Friday, 28 June 2013

GRONI and PRONI closures in next two weeks

Some notes for your diary if you're intending to visit either the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) or the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) in the next couple of weeks...

GRONI's Public Search Room will be closed for refurbishment and maintenance from Monday 1 July to Wednesday 3 July inclusive. The public counter will be operating as usual.

Both GRONI and PRONI will be closed (all departments) on Friday 12 July and Monday 15 July. There will be no late-night opening at PRONI on Thursday on 11 July; closing time will be 4:45pm.

Templepatrick church census 1857 goes online

Emerald Ancestors has added the Templepatrick Presbyterian Church Census of 1857 to its Church Census Collection.

The record set lists more than 800 names from this County Antrim congregation and joins an earlier (1831) census for the same church.

Many family groupings can be identified in both censuses, 26 years apart.

In most cases, the census lists all members, including children, within a household. As well as identifying their townland, the maiden name of mothers is recorded.

Prevalent Presbyterian family surnames recorded in the census include: Agnew, Barnet, Barret, Bell, Bill, Birkmyers (Burkmyers), Black, Boyd, Bradford, Christy, Coulter, Courtney, Cowan, Craig, Finlay, Fulton, Garner, Gibb, Gormal, Graham, Greer, Hamill, Hamilton, Harper, Hawthorn, Henderson, Holmes, Hunter, Hutcheson, Ingram, Jamison, Kee, Kennedy, Kirk, Lawther, Lemon, Lynn, Magee, McClung, McComb, McCrum, McIlwain, McKeague, McKee, McKeen, McKenna, McMeekin, McMillan (McMillen), McNeil, McNight, McWilliams, Meneilly, Neill (Neil), Neisbet, Price, Rea, Robinson, Shannon, Shaw, Smith, Stevenson, Stewart, Tate, Wiley, Williamson & Wilson.

The residences of these families in and around Templepatrick Parish are recorded as follows: Ballycushin, Ballyhartfield, Ballymartin, Ballypallady, Ballyrobert, Carnanee, Clachanduff (Cloghanduff), Cotton Mount, Kilgreel, Kilmakee, Rickamor, Templepatrick, Toberagnew (Toberagnee).

More Welsh parish records added to FMP

FindMyPast has added 1.2 million parish baptisms, marriages and burials to its Wales collection, which includes records from 1538.

The newly added records include 522,011 baptisms, 96,286 marriages and 456,600 burials, and takes the total number of Welsh parish records to more than 5million.

Some Welsh parishes have opted out of the partnership that's bringing these records to the online environment. There's an explanatory note on this FMP page.

The Wales collection is available in FindMyPast's Britain and World subscription packages.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

PRONI confirms National Register's FOI procedure

As advised in my news story on Monday about the next stage of the project to catalogue the 1939 National Register, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has updated its website with brief details about the resource and how to access it under Freedom of Information legislation.

You can read it here.

DIPPAM back online after technical hitch

If you've been trying to reach the DIPPAM (Documenting Ireland Parliament, People and Migration) website over the last week or so, you'll know it's been offline.

I'm pleased to say that the technical problem has now been sorted and the site, possibly best known for the searchable Irish Emigration Database, is now available once again.

This seems a good opportunity to draw researchers attention to this important resource!

DIPPAM is an online archive of documents and sources relating to the history of Ireland and its migration experience from the 18th to the late 20th centuries. It's a project developed by Queen's University Belfast, the University of Ulster, Libraries Northern Ireland and the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies.

In short, DIPPAM is a treasure trove that can only be appreciated when you dip in. Here's a taster of some of the surprising and incredibly useful content it holds, in addition to the Irish Emigration Database:
  • Return of 1102 persons committed for Contempt of Court 1839–1849
  • The Emigrant's Directory & Guide to obtain Lands and effect a Settlement in the Canadas, 1833
  • Lists of convicts and vagabonds for transportation, 1737
  • Return of staff employed as Stampers at the Stamp Offices of Dublin, Edinburgh and London, 1845-46
  • Irish Immigrants to Atlantic Canada, 1832-1846, by Terrence M. Punch FIGRS

Irish Newspaper Archive grows online collection

Irish Newspaper Archive has seen a splurge of new titles and additional dates to its subscription database, as follows:
  • Belfast Newsletter 1800–1890
  • Donegal News: 1903–current
  • Fermanagh Herald: 1903–1910
  • Longford Leader: 1897–1949
Philip Martin, director of the family firm that runs the archive, told Irish Genealogy News some time back that the company hopes to have online at least one newspaper title per historical Irish county by the end of this year, and looks to be on target. By early autumn, the following uploads are expected to have been added:
  • Longford Leader: 1950–2003
  • Dundalk Democrat: 1849–1907
  • Fermanagh Herald: 1911–1959

Free access to Irish bmds on FMP until Sunday

Just a reminder that a collection of Ireland's civil registration indexes of births, marriages and deaths is available, free, on FindMyPast Ireland, on FindMyPast USA and FindMyPast Australia/NZ until Sunday 30 June.

The collection covers the following dates:
  • Birth indexes from 1864 to 1921 for the entire island; 1922 to 1958 Republic only.
  • Marriage indexes from 1845 to 1921 for the entire island; 1922 to 1958 Republic only. (Non-Catholic marriages only 1845-1863)
  • Death indexes from 1864 to 1921 for the entire island; 1922 to 1958 Republic only.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A gunner's WW1 – book launch, 1 July

A graphic account of a gunner officer’s experiences in the First World War will be launched at 12.00 on Monday July 1 in the gallery of the Northern Ireland War Memorial, 21 Talbot Street, Belfast.

Scarce heard amid the guns is an account of the war that's been drawn from the diary and letters home of Lieutenant Colonel Claud Potter, who fought in every major battle and served with the 36th (Ulster) Division. The story has been written by his son, Major John Potter.

The book, which costs £14, is illustrated by sketch maps of the front line and the location of the batteries of guns. Photographs depict the battlefield, then and now.

Colonel John Steele, President of the Royal Artillery Association in Northern Ireland, commented: “In his diary entries and letters, Potter holds nothing back, which helps to explain why they the accounts are so vivid and immediate.”

More details on the Northern Ireland Memorials site.

What's in a name?: PRONI 27 June

An entertaining and informative afternoon is to be held on Thursday 27 June on the subject of placenames and surnames.

In addition to music, poetry and drama, What's in a name? will explore the culture and historical aspects of placenames and surnames. The Lord Mayor, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, will open the event and expert speakers will provide an insight into how the Irish Language has contributed to this heritage.

The speakers include Aodán McPólín (Utach Trust), Jake MacSiacais (Forbairt Feirste) and Jim Bradley (Belfast Hills Partnership).

