Thursday, 26 March 2015

Family History Day at DCL&A, Saturday 28 March

Yesterday I picked up the programme for the Family History Day at Dublin City Libary and Archive which is taking place this coming Saturday, 28 March.

  9:30 Registration
  9:50 Welcome
10:00 Francis Smyth & Son, Umbrella manufacturers, Dublin, with Greg Young
10:45 Filling the gaps: Ussher family history, with Joan Sharkey
11:30 Tea/coffee
12:00 Searching Glasnevin Cemetery, with Conor Dodd
12:45 Lunch (not provided)
  2:00 Dynamics with the Yeats family: a family in distress, with Anthony J Jordan
  2:45 Thomas Fitzpatrick: creator and chief cartoonist, the Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly (1860-1912), with James Curry
  3:30 Finish

Admission: The Family History Day is free to attend and there's no need to book. Just turn up.

DCL&A, 138–144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

For more information: email or telephone 01 674 4800

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

AncestryIreland adds BMDs for Antrim and Down

The Ulster Historical Foundation (ULF) has added more than 27,000 Church of Ireland records for Counties Antrim and Down to its AncestryIreland database. You can see the details in the table below.

These new baptism, marriage and burial records are from 24 parishes and were transcribed by the ULF's Emeritus Research Director, Dr Brian Trainor. The burial registers contain a wealth of information of use to both the family and local historian and are full of interesting entries. The ULF has provided a useful overview, and the following details:

In Ardkeen's register there was noted the burial entry of Henry Cleland, aged around four months old, in 1823 with a note by the minister that he was “found dead in a field with a letter mentioning his name. Perished from cold and hunger; Coroner's inquest wilful murder.”

Occupations were sometimes recorded, especially if the deceased was in the military or the clergy. Ballyculter burial register occasionally contained the occupation of the deceased, particularly if they were servants. For example, the following men were recorded as :Daniel Kain “Lord Bangor’s man”, William Wilson “gardener to Mr Price” and Roger Wade “steward to Mr Hoey”. This may be the only record of their employment which now exists.

Carrickfergus register contained an entry of the burial in May 1776 of Mr McCracken, “the buckle beggar”. A buckle beggar was someone who performed marriage ceremonies “in a clandestine and irregular manner”.

The history of a local area can also be seen through the Church records. For example one can see in the Blaris (Lisburn) register the arrival of the Duke of Schomberg’s army in September 1689 by the increase of the deceased who were serving in that army. These were not only soldiers, for example in December 1689 John Redbird “master baker to [the] Duke of Schomberg” died and in January 1690 Thomas Mansfield, “one of King William’s bakers” was buried.

The burial records of sailors, fishermen and those who had drowned are found in coastal areas. In Ballyhalbert in January 1864, for example, three men who had been shipwrecked were buried, including John Morrison from Douglas on the Isle of Man. This register also records the burials of two men from the HM Cruiser Bayano which was torpedoed by a German submarine in 1915. Also Donaghadee’s burial register contains an entry for James Conlin, a tide-waiter (customs officer) who was “killed by a fall on the quay” in October 1783.

In the majority of entries the cause of death was not recorded, but unusual incidents were often noted by the minister. For example in Ballyphilip, the death of Patrick Kelly, aged 15 years from Portaferry, in June 1876 is recorded as being from "a fall from a velocipede” (an early bicycle). Carrickfergus CI’s register details the burials of four men in October 1752 who were “killed with the bursting of a cannon” while Magheralin’s records contain an entry for Edward Lunn, an innkeeper who was buried in July 1817; he “died suddenly at Maze races”.

Many of the burial records also contain the name of the father, husband or next of kin of the deceased, providing additional information on each family. Some also record ages at death and, occasionally, occupations.

