Friday, 30 August 2013

North of Ireland Family History Society Open Day

The North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) will be opening its doors to all comers tomorrow from 10:30am until 4:30pm. If you have Ulster connections and you're not TOO far from Newtownabbey, you really should clear the other stuff from your weekend and make a vist to the new Research Centre a priority. Members and non-members will be made very welcome.

As well as getting a chance to chat to some of the friendly, knowledgeable volunteers about the direction of your research (whether or not you've actually started it), you'll also be able to visit the Randall Gill Library, which is packed with helpful resources. Among them are many collections of church register transcriptions – the result of much hard work by Society's members, and usually available only to members. There will also be a book sale, so you may be able to grab a bargain.

The NIFHS Research Centre and Library is just six miles from Belfast and easy to find. It's more or less adjacent to the Valley Leisure Centre, and there's no problem with parking. The address is: Unit C4, Valley Business Centre, 67 Church Rd, Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, BT36 7LS. You'll find directions, and a link to the Library's catalogue, here.

One-week reprieve for GRO Research Room relocation

Just one more week at the Irish Life Centre
The General Register Office's Research Room in Dublin has been given a one-week reprieve! Its smart and conveniently-located office at the Irish Life Centre was due to close today, but it seems the grim gulag in Werbergh Street isn't yet ready for its new residents. Researchers are therefore advised to continue to use the Irish Life office up to 6 September.

For any researcher who's even slightly aware of his surroundings while pawing over the civil registration indexes, the move to Werburgh Street will be a grey day. Just look at the pictures to the right, both taken last week. When I visited the Werburgh Street site, workmen were about and I could hear banging and sawing. Let's hope they've got a spare can of paint to cover over the gruesome Bismarck shade on the exterior walls before Monday-week.

The Future: Recently renovated?
And as for the 8feet-high detention-centre hoardings that almost encircle the building...

It's a depressing sight. Makes the Irish Life building look ravishingly glamorous in comparison.

Responding to recent contact from the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations, Brian Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, re-iterated the explanation for the money-saving move being part of the state's rationalisation of rented premises.

Describing the new location as a state-owned building 'at the rear of Dublin Castle', he added: 'The building was recently renovated with extensive improvement and used as the Media Centre for the EU Presidency. The Office of Public Works has received a list of requirements from the GRO and is meeting these needs.'

The Research Room will re-open in Werburgh Street on Monday 9 September and will operate the same hours as currently ie 9:30am to 4:30pm.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: See blogpost 7 September
and the latest news 10 September and 13 September.

Flesh & Blood – Genetics meets Genealogy: 1 October

Jim Ryan, publisher of the highly useful Tracing Your Ancestors series of county-focused genealogy books, has advised me of an interesting event organised by BioConnect Ireland.

BioConnect Ireland operates in the life science sector, and will be hosting an afternoon seminar called Flesh and Blood – Genetics meets Genealogy on Tuesday 1st October at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin 2.

Jim is chairman of BioConnect Ireland and warns that the majority of the audience will be approaching the subjects from the biotech and business viewpoint. However, if you take a quick gander at the speakers and the themes of their talks, you won't let that worry you. The lecture titles suggest family historians will be very comfortable!

The seminar starts and 2:30pm and finishes at 6:00pm. Find out more on the Biotech website here.

Townland of Origin: Irish genealogy across the pond

Click image to visit Townland of Origin
I want to give a shout out to Townland Of Origin, a new blog that was launched earlier this month by genealogist Joe Buggy. As its name suggests, the blog aims to help North Americans of Irish heritage discover the townland where their ancestors set out from. Since Kilkenny-raised Joe has been living in New York for the past three years, it will also be providing information and research guidance with a transatlantic perspective.

It already has some interesting blogposts, my favourites thus far being 'No Irish Need Apply – fact or fiction?', 'A Holy Grail – The McCabe List', and 'The Yellow Belly Cowboys'.

Check out these and other posts. I think that, like me, you'll want to bookmark the blog and watch how it develops.

You can be confident that Joe's credentials are top class. He's been working as a professional genealogist in New York City, providing Irish genealogy workshops at the City's Irish Center, and is a Research Associate of the Irish Ancestry Research Centre in Limerick, Ireland. He also reported for Irish Genealogy News on The Genealogy Event in NYC last year, hours before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy! His first book – Researching your Irish Ancestors in New York City – will be published in 2014.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Free immigration records on Ancestry until 2 Sept is celebrating Labor Day ('bank' holiday Monday 2 September) by allowing free access to all its immigration records. Within the collection are passenger lists, citizenship and naturalisation petitions, border crossings and passport records and various other record sets such as those from the NY Irish Emigrant Savings Bank.

The collection includes records relating to Canada and Australia, as well as the USA.

The offer will expire at midnight Eastern US Time on Monday 2 September (05:00hrs Tuesday 3 September in Dublin).

Inaugural Dublin Festival of History launched

Dublin City Council and Dublin City Public Libraries have announced the launch of the inaugural Dublin Festival of History which will take place in the city from Thursday 26 September until Wednesday 9 October.

From a quick look at the programme, there're not only plenty of events planned, there's a wide spread of themes. Here are some lecture, discussion and debate subjects to whet your appetite: Magdalene Laundries, Strongbow, Writing historical fiction, The Story of the Jews, Stalin and the Soviet System, Daniel O'Connor. There are also walking tours on various themes, film screenings, a HistoryIreland Hedge School and a Local History Day.

Most, but not all, of the events are free. Most need to be booked, so check out the 28-page programme, which you can download here.

1913 Dublin Lockout Commemorations this Saturday

The 1913 Dublin Lockout Centenary is to be commemorated this Saturday in O'Connell Street.

President Michael D Higgins will lead the State Commemoration at 12:30pm with a wreath-laying ceremony at Jim Larkin's statue. There will be musical performances, readings from Strumpet City, and drama, including an excerpt from Living the Lockout and a scene from the Risen People. Big Jim will put in an appearance, too, addressing the crowds from a 1913-era tram!

Immediately after the official Lockout commemoration, there will be a re-enactment of the events of Bloody Sunday – 31 August 1913 – when police beat the proverbial out of the striking workers (more than 300 were injured) who'd gathered to witness a disguised Larkin speak from the Imperial Hotel balcony (now Clerys). This re-enactment is not part of the State Commemmoration; it has been organised by the North Inner City Heritage Group with Dublin Council of Trade Unions (details).

Saturday will also be the last opportunity to attend the Dublin Tenement Experience/Living the Lockout at Henrietta Street. I was lucky enough to get tickets for a performance last week and found it very powerful and moving. So have loads of other people, which is why advance tickets sold out awhile back (a few are held each day for sale on a first come first served basis, but the first served are usually queueing very early on the morning!). If you don't get to see it before it finishes, you might like to follow the organiser's facebook page as there's a chance, so I was advised at Henrietta Street, of the Dublin Tenement Experience becoming a permanent fixture on the events calendar. releases 2.5m Petty Sessions Court Records

Another 2.5 million Petty Session court register entries dating from 1851 to 1913 have been added to FindMyPast Ireland.

This latest batch features 52 petty session courts making their first entrance to the online collection. They include nine courts in Galway, eight in Roscommon, seven each in Westmeath and Limerick, four each in Donegal and Waterford, two each for Tipperary, Cork, Carlow and Kilkenny and one each for counties Mayo, Meath, Sligo, Wexford and Wicklow.

