Friday, 29 November 2013

Gt Parchment Book refresh for Plantation Exhibition

There's to be a refresh of items at the Ulster Plantation Exhibition at Derry Guildhall next week. One of the highlights of the 'changeover' will be a new page from the Great Parchment Book, courtesy of the London Metropolitan Archive (LMA).

The changeover is an opportunity to attract new interest in what has been a very successful exhibition. Since opening at the newly-restored Guildhall in June, the majority of the 210,000 visitors to the flamboyant sandstone building have attended the exhibition, which examines the planning that went into the Plantation and how people were effected by it, as well as its continuing legacy.

Announcing the changeover, Mayor Cllr Martin Reilly said: 'We are extremely pleased to be in a position to receive new archives. This is enabled due to the continued and sustained relationship that the Heritage and Museum Service maintains with the LMA, The Honorable The Irish Society. An important addition, which we are extremely excited about, is a further page of the fascinating Great Parchment book. The manuscript itself is important in the development of the early 17th century and the role of the Irish Society and tells a story about our region to locals and visitors.'

Another addition to the exhibition will be extracts from the ‘The Survey of Londonderry’ by Charles Stewart.

Bernadette Walsh, Archivist with Derry City Council’s Heritage and Museum Service explains: 'The 1814-1815 document details the survey and valuation made by Stewart himself, showing details such as reference number, former and present tenants, use of land, acreage, value, valuation, date of lease and years and lives granted. One of the oldest items in the London Museum Archive collection to go on display, a page from a volume of deeds that details the farming and fishing leases, the page on display relates to a George Squire, in the seventeenth century.

'Early research and sustained relationships with the Irish Society allows us to exhibit a range of their items to add to the exhibition from maps and drawings to correspondence, accounts, legal deeds and minutes of meetings. As well as this a few unseen maps from the Derry City Council archive collection have also been selected by the Archivist to go on display, alongside facsimile copies of the early 17th-century maps of the city.'

To facilitate the secure transfer of these pieces, the Plantation Exhibition will close on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 December. It will reopen to the public on Thursday 5 December from 10am.

Details of how the Great Parchment Book has been conserved and digitized can be found at

For further information, contact the Guildhall directly on telephone 028 71 376510 or Email

1848 letters map out pre-Famine landscape of Wicklow

If you have ancestors from County Wicklow, you'll be interested to check out the Ordnance Survey Letters, which were compiled as part of the research leading to the very first detailed mapping of Ireland by the Ordnance Survey.

The letters were written by three surveyors during their field work of the county in 1838/9 and record the origins and meaning of local placenames and describe the historical and archaeological monuments they discovered. They also tell of traditions and customs that died out during the Great Famine only a decade later, and often mention the names of people they encountered in their research.

The letters were edited by Christiaan Corlett and John Medlycott, and published in 2000 by Roundwood & District Historical & Folklore Society and Wicklow Archaeological Society as a 165-page illustrated paperback. In pdf format, the book can now be downloaded, free of charge, from Christian Corlett's website.

Progress made in arrangements for WW1 centenary

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan TD recently met with Northern Ireland Office Minister Andrew Robathan MP, and Ministry of Defence Minister Lord Astor to discuss the commemorative arrangements for the centenary of the First World War.

The Ministers discussed the developing British and Irish programmes for 2014-2018 with particular interest in the anniversaries to occur in 2014, including:

  • The entry into war on 4 August
  • The early experience of the War and the Battle of Mons
  • The ‘Christmas Truce’ and the special commemorative plans in Belgium

'The inseparable British and Irish military history of the First World War will be reflected in many of the commemorative events in the coming years and provide the basis of complementary and co-operative initiatives,' said Minister Deenihan. 'With the increased use of online presentations and close co-operation between our national cultural institutions, I am confident that we can engage a wide audience and enhance our understanding of that terrible conflict.'

The British Prime Minister recently announced that the programme of special memorial paving stones for those awarded the Victoria Cross during WW1 would be expanded to offer stones in respect of the more than 170 recipients who came from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Ireland, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka Ukraine and USA.

In response, Minister Deenihan said: 'The VC awards recognised acts of individual valour and distinction in conflict. The stories of the recipients – and indeed the personal stories of many other soldiers – will afford us insight into their experience and the conditions of war. The offer of memorial stones for the Irish VCs is appreciated and I will be interested to discuss with commemoration partners in Ireland how they might appropriately be incorporated in a monument.'

The British and Irish Ministers were pleased to note the agreement to mark the centenary of the First World War next year by erecting a monumental Cross beside the memorial walls for the World Wars at Glasnevin cemetery. The Cross will be provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and follows on a recent programme in which the Commission provided headstones for the graves of more than 200 servicemen at Glasnevin.

Welcoming the development, John Green, Chairman of Glasnevin Trust said: 'It is a privilege for Glasnevin Trust to be a part of remembering and honouring the 50,000 men from the Island of Ireland who fell in the Great War, so many of whom are interred in Glasnevin cemetery.'

The Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Mr Alan Pateman-Jones, said: 'The Commonwealth War Graves Commission welcomes the opportunity to support this initiative to erect a Cross of Sacrifice in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, in remembrance of those who died during the two world wars.

'It will further strengthen the increasingly close relationship that exists between the Commission, the Irish Government and public and the Glasnevin Trust, all of whom have done so much to support our work of commemoration and remembrance in Ireland.'

Two launches for beautiful Church of Ireland book

Superbly designed and produced, The Church of Ireland: an illustrated history will be officially launched in Belfast on Tuesday 3 December and in Dublin on Friday 5 December (details below). The 400-page book presents the rich heritage and history of the one-time established church in full colour, making it as much a coffee table publication as a serious collection of essays.

Edited by Professor Brian Walker and Dr Claude Costecalde, the book comprises the work of over sixty historians, editors and photographers from all over Ireland with a diverse range of interests and approaches.

