Monday, 22 September 2014

Irish genealogy & history events, 22 Sept–3 Oct

Ending soon! The Dublin Lockout exhibition at the National Library of Ireland will be ending shortly, after a very successful run of more than a year. If you haven't visited yet, the clock is ticking down quickly. Admission is free. 2 Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Opening hours and details.

Thursday 25 September: Ireland's entry into WW1, 1914: Acceptance or refusal? with Dr Catriona Pennell. Part of The Road to War Lecture Series. Hosted by PRONI and National Museums Northern Ireland. Venue: Ulster Museum Lecture Theatre, Botanic Gardens, Belfast. 7pm. Free but booking essential. Email or phone 44+ 028 905 34800.

Thursday 25 September: Introduction to the world of genealogy and registration. Host: Ballymena Branch of North of Ireland Family History Society. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, BT43 5EJ. All welcome. 7:15pm.

Thursday 25 September: Remembering WW1, with Dr Eamon Phoenix. Part of the Lisburn Museum Lecture Series: Ireland during the Great War. Venue: Lisburn Museum, Market Square, Lisburn, BT28 1AG. 7pm. Free but must be booked in advance – tickets available from museum reception or, for more information call 028 9266 3377.

Thursday 25 September: Local families in WW1: The Pollocks, Earleys and Corbitts, with Adrian Beattie, Gavin Earley and others. Host: Strabane History Society. Venue: Room 5, Strabane Library, 1 Railway Street, Strabane, co Tyrone Tyrone BT82 8EF. 7:30pm.

Thursday 25 September: The Cootehill Riot of 1833, with Dr Darragh Curran. Venue: Cootehill Library, Bridge Street, Cootehil, Co Cavan. Admission free, booking advised, tel (0)49 555 9873.

Friday 26 September to 8 October:
Dublin Festival of History. Full programme of events taking place over the two weeks including Letters from the Great War, an exhibition at Dublin City Archives, Pearse Street; Military Archives showcase their collections, Saturday 27th, 2pm–7pm, Printworks, Dublin Castle; Members of the Irish Great War Society will wear uniforms and answer questions about equipment and uniforms of the troops, Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th, 1pm-4pm, Printworks, Dublin Castle. Programme.

Friday 26 September to Sunday 28 September: Street Stories Festival – talks, live music, walking tours, stalls, films and exhibitions. Host: Stoneybatter & Smithfield People's History Project. Dublin 7 venues. Download programme or see facebook page at

Monday 29 September: Unionism, nationalism and the women's fight for the vote, with Dr Margaret Ward. Host: Craighavon Museum Services. Venue: Craighavon Civic Centre, Lakeview Road, Craighavon, Co Armagh BT64 1AL. 7:30-9pm. Free. Details: 028 3832 2205.

Tuesday 30 September: Ireland and the Great War, with Dr Fearghal McGarry. Part of the Lisburn Museum Lecture Series: Ireland during the Great War. Venue: Lisburn Museum, Market Square, Lisburn, BT28 1AG. 7pm. Free but must be booked in advance – tickets available from museum reception or, for more information call 028 9266 3377.

Tuesday 30 September: Introduction to family history research, with David Beck. Host: Coleraine Branch of North of Ireland Family History Society. Venue: Guide Hall, Terrace Row, Coleraine, Co Derry. All welcome. 8pm.

Wednesday 1 October: The Ordnance Survey 6" Mapping Project: political & cultural agendas, with Prof William Smith. Part of the Mapping City, Town and Country lecture series. Venue: Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. 1-2pm. Free. All welcome. No need to book.

Thursday 2 October: Visit to PRONI, talk and tour. Host: North Down and Ards Branch of North of Ireland Family History Society. All welcome. 7:30pm.

Friday 3 October to Sunday 5 October: Practised in the Art of War: Limerick Sieges, 1642–1691. A conference hosted by Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society. Venue: Absolute Hotel, Limerick. Details.

Saturday 4 October: The role of women in the Irish country house, 1860–1914, with Dr Maeve O'Riordan. Venue: Tipperary County Museum, Mick Delahunty Square, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. 10am to Noon, with refreshments provided. €50 for the full series or €5 per session. Bookings: or 076 106 5564.

