Wednesday, 26 October 2016

More County Armagh records join RootsIreland has added 1,147 new records to its County Armagh database, as follows:

Derrynoose Tithe Accounts 1785-1787:
This collection holds 850 records of tithe payers by townland.

1821 Census of Armagh: This 1821 Census transcript for some townlands in various County Armagh parishes come from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (source T636). It is a hand-transcribed record which would most likely have been taken from the original Census return and transcribed pre-1922, when the original records were destroyed in the PRO fire. It is not included in the more mainstream collections of Irish census fragments available at the National Archives of Ireland and elsewhere. A copy of this record can be obtained from Armagh Ancestry.

View a full list of County Armagh sources currently on RootsIreland.

The new Townland Valuation Translator breaks the 'code' used by Griffith's surveyors (1824–1856)

Here's something new and different: the

It's been devised by Irish genealogist John Schnelle from Boston, who has combined his interests in maps and the history of rural agriculture with a drive to apply new technology to genealogy research, to unlock the 'code' used by the surveyors in their Field and House books. He aims to translate their findings into easily discernable information about our ancestors, their land, what they grew, and how they would have worked and managed their land holding, however small.

I checked out how my maternal ancestors near Caher would have fared – the Townland Valuation Translator described their land holding as 'second class wheat land', yielding high quality and quantity of crops with proportionally low investments of time, labour and financial resources.'

By contrast, my paternal ancestors near Clonakilty had a harder time surviving. Their land was 'third class oat land', the 'least valuable class of soil' (which probably explains why they gave up half of it to the sea about 70 years ago!).

The Translator's detailed reports make for interesting reading, not just about what was would have been grown and the likely rotation of crops for such a land holding. It also gives an analysis of how my ancestors would have managed and worked their land, whether it was suited to the use of a plough or other tools; how a horse might, or might not, have been loaned occasionally to facilitate the cultivation or harvest; and how the difficulty of working the poorer land might have required community imput and a lot of potatoes for dinner! The translator delivers a good spread of detail about how our rural ancestors lived.

The website is still in beta right now, and only the Field Books can be fully interpreted, thus far. Check it out. First up, search for your family in the Valuation Office Books (1824–1856) collection, which is freely available on the National Archives of Ireland's Genealogy website. You'll need to imput some of the information in the books into the Translator search form. Then scroll down the page to read the report.

IGRS publishes 1803 directory of Dublin's Merchants

The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) has created a free database of the Merchants and Traders listed in Wilson’s Dublin Directory, published in the 1803 edition of The Treble Almanac.

The database holds more than 7,500 entries searachable by individual name of the merchant/trader. You can also search by occupation (here's where to find out how many milliners, for example, were trading in the capital at the start of the 19th century (33)) and by street address (there were 31 businesses – nearly all of them legal firms – trading in French Street, now Mercer Street).

Each entry is also linked to a map from the Statistical Survey of the County Dublin, (Dublin, 1802).

To find out more and to search the Directory, see the IGRS website:

Monday, 24 October 2016

National Archives of Ireland: early closing of Reading Room on Wednesday 26 October

The National Archives of Ireland has announced that its Reading Room will close early this Wednesdary (26 October) to facilitate a special event.

The doors will close to the public at 4pm.

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors – Conference 2017

The Ulster Historical Foundation's Tracing your Irish Ancestors Family History Conference 2017 has been announced.

Assisted research for conference delegates from
the Ulster Historical Foundation's experts
Running from 14 to 21 June, the conference has a brand-new programme that will appeal to both the dedicated family historian and those who'd like to spend more time visiting historical sites and enjoying Northern Ireland's spectacular scenery.

It offers a balanced combination of research in the archives (with the Foundation’s experienced genealogists on hand), talks from acknowledged experts and a variety of tours.

Among the highlights are guided tours of both Knowth and Newgrange passage tombs at Bru na Boinne; a tour of south Antrim including a trip to Carrickfergus Castle, one of the best preserved medieval structures in all of Ireland; visits to the rope-bridge at Carrick-a-rede; Barons Court, and the Hill of the O’Neills – the ancient capital of Ulster.

There's an Early Bird Offer available for those who book before end February.

An interesting optional add-on taking place in the days immediately before the conference is an Irish Genealogy Essentials Course, which will be held 12-14 June. Taught by the Foundation’s experts, it offers conference delegates two and a half days of intensive learning, with practical demonstrations using relevant websites and other electronic resources. Additionally, delegates will have full access to the Foundation’s research and newspaper library, and the ready expertise of professional researchers.