A further seven courts have been supplemented with records from additional years.

FindMyPast's Petty Sessions Court Registers collection now holds more than 15 million records and tops up the site's overall record count to more than 70 million.

The variety of cases heard in the Petty Sessions Court gives a real flavour for life in Ireland at the time. Runaway servants, shebeens and trespassing livestock are just a taste of the misdemeanors that can be found amongst the millions of registers.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager of, said 'The records of the Petty Session courts are endlessly fascinating and that is why we continue to top up this resource with more great family history records. It is always interesting to find out what your forefathers did to find themselves in front of a magistrate!'

The collection is also available as part of a World Subscription via FindMyPast USA, FindMyPast Australia/NZ and FindMyPast UK.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Autumn issue of Irish Roots magazine published

Click to buy digital issue
After a rather hectic Heritage Week (so many great events to attend!), I finally got a chance to put my feet up with the latest copy of Irish Roots Magazine. It's on the newsstands, and the digital version is also available.

This issue has a wide geographical spread, with in-depth articles on finding ancestors in County Clare, records of Irish-Australian policemen, church registers in the USA, collections of records on the Irish in Latin America, and even a feature about German connections in Oldcastle, Co Meath.

There's also a specialised article by Sean Murphy on Irish Surnames and the use (or omission) of O' and Mac prefixes, ten helpful tips for breaking down brickwalls from Chris Paton, the story of Jim O'Callaghan's research into Jackie Kennedy's genealogy, and a considered view of rumoured data protection and freedom of information restrictions from Steven Smyrl.

In addition to lots of news from family history societies, there's my own What's New Review, listings of major upcoming events, letters, answers to readers' questions from Nicola Morris and a trailer for October's Back To Our Past show in Dublin. Readers can also take advantage of a special promotion with offering a whopping 36% discount on a monthly subscription.

Plenty to read. Plenty to learn. Only €4.50/£3.35 (shop-bought) or €7/$10.40 (delivered to your door) if you want to curl up with a hard copy, or choose the digital version for $5. See the Irish Roots online shop.

Guide to Genealogy Resources in Donegal

As part of the Gathering 2013, Donegal County Council has been running a series of family history roadshow at venues around the county. The most recent was last Wednesday, during Heritage Week.

To accompany the roadshows and help people get started with their genealogy research, Donegal County Council Cultural Services Library Service has now launched a 32-page booklet: Who do you think you are? A Guide to Genealogy Resources.

It can be downloaded as a pdf (click the image to visit the download page) or you can pick up a hard copy in a local library or at one of the county's Taobh Tíre centres.

Minister recommends PRONI for NI genealogy

Speaking in advance of tonight's Who Do You Think You Are? episode, Northern Ireland's Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, has encouraged people to avail of the records held in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.

The Minister said: 'Back in April the BBC production team visited PRONI to help research the family history of Lord Sugar’s aide, Nick Hewer, and this is the first time that PRONI has featured in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are. PRONI has a vast array of all sorts of records which would be of interest to local historians or anyone researching their family history. All of the records are free to access and some records can be accessed online at the PRONI website.'

She applauded PRONI staff for their 'wealth of knowledge' and said they are always on hand to help members of the public access records or to use the viewing machines to see copies of original documents. She mentioned also the repository's online series of information leaflets. 'I would highly recommend a visit to PRONI to anyone who has an interest in both their own family tree and local history,' she said.

The Nick Hewer episode of the programme will be broadcast on BBC1 at 9pm.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

More useful resources added to Cork Past & Present

From Guy's Directory 1935
Cork City Libraries has added more very useful resources to its excellent Cork Past and Present free online catalogue. They are:

Guy's Directory for both 1925 and 1935 are the latest publications to join the Historical Directories line-up, now 20 strong. They can be viewed on screen as a flip-page book or downloaded as a pdf.

Volume VI of The Civil Survey, 1654-1656, holds information on Muskerry Barony and a valuation for Cork city, as well as valutions for Kilkenny city and Liberties, and detailed survey records for County Waterford.

Reports, guides and catalogues to Cork Trade Exhibitions 1852 to 1903 can be downloaded as (big) pdfs or viewed as flip-page books on-screen. These publications present a lot of indepth statistical information for numerous trade sectors and even social conditions. The Cork exhibition was initially intended to stimulate the local economy after The Famine.

Planning Cork City is a new section on the site where you can view Cork: a civic survey (1926) and the 1941 Cork town planning report.

Cork street name changes 1730-2013: a very useful list worth consulting if you can't seem to identify your ancestors in any directories or census records. Donated by Tom Spalding, who compiled the list while researching for his book Layers: the Design, History & Meaning of Public Street Signage in Cork & other Irish cities, it covers those streets outside the medieval core, which are accounted for in another book on the site.

Monday, 26 August 2013

More Clare graveyard inscriptions available online

Nearly 400 headstone inscriptions from Kilraghtis Graveyard (Barefield, Ennis, Co Clare) have been transcribed and published on the Clare Library website (here) with free access. The transcriptions are the work of Edel Greene and Mary Kearns.

There is also a good write up of the history of the graveyard available, along with a map of the plots and a link to the burial ground's location on Clare Library's excellent GMaps resource.

Ancestors from Shanagolden? Check this estate listing

Another of Flyleaf Press's 'Small Sources' research discoveries has been revealed on the publisher's blog.

This latest one is a list of labourers and payments made to them from the Spring-Rice Estate, Mount Trenchard, Limerick (the Shanagolden area). It dates from 1808.

Events & lectures for the week ahead (26 Aug - 1 Sept)

In the aftermath of a very busy Heritage Week, you might think there's nothing on between now and the end of August. There's certainly a lull, but there are still some interesting events to enjoy:

Monday 26 August: The Dublin Lockout exhibition at the National Library of Ireland is now on display until March next year. It's free. Venue: 2 Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tuesday 27 August: Key sources for family history at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), with Glynn Kelso, PRONI. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Tuesday 27 August: The Book of Kells’ illuminations, a talk with Dr. Rosemary Power. Venue: Kilfinaghty Public Library, Sixmilebridge, Co Clare. 6:00pm. Free.

Wednesday 28 August: Opening up the nation's newspaper archives, with Phillip Martin of Irish Newspaper Archives. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Thursday 29 August: The 1913 Lockout, with Mario Corrigan. Venue: Leixlip Library, Leixlip, Co. Kildare. Booking required: Email or telephone +353 (0)1 606 0050. Free. 7pm.

Thursday 29 August: Audio and Family History as Sources for Genealogy, with Derek Neilson, Genealogist. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Thursday 29 August: Unionist Volunteers, with Dr Timothy Bowman. First in the Volunteering in Ireland 1912–1916 lecture series at PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 6:30pm. Free, but booking required.

Saturday 31 August: North of Ireland Family History Soceity Open Day. Explore the Research Centre and Library. Browse the book sale. Venue: Unit 4, Valley Business Centre, 67 Church Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim. All free (including parking). 10:30am–4:30pm. Details.

Saturday 31 August: The Famine: a series of unfortunate events or genocide? A HistoryIreland Hedge School with Meredith Meagher, Conor McNamara, John Waters, Peter Gray. Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Laois. 2:45pm.

Saturday 31 August: Kerry Genealogy Roadshow at the Gangs of New York Gathering, Kenmare, Co Kerry. Details.

