Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wicklow County Archives to find permanent home

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After more than seven years in its temporary home within County Buildings on the edge of Wicklow Town, Wicklow County Archives & Genealogy Service is planning to relocate to a permanent new home.

The move includes Wicklow Town library, which is currently situated just outside the famous Wicklow Gaol. The two complementary services will share their new accommodation.

Archivist Catherine Wright told Irish Genealogy News that the final decision has yet to be taken on where the new permanent home will be, but the options have been narrowed down to just two choices.

"It will certainly be in Wicklow Town and it will include a Readers' Room, something we've been lacking here at County Buildings," she said. "It will also be large enough to accommodate all of our 'current' material, and to allow us to display or exhibit samples of our wonderful collections." The existing premises in County Buildings will be retained as the archives' storage space.

At some point, Catherine will have to start the time-consuming task of ear-marking material for the move, but not just yet! She's been very busy with the county's 1916 commemmorative programme, and as part of that, has been heavily involved in launching an app:

The app aims to give the viewer a sense of everyday life in Co Wicklow during the year of the Rising, and does this through weekly updates of newspaper snippets from the county's two prominent news titles of that time – the Wicklow People and the Wicklow NewsLetter.

Although most of my mother's family had moved to County Carlow by 1916, some of my direct ancestors were still in Wicklow Town at the time of the Rising, so I was curious to explore the app and see what they'd have been reading and caring about and discussing with friends and neighbours. From the app I found that topics in their newspapers 100 years ago included the new bathing boxes for Bray seafront, a letter to the mother of a Rathnew soldier at the Front, a GAA tournament on the Murrough, war news from France and Belgium, a robbery at Atkinson's chemist shop in Rathdrum, and an account of the items for sale when the Cherry Tree pub in Killincarig (Delgany) went to auction. In the latter report, the items included an upright piano, stuffed birds, five guns and a donkey and trap!

In addition to the news reports, the app presents train timetables, adverts for fashionable goods and cure-alls, and some excellent vintage photographs of the county's towns and views.

It's worth a browse even if you don't have family connections to Wicklow! If you don't want to download the app, you can get its flavour on the website version at

The Diaspora of the Wild Atlantic Way conference

As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, Clare Roots Society will be hosting a third international family history conference – Diaspora of the Wild Atlantic Way – later this year, bringing together genealogy experts from around the world.

The conference will take place in Ennis, Co Clare, on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 September, with the main theme being the movement and migration of people from the west coast counties of Ireland to Scotland, Britain and beyond. It will also address emigration after 1916 and will feature a focus on genealogy in the future.

While the full programme is not yet finalised, there is already enough detail for researchers to start getting themselves organised for this major date in the Irish genealogy calendar.

The keynote speaker will be genealogy blogger Dick Eastman from the USA (EOGN), who is making his first trip to Ireland and has been involved in genealogy for over 30 years. Other confirmed speakers include Scottish genealogist and author Dr Bruce Durie (currently a Fulbright scholar in the USA researching migration) who will speak on Irish emigration to Scotland; author and genealogist John Grenham (Irish Roots), who will share his experience of researching emigration from the west of Ireland; and researcher and blogger Pauleen Cass (Family History Across the Seas), who has a particular interest in people who left from East Clare and will discuss the reasons some migrants chose Australia over America and other destinations.

On the Friday evening, an exhibition of emigrants' stories will be on display and the opening lecture – From the Rising to Refuge: America and the Irish Revolution – will be presented by historian Gavin Wilk who will discuss the emigrants who left Ireland after 1916 and their experience in America. Mike Feerick will give a short talk about Ireland Reaching Out and will officially launch the conference, and a conference dinner will be held.

The venue is Treacy's West County Hotel in Ennis, where special accommodation rates are available for conference attendees (mention Clare Roots Society when booking).

For updates and contact details, see the Society's website.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Irish genealogy and history events, 8–21 February

Monday 8 February: The Diary of a Farmer’s Wife (1796-97), with Jenny Cumming. North of Ireland Family History Society, Newtownabbey branch. Venue: Drama Theatre, Glengormley High School, 134 Ballyclare Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim BT36 5HP. 7pm. Free. All welcome.

Monday 8 February: Guided tour of Cork City and County Archives services, focussing on resources relating to the 1912–1922 revolutionary period. Venue: Seamus Murphy Building, 32 Great William O'Brien St, Cork City. Free. Contact for time and booking: Email; Phone:+353 21 450 5886.

Tuesday 9 February: Unusual Sources for Family History, with Mary Bradley. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Lisburn Branch. Venue: The Bridge Community Centre, 50 Railway Street, Lisburn, BT 28 1XP. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 9 February: Roger Casement, with John McGuiggan. Host: South Dublin Libraries. Venue: County Library, Library Square, Tallaght, Dublin 24. Free. 7pm. Al welcome.

Wednesday 10 February:Women of the County Cork gentry and aristocracy, 1860-1914: peripheral witnesses or powerful actors?’ with Dr Maeve O’Riordan. Host: Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. Venue: Crawford Art Gallery, Emmett Place, Cork City. 8pm. Free.