'Each tells the story of the Church in his or her own way,' say the Archbishop of Armagh and Archbishop of Dublin in their foreword. 'The variety of this material reflects the diversity within the Church itself. This volume achieves the remarkable task of covering every parish or union/group of parishes, with illustrations of over two thirds of all the churches.'

Dr Costecalde describes the book as 'a record of the past with an invitation to reflect on the life of the church in the 21st century'.

A preview of the book, in all its glorious colour, can be enjoyed on the publisher's website: Booklink. It can be ordered (price £30) from BooksIreland.*

The Belfast launch on 3 December will be at St Anne’s Cathedral 6.30pm. The Dublin launch on 5 December will take place at Church House, Rathmines, Dublin 6 at 7.00pm.

*The book is offered at a special reduced price of £25 over Thanksgiving Weekend. Offer ends Monday 2 December.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

National Archives releases 1970-74 documents to CAIN

This afternoon at the National Archives of Ireland (NAI) Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, launched an extended range of digitised archival documents from the NAI relating to the conflict in Northern Ireland. These 750 documents relate to the years 1970–1974 and can now be viewed, free, on the University of Ulster's CAIN database.

This is the second batch of records from the NAI to be added to CAIN. The first batch related to the years 1965–69 and was added to the online archive just over a year ago.

The CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) database provides extensive information and source material on the conflict and politics of Northern Ireland from 1968 to the present day. The material from the National Archives of Ireland is mostly from various government departments and offers an insight into Dublin's reactions to the ongoing turmoil and Anglo-Irish relations. It will be of particular interest to political and social historians and researchers.

Dáil Library's wealth of documents opens to public

A 1592 map of Ireland by Abraham Ortelius
The Oireachtas Library & Research Service has opened up its catalogue to the public. It includes its collection of 'documents laid' ie reports, documents and accounts presented to the Dáil and Seanad from the early 1920s to the present day.

This will be continuously updated (about 2000 documents are laid each year).

A separate section of the website releases significant elements of the Dáil Library's Historical Collection, most of which was gathered by the Irish government following independence.

Dating back to 1600, this section includes the Dublin Castle collection, the Irish Office collection, and smaller collections such as the York St. Club, the Milltown and the Fitzgerald.

To illustrate the range and depth of material within the Historical Collections, three online exhibitions of some notable items have been produced: Maps and Mapping, Ireland and the Crown, and Building Modern Ireland.

The offficial press release says: This Online Public Access Catalogue will provide the research community and the public with access to over 80,000 reports, pamphlets, maps and other documents; promote the accessibility and transparency of documents laid before parliament and will promote and facilitate self-service across government departments, academics and other users who seek copies of documents laid or historical material.

I've spent some time in the Documents Laid section today and found a great example of some of the gems to be discovered: a 1936 report on the Commission of Inquiry into the Reformatory and Industrial School System. This has details of the qualifications and conditions of service of teachers employed in these institutions, the grounds for committal, the type of 'technical training' given, and the system of 'boarding out'. What terrific information for any family historian with an ancestor who attended or worked in the system!

And just to give an idea of the range of subjects you can find in the collection, here are some of the other documents I came across: a 1940 report on Air Raid Precautions, the Rules of The Illegitimate Children (Affiliation Orders) Act, 1930, a 1968 report on the Irish Greyhound Board and the 1999 Review of the Irish Genealogical Project.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Belfast City Hall debate to focus on Volunteer armies

The debate will take place in the
Banqueting Room of Belfast City Hall
Ireland’s two ‘volunteer’ armies from a century ago will be the focus of a debate in Belfast City Hall on Tuesday 10 December.

HistoryIreland magazine and The Irish Association have joined forces to convene a special Hedge School which will tackle the subject of ‘Volunteers 1913: Two Traditions Or One?’. It will look at how, a century ago, the imminent prospect of Home Rule provoked the founding of two private armies in Ireland: the Ulster Volunteers to oppose it and the Irish Volunteers to defend it.

The HistoryIreland Hedge School, which is taking place in the Banqueting Room of the City Hall from 6pm, aims to stimulate debate on what the volunteers hoped to achieve and what it must have been like ‘to sign up’ to such armies a century ago. It will discuss the similarities and differences between these private armies.

A panel of guests will lead the discussions. It includes Lar Joye from the National Museum of Ireland, Michael Laffan (University College Dublin), Timothy Bowman (University of Kent) and Philip Orr (author of ‘New Perspectives - Politics, Religion and Conflict in Mid-Antrim, 1911-1914’). Tommy Graham, Editor of HistoryIreland, will be the master of ceremonies.

The event – part of Belfast City Council's ongoing Decade Of Centenaries programme – is free of charge but advance booking is required by email or telephone: + 353 1 293 3568.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Limited service at PRONI during December

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has announced that it will be operating a limited service from Monday 9 to Friday 13 December.

While the Search Room and Microfilm Self Service Areas will be in operation, researchers will be unable to order any original documents from the stores.

In addition there will not be a late night opening during that week. The Search Room and Reading Room will close at 4:45pm on Thursday 12 December.

There will be no late night the following week, either, with the Search Room and Reading Room closing at 4:45pm on Thursday 19 December.

PRONI will be closed over the festive period on the following dates: 25, 26 and 27 December  and 1 January 2014.

Early December closures at major Dublin repositories

There are a number of dates in early December when some of the main Dublin repositories will not be operating to their normal opening hour schedules. These are as follows:

Monday 2 December
The Representative Church Body Library will be closed on the morning of Monday 2 December. It will, however, be accessible for standard afternoon opening hours of 2pm to 5pm with last orders for manuscripts and archives at 4:30 pm. (You might also like to make a note that the December Late Night is 6 December, when the Library remain open until 7:30pm.)