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland will be exhibiting its online web applications at the event.

What's in a name? will be hosted by broadcaster William Crawley in the MAC Theatre, Belfast, 2pm–4pm.

If you'd like to attend, book on tel 02890 515057.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

County Clare archives to be placed online, free

Clare County Library’s entire archival collection dating back to the early 18th century is to be digitised and made freely available online. The collection includes land and lease records, marriage settlements, wills, electors' registers and other goodies of great value to historians and genealogists.

For more details, see Irish Roots Magazine Facebook page.

1939 National Register – PRONI latest

PRONI plans to continue its work to catalogue the 1939 National Register for Northern Ireland later this year.

The 1939 National Register has shot up in importance for genealogists because, with the loss of the 1926 Census for Northern Ireland (see news story), there will be a gaping hole in census resources for the six counties until the 1937 census is released in 2038. The Register, however, was an emergency quasi-census taken within weeks of WW2 being declared and is not subject to the normal 100-year closure legislation. It isn't open to all comers, either; access to the records is controlled under Freedom of Information rules and a form of the 100-year-rule is applied.

Trouble is, with the returns unindexed, identifying a particular individual in the Register has been difficult. There is no name index. It can be searched only by address, and even that isn't straightforward, as you'll see below.

But a bit of history on the cataloguing project first...

Cataloguing project Stage One

Stage One of the project to catalogue the Register returns was carried out before the 2012 move to PRONI's shiny new premises in the Titanic Quarter. This saw the development of a 'working list' or inventory of the 700-odd volumes. This working list basically made some sense of the paperwork and means staff now have a summary of the townlands or streets included in each volume.

This doesn't mean that it is now easy peasy to locate returns for specific addresses. As David Huddleston, Head of Records Management, Cataloguing and Access for PRONI, explained to Irish Genealogy News, a logical 'clustering' of locations doesn't seem to have been part of the original binding process. 'While you might expect that all the returns for one street – even a long street – would have been filed together, this isn't always the case. Often, the returns for just one Belfast street might have been filed across several registers.

'Some of the registers have been bound according to the alphabet, for example. Others by proximity. More still in no discernable order whatsoever. While the returns for a small rural village might be found within, say, only two registers, one urban street might be filed in no numerical sequence in a couple of dozen registers. Some registers hold returns for locations in several counties.'

The Stage One working list helps PRONI staff to narrow down to a selection of registers for particular streets and townlands, but the list doesn't include house numbers or family names, or any other identifiers. So, if the street you're researching covers several registers, staff have to look through all of them, even if you provide the exact house number and fullest address.

No wonder, then, that PRONI hasn't exactly encouraged applications for details from the Register. While PRONI's website has a big chunk of general information about applying for data under the Freedom of Information Act, there is no specific section of the website dedicated to this particular wartime resource.

This will, however, be corrected shortly. See 'PRONI website update' below.

Cataloguing project Stage Two

Stage Two of the cataloguing project will take this intermediary update a step further. It will include a full introduction or summary to the resource and how to get the best from it (PRONI already has many excellent such summaries for a number of family history collections), but more research will need to be carried out to answer some of the most obvious questions that will be raised. At the moment, for example, it's not known if there are any gaps in coverage (it's feasible that some returns never reached the central collating office). Some of the codes used on the right-hand of the register returns (see image of a 1939 National Register entry) will also need to be completely nailed down, to facilitate interpretation.

Stage Two of the cataloguing project may get underway, depending on staffing and resource levels, in the autumn. In the meantime:

PRONI website update

PRONI intends to update their website with a short page of information about applying for details from the 1939 National Register. This will be done quickly, perhaps by the end of this week.

Although this page won't go into huge detail about the Register itself, it will explain exactly what information can be divulged and how to apply. It will make clear that applications are by address and not by individual and will also clarify the 100-year-closure-rule that PRONI has always applied for these FOI applications:
  1. Details of all inhabitants of an address are disclosed only if ALL those inhabitants would now be more than 100 years old. There is no need to provide proof of death.
  2. Details of any inhabitant of an address who would, if still alive, not have reached his/her 100th birthday are not disclosed unless proof of his/her death are provided (or the applicant is that inhabitant). Details of all the other inhabitants are disclosed without need for proof of death.

How many researchers have applied?

David told me there have been fewer than 100 FOI applications for information from the 1939 National Register in the three years since two challenges, one of them by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations, achieved the landmark victory that opened up some level of access to it. A few applications have been unsuccessful because the address wasn't provided, while others have failed because the individuals about whom the researcher was enquiring were not at the expected address. But most have been successful when both address and proof of death (copy death certificate or a published death notice) have been supplied, as required.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Commemorate the 1913 Lockout in Henrietta St

I really don't know how to categorise this event. Living the Lockout is billed as the 'Dublin Tenement Experience' and is a stage performance cum history lecture tour that provides a rare opportunity to see inside an undisturbed tenement property and get a taste of life 100 years ago in Dublin.

Number 14 Henrietta Street dates back to 1748 when it was the epitomy of aristocratic living. By 1913, it was a rundown tenement house, into which some 100 people (17 families, according to the 1911 census) were crammed. The effect of the Lockout, which started on 26 August was immediate and harsh.

Visitors to the house will be treated to a performance that portrays the struggles these families endured during the Lockout.

The house will be open 6 days a week (closed Wednesdays) from Thursday 4 July until 31 August. Timed ticket bookings can be made online or at the property (cash only on the door).

Abandoned Mansions of Ireland: Kilkenny exhibition

The Abandoned Mansions of Ireland Exhibition has opened at Kilkenny Castle and will remain on display until 28 July.

In the exhibition, photographer Tarquin Blake documents the end of the landed aristocracy in Ireland and the demise of their country mansion houses. His haunting images of the ruins convey an indefinable beauty and are accompanied by history and folklore, telling of troubled times and private hardship.

They also tell of how Ireland's architectural heritage is being allowed to crumble.

Opening hours are 9am–5pm. The exhibition is on display in the basement corridor to the left when you enter the castle ( opposite the Butler Gallery ).

More information.

Extended hours for NLI's free Genealogy Service

The National Library of Ireland's Genealogy Advisory Service is up and running again as of last Monday.

As last year, the consortium of Eneclann and Ancestor Network is fulfilling the role, but with extended hours of operation. These new arrangements means there will be a professional genealogist available for free consultation right across the lunchtime period, which will be much appreciated, but the service will finish 15 minutes earlier on Thursday and Friday. A genealogist is also available during the Library's normal Saturday opening hours.

These are the hours when the GAS will be available until the end of September:

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 9.30am–5pm
Thursday and Friday: 9.30am–4.45pm
Saturday: 9:15–12:45pm

The GAS supplements the National Library's own staff in the Genealogy Service during the busiest months of the year.

