Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Want to include oral history in your research?

If you'd like to use oral history in your research but are not quite sure how to approach it, you may be interested in the day seminar below. It's organised by the Oral History Network of Ireland and will be held at Dublin City Library & Archive.

The Oral History Training Seminar is suitable for those interested in folklore, local and family history. It aims to equip participants with methodological skills in structuring and carrying out their own oral history projects. Ethical issues and the use of recording equipment will form part of the morning programme while much of the afternoon will be spent with practical hands on training in interviewing techniques.

Event:
Oral History Training Seminar
Date: Saturday 18 August 2012
Time: 10.00-16.30
Venue: Conference Room, Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, D2
Cost: Free
Booking Required: Email or phone 01 674 4806



Monday, 30 July 2012

Kerryman joins Irish Newspaper Archives line-up

The Kerryman 1904 to 1949 has been added to the subscription site Irish Newspaper Archives.

It joins a fantastic Ireland-only line up (one that's miles better than any other historical newspaper site) and is an online resource that I'm always confident about recommending to fellow researchers.

It's not cheap-cheap, but if you treat yourself to a whole day or a weekend of pure newspaper research, it can be excellent value for money. A 24-hour access pass costs €10, while a 48 hour pass takes the price to €15.

Longer subscription passes are as follows: One week: €25; One month: €60; One year: €350.

The Limerick Leader 1948-2000 will be added to the database during August. The Belfast Newsletter 1738-1849 will be added in the Autumn.





August bank holiday closures

Usual early warning of bank holiday closures at libraries and archives in Ireland this coming weekend.

The National Archives and National Library, together with all regional publicly-funded libraries and repositories, will be closed on Bank Holiday Monday, 6 August.

In addition, those that usually open on Saturdays (ie local libraries) will not open this Saturday,
4 August; they will be closing at their usual time on Friday, 3 August, reopening on Tuesday,
7 August, at their usual time.

The National Library of Ireland, in Kildare Street, will be bucking this trend, however. It will be open for normal Saturday hours (9.30am to 12.45pm), reopening on Tuesday at its standard time.

Libraries and archives in Northern Ireland will be open as usual. The August Bank Holiday in Northern Ireland will be on 27 August.

Friday, 27 July 2012

NLI serves up an Irish genealogy feast for August

A daily lunchtime genealogy workshop is going to be held every day (bar weekends and bank holidays) from 1st to 29th August at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin.

Organised by Eneclann and Ancestor Network (the partner companies delivering the Genealogy Service at the National Library this summer) the Workshops will be held in the Seminar Room at 1pm. Each workshop is scheduled for a rather short 20 minutes session, but the line-up is impressive enough. See below for the programme:

Wednesday 1 August: Getting started in Irish genealogy, with Sean Murphy, UCD.
Thursday 2 August: Irish church records, with Mary Sullivan, Irish Family History Foundation.
Friday 3 August: Irish genealogy online, with Brian Donovan, Eneclann.
Tuesday 7 August: Why are Irish surnames so weird? with John Grenham, genealogist and author of 'Tracing your Irish ancestors'.
Wednesday 8 August: Connecting with the Diaspora, with Anne Rodda, genealogist.
Thursday 9 August: Irish genes and ancestry, with Gianpiero Cavallieri, Royal College of Surgeons.
Friday 10 August: Sources for genealogy at the Military Archives, with Captain Stephen MacEoin, Military Archives.
Monday 13 August: Records for genealogical research at the Representative Church Body Library, with Susan Hood, RCBI.
Tuesday 14 August: Genealogical resources of Big House families, with Turtle Bunbury, author of 'Vanishing Ireland'.
Wednesday 15 August: Using newspapers to trace your family history, with Jennifer Doyle, Eneclann.
Thursday 16 August: Irish placenames – tracing where your ancestors came from, with Brian Mitchell, author of 'A Guide to Irish Parish Registers'.
Friday 17 August: Irish births, marriages & deaths for beginners, with Eileen O'Duill, genealogist.
Monday 20 August: Using Valuation Office records to trace your family, with Carmel Gilbride, genealogist.
Tuesday 21 August: Records of the RIC and DMP, with Jim Herlihy, author of The Royal Irish Constabulary.
Wednesday 22 August: Using FindMyPast to trace your family history, with Cliona Weldon, FindMyPast.
Thursday 23 August: Scots-Irish emigration, 17th-19th centuries, with William Roulston, Ulster Historical Foundation.
Friday 24 August: National Archives of Ireland, sources online, with Catriona Crowe, NAI.
Monday 27 August: A thousand years of Irish genealogy: how to use Gaelic pedigrees and family trees in your research, with Prof. Nollaig O Muraile, NUIG.
Tuesday 28 August: The Registry of Deeds &nash; records to trace your family history, with Mary Beglan, genealogist.
Wednesday 29 August: Records for children in Care (pre-1952 adoptions), with Fiona Fitzsimons, Eneclann.

No booking is required for any of these free Workshops. Seats will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

For biographies of the presenters, see Eneclann.


Note: Following the standing-room only attendance for the first lecture, the location for all subsequent lectures has been moved to the larger Seminar Room.


Take Three: Olympics

As the Olympics officially gets underway today, why not take a peek into Ireland's sporting heritage? Here are three ways to get into a sporting mood, even if clicking the mouse is as energetic as you get:

Patriot Games: Ireland and the Olympics 1896-2010 – This timely exhibition in County Museum, Dundalk, has received approval from the Olympic Council of Ireland and is the only such exhibition in the country this summer.

The extensive exhibiton features contributions from many former Olympic competitors and their families, as well as Dr Ronnie Delany's gold medal from the 1956 Melbourne Games. It will run until October. Entry to the Museum, which is housed in a beautifully restored warehouse in Jocelyn Street, is free.Details.

Ireland's team at the first post-war Olympics: This RTE (radio) documentary is about the Irish team's participation at the 1948 London Olympics. It was first broadcast in 1989.

Ireland’s Forgotten Olympians – The Irish Whales:
Read about a group of Irish immigrants to America who became the most famous and successful sportsmen in the world. The Irish Whales were seven Irish-born athletes who dominated the throwing events at the Olympics from 1896 to 1924 and were the first modern sporting superstars. The story is on The Irish Story, a website that is full of interesting reads and podcasts.


2.8million Lancashire records added to Ancestry

Nearly 3million records from Lancashire, England, have been added to the Ancestrydatabase. There will be a large proportion of Irish people in these collections because the ports of the county, not least Liverpool, were first-stop (and often final-stops) for so many Irish, both Catholic and Protestant, fleeing the famine of the mid-1840s.

Even today, an estimated 75% of people in Liverpool has some Irish ancestry.

Here's a list of the collections newly available:
  • Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812: This collection of 931,033 entries contains baptism and burial records from 1538-1812 and marriage records from 1538-1753 for Church of England parish registers.
  • Births and Baptisms, 1813-1911: 850,138 records This data collection contains baptism and burial records from 1538-1812 and marriage records from 1538-1753 for Church of England parish registers in Lancashire County.
  • Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936: 645,187 records from Church of England parish registers.
  • Deaths and Burials, 1813-1986: 441,009 records from Church of England parish registers.
  • Confirmations, 1856-1922: 3,807 Church of England confirmation records from many of the parishes around Lancashire.