25 years of GSI publications join PERSI on FindMyPast

All journals published by the Genealogical Society of Ireland (GSI) (previously the Dun Laoghaire Genealogical Society) since 1991 have been added to the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI), which is currently hosted on FindMyPast. The 600+ articles can be searched here.

More GSI publications will be added over the coming weeks. They will include a range of more than 40 publications published since 1992 and include transcripts of original records, memorial inscriptions, local and surname studies, occupational records and collections of specialist sources and guides. The information dates back to 1798 and covers many counties in Ireland including Cavan, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Louth, Offaly and Wicklow.

Irish genealogy, history/heritage events, 24 Oct–6 Nov

Monday 24 October: The Famine in Toomevara 1845-52, with Helen O'Brien. Host: Dunkerrin Parish History Society. Venue: Obama Plaza, Junction 23, M7, Moneygall, Co. Offaly.  8:15pm. All welcome. Members free. Non-members €5.

Wednesday 26 October: The British Army presence in Dublin, with Henry Fairbrother. Host: Old Dublin Society. Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. 6pm. All wlecome. Free.

Tuesday 25 October: Remembering Patriarchs and Patriots: When Kilrush Streets Had Two Names, by Eoin Shanahan. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm. Free to members/€5 non-members. All welcome.

Wednesday 26 October: Remembering past futures: Commemoration and the roads untaken, with Dr Heather Laird. Last of the 'Reconsidering the Rising' Public Lectures series. Host: University College Cork. Venue: Ground Floor Lecture Theatre, Geology & Geography Building, off Donovan Road, UCC, Cork. Free. No booking required. All welcome.

Friday 28 October: Peasants, Prostitutes, King-killers and Rebels: Northside Dublin Histories, magazine launch by Frankie Gaffney. Host: Stoneybatter & Smithfield People's History Project. Venue: Capuchin Day Centre, 29 Bow Street, Dublin 7. 7:30pm. All welcome. Event also marks start of the Street Stories Festival.

Friday 28 October: Vizzards and Collicks, a day seminar exploring Hallowe'en folklore and customs. Host and venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 (Seminar Room). 10am - 4.30pm. All welcome. Free. Details.

Saturday 29 October: Galway, from Medieval Borough to Modern City, with Paul Walsh, followed by launch of Irish Historic Towns Atlas - Galway. Venue: Galway City Museum, Spanish Parade, Galway. 2pm. Tickets are free but booking essential ( or 091-532460).

Saturday 29 October and Sunday 30 October: Street Stories Festival 2016. Lectures throughout Saturday afternoon at the Cobblestone pub (77 King St North, Dublin 7) and Generator Hostel (Smithfield Square, Dublin 7), music at Cobblestone on Saturday evening, walking tour Working Class History of Smithfield & Stoneybatter with Donal Fallon at 2pm on Sunday (outside Cobblestone). Details.

Monday 31 October: Bank holiday in Republic of Ireland. Halloween island-wide.

Tuesday 1 November: Visit to NIFHS Research Centre. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Belfast Branch. Venue: North of Ireland Family History Society, Unit C4, 67, Valley Business Centre, Church Rd, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim BT36 7LS. 7pm. Email Branch.

Tuesday 1 November: Sisters, Surgeons and Soldiers on the Somme: 144 days of Casualty Management, with Dr Yvonne McEwen. A Decade of Centenaries event. Venue: Randalstown Library, 34 New St, Randalstown, Co Antrim, BT41 3AF 6:30pm. Booking recommended: Email - All welcome. Free.

Wednesday 2 November: WW1 in North Antrim, with Alex Blair. A Decade of Centenaries event. Host: Portrush Library and the Ulster-Scots Agency. Venue: Portrush Libary, 12 Causeway Street, Portrush, Co Antrim BT56 8AB. 2pm–4pm. Free. All welcome. Booking recommended: 028 7082 3718.

Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 November: Cobh Heritage Centre Open Day. Host and venue: Cobh Heritage Centre, Railway Station, Cobh, Co. Cork- Genealogy talks 11am, 1pm and 3pm, one-to-one consultations (bookable) and free exhibition admission. Details.

Saturday 5 November: Local History Day. Host and venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. From 9:45am to 4:15pm. All welcome. Free. No booking. Lecture schedule.

Saturday 5 November: The Archaeology of religion in Tipperary, with Richard O'Brien. Host & venue: Tipperary County Museum, Mick Delahunty Square, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. 10:30am. €5. All welcome. Seats will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.