The Library's Genealogy Service operates year-round and provides a very popular and free service to all family historians on a first-come, first-served basis.

Genealogy and history events to end of June

A great range of events are being held across Ireland and the UK in the closing week of June.

Monday 24 June: An Irish outlaw in the time of Robin Hood, with Aine Foley. Host: Kill Local History Group. Venue: Parish Hall, Kill, Co Kildare. 8:30pm.

Tuesday 25 June: Striking Gold in Tipperary: the discovery of the Carrick-on-Suir gold coin hoard, with Isabella Mulhall. Cashel Library, Friars St, Cashel, Co. Tipperary . Free. 7:15pm.

Wednesday 26 June: A Terrible Beauty, UK premier film screening at Irish World Heritage Centre, Irish Town Way, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 0AE. 7:30pm. £3 Details: 0161 205 4007.

Wednesday 26 June: London-Derry Connections: The early years, 1613-1640, with Dr Ian Archer. Special lecture exploring how the City of London came to be involved in the Irish Plantation. Marks 400th anniversary of The Irish Society. Venue: Guildhall Old Library, London. 6pm. Free, but reservations required: Email or tel  020 7831 0575.

Wednesday 26 June: Family History Online For Beginners, a workshop at Kilkeel Library, The Nautilus Centre, Rooney Road, Co Down BT34 4AG. 11am–12:30pm. Free, but booking advised. Tel: 028 4176 2278 or email.

Wednesday 26 June and Thursday 27 June: Crime, Violence and the Irish in the 19th century, a two-day conference. Host: The Society for the Study of 19th-century Ireland. Venue: Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. Cost £75. Programme.

Thursday 27 June: Family History Online for Beginners, a free workshop at Ballynahinch Library, Main Street, Co Down BT24 8DN. 2pm–3pm. Booking essential. Tel: 028 9756 4282.

Friday 28 June: The Folk Art of Gravestones, with Louise Nugent in Middlequarter Graveyard, Newcastle, Co Tipperary at 6:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Friday 28 June: Crossing the Sruthar-na-Maile Chinntire: connections between the northwest of Ireland and Scotland before 1600, with Dr Alison Cathcart. First of the Ulster-Scots History & Heritage Lecture Series. Venue: Martha Magee lecture theatre (room MD008), University of Ulster, Magee Campus, Derry-Londonderry. 7pm. Free. Open to all, and no need to book.

Saturday 29 June: The story of Richmond Asylum, with Pauline Conroy. Cobblestone pub, Smithfield, Dublin. 4pm. Free.

Saturday 29 June: York Family History Fair, Knavesmire Exhibition Centre, York Racecourse, UK. 10am–4:30pm. £4.50. Details.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Transcription of Great Parchment Book 99% complete

Transcriptions of 99% of Derry's Great Parchment Book are now available online. There is apparently just one full page to be added, plus a few fragments.

Images of the pages will be added to the site in due course, but for the moment there is much to discover on the website, with plenty of background information to set the scene to the Ulster Plantation and the Great Parchment Book's creation.

You can find out how the transcriptions work from the Explore section.

Event: If you're interested in Derry's Great Parchment Book you may also be interested in a lecture – London-Derry Connections: The early years 1613-1640 – that's to be held in London this coming week. Historian Dr Ian Archer will explore how the City of London came to be involved in the Irish plantations.

Time: Wednesday 26 June 2013, 6.00pm
Venue: Guildhall Old Library
Admission: Free, but reservations required: or 020 7831 0575.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Heading West: Three weekend lectures

Saturday 22 June: The Blakes ... bloodier than the 'Bloody Bodkins', with Adrian Martyn. Galway City Museum Spanish Parade, Galway City. Free. 2–3pm. Booking essential on 353 (0)91 532 460 or

Saturday 22 June: An American Perspective – Tracing Your Family History, with Clare Curtin at 2.30pm, Clare Museum, Ennis, co Clare. Free. Part of the Claires to Clare Gathering.

Saturday 22 June: Bere Island's Napoleonic-era defences, with Damien Shiels. Venue: Bere Island Community Centre. 7pm.

Remembering the 1913 Lock Out: lecture on video

Michael D. Higgins, Uachtarán na hÉireann (President of Ireland), delivered the Michael Littleton Memorial Lecture for R.T.É on Wednesday evening. The lecture: Remembering the 1913 Lock Out: It’s sources, impact and some lessons was recorded and is now available on video via YouTube below.

It's 45mins 16secs long and well worth a listen.

Free access to Irish bmds on FMP 27–30 June

Find My Past is to mark next week's 91st anniversary of the Four Courts Fire in Dublin by opening up its collection of Irish civil registration indexes for free access.

The collection covers the following dates:
  • Birth indexes from 1864 to 1921 for the entire island; 1922 to 1958 Republic only.
  • Marriage indexes from 1845 to 1921 for the entire island; 1922 to 1958 Republic only. (Non-Catholic marriages only 1845-1863)
  • Death indexes from 1864 to 1921 for the entire island; 1922 to 1958 Republic only.
Despite the myth that 'ALL Irish records burned', many records did, in fact, survive, either because they were not housed in the Four Courts at the time of the fire, or because they were in a part of the building that the flames didn't reach. The entire civil registration collection was one of these.

Free access to the Irish bmds has been confirmed on FMP Ireland, on FMP USA and FMP Aus/NZ.

CIGO celebrates successes in Family Tree magazine

In the July issue of Family Tree magazine, CIGO executive liaison executive Steven Smyrl looks back on 21 years of successful campaigning by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations.

It's an interesting feature, as it refers to many of the major issues and developments in Irish genealogy over the last two decades since GROUSERS – the GRO Users Group – formed to fight for the retention of a Dublin Research Room when the GRO moved to Roscommon. CIGO evolved from that early lobby group and has become an influential voice in the industry, campaigning on behalf of Irish genealogists everywhere.

Bursaries available for Certificate in Local Studies

The Lord Mayor's Certificate in Local Studies will be taught at Dublin City Library & Archive from September this year to April next. Classes, presented by Dr. Seamas O Maitiu, will be held on Tuesdays from 5:30-8:00pm.

Although based in Dublin, dissertation topics on places outside the capital can be researched. Even locations outside Ireland will be considered.

The course fee is €500 and the closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 30 August 2013. You can find more details by downloading the brochure here.

Dublin City Council is offering two Bursaries in connection with this course. Bursary applications need to be submitted by Friday 16 August 2013.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

NAI issues tender for provision of Genealogy Service

NAI - Bishop St, Dublin 8
The National Archives of Ireland (NAI) has issued an invitation to tender for the provision of the Genealogy Service at its Bishop Street Reading Room from this summer.