Wednesday 4 to Friday 6 December:
The Reading Room of the National Archives of Ireland will be closed to the public to facilitate the annual media preview of the archives of Government Departments relating mainly to 1983, which will be opened to the public in January 2014. Only representatives of newspapers and broadcasting companies will be admitted on the days of the preview. The Genealogy Service will not function on these days. The Reading Room (and GS) will reopen to the public on Monday 9 December.

Wednesday 11 December
To facilitate staff meetings, the National Library of Ireland will not open until 10am on Wednesday 11 December. The earliest order time for items from the collections on these mornings will, therefore, be 10am.

AND a last reminder that the National Archives of Ireland Reading Room will also be closed on Thursday 28 November from noon until 3pm.

PRONI won't be operating a full service throughout the month, either. See blogpost.

Book launch: Medieval and Monastic Derry

The city of Derry is one of the oldest continuously documented places in Ireland and now a new book, Medieval and monastic Derry: sixth century to 1600, by Brian Lacey, offers the first comprehensive study of its wealth of medieval history.

Commissioned as a contribution to the 2013 UK City of Culture celebrations and funded in part by the Holywell Trust through its City Walls Heritage Project, an educational initiative encouraging people to engage with the city’s historic walls, this highly anticipated book will be launched at the Tower Museum on Thursday 28 November (invitation only).

The author Brian Lacey, the founder of Derry City Council’s Museum and Heritage Service, said that his work re-examines a number of previous studies in order to strengthen and reinforce current historical interpretations.

'The turbulent history of the city has been well documented, complete with legends, theories and battles. The book re-examines the turbulent periods in history of the city from its origination as a monastery founded, according to legend, by St Columba, to the capture in the late sixth century by Cenél Conail through to the twelfth century. The book focuses on the harnessing of the Columban legend, especially under the reign of the Mac Lochlainn kings in the 1100s when the city became an influential and significant political and cultural hub as well as a major pilgrimage destination. The defeat of the Mac Lochlainn kings brought about a corresponding decline in the city's life.'

Lacey says that 1600 is very significant in the city’s history because, with the arrival of the English, it saw the end of its Gaelic identity. 'In this book I have emphasized the changing fortunes of Derry by examining the contexts of contemporary secular politics throughout medieval times.'

For more information about the launch evening, contact Archivist Bernadette Walsh by email or phone 028 7136 5151, extension 8251.

The 176-page hardback is published by Four Courts Press, ISBN: 978-1-84682-383-1. Web price: €22.45.

Westport ancestors? Book needs old photos and more

Westport – © Failte Ireland
Westport Historical Society (WHS) in Co. Mayo is on the hunt for old images of Westport to illustrate a book of the history of the town. The book, which will be published next year by WHS, will be composed of old images (photos, paintings, etc.) of Westport's people, streets, buildings and local clubs and organisations, as well as documents of local historical interest, old maps of the town, interesting newspaper clippings, etc.

The period covered will be (roughly) 1750-1950, and all proceeds from sales of the book will go towards the operation of the Clew Bay Heritage Centre in Westport, which is run voluntarily by WHS members.

WHS member James Kelly is co-ordinating the project and is asking readers of Irish Genealogy News to contact him by email if they have photos of ancestors who lived in Westport, old images of the town itself or any items which you think might make an interesting addition to the book. Similarly, please contact him if you'd like more information about the project.

Besides the publication of the book, a significant aim of the project is to digitise and catalogue as many old Westport images as can be found, with a view to ensuring their survival for future generations. The images will be collected together to form a digital archive, which will then be made available for research in the Clew Bay Heritage Centre.

Irish Roots: Winter issue now in shops and online
The Winter issue of Irish Roots magazine has been published and is now available in the shops and online.

This quarter's edition is a whirlwind tour of the globe, with features about tracing Irish ancestors in the East India Company, in Brazil and Australasia and using US directory sources to trace those who crossed the Atlantic.

In keeping with this far-flung travel theme is an in-depth exploration of passenger and naval records, and details of how the international maritime organisations classify their vessels.

Other how-to articles include advice on using Ordnance Survey maps to locate your family history, setting up and run a graveyard project, and tracing your ancestors from Westmeath.

You can also learn about the National Library of Ireland's recent partnership with Google Cultural Institute, which sees three of the NLI's photographic collections hosted online and made available to the widest possible audience, catch up on the latest books of historical and genealogical interest, and, of course, find out what's new in the world of Irish genealogy with my own review of recent developments and record releases.

All this and much more for £3.35/€4.50. See the IrishRoots website for more details and to view the digital version. You can also view free sample pages for a selection of past issues from this page (click on the magazine covers to get the 'sample' option).

Monday, 25 November 2013

RootsIreland offers 40% discount on all records
RootsIreland has a very tasty Thanksgiving offer until Wednesday 4 December of a 40% discount.

The database, which is run by the Irish Family History Foundation, holds more than 20 million records including many church register transcriptions unavailable online anywhere else. Most of the counties of Ireland are included, but do be sure to check the list of records held by each of the county collections before you dive in!

The site operates on a credit system. The offer reduces the cost of viewing records from 25 to 15 credits, for which all researchers will give thanks.

Irish genealogy and history events to close November

Monday 25 November: Battle of Mount Street Bridge 1916, with Paul O'Brien. Host: Military Archives. Venue: Pillar Rooms. Access via Blue Gate, Parnell Sq. East, Dublin 1. At 1pm. Free.

Monday 25 November: Why can’t you all just get along? Unpacking politics and emotion in conflict transformation?, with Adrian Lyttle and Juliet Rogers of the University of Melbourne, Australia. Host: Institute of Irish Studies. Venue: Room 03/006B, Peter Froggatt Centre, Queen's University Belfast. 1:00pm–2:00pm.

Monday 25 November: The Scots Border Reivers, with Jonathan Gray. Host: Stewartstown and District Local History Society. Venue: The Crieve Centre, The Square, Stewartstown, Co Tyrone. 8:00pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 26 November: Sources at the Military Archives for local and family history, with Comdt Padraic Kennedy. Host: Military Archives. Venue: Pillar Rooms. Access via Blue Gate, Parnell Sq. East, Dublin 1. At 1pm. Free.

