Monday, 15 September 2014

Irish genealogy & history events, 15–28 September

Monday 15 September: Hands of History – one Donegal: many pasts, one future. Monreach Heritage Centre's project focuses on the involvement of people from Donegal in WW1. Venue: Finn Valley Centre, Milbrae, Stranorlar, Co Donegal. 7:30pm–9:30pm. Free admission. Light refreshments provided free. For further details, tel (0)74 914 0708.

Monday 15 September: Family research for beginners and others, with Mike McKeag. Host: Larne Branch of North of Ireland Family History Society. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112-120 Glenarm Road, Larne, BT40 1DZ. All welcome. 7:30pm.

Monday 15 September: A call to arms: Portadown and the Great War, with Richard Edgar. Host: Craighavon Museum Services. Venue: Portadown Town Hall, Edward Street, Portadown BT63 3LX. 7:45pm. Free. All welcome.

Wednesday 17 September: Surnames – their origins and meanings, with Rev Gareth Harron. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, North Armagh Branch. Venue: Portadown Town Hall, Edward Street, Portadown BT63 3LX. 7:30pm. New members and guests very welcome.

Thursday 18 September: Back to school – Education in Co Wicklow, with Michael Seery. Host: Bray Cualann Historical Society. Venue: Bray Chamber of Commerce House, 10 Prince of Wales TCE, Quinsboro Road, Bray, Co Wicklow. €4. 8:00pm.

Thursday 18 September: Hands of History – one Donegal: many pasts, one future. Monreach Heritage Centre's project focuses on the involvement of people from Donegal in WW1. Venue: Ionad Teampaill Chroine, Chapel Road, Dungloe, Co Donegal. 7:30pm–9:30pm. Free admission. Light refreshments provided free. For further details, tel (0)74 914 0708.

Thursday 18 September: LDS Library & website; what is available?, with Marjo Reid. Host: North Down and Ards Branch of North of Ireland Family History Society. Venue: 1st Presbyterian Church Hall, Main Street, Bangor. All welcome. 7:30pm.

Friday 19 September: Culture Night. Across the island, a huge programme of free evening events takes place. It's a night when libraries, museums, galleries, archives, country houses, cinemas and theatres open their doors to the public for a feast of culture, and tours, walks and live performances are held in city streets and parks, and heritage buildings. Download your local programme here.

Friday 19 September: PRONI and the Home Front, PRONI’s contribution to Culture Night will have a war-time theme with music and poetry readings from war poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. More details. 4:30pm to 7:30pm. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. Free.

Friday 19 September: Free family history advice, from the library's Genealogy Service. Host: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 5pm-11pm. In addition, at 6pm and 6:30pm, paper conservators Gabrielle Vergnoux and Louise O'Connor will speak about the conservation of the Pearse Papers. All welcome and booking is not required. Details.

Friday 19 September to Sunday 21 September: A Gathering of Friends, a celebration of the history of the Quakers. Youghal's 12th annual 'Youghal Celebrates History' conference. The event includes entertainment in Tynte's Castle, a field trip, optional visits, and a busy lecture programme. Venue: Mall Arts Centre, Youghal, Co Cork. For more details and rates, download pdf programme. Bookings.

Saturday 20 September: Finding Your Ancestors in New York City, at 10am, and Advanced Irish genealogy, at 11am, both workshops with Joe Buggy. Host: Irish Family History Forum. Venue: Bethpage Public Library, 47 Powell Avenue, Bethpage, New York, 11714. Details: (516) 931-3907.

Saturday 20th September:
Beginners Guide to Family History, including recent updates. Host: Fermanagh Branch of North of Ireland Family History Society. Venue: Enniskillen Library (Seminar Room upstairs), Halls Lane, Enniskillen BT74 7DR. New members and guests very welcome. 2.15pm.

Saturday 20 September: The Great War Roadshow. Hosts: Roscommon County Council and Connaught Rangers. A day of talks and presentations on the Irish experience of WW1. Venue: King House, Main Street, Boyle, Co Roscommon. 10am to 4:30pm. Free but booking advised (via King House).