The tender document says the service 'is intended primarily for first time visitors and enables them to discuss their research with experienced and professionally accredited genealogists, and to have assistance from the latter in consulting some of the most important finding aids. More experienced family historians may also avail of the service, in order to obtain expert advice on problems arising in the course of their research.'

In terms of technical and professional abilities, tenderers have to satisfy certain minimum skills and experience requirements (project leader must be a genealogist accredited by one of the accrediting bodies of Ireland, UK, USA or Australia; each of the panel of at least five Researchers must hold a recognised qualification and have one years' experience of paid research). All members of the tendering team have to have recent familiarity with the genealogical resources held by NAI.

Closing date for receipt of tenders is 11 July. Detailed documents relating to this public procurement competition are available via eTenders.

The one-year contract is expected to commence at the very end of July/early August and will continue to offer free professional genealogical advice to all visiting researchers from 10am to 1:30pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

1926 Census: an enabling strategy coming 'shortly'.....

You may well have read John Grenham's column in the Irish Times this week in which he paints a pretty pessimistic view of the likelihood of the 1926 Census arriving any time soon (or even before 1927). Regular readers of Irish Genealogy News will know that I've been advocating a lowering of expectations of an early release, but still urging readers to campaign like billy-oh in the hope of getting the promised result... yes, the result promised in the Programme for Government. See previous blogpost.

You'll also know that the last response to a campaign letter came from Paul Kehoe T.D., Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach with special responsibility for the CSO. It was uncomfortably negative, and pretty much slammed the door of the Central Statistics Office in our faces.

Well, the latest response to a campaign letter to come my way has arrived via genealogist Stuart McGee who wrote to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DAHG). The reply from the Minister's Office acknowledges the commitment in the Programme for Government and says that a Working Group, comprising officials from the DAHG, the National Archives of Ireland and the Central Statistic Office (CSO) has met to consider how best to enable publication of the 1926 Census records.

It goes on to say:

'Under current legislation (the Statistics Act 1993), census data must be withheld for 100 years. If the records were to be released before the expiry of 100 years, a change in legislation would be required to allow for the early release. Following discussions with the CSO, the Minister is of the opinion that the extensive preparatory work required to facilitate the release of the data into the public domain can commence in advance of the legal restriction being addressed. The CSO and the National Archives have agreed to facilitate the preparatory work on the Census records.

'The 1926 Census Working Group has agreed an enabling strategy which the Minister will shortly bring to Government.'

So most of this is the just the same old, same old, presented with a waft of positivity.

The final sentence is, compared with Paul Kehoe's missive, almost upbeat. Or at least the word 'shortly' inplies we should expect some developments in the near future.

I'll not be holding my breath.

New certificate course in Oral History starts September

Dublin City Library & Archive is to launch a new course this autumn: The Lord Mayor's Certificate in Oral History. This will be taught on Mondays starting on 9 September and continuing to April 2014. Course tutors will be Drs Catherine O'Connor and Mary McCarthy.

The course give participants formal and practical training in how to prepare oral history projects, how to conduct and transcribe interviews and how to present oral history research. The fee for the course is 500 Euros. Further details can be found in the brochure, which is downloadable here.

Two bursaries are being offered by Dublin City Council in connection with this qualification. Further details.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Heritage Trail opens at Belfast's City Cemetery

A number of signs have been erected at key points around Belfast`s City cemetery, not only to help people to find their way around but also to map out a new maritime and industrial heritage trail, which identifies some of the more significant memorials located there.

Among the many famous people from Belfast`s past interred in the cemetery are the likes of William Pirrie, Chairman of Harland & Wolff; Thomas Gallaher, the `Tobacco King` and founder of the Gallaher`s tobacco factory; Dr Thomas Andrews, the chemist whose pioneering work led to the development of modern refrigeration; the pioneering educational Margaret Byers; the famed Victorian photographer Alexander Hogg, and many more.

All of these graves, and other points of interest, are highlighted on the trail, which has been developed and funded by Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Burial records dating back to 1869, and including records for those interred in the Jewish, public and Glenalina extension sections, can be searched via Belfast City Council's online facility. Images are available for purchase (£1.50) for records that are over 75 years old.

Ancestry uploads millions of US & Canadian records

As promised last month, Ancestry has uploaded a ton and a half (nearly 10 million) birth, marriage and death records for Massachussetts. They date from 1840/1 to 1915, the main period of exodus from Ireland, so there should be plenty of Irish immigrants awaiting discovery within this huge database.

The Massachussetts Town and Vital Records collection, which dates from 1620 to 1988, has also been updated. It now holds 23,159,802 records, including some really unusual ones such as dog licence applications, fishing permits, mortgage and tax records, and even details of pew sales.

Another Massachussetts collection, less mainstream but useful, holds 336,033 membership cards dating from 1733 to 1990 of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Massachussetts, the oldest masonic lodge in the United States.

Sticking to neighbouring North-Eastern states, Ancestry has also added new collections for New Hampshire (2.3million birth, marriage, death and divorce records dating back up to nearly four centuries), Vermont (1.4million vital records), Rhode Island (state censuses 1865–1935), and Connecticut (some 1.3million headstone inscriptions dating from 1675–1934 from more than 2,000 cemeteries, the work of Charles R Hale).

Several smaller new or updated packages have also been added to Ancestry in the last week or so, including a total of 1.5million records in a number of Canadian databases primarily related to military service. Among them are British Army and Canadian Militia Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1795-1850, and British Navy Ship Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1757-1836, the latter covering Canadian ships and shipyards.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Eneclann presents personal genealogy exhibition to Obamas

Eneclann's Fiona Fitzsimons and Helen Moss today presented a private genealogy session to Miichelle Obama and her two daughters in the Long Room in the Old Library, Trinity College Dublin.

Fiona gave an overview of the history of their family, which is better documented than that of other Irish-American presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton or even JFK. The Obamas’ story includes wig and shoemakers, merchants and farmers, and politicians.

While their deep ancestry (Kearneys, Donovans, etc.) are of Irish origin, an important line, the Benns (or Behn) were continental religious refugees who settled in Limerick before 1700.

The surviving paper trail enabled the Eneclann team to trace the family back to the 1600s.

The Obamas were introduced to a display of important documents from their Irish family history, including the parish register for Templeharry church in Moneygall (kindly lent by the Representative Church Body Library), maps from the National Library, and records from Trinity College Library.

For more details about Barack Obama's Irish ancestry, see the Eneclann online exhibition.

