Monday, 2 March 2015

TCD to re-run successful Irish History MOOC

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) will be repeating its very successful free online course, Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Irelands History 1912-1923, from 16 March.

Run in partnership with FutureLearn, a company wholly-owned by The Open University, this course was TCD's first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) when it launched last year; some 15,000 would-be students signed up to take part.

The course looks beyond the familiar names and the famous faces and instead explores how the events that shaped the nature of modern Ireland - the Great War, the Easter Rising, the Irish war of independence and civil war - were experienced by the people who lived through them or in spite of them.

Professor Ciaran Brady, Dr Anne Dolan and Dr Ciarán Wallace from the department of History will lead the course. It is delivered through videos, assignments and discussions and is available to anyone with Internet access across multiple devices including desktops, tables and smartphones.

It's free, runs over six weeks and requires a weekly commitment of five hours study.

Learners need no prior knowledge of the subject, just a basic interest in Irish and modern European history as well as a curiosity about how conflict shapes civil society.

There's a 3-minute trailer and more details here.

Minister applaunds Líofa campaign success

Northern Ireland Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has revealed that the target to have 10,000 ‘sign-ups’ to the Líofa campaign has been met. Launched more than three years ago, the Líofa campaign encourages people to become fluent in Irish. (Líofa means 'fluent'.)

The Minister made the announcement as she launched Seachtain na Gaeilge, the global Irish language and culture festival at Belfast’s Cultúrlann today. The festival runs until 17 March. She said: 'When I launched the Líofa campaign in September 2011, I could not have envisaged that we would quickly exceed the target of 1,000 people making the pledge to learn or improve their fluency in Irish.

'Since then, the numbers have grown and grown. This reflects not only the vibrancy of the Irish language community but also the numbers of people, of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, who want to learn Irish.

'Today, I am very pleased to announce that more than 10,000 people have signed up for Líofa.'
The Minister also pointed to the significance of Seachtain na Gaeilge being launched in the north for the first time. 'Everyone, from fluent Irish speakers to those with a cúpla focal, will find something to enjoy [in the festival] and I encourage as many people as possible to take part.

'The Irish language belongs to everyone. It is a threat to no-one. It is part of our shared culture and has a key role in our collective future. Each day, the number of Irish speakers is growing, and it is important their voices are heard.'

More magic lanterns make C of I archive of the month further set of lantern slides (created by a forerunner of the modern slide projector) was recently recovered from St Patrick's Deanery in Dublin and is the focus for March’s online Archive of the Month from the Representative Church Body Library (RCBL).

The magic lanterns in this collection were originally used during the Church of Ireland’s commemoration of the 1500th anniversary of St Patrick’s coming to Ireland, in 1932.

They accompanied three 'lantern lectures' which aimed to visually connect members of the Church with its Celtic past and origins in the early Irish Church, and also to remind audiences of the spirit in which St Patrick had come to Ireland in the 5th century, to celebrate the ‘missionary tradition of the Irish Church’.

In various promotional literature produced for the commemorative year, it was advertised that interested parishes and church groups could hire one or all three of the relevant slide sets, at a cost 10s.6d each, which were posted out free, together with the typed copy of each lecture.

The materials uncovered in St Patrick’s Deanery appear to be some of the boxed slide sets, together with the relevant texts of each of the three lectures themselves, as they were distributed for use in parishes around the country. Just like a modern day Powerpoint, numbers or references in the text indicate where different slides were to be shown.

Judging from the number of stamps and other distribution marks on the boxes in which they were contained (and stamps on the lecture texts themselves), the slide and lecture sets were widely posted, indicating how popular the St Patrick’s series became during, and presumably after, the commemoration year.

For whatever reason, the complete collection ended up in St Patrick’s after 1932. As the national cathedral, dedicated to the patron saint, it was probably not the most unlikely location for such a collection. From here they were transferred to the safe-keeping of the Church of Ireland record office in the RCB Library, where they have been listed and catalogued.

A selection of images, together with the digitized texts of the three commemorative lectures, are now available to view in the RCBL's free online Archive. Click link above.

Looking at Lissan – a half-day conference at PRONI

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) will be hosting a half-day conference – Looking at Lissan: The Staples family and Lissan House, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone – on Thursday 19 March.

Speakers will draw from papers held in PRONI and elsewhere to consider the family’s estates, highlight some of the more colourful members of the Staples family, examine the significance of Lissan House and discuss the work of the Lissan House Trust.

Contributors will include Dr Neil Watt, Dr Anthony Malcomson and Jayne Greer.

Cost: Free
Venue: Lecture Theatre, Public Record Office, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, BT3 9HQ
Time: 2pm to 4:30pm.

Booking is essential. To reserve your place, contact PRONI.

Ancestry raises subscription rates

My weekend didn't start off on a good foot when an email arrived from advising that the cost of my membership subscription would be increasing from this month. Here's the breakdown of the (old) and new rates from Ancestry UK/IE:

Essentials membership     (£10.95) £10.95 monthly       (£83.40) £95.99 annually
Premium membership       (£12.95) £13.99 monthly     (£107.40) £119.99 annually
Worldwide membership     (£18.95) £19.99 monthly     (£155.40) £179.99 annually

Only the Essentials subscription is unaltered, allowing the company to continue promoting their prices as 'From £10.95'.'s membership packages are arranged somewhat differently and I don't know if they are also subject to price increases.

Subscription hikes are never welcome, even if they are a fact of life, but they're also a timely reminder to reassess your genealogical budget and expenditure.

Feel the force in IGPArchives' latest updates

As mentioned in the mid-February update from Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (see blogpost), IGP's team of volunteers has embarked on a project to upload all the Royal Irish Constabulary records for 1848, so there's quite an emphasis on RIC records in this end-of-month update.

The project is already underway for more than 20 of the 32 historical counties of Ireland.

ANTRIM Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Antrim - 1848

CAVAN Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Cavan - 1848

CLARE Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Clare - 1848
Memorial Cards – Lots from Kilrush added

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Donegal - 1848

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Deansgrange Cemetery, St. Mary's Section, Pt 7
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Dublin - 1848

KERRY Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Kerry - 1848

KILDARE Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from - Kildare 1848

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Leitrim - 1848

LONDONDERRY Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Londonderry - 1848

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Aughnacliffe Churh of Ireland Cem. (partial)
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Longford - 1848

LOUTH Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Louth - 1848

MAYO Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Mayo - 1848

MEATH Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Meath 1848

TYRONE Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Tyrone - 1848

WATERFORD Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Waterford - 1848

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives
Vital Records – Assorted deaths - 1869
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Wexford - 1848

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary from Wicklow - 1848

A trio of Irish titles joins British Newspaper Archives
Three new titles have joined the British Newspaper Archive line-up, and they'll be of particular interest to those with ancestors from Ulster.

They are:
  • Cavan Observer – 350 editions: July 1857 to December 1857; July 1858 to October 1864
  • Meath People and Cavan & Westmeath Chronicle – 278 editions: August 1857 to November 1863
  • Ulster Gazette – 1205 editions: January 1850 to December 1871
As always, these latest Irish additions are available not only through the BNA website but also via the Irish newspaper collection as part of FindMyPast's Ireland and World subscriptions.