Saturday 20 September: Medieval Walking Tour of Dublin, with Fin Dwyer. Meet at 2pm at the Dublin Castle gate, off Dame Street. €10 per person. All funds raised go towards the Street Stories Festival taking place the following weekend.

Tuesday 23 September: Working towards accreditation, a workshop for those working towards a career as a professional genealogist. Host: The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI). Venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 12:30pm to 3:30pm. Free, but need to book by email to by 19 September. 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, Cootehill, Co Cavan. Admission free but booking advised by phone: (0)49 555 9873.

Friday 26 September to Sunday 28 September: Street Stories Festival in Smithfield and Stonybatter, telling the stories of Dublin life. Saturday sees a series of talks throughout the day on a wide range of subjects from the Mother and Baby homes, to Dublin in World War I, from Life in Medieval Smithfield to the Massacre in North King Street during the 1916 Rising and lots more. Sunday is a relaxed day of tours and walks and film screenings. Facebook page.

Friday 26 September to Sunday 28 September: A Festival of History Weekend and Great War Roadshow, Greystones, County Wicklow. Venue: Charlesland Golf & Country Club. Hosts: The La Touche Legacy in association with the Greystones Archaeological and Historical Society. Programme and details. To buy tickets, tel: 01 2878448.

FindMyPast to deliver that Friday Feeling every week
After the success of its '100in100' campaign earlier in the year, FindMyPast has launched Findmypast Fridays.

This will see all new record releases unveiled on Fridays, just in time for a weekend of research.

The first such Friday saw the following record sets released:
  • Northamptonshire Hearth Tax 1674
  • Archbishop Of York Marriage Licences Index, 1613-1839
  • Dorset Marriages 1538 – 1902
  • London Poor Law Records, 1581-1899
From an Irish perspective, the London Poor Law records probably holds the most potential. It is, however, a small collection, with just 22,344 records dating from 1581–1899 with details of those who fell on hard times and received help from parish officers. There are certainly a good number of Irish names to be found within, but most of the individual statements provide no detail of a connection to Ireland.

Of the 50-odd records I randomly selected to view, only one had any mention of Ireland, so it's probably fair to say that this collection isn't going to knock down too many brickwalls. Nonetheless, for the researchers who are lucky enough to make a certain link, the information returned could be pretty useful.

The records were compiled by genealogist Cliff Webb, who summarised the genealogically useful information from the Poor Law records of 66 London parishes. They can reveal name and age, the date the person received Poor Law relief, details of apprenticeships or other action taken, details of why they needed Poor Law relief (there are quite a lot of women left holding the baby, for example), and/or the names of dependents and other family members.

IrishGenealogy to upload abridged version of indexes

After the unceremonial and cruelly swift removal of the much-heralded 'enhanced' version of Ireland's civil registration indexes amid privacy concerns on 18 July, the state-managed is preparing to upload an abridged version of the collection.

The eagle-eyed among you will have already noticed that the home page was updated a few days ago with the message: "Civil Indexes temporarily unavailable & it is hoped to restore certain indexes in the near future."

After querying this, Irish Genealogy News has been told by the Department for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht that it "is in the process of finalising a number of issues regarding the placing of the historic civil indexes on-line. The Department hopes to complete this process in the near future."

My understanding is that the civil servants are playing it safe this time round and will be uploading records according to the Data Commissioner's 'approved' definition of 'historical records'. What we will have, therefore, is access to the birth indexes up to 100 years ago, the marriage indexes up to 75 years ago, and the death records up to 50 years ago.

In this format, the indexes are already primed and good to go, and have been for a couple of weeks. I don't believe there's any technical reason for any further delay so let's hope they get on with it.

In summary, here's what I'm expecting to appear:

Births Index – all entries registered from 1864 to 1913. Entries up to 1899 record only the child's name, year of birth and registration district. From 1900 to 1913, the mother's maiden name and the child's actual birth date are additionally provided in the majority of cases (the early years are rather inconsistent). All entries from 1864 have a Group Registration Number.