Sunday 1 September: JFK in Ireland: style or substance? A HistoryIreland Hedge School with Michael Kennedy, Donal Fallon, Carole Holohan, Brian Hanley. Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Laois. 2:45pm.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Northern Ireland: August bank holiday arrangements

Northern Ireland enjoys a bank holiday on Monday 26 August. Archives and research facilities used by family historians will be closed/open over the long weekend, as follows:

PRONI: Closes normal time on Friday, 23 August (4:45pm), reopens 9:30am on Tuesday, 27 August.

Linen Hall Library:
Open normal hours on Saturday 24 August (9:30 – 4:00pm), reopens Tuesday 27 August at 9:30am.

Mellon Centre for Migration Studies: Open normal hours on Saturday 24 August (10:00am – 4:00pm), reopens Tuesday 27 August 10:30am.

County and Branch public libraries:
Normal weekend hours. Closed on Monday 26 August; reopening at normal times on Tuesday 27 August.

There is no bank holiday in the Republic of Ireland.

The memorials of St Mary's, Gowran: talk 24 Aug

A talk about the memorials in St Mary's churchyard, Gowran, County Kilkenny will be held at the church at 2pm tomorrow as part of Heritage Week.

Mary Casteleyn, Vice-Preseident and Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, recorded all 250-odd memorials in the graveyard last year with friend and colleague Bernie Kirwan, and will be talking about the many interesting examples that survive in the grounds of Girwan's beautiful early-medieval church. Among them is a 17th-century altar tomb with carvings of the apostles; St Peter is skillfully depicted smoking a dudeen, a clay pipe that was fashionable in the 1640s and a joke from the stonemason.

Mary's talk will be followed by two more talks of local history interest, while free guided tours of the 13th-century Collegiate Church of St Mary's will be going on all day from 10:30am to 4pm.

More details from St Mary's: +353 (0)56 7726894.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Limerick City's Mount St Lawrence database is live

As promised last month (see blogpost), Limerick City Archives has launched its online, fully searchable and free database of the Mount St. Lawrence Cemetery records.

More than 70,000 burial records have been indexed, right back to the opening of the cemetery in 1849 and its first interment in 1855. They cover all those interred in the 16-acre cemetery in the medieval parish of St Lawrence, which included Limerick Prison and Mental Hospital, plus those in the 1960's 5.5-acre extension.

This new database marks the first in a series of Limerick Archives projects to document the City's social history. It has been successfully completed through a partnership with the History Department of Mary Immaculate College of Education who have spent two years manually transcribing the thousands of handwritten burial records.

A second stage to the project will see an online map created of all the burial plots. This is already underway.

You can search the database at

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

NAI-based paper conservation internship offered

The National Archives of Ireland, on behalf of the Valuation Office and in conjunction with the Heritage Council, is offering an internship in paper conservation to a graduate in paper or archives conservation who graduated in 2012/2013. The internship is intended to give valuable practical experience of work with archival collections, in this case a large collection of mid-19th century maps.

The intern will assist an experienced conservator in work on the maps of the Valuation Office which are held in the National Archives. The maps comprise a large and unique collection of approximately 10,500 items which need cleaning, consolidation and flattening in preparation for use by researchers.

Closing date is 30 August and the internship will start on 23 September. It's a full time post, at the National Archives premises.

Full details.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Dog licence registers make debut on

FindMyPast Ireland has launched the dog licence registers of the Petty Sessions courts. They've not been available online before, so they represent a brand new source for many Irish family historians.

The registers hold around quarter of a million entries per year from the introduction of doc licensing in 1866. That's a hell of a lot of dogs!

Dating from 1866 to 1913, this first instalment contains over 550,000 records from counties Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Roscommon, Tipperary and Wicklow. Further instalments will follow over the coming months.

The details included in the dog licence entry are similar to those found on modern dog licences: the owner’s name and address, details regarding the sex and physical appearance of the dog. Findmypast Ireland has transcribed the name, address and county of the dog-owner, with further information such as the dog’s breed, colour and sex included in the images.

Available on the Irish collection of FindMyPast Ireland, these records are also available via a World Subscription with, and

Heritage Week: a feast of genealogy for all

Heritage Week kicks off tomorrow with 1700 events taking place. The genealogy events list below is by no means exhaustive, merely a taster of talks and workshops advised to me directly or that I've picked up on along the way.

So if this list gets you tickled up, pop over to the Heritage Week website for more. Just use genealogy and family history as your keywords. Don't delay in making your bookings. I've found that many of the events are fully booked already.

Saturday 17 August: Dancing by the sea: the rise & and fall of the showband scene. A HistoryIreland Hedge School with Pascal Mooney, Marc Geagan, Gerry Gallagher and Charlie McGettigan. Venue: Heritage Festival, Kitchen Bake (old Methodist church, Bundoran, Co Donegal. 6:30pm.

Saturday 17 August: Genealogy Roadshow. Central Library, Oliver Plunkett Road, Letterkenny, Co Donegal. Free.

Saturday 17 August: Genealogy Day at Skibbereen Heritage Centre. 2–5pm. Appointments with experienced genealogists. Booking essential, on +353 (0)28 40900.

Saturday 17 August: How to research your West Cork ancestry, with William Casey. Skibbereen Heritage Centre. 8:30pm. Free. Booking essential, on +353 (0)28 40900.

Saturday 17 August to Sunday 25 August: Family history open days at Genealogical Society of Ireland's Research Centre, Carlisle Pier, Dun Laoghaire. Tel: 087 248 6878.

Sunday 18 August: The Squad and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins, with Thomas Ryle Dwyer. The 3rd Collins Griffith Lecture. 2:30pm. Prospect Gallery, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Co Dublin. Tickets cost €10. Booking recommended. Email or tel 353 (0)1 882 6550.

Sunday 18 August: Guided tour of Clare Heritage Centre, Church Street, Corofin, Co Clare. 2:00–3:00pm. Free. Booking essential. Tel: 353 (0)65 683 7955. Also on Wednesday 21 August and Friday 25 August.

Monday 19 August to Friday 23 August: Registry of Deeds guided tours. One hour long tours at 11am and 2:30pm each day. Henrietta Street, Dublin. Free. Booking essential. Email or tel@: 353 (0)1 871 6518.

Monday 19 August: Aspects of surnames in Irish placenames, with Conchubhar Ó Crualaoich, An Brainse Logainmneacha. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Monday 19 August: Introduction to genealogy, with Susan Chadwick MAPGI. Venue: Clara Library Library, Ballycumber Road, Clara, Co Offaly. Free. 4:00–5:00pm. Details: 353 (0)57 933 1389.

Monday 19 August to Friday 23 August: One-to-one ancestry search. Cork County Library, Carrigrohane Road, Cork. 11:30–12:45 and 3:00–4:15. Tel: 353 (0)21 428 5640. Free. Booking essential.

Monday 19 August: Starting your family history search. Inchicore Library, 34 Emmet Road, Dublin 8. Time: 6:30–7:30pm. Free. Booking advised. Tel: 353 (0)1 453 3793.

Monday 19 August: Genealogy at the Guinness Archive, with Sarah Poutch. Free, includes pass to the Storehouse. St James Gate, Dublin 8. 1pm–2pm. Email.

Tuesday 20 August: Roman Catholic parish registers: a vital 19th century source, with Máire MacConghail, MAPGI. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Tuesday 20 August: Famine emigration from Cork 1845-55, with Dr Marita Foster. Skibbereen Union Conference Room. 8:30pm. Free. Booking essential, on +353 (0)28 40900.