Titanic Cobh is in celebratory mood

Cobh Titanic100 and the people of Cobh are hosting a Vintage weekend, starting tomorrow, to mark the halfway point of the Titanic centenary year. The town, then called Queenstown, was the last port of call for the doomed liner before it set off into the Atlantic.

Events over the weekend include a ‘Vintage Speakeasy’ on Saturday when live music of the era and a drinks and canapé reception will be held in the Commodore Hotel at 8pm. Dress 1900–1950’s. Tickets are available from the Titanic100 office, 3 Westbourne Place, Cobh at €10 per person, €15 per couple.

On Sunday, Cobh will be transformed with a Vintage Fair. Stands will feature food, fashion, accessories, music, transport, gifts, gadgets and jewellery, and more.

Music of the era will add to the atmosphere as you revisit the heritage and history of the town over the weekend.

On Friday 3 August, Cobh will be brought to life with street theatre depicting some of the historical highlights from Queen Victoria to Jack Doyle and the tragic Margaret Rice. Restaurants will be creating special menus for the day.

Cobh is part of the Ring of Cork trail. Watch a whistlestop tour below.



Thursday, 26 July 2012

Ombudsman finds GRO's restrictions 'unwarranted'

Following an investigation into public access to the registers for births, marriages and deaths, the Ombudsman has found that the restrictions imposed by the GRO are 'unwarranted'.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint from a local history researcher who had been refused access by the GRO to death registers from 1864 to 1900 for a district in Co Westmeath. He complained that, prior to the most recent legislation – the Civil Registration Act 2004 – he would have been given the kind of research access he needed.

In the course of her investigation, the Ombudsman interviewed or received submissions from several genealogy and historical groups including the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO) and the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI). Most of the comments on this page were made by CIGO and APGI, and they are sure to strike a chord with family historians.

The Ombudsman made three key findings, which are outlined in her Hidden History? - The Law, the Archives and the General Register Office, which can be accessed here.

Inevitably, the report is largely 'legalese reporting', but my non-legal summary of the Introduction (which is as far as I dare venture, for fear of collapsing under the weight of the legal argument) would go like this:

1. The Civil Registration Act 2004 does not allow for the GRO or its constituent offices to provide direct access for researchers and others who wish to inspect the actual register books.

2. Under the National Archives Act 1986 people do have an existing legal right to inspect the registers for births, deaths and marriages – as held by the GRO – provided the records sought are at least 30 years old.

3. The failure of the GRO to allow for inspection, under the National Archives Act 1986, of the (over 30-year old) indexes and registers, 'amounts to an undesirable administrative practice and is contrary to fair or sound administration.'

She acknowledges that, at the time of the complaint, the GRO was unaware of any method of access other than that set out under section 61 of the Civil Registration Act.

So, in people-speak, we are allowed access to the registers but it's not the fault of the GRO that we haven't been allowed access because they didn't know any better.

She goes on to say:

'In my report I recommend that the GRO come together with the other bodies responsible for our archives to develop appropriate arrangements to facilitate public inspection of these records. I understand that much of the register material has already been converted into digital form which suggests that much of the work necessary to make the registration entries more easily available may have already been done.'

So let's see if that brings any movement.

Update: On its own, this report won't bring about any great change. The Ombudsman has little clout so she can't force any redress, nor can she force the GRO to provide access. However, the report does add extra weight to the campaign led by CIGO and APGI and will put more pressure on the GRO and its political masters.

See APGI statement 3 August 2012.







Bombing of the PRO document on Military Archives

See larger view
Military Archives has introduced a Document of the Month feature on its website. As the title suggests, it will present a key document from the Archives each month, along with a short explanation as to its provenance and significance. The intention is to give researchers a better idea of the range of materials available at the repository.

The first such Document of the Month is of prime relevance to Irish genealogists. Exactly 90 years old, it is the order, signed by Oscar Traynor, confirming the plan for Anti-Treaty forces to detonate mines at the Four Courts, June 1922, the home of Ireland's Public Records Office.

What followed was the Great Fire That Destroyed All The Records (only it didn't, not quite).

The Military Archives feature provides good context to the document. And makes you want to weep!

Take three: Videos

If you're dining al desko today, treat yourself to one or all of these interesting videos.

The Catulpa: True story of the daring escape of Irish nationalists from an Australian prison in 1867. Just 11 minutes long. Here.

RMS Justicia: Take a dive into the deep to see the wreckage of the RMS Justicia, a White Star Liner that was torpedoed in 1918 and lies just off the Donegal coast. Two and a half minutes long, it's here. (Thanks to World Irish for this and all the other interesting stories they uncover. It's one of my favourite drop-ins.)

So Cool: A two and a half minute long film telling the mythical story behind the Giant's Causeway and its most famous resident. View it here.

And then get back to work!

Exhibition serves up a slice of upper crust Ireland

Photo courtesy of the Linen Hall Library
The Linen Hall Library’s latest exhibition, Power & Privilege: Photographs from The Big House in Ireland, 1858–1922, allows us to peer over the high walls of the Big Houses to view the life of the upper classes. It exposes the enormous estates, the legions of servants and the grandeur enjoyed by wealthy before the old landlord system came crashing down around them.

The pictures have been selected from the National Library of Ireland’s photographic collections and concentrates on six main themes: gardens and landscape, employees, transport, entertainment and recreation, the arts and sciences, and family life. Many images are displayed for the first time.

It's a free exhibition. It's been running for most of this month and continues until 29 August 2012. Opening hours are: Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm and Saturday 9.30am – 4.00pm. Note that the Library will be closed Monday 27 August.

Address: Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North, Belfast, Co. Antrim BT1 5GB.

More information.

RTE Archives holds a free record of Irish life

RTE Archives has launched its new free-to-view website this week and it's crammed full of life in Ireland over the last century.

The broadcaster is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and some of the vintage film from its early days are remarkable documents of a society still struggling with appalling poverty, political turmoil, and, as always, emigration.

I lost myself in the archives for a few hours last night, concentrating mainly on the House and Home Exhibition.

In it, I found a series of videos showing the desperate condition of public housing in the 1960s, the plight of young families trying to get a new home, and the reaction of those who were rehoused in Dublin's newly built suburbs. There were also documentaries about the construction methods of old houses, films of the Celtic Tiger housing boom and of the ghost estates left in its wake. Absolutely fascinating stuff.

A rummage around the site tells me that there's still loads more to explore. Some of the exhibitions that I've filed under 'Must See' are Emigration Once Again, which tells migration stories spanning six decades; the band U2, from their first TV appearance in 1978 to recent times; and Halloween, another series of short videos and audio recordings telling of local traditions on this popular festival.

And that's before I even start looking at the Photographic Stills collections!

I think these archives might be a little bit addictive...

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Tipperary & Limerick witness statements released

Limerick City Library has made available the Tipperary and Limerick Witness Statements taken from the Bureau of Military History (1913-1921). You can view the records here.

This is a temporary arrangement while MilitaryArchives sorts out its problems with the delayed release of the national 1773-statement collection.

The Bureau of Military History was established in January 1947 by Oscar Traynor TD, Minister for Defence and former Brigade Commandant of the Dublin Brigade after the death of Richard McKee.

