Wednesday, 1 October 2014

New site explores Derry's Plantation and Penal Laws
A new website – Plantation and Penal Laws in Derry – has been launched to encourage learning and understanding of the history of the city of Derry-Londonderry from the beginning of the Plantation of Ulster through to the implementation of strict Penal Laws against Catholics and Dissenters in the late 17th century.

It's been designed as an educational resource for school students by the Gasyard Heritage Trust and is supported by the Ministerial Advisory Group – (MAG) Ulster-Scots Academy. Never mind the school curriculum, it will provide good context for any family history researcher with connections from the area!

In addition to well-presented history lessons, you'll find details of the records held by the First Derry Presbyterian Church. These archives relate primarily to 19th- and 20th-century baptism, marriage and burial registers but also include extensive Communicant Rolls, Church, Communicant and Session Minutes which provide insight into the members of the church and the daily work of the church during that period.

There are also very extensive lists and links to academic resources for further exploration, and a good look at emigration across the Atlantic. It's an attractive and easy to navigate site. Worth investigating.

(Thanks to the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland for the tip-off.)

All editions of 1914's Church of Ireland Gazette online

All the 1913 and 1914 editions are now online
October's Archive of the Month from the Representative Church Body Library (RCBL) sees the Church of Ireland Gazette for 1914 made available in a fully searchable format online and free.

All 52 editions of the weekly publication can be viewed, and they join those for 1913 which were uploaded last year.

The Gazette, which has always been editorially independent, provides the longest-running public commentary on the Church’s affairs, and as such is a recognised resource for understanding the complexities and nuances of Church of Ireland identity, both north and south, as well as the Church’s contribution to political and cultural life throughout the island. It covers a vast range of topics.

For anyone whose ancestors who were connected with the Church, the paper is essential reading.

But it holds plenty of interest beyond that group, too. As well as providing comment about national events, the Gazette published details of funerals, obituaries, school, church and community activities. It also carried lots of advertising from service and goods providers.

The RCBL in Dublin holds the only complete run of the paper – from the first issue in March 1856 up to the present date. They are bound up in hard copy volumes for each year and remain an invaluable resource, but these hard copies are suffering wear and tear and can be cumbersome for researchers to use.

Now professionally scanned by Informa, they can be searched using keywords or phrases of interest; pages can be searched individually or in the wider context of a particular issue of the newspaper. Both the 1913 and the 1914 editions can be searched at the Informa search engine.

The RCBL's Archive of the Month page provides some highlights from the 1914 editions. It also announces that it is seeking sponsorship for the digitisation of more editions of the Church of Ireland Gazette.

The 1914 project has only been possible with the generous support of an anonymous donor.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Irish genealogy and history events, 29 Sept – 11 Oct

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.

Wednesday 1 October: Overview of The Londonderry Papers, with Lorraine Bourke of PRONI. Launch of exhibition highlighting the Londonderry family, political and estate papers. Venue: Ards Visitor Welcome Centre, Newtownards. 1pm. Free. Reserve a place by telephoning 44+ (0)2891 826846.

Thursday 2 October: Exploring family history – Industrialists and workers, with Dr Janice Holmes and Dr Barry Sheehan. First of the new Open University Lunchtime Lecture Series, examining the working lives of families in the past, with examples from PRONI's collections. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Booking recommended but not essential. Free.

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.

Thursday 2 October: Regulating the printed word and the tongue: Censorship in seventeenth century Ireland, with Dr Eamon Darcy. Part of the 'Censored' lecture series. Venue: National Print Museum, Beggars Bush, Haddington Road, Dublin 4. 6:30pm. Free, but booking is essential. Contact 01 6603770 to book your place.

Thursday 2 October: Land and Power in South Down 1600-1700, with Professor Raymond Gillespie. Host & Venue: Newry & Mourne Museum, Bagenal's Castle, Castle Street, Newry, Co. Down, BT34 2DA. 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 by email or 076 106 5564.

Saturday 4 October: Family & local history fair, organised by the Fermanagh branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society. Three lectures: 1pm – Migration from Northern Ireland 1922–2013, with Dr Johanne Devlin; 2:15pm – Tracing your Jewish ancestors, with Stuart Rosenblatt; 3pm – Ireland and the WW1 ANZAC campaign, with Dr Jeff Kildea. Venue: Enniskillen Castle Museum. Wide range of genealogy exhibitors. 12noon to 4pm.  Free.