Famine Walk needs walkers and sponsors

Walkers and sponsors required! The Tracton Famine Walk will take place in County Cork on Saturday 22 June, in memory of 124 desperate men, women and children who, on 22th June 1850, abandoned their Tracton homes and trekked 8 miles to the dreaded workhouse in Kinsale (now the Community Hospital).

Why did those people abandon their homes en masse on that day? History records that the Kinsale Workhouse was overcrowded and riddled with famine fever and typhoid – how could it be better than remaining at home in Tracton?

This is one of the issues the walkers, each one representing one of those on the original trek, will be pondering as they follow the route.

More details of this thought provoking and worthwhile event via the Irish Genealogical Research Society's facebook page.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Irish Architectural Archive to close for two months

The Irish Architectural Archive is to close on Friday 28 June until Tuesday 3 September in a desperate bid to remain solvent.

The archive is one of Ireland's most important repositories. It is the nation's buildings record and has been collecting and preserving material of every kind relating to the architecture of the entire island for nearly 40 years and making it available to the public. But grant cutbacks and a significant reduction in sponsorship from the construction and archictectural industries, both so badly hit by the economic downturn, have left the coffers in a parlous state.

In a recent statement, chairman Michael Webb explained: 'From a worsening but workable financial position up to mid-2012, when grant support was cut again, we ended 2012 with a substantial cash deficit and now face a potential cumulative deficit in excess of €100,000 by the end of 2013. Quite simply, the Archive does not have the resources to operate normally for the whole of the year.

'The Board of the Archive has had to act to protect this vital cultural resource and so we now find ourselves having to close the Archive for July and August 2013. We recognise that this will be a significant disruption for Archive users, especially those working on long-term research and publication projects. The closure will also harm our loyal and hard-working staff, all of whom will be made temporarily redundant.'

If you can help by making a donation, no matter how small, please see the IAA's funding appeal page.

More about the Irish Architectural Archive.

Friday, 14 June 2013

IGP Archives updates for first half of June

Bridget Considine nee McNamara
Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives have uploaded the following files so far this month. It's not a big number of files, but they make up a varied collection.

Along with the list, I've been asked to pass on a call for more volunteer gravestone photographers. They're needed by many of the county project sites, and the process to upload photos has been streamlined to make it easy. If you've a notion to spend some of the summer mooching about in graveyards, why not contact the IGP-web co-ordinater for your county to find out how to proceed?

CLARE Genealogy Archives - Photos
Bridget Considine nee McNamara Photo

CORK Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Castlehyde Cemetery (Parish of Litter) Additional headstone photo

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Cruagh Cemetery Pt. 3, Rockbrook, Co. Dublin

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Lisnaskea, Church of the Holy Trinity (CoI) Cemetery. Two parts.

KERRY Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
New Memorial (Funeral) Card page for Kerry

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives - Church Records
Some Callan Baptisms (individual) from 1843

MONAGHAN Genealogy Archives - Census Substitutes
Some CoI Family Members from Aghabog Area, Monaghan, 1824

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Blessington; St. Marys
Hollywood; St. Kevins Catholic Church & Cemetery

PRONI marks G8 summit with online exhibition

To mark the imminent arrival of the G8 big-wigs in Northern Ireland (Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh, for anyone who doesn't keep up to date with world news), PRONI has launched an online exhibition.

It goes by the rather snappy title of G8: Hall of Documents & Top 10 treasures of PRONI relating to Co. Fermanagh and displays a range of documents and photographs relating to the countries and governments involved. There's also a list of the Top 10 archives of PRONI relating to Co. Fermanagh.

And it's this list that may be of greater interest to family historians, especially to those with ancestral connections to the area. It's a very handy list of estate and family papers held at PRONI and a reminder that the papers for Enniskillen Workhouse cover the years 1840-1952.

London Gazette: a surprisingly useful resource

Ancestry has added the London Gazette to its list of browsable collections. The 306578 records can be browsed by publication date, month or year.

In this format, it will no doubt have its uses, but most family historians will find the free, fully indexed London Gazette website more useful as it can be searched by any keyword, including name.

The London Gazette is the UK's official newspaper of record ie it publishes data from a range of official sources. It holds notices of bankruptcy and civil service appointments and promotions, details of military appointments and promotions and despatches from the War Office, notices of legalised name changes and of deaths and executors. It can be extremely useful for all manner of detail. And it's free to search and view.

To give an example from my own research, the early careers of my grandfather's two brothers can be tracked through the newspaper. From the family's labourer's cottage in Clonakilty, Co Cork, they travelled to Dublin in the last years of the 19th century to sit examinations for appointment to the Post Office, then part of the Civil Service. Their successes were recorded, as were their subsequent postings to London as Boy Clerks. Later promotions to GPO Sorters were also noted. Another brother is recorded for the award of the Meritorious Service Medal at the tail end of WW1.

The Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes can also be searched via the London-Gazette website.

Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland: 50% discount

A number of volumes of the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland have been reprinted after being unavailable for some time. BooksIreland is currently offering a 50% discount on this collection.

The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland is a detailed source for the history of the northern half of Ireland immediately before the Great Famine. The books were written in the 1830s to accompany the 6" Ordnance Survey maps and document the landscape, buildings and antiquities, land-holdings and population, employment and livelihood of the parishes.

Published by the Institute of Irish Studies, the three reprints are:
  • Vol. 20: Parishes of Co. Tyrone II – Mid and East Tyrone
  • Vol. 28: Parishes of Co. Londonderry IX – West Londonderry
  • Vol. 40: Counties of South Ulster – Cavan, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo

A new book published by the Ulster Historical Foundation may also be of interest:

Scotch-Irish Merchants in Colonial America: The Flaxseed Trade and Emigration from Ireland, 1718-1775, by Richard K. MacMaster. Published by the Ulster Historical Foundation, this new book tells the story of the transatlantic links between Ulster and America in the eighteenth century.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Skibbereen pulls out the stops for Heritage Week

Skibbereen Heritage Centre has organised an action-packed 8-day programme of events for Heritage Week.

Getting the ball rolling on Saturday 17 August is a Genealogy Day when family historians can get free advice from experienced genealogists. It's strictly by appointment and will be held at the Heritage Centre.

That evening, local historian and genealogist William Casey will give an illustrated talk 'How to Research your West Cork Ancestry'.

During the rest of the week there's a series of interesting talks about the Famine and famine emigration, and West Cork's O'Driscoll, O'Donovan and O'Sullivan clans, plus there are pageants and plays on historical themes, a guided historical walk of Skibbereeen Town and even a litter pick at beautiful Lough Hyne!

While all the events are free, places are limited (especially for the Genealogy events and the walk) so be sure to book good and early. August seems a long way off, but it'll come round before you know it. The programme can be downloaded here, or you can phone to reserve a place on +353 (0)28 40900.