Its establishment gave individuals involved a chance to record their own stories. Members of groups such as the Irish Volunteers and subsequently the IRA, Cumann na mBan, the IRB, Sinn Féin, the Irish Citizen Army, relatives of deceased individuals and people not associated with any specific organisation were sought out to provide as broad a range as possible to the collection. The Bureau of Military History collection is open for personal visitors to Cathal Bruga Barracks, Dublin, but the digitisation project has over-run.

The Library recommends that researchers read Diarmuid Ferriter's In such deadly earnest article before rushing into the witness statements.

Well done to the Library team for making these records available, and many thanks to @Ordinary_Times for passing on the news.


Book launch: Transplanted Shamrocks

A new book Transplanted Shamrocks: Recollections of Central Ohio Irish Americans tells the family stories of the Irish Community in Ohio.

The stories were brought together by the concerted efforts of four people: Julie O'Keefe McGhee, J Michael Finn, Anne O'Farrell DeVoe and Kathryn Hess. They remembered as children their elders telling many tales and sharing snippets about their Irish ancestors. But they had become concerned that these tales would be lost as each generation died. Using the concept that 'everyone has a story', they began soliciting immigration and family stories.

It was a slow process but now, after ten years of collecting stories, documents, photographs, biographies of selected Ohio Irish Americans and histories of the local Irish organisations, the 358-page book has been published by Outskirts Publishing. All profits from the sale of the book will go towards supporting local Irish groups.

The book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $18.95, and, as an e-book for $10.00.


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Iconic Irish centre starts to take shape in Manchester

Yesterday I had a rare opportunity to mix a little genealogy/heritage interest in with my day job when I visited the emerging Irish World Heritage Centre in Manchester.

After more than a decade on the drawing board, the new £7.6million development – just a stone's throw from the existing centre in the Cheetham Hill area – is taking shape.

There's still another four months of the building programme to go, but an important milestone was reached last week when stonemasons started cladding the exterior, and I'd been sent along to to find out more by a construction industry magazine that specialises in natural stone architecture.

The design of the new centre echoes that of an ancient Irish ring fort, with a large walled enclosure creating a unique outdoor public space, as you can see from the CGI, left.

In reality, there's little sign of the landscaped ring just yet, with only a water logged pitch out the back, but the external envelope of the curved main building is certainly beginning to resemble the planned new centre.

This exterior will be clad in timber and stone, the latter a lively mix of gold and silver quartzite from quarries that overlook the Atlantic Ocean in Co Donegal. It's being laid in random lengths by a team of experienced stonemasons that were also shipped in from Ireland.

Sean Nolan, who heads up the stonemasonry team, told me his specialists will be on site for three to four months. So it's as well the sun has decided to put in a belated appearance because you can't lay stone in wet weather.

Providing all goes to plan, the Irish World Heritage Centre will move into its new premises at the tail end of this year. With a purpose-designed theatre, a bar and restaurant and dedicated business and education spaces for workshops and lectures, it will soon become a popular attraction and landmark destination for cultural audiences, school visits, the local Irish community and the Diaspora.

There will also be a museum and exhibition gallery focussing on the story of the Irish Diaspora, as Margot Power, IWHC's Culture and Education Officer, explains: 'Our aspiration is to run an accredited museum which will serve as a significant visitor attraction in Manchester, and which will comprehensively tell the story of the experiences and achievements of the Irish Diaspora worldwide.'

'In order to do this we need to raise funds and to strengthen our collections considerably. We are in the process of identifying collections held by other organisations, museums and archives around the world which relate to our theme.'

So the call is out to other museums and repositories. Do you have any artefacts/archives relating to Irish migration and the Irish Diaspora that you're unable to exhibit? Would you consider loaning or donating them?

If so, there's a purpose built and iconic new home waiting to show them off in Manchester!

Margot can be contacted on 0161 202 1200 or by email.


Listen up to Cork Huguenot Day lecture

The first Cork Huguenot Day was held 10 days ago (in Cork, surprisingly enough) and was a great success.

Some 85 people attended the two lectures. If you weren't able to be among them, you can now listen to one of the talks which focussed on Huguenot family history. This was delivered by Dr David J Butler, the academic director of the Irish Ancestry Research Centre in Limerick.

The recording is a little over 30-minutes long.



Saturday, 21 July 2012

Military Service medal applications database for 2016

Some 65,000 files in the Military Service Pensions Collection (MSPC) are one stage closer to public scrutiny following the award, to Eneclann, of an archiving and database project for the Military Archives in Cathal Brugha Barracks. Work will get underway next month.

The bulk of the MSPC is made up of applications for, and the award of, the 1916 Medal and The Service Medal (1917-1921), pensions and gratuities by individuals (or their dependents) who served as members of the following groups between April 1916 and 30 September 1923:
  • Irish Volunteers
  • Irish Citizen Army
  • Irish Republican Army
  • Cumann na mBan
  • National Army/Defence Forces
  • Other similar named organisations on active service.
Those who died or were wounded while on duty are also included.

In addition, there are roughly 15,000 related special allowance or DP files.

Following archival treatment, a fully searchable online database will be added to Military Archives.ie. Eneclann say the project will take 30 months to complete.


Friday, 20 July 2012

Irish Roots magazine free online - but be quick!

Irish Roots Magazine is offering family historians the opportunity to enjoy a FREE digital download of the March issue.

This issue is typical of the magazine's celebration of Irish ancestry, heritage, culture and traditions. You can discover how to trace your Irish ancestors online, find out about the man behind the myth of St Patrick, learn how to trace ancestors in RAF records and how to use the Townland Index in your research. There's also details about actor George Cloony's co Kilkenny roots, tracing Irish ancestors in Australia and much, much more.

So don't hang about – this offer will expire after Monday 23 July. Click here.



Thursday, 19 July 2012

Nearly 250,000 Waterford marriages now online

RootsIreland.ie has today added an additional 242,000 marriage records to its Waterbase database, making a county total of just over 245,000 searchable marriage records.

The new marriage records cover both Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland registers. There's a list of all the parishes now covered here.

The site additionally holds more than half a million baptism and birth records for Waterford. All the baptisms are from Roman Catholic registers.

Because parish boundaries sometimes cross county lines, Waterford's records will also be of interest to those researching ancestors from southern parts of county Tipperary.


Merger proposals on hold till Autumn

The proposed merger of the National Archives of Ireland and the Irish Manuscripts Commission into the National Library of Ireland has had another airing in the Dáil, and it's not looking good for those who were hoping (praying?) to see any such plans kicked out of court.

It seems the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, has forwarded his proposals to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for review (in practice this rarely means anything other than rubber stamping). An announcement is not, therefore, expected before Autumn.

Discussing the anticipated response from the cultural institutions when the decision is made, the Minister said: '...when it happens, I believe that while they may not all be happy with the outcome, they will accept it.'

So that's alright then.

You can read the full exchange here.

Irish Regiments in the British Army: three lectures

Birr Library will be hosting an Irish Regiment lecture series in August, as below.

Friday 10 August:
The Irish Regiments of the British army: an overview from 1852-1952, with Nick Weekes. 3pm.

Saturday 11 August: Leinster Regiment Victoria Cross winners, with Ross Glennon. 10am.

Saturday 11 August: The Irish Victorian Soldier, with Frank Walshe. 11.30am.