Tuesday 20 August: Ballyfin: The restoration of an Irish house and demesne. Part of the A Celebration of Architecture: the Big Houses of Laois series of lectures. Venue: Portlaoise Library. Time: 8pm. Cost: Free. Details: 00 353 (0)57 8622333.

Tuesday 20 August: Introduction to genealogy, with Susan Chadwick MAPGI. Venue: Tullamore Library, O'Connor Square, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Free. 18:30–19:30. Details: 353 (0)57 934 6832.

Tuesday 20 August: Social conditions in Dublin prior to the Lockout, with Catriona Crowe. 7:00pm. Free. The County Library, Tallaght, Co Dublin. All welcome.

Tuesday 20 August: Gunslingers, Tarantulas, Elvis & Walt – a global history of the Irish abroad, with Turtle Bunbury. Graiguenamanagh Library, Convent Road, Graiguenamanagh, Co Carlow. 7pm. Free.

Wednesday 21 August: Genealogy WDYTYA at Longford County Library, First floor. 2:00–5:00pm. Free. Tel: 353 (0)43 334 0731.

Wednesday 21 August: Genealogy Clinic, with Susan Chadwick MAPGI. 15-minute sessions to help you start your research. Booking essential. Tullamore Library, O'Connor Square, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Free. 10:00–1:00. Booking essential: 353 (0)57 934 6832.

Wednesday 21 August: The Transportation of Women from Kildare to Van Dieman’s Land in 1849, with Catherine Fleming. Venue: Leixlip Library, Leixlip, Co. Kildare. Booking required: Email or telephone +353 (0)1 606 0050. Free. 7pm.

Wednesday 21 August: Homes for Heroes - Irish Sailors and Soldiers Land Trust, with Margaret Bonar & Elizabeth Craven. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Wednesday 21 August: Family history resources, with Bríd Higgins and Gráinne Melia. Host: Galway Familly History Society West. Venue: St Joseph's Community Centre, Ashe Road, Shantalla, Galway. Email.

Wednesday 21 August: Start your family history, with Clare Roots Society. Venue: De Valera Library, Harmony Row, Ennis, Co Clare. Free. 2:30–4:00pm. Free. Tel: 353 (0)65 684 6353.

Wednesday 21 August: Irish land and estate records, with Cynthia O'Connor. Venue: Anglers' Rest Hotel, Headford, Galway. 7:30–8:30. Free. Tel: 353 (0)91 842013.

Wednesday 21 August: Irish family history beginners' day, at Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Free advice from Eneclann and demonstrations of FindMyPast database. 11am–4pm. Lectures: 12noon: Finding the Irish Diaspora: Searching findmypast's World Collection, with Aoife O Connor; 1pm and 3pm: The A B C of researching Irish family history, with Fiona Fitzsimons; 2pm: Landlords & Tenants: Land and Estate records for Irish family history research, with Brian Donovan.

Wednesday 21 August: Sources for family history research, with Mary Jackson. Lucan Library, Superquinn shopping centre, Co Dublin. 7:00–8:00pm. Free. Booking.

Thursday 22 August: New genealogical resources from the National Archives, with Catriona Crowe, National Archives of Ireland. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Thursday 22 August: Genealogy Workshop for beginners, with Sinead Holland. Portlaoise Library, Lyster Square. Free. 8pm–9pm. Tel@ 353 (0)57 862333.

Thursday 22 August: Starting your family history search, with Dr Máire Kennedy. Ballyfermot Library, Dublin 10. Booking advised by telephone 353 (0)1 626 9324.

Thursday 22 August: How to research your military history: Genealogy during the Jacobite and Williamite wars. Talk by staff from the Battle of the Boyne Centre. Venue: Tallaght Library, Dublin 24. Free. 7:00–8pm. Booking by tel 353 (0)1 462 0073.

Thursday 22 August: A presentation on genealogy, with Nora O'Meara. North Tipperary Genealogy Centre, The Governor's House, Kickham Street, Nenagh.  6:45–7:30. Free. Email.

Thursday 22 August: Diploma in Genealogy: Open Evening, with Dr David Butler of the Irish Ancestry Research Centre. Venue: Masonic Hall, Tuckey Street, Cork City. 8pm. All welcome.

Thursday 22 August: The fourteen merchant 'Tribes', with Peadar O’Dowd. National Monuments Service Lecture Series for The Gathering Druid Lane Theatre, Druid Lane, Galway. 7.30pm.

Friday 23 August: Dating Irish family photographs, with Orla Fitzpatrick, Historian & Blogger. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Friday 23 August: Irish land and estate records, with Cynthia O'Connor. Venue: Loughrea Hotel & Spa, Loughrea, Galway. 7:00–8:30. Free. Tel: 353 (0)91 842013. 

Friday 23 August: The American Humanitarian Response to the Great Famine in Ireland, with Dr Larry Geary. Skibbereen Union Conference Room. 8:30pm. Free. Booking essential, on +353 (0)28 40900.

Saturday 24 August: Looking at the Lockout, a HistoryIreland Hedge School, with Padraig Yeates, Eamon McCann, Brian Hanley and Ann Matthews. 1913 Centenary Weekend, Assembly Room, Rathdown County Hall, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 2pm.

Saturday 24 August: Using newspapers to trace your family history. Central Library, Lady Lane, Waterford City. 3:00–4:00pm. Free. Tel: 353 (0)51 849975.

Saturday 24 August: To hell or to Kimmage: planning outcomes of the 1913 Church Street disaster, a HistoryIreland Hedge School. With John Gibney (chair) Ellen Rowley, Donal Fallon and Gary Granville. National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin. 2:30pm.

Ireland Genealogy Projects (IGP): mid-August update

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives have uploaded the following files in the first two weeks of August:

DERRY/LONDONDERRY Genealogy Archives – Cemetery
Kilrea Churchyard Memorials

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Pennsylvania, USA (CARR, DUGAN & FRIEL - From Donegal)

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Court Records
Settlement between John Richmond, Sarah Richmond, Ann Wall & Richard Wall

KERRY Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Ballyferriter; Dun Urlann Graveyard
Kilbannivane Burial Ground (additional)
Kilquane Burial Ground
Old Cloghane Burial Ground

KILDARE Genealogy Archives
New Memorial Cards
Cemetery – Ballysax Churchyard Memorials

LIMERICK Genealogy Archives – Marriages
From Limerick Chronicle - 4 marriages from 1832

OFFALY (KINGS) Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
MARTIN cards

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives
Memorial Cards – HARBOURNE
WICKLOW Headstone Index
Curtlestown; St. Patricks Church Cemetery, Pt 1 & 2
Additional Headstones for Arklow Cem. Part 3

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Ancestors from Wingfield Estate in Wexford?

Jim Ryan of Flyleaf Press has posted details of suppliers, tradesmen, labourers and buyers who appear in the 1856-57 farm accounts of the Wingfield Estate in the Civil Parish of Kilpipe, near Gorey in Wexford.

It's a short list (see here), but could be a precious find for someone with ancestors from area.

Book launch: Spellbound by Sibella

When researching the genealogy of the Anglo-Norman Lynches who settled in Galway, Paul McNulty discovered a host of forgotten stories of late 18th-century Ireland. Since then, he has written a novel based on the real events he unearthed.