Kilkenny famine graveyard at risk

Seems there's something of a rumpuss going on in Kilkenny about a planned new road that will carve up a famine graveyard within the grounds of the old Fever Hospital.

The route of the road – part of the City’s €10.7 million Central Access Scheme (CAS) – has already caused controversy because it requires the demolition of two historic houses at 21 and 22 Vicar Street, which are thought to contain substantial medieval fabric and significant archaeological importance. Despite a 3,600-signature petition against the demolition, the houses are expected to be wrecked within days.

News about the famine graveyard has come as a revelation. But Cóilín Ó Drisceoil, director of Kilkenny Archaeology, says that a local historian had discovered a reference to it from March 1847 when the Kilkenny City Relief Committee 'voted £10 for coffins and £10 to buy a plot of land behind the Kilkenny Fever Hospital'.

“Kilkenny County Council were not aware of this graveyard,” Mr O’ Drisceoil told the Kilkenny People newspaper. “It is quite extraordinary that after ten years of planning for the Central Access Scheme that this should have been missed.”

A similar famine graveyard within the old Kilkenny Workhouse complex at nearby MacDonagh Junction was excavated in 2006-7. It ended up costing over €1 million and led to the disinterment of 900 skeletons. Just as in the current case, no record of a burial ground was reported in advance of the development. But once evidence of the bodies was found, an archival search was carried out. Lo and behold, the Workhouse Minute Books, reportedly missing at the time when the planning study was taking place, were discovered.

The CAS isn't going down well locally. It will significantly alter historic Dean Street, and locals are concerned it will bring extra traffic into the medieval city as well as open an edge-of-town site for retail development, which could negatively impact retail outlets on High Street.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

This weekend: History Festival of Ireland

The History Festival of Ireland 2013 will be taking place this coming weekend (Saturday 15 to Sunday 16 June) and a terrific feast of debates, discussions, readings and interviews has been organised for the event's second outing.

Some of the leading historians and thinkers from Ireland, the UK and the USA will be contributing.

The themes covered range from the Bronze Age to the 1970s, so there's something to appeal to anyone interested in Irish history. Among the questions up for consideration over the two days will be: How did the Easter Rising shape Ireland's relationship with the USA? Was the Great Famine a tragedy, or was it genocide? How did the Tudors maintain control in Elizabethan Ireland? What was Mother Teresa doing in Belfast?

There will also be acclaimed stage shows on the Great Hunger and on Winston Churchill’s private encounters with Michael Collins, as well as musical recollections from the 1913 Lock-Out and the world of James Joyce. And a cinema will be screening a series of epic historical documentaries.

Well-known for her TV appearances on the Genealogy Roadshow, Nicola Morris MAPGI of Timeline Research will be offering research advice from the genealogy clinic on Sunday, and the personal ancestral history of special guest Nicky Byrne of Westlife will also be revealed.

The History Festival of Ireland is set amid the ruins and walled gardens of the Ducketts Grove estate in Co Carlow. One €20 ticket will give you access to the entire gamut of talks, lectures, performances and debates for the whole day. Food and refreshments can be purchased or you can bring picnics, and parking is free.

Sprinkle on some sunshine and you have a perfect weekend!

Enniskerry photos are in demand

A photographic exhibition is to be held in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, in August and the organisers are looking for more contributions to their collection of old family photos.

The People of Enniskerry exhibition has been prompted by the success earlier this year of a smaller photograph display within another exhibition. The photos were a great hit with visitors who recognised neighbours, friends and family members.

If you have photos (up to an including the 1970s) that you'd be willing to share, please email digital copies of them to the organisers or upload them via EnniskerryHistory. If you don't have scanning or Internet facilities, you can drop the originals into Kennedys of Enniskerry addressed to Michael Seery who will arrange for them to be copied.

More details from Úna Wogan on 086 1676316.

The People of Enniskerry exhibition will be held on the afternoon of Saturday 24 August at the town's Parochial Hall.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

National Library tightens security of original material

The National Library of Ireland is to update its security procedures for the issue of original materials in its Reading Rooms.

From Thursday 1 August, all researchers wanting to consult original items, including hardcopy newspapers, will need to have a valid Reader's Ticket. This will need to be produced before any original materials will be issued.

The process for obtaining a Reader's Ticket is straightforward and, in my very recent experience, dealt with efficiently. Turn up with photographic ID such as passport, driving licence, student/socal security car, travel pass etc; smile for the camera; you are the proud owner of a valid plastic Reader's Ticket. Even the necklace it dangles from is free.

Staff will accept an expired Reader's Ticket if its validity ran out in the past year. If you left your ticket at home, or have lost it, you can get a replacement on production of ID.

Crime, Violence and the Irish in the 19th Century: conference

The Society for the Study of 19th-Century Ireland has announced the programme for its 21st annual conference which is to be held at Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne on Wednesday 26 June to Thursday 27 June.

This year's theme is 'Crime, Violence and the Irish in the 19th Century', and there's some pretty meaty stuff among the 40-odd papers and lectures being delivered across the two days.

Keynote speakers are Professor Virginia Crossman of Oxford Brookes University ('Marching around the country terrorizing women': the tramp problem in post-Famine Ireland), and Professor David Fitzpatrick of Trinity College Dublin (Rituals of Violence, 1798-1923), and two books will be launched during the event:

The Irish Parliamentary Party and the Third Home Rule Crisis by James McConnel and Irish Elites in the Nineteenth Century, edited by Ciaran O'Neill. Both books are published by Four Courts Press.

The cost of the conference is £75 (£45 students), excluding the Dinner on Wednesday evening for which an extra £25 charge is made. Unfortunately there does not seem to be an financial option for those who can attend only on one of the two days.

Programme and online booking forms can be downloaded here.

1926 Census of NI: myth becomes sad truth

The long-held belief that the 1926 census of Northern Ireland was destroyed has been confirmed as fact following a thorough investigation by the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

According to a report on the BBC Northern Ireland News website, the returns of the first census after the partition of Ireland were probably destroyed during World War II and, as such, were never transferred to PRONI for safe-keeping.

The investigation was prompted by enquiries made by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO) two years ago. The Republic of Ireland's new government had just pledged in its 2011 Programme for Government to bring about the early release of the Irish Free State's 1926 Census (something they seem to be performing a U-turn on) and so questions were asked in the hope of bringing about a dual release for the entire island. What a fantastic historical resource that would have been, with its first records of the population following partition.

Sadly, we have been denied that resource*.

The chance of early release of the 1926 census for Northern Ireland is to some extent mitigated by the survival of the 1939 National Register which notes all people living in NI in September of that year, just on the outbreak of war. Unlike census returns, this Register notes each person's date of birth, rather than just their age. Following successful lobbying by CIGO, data is available, free, to genealogists under the UK's Freedom of Information Act. Details of how to make such applications are available on PRONI.

