital series. This time, it's the development of the 19th-century town that's under scrutiny.
Bray and Belfast (Part II, 1840 to 1900) are the towns
explored in today's last-in-the-series digital release.
This is the period that includes the Famine; mass-emigration from the countryside; the completion of Ireland's canal network; the growth of railways, trams and factories; the construction of barracks, gaols, workhouses and asylums; and a massive Roman Catholic church building programme as the Penal Laws ended.

Bray and Belfast (Part II, 1840 to 1900) are the towns explored in this digital release.

Each of the digital editions is published with the relevant chapter from Reading the maps: a guide to the Irish Historic Towns Atlas* 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.

You can see the line-up of 25+ digital IHTA editions here.

* By Jacinta Prunty and H.B. Clarke (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, 2011)

June edition of Irish Roots magazine published

The June edition of Irish Roots Magazine arrived in my postbox yesterday morning, and it's another excellent issue with a wide range of features covering traditional family history, genetic/DNA research, Irish history and heritage, news of record releases and other developments in Irish genealogy, and much more. readers of this blog will know that recently began digitising microfilmed material from the Registry of Deeds – one of the last largely untapped major Irish archives for genealogists. As this vast collection of material starts to become more accessible and ready to give up its secrets, many researchers will be wanting  to become familiar with the archive and the online facility. Cue a timely feature to explain the records and find your way around the database.

Another resource under the spotlight is the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund collection. This, too, is timely, as the surviving records (almost all from western seaboard counties) are available on FindMyPast and, from next month, on Ancestry. This feature examines the funds from a historical perspective and analyses the surviving material for evidence of how our ancestors felt about money, debt and poverty. It's quite an eye-opener.

There's also an in-depth listing of the many resources available to those with ancestral connections to the Orchard County – Armagh – and a guide explaining how the results of Y-DNA tests can be applied to surname studies. Talking of surnames, there's also the second of a four-part series looking at Gaelic place names and families from each of Ireland's provinces; this issue is the turn of Munster.

The Irish emigration in the 19th century is the focus of another article; it looks at the events and social conditions that played a part in the exodus, especially to North America, the journey endured by the emigrants and the discrimination and hardship they encountered on arrival in their new home. Sticking with the 'leaving Ireland' theme is a feature exploring the comprehensive records known as the Irish Gift presented to mark Australia's Bicentenary nearly 30 years ago: the Australia Transportation Records, which not only include details of those transported, but also applications from the convicts for their families to join them in their new land.

As always, Irish Roots Magazine is full of news. Apart from my own What's New? Review, which sets out the quarter's most important record releases, there's news from family and local history societies, comment and observations of other recent events, letters to the editor, a reader's story of successful research, and a helpful Q&A column.

This issue also brings details of a project to connect descendants of the Mountbellow Orphan Girls who sailed for Australia in 1853. The project plans a commemoration of the Girls next year, and TV documentary is scheduled.

Irish Roots magazine is available in both print and digital format, as a one-issue purchase or as part of a subscription package. See full purchase details (and don't miss the free sample of the issue).

Happy reading and learning!

Monday, 22 May 2017

Irish genealogy & history events, 22 May - 4 June

Tuesday 23 May: Milltown Cemetery, with Tom Hartley, and Dabbling with Facebook, with Anne Johnston. 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 23 May: Family History Day at Ballyclare Town Hall. With local genealogical and historical societies, DNA testing, PRONI, exhibitions of maps and photos, guidance and research advice. All free. Venue: Town Hall, The Square, Ballyclare, Co Antrim, BT39 9BB. 10am to 4pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 23 May: Exploring Your Irish & Scots-Irish Ancestors, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: The Wanaka Genealogy Group. Venue: Presbyterian Community Church Centre, 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka, New Zealand. 1pm–5pm. $20. All welcome. Details and booking.

Wednesday 24 May: The Gore-Booth Sisters in Manchester: Suffrage, Socialism and Sobriety, with Dr Sonja Tiernan. Host and venue: Irish World Heritage Centre, 1 Irish Town Way, Cheetham Hill, Manchester UK, M8 0RY. 7:30pm. Free. All welcome. Details.

Thursday 25 May: Forger, freemason, freeman: the story of Samuel Clayton, Dubliner, with Margaret Smith. Host: Rathmines, Ranelagh and Rathgar Historical Society. Venue: Rathmines Town Hall, Rathmines, Dublin 6. 8pm. Members free; Visitors €3.

Thursday 25 May: Irish family history day, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Society of Australian Genealogists. Venue: Glover Cottages, 124 Kent Street (next door to Richmond Villa, 120 Kent St), Sydney, Australia. 10am–4pm. Morning and afternoon tea provided; bring your own lunch. Bookings essential: $55 members, $70 non-members. Details.

Thursday 25 May: From Antichrist to ARCIC: Protestant attitudes to Catholicism, 1517-2017, with Prof Alan Ford. The Beckett Lecture. Host: Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 6:30pm. Free tickets. Booking

Friday 26 May: 'Squinting George': the Curraghmore of George, first Marquess of Waterford (1736-1800), with Julian Walton. Host: Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. Venue: St. Patrick's Gateway Centre, Patrick Street, Waterford City. 8pm. Small charge for non-members. All welcome.

Friday 26 May to Sunday 28 May: The Homecoming of the Daniel McCarthy Glas Archive and the Mac Carthy Cultural and Historical Weekend. Hosts: School of History, UCC; Cork City and County Archives; Dunmanway Historical Association. Venue: The Parkway Hotel, Dunmanway, Co Cork. For details, email

Saturday 27 May: Tracing your Irish ancestors - a day seminar with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Genealogy Sunshine Coast. Venue: Genealogy Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, Petrie Park Road, Nambour, QLD 4560, Australia. 8am–3:30pm. $40, includes morning and afternoon tea; Lunch available for $5pp. Details. Booking advised.