Tuesday 26 November: Using DNA for family history, with Dr Tyrone Bowes. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Coleraine Branch. Venue: Guide Hall, Terrace Row, Coleraine. 8pm–10pm.

Wednesday 27 November: Fighting for Freedom: Slavery and the American Civil War, with Brett Irwin. Host: PRONI. Venue: Linenhall Library, Belfast. Free. Booking recommended. 1pm.

Wednesday 27 November 27: Irish genealogy workshop, with Lisa Dougherty. Irish American Museum, Broadway, Albany, New York State, USA. 11am–1pm. Free.

Wednesday 27 November: Southern Protestant experiences during the War of Independence and the Civil War: voices from Church of Ireland Diocesan Synods, 1919-23, with Professor Brian Walker. Host: Centre for Contemporary Irish History Seminars. Venue: Neill Hoey Seminar Room, Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute, Trinity College Dublin. 4pm–5pm. Free. All welcome.

Wednesday 27 November:The British Army in Ireland 1913, with Tony Kinsella. Host: Military Archives. Venue: Pillar Rooms. Access via Blue Gate, Parnell Square East, Dublin 1. At 1pm. Free.

Thursday 28 November 2013 – 30 March 2014: Formation of the Irish Volunteers, an exhibition at Glasnevin Museum. Dublin. Details.

Thursday 28 November: Cumann na mBan activities in Co. Louth, 1914–1923, with Ailbhe Rogers. Venue: Dundalk County Museum, Carroll Centre, Roden Place, Jocelyn Street, Dundalk, Co. Louth. Free. 8:00pm to 9:30pm. Details: 042 932 7056.

Thursday 28 November: Who were the Irish Volunteers - a case study, with Lar Joye. Host: Military Archives. Venue: Pillar Rooms. Access via Blue Gate, Parnell Square East, Dublin 1. At 1pm. Free.

Thursday 28 November: Exploring family history in West Ulster, with Boyd Grey. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Ballymena Branch. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena. 7:15pm–9:15pm.

Thursday 28 November: The Burning of Patrick Street, Compensation and Rebuilding, with Michael Lenihan. Free Lunchtime lecture series at Crawford Art Gallery Lecture Theatre. Cork City. 1pm.

Thursday 28 November: Looking back on Titanic’s legacy, an illustrated talk with Philip Armstrong asking why there is still so much interest in Titanic 100 years after her demise. Venue: Drawing offices, Titanic House, Titanic Belfast. £4. Buy tickets.

Friday 29 November: 'The future of the movement depends on our remaining at our posts’; The Irish Volunteers 1913-1915, with Dr Daithi O’Corrain. Host: Military History Society of Ireland. Venue: Lecture Theatre, Griffith College, South Circular Road, Dublin 8. Time: 8pm. Non-members welcome.

Friday 29 November: Countess Markievicz and the idea of Ireland, with Lauren Arrington. Host: Irish Association of Industrial Relations. Venue: DIT, Aungier Street, Dublin. 1pm. Free.

Saturday 30 November: Local Resources for Discovering Family History. A Discussion and visit to the Heritage Collection of Downpatrick Library, with Dr William Roulston and Gillian Hunt. Part of the St Patrick's Centre Autumn Lecture Series. Venue: St Patrick's Centre, 53A Market Street, Downpatrick, Co. Down BT30 6LZ. Booking essential: Tel 00 44+ (0)28 4461 9000. £5 Admission. 10am–12.00noon.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Military Archives marks founding of Irish Volunteers

Monday 25 November will be the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Irish Volunteers, which took place in the complex of buildings at the Rotunda, Dublin.

To celebrate this centenary, a week-long exhibition by the Military Archives on the Irish Volunteers will be open to the public in the Pillar Rooms from Mon–Wed 10am to 4pm; Thurs 10am to 7:30pm; and Fri 10am to 2pm. Access is via the Blue Gate, Parnell Square East, Dublin 1.

A free lunchtime lecture will be held at 1pm, as follows:

Monday 25 November:Battle of Mount Street Bridge 1916, with Paul O'Brien
Tuesday 26 November: Sources at the Military Archives, with Comdt Padraic Kennedy
Wednesday 27 November: The British Army in Ireland 1913, with Tony Kinsella
Thursday 28 November: Who were the Irish Volunteers - a case study, with Lar Joye

Tar Abhaile highlights the positive work of Ireland XO

After a rather hectic few days, I finally managed to settle down to the first episode of Tar Abhaile, TG4's new series about Ireland XO, the group of local communities that's helping the Diaspora reconnect with their Irish roots. It aired on Sunday and was repeated on Monday, but can be viewed at your own convenience on TG4's player, or below.

I have to say I engaged more with this programme than I have with some other genealogy shows on television. Not only were the people real – from the folk searching for their roots, to the extended family they met, and to the members of Ireland XO who were carrying out the research – the range of genealogy records covered was extensive.

Take Marsha from Chicago... Marsha wasn't 'new' to genealogical research or to Ireland; she had previously met Tommy Cooke, the 99-year-old grandson of her great grandfather, in Knockainey, but she wanted to know more. The Ireland XO team not only facilited meetings with Tommy and his wider family, they uncovered 'the old homestead' still (just) standing, they found tales of minor disagreements with offialdom in the Petty Sessions Court Registers and uncovered stories of her family's involvement in Land War agitation in historical newspapers.

And then there was Bryan Lynch from Ayr in Queensland, Australia, who believed he had no surviving family in Ireland but wanted to know where his great grandmother Daly was buried. This tale was a heart tugger, as he was introduced to a cousin who still lived in her house in Lough Gur and knew where to find the family grave. Not only were the Ireland XO volunteers able to satisfy his genealogical quest, they also helped organise for Bryan and his wife to renew their marriage vows, surrounded by local Lynch and Daly families, in the church where his great grandparents had wed 150 years ago. Pass the hankies around. (Or am I just going soft?)