Spellbound by Sibella deals with the turbulent liaison between Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse of Balla, Co Mayo, and Sibella Cottle, a woman with spellbinding powers reputedly wrought by witchcraft.

The novel has been published as an e-book by ClubLighthouse Publishing and can be downloaded to your computer, Kindle or mobile phone for $5.99 using credit card or PayPal.

A catch-up round-up of recent news

Right, it's catch up time. With my back finally playing ball, I've been concentrating on the day-job backlog over the last week, so here's a wee round up of news that's been waiting to be aired.

Some 125million newspaper articles covering the period 1753-2012 have been added to FindMyPast's World subscription collection. The breakdown is as follows:
  • 4,322,702 articles from Canadian newspapers, 1872-2012
  • 144,845 articles from Chinese newspapers, 1850-1926
  • 1,019 articles from Danish newspapers, 1884-1936
  • 54,361 articles from French newspapers, 1848-1979
  • 573,759 articles from German newspapers, 1948-1999
  • 1,304,344 articles from Jamaican newspapers, 1834-2012
  • 589,460 articles from Japanese newspapers, 1920-1999
  • 560 articles from South African newspapers, 1904-1945
  • 119,462,212 articles from American newspapers, 1753-2012.
These records can also be accessed through the use of PayAsYouGo credits.

Books Ireland 
For the first time in years, all volumes of the Ordnance Survey Memoirs are in print and available via Books Ireland. They're also on special offer with prices ranging between £3.75 and £5 per volume.

The Memoirs are an incredibly detailed source for the history of the northern half of Ireland immediately before the Great Famine. They were written in the 1830s to accompany the 6" Ordnance Survey maps, but, with one exception, were not published at the time. In this new edition they act as a 19th-century Domesday book and document the landscape and situation, buildings and antiquities, land-holdings and population, employment and livelihood of the parishes.

The two most recent books to have been reprinted complete the set now available. The first is Ordnance Survey Memoirs Volume 39 -- Co. Donegal. It contains the Memoirs for 20 parishes in north west, south west, central and Lagan areas of Donegal, an extensive area comprising the towns of Ballybofey, Ballyshannon, Castlefinn, Convoy, Donegal, Falcarragh, Fintown, Gortahork, Killybegs, Letterkenny, Lifford, Manorcunningham, Mountcharles, Newtowncunningham, Raphoe, Stranolar and St Johnstown.

The Ordnance Survey Memoirs Volume 30 – Londonderry includes the Memoirs for the parish of Banagher, which is situated towards the west of the county, and includes the important market town of Feeny. The material paints a fascinating portrait of life in this largely agricultural area whose "wild and romantic" mountains and glens hold both a great wealth of antiquities and a huge variety of wildlife, notably wolves and eagles. As well as recounting the population, through marvellously detailed tables of schools, emigration and manufactories, this volume contains a wonderful collection of local traditions and superstitions.  

1921 Census of Canada
After a 92-year closure period, the 1921 Census of Canada has been released and Ancestry has made all 197,509 pages available for free browsing. In time, a name index for the 8.8million people included in the census will be produced in due course.

For the present, the browseable database is searchable by province, district and sub-district. 

New Zealand Passenger Lists
A hefty 2,669,755 indexed records from New Zealand's Passenger Lists collection has been added to FamilySearch for free searching. The lists cover the period from 1855 to 1973.

They include immigrants from Europe and Asia, but the majority were passengers leaving the geographical British Isles, including many Irish. The details contained hold some or all of the following details:
  • Full name
  • Adult or child
  • Male or female
  • Country of emigration
  • Place where ship landed when immigrated
  • Estimated age
  • Occupation
  • Total cost of passage and how paid
  • Name of ship and port of embarkation
  • Port of destination and date of arrival

Kilbridge Cemetery in Doagh, near Ballyclare/Newtownabbey in County Antrim has been surveyed by EverAfter and the resulting 2838 records, including a few dating from the late 17th century, uploaded to the company's website. This latest addition means there are now more than 129,000 burial/inscription records available for free viewing at DiscoverEverAfter.

The Ulster Historical Foundation has added seven members’ databases to its collection at AncestryIreland.

Holding more than 2,000 names, the new databases are:
  • Index to Hamilton references in County Down Deeds in Registry of Deeds, Dublin, 1739-1810. Listed by townland, lessor and lessee’s surname, 1739-1810
  • A list of Roman Catholics in the Diocese of Down and Connor, named in the 1766 Religious Census, 1766
  • A Rent Roll of the Manors of Cloghogle and Derrywoon, in the County of Tyrone, part of the Estate of the Marquis of Abercorn, 1820 & 1821
  • Names of the proprietors of the Belfast Commercial Buildings, 1823
  • List of the names of the owners and occupiers of the lands through which the proposed canal from Newtown Limavady to Lough Foyle is to pass, c1827
  • Census of Protestants in the parish of the Chapel of the Woods, arranged by townland, 1829
  • List of names regarding Tenant-Right in County Monaghan, published in Freeman’s Journal, 1852.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

More building works closures at National Archives 14-23 August

The following archives will be closed at the Bishop Street offices of the National Archives of Ireland from today until Friday week (23 August):
  • Roinn na Gaeltachta
  • Irish Congress of Trade Unions
  • Department of Finance
  • Register of Friendly Societies
  • Department of Foreign Affairs: Passport cards/Travel Permits
  • Department of Social and Family Affairs
  • Department of Health and Social Welfare
  • Courts Service: Bankruptcy Law Committee
A detailed list is available here.

These closures are in addition to those announced earlier this month (see blogpost) affecting the Four Courts, which also start today but run through until 31 October.

Early doors for National Archives of Ireland

From Monday 2 September, the National Archives of Ireland will be extending its Reading Room hours. It will be open from that date from 9:15 until 17:00. Opening time is currently 10am.

The hours for the production of documents will similarly extend to the following: 9:15–12:15 and 13:30–16:00.

A valid reader's ticket is required.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Big House in Fingal seminar: Malahide House

On Saturday 24 August, Fingal County Council Archives is hosting The Big House (and Demesne) in Fingal seminar in the new conference facility at Malahide House and Gardens.

Speakers will give talks on a selection of ‘big houses’ including Abbeville, Abbottstown, Brackenstown House and Demesne, Luttrellstown Castle and Lissen Hall, as well as the newly re-furbished Malahide Castle itself.

The event is open to all and is free of charge but refreshments are not provided. Booking is essential by email or tel: 01-8704495/8704496.


10.00     Registration

10.15     Introduction, with Colm McQuinn, Archivist, Fingal County Council (FCC)

10.30     Developments at the Big Houses and Gardens in care of FCC, with Finola May,
             Conservation Architect, FCC.

11.15     Brackenstown House & Garden, with Dr. Finola O’Kane, UCD School of Architecture

12.00     Luttrellstown House & Demesne, with Jim Lacey, Local Historian/Author

12.45     Questions

1.00       Lunch Break

2.00       Lissen Hall, with Claire Bradley, Lissenhall

2.45       The Papers of the Holmpatrick Estate, Abbottstown House, in Fingal Local Studies &
             Archives, with Catherine Mullan, Archivist

3.30       Abbeville House, with Mary Rose Doorly, Author

4.15       Q & A

4.30       Close

Further details, and directions.

This week's genealogy and history events (13–18Aug)

Tuesday 13 August: The construction of Dublin Castle, 1204-29, with Con Manning. Part of the Milestones of Medieval Dublin series of lunchtime lectures. 1:05 pm – 1:45 pm Wood Quay venue of Dublin City Council. Free.