Name of Church County Type of record Years covered
Aghalee CI Antrim Marriages 1811 – 1844
Ardkeen CI Down Burials 1746 – 1875
Ballinderry CI Antrim Marriages 1840 – 1845
Ballyclug CI Antrim Marriages 1841 – 1844
Ballyculter CI Down Burials 1812 – 1871
Ballyhalbert CI Down Burials 1855 – 1922
Ballymacarrett CI Down Marriages 1827 – 1844
Ballymoney CI Antrim Marriages 1807 – 1844
Ballyphilip CI Down Burials 1831 – 1883
Bangor CI Down Burials 1814 – 1829, 1841 – 1846
Blaris (Lisburn) CI Antrim Burials 1661 – 1720
Blaris (Lisburn) CI Antrim Marriages 1663 – 1735
Carrickfergus CI Antrim Burials 1740 – 1870
Comber CI Down Burials 1683 – 1881 (with gaps)
Comber CI Down Marriages 1683 – 1845
Donaghadee CI Down Burials 1771 – 1786, 1817, 1818, 1820 – 1841
Down CI Down Burials 1752 – 1785, 1795 – 1829, 1837 – 1871
Dromore CI Down Marriages 1784 – 1845
Drumballyroney CI Down Burials 1839 – 1873
Finvoy CI Antrim Marriages 1812 – 1845
Glenavy CI Antrim Marriages 1708 – 1845 (with gaps)
Inver (Larne) CI Antrim Baptisms 1806 – 1826, 1836 – 1864
Inver (Larne) CI Antrim Marriages 1817 – 1845
Kilkeel CI Down Burials 1816 – 1884
Kilmore CI Down Burials 1822 – 1856
Kirkinriola (Ballymena) CI Antrim Marriages 1807, 1809, 1819, 1822, 1823 – 1841
Magheralin CI Down Burials 1783 – 1865
Magheralin CI Down Marriages 1783 – 1845

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral launches app

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is launching an app which will allow visitors to access multimedia information on key features of the Cathedral through their mobile devices.

The app uses innovative iBeacon technology, which will automatically illuminate key points of interest on visitors’ mobile devices as they self-guide through the Cathedral. iBeacons are small transmitters, which have been installed at strategic locations within the Cathedral.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral will be the first fully iBeacon enabled visitor attraction in Ireland and the app has been especially developed for the Cathedral in a partnership with appybeacons.

At the launch later today, Dean Victor Stacey will be joined by Minister of State for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, for a tour of the Cathedral using the new app. Both will be equipped with iPads and big headphones and will navigate between key features of the Cathedral including the famous Saint Patrick statue, the Cathedral’s impressive organ and Jonathan Swift’s grave.

The app provides details of service times, a brief history of the historic building, an audio guide for the buildings, "Cathedral Tales", and videos about Saint Patrick's cathedral. Download the app.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Early C14th manuscript returns to Dublin after 400 years

An important early 14th-century manuscript produced at St Mary’s Abbey in Dublin has been returned to its city of origin, after 400 years, courtesy of Trinity College Library (TCL).

Lost to the world of scholarship since the 18th century, it has not been in Ireland since the 16th century, and it is the first Irish medieval manuscript to be offered for public sale in over 100 years. TCL is thought to have paid about a quarter of a million euros to secure the purchase.

St Mary's was the wealthiest monastic house in medieval Ireland and important enough to host parliament on many occasions.

TCL intend to digitise the manuscript, as well as use it to promote research and scholarship and popular interest. You can find out more in the 5-minute video below.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Two more Irish titles join British Newspaper Archive
Two more Irish newspapers have joined the British Newspaper Archive database. They are:

Saunder's News Letter, a paper published from 1755 to 1879. Some 1,838 editions have been uploaded this week. The majority date from 1783 to 1787 when the paper was published six days a week. Less frequent editions are also available for February to November 1794 and January to December 1795.

Cork Advertising Gazette
. All 206 editions from October 1855 to October 1859 have been uploaded for this weekly paper. I'm not sure if the paper stopped publishing or if these are the only surviving editions, but it will be the full extent of the holding for this title.

By my reckoning, there are now 70 Irish titles in the British Newspaper Archive. They're all available as part of FindMyPast's Ireland and World subscription packages, too.