Susan O'Brien of Ireland XO told Irish Genealogy News that the remaining broadcast will follow a similar format. "Each episode will show how two local communities helped members of their Diaspora – whether experienced family historians or novices – discover their ancestors. In the first episode, both Marsha and Bryan had already carried out a lot of their own research before they turned to Ireland XO for help. But later episodes will show examples of the 'reverse genealogy' for which Ireland XO have become so well-known, where the team have traced descendents of emigrants and brought them back to their place of origin."

The Diaspora is represented by people from the US, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK, while the Ireland XO teams are from towns and villages across Ireland.

All the episodes of Tar Abhaile (Come Home) were filmed between late Spring and the end of October. They are presented in Irish and English, with English subtitles. Click the link below to watch the first episode. It's just over 26 minutes long.


Ancestry's WAP team turns to useful Poor Law records

Ancestry has announced three record collections ready for indexing under its World Archives Projects (WAP) banner. The three are Hampshire, England, Allegations for Marriage Licences, 1689-1837, Savannah, Georgia, Licenses and Bonds, 1837-1909 and London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1828-1930. It's the Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records that will be of interest to Irish family historians.

The full collection includes records relating to the unions of London's East End: Bethnal Green, Hackney, Poplar, Shoreditch and Stepney; scanned images of the collection are already available for browsing on Ancestry. Creating an index for these record sets would instantly make them much more useful (and used). This is where the WAP team of volunteer indexers comes in. It has just started indexing the Shoreditch Union records. Hopefully the rest of the collection will follow.

English Poor Law records are a great source for Irish genealogical research because Irish migrants often found themselves in need after leaving their homeland. Responsibility for the poor fell to their local 'home' parish – their legal place of 'settlement' – which was not necessarily the place they found themselves destitute. People who could not show a right to settlement in Place B could be sent back ie 'removed' to Place A, their last legal parish of settlement. For the Irish, Place A was typically considered to be their home townland in Ireland.

Right to settlement could be established by birth, residency for a prescribed period of time, marriage, renting property for at least £10 and paying the poor rate, or completing an apprenticeship, among other ways.

Proving a right of settlement could include a formal assessment or examination and valuable documentation was often gathered in the process.

Details included in the Poor Law records vary widely. An order of removal may contain name, age, current parish, and parish being removed to. A settlement register may note number of children and marital status. Examination documentation can be even more extensive.

Ancestry have highlighted to WAP indexers that the handwriting and record type variance will make this project a little more challenging than some others.

Ancestry's World Archive Projects help index important record collections for the research community's benefit. Once indexed, these collections can be searched for free on Ancestry (searching is free; viewing of images may require a subscription). The indexing team is made up of volunteers, and new indexers are always needed. Find out more.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

National Archives closed for 3 hours on 28 November

Important to note this if you were planning on visiting the Reading Room of the National Archives of Ireland next Thursday 28 November...

While the Reading Room will be open to the public in the morning (normal hours from 9.15 until 12.00), it will then close to facilitate the launch of a digital archive relating to the Troubles in Northern Ireland*.

Once the formalities are concluded, the Room will reopen at 3pm.

*The documents held in this archive date from 1970 to 1974 and are being made available through a partnership between the University of Ulster’s CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) project and the National Archives of Ireland.

Morpeth Roll was signed by Ronald Reagan's ancestors

The Morpeth Roll, and the exhibition that tells the story of the 1841 document and its conservation, has returned to its research home at NUI Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Its return to the University's Library was marked by the formal launch of curator Christopher Ridgeway's book, The Morpeth Roll: Ireland identified in 1841, and the announcement of some new discoveries among the 160,000 signatures on the Roll.

The signatures of former US President Ronald Regan's great-great grandfather and great-uncle have been identified within the 412metre-long document. Both men were named Thomas Reagan, and they came from Ballyporeen in south County Tipperary

The Morpeth Roll was digitised by Ancestry, indexed as one of that company's World Archive Projects, and released in March this year (see blogpost). Eric Booth, Senior Product Managing Manager at Ancestry's International office in Dublin, has confirmed to Irish Genealogy News that the existing search and view arrangements on Ancestry will continue ie while the Index is free to search, you need a subscription to view the accompanying images. There are no plans, contrary to some reports, for this to change.

Since its release to the public, researchers at the University's History and Conservation Departments have been slowly but surely discovering more detail from the Morpeth Roll. In addition to the Reagan family's ancestors, connections have been confirmed with the British royal family, film director John Ford, the second Arthur Guinness of stout fame, and Francis B Beamish from the Cork brewery.

Monday, 18 November 2013

IGRS launches new online Irish Wills Resource

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has launched a new online index to abstracts and transcripts of Irish wills. 

Sample entry in IGRS Wills card index, now online
The destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1922 consumed virtually all of Ireland’s pre-1858 testamentary records. During the decades following, efforts were made by various institutions and individuals to locate copies and abstracts of Irish wills. The IGRS wills card index is an early and praiseworthy attempt by IGRS members to build a central database of genealogical abstracts from a variety of testamentary sources.

The IGRS Wills card index includes references from a number of important and lesser known collections, referring to wills from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. It notes Irish Prerogative and Consistorial wills from the Betham Collection as well as from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury; the Welply Collection at the Society of Genealogists, plus the Swanzy Collection held by the IGRS.

Other sources are not only wills deposited at the Society's Library, or quoted in its extensive manuscript collection, but also wills held in private collections quoted in the IGRS annual journal, The Irish Genealogist, as well as in other journals. In addition, the card index includes many regional wills & administrations.

There are approximately 4000 cards in all and while they stretch from Acheson to Young, those from A to F are slightly better covered than the rest of the alphabet. In each case, the full source for the abstract is quoted, and great pains were taken to show family relationships, making this an essential reference for anyone involved in Irish genealogy.