Each of the three lectures will be held at Birr Library, Wilmer Road, Birr, Co. Offaly.

Booking is required: Tel 057 91 24950 or email.


Irish famine museum to open in Connecticut

A museum dedicated to the Irish famine is to open at Quinnipiac University, in Hampden, Connecticut on 28 September.

Making the announcement, University President John L Lahey said: 'Museam An Ghorta Mór: Ireland's Great Hunger Museum is home to the world's largest collection of visual art, artifacts and printed materials relating to the starvation and forced emigration that occurred throughout Ireland from 1845 to 1852.'

The museum intends the collection to 'stimulate reflection, inspire imagination and advance awareness of Ireland's Great Hunger and its long afterlife on both sides of the Atlantic'.

Works by contemporary Irish artists will be featured at the museum as well as several important 19th and 20th‐century works by noted artists.

Museum programs, including tours of the collection, discussions, films, plays and concerts, are planned to educate the general public, academics, researchers, artists and students about the richness of Irish culture and the high quality of its visual arts in particular.

Quinnipiac University holds Kilkenny Workhouse Minutes for the years 1845-1848 and these can be viewed online here.

National Heritage Week launched

The bells of Christ Church Dublin rang out earlier this week to launch National Heritage Week 2012. This year's event, which takes place nationwide from Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th August, has a record 1400 events registered.

Those events are listed in the National Heritage Week Event Guide, 50,000 copies of which are now available throughout the country in Fáilte Ireland Tourist Offices, libraries, major heritage sites, bus stations, county council offices etc. They can also be searched online at www.heritageweek.ie.

As in previous years, there's a good helping of genealogy events, from workshops and lectures to one-on-one guidance sessions. There are marathon sessions, such as the nine-day genealogy tour of Tipperary on every day of Heritage Week, and specialised resource days such as the FindMyPastIreland & Eneclann Family History Research Day on 23 August as well as introductory events at museums and libraries.

Searching is easy on the Event Search page, but be aware that when you type Genealogy into the Keyword field, you'll get different results to those you get if you type in 'Family History', so do check both.

Of course, it's not all about finding ancestors. I'm delighted to see that this year the Heritage Council is focusing on Ireland’s Built Heritage. During the week, over 600 built heritage events will take place with many sites and houses being made accessible to the public for the first time.

Speaking about the week, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D. said, “It is fantastic to see the popularity of National Heritage Week grow each year as more and more people across Ireland engage with it, organising and attending events in their community. The range of events taking place during National Heritage Week demonstrates the diversity and importance of Ireland’s heritage. Now more than ever, the contribution that heritage makes to local and national economic development, as well as to Ireland’s tourism offering, is being recognised. I would strongly encourage people in all parts of Ireland to get involved and to take part in National Heritage Week activities in their locality”.

Pikemen wanted for battle!

More info from
www.knightsandrebels.ie
The first weekend of August will see a re-enactment of the Battle of Vinegar Hill at Enniscorthy, co Wexford. There'll be parades, cannons and cavalry charges and a good bit of over-acting as the rebels and the redcoats clash just as they did (well, not quite) in 1798.

It'll be a fun and educational weekend for spectators, but even more exciting for those who heed the organisers Call to Arms. Pikemen, women and children are being recruited for the battle. Ring the National 1798 Rebellion Centre on 053 92 37596. Children as young as 10 can take part, provided they are accompanied by an adult.

There's one proviso... you have to attend the safety training at 2pm on Saturday 4th in the National 1798 Rebellion Centre. No safety training = no taking part in battle. Simple.

Very much a joining-in event, the plan for the weekend looks like this:

Saturday, 4th: Experience life as an 18th century redcoat at Enniscorthy Castle or learn about the pikemen of '98 at the National 1798 Rebellion Centre. See a blacksmith making pikes, learn how to march, or enlist as a soldier.

Sunday, 5th: Pikeman and redcoats will parade through the town of Enniscorthy to Vinegar Hill. The parade begins at the Fairgreen at 1p.m with battle commencing at 2p.m on the Hill. See cannons, cavalry and infantry clash and see how the battle unfolded in 1798!



Two freebies from BooksIreland

BooksIreland, the bookstore of the not-for-profit Ulster Historical Foundation, is offering researchers a couple of freebies. Details are below. In each case, postage and packing (worldwide) is also free.

These aren't the only good offers from the company (see my post a week or so ago about their summer sale), so take a look around the store to see if there are other bargains worth picking up.

For now, here are the freebies:

The Plantation of Ulster 1610-1630 Map & Pocket Guide:


In the early seventeenth century 20-30,000 Scots crossed the North Channel into Ireland. Together they formed part of one of the most significant movements of people in these islands. Many came to the settlements in north-east County Down encouraged by two Ayrshire Scots Sir James Hamilton and Sir Hugh Montgomery from 1606 onwards. Others settled in County Antrim on the lands of the MacDonnells and others.

The official Plantation that affected counties Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone was different for here settlement was not the result of private endeavour, but rather was part of a government-directed scheme of colonisation. This was Scotland's first, and ultimately most successful, project of colonisation beyond its shores. This map and pocket history tells this story.

The Scots in Ulster Surname Map & Pocket History:

Many people have emigrated from Scotland over the centuries. Some went directly to America, but others first emigrated to Ulster. This booklet contains a beautiful fold out map that will introduce you to the Ulster Scots story and tell you how some of them later became Scots-Irish.

It includes a list of surnames of the first Scottish settlers in Ulster and identifies some of the buildings that they established.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Desperate for some sunshine? Head for Glasnevin

After a wet St Swithin's Day on Sunday, it seems wellies and cagoules are to remain a la mode for the next six weeks or so. Call this summer? It's getting me down, and I'm someone who usually declares a heatwave and heads indoors when the mercury hits 20 degrees C.

But I've found the perfect solution: a trip to Glasnevin, courtesy of Google Earth. I don't know exactly when the peculiar Google camera-thing made its visit, but it was certainly a lovely sunny day.

It's now possible to stroll up and down along the avenues, enjoying the sculptures and sense of history, without any fear of sunburn or overheating. While it's not possible to read all the gravestone inscriptions, you can meander along the paths with the sun on your back. You almost need some sunglasses!

Give it a try. Just type Glasnevin into the search bar and then home in.

But if you'd rather make your visit in person, no matter the weather, there are a couple of special offers worth knowing about.

Wednesdays:
Since last week and until the end of August, there's a special Wednesday offer on combined tickets ie a ticket for both a museum visit and a walking tour around the cemetery. An individual combined ticket is just €5 (normally €10), while a Family combined ticket, valid for two adults and up to three children, is just €10 (normally €25).

Fridays: Until the end of August, combined adult tickets on Fridays cost €5 each.

Saturday 21 July
is a special Family Day that kicks off at 11am. Drawing activities will take place all day in the Prospect Gallery and between 11am and 1pm there's face painting. Whether or not you've just been transformed into a butterfly, tiger or vampire, you can join the Family Tour of the necropolis and explore all its many fascinating stories. A family ticket costs €10 for two adults and up to three children, with additional children charged at €1.50 each. An individual adult ticket costs €5. To book, ring (0)1 882 6550 or email booking@glasnevintrust.ie.