Irish genealogy and history events, 23 March to 6 April

Monday 23 March: Fighting the world's most deadly influenza pandemic in 1918-19: the Kildare story, with Dr Ida Milne. Part of the Carton Lecture Series. Host: Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates & NUI Maynooth. Venue: Carton House, Maynooth, Co Kildare. Admission fee €10. Light refreshments served from 7:15pm. Enquiries (0)1 651 7708/

Monday 23 March: Tracing Your Roots in the Emerald Isle: an Irish Genealogy Workshop, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Hosts: Heinz History Center & Westmoreland Historical Society. Venue: Detre Library & Archives, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. 10:30am to 4:30pm. Admission: $25 for members, $35 for non-members. Details. Sold Out.

Tuesday 24 March: The Molly Maguires - Myth, History and Mystery, with John Kearns. Host: Stonybatter & Smithfield People's History Project. Venue: Backroom at the Cobblestone Pub, 77 North King Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7. Free. All welcome. 8.15pm.

Tuesday 24 March: Are my Roots Showing? One-to-One Genealogy Consultations. Host: Limerick Genealogy and Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival. Venue: Lissanalta House, Dooradoyle Road, Dooradoyle, Limerick. Consulations are free but booking is essential. Ring Caitriona or Aoife on +353 61 496542 or email

Tuesday 24 March: "Better to die by the sword than to die of starvation”: protest and resistance during the Great Famine, with John Cunningham. Host: Aughty Famine Working Group. Venue: Lady Gregory Hotel, Gort, Co. Galway. 8pm. Free. Details (pdf).

Tuesday 24 March: Starting your family tree, with Helen Sisk (Cork Genealogical Society). Host: Cork Lifelong Learning Festival. Venue: Central Library, Grand Parade, Cork. 3pm–4pm. Free. All welcome.

Wednesday 25 March: Cork Harbour through time, with Kieran McCarthy. Host: Cork Lifelong Learning Festival. Venue: Curraheen Family Centre, Meeting Room, Church of the Real Presence, Curraheen Road, Cork. All welcome. Free refreshments served. 10:30am. Queries: Irene Higgins, Tel 454 1583.

Wednesday 25 March: Church Records, with Valerie Adams. Part of the Your Family Tree lunchtime lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Starts at 1pm. Free but need to book at or (+44) 028 90 534800.

Wednesday 25 March: Starting your family tree, with James Quain (Cork Genealogical Society). Host: Cork Lifelong Learning Festival. Venue: The Library, Douglas Village Shopping Centre,Cork. 11.30am - 12.30pm. All welcome.

Wednesday 25 March: Open Genealogy Consultaton, with Lisa Dougherty. Host and venue: Irish American Heritage Museum 370 Broadway, Albany, New York 12207, USA. 11am - 2pm EDT.

Wednesday 25 March: How to start your family tree research, with Ann Marie Coghlan (Cork Genealogical Society). Host: Cork Lifelong Learning Festival. Venue: Blackpool Library, Redforge Road, Cork. 2:30pm–3:30pm. Free. Tel: +353 21 492 4933.

Wednesday 25 March: Waterford Food Fights, with Joanne Rothwell. Host: Waterford County Museum Society. Venue: Green Room, Town Hall, Dungarvan, Co Waterford. 8pm. Admission: €5. All welcome. Due to high demand, the Heritage Library has added a second class of Exploring Irish Roots.

Wednesday 25 March: How to trace your Irish roots, with Beth O'Keefe. Host and venue: Heritage Library, 852 William Hilton Parkway, second-floor suite A-2, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, USA. 1:30pm–3:30pm. Fee: $10 Heritage Library members; $15 nonmembers.

Wednesday 25 March: Virtue and Vice: Political Rhetoric and Popular Action across the Atlantic during the Irish Land War, with Andrew Phemister. Host: University of Edinburgh; Modern Irish History Seminar Programme. Venue: University of Edinburgh, Room G.13, William Robertson Wing, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, UK. 5pm. Free. All welcome. Details.