Tuesday 13 August: Irish records: what’s online? with John Grenham. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm. Free. No booking necessary.

Tuesday 13 August: Tipperary and the American civil war, with Damien Shiels. Cashel Library, Co Tipperary. Free. 7:15pm.

Tuesday 13 August: Emo Court, with Kevin Flanagan. Part of the A Celebration of Architecture: the Big Houses of Laois series of lectures. Venue: Portlaoise Library. Time: 8pm. Cost: Free. Details: 00 353 (0)57 8622333.

Tuesday 13 August: Irish and British maritime records, with David Snook. Genealogial Society of Ireland lecture held at Dún Laoghaire College of FE, Cumberland Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 8pm. €3.

Tuesday 13 August: Launch of Breaking and Laveing the Countery, an exhibition exploring some aspects of County Cavan’s emigration story will be launched at Johnston Central Library, Farnham St, Cavan at 8pm. The exhibition will cover 19th-century emigration and will focus on the numbers leaving the county, parish origins, various destinations abroad and the system of chain emigration. It will include some emigrant stories, and will illustrate in graphic detail the personal story of the emigrant, whose life away from home the mass of statistical material fails to illuminate. The exhibition runs to 14th September and admission is free. Details.

Wednesday 15 August: Irish in the Civil War exhibition opens at The Irish American Heritage Museum at 11:00am in the historic Meginniss Building, 370 Broadway, Albany, New York. USA. Wednesdays–Fridays 11am–4pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 12noon–4pm. Until Sunday 30 September. Details.

Thursday 15 August: Finding your roots in County Down, with Sandra Ardis from the North of Ireland
Family History Society. Venue: Newry Library, 79 Hill Street, Newry, Co Down BT34 1DG. 12:30pm. Free. Booking advised. For more details, tel: 028 3026 4683.

Thursday 15 August: Irish Newspaper Archives – Opening up the Nation’s Newspaper Archives, with Phillip Martin, Irish Newspaper Archives. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Friday 16 August: Family History Open Day at Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Free advice from genealogy societies, consultations with professional genealogists, and online searches on major databases, plus a chance to explore DCL&A's rich family history collection. 10am–4:30pm. Free. More info: Tel: 00 353 (0)1-6744870 or (0)1-6744800.

Saturday 17 August: Dancing by the sea: the rise & and fall of the showband scene. A HistoryIreland Hedge School with Pascal Mooney, Marc Geagan, Gerry Gallagher and Charlie McGettigan. Venue: Heritage Festival, Kitchen Bake (old Methodist church, Bundoran, Co Donegal. 6:30pm.

Saturday 17 August: Genealogy Day at Skibbereen Heritage Centre. 2–5pm. Appointments with experienced genealogists. Booking essential, on +353 (0)28 40900.

Saturday 17 August: How to research your West Cork ancestry, with William Casey. Skibbereen Heritage Centre. 8:30pm. Free. Booking essential, on +353 (0)28 40900.

Sunday 18 August: The Squad and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins, with Thomas Ryle Dwyer. The 3rd Collins Griffith Lecture will be held at 2.30pm in the Prospect Gallery, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Co Dublin. Tickets cost €10. Booking recommended. Email or tel 353 (0)1 882 6550.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Exploring Family History lecture series returns

PRONI will be hosting another Exploring Family History lecture series from October.

The acclaimed series, which is run in conjunction with the Open University, will see Dr Janice Holmes and Dr Barry Sheehan examining the working lives of families in the past, with examples from PRONI's collections.

The programme:

Thursday  3 October:    Farmers and Labourers
Thursday 10 October:   Teachers and Pupils
Thursday 17 October:   Churches and Churchgoers
Thursday 24 October:   Industrialists and Workers
Thursday 7 November:  Officers and Soldiers

Lectures will be held at PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, 6:30pm-8:00pm. Admission is FREE but you need to book by email.

European Heritage Open Day at PRONI, 14 September

European Heritage Open Days will be held in Northern Ireland on Saturday and Sunday 14 & 15 September. Many historic buildings, including a good number that are normally closed to visitors, will open for free and a series of events, tours and free information will help to link, explain and celebrate the buildings and their cultural relevance.

The full programme isn't yet available but PRONI has announced that it will be providing a series of talks and tours that aim to unlock the secrets of its archives.

PRONI's Open Day will take place on the Saturday (14 September) from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Everyone is welcome and there is no charge. Further details will be released in due course.

Diary date: Open House Dublin, 4–6 October

One of my favourite annual events – Open House Dublin – will take place on Friday to Sunday 4–6 October.

Over one weekend, 100 great Dublin buildings of all types and periods will open up their doors to allow visitors to explore the architecture of their city, with special tours by hundreds of professionals and enthusiasts. It's all free.

This year's Open House Dublin sees a hugely diverse collection of buildings on the programme. Visitors can explore several buildings within a type or choose to spend their weekend hopping from buildings that have been put to all kinds of uses, from sport to religion and from domestic to government. This year’s 100 have been chosen to surprise and delight the public, with 60% of the venues new to the programme and each one offering a unique insight into Dublin’s architectural story.

As well as building tours, Open House Dublin 2013 will include Open House Junior, a series of creative and lively events to enable young participants to play architect for the weekend, including hands-on architecture workshops in galleries and museums, and a special “Architrek” event in Dún Laoghaire.

Most building tours are open on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no pre-book tours this year but a small number of building tours will be available to book on a lottery basis. The full programme will be released in September. For now, just put the date in your diary, or, if you are interested in becoming an Open House Volunteer or Tour Guide, please email.

Open House Dublin is presented by the Irish Architecture Foundation.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Northern Ireland FHS Research Centre extends hours

A quick reminder that the Research Centre of the North of Ireland Family History Society has extended opening hours all this week. It coincides with the World Police and Fire Games 2013, which has attracted a lot of visitors to Northern Ireland.

The hours are:

Wednesday 7 August: 10:00am – 12.30pm & 4.30pm – 9:00pm
Thursday 8 August: 4.30pm – 9:00pm
Saturday 10 August: 10.30am – 12.30pm

The Research Centre is in Newtownabbey, just six miles from PRONI, full address: Unit C4, Valley Business Centre, 67 Church Rd, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, N. Ireland, BT36 7LS. Nearest train station is Whiteabbey, while buses stop at the nearby Valley Leisure Centre. NIFHS volunteers will be on hand to help researchers.

Opening Up Our Past: Louth indexing workshop

As part of Heritage Week 2013, Louth County Archives Service is hosting a couple of workshops to encourage greater participation in indexing projects.

Called Opening Up Our Past, the workshops will show delegates how to index a selection of archives for online access and open up an often under-utilised collection of archives by making them more useable for researchers. As well as helping themselves and other researchers by releasing these records to a wider audience, delegates will learn about life in early 20th century Louth and gain an insight into the operation of local government in the years after its inception.

The results of the workshops will be made available on Louth County Archives’ website.

At least 50% of participants need to have computer experience.

The workshops will be hosted at Louth County Archives Service , Old Gaol, Ardee Road, Dundalk, County Louth, on Monday and Tuesday 19 and 20 August, 9:30 to 1:00pm. There is no charge, but spaces are limited so you need to book a place. Contact Lorraine McCann by tel on +353 (0)42 932 4358, or Email.