PRONI lecture dates for September

Early notification of PRONI's September events below. Each event will take place at PRONI's HQ at 2 Titanic Boulevard, Titanic Quarter, Belfast BT3 9HQ, and is free. If you need further details, email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or phone 0289 053 4800.

Thursday 6 September: Raiders of the Lost Archives: Covenant Records at PRONI, lecture by Stephen Scarth as part of the Change, Conflict and Transformation, 1912-1922 Lecture Series. 6.30pm.

Saturday 8 September: European Heritage Open Day 2012. Talks and behind-the-scene tours led by PRONI staff.

Thursday 13 September: Northern Nationalism, with Eamon Phoenix as part of the Conflict and Transformation, 1912-1922 Lecture Series. 6.30pm.

Thursday 20 September: The Ulster Covenant and Ulster Unionist Resistance to Home Rule, 1912-1914, with Tim Bowman, as part of the Conflict and Transformation, 1912-1922 Lecture Series.. 6.30pm.

Thursday 27 September: The Story Arc of the Covenant: from signature to screen, a lecture with William Crawley and Brian Henry Martin as part of the Conflict and Transformation, 1912-1922 Lecture Series. 6.30pm.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Lord Morpeth's 1841 Roll needs more transcribers

More volunteers are needed to help transcribe a document that dates from 1841 and contains the names of some 275,000 people from all over Ireland – in other words, a treasure that goes some way to mitigating the loss of the census of that year.

The document – a continuous roll of 652 pages wound around an enormous mahogany spool – is on display at NUI Maynooth's Russell Library and is now the focus of an important scholarly investigation with research led by Dr Patrick Cosgrove.

The conservation project has since moved to the transcription stage, which is being carried out in collaboration with Ancestry.com as part of that company's World Archives Project. It is now some 40% completed, but Ancestry have just put out a call for more help.

If you've a mind to be among the first to view this historical document and can help out with indexing the handwritten names, take a look at the project notes. The transcription work is described as of Average difficulty and you can see an example of the document here.

More about Lord Morpeth's Roll.


Take Three: Photos

Cork c1900: Cork City Libraries have added five new photos to their online album of scenes from around 1900 in Cork City and Cork County. It's a cracking collection of some beautiful landscapes, as you'd expect with images of this stunning part of the island, but the best are those that capture people going about their lives.

If you can identify precise locations or name any of the currently unidentified individuals in the photos, the library would love to hear from you at localstudies_library@corkcity.ie.

Similarly, if you would be prepared to loan any historical photographs from your own ancestral collection, for inclusion in the digital album, please contact the library.

Mountjoy Prison: Portraits of Irish Independence: The New York Public Library has uploaded two digital photograph albums of prisoners in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin.

The photos come from the Thomas A Larcom Collection (he was the permanent Under Secretary for Ireland from 1853-1869) and include 150 salt and albumen print photographs of prisoners confined in August 1857 and November 1866. As the website explains: 'Identified as felons and Fenian political prisoners, the subjects of the photographs include some of the leaders of the Fenian Brotherhood and its Irish wing, the Irish Republican Brotherhood. One of these, the early activist Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (1831-1915), later(1874) recounted sitting for his portrait:

"After being shaven I was led to have my picture taken. The photographer had a large black-painted pasteboard prepared, with my name across it in white, and, pinning it across my breast, he sat me in position. I remained sitting and looking according to instructions until he had done, and he never had the manners to tell – what artists never fail to tell me – that I made an exceedingly good picture."'

PhotoIreland theme: Migrations: Diaspora & Cultural Identity: Living-Leaving, an exhibition by David Monahan and Maurice Gunning, is in its final few days at the NPA, Dublin.

David Monahan’s work is entitled ‘Leaving Dublin’ and is a series of portrait studies of nationals and non-nationals about to migrate from Dublin. These photographs were virtually exhibited as projections in thirteen international venues last St Patrick’s Day.

Maurice Gunning’s photos are of the Irish Diaspora in Argentina.

The exhibition ends on Saturday 22 July. It's free and is held at the National Photographic Archive, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar. Opening hours are 10am to 4.45pm, Monday to Saturday.

Monday, 16 July 2012

FMP UK adds London Docklands baptisms

FindMyPast UK has today added a collection of London Docklands baptism records to its database. The parishes involved – in Stepney and Bethnal Green ‐ were among the poorest in the sprawling capital and many Irish migrants settled in their slums.

The collection is small, just 13,000 entries, and most of them are for the late 17th century, but could be worth checking if your Irish ancestry dates back that far. Details are as follows:
  • St Dunstan, Stepney — 1689-1697, 10,062 records
  • George In the East, Stepney — 1893-1901, 2,403 entries
  • St Andrews, Bethnal Green — 1843-1876, 760 records.
These records are the latest in a mammoth run of new releases. FMPUK has released more than 2.2million records in the last month bringing new parish baptism, marriage and burial records from Wales, East London, Sheffield & Yorkshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Plymouth & West Devon from 1568 right the way up to 1999. In addtion to the Docklands records detailed above, the following English records were released:
  • Sheffield Baptisms — 1852-1940, 16,997 entries
  • Sheffield Marriages — 1848-1991, 26,512 entries
  • Cleveland Baptisms — 1600-1869, 22,343 entries
  • Greenwich Burials — 1748-1793, 12,832 entries
  • Lincolnshire Marriages — 1700-1837, 49,184 entries
  • Devon Baptisms — 1900-1999, 5,275 entries
  • Devon Burials — 1626-1927, 1,111 entries
  • Ryedale Baptisms — 1790-1886, 2,176 entries
  • Sheffield Burials — 1767-1802, 31,470 entries
  • Merionethshire Baptisms — 1568-1894, 8,316 entries
  • Merionethshire Marriages — 1568-1837, 1,744 entries
  • Merionethshire Burials — 1568-1899, 6,258 entries
There were also 2 million new Welsh records, so those whose family sailed to Wales in search of work can now seek them out from nearly 6 million parish entries from the counties of Anglesey, Brecknockshire, Caernarvonshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Glamorganshire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire and Radnorshire
  • Baptisms — 2,083,430 records covering 1538-1912
  • Banns — 557,078 records covering 1603-1927
  • Marriages — 1,226,650 records covering 1539-1927
  • Burials — 2,057,453 records covering 1539-2007
FindMyPastUK seems determined to be the database of choice for those whose ancestors lived or settled in England or Wales!



The Gathering 2013: meetings this week

The Gathering will be rolling into County Carlow on Tuesday evening, to one of my old watering holes, to be exact – The Lord Bagenal Hotel at Leighlinbridge. The meeting kicks off at 7pm.

It then moves on to Slane, Co Meath for Thursday 19 July where the evening gets underway at the Conyingham Arms Hotel at 6.30pm.

If you're planning to go to one of these meetings and haven't yet put on your thinking caps, check out the organiser's Top Tips for a Successful Gathering which should get your creative juices flowing.

Go medieval this week!

The Tales of Medieval Dublin series of free lunchtime lectures continues tomorrow 17 July with The Duibh Linn(ers’) Tale.

This talk, with archaeologist Edmond O’Donovan, focuses on the remains of the unnamed dead buried at the church of St. Michael le Pole, near what may have been the site of the early Christian monastery of Duibh Linn.

As always, the lecture will be held at Wood Quay Venue, Dublin, from 1.05pm to 2pm. There's no need to book but you can get more details here.