Wednesday 25 March: The Ulster Plantation: Sources for 17th-century families in Ireland (5–6:30pm) and Records related to the different churches in Ireland (7-8:30pm). Both lectures from the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host and venue: Brown County Library, 515 Pine Street, Green Bay, WI 54301, USA. To register, call 920-448-5815.

Wednesday 25 March: Freemasonry in Cork City & County: its Halls, Artefacts & Heritage, with Dr David Butler. Host: Cork Lifelong Learning Festival. Venue: Cork City & County Archives Service, Seamus Murphy Building, 32 Great William O’Brien Street, Blackpool, Cork. 2:30pm. Free. Booking advised as places limited. Email: or call 450 5876.

Thursday 26 March: The Herdsmen of Sion Mills, with Celia Ferguson. Host: Strabane History Society. Venue: Room 5, Strabane Library, 1 Railway Street, Strabane, Co Tyrone BT82 8EF. 7:30pm.

Thursday 26 March: Remembering 1916, a HistoryIreland Hedge School. Venue: Lecture Theatre, Ulster Museum. Botanic Gardens, Belfast BT9 5AB. 7–9pm.(Refreshments and guided tours of the Ulster Museum’s 1916 artefacts in the new Modern History gallery, will be available from 6:15pm.) Free. Need to book.

Friday 27 March: Stories from the Archives: Cork in the 1920s & 1930s, with Kieran McCarthy. Host: Cork Lifelong Learning Festival. Venue: Cork City & County Archives Service, Seamus Murphy Building, 32 Great William O’Brien Street, Blackpool, Cork. 2:30pm. Free. Places limited, so booking recommended by tel 450 5876 or email:

Friday 27 March: Confessions of a monastic historian: (re)writing a thousand years of monastic history, with Fr Columba Stewart. Second of the Monastic Ireland AD 1100-1700: landscape and settlement lectures. Venue: Helen Roe Theatre, Royal Society of Antiquaries Ireland, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin. 5:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Friday 27 March: Starting your family tree, with Olive Coleman (Cork Genealogical Society). Host: Cork Lifelong Learning Festival. Venue: Tory Top Rd Library, Ballyphehane, Cork. 11am. Free. All welcome.

Friday 27 March: Tracing Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Latah County Historical Society. Venue: Best Western Plus University Inn, 1516 Pullman Road, Moscow, ID 83843, USA. 11:30am–4pm. Registration fee $35 includes lunch and workshop materials. Register online.

Friday 27 March: Starting your family tree, with Ann Marie Coughlan (Cork Genealogical Society). Host: Cork Lifelong Learning Festival. Venue: Frank O’Connor Library, Mayfield, Cork. 2:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Saturday 28 March: Tools of the Boat Building Trade, with Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh. Venue: National Museum of Ireland, Country Life, Turlough, Co Mayo. Talk exploring the importance of Ireland’s rich maritime history through the Co. Sligo McCann boatyard collection recently donated to the National Museum. Booking required. 3–4pm. Booking required.

Saturday 28 March: Researching your Irish Heritage, a day-seminar with Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: The Yakima Valley Genealogical Society. Venue: Mt Olive Lutheran Church, 7809 Tieton Drive, Yakima, WA 98908, USA. 8:30am to 4:00pm. $40, includes lunch. Registration.

Saturday 28 March: Family History Day. A full day seminar. A mix of practical information and case studies suitable for beginners or for those who have more experience in genealogical research. Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Booking not required, but it's recommended to come early to ensure a place.

Saturday, 28 March: Finding Your Irish Townland of Origin: Research in the U.S. and Ireland; Advanced Irish Genealogy: Delving further into Irish Sources; Cemetery and Headstone Research in Ireland; Planning a Genealogy Trip to Ireland, all with Joe Buggy. Host: Fairfax County Genealogical Society (Spring Conference). Venue: Fairfax Marriott Hotel, 11787 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, Fairfax, VA 22033. 9am-3:45pm. Registration:

Sunday 29 March:
Scots-Irish Seminar, with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: California Genealogical Society. Venue: Holiday Inn & Suites Oakland Airport, 77 Hegenberger Road, Oakland CA 94621, USA. 7:30am to 5pm. CGS members: $100. Non-members: $125. Prices include breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and refreshments. Registration.