August Irish Lives Remembered published

The August issue of Irish Lives Remembered has been published and is available for free download. It's got a very cute photograph on the front cover!

Click to download
Inside are the usual mix of features covering personal family histories, history, photo analysis and details of resources. This month's County Focus is Kildare, which examines the surnames of the county and looks at the resources of RootsIreland and the Collections & Research Services Department of Kildare Library. The Library's Executive Librarian also has some practical hints and advice for genealogy research.

Other features include the story of a bandmaster born on the Cooley peninsula who went on to became a household name in America, a look at the value of two of Trinity College's lesser known resources, news of the Kerry Genealogy Roadshow, a feature following the trail that uncovered the roots of an American actress called Rosie O'Donnell, and another examining the connections of the Dukes of Leinster to Carton House.

There's plenty more. Just download and start reading!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Volunteering in Ireland 1912-1916: lecture series

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is to host a series of lectures by Dr Timothy Bowman examining the various volunteer organisations which emerged in Ireland in the run up to the First World War.

The lectures will look at volunteering by Unionists and Nationalists as well as civic and labour volunteers and the role of women in volunteer organisations.

All the lectures will take place on Thursdays at 6:30pm. Dates and themes as follows:
  • 29 August: Unionist Volunteers
  • 5 September: Young Citizen Volunteers
  • 12 September: Irish Nationalist Volunteers
  • 19 September: Volunteering & the Labour Movement
  • 26 September: Volunteering & Women
Although the events are free of charge, places are limited so you will need to book your seat. Email or tel +44 028 90 534800.

Scots-Irish DNA lecture: 16 September

PRONI has announced that it will host a lecture by Professor Bruce Durie as part of the Ulster Historical Foundation's conference 'Return to the Cradle of Irish Presbyterianism'.

Scots-Irish DNA: Is there a reliable way of determining ancestry from DNA? will introduce:
  • the basics of the science of DNA testing
  • the differences between and uses of the types of test: Y-DNA (STR and SNP), mtDNA (mitochondrial), autosomal/whole genome
  • how to interpret results; what to look for in Scots-Irish lineage research.
The lecture will take place on Monday 16 September at 3:30pm at PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. There is no charge and there doesn't appear to be any need to book in advance.

Family Search Library grows to 100,000 free books

The LDS Family Search website passed an important milestone recently with the addition of the 100,000th publication to its online Family History Library.

This collection is free to view on the website (go to home page, click Search and then select Books) and has been created through a partnership with a number of American libraries and genealogical centres.

As you'd expect, most of the books relate to American genealogy. The majority are family histories, with a smaller portion made up of cemetery records, local and county histories, genealogy magazines and how-to-books.

In this mix, however, are hundreds of titles of clear Irish interest. Again, many are family histories, but there are also many general histories relating to Irish immigration and settlement in specific towns or states or of certain groups from Ireland (Quakers, Scots-Irish, Presbyterian). Many of the reference books regularly used by professionals are on the online shelves, as are a good number of titles produced by Irish family history societies in the US and beyond. The latter, of course, would normally reach only a select number of members.

While most of the books were published many years back, there are a surprising number of very recent vintage (even 2012!).

It's definitely a good first stop for a genealogical title. The search interface is easy enough (when you work out where to type your search criteria – no search box is evident in my browser) and you can search by author, title, subject and full text.

Ancestry adds London's 'Clandestine' records

Ancestry has added a new collection of records from London's Clandestine Marriage and Baptism Registers, 1667-1754. It's a sizeable oollection, holding 894,892 entries, and it's both searchable and browseable.

If you follow the link above, you'll find an explanation on of the term 'clandestine' in this context, and you can be sure there's a good number of Irish within the collection.

Moving swiftly forward a century or two, don't forget that Ancestry is currently offering free access to the 1911 Census for England and Wales.

You have to register with name and email, but there's no requirement to provide credit card details.

Familar faces return to NAI Genealogy Service

The Consortium of Accredited Genealogists, Ireland (CAGI) will be taking over the reins of the National Archives of Ireland's Genealogy Service (GS) today.

The GS provides free genealogy advice to researchers on a first-come, first-served basis. Since it was set up in 2003, it has guided thousands of family historians from Ireland and all around the world. Although primarily aimed at beginners, the service is also available to those who have hit a brickwall or need direction towards more advanced resources. The genealogists offer time-saving tips and provide researchers with a strategy to fit their own particular family.

Researchers will find the GS located in a dedicated room off the National Archives of Ireland's Reading Room in Bishop Street, Dublin 8. It operates from 10:00am to 1:30pm.

For CAGI members, today will be a return to familiar ground as each of them worked in the Genealogy Service during the nine years that it was operated directly by the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI). Each of the Consortium's members is a member of APGI, so researchers can be confident they are receiving advice from professional genealogists. Admission to APGI membership follows the recommendation of an independent board of assessors, and recognises a high level of in-depth knowledge as well as the vital ingredient of practical experience.

On hearing that CAGI had won the contract for the GS for the next year, Pamela Bradley MAPGI, a member of the new consortium, said: "I'm delighted to be returning to the National Archives. We hope to live up to APGI's past record of sterling service – one that has contributed in no small way to raising Ireland's reputation in the world of genealogy."

Please note: Original version of this news story advised that the GS hours had changed to 10:30–2pm. They haven't. I was mis-informed. I have edited the post to reflect the correct, unchanged hours. Apologies.

Monday, 5 August 2013

What's on for genealogists & history lovers this week

Until Sunday 11 August: Exhibition: Charles Dickens – Irish Friends and Family Ties. Features records from PRONI's archives, material from the Charles Dickens Museum and elsewhere. Part of the West Belfast Festival. Conway Mill Preservation Trust, Belfast. Free entry.  Email for details.

Tuesday 6 August: Gathering Church of Ireland records, with Susan Hood, RCBL. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Tuesday 6 August: Abbey Leix – Spanning four centuries. Part of the A Celebration of Architecture: the Big Houses of Laois series of lectures. Venue: Portlaoise Library. Time: 8pm. Cost: Free. Details: 00 353 (0)57 8622333.

Tuesday 6 August: The Gothic Cathedral of Cashel: the untold story, with Prof Roger Stalley. Cashel Library, Co Tipperary. 7:15pm. Free.

Wednesday 7 August:
Religion in the Asylum: lunatic asylum chapels and religious provision in nineteenth century Ireland, with Katherine Fennelly. Irish World Heritage Centre, Manchester UK. 7:30pm. £3. Details.

Thursday 8 August: The Roscommon Famine Diaspora, with Ciaran Reilly, NUI Maynooth. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm.  Free. No booking necessary.

Friday 9 August: The Auxilliaries: Tudor's Toughs, a study of the Auxiliary Division Royal Irish Constabulary 1920–1922, with Ernest McCall. Venue: Performance Area, Linen Hall Library, Belfast. Free. 1pm. Coincides with a Linen Hall Library exhibition of materials charting the history of policing and fire fighting in Northern Ireland (part of the World Police & Fire Games 2013 programme). Exhibition runs until 10 August.

Friday 9 August: Family History Open Day at Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Advice from genealogy societies, consultations with APGI-accredited professional genealogists, online searches on major databases, plus a chance to explore DCL&A's rich family history collection. 10am–4:30pm. All free. More info: Tel: 00 353 (0)1-6744870 or (0)1-6744800.