If you can't get to Dublin, you don't have to miss out on these informative lectures. Last year's series are now available as downloadable videos on the Dublin Heritage website. Just follow the links below.



Sunday, 15 July 2012

Mid-July Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives update

The guys and gals at Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives have been hard at it, as usual, and have added the following files since the beginning of July:

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Deansgrange Cemetery St Patrick's Section, pt 13 updated

KILDARE
Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Kilcock; St Joseph's (R.C) Cemetery
Church Records Memorial Cards – Gorry & Malone

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1846 Royal Irish Constabulary - updated

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Carrickatemple Graveyard

LOUTH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1846 Royal Irish Constabulary - updated

MAYO Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – 1846 Royal Irish Constabulary - updated
Headstones – Tourmakeady, Christ Church (CoI) Ballyovie Parish

OFFALY (Kings) Genealogy Archives - Church Records
Memorial Cards - Gorry

SLIGO Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Ahamlish 1st & 2nd Extension

TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives - Church
Asst. Holy Cross Marriages - STAKELUM, STAPLETON & SULLIVAN

TYRONE Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Donaghmore Cemetery Names - text

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives - Church
Rathdrum Parish Church Records from 1740 to 1858 - MILLS

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Vital Records
10 Work House Deaths


Irish Genealogy Toolkit is the Research Help partner of IGPA.


Registry of Deeds Index hits 100,000 milestone

Thanks to the efforts of a great team of volunteers led by Australia-based Nick Reddan, the Registry of Deeds Index Project has reached a significant milestone with more than 100,000 entries recorded from 12,243 memorials of deeds. The database can be searched for free here.

'The Registry of Deeds contains an immense amount of data useful for genealogists,' explains Nick. 'While it has often been considered inaccessible, the Registry of Deeds Index Project is gradually, through the contributions of its volunteers, making the records more accessible. There are millions of names in the Registry and the Index Project has only 100,000 and thus has a long way to go. Nevertheless, this is an important milestone for the project.

'Like all indexes the Project Index entries will have some errors. Hopefully, these are minor and do not detract from the substantial progress made in publishing a full name index.'

If you have previously recorded details from a memorial held by the Registry of Deeds, you can contribute it to the Index Project using the official form. There are also other ways of sending information, via excel spreadsheets, for example, and these are outlined on the home page.

The website also holds a thorough guide for those who have not previously looked at the Registry of Deeds in the course of their genealogy research.

Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to make these outstanding records freely available.



Friday, 13 July 2012

Battle of Aughrim Remembered: 21/22 July

There's a great weekend event kicking off next Friday in the village of Aughrim, near Ballinasloe, Co Galway.

The event is a commemoration (rather than a celebration) of the Battle of Aughrim 1691. This was Ireland's bloodiest battle, with a death toll of 7000 that included, according to folklore, some 400 Kellys.

The organisers* aim to explore the Jacobite period and reawaken an interest in this era of our history. After a social get-together on Friday evening, the programme continues with an all-weekend military camp where most of the main protagonists (France, Netherlands and Denmark) will be represented in one form or another. The troops will be showing off their skills in 'Pike, Shot and Gunne'.

A HistoryIreland Hedge School will be held on Saturday afternoon and a book launch will also take place that evening, as follows:

Hedge School : From Jacobitism to Jacobinism; a reconsideration
Speakers: Dr Éamonn Ó Cíardha, Dr Billy Kelly, Richard Doherty and Dr Hiram Morgan.
Hedge school Master is Tommy Graham of History Ireland
Fee: €10
Location : St Catherine’s Hall, Aughrim.
Registration (aka Tea and coffee): 14.15pm
Debate: 3pm to 4.30pm approximately followed by a light snack.

Book launch: Danish troops in the Williamite army in Ireland, 1689-91 by Kjeld Hald Galster.
Details: This book, published by Four Courts Press, is the first narrative to look at the battle from a Danish perspective.
Location: Battle of Aughrim Interpretive Centre
Time: 6pm

* The event is organised through the co-operation of History Ireland, Four Courts Press, Galway County Council, The Kelly Clan Association, Oireas Historical Services and the Aughrim Remembered committee.


Friday briefs

Rare Book Collections at the NLI

At the National Library of Ireland from Monday 16 July, all rare book collections requiring special access (including those with the prefixes J/Joly, LO, Dix, Thom, OKE) will be available for consultation in the Manuscript Reading Room. This also applies to music collections (prefixes JM, AM and MU)

Readers may order up to 3 rare books at each delivery time, either in person in the Manuscript Reading Room, by telephone (+353 (0)1 6030 386), or by completing the online order form.

Items with prefixes JLB, LO LB and Thom LB will still be accessed in the main Reading Room.

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20 Top surnames

If your family tree contains any of the twenty most common Irish surnames – Murphy, Kelly, O'Sullivan, Walsh, Smith, O'Brien, Byrne, Ryan, O'Connor, O'Neill, McCarthy, Gallagher, Doherty, Shea, O'Reilly, Doyle, Power, Fitzgerald, O'Malley, O'Donnell – you'll be interested to see this new infographic from the GoIreland team.

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Irish Roots Magazine's new shop opens

The quarterly magazine Irish Roots has opened a new online store. Among the first offers 'on the shelves' are Genealogy starter packs, back copies of the magazine and a new subscription facility.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Ancestry.com opening new Dublin offices.

The opening in September of a new 'international' centre in Dublin by Ancestry.com is not expected to impact much on the local genealogy market. Nor, contrary to some recent reports, will it impact on the global market; the company's World HQ, where many genealogists are employed, will not be upping sticks and moving from Utah, USA.

A dozen staff are already working at the new Ancestry offices on Sir John Rogerson's Quay in Dublin and a number of job adverts were placed in local papers last week. Thirty customer service staff are sought (German, Swedish and Italian being the 'desirable' language skills specified) plus a handful of supervisory and senior techie types.

The new international base is to be operational in two months' time and staff numbers are expected to grow to 50 within two years.

Update: And here's the official word from the Jobs Minister.



Interested in the Huguenots of Cork?

The first Cork Huguenot Day will take place this Saturday, 14 July, at the Masonic Hall, Tuckey Street, Cork, starting at 10:30am.

Activities include talks given by Dr Alicia St Leger and Dr David J Butler, a guided tour of the Masonic Hall and a guided walking tour of the city's Huguenot sites.

Cost per person is €5. More information is available from info@irisharc.org.


July issue of Irish Lives Remembered published

The second issue of the free digital-only genealogy magazine Irish Lives Remembered has been published.

Produced in Dundalk, Co Louth, and edited by Elaine Munnelly, this 62-page edition contains features on Griffiths Valuation, one-name studies and the history of letter writing, and has a long piece on Irish workhouses.

In addition, there are a number of biographical essays and a fair number of tourism related pages. The main focus of this issue is genealogy research in counties Kerry and Kilkenny.

You can view or download a copy here.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A Tuesday Digest

Oughterard past and present: The Oughterard Culture & Heritage Centre has received the Most Innovative Community Archive Award from the UK-based Community Archives Heritage Group. The Galway centre merges images from the past and the present to illustrate the changes in the local urban landscape of this small town. The judges considered the technique ‘inspirational’ and ‘welcoming’. See some of these intriguing images here.