This important new resource joins a fast growing collection of records – many of them unique – now being made available on the Society's website

While the Wills Index is one of several resources accessible to Members-only (annual subscription is £21/€26/US$35), other records and databases can be viewed by non-members in the publicly accessible Unique Resources section of the site.

Irish American Museum opens Connolly exhibition

The Irish American Museum in Albany NY has opened a new exhibition – Labor & Dignity: James Connolly in America.

It tells the story of Connolly's time in the US from 1903 to 1905. He and his family lived at 96 Ingalls Avenue, in Troy's North Central neighbourhood, among many Irish immigrant women who worked in the city's collar industry.

Connolly was in Troy during the Starcher's Union strike, and it was during this time he became involved with the rights of women and children, which he brought back to Ireland in 1910. He went on to become General Secretary of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, led the Irish Citizen Army, and was executed by a British firing squad for his part in the Easter Rising of 1916.

The new exhibition was officially opened by Ireland's Ambassador Consul General Noel Kilkenny. He also rededicated a statue of the Irish revolutionary, which stands on the nearby Riverfront Park.

The Irish American Heritage Museum is open Wednesday to Sunday (weekdays 11am–4pm; weekends 12noon–4pm.)

On Tuesday 19 November:
In conjunction with the new exhibit, the Museum is hosting a free screening of the documentary series: 1916 Seachtar Na Cásca, which tells of the individuals involved in the 1916 Easter Rising. The drama is in English and Irish (with English subtitles) The screening will take place in the Trustco Bank Gallery with theatre screen and surround sound. 6pm–7:15pm. Telephone for details: +1 518-427-1916.

Irish genealogy and history events to 23 November

Tuesday 19 November: Unionism, the Irish Covenant, and Irish Politics 1912-14, with Professor Brian M Walker. Part of the History to Blame programme. City Library, Grand Parade, Cork. 7.30pm. Free.

Tuesday 19 November: Narrative, Diaspora & Identity, with Dr Tony Murray, Director of the Irish Studies Centre. Venue: Room TM1-38, Tower Buiding, London Metropolitan University.  6-7.30pm. Free but booking required.

Wednesday 20 November: The Ogham Stones in County Carlow, with Dr Colman Etchingham. Host: Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society. Venue: Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow. 8pm.

Wednesday 20 November: Poulnabrone – a tomb for the earliest farmers in the Burren, with Dr Ann Lynch. Host: Burrenbeo Trust. Venue: Tubber Village Hall, Tubber, Co Clare. 8.30pm. Details: Tel 091 638096 or email.

Wednesday 20 November: Irish genealogy 101, with Lisa Dougherty. A workshop for those who have established their ancestors' place of origin in Ireland. Venue: Irish American Heritage Museum, 370 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207-2969 USA. 6:30pm. Free.

Wednesday 20 November: A talk in recognition of the anniversary of the Manchester Martyrs, with Joe O'Neill. Irish History Talk Series at Irish World Heritage Centre, Irish Town Way, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 0AE. Tel: 0161 205 4007. 7:30pm.  £3 admission.

Wednesday 20 November: Ordnance Survey maps and their origins, with Adrian Boyce. Host: North of Ireland FHS, North Armagh branch. Venue: Town Hall, 15-17 Edward Street, Portadown, Co Armagh BT62 3LX. 7:30pm. Details.

Thursday 21 November: Jackie Kennedy's roots in County Clare, with Jim Callaghan. Host: Clare Roots Society. Venue: Civic Rooms, Ennis Town Council, Drumbiggle, Ennis, Co Clare. 8pm. All are welcome. €5 for non-members.

Thursday 21 November: Anne Frank, an Irish Dimension, with Yanky Fachler. Host: The Jewish Historical Society of Ireland. Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. 7pm.

Thursday 21 November: Poverty in Victorian Belfast, with Robyn Atcheson. Host: North of Ireland FHS, North Armagh branch. Venue: 1st Presbyterian Church Hall, Main Street, Bangor, Co Down. 7.30pm. Details.

Thursday 21 November: The Plantation of Ulster: Process, People and Perspectives. The final part of the Island Voices Lecture Series is an illustrated talk by textile artist Deborah J Stockdale detailing how she researched, designed and created her own personalised response to the complex Plantation story. Her Narrative Art Quilt forms part of the Plantation Exhibition in Derry's Guildhall. Venue: Tower Museum, Derry-Londonderry. Lunch from 12:45. Lecture at 1pm. Booking essential. Free.

Thursday 21 November: Irish-Catholic women and modernity in 1930s Liverpool, with Dr Charlotte Wildman. Part of the 5th Annual Irish in Britain Seminar series. Host: Irish Studies Centre. Venue: Room TM1-38, London Metropolitan University, Tower Building, 166-220, Holloway Road, London N7 8DB. 6:30pm to 8pm. Refreshments provided. Free, but booking required. More information.

Thursday 21 November: Introduction to genealogy and local history, first of four-Thursdays course. Host: Irish Ancestors Direct. Venue: Kealgorm House, Limerick Road. Castleisland, Co. Kerry.7:30pm–9:30pm. Details: Tel 087 1527050.

Thursday 21 November: Life in Northern Ireland during WW2, Conference at PRONI, Belfast. 1:30pm–5pm, ending with launch of Philip Ollerenshaw’s new book: Northern Ireland in the Second World War: Politics, Economic mobilisation and Society, 1939-45. FULLY BOOKED.

Friday 22 November: The heroes and villains of Ireland's Golden Age, the inagural Dr Aidan Breen memorial lecture, with Prof Donnacha O Corrain. Host: North Wexford Historical Society. Venue: Gorey Civic Centre. 8pm. Entrance free to members, €5 to non members.

Friday 22 November to Sunday 24 November: Exploring Your Family History: Are You an Ulster Scot?, an exhibition and festival. Host: Donaghadee Historical Society and North of Ireland FHS. Opportunities to learn how to trace your roots using church records and other genealogy tools. Brochure.