Marriages Index – all entries registered from 1845/1864 to 1943. Up to 1912, the bride and groom are recorded separately by name, registration district, quarter/year of marriage, page and volume number, and a Group Registration Number. From 1913 onwards, the bride and groom are recorded as a couple, together with registration district and date of marriage. These later marriage records are identified only with a Group Registration Number. (In fact, some pre-1913 marriages are recorded in this 'couple' format, but it's not been done consistently.)

Deaths Index – all entries registered from 1864 to 1963. Up to 1923, the deceased is recorded in the index by name, calculated age and registration district. From 1924, the entry records the name, registration district and the deceased's age as stated on the death certificate. All entries from 1864 have a Group Registration Number.

What a great start to the week!

I'm rather chuffed to find myself placed in runner-up position in the 'Ireland – Rockstar Genealogists' Poll run by John Reid on his excellent blog.

I wasn't expecting to figure because I don't give lectures or write books as most of the nominated characters do, but I won't deny that it's a lovely boost to see my name among such well-known and well-regarded genealogists. You'll see what I mean when you take a look at John's blogpost, announcing all the silver and bronze medallists in the various international categories. He'll be announcing the Gold medallists tomorrow.

Many, many thanks to everyone who voted for me. What a great way to start the week!

Ireland's Lost Babies to screen on BBC2, 17 September

This Wednesday, a documentary, Ireland's Lost Babies, will be broadcast on BBC2 at 9:30pm (repeated BBC2 on Thursday 11:20pm). It is part of the This World series and follows Martin Sixsmith's investigation of the Irish Catholic Church's role in the country's adoption trade. This trade saw thousands of illegitimate babies taken from their mothers and sent abroad

Martin Sixsmith is the journalist who helped Philomena Lee on her journey to find her adopted son. That story was subsequently portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film Philomena. In the weeks and months after the film was released, Martin was contacted by other mothers who had their own stories to tell.

In Ireland's Lost Babies, he hears the moving stories of the parents and children on both sides of the Atlantic whose lives were changed forever. He discovers evidence that prospective parents were not properly vetted – sometimes with tragic consequences.

He also witnesses the struggle of mother and child in their attempts to find each other across continents before it is too late. With no one willing to help and information scarce, for some it feels that the Catholic Church is still trying to keep them apart.

Here's a short trailer of the National Archives of Ireland's senior archivist Catriona Crowe discussing with Martin the costs of transportation for the young children.

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Genealogy Event in New York City, 17-19 October!events/cwi
Now in its third year, The Genealogy Event will be taking place in New York from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 October. The first two days focus on traditional genealogy and are held in partnership with the National Archives of New York City, while the Sunday sees a dedicated DNA day at a separate venue.

The genealogy lecture programme shows there are two sessions directly geared to Irish family history: there's a session about the British and Irish collections on FindMyPast, and Joe Buggy of Townland of Origin fame will be delivering an in-depth presentation on Tracing Irish ancestors in New York City. These are both on the Saturday.

But I also spotted some more general sessions that will be relevant to all those with immigrant ancestors, wherever Irish or not. For example, What's in a name? Trouble, that is likely to be pertinent to Irish research even if not specifically aimed at it. In addition there are presentations aimed at helping beginners get their research moving along nicely as well as sessions that are geared towards more advanced researchers, for example, Reading old documents or Cartography for Genealogists.

The first two days of The Genealogy Event will be held at Alexander Hamilton US Custom House, 1 Bowling Green, NYC, where NARA's Welcome and Research Center will be open on both days to offer research support and guidance.

The DNA Day will be held at India House Club, 1 Hanover Square, New York (watch out, there's a dress code!), and offers sessions catering for beginners through to advanced.

Tickets are available for individual sessions, all-day passes, VIP all-day passes and social events.

Genealogy courses starting this Autumn in Ireland

It's that time of year when the brain starts yearning for learning, so it's just as well there's a host of genealogy classes ready for those who want to start researching their Irish ancestors or who want to brush up or improve their skills and knowledge.