Thursday 11 February: The 'Unifying Force of a Scattered People'? Famine, Migration and Contemporary Irish Memory, with Emily Mark-Fitzgerald. Host: British Association for Irish Studies. Venue: University of Manchester, Mansfield Cooper Building, Room 3.22, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK. 4:15pm. All welcome.

Thursday 11 February: Powers and Beresfords: Curraghmore lives on, 1690–1790, with Julian Walton. Host: 10th series of Julian Walton Winter Lectures series. Venue: Dunhill Multi-Education Centre, Dunhill Ecopark, Ballyphilip, Dunhill, Co Waterford. 8pm, followed by Q&A and light refreshments. €5. No need to book. Enquiries: T (0)51 396 934.

Thursday 11 February: World War Ireland: Exploring the Irish Experience, an exhibition tour. Host and venue: National Library of Ireland, 2-3 Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Free. 2pm. Booking not required.

Saturday 13 February: Not all Irish were Catholic, with Audrey Leonard. Host: Irish Genealogical Society International. Venue: Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) Library, 1185 Concord St N, S St Paul, Minnesota, MN 55075. USA. $15 to members/$20 to non-members. 10:30am to Noon. Register.

Saturday 13 February: Using DNA for family history research. A workshop geared towards beginners. Also learn about the Maine Gaeltacht DNA Project. Host and Venue: Maine Irish Heritage Center, 34 Gray St, Portland, Maine 04102 USA. 1pm. $5 members/$10 non-members. Register by e mailing

Monday 15 February Genealogy information sessions, with Margaret Bonar and Elizabeth Craven. Morning and afternoon sessions. Morning venue: Raheny Library, Howth Rd, Dublin 5 from 10:30am to 11:45am. Afternoon venue: Donaghmede library, Donaghmede Shopping Centre, Dublin 13 from 2:30pm to 4pm. Free. Bookings to 085 1444883 or

Wednesday 17 February: Researching the Rising – The Military Service (1916–1923) Pensions Collection, with Michael Keane. Part of Dublin City Council@s 1916/2016 Centenary Programme. Venue: Rathmines Library, 157 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6. 1pm. Free, but booking essential: or telephone (0)1 497 3539.

Wednesday 17 February: Frank Hugh O'Donnell, the Member for Dungarvan, with Muiris O'Keeffe. Host: Waterford County Museum. Venue: Dungarvan Library, Davitts Quay, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. 8pm. Free.

Thursday 18 February: Criminal Irish Drunkards – the Inebriate Reformatory System 1900-1920, with Conor Reidy. Host: Clare Roots Society. Venue: Old Ground Hotel, Ennis, Co Clare. 8pm.

Thursday 18 February: The 'Rising' exhibition, a walk and talk tour. Host: National Library of Ireland’s National Photographic Archive, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. 2pm. Free. Booking not required.

Thursday 18 February: Finding your Irish ancestors online, with John Grenham MAGI. Host: Libraries NI. Venue: Belfast Central Library, Royal Ave, Belfast BT1 1EA. 1pm to 2:30pm. Free, but booking is advised.

Thursday 18 February: Hedge Schools of Wicklow, with Tommy O'Rourke. Host: Greystones Archaeological & Historical Society, Holy Rosary Family Centre, Greystones, Co Wicklow. 8pm.

Thursday 18 February: The Great Famine in Belfast, with Professor Peter Gray. Part of the Surviving the City: Lunchtime Lecture Series. Host and Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Free. Booking recommended: E: / T: 028 90534800.

Friday 19 February: Exploring 1916: a Midlands perspective, an evening seminar. Host: Edenderry Historical Society. Venue: Oaklands Community College, Edenderry, Co Offaly. 7–10pm. Admission: €10, which includes refreshments. All welcome. Details.

Saturday 20 February: Finding the Source: A Survey of Irish Genealogical Websites and Databases, with Miles Davenport. Intermediate level workshop. Good working knowledge of Irish records and jurisdictions is strongly recommended. Venue: Norton Room, McClelland Library & Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA. $15 Library/ICC members; $20 non-members. 10:30am&12:30pm. Register.

Saturday 20 February: Reviewing the Rising – a workshop exploring historical sources, with Cecelia Hartsell. Includes lecture on the Rising with Dr Shane Kenna. Venue: Rathmines Library, 157 Rathmines Road Lower, Dublin 6. 2pm to 4:30pm. Free but need to book: T - (0)1 497 3539.

Sunday 21 February: An introduction to using DNA for genealogy, with Krista J Ozyazgan. Host and venue: Maine Irish Heritage Center, 34 Gray St, Portland, ME 04112 USA. 1pm. $5 members/$10 non-members. Bookings:

Friday, 5 February 2016

FindMyPast to release indexed Irish RC parish registers collection in March has confirmed today that it is to release a collection of 10million records from Irish Roman Catholic parish registers next month. This is the much-rumoured news that's been anticipated since last July when the National Library of Ireland uploaded unindexed images of the registers to its website at

The new indexed collection will consist of records from some 3,500 baptism and marriage registers covering all 32 historical counties of the island. They will link to the images.