The Oughterard group was formed four years ago to collect, archive and share their local history and is part of the NMI Museum of Country Life's Community Archive Project. The latter showcases the work of communities from Oughterard, Co. Galway, as well as groups from Ballinrobe and Louisburgh/Killeen, Co. Mayo.

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yDNA kits – Summer Sale: If you've been considering taking a first dip into DNA's waters, now could be a good time because the Family Tree DNA has announced its annual Summer Sale. This sale, which applies only to yDNA, is a brief one; orders must be paid for by end of Sunday 15 July, so don't delay.

Make sure you order a new kit through a project. The Ireland yDNA Project is for males with Irish ancestry on their paternal line. There are offers for first time kits as well as for those wanting to order upgrades. Follow the link to see a list of surnames included in the Ireland yDNA Project and, just below, a further link to the discounted prices.

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Tuesday 10 July: Care and Restoration of Old Family Photos, lecture with Edmund Ross. Organised by the Genealogical Society of Ireland (GSI). Dun Laoghaire College of FE, Cumberland Street. 8pm.

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Learn about Irish Wills on Family Search: The comprehensive Wiki on Irish Probate Documents and indexes has been updated on the LDS site. It's a good stab at a complex subject and explains where records can be searched. (Sadly, no update yet on when the rest of the post-1858 Wills are to be uploaded for searching, but they're coming. They are coming!)

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Saturday 14 July: Irish Research Gems of the Minnesota Genealogical Library, with Ann Eccles and Fern Wilcox. This is a class, a tour and a sharing of local research resources. Participants will learn which of the Library's resources – beyond the Irish collection – may help Irish ancestral research. 10:30am–12:00Noon. Details.

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The Gathering gathers pace: The project, which aims to generate local ideas to attract overseas visitors next year, will be arriving in Cavan (Wednesday 11th, Kilmore Hotel, 8pm) and Leitrim (Thursday 12th, Bush Hotel, Carrick on Shannon, 7pm) this week. Each meeting encourages locals to identify ways of expanding local tourism and to contact past-residents to return. A video of a recent meeting in Tralee gives a clearer idea of the project and the local brainstorming sessions. View it here.

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Hurling on the rise in USA - read all about it

Available through Amazon.
Kindle Price: $10.37/£6.60.
A new ebook, Hurling USA: America discovers an ancient Irish sport, by Irish freelance journalist, podcaster, and former U.S. migrant Denis O'Brien, tells how hurling is spreading to American towns and cities that until recently never knew the sport existed. The author reveals why the sport is hooking Americans young and old.

Readers follow a trail to Mesopotamia, Egypt, across Europe and Canada to sample ancient stick ball games. Hurling's Irish roots are traced in myth, law, iconography, history, lecture and fascinating first-hand accounts of old matches. In the middle of the 19th century, hurling arrives in America with immigrants and prospers in the big cities until squabbling, assimilation, depression, war and exclusiveness see it fade into the background of ethnic entertainment in place to this day.

Hurling USA goes on to outline exactly where, how and why the sport is growing on college campuses and on American public parks. The author brings into focus the hit-and-miss Irish summer player model adopted by older ex-pat clubs in big cities in comparison to steady growth at new hurling clubs.

In the concluding chapter of the 309-page book, he examines what hurling's growing presence could mean for the sport's governing body in Ireland, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), Irish immigrants and the American sporting landscape.


The Irish in Montana: exhibition launch today

A new exhibition entitled From Rocky Shores to the Rocky Mountains opens today at University College Cork telling the tale of the Irish in Montana. Through four themes – The Journey, Work & Labour, Women & Children, and Church & Club – the story unfolds of famine emigrants arriving in Butte and transforming it into what became known as Ireland's fifth province.

At the turn of the last century the Irish made up a higher percentage in Butte than they did in any other American city; even today, one in four of the town's population is of Irish descent.

The Cork connection originates principally from the Beara Peninsula and the emigration of some 1,500 miners following the failure of the copper mines in Allihies. (See my post on Allihies Copper Mine Museum which won an impressive award last month.)

Although the exhibition concentrates on Montana, it holds interest for any family historian with emigrant ancestors (and that means pretty much all of us!) as many of the experiences will have been similar. It is on display in UCC Library and will continue until the end of September.

UCC Library is open Monday-Friday 8.30am–4.15pm and Saturday 10am–12.45pm.


Friday, 6 July 2012

Archive and library closures in Northern Ireland

Early warning that both the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) will be closed next week on Thursday 12 July and Friday 13 July. Both reopen for normal hours on Monday 16 July.

Local libraries in Northern Ireland, and the Linen Hall Library in Belfast, will be closed on the same dates, as well as Saturday 14 July. They also reopen, as usual, on the Monday.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Summer offers from BooksIreland

BooksIreland, the bookstore arm of the Ulster Historical Foundation, specialises in books covering the North of the island and has a very worthwhile sale on at the moment. Not only do the books deserve space on the shelves, there are some pretty significant discounts worth grabbing while you can.

Among the goodies that caught my eye were:
  • Scotch-Irish Merchants in Colonial America, by Richard K Macmaster (2009) which explores the realities of life and work for the merchants in the 18th century, and is discounted to £9.99;
  • Traveller's Accounts as Source Material for Irish historians by C J Woods (2009), with a sale price saving of £35;
  • Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors – The Essential Genealogical Guide to Early Modern Ulster, a 2010 e-book by Dr William Roulston that concentrates on sources for ancestors who lived in 17th and 18th century Ulster (£4.99, saving £3);
  • Them Wild Woods - an Irish Quaker Family's Transatlantic Correspondence 1818-1877, a 2012 e-book in which nearly all the contemporary residents of Dungannon, Co Tyrone, are mentioned one way or another, for £7.99.
Books in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland series are also marked down (most to just £3.75).

These publications, written in the 1830s, document the landscape, buildings, land-holdings and employment/livelihood of the population of individual counties in the northern half of Ireland immediately before the Great Famine.

Office Manager Kathryn McKelvey tells me that while the sale is expected to continue until the end of August, there is limited availability of some the books. 'Once they are gone, there are no plans to reprint,' she warns. So get your skates on.

US immigration and naturalisation next for LDS

View the current status of indexing
FamilySearch, the huge database run by the LDS (Mormons), is feeling mighty pleased with itself (and so it should) that its project to index the 1940 US census is well ahead of schedule. Thanks to the contributions of over 136,000 indexers, the index for all US states is expected to be complete this month.

Many are already available, of course, but there's been relatively little noise about it on this side of the pond.

I suspect that will change once the three 'big' Irish states of New York, Massachussets and Pennsylvania are searchable. I'll certainly be taking a serious dip into the database once I know I can search for my grandfather's sister and her family in Boston.

You can view the current status of the project by following the link beneath the image above.

Anyway, apart from highlighting the imminent completion of that project, Family Search yesterday announced that the next major project will be US Immigration and Naturalization records. Having these records readily avaiable will be extremely useful to Irish-American genealogists because they often hold the essential detail – the townland of origin in Ireland – on which research progress depends.

Many millions of these records are currently available as images in the FamilySearch collections, but they need to be made searchable. The intention is to harness the enthusiasm of the current army of 1940 Census indexers and seek additional support from genealogical societies and the general public.