Saturday 4 October: Fermanagh family and local history fair. Featuring Dr Jeff Kildea, Chair of Australian History at UCD, speaking on Fermanagh’s contribution to the ANZAC campaign in the First World War, and Dr Johanne Devlin Trew speaking about migration from Northern Ireland between the 1920s and 2000s. Part of the Fermanagh Live Festival. Venue: Enniskillen Castle Museum. Lectures and exhibitors. 12noon to 4pm.  Free. for further information email:

FindMyPast Ireland releases seven record sets

In the second instalment of FindMyPast Friday, the online database has released seven small and useful Irish parish and cemetery record sets, a total of more than 12,000 records.

The counties represented in this release are Donegal, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Wicklow, and each of the record sets available through the Ireland and World collections. Here are the details:

Parish Registers
The records were compiled by genealogist, author and professor of history, Dr. David R. Elliott.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

IGP Headstone Project hits 65,000 milestone

The Ireland Genealogy Projects team has been busy uploading details of headstones in the first half of September and has hit a new milestone of 65,000 headstones. All of them are available, free, on the dedicated IGP Archives Headstones section of their website. The following are the records added this month:

CAVAN genealogy records
Headstones – St Mary's, Ballynarry (updated)

DONEGAL genealogy records
Church Records – Ballyshannon Marriages (Kilbarron) C.of I. Pt 2, 1865-1899
Photos – William BARTLEY
Headstones – Buncrana Christ Church (CoI); Inch Presbyterian Burial Grd, Fahan Old Cemetery

DOWN genealogy records
Headstones – Killinchy Presbyterian and Non-Subscribing Presbyterian

DUBLIN genealogy records
Headstones – Mount Jerome Cemetery, PartS 84. 85 & 86

FERMANAGH genealogy records
Headstones – Roslea, St. Tierneys (R.C.) Cem. Pt. 1; Blackbog RC Cem, Edenclaw; Ederney; St. Joseph's R.C. Church Graveyard (Priests); Caldragh Graveyard, Boa Island; Devenish Island & Drummully St. Mary's Church (CoI) (updated)

KILKENNY genealogy records
Miscellaneous – Electors for the Polling Dist. of Callan, 1896

SLIGO genealogy records
Headstones – Aghanagh Graveyard (part)
Land Records – Rathdoony Beg, ca. 1860-63 (Revision Books)

TIPPERARY genealogy records
Headstones – Dromineer Church (ruins) Cemetery

WEXFORD genealogy records
Memorial Cards – (DOYLE & STEWART)

Friday, 19 September 2014

Irish family history courses in Arizona & Melbourne

Last week I published a list of Irish genealogy courses starting in Ireland over the next couple of weeks.

Here are a couple more courses starting shortly, but these will be held a bit further afield: in Phoenix, Arizona, and Melbourne, Victoria, to be precise.

Irish Genealogy Research, a six-week course to be held at the McClelland Irish Library, 1106 N. Central Ave, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
This course will be delivered by Robert M. Wilbanks and will focus on finding ancestors in Ireland. Held on Thursdays evenings (6:30pm–8:30pm), it will start on 2 October in the Library's Norton Room and will cover land divisions, census records, taxation and emigration documents, church records, and military records. It costs $70 for Library/ICC Members and $80 for Non-Members. More details and registration

Irish Family History, a four-week course hosted by the Genealogical Research Society of Victoria at the GSV Meeting Room, GSV Meeting Room, Level B1 / 257 Collins Street, Melbourne.
Four x 2-hour sessions will be held on Tuesdays from 7 October, 10:30am–12:30pm. The course will cover the recording and documenting of sources, land divisions, maps and gazeteers, church, civil registration, wills, census, and land records. The course costs $64.00 for GSV members, $128.00 for non-members. More details and registration.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

More Irish titles join online British Newspaper Archive

The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) has added two more titles to its online Irish collection:

The Dublin Monitor was a three-times a week political and commercial journal published in the first half of the 19th century (as far as I'm aware it was published from 1838 to 1845, but I may be wrong). The 157 editions now available at BNA cover all of 1839 only.

The Drogheda Journal was also known as the Meath and Louth Advertiser. It was published on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The editions now at BNA are for the full years of 1828, 1833, 1836 and 1838.

In addition, all 1845 editions of the Belfast Mercantile Register and Weekly Advertiser have been uploaded. This paper made its first appearance in the archive just over a week ago with the 1848 and 1849 editions.

