Back To Our Past Lecture Programme, the countdown to Ireland's very own genealogy exhibition begins. The three-day show (18–20 October), held at the RDS Industries Hall in Ballsbridge, Dublin, will once again see the Irish genealogy community coming together as part of the Over 50s show.
The event attracts some 20,000 visitors, ensuring plenty of 'fresh blood' to be drawn into the addictive world of family history.
The lecture programme is a major part of the appeal – not surprising when you see the wide range of heritage and genealogy themes on offer – and the talks are free to attend on a first-come, first-served basis.
There are three strands of talks on each day.
The first two strands have been organised by the Association of Professional Genealogists of Ireland (APGI) and are sponsored by the Irish Family History Foundation. To be held in Presentation Areas 1 & 2, subjects range from historical personalities to local/social studies to in-depth genealogical resources. There's quite a strong military theme, this year, too, which will go down well because so many 'missing' Irishmen can be discovered in military records, while the pure Irish genealogy subjects take in everything from 'getting started' and 'tracing Irish-American relatives' to the advanced areas of occupational records, obituaries, school records and the Registry of Deeds.
There's even a HistoryIreland Hedge School – Who do the Irish think they are? – to get the blood up early on Friday evening, and a possibly more sobering panel discussion about the Easter Rising leaders to round up the weekend.
The third strand is dedicated to Genetic Genealogy ie DNA and has been organised by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) on behalf of FamilyTreeDNA. Like the main Presentation schedule, this Genetic Genealogy programme will run over the three days and operates to the same hour-by-hour timetable. There are lectures aimed at enlightening those who know little or nothing about DNA and where it fits in the family history box of tricks, but there are also presentations that will appeal to researchers with a bit more knowledge of genetics as applied to genealogy. There are also some which go way, way over my head!
So this year's Irish genealogy feast is certainly coming together. There's no exhibitor list on the BackToOurPast website yet, but most of the usual suspects will be there. I know for sure that we'll be seeing APGI, the National Archives of Ireland, the North of Ireland FHS, Irish Roots magazine, PRONI, RootsIreland, the Irish Genealogical Research Society, FindMyPast and Ancestry, and there will be plenty of others, too. Sadly the National Library of Ireland are on the No-Show list for the second year running (seems a long time since they attended any events beyond Kildare Street), but the National Library of Wales will be attending for the first time, and you'll find them on the Lecture Programme, too.
The doors open on Friday 18th at 12pm, and there's a formal launch by Minister Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister of State for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht at 12:15pm.
On both Saturday and Sunday, opening time is 11am. And the closing time on all three days is 7pm.