*So why not vent your frustration by adding your voice to the campaign for the early release of the 1926 census of Ireland? This one is down to us now. See Stand up and be counted.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Modesty (should) prevent me, but...

Oh my goodness. John Grenham, aka the Godfather of Irish Genealogy, has chosen to make this blog the focus of his weekly Irish Roots column, published in the Irish Times today. And he's been incredibly positive about it, too.

I'm stunned. I'm delighted. I'm blushing so hard I look as though I'm wearing an 'Aran Tan'.

Being unaccustomed to praise and more comfortable at the back of the room, I'm at a bit of a loss on how to properly respond. So I'll just say a heart-felt Thank You to John, for his kind words and his huge generosity of spirit.

Gravestones for the dedicated family historian

I went to a funeral exhibition at the weekend (yeh, I know how to have fun when the sun's shining outside) and look what I came across:

They are the (copyrighted) designs of Strongs Memorials.

Genealogy and history events to enjoy this week

Until mid-July: Home Improvements: Responding to Poverty in the West, 1891-1923, an exhibition. Galway City Museum, Spanish Parade, Galway. Free.

Monday 10 June: Plantation exhibition opens in Guildhall, Derry, with one folio of the Great Parchment Book on display.

Tuesday 11 June: c.790-800: The first Dublin Vikings, with Linzi Simpson. First lecture in the Milestones of Medieval Dublin series exploring significant events in the city's history. Venue: Wood Quay Venue of Dublin City Council. 1:05–1:45pm.  Free. No booking required. Details.

Tuesday 11 June: 'Every Townland Earned its Name in Song': John Hewitt’s Ulster-Scots Tradition, with Dr Frank Ferguson and Dr Kathryn White. Cookstown Library, 13 Burn Rd, Cookstown, Co Tyrone BT80 8DJ. 6:30pm. Free. For more details, tel. 028 8676 3702.

Tuesday 11 June: The Ordnance Survey Office as a Genealogical Resource. Host: Genealogical Society of Ireland. Venue: Dun Laoghaire College Of Further Education. €3.00. 8pm.

Wednesday 12 June: Family History for Beginners. Kilkeel Library, The Nautilus Centre, Rooney Rd, Kilkeel, Co Down BT34 4AG. Free. Booking essential: 028 4176 2278. 11am–12pm.

Wednesday 12 June: Running with crows - the life and death of a Black & Tan, with  D J Kelly. Irish World Heritage Centre, Irish Town Way, Manchester M8. 7|:30pm. £3.

Thursday 13 June: Flax-growing in Meath/Westmeath, with Richard Stokes. Host: Meath Archaeological and Historical Society, in association with Meath IFA. Venue: Oldcastle Library, Millbrook Road, Oldcastle, Co Meath. 7.30pm.

Friday 14 June: Family History Online for beginners, a workshop at Rathfriland Libary, 12 John Street, Rathfriland Co Down BT34 5QH. 11am–12:30pm. Free. Booking essential, as are basic computer skills. Tel: Telephone: 028 4063 0661.

Saturday 15 June – Sunday 16 June: History Festival of Ireland. Venue: Duckett's Grove, Co Carlow. Tickets €20 per day. Programme and details.

Saturday 15 June: The Famine: a series of unfortunate events or genocide? a HistoryIreland Hedge School. 3pm at History Festival of Ireland, Duckett's Grove, Co Carlow. Details.

Saturday 15 June: Enniskillen Portrait Photographers – exploring the Fermanagh County Museum Photographic archive, with Catherine Scott. Host: Northern Ireland Family History Society Fermanagh Branch. Venue: Enniskillen Library. Branch meeting at 2.15pm, followed by tea/coffee; talk starts around 3.10pm.

Sunday 16 June: Did the 1960s in Ireland swing or snooze? a HistoryIreland Hedge School. 4:30pm at History Festival of Ireland, Duckett's Grove, Co Carlow. Details.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Historic Graves training starts in West Cork parishes

Earlier this year, HistoricGraves held a number of Open Nights in West Cork to rally the troops for community training in historic graveyard recording.

Suitably rallied and briefed, these community groups are now starting projects to record and digitally publish their local graveyards. The first field training days started this week at Knockavilla, Keel and Innishannon. Here's the schedule for the next couple of weeks:

Rathbarry, Castlefreake: Monday 10 & Tuesday 11 June

Kinsale: Wednesday 12 & Thursday 13 June

Union Hall: Monday 17 & Tuesday 18 June

: Wednesday 19 & Thursday 20 June

Dates for the end of June and for July are still being arranged.

If you'd like to volunteer an extra pair of hands, contact HistoricGraves by email.

The training is funded by West Cork Development Partnership in collaboration with Cork County Council.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Landed Estates & Irish Society: Conference

There's an interesting and free conference organised for next Thursday and Friday (13 & 14 June) at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway.

Fittingly for the institution that brought us the Landed Estates Database, a searchable, online resource guide to all the landed estates in Connacht and Munster, the conference concentrates on Landed estates & Irish society.

It is open to all, and you can view the full programme here.

Arrival of Missing Friends anticipated at Ancestry

Just spotted a 'Coming Soon' note on Ancestry of interest to Irish researchers.

It looks as though the Boston Pilot Missing Friends database may soon be joining the Ancestry line-up. The data, which consists of 41,051 advertisements seeking information about Irish immigrants to America, is currently hosted by Boston College, where it is fully searchable. It's also freely available, so I guess Ancestry will also be providing free access either to the full data or to an index that directs researchers to the Boston College site.

Either way, the move will widen awareness of this very useful resource. It's billed for a July arrival.

In the meantime, you might like to find out more about Irish emigration to the US on my website.

June issue of IrishLivesRemembered published

The June issue of IrishLivesRemembered magazine has been published and is available for free download here.

This month's primary focus is on researching ancestors from County Galway, with listings of resources at local libraries, archives and genealogy centres, and an article on the surnames of the county.

There's also an in-depth feature about Irish Quakers, advice on using the South Australian Police Gazette to locate missing Irish immigrants, a personal family history relating to emigrants from County Cork to North America, and more.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

NAI updates requirements for Reader's Tickets

The National Archives of Ireland will be changing its criteria for the issue of Reader's Tickets from Monday 1 July 2013.

From that date, any researcher wanting to obtain a Reader’s Ticket will be required to produce photographic identification eg a passport, driver’s licence, college/employment card, as well as proof of address. The latter proof must be less than six months old.

No tickets will be issued unless both items are produced. Access to the Reading Room is available only to those with a valid Reader's Ticket.