Friday 22 November: Your family crest: What you may (and may not) like to know, with Julian Walton. Host: Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. Venue: Edmund Rice Heritage & Conference Centre, Barrack Street, Waterford. 8pm. Admittance: €5.00 non-members.

Saturday 23 November: What's in a Name? Researching your Family Tree – the Next Steps, with Gillian Hunt. Part of the St Patrick's Centre Autumn Lecture Series: 'What’s in a Name? An Exploration of Local Placenames and Family Names'. Venue: St Patrick's Centre, 53A Market Street, Downpatrick, Co. Down BT30 6LZ. 10.00am – 12.00noon. Booking Essential: Tel 44+ (0)28 4461 9000. £5 Admission.

Saturday 23 November: Irish Civil War Conference. Host: Old Athlone Society. Venue: Custome Barracks, Athlone. Time: 9:30am to 5:30pm. Tickets: €45 per person, includes conference pack, tea/coffee and light lunch. The conference dinner costs €30 extra. Booking. More details.

Ireland Genealogy Projects: Mid-November update

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives has been updated with the following files in the first two weeks of this month:

Fr William Wilson's 1904 Ordination Card
General IRELAND Genealogy Archives
Ordination Cards

CAVAN Genealogy Archives
Headstones – St Mary's Church Cemetery Kilnaleck

CORK Genealogy Archives
Wills – Hornibrook, John Thomas October 16, 1873

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives
Photos – Ginn Family Photo

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Deansgrange Cemetery, South Section Part 5

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives
Photos – New Photos of Fermanagh born

GALWAY Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – Irish Constabulary 1858 partial (Service nos. 22751-24000)

KERRY Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary Records – Irish Constabulary 1858 partial (Service nos. 22751-24000)

KILDARE Genealogy Archives
Memorial Cards – Memorial Cards for Malone family

LAOIS (QUEEN'S) Genealogy Archives
Memorial Cards – Memorial Cards (Kelly Family)

MEATH Genealogy Archives
Memorial Cards – Memorial Cards - Updated

OFFALY (KINGS) Genealogy Archives
Photos – Mary Farrell nee Faneran & Mother

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives
Land Records – Rentals of Marquis of Ely in Wexford, 1873
A List of Wexford people implicated in the 1641 Rebellion
Headstones – Monaseed; St.Patrick's Church Cemetery (RC) - East Section added

Friday, 15 November 2013

FindMyPast serves up 2.6m more petty sessions records has released another whopper sized batch of records to its Petty Sessions Court Registers collection 1828-1912. This latest batch, which may be the penultimate tranche of the collection, holds 2.6million records dating from 1851 to 1912.

It features 48 new courts in 18 counties around Ireland (see below). A further 46 courts have been supplemented with records from additional years. This brings the total Petty Sessions Court Registers on to over 20 million and the overall Irish family history records on the site to over 76 million.

Notable additions this time include a significant expansion to the records available for Cork, Kerry, Offaly and Tipperary. Limerick City court has also been added covering 1851-1913, which should prove a real boost for family historians with ancestors from the ‘Treaty City’.

The variety of cases heard gives a real flavour for life in Ireland at the time. Stealing heather, refusal to pay wages and owning weapons without a license are just a taste of the misdemeanors that can be found amongst the millions of registers.

Below is a list of the Petty Sessions Courts appearing in the online collection for the first time:

Feakle 1884-1913
Tomgraney 1875-76
Ballydehob 1900-1913
Drimoleague 1900-1913
Schull 1911-13
Skibbereen 1860-61, 1908-1913
Union Hall 1912-13
Swords 1872-1913
Derreen 1857-1878, 1884-1899, 1905-13
Headford 1851-1913
Tuam 1858, 1865-1913
Annascaul 1895-1913
Ballylongford 1855-59, 1863-1913 
Castlegregory 1896-1913
Dingle 1901-1913
Tarbert 1860, 1873-1913
Thomastown 1851-1860, 1876-77, 1886-1913
Stradbally 1896-1913
Timahoe 1851-1866
Limerick City 1851-1913
Foxford 1851-52, 1858-1912
Kiltimagh 1900-1913
Kells 1851-1873, 1876-1909
Clones 1855-1913
Frankford 1910-11
Parsonstown 1884-1911
Philipstown 1851-1913
Portarlington 1905-09
Thomastown 1873-76, 1903-11
Elphin 1913 
Keadue 1911
Roosky 1862-1869, 1876-1913
Strokestown 1877-79, 1882-86, 1892-1913
Ballydoogan 1857-60, 1869
Mullaghroe 1851-1913
Sligo Borough 1864-69, 1879, 1888, 1891-1901, 1905-06, 1910-13
Sligo County 1863-64, 1868-1913
Bansha 1851-57, 1861-1868, 1872-1881, 1884-1898, 1901-1913
Borrisoleigh 1913
Dundrum 1896-1905
Thurles 1909-1913
Tipperary 1851-1913
Kilmacthomas 1913
Arthurstown 1853-59
Carnew 1869-1892 
Coolkenno 1869-1892
Shillelagh 1892-1913
Tinahely 1869-1913

More about using the Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers
and their value to your research.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Special edition of Century Ireland marks centenary

A special edition of Century Ireland has been published to mark the centenary of the formation of the Irish Volunteers at a meeting held at the Rotunda, Dublin, on 25 November 1913.

Century Ireland is a free online news service and digital resource for information and analysis of crucial events from the time of the Home Rule debate, through WW1 and the Easter Rising, to the Civil War.

Launched in May this year, it is published fortnightly with a daily blog and twitter feed. Through news reports, historical documents, photographs and academic analysis, it tracks the Irish – and international – experience day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.

It's a terrific publication, beautifully presented and offering multiple levels of depth in the way it recounts events that shaped modern Ireland.