Monday 30 March: Finding Irish and Scots-Irish Roots, a half-day seminar with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Rogue Valley Genealogical Society. Venue: Jackson County Genealogy Library, 3405 So. Pacific Highway, Medford, OR, 97501 USA. 8:30am to noon. Members £30; Non-members $35. Details. Fully booked.

Monday 30 March: Trim: Fairly typical medieval town, with Mary Hayes. Host: Clondalkin History Society. Venue: Arás Chronáin Irish Cultural Centre, Watery Lane, Clondalkin, Co Dublin. 8pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 31 March: The Police in Ireland & The First World War, with Dr Myles Dungan. Host: Garda Historical Society. Venue: The Palatine Room, Collins Museum, Dublin 7. Space limited, so need to reserve place. Email

Tuesday 31 March: Arthur Griffith: his life and times, a History Ireland Hedge School. Host and venue: Cavan County Museum, Virginia Road, Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan. The panel will include Dermot McMonagle, Brian Maye, Terence McKenna and Tony Jordan. 7:30pm. Enquiries: +353 49 854 4070.

Tuesday 31 March: An introduction to Irish and Scots-Irish family history research. A half-day seminar with the Ulster Historical Foundation. Host: Rogue Valley Genealogical Society. Venue: Jackson County Genealogy Library, 3405 So. Pacific Highway, Medford, OR, 97501 USA. 8:30am to noon. Members £30; Non-members $35. Booking essential. Details.

Tuesday 31 March: Families associated with the lands west of the River Fergus in "An Leabhar Muimneach" or "The Munster Book", with Dr Cathy Swift. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm. Admission: KDHS members free/non-members €5. All welcome.

Wednesday 1 April: World War One Ancestors, with Ian Montgomery. Part of the Your Family Tree lunchtime lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Starts at 1pm. Free but need to book at or (+44) 028 90 534800.

Wednesday 1 April to 30 May: The Irish at Gallipoli – an exhibition. Drawing on sources from the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Archive, the exhibition will give an overview of the campaign and highlight the personal storiesof a number of Irish-born WW1 soldiers who fought in Gallipoli and other 'theatres of war'. Venue: Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

Friday 3 April: The geoarchaeology of County Down's High Crosses and Round Towers, with Ian Meighan. Host: Monuments and Building Record Public Lectures 2015. Venue: Pat Collins Reading Room, Waterman House, 5-33 Hill Street, Belfast BT1 2LA. Free. No need to book early but limited space so arrive early to secure your seat.

Monday 6 April: The Road to the Rising, a major bank holiday event in Dublin's O'Connell Street and nearby venues. Host: RTE, An Post and Dublin City Council. Full programme explores Ireland on the eve of Revolution, as well as the ideas, people and the socio-economic forces which would shape the events of Easter Week 1916. Re-enactments, memorabilia roadshow, talks, screenings and family fun. Need to book for some events. Programme.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Want to let out your inner Viking?

It's Friday.

Filming for Vikings, the History Channel production with a successful three seasons under its belt, wants to find a minimum 8,000 extras to work on season 4, which will be filmed in Ireland from April. Most of the filming will be in Dublin and Wicklow.

The Canadian/Irish production team has announced three dates for the selection process:

Tuesday 31 March – FILMBASE, Curved St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. 9.30am to 4.30pm
Wednesday 1 April – FILMBASE, Curved St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. 9.30am to 5pm.
Tuesday 7 April – Grand Hotel, Abbey St, in Wicklow. 10am to 6pm.

The work is casual and temporary; applicants need to be based in Ireland and able to work at short notice. Filming continues from April to December.

Men must be prepared to grow hair and beards, and women have got to have natural coloured hair. You can see more details of the selection process and what the casting team might be after here.