Saturday 27 May: Our Wicklow Heritage: Community Archaeology, including illustrated presentations, a screening, workshop and optional field trip to Glendalough. Host: Wicklow County Council Heritage Department. Venue: Brockagh Resource Centre, Laragh, Co Wicklow. 10am–4pm. Free. All welcome. Advance booking essential. Details.

Sunday 28 May: Irish Family History, seminar with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: The Western Australian Genealogical Society (WAGS). Venue: State Library of Western Australia, 25 Francis St, Perth, Australia. 1pm–7pm. $40 members of WAGS or Affiliated Societies, $50 non-members. Details. FULLY BOOKED.

Tuesday 30 May: Irish family history seminar, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies. Venue: Willis Room, Whitehorse Centre, 397 Whitehorse Rd, Nunawading Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 9:30am-4:30pm. Bookings is essential $45. For more details, tel (03) 9877 3789. SOLD OUT.

Tuesday 30 May: Domestic service in Kilrush, Co. Clare from 1881 to 1951, with Lisa O’Sullivan. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co. Clare. 8pm–9pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 30 May to 9 June: Messines Memorial exhibition, an art installation entitled ‘Assembly - Memorial Chairs’ by artist Val Carman. During the course of this battle, the 16th (Irish) division fought side by side with the 36th (Ulster) division. Host and venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Exhibition free during normal opening hours until 1pm Friday 9th. 

Wednesday 31 May: Irish Family History Day, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Genealogical Society of Victoria, Irish Ancestry Group. Venue: 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Includes Scots-Irish research, landed estate records, census substitutes, church records, using Registry of Deeds, Poor Law records. 9:30am-4:30pm Bookings is essential $45. Refreshments provided but bring your own lunch. Details. SOLD OUT.

Wednesday 31 May: The Great Parchment Book, with Philippa Smith. Host: London Metropolitan Archives. Venue: Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery, London EC2, UK. Talk marks London History Day. 10:30am. Free and all welcome, but need to book.

Thursday 1 June and Friday 2 June: Women and Irishness, conference. Host: Women on Ireland Research. Venue: Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road, Waterford City, County Waterford. €50 for one day; €75 for two days. Programme and registration.

Thursday 1 June: The island of Ireland and the Great War in Flanders, with Piet Chielens. Host and venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 7pm. Free but need to book.

Friday 2 June: The British Army in 1917: how serious were the morale problems? with Dr Tom Thorpe. First of the Battle of Messines lunchtime lecture series, co-hosted by PRONI and the Antrim and Down Branch of the Western Front Association. Venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast BT3 9HQ. 12:30-1:30pm. Free. All welcome. Booking advised.

Saturday 3 June : Irish family history, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Part of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists's 50th Anniversary Conference. Venue: Alexandra Park, Greenlane West, Auckland New Zealand. 9am–6pm. Day rate: $92 (or full conference $230). Details.

Sunday 4 June: Irish family history, an evening lecture with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Loyal Orange Institution of New Zealand. Venue: Sudima Hotel, 18 Airport Drive, Airport Oaks, Auckland, New Zealand. 7pm–9pm. More details.

Friday, 19 May 2017

RootsIreland adds 32,000 East Galway records has uploaded an interesting and useful mix of 32,000 records to its East Galway Family History Society (Woodford Heritage Centre) database. new records include transcriptions from marriage registers, a parish census, headstone inscriptions, directories and census substitutes. The areas covered are as follows:

Non Catholic Marriages 1845-1955: This collection includes the parishes of Ardrahan, Athenry, Eyrecourt, Gort, Kilcolgan, Killinane, Kilconickney, Kinvara, Loughrea, Portumna, Tynagh and Woodford.

1889 Woodford Parish Census: This joins the parish census for 1897, which was already in the database. Together they make 4200 records.

Graveyard Inscriptions: Included are 26 burial grounds in Ahascragh, Aughrim, Beagh, Clontuskert, Craughwell, Kilbeacanty, Kilclooney, Killascobe, Killimordaly, Kilmacduagh, Mountbellew, Moylough, Mullagh and Woodford.

Census substitutes:
  • Christmas Donations – Beagh and Gort parishes, 1856
  • Registry of Freeholds 1829, Co. Galway.
  • Slater’s and Pigot’s Directories, Co. Galway 1824, 1846, 1856, 1870, 1881 and 1894 

Tithe Applotment Books: This collection holds more than 12,700 transcriptions from the 1827 tithe applotment books for  the parishes of Abbeygormican, Ahascragh, Augheart, Aughrim, Ballinakill, Ballymacward, Beagh, Boyounagh, Bullaun, Clonbern, Clonfert, Clonrush, Clontuskert, Donamon, Donanaghta, Duniry, Fahy, Fohanagh, Grange, Inishcaltra, Isertkelly, Kilbeacanty, Kilbegnet, Kilchreest, Kilcloony, Kilconnell, Kilconickny, Kilcroan, Kileeneen, Kilgerrill,Kilkerrin, Killaan, Killallaghtan, Killeenadeema, Killeroran, Killian, Killimorbologue, Killimordaly, Killinan, , Killogilleen, Killoscobe, Killosolan, Killora, Kilmacduagh, Kilmalinogue, Kilquain, Kilreekill, Kiltartan, Kilteskil, Kilthomas, Kiltormer, Kiltullagh, Leitrim, Lickerrig, Lickmolassy, Loughrea, Meelick, Moylough and Templetogher.

See RootsIreland's full menu of online sources for East Galway here.