The formation of the Volunteers was one of the milestone moments in a tumultuous decade. It came in the wake of the establishment of the Ulster Volunteer Force, on which it was modelled but whose objectives it opposed and the emergence of the Irish Volunteers signalled the beginning of the militarisation of nationalist Ireland.

Century Ireland covers this ground-breaking event through news reports, reproductions of key historical documents, fresh historical analysis and filmed interviews from the RTÉ Archives with actual participants in the Rotunda meeting, including Seán T. O’Kelly, future President of Ireland.

Supported by Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Century Ireland is a partnership between RTÉ, Boston College, the National Cultural Institutions and other partners.

Deenihan encourages the telling of memories

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collection was formally launched at Dublin Castle yesterday evening (see Monday's blogpost about the Collection of 111 recordings, which feature interviews with the relatives of those who were involved in the Rising, including their children and grandchildren). The event brought together many of the interviewees and their families. For some it was a chance to renew old acquaintances; for others, it was the first time that they had met the families of other protagonists in 1916.

Performing the formal launch honours, Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, described those taking part as "near witnesses to the making of some of Ireland's most significant history."

He said: "As we move forward to 2016 and the centenary celebrations, it is important that these people, who have been for many years custodians of the national memory, are involved in the commemorative ceremonies. By providing them with the opportunity to share and record their recollections, we can ensure that their memories are preserved for future generations.

"I would encourage anyone who has a story to tell, like the participants in the 1916 Oral History Collection, to put it on record now, so that their recollections may be available for future use by academics, historians and the general public."

The Irish Citizen Army: day seminar marks centenary

To mark the centenary of the founding of the Irish Citizen Army, a day seminar will be held on Saturday 16 November in the Palatine Room, Collins Barracks, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin.

The Irish Citizen Army – Green Bolsheviks or Red Fenians? programme is as follows:

10:45 : The Irish Citizen Army in Context 1913-1935, with Brian Hanley.
11:30 : The early years: The structure and Politics of the ICA, 1913-1916, with Ann Matthews.
12:15 : The Story of the Starry Plough, with Rachel Phelan.
13:00 : Lunch Break
14:00 : The ICA as a military force, with Lay Joye.
14:45 : The Citizens of the Citizens Army, with Liz Gillis
15:20 : Panel Discussion.
16:00 : Close

The Seminar is free and you don't need to book.

Irish Civil War Conference in Athlone, 23 November

A major public conference has been organised by the Old Athlone Society and sponsored by the European commission to discuss the history, meaning and legacies of the Irish Civil War.

Sponsored by the European Commission, the event has attracted speakers from Universities in Ireland, the UK and Canada, and will be held on Saturday 23 November at Custome Barracks, Athlone from 9:30am to 5:30pm.

The army will display many examples of military hardware both from the Civil War period and modern times.

The programme is as follows:
09:00 : Registration
09:30 : Welcome by Dr John Keane, President, The Old Athlone Society.
09:40 : Keynote Address. ‘Irish history wars’: fighting Ireland's civil wars by other means?,
with Dr John M Regan.
10:30 : Politics after the revolution: loyalties, allegiances and the new state,
with Dr John Burke.
11:10 : Tea/Coffee
11:40 : The Irish Civil War –the conventional warfare phase, with Dr John Borgonovo.
12:20 : The Catholic Church and the Irish Civil War, with Dr Patrick Murray.
13:00 : Lunch
14:00 : Civil wars and their legacies in Europe 1917-2011: the uniqueness (or not) of the Irish
experience 1922-1923? with Dr Bill Kissane.
14:40 : 14:40-15:20: Aspects of the Civil War in the Midlands, with Ian Kenneally.
15:20 : Tea/Coffee
15:40 : Women, internment and the Civil War, with Dr Ann Matthews.
16:20 : Echoes of conflict: oral history, ‘post memory’ and the meaning of the Irish Civil War,
with Dr Gavin Foster.
17:00 : General discussion and close of conference, with Dr Pat McCarthy of the Military
History Society of Ireland.
19:00 : Conference dinner – Prince of Wales Hotel.

Tickets: €45 per person, includes conference pack, tea/coffee and light lunch. The conference dinner costs €30 extra. Booking.

For more information on the event contact the President of the Society, Dr John Keane by email.

Gremlins invade

There's a technical glitch this morning at, the Irish family history site run by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The techies are aware of it and are working to resolve it. Should be back online soon.

UPDATE (11.35am): Back online within 30 minutes of notification!

Anne Frank: An Irish Dimension – 21 November

The Jewish Historical Society of Ireland will host a talk – Anne Frank: An Irish Dimension, by historian, broadcaster and author Yanky Fachler – at Dublin City Library & Archive on Thursday 21 November.

Ettie Steinberg was the only Irish citizen to share the fate of Anne Frank in the Holocaust, but all 4,000 members of Ireland's Jewish community were earmarked for annihilation by the Nazis. In this talk, Yanky describes Irish people connected to Bergen Belsen: Tomi Reichenthal, who was in the next barracks to Anne Frank and survived to tell the tale; Captain Chaim Herzog, one of the first army officers to visit liberated Belsen; Dr Bob Collis, the Dublin doctor who ran a children's hospital in Belsen after the Liberation; Marilyn Taylor, author of Faraway Home, the story of Millisle Farm for Holocaust refugee children in Co Down, and others.

Venue: DCL&A, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.
Time: 7pm.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Fermanagh History Fair: 16 November

A Family History Fair is to be held this coming Saturday in Fermanagh Among the exhibitors will be Inniskillings Museum, Fermanagh Family History Society, Somme Heritage Centre, Centre for Migration Studies, Fermanagh County Museum, Fermanagh Authors' Association, North of Ireland Family History Society, Libraries NI and Lisnaskea Historical Society.

The programme of speakers is as follows:

11:45am: Resources in the Centre for Migration Studies, with Dr Paddy Fitzgerald of CMS
12