Don't forget: there's currently a 40% discount on offer for new annual subscriptions to the British Newspaper Archive.

New Irish Archives Resource site links 34 archives

Some of the newly-expanded IAR collection
have not had an online presence before
To mark its expansion, the Irish Archives Resource (IAR) has been relaunched at a reception at the National Archives in Dublin. The portal, which has been online since 2010, has doubled in size and now has 34 archive services from Ireland north and south contributing to it. As a result, the number of collections available has increased from 360 to more than 500.

It is important to note that the IAR is a free database of searchable archival descriptions held in Irish Archive Services. It does not hold any archives or records but provides a means to search archival descriptions from contributing institutions.

Among the contributors are the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland, and many of the island's regional and county archives. Among the new contributors are Trinity College Dublin’s Manuscripts & Archives Research Department, RTÉ Stills Library, the National Museum of Ireland Archives, University College Cork Archives, Derry City Council Heritage and Museum Service, and the archives of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

Speaking at the reception, which was formally attended by Heather Humphries, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the chairperson of IAR, Hazel Menton, said: “This portal now provides a user-friendly pathway for individuals interested in accessing Ireland’s archival heritage. [It] is unique in Ireland by facilitating web users in viewing a rich and diverse range of archival collections on a single website.

Natalie Milne (l) and Hazel Menton (r)
"We are thrilled to announce the expansion of the IAR website, in particular as some of these collections have never had an online presence before."

The site contains details of many collections valuable to family history, and it isn't difficult to navigate using key search terms relating to places, organisations, people or even specific periods of history.

It isn't, however, likely to be a first-stop for researchers. Most of its genealogically-interested users are likely to have already discovered some facts about their family history.

For example, if you know or believe your family may have entered the workhouse in Schull, Co Cork, in the post-Famine period, you can quickly find the detailed description of the relevant collection (Board of Guardians) held by Cork County Archives. Unfortunately, in this particular case you would learn that the Schull Board of Guardians' records were destroyed in 1921 (another fire!), and only those for 1920–1924 survive. Related material at neighbouring unions is suggested for further study.

The IAR is an ambitious project. With adequate funding, it aims to expand the current number of contributing archive services from 34 to up to 70. It is also hoped that collections from the IAR portal will eventually feed into similar major Europe-wide archival web initiatives such as Europeana and Apex. The IAR is currently funded by the Heritage Council, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Northern Ireland. The site is hosted by University College Dublin’s School of History and Archives.

I hope the relaunch will have the desired effect and encourage more people to study the holdings of our archives services. Irish genealogy research certainly doesn't begin and end online.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Steven Smyrl: Ireland's gold medal Rockstar Genie

Following on from Monday's announcement that I'd won a silver medal in the Rockstar Genealogists of Ireland poll run by John D Reid on his Anglo Celtic Connections blog, the Gold Medal winner has been announced, and I'm absolutely thrilled to see Steven Smyrl step up to the podium.

He's a good friend, a great colleague in the Irish Genealogical Research Society (not to mention its chairman!) and an incredibly knowledgeable genealogist who has helped me on numerous occasions to unravel the complicated background to some stories I've covered on Irish Genealogy News.

He is also president of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI), and a major force in the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO). He gives lectures, he writes books, he mentors budding family historians and he supports a good many causes/events in the field. When he's not doing any of these things, he runs his business, Massey & King, one of the longest-established and most renowned firms of probate genealogists in Ireland, with his brother, Kit. They starred together in the TV series Dead Money a couple of years ago.

As those who voted in the Rockstar Genealogists poll have clearly demonstrated, Steven is a popular and very well-respected genealogist in Ireland and I'm so pleased to see him receive this recognition as a Superstar.

The Gold Medalists in other regions/categories are: Shauna Hicks (Australia & New Zealand); Dick Eastman (Canada); Janet Few (England, Scotland, Wales), Judy Russell (USA); Roberta Estes (DNA). Well done to all of them.

You can find out more about the Rockstar Genealogists poll, the bronze, silver and gold medalists and, in the next few days, the non-medal results at Anglo-Celtic-Connections.

UPDATE: Full Ireland poll result announced:

1. Steven Smyrl
2. Claire Santry
3. John Grenham
4. Fiona Fitzsimons
5. Brian Donovan
6. William Roulston

Congrats to all.