The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) has announced the election of two of its members to the Association's Fellowship, the greatest honour APGI can bestow. Both new Fellows have been involved in professional genealogy since the 1960s and, as founder members of APGI they played a significant part in moulding the organisation in its early days. Together they represent the Belfast and Dublin roots of APGI. They are:
John McCabe, FAPGI, was involved in professional genealogical research in Belfast from the 1960s, originally working with the Ulster Scot Historical Society (later the Ulster Historical Foundation). Later he became a self-employed genealogist.
In 1986 he was one of the prime movers behind the establishment of APGI in Belfast, and he played a central role in encouraging the formation of the Dublin Section, speaking at its first meeting. Later he served for many years on the overall Council of APGI, and as Vice-President.
In 1988 he gave the Houston Memorial Lecture at the Ontario Genealogical Society’s annual Seminar. There, he presented information on a detailed list of some 700 mainly Irish families that had settled in the Ottawa Valley by 1829. He had uncovered the list at the Public Record Office (now The National Archives) in Kew, England. It was received at the time as ‘the most important genealogical document on the Ottawa Valley to surface in recent years’. With the permission of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, it was subsequently published in the Ontario Genealogical Society’s journal, Families, as ‘The McCabe List’.
Unearthing hidden genealogical sources such as that list has been the trademark of John McCabe’s career. Though he retired from genealogical work on behalf of clients some years ago, he continues to research the life and career of William Putnam McCabe, a leading United Irishman in 1790s Belfast.
Henry McDowell, FAPGI, FIGRS, worked in publishing in London before returning to Ireland in the 1960s to become a full-time genealogist. While in London, he spent many hours at the Society of Genealogists Library. In Ireland he settled in Celbridge, Co. Kildare.
He served on the editorial committee of the Irish Genealogist and contributed to the American edition of Burke's Irish Family Records. He spoke at the XIIIth International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences in London in 1976 and at the very first Australasian Genealogical Congress.
As well as being a founder member of APGI, he is a longstanding member of AGRA (the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives). He served on the Dublin steering committee of APGI and was President of APGI for 2001-2003.
In 1989 he was elected a Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, and he served as President of the Kildare Archaeological Society for five years, 2000-2004. Henry is a life member of the Society of Genealogists, and his interests also include the Irish Country Furniture Society.
APGI is the only accreditation body in Irish genealogy and is also a representative organisation open to those conducting genealogical research professionally throughout the island of Ireland. It was established in 1986 to set standards and protect the interests of both genealogists and their clients. Over the years its role has evolved and broadened. For the past quarter-century it has been at the forefront of developments in Irish ancestral research and heritage-related tourism.
APGI is an All-Ireland body. Back in 1986 most professional researchers were based, by necessity, within easy reach of the national record repositories in Dublin and Belfast. Today there are members in Clare, Cork, Derry, Kerry and Offaly, as well as the greater Dublin and Belfast areas.