The announcement confirmed that large-scale digitisation projects for countries outside the USA will continue. (Among the current Irish projects nearing completion are the Tithe Applotment Books and Wills.)

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

More events for July

Wouldn't you just know it! No sooner had I hit the 'publish' button on this month's Events for July list than a few more great goings on plopped into my Inbox. 
Here they are:

Uisce agus Beatha – Water & Life: Galway Maritime Exhibition : Galway City Heritage Office has organised an exhibition of old photographs associated with maritime and water heritage at Galway City Museum/ Musaem Cathrach. The exhibition coincides with the Volvo Ocean Race (until 8 July) and will continue until September 2012. It will be  officially opened on Thursday 5 July at 3pm by the Mayor of Galway, Terry O’Flaherty. 

 Dingle Historical Society has announced its Summer lecture schedule as follows:
  • The Age of Industry in Dingle Port 1880-1940, with Dan Graham. Diseart, Green Street. Friday 13 July, 8pm.
  • Foreign Games and the Founding of the GAA, with Dr Paul Rouse. Diseart, Green Street. Friday 20 July, 8pm.
  • The Irish Headhunter: The Photograph Albums of Charles R. Browne, with Ciarán Walsh. Dingle Library, Thursday 26 July at 7.30pm.

Family Fiver Friday at Glasnevin Museum!  Every Friday from now until 31 August, families of two adults and two children can take advantage of a combined Museum + Cemetery Tour ticket for just €5. That's a serious saving of €20! For more information and bookings, telephone 01-8826550 or email booking@glasnevintrust.ie.

Enduring myths and magic of Irish Folklore, with Kerri O'Brien who will explore the enduring myths and magic of Irish Folklore, in particular the figure of the Banshee and other portents of death.  Wednesday 11 July, Irish World Heritage Centre, Manchester. Tel: 0161 202 1200 or email.

Bram Stoker Centenary events this month

The author of Dracula can still draw a crowd! Bram Stoker's centenery celebrations continue with the following events:

Wednesday 4 July: Actor Laurence Foster will read from Dracula at St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. The cathedral organ will be adding to the atmosphere. 7pm. Free event. No booking required.

Saturday 7 July: Bram Stoker’s Dublin Journal. Join Elizabeth Miller, author of Dracula: Sense and Nonsense, and Dacre Stoker, great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, for a lecture on the man who gave us the scariest vampire of them all. National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 2pm. Free. No booking required. You need to arrive early to secure a place.

Monday 9 July: Bram Stoker Seminar. Two talks: Dacre Stoker will talk about the mysteries surrounding the writing of Dracula; Douglas S Appleyard will talk about the Stoker family in Ireland. Free, but booking essential on 01 674 4806 or email.



News in brief


Irish Roots magazine opens shop

Irish Roots Magazine, the only printed magazine dedicated to genealogy research in Ireland, now has an online store.

You can buy yourself (or anyone else!) a subscription to the quarterly magazine or choose a Genealogy Starter Pack. The publishers say they will be adding more products in due course.


Scottish census 1841-1891 now complete on Family Search

As reported last month, Family Search has been adding Scottish census records to its database. While you can search the index and get details of individuals on the Family Search site, you can't view images of the census returns without paying for them at Find My Past UK.

The full line-up of 19th-century census records is now available, as follows:
  • Scotland Census, 1841 2,629,006 records
  • Scotland Census, 1851 2,914,894 records
  • Scotland Census, 1861 3,009,214 records
  • Scotland Census, 1871 3,349,414 records
  • Scotland Census, 1881 3,721,356 records
  • Scotland Census, 1891 4,016,614 records

History Ireland magazine July-August issue in shops now

A spanking new issue of History Ireland magazine is on the shelves (and, hopefully, arriving in my postbox any minute now). It's a special issue, dedicated to Irish sporting heroes and Olympic involvements. Price €6.70 in the shops.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Dunleer Heritage Week kicks off on Thursday

The Dunleer & District Historical Society have organised a great-looking Heritage Week!

It starts this Thursday 5 July and continues to Sunday 8 July with a series of lectures, exhibitions and tours. Some are free while others make a small charge.

There's also a Genealogy Workshop with Alan Hand scheduled at Dunleer Library on Saturday between 11am and 1pm. This will be an introduction to the methods and means of tracing ancestors and family roots. While the event is free, places are limited so advance booking is essential. To book your place, please contact Muriel in the Dunleer Library (041 6861270).

Dunleer & District Historical Society was formed only a few months ago. To find out more, and to see the full list of events, see their website at www.midlouthhistory.com.



RootsIreland offers 'free' searches for July

From today until 31 July, RootsIreland has a special offer for viewing Search Results Pages. This, they announce, will allow researchers 'to view Search Result Pages without using purchased credits'.

Of course, this being RootsIreland, it's not simple and you have to have already purchased credits to get any free searches.

Currently, you have to pay to view Search Result pages. (Newly registered users of the site get 10 free Search Result pages to get them started; thereafter it's pay all the way.)

Under this special offer, registered users can view Search Results Pages at NO additional charge based on the number of unspent credits already held in the account.

So, for example, if you have already coughed up for 75 credits in your RootsIreland account, you will be able to view 75 Search Results pages at no charge. Your paid-for 75 credits will remain 'in the bank', as it were, ready to spend on viewing record transcriptions or for saving.

When you have used up your free views of Search Results you will need to purchase or use existing credits to continue viewing pages of Search Results.

Any special offer Free credits remaining at the end of the month will disappear.

You can read the full complicated instructions here. The last paragraph suggests they KNOW this is complicated and likely to confuse.

Why don't they just come up with a simple, straightforward, discount? Or, even better, get rid of the fee for viewing search result pages altogether?

Monday, 2 July 2012

Cork records to go online after 18-year wait

Church register records for Cork City are – finally – to make their way online. After an eighteen year wait (they were transcribed in the 1990s under the aegis of the Cork Ancestral Project, which was publicly funded via Fas), the records are to be made available via the Irish Family History Foundation's pay-per-view database RootsIreland 'by the end of July, at the earliest'.

Cork genealogist Margaret Jordan has to take much of the credit for bringing this long fight for access to a satisfactory, if not perfect, conclusion. She has maintained pressure on the powers that be for the last few years, galvanising support via her blog where she says today:

'I am personally disappointed that the records will not be added to www.irishgenealogy.ie, the government sponsored free website. It was my understanding that, in the past, the Cork County Library did not want to add their records to the IFHF website (which was the only Irish commercial website at the time) as their policy was not to charge the public.

'However, I will be glad to see the end of the battle to get these records online!'

You're not alone there, Margaret! Please take a bow. You've done the Irish genealogy community a great service.

So how far off is 'end of July at the earliest'? Past experience tells me not to hold my breath for the next four weeks. But hopefully it won't be too delayed.



Just launched: Facebook pages for nine counties

One of the brand new County specific FB pages
The guys and gals that bring us Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (IGPA) have launched some Facebook pages for specific Irish counties.

In Facebook-style, they are more casual, chatty and photo-oriented than the email lists and I'm sure they will develop into busy communities. A great bonus for researchers and a fun way to link up, learn and share with others.

Here's the line-up:


Irish Genealogy Toolkit is the Research Help partner of IGPA.