The full details are here.

Launch of The Battle of Clontarf, Good Friday 1014

The Battle of Clontarf, Good Friday 1014 will be launched tomorrow (Wednesday 5 June) by broadcaster Joe Duffy of Liveline, RTE Radio 1, at the Gutter Bookshop, Cow's Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Time: 6–8pm.

The author of the colour-illustrated 156-page book is Darren McGettigan. He tells the story of the battle, fought on 23 April 1014, and its impact not just on medieval Ireland but also on the jarldom of Orkney (north and west Scotland). Brian Boru emerges from the pages not as the great reforming high-king of legend, but as a still highly ambitious and intelligent monarch, whose steely resolve led his army to victory.

The book is published by Four Courts Press, catalogue Price: €14.95.

Darren is also the author of Red Hugh O’Donnell and the Nine Years War (2005) and The Donegal Plantation and the Tír Chonaill Irish, 1610–1710 (2010).

If you would like to attend the launch, tel: +353 (0)1 453 4668 or email.

Irish genealogy & history events taking place this week

Thursday 6 June to Friday 7 June: 7th Scots-Irish Identity Symposium – Scotland, Ulster and America: Ties that bind? Being held in conjunction with the annual Clover Scottish Games and Scots-Irish Festival. Venue: Lowry Family Theater, McCelvey Center, 212, East Jefferson Street, York, SC, USA. Details.

Thursday 6 June: The Family & Children of the Easter Rising: childhood, memory and loss among the families of the executed men, with Dr Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid (University of St. Andrews). Venue: Tyneside Irish History Club, Gallowgate Lounge, Tyneside Irish Centre. 43 Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4SG, UK. Telephone: 0191 261 0384. 7:30pm–9:30pm. Free.

Friday 7 June: The social networking of the Power Elite in Ireland 1850-80, with Susanne Pegley M.Litt. Part of the NUI Maynooth History Forum programme. 8pm. Rhetoric House, South Campus, NUI Maynooth. Enquiries.

Saturday 8 June: Genealogy Workshops at Ferns Gathering. Free workshops and lectures by Eneclann. 10am–12pm and 2pm–4pm. Venue: Scoil Naomh Maodhóg, Ferns, Co Wexford. Details. More events on the day.

Saturday 8 June: Irish Rentals as a family history resource, with Jim Ryan at the 44th Jamboree of the Southern California Genealogical Society, one of the largest gene events in North America. Lecture 5pm. Venue: Burbank CA, USADetails.

Saturday 8 June:
Irish Family History Society AGM & lectures. Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. AGM, open to members only, at 11am. Afternoon lectures (everyone welcome) – A shipwreck in the family with James Robinson at 2:15pm and Family History Sources at Dublin City Archive with Mary Clarke, Archivist, Dublin City Archive, at 3:15pm. Free.

Saturday 8 June:
Mayo Genealogy Group at the National Museum of Ireland, Country Life, Turlough, Castlebar, Co Mayo. A monthly drop-in event for advice and chat. No booking required. Free. Details.

Sunday 9 June: Strange and unusual sources for Irish family history, with Jim Ryan at the 44th Jamboree of the Southern California Genealogical Society, one of the largest gene events in North America. Lecture 1pm. Venue: Burbank CA, USADetails.

National Archives re-indexes online census

The National Archives of Ireland (NAI) has advised that it has validated and corrected some 12,600 errors in its online census database.

These errors were identified and submitted by users since the census was launched online but it was only in the last year that the NAI was able to start tackling the backlog. The site has been updated and re-indexed accordingly.

UPDATE: The census correction project has now stalled, as the person employed specifically to carry it out has moved on. However, the NAI is encouraging researchers to continue to submit corrections. Any transcription errors that haven't yet been corrected or are submitted by researchers in future, will be held until the NAI has the resources to start up another correction project.

Find out more about the censuses of Ireland.

HistoryIreland Hedge Schools move to iTunes

If you've missed one of HistoryIreland's Hedge Schools, you can now download recordings of them via iTunes.

There are now 22 of these recordings available, and they cover a wide range of history and genealogy themes. There's often some stirring debate in these discussions, too, so they're well worth listening to. And they're free.

You can view the selection here.

Additional 2.5million court records added to FMPie

FindMyPast Ireland had added another tranche of records to its Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers collection.

This collection exposes the 'petty' crimes – many for drunkenness and anti-social behaviour – of our ancestors and covers the period 1828-1912. With the latest additions, it now totals 12 million records.

The additions feature 44 new courts in 19 counties around Ireland. Among them are Limerick City Children’s Court and two courts with pre-famine records: Moynalty in Co. Meath and Nenagh in Co. Tipperary. County Longford is also represented for the first time in the online collection, with seven courts adding a total of a quarter of a million new records for the county. New courts have also been added for Counties Laois (five) and Cork (four) and, with at least one each, for Clare, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo, Waterford and Westmeath.

The collections of a further 55 courts have been supplemented with records from additional years.

The Irish Petty Sessions Registers collection (which covers only those courts now in the Republic of Ireland) is included in the World subscription package available through each of FindMyPast's international sites:,,, and

Find out more about Irish Petty Sessions Order Books

Sunday, 2 June 2013

IGP completes Constabulary Enlistee records for 1857

Phillip Gillees d.1735
Donagh, Co Fermanagh
Below is a list of the new files added to Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives in the second half of May. With these latest uploads, the project to transcribe all Constabulary Enlistee records for 1857 has been completed.

DERRY/LONDONDERRY Genealogy Archives
Miscellaneous – Protestants in favour of Catholic Emancipation 1812 (Colerain)

DOWN Genealogy Archives
Miscellaneous – Protestants in favour of Catholic Emancipation 1812 (Downpatrick)

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Cruagh Cemetery Pt. 2, Rockbrook, Co. Dublin

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives
Church – Births, Marriages, Deaths recorded at Tempo (CoI)
Headstones – Donagh Old Cemetery and Maguiresbridge Church of Ireland Cemetery.

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives
Church Records – Callan Parish, Assorted Baptisms - 1843

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Killasnet Graveyard & 15th Century Church site

MONAGHAN Genealogy Archives
Miscellaneous – Protestants in favour of Catholic Emancipation 1812

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – 1857 Irish Constabulary

SLIGO Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – 1857 Irish Constabulary men

TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – 1857 Irish Constabulary man

TYRONE Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – 1857 Irish Constabulary men

WESTMEATH Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary Records – 1857 Irish Constabulary men

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – 1857 Irish Constabulary men

WATERFORD Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – 1857 Irish Constabulary men

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives
Headstones – St Kevin's CofI churchyard, Hollywood, and Killoughter Cemetery.
Military – 1857 Irish Constabulary men