Saturday 10 August: Mayo Genealogy Group AGM Venue: National Museum of Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co Mayo. 11am. Reports of the past year's activities will be presented and the programme for the coming season will be launched. All interested in local genealogy are invited to attend. Details.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Temporary closure of NAI's court records

The National Archives of Ireland is to close access to some of its collections while building works continues at its Four Courts storage area.

The temporary closure will run from 12 August to 31 October 2013.

The collections effected are the Crown and Peace, pre-1922, and Circuit Court records. The specific series are listed below:

Carlow Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Cavan Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Cavan Circuit Court, 1924-61
Central Criminal Court, 1925-66
Circuit Criminal Court, 1969
Cork Circuit Court, 1960-62
Donegal Crown and Peace and Circuit Court, pre-1922 records
Donegal Circuit Court, 1934-68
Dublin Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Dublin Circuit Court, 1924-63
Galway Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
GalwayCircuit Court, 1925-69
High Court of Justice, Kings Bench, 1909-1915
Kerry Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Kerry Circuit Court, 1924-1962
Kildare Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Kildare Circuit Court, 1924-69
Kilkenny Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Kilkenny Circuit Court, 1951-63
Laois Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Leitrim Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Leitrim Circuit Court, 1955-62
Limerick Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Longford Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Longford Circuit Court, 1936-69
Louth Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Louth Circuit Court, 1925-69
Mayo Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Mayo Circuit Court, 1925-65
Meath Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Meath Circuit Court, 1925-61
Monaghan Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Monaghan Circuit Court, 1925-69
Offaly Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Roscommon Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Roscommon Circuit Court, 1927-1964
Sligo Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Tipperary Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Tipperary Circuit Court, 1925-57
Waterford Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Waterford Circuit Court, 1929-57
Westmeath Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Wexford Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Wicklow Crown and Peace, pre-1922 records
Wicklow Circuit Court, 1925-46

The Roscommon Genealogy Gathering: booking open

The Roscommon Genealogy Gathering is a three-day interactive seminar in which delegates will learn about the county's social history and get a flavour of how to conduct genealogy in the area. It's suitable for beginners and for those who would like to learn more. An organised outing to Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum is part of the programme.

The Gathering will be held at Roscommon County Library, Abbey Street, Roscommon Town on Wednesday 18 September to Friday 20 September.

The panel of speakers include Mike Feerick, from Ireland Reaching Out Project; local historian and genealogist Mike Lennon, Ger Delaney and Mary Skelly from the South Mayo and Roscommon Family History Research Centres, local historian Jim Ganly, Irish scholar Sean Ó’Dúill, and Lorraine Keane-Conlon from Roscommon Library Services.

The cost for attending on all three days is €75. Attendance on a daily basis is €30. These rates include tea/coffee for morning and afternoon breaks as well as entrance/transport costs for the outing.

Places are limited so don't delay booking on +353 (0)71 963 3380 or by email.

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: end July update

Below are the updates added to IGP Archives in the last two weeks of July:

GENERAL IRELAND Genealogy Archives - Emigration
"American" 9 Apr 1803 - to New York
"Mohawk" 23 Apr 1803 - Going to Philadelphia
"Ardent" 23 Apr 1803

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives
Memorial Cards – Kelly & Kennedy
Cemetery – Christ Church Memorials V. VII, pg 298-310

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Tempo Church of Ireland Cemetery (Armstrong, Forde, McCollum)
Rossory Parish Church Cemetery (Armstrong et al)

GALWAY Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Tuam, St Mary's (CoI) Cathedral - 2 (Baron Oranmore & Browne)

MEATH Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Navan; Ardmulchan Church Cemetery

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives – Land
Canceled Books, Kilteevan E.D. ca. 1911-1920's
(Cloonlarge, Cloonmore & Cloonmurly townlands)

TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Clonmel; St. Patrick's Cemetery - (DROHAN)

Genealogy Archives – Headstone Index
Blessington; St. Mary's, Part 2
Curtlestown; St. Patricks Church Cemetery (more to come)

FindMyPast adds Irish WW1 dead

FindMyPast Ireland has added Ireland's National Roll of Honour 1914-1921 to its database.

These records give details of Irishmen who died while serving in the British Army during the First World War, and in the three years after peace was declared.

Transcripts has been taken from all known available resources for Irish casualties published before 1922, including Soldiers Died in the Great War and Ireland's Memorial Records, and the records of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Newspaper articles, periodicals and other books were also used to collate the information.

The material has been cross-referenced with the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses to provide a more precise list of Irish war victims for the period than has been previously available to family historians.

This collection is now also available as part of a World Subscription via FindMyPast USA and FindMyPast Australia/NZ. It will be added to FindMyPast UK's World Subscription in due course.

August discount offer from British Newspaper Archive

The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) is offering UK-based readers of Irish Genealogy News a healthy discount on its 12-month subscription package if they sign up during August.

The £10.95 discount (c €12.50) brings the annual cost down to £69 (c €79) for which you receive:
  • Unlimited credits/page views
  • Access to digitised newspapers dating back to 1710, and
  • Access to 'My Research', a personal area to keep track of articles, add notes and bookmark viewed items
To take advantage of the discount, click the image above right, select the annual subscription option and, at checkout, enter this promotional code:


BNA's collection already consists of nearly seven million newspaper pages. The majority are from England, Wales and Scotland, but there's a growing number of pages available from titles published in Ireland. Here's a recap of the 52,849 Irish editions already available:

Dublin Evening Mail: A total of 4,138 editions are now available. The years included are 1849–1852, 1854–1855, 1861-70, and the second half of 1871.

Belfast Newsletter: A total of 16,657 editions now available, for the following years: 1857*, 1859–1871, and January 1879 to April 1882.

Freeman's Journal: A total of 21,236 editions now available. Coverage is in three tranches: 1820–1821, 1830–1833, and 1837–1900.

Belfast Morning News: A total of 4,089 editions now available. The years included are 1857*, 1859-1871, 1879-1881 and the first four months of 1882.

Sligo Champion: A total of 276 editions of the weekly paper now available. Coverage is from June 1836 to December 1838, 1852*, 1923 and 1926.

Cork Examiner: A total of 6453 editions are now available. They start in August 1841 and run through to August 1871. There's also July to December 1896.

*incomplete year

Thursday, 1 August 2013

New York Irish ancestors? Mark this for a good read

Now here's an irresistible headline: Marked men: The tattoos of New York Irishmen 1863.

You'll find the curious story revealed, together with the names and tattoo details of a few hundred Irish men, on the Irish in the American Civil War blog, a high quality and informative blog written by conflict archaeologist and historian Damien Shiels. Damien is also author of a 256-page book, published earlier this year, with the same name as his blog.

Both publications tell the often forgotten role of the 200,000 Irish men and women who were involved in various ways in the US Civil War. I recommend both, and not only to those whose Irish ancestors may have some connection to the War.

All 52 issues of 1913 Church of Ireland Gazette online

The Representative Church Body Library has released in a searchable online format all 52 issues of the Church of Ireland Gazette published in 1913. The collection makes up August's Archive of the Month and full details can be found here.

You'll then be directed to the Informa website where you can view the pages, which have been digitised to a very high quality. You can also save and print pages quickly and easily.

The Church of Ireland Gazette covered a vast range of topics and for anyone with ancestors who were connected with the Church, it is essential reading. But don't think it holds no interest beyond that group. As well as providing comment about national events, the Gazette published details of funerals, obituaries, school, church and community activities and received loads of advertising from service and goods providers.