The official press release says the records span from 1671 to 1900 but researchers should be aware that, other than a small number of exceptions, most start in the early 1800s and, as far as I'm aware, nearly all cut off at 1880–1882.

The new collection will be available through FindMyPast Ireland and World subscriptions.

Ulster Historical Foundation's North America Tour 2016

The Ulster Historical Foundation's Fintan Mullen and Gillian Hunt will be making their annual lecture tour of North America in March, helping family historians get to grips with Irish resources and exploring historical context to provide depth to their research.

Lectures are suitable for beginners as well as for those who have already made some headway in tracing their Irish ancestors.

Here are the tour dates and venues:

Saturday 5 March: Toronto, ON
Venue: Memorial Hall, North York Civic Centre 5110 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N 5W4
Host: Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society and Canadian Dept, North York Central Library

Sunday 6 March: Boston, MA
Venue: Courtyard Marriott Hotel, 275 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116
Host: New England Historic Genealogical Society

Tuesday 8 March: Philadelphia, PA
Venue: Moriarty's Pub and Restaurant, 1116 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Host: The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania (GSP)

Wednesday 9 March: Leesburg, VA
Venue: Thomas Balch Library, 208 W Market St, Leesburg, VA, 20176
Host: Thomas Balch Library

Thursday 10 March: Newberry, Chicago
Venue: The Newberry Library, 60 W Walton St, Chicago, IL 60610
Host: The Newberry Library
Tel: +1 312-943-9090 (ask for the Genealogy and Local History department)

Friday 11 March: Salt Lake City, UT
Venue: Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, 122 S Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, United States
Host: Heritage Journeys

Saturday 12 March: Portland, OR
Venue: Milwaukie Center, 5440 SE Kellogg Creek Drive, Milwaukie, Oregon 97222
Host: Genealogical Forum of Oregon (pdf download)

Sunday 13 March: Portland, OR
Venue: Genealogical Forum of Oregon, 2505 SE 11th Ave., Suite B-18, Portland, Oregon 97202
Host: Genealogical Forum of Oregon (pdf download)

Monday 14 March: Chehalis, WA
Venue: Bethel Assembly of God Church, 132 Kirkland Road, Chehalis, WA 98532
Host: Lewis County Genealogical Society

Wednesday 16 March: Fountaindale, IL
Venue: Fountaindale Public Library, 300 West Briarcliff Road Bolingbrook, IL 60440
Host: The Plainfield Public Library and the Fountaindale Public Library

Thursday 17 March: Memphis, TN
Venue: Pickering Center, 7771 Poplar Pike, Germantown, TN
Host: Tennessee Genealogical Society

Saturday 19 March: Pittsburgh, PA
Venue: Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St. Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Host: Heinz History Center and the Westmoreland County Historical Society

Sunday 20 March: York County, PA
Venue: 250 East Market St, York, PA 17403
Host: South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society

Tuesday 22 March: Halifax (Debert), Nova Scotia
Venue: The Debert Hospitality Centre, 130 Ventura Dr, Debert, NS B0M 1G0, Canada
Host: Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia

Thursday, 4 February 2016

FindMyPast USA to release millions of US marriages

At RootsTech today, Findmypast USA has announced that, in partnership with FamilySearch International, it will launch the single largest online collection of USA marriages.

Covering 360 years of marriages from 1650-2010, this landmark collection will, when complete, contain at least 100 million records and more than 450 million names from 2,800 counties across America and will be found in its entirety exclusively on FindMyPast. More than 60 per cent of these marriage records have never before been published online.

To kickstart the collection, has launched the first 33 million records of this ambitious project today and is offering them to the public for free from now until 15 February (and I can hardly believe that I've just found my granddad's sister's marriage in 1901 after around 15 years of searching!). The free records are available across all territories, so just choose one of the flags below. If you haven't previously registered with FindMyPast you'll need to do so in order to see the results of your searches; you might also like to take up the free trial offer.

The records include marriage date, bride and groom names, birthplace, birth date, age, residence as well as fathers’ and mothers’ names. will release millions of marriage records every quarter and aims to complete the entire digitization project by the end of 2017.

FindMyPast Ireland
FindMyPast USA
FindMyPast UK
FindMyPast Australia/NZ

Exploring 1916: a Midlands perspective

Edenderry Historical Society is to host a 1916 Seminar – Exploring 1916: a Midlands perspective – next week. Members and non-members alike are welcome to attend for an interesting line-up of lectures, as follows:
  • Tullamore and the 1916 Rising, with Michael Byrne
  • Emily Weddall and 1916, with Maria Gillen,
  • Frank Burke of Carbury & 1916, with Oliver Conlon,
  • Kildare and the 1916 Rising, with James Durney,
  • ‘The year began with a bang’: Edenderry, 1916, with CiarĂ¡n Reilly,
Dr Philip Brady will offer a response to the papers presented.

Date: Friday 19 February
Venue: Oaklands Community College, Edenderry  
Time: 7:00 to 10:00pm  
Admission: €10, which includes refreshments
Enquiries: or see Edenderry Historical Society's website.