Enrolment for most of the courses listed below takes place next week or by immediate application, so get your skates on.

Genealogy/Trace your family history, with the Ulster Historical Foundation at Stranmillis College (Central Buildings). The 10-week course (code HY520) covers all the main records used in Irish genealogy and is ideal for beginners or for those who have already started to research their family tree. Includes trip to PRONI. runs on Tuesday evenings from 30 September to 9 December, 7pm to 9pm. £50. Download brochure (page 44). Telephone 028 9038 4345 to enrol or see enrolment form.

Genealogy: How to trace your family tree, with tutor Tony McCarthy. University College Cork ACE. Venue: Western Gateway Building, Room 301, UCC. Tuesdays 7pm–9pm from 30 September to 2 December. Focusses on genealogical sources, methodology and historical/social context. Fee €230. Enrol by Friday 19 September. Details, or tel: 021 490 2301.

NUI Diploma in Genealogy. University College Cork ACE. Modules include genealogy, fieldwork, collection care and portfolio building. Part time study on-campus at UCC, Western Road. Course co-ordinator Dr David Butler. Two-year course. 7pm–10pm. Details of course. €1,360 per academic year (€1,000 concessions). Application deadline 16 September.

Dublin – City Centre
ICM Diploma in Family History, delivered in conjunction with the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) at Independent College, 60-63 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. Co-ordinator, Paul Gorry MAPGI. Eight lecturers, all APGI members. Tuesdays 6:30pm–9:30pm. 12-week course from 7 October to 14 January (no classes over Christmas). €895 (payment plans available). Details. Tel: 01-6725058.

Dublin – Malahide
How to research your family history, with Claire Bradley. Beginners class, covering how to start, where to go and how to record what you find. No prior knowledge is required but the ability to use a computer is desirable. Starts Tuesday 23 September in Malahide Community School. 10 weeks duration. €110. Enrolment online or at the school on Tuesday 16 September. Details (page 17).

Dublin – UCD Belfield
Introduction to Genealogy/Family history, with lecturer Sean Murphy. University College Dublin, Belfield campus. 10 sessions held on Thursday evenings 7:30pm–9:30pm, starting 2 October. €150. Details.

Dublin – Belfield

Certificate in Genealogy/Family history, Module 1: an introduction to the theory and practice of genealogy, with lecturer Sean Murphy. University College Dublin. Topics include principles of genealogy, computers/Internet, placenames and surnames, census, vital, valuation, church and other records. Tuesday evenings 7pm–9:30pm at Belfield, starting 30 September. €300. Details.

Dublin – Blackrock

Certificate in Genealogy/Family history, Module 1: an introduction to the theory and practice of genealogy, with lecturer Sean Murphy. University College Dublin. Topics include principles of genealogy, computers/Internet, placenames and surnames, census, vital, valuation, church and other records. Tuesday afternoons 2pm–4:30pm at Blackrock starting 30 September, €300. Details.

Dublin - Dundrum
Genealogy – family research for beginners, with tutor Máire Mac Conghail MAPGI, at Dundrum Adult Training and Education (D.A.T.E.), Dundrum town centre. 10-week course. Wednesdays 9.30-11am. Starts 1 October. Enrolment 17 September. Fee €105 (Concessions €50). Details. Telephone: 01 296 4322 (mornings only).

Dublin - Kilternan
Genealogy for beginners, with tutor Máire Mac Conghail MAPGI, at Kilternan Adult Education Centre, Ballybetagh Road, Kilternan, Dublin 18. A hands-on practical course on how to research family history. 10 week course. Wednesdays 12-2pm. Starts 17 September €143. Also, Genealogy continuation course for those who have completed a beginner's course. Thursdays 12-2pm. 10 weeks. Starts 18 September. €143. Details. Contact on 01 295 2050.

Limerick - ULL
Certificate in the History of Family and Genealogical Methods. Two-semester course held on-campus at University of Limerick on Thursday evenings 6.30-9.30pm, or online. Fee €750. Details. For further information, contact Irish Ancestry Research Centre on +353 61 207114.