Monday 6 October:  Ireland and the Great War, with Dr Fearghal McGarry. Host: Craighavon Museum Services. Venue: Craighavon Civic Centre, Lakeview Road, Craighavon, Co Armagh BT64 1AL. 7:30-9pm. Free. Details: 028 3832 2205.

Monday 6 October: Dublin 1843: O'Connell's Repeal meetings, with Vincent Ruddy. Host: Old Dublin Society. Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, 138–144, Pearse Street, Dublin. 6:30pm

Monday 6 October: How to undertake War grave research - War graves in Belfast, with Nigel Henderson. (See also 13 October for wider Northern Ireland focus.) Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place.

Monday 6 October: The impact of WW1 on women in Ireland, with Fionnuala Walsh. Host: Celbridge Historical Society. Venue: Celbridge Library, St Patrick's Park, Celbridge, Co Kildare. 8pm.

Tuesday 7 October: Armagh and the Great War, with Dr Colin Cousins. Host and venue: Armagh City Library, 2 Market St, Armagh. Free. All welcome. 7pm. For details, tel 028 3752 7851.

Wednesday 8 October: Translations? The Ordnance Survey & Irish place-names, with Prof. Nollaig Ó Muraíle. 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 9 October: Exploring family history – Police, Lawyers and Criminals, with Dr Janice Holmes and Dr Barry Sheehan. Part of the Open University Lunchtime Lecture Series, examining the working lives of families in the past, with examples from PRONI's collections. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Booking recommended but not essential. Free.

Thursday 9 October:  Peers, Politicians and Polemicists: The People Within the Londonderry Papers at PRONI, with Lorraine Bourke and Brett Irwin. 1pm. Free. Venue: Ards Visitor Information Centre, Newtownards, Co Down.

Thursday 9 October: Militarism in Ireland, 1912-1918, with Professor David Fitzpatrick. Part of The Road to War Lecture Series. Hosted by PRONI and National Museums Northern Ireland. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 7pm. Free but booking essential. Email or phone 44+ 028 905 34800.

Thursday 9 October: Limerick at War 1914–18, a History Ireland Hedge School. Venue: Desmond Hall, The Square, Newcastle West, Co Limerick. 7:30pm.

Thursday 9 October: The war photographers and the photography of WW1, with Bryan Rutledge. Host: Craighavon Museum Services. Venue: Craighavon Civic Centre, Lakeview Road, Craighavon, Co Armagh BT64 1AL. 7:30-9pm. Free. Details: 028 3832 2205. 

Friday 10 October: Ireland’s entry into war, 1914: acceptance or refusal?, with Dr Catriona Pennell. Host: Military History Society of Ireland. Venue: Griffith College, South Circular Road, Dublin 8. 8pm. Non-members welcome.

Saturday 11 October: Hidden histories – the unfolding stories of Ireland in WW1, a joint North/South seminar. Host: Federation of Local History Societies. Venue: Plaza Hotel, Dundalk, Co Louth. Cost of full day seminar, lunch and refreshment: €25. See blogpost for programme.

Saturday 11 October: Assisted Emigration to Escape the Great Famine of Ireland, with Ann Burns. Host: BIFHSGO. Venue: Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 10am–11:30pm. Free.

Saturday 11 October: Open Day (tours, seminar, advice) at the National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street, Dublin 8. 10:00am to 5:00pm. Free, but need to book. Download programme.

Saturday 11 October: Crowdsourcing your Irish family history, with Claire Bradley. Part of the Continuous Professional Development workshop series hosted by Eneclann and Ancestor Network. Venue: Trustees Room, National Library, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Free, 2–3:30pm. Booking essential.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

County Clare Library adds more useful records

If you have Church of Ireland ancestors from Clonlea parish in County Clare, you'll be keen to check out these latest additions to the ever-excellent County Clare Library website.
While these Protestant record sets are small in number, they will be very well received by those will family connections to the area, so a big thanks is due to Michael McNamara who transcribed and donated his work to the Library.

And there's more...

The Roll Books of Rockmount National School, Slievenalicka, Miltown Malbay, have also been made available on the website. These were transcribed by Brian Doyle and Peter Beirne of the Local Studies Centre.
  • Roll books for the Girl pupils 1908–1922
  • Roll Books for the Boy pupils 1910–1922
In both cases, the transcriptions are available by date and by surname.

DIPPAM's value analysed by Townland of Origin blog
I've mentioned DIPPAM, the 'Documenting Ireland: People, Parliament and Migration' online archive a couple of times previously on Irish Genealogy News, but it remains relatively unknown. This is a huge shame. It's a fabulous resource and deserves to take a more prominent place in the genealogical line-up of must-visit sites.

Personally, I think part of the problem is its name. It's not snappy, it's a tad earnest, and the word 'parliament' is a turn-off for many family historians who imagine it to be aimed only at academic historians and political researchers.

In fact, when you venture into the site, you find a much more accessible description: 'DIPPAM is a virtual online archive of documents and sources relating to the history of Ireland, and its migration experience from the 18th to the late 20th centuries'.

Anyway, to get back to the purpose of this blogpost... I was pleased to see that Townland of Origin, one of the few blogs I follow, has recently published a series of articles about DIPPAM. The blog is written by Kilkenny man Joe Buggy, who now lives in the US, and is aimed at North-Americans of Irish heritage who are trying to unravel their roots. The most difficult task for many is locating the place their immigrant ancestors left behind.

Joe's four-part series about DIPPAM has concentrated on the Irish Emigration Database, one of the three constituent parts of the archive. He's provided some cracking examples of the gems inside it, gems that provide an individual's exact or close address in Ireland or details of relationships or passenger ships that could open up new doors of research.

The series can be found at Townland of Origin: Part 1,   Part II,   Part III, and   Part IV.

DIPPAM is being developed by Queen's University Belfast, the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, University of Ulster, and Libraries Northern Ireland. Click the image to visit the site.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

RootsIreland introduces subscription-only access

The website of the Irish Family History Foundation,, has introduced subscription options. The site is the largest online database of Irish family records, and is best known for its extensive holdings of parish registers (see individual genealogy centres for details).

Under the new regime, a one-month subscription costs €25/£20/$32; a six-month sub costs €125/£98/$161; and a one-year sub costs €225/£177/$289.

Subscribers must be individuals working on their own family history and a 'fair usage' policy has been established: 1,000 views in 1 month; 7,000 views in 6 months; 15,000 views in 12 months. These limits seem pretty generous from where I'm sitting.

The old Pay Per View service is being closed down and no further purchases of credits can be made from today. If you have unexpired credits, you should read the Terms & Conditions page to find out how RootsIreland will convert them against a new subscription.

New search restrictions also appear to have been introduced, and reaction to these changes appears mixed. See for chat on the subject. However, RootsIreland has told Irish Genealogy News that the new site is a work in progress and the Search facility will see some small changes in due course.

Book Launch – Vivid Faces: the revolutionary generation in Ireland, 1890–1923

A new book, Vivid Faces: the revolutionary generation of Ireland, 1890–1923, will be launched next week at the University of Liverpool.

The author, Waterford-born Professor R F Foster, has been described as the "most brilliant and courageous Irish historian of his generation" by Colm Tóibín. In this new 496-page book, published by Allen Lane, he traces the roots of the Easter Rising by focusing on the "vivid faces" ie the 'ordinary' people who sparked the rebellion, embracing the revolution in all areas of life, public and private. The radical temperament encompassed politics, sex, marriage, Catholicism, education, family, theatre, fiction and poetry.

Drawing on letters and diaries, Professor Foster gives personal voice to the soaring ideals of feminism, socialism and Irish nationalism. Vivid Faces shows how politics fused with the intimacies of love and belief, revealing the rising as an event not only of the streets but also of the hearts and minds of a generation.

He will launch the book at 6pm in Lecture Theatre 6 (Rendall Building), University of Liverpool. Admission is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served in the foyer after the launch.

For further details, or to book a seat, contact Dorothy Lynch at The Institute of Irish Studies by tel: 0151 794 3837 or email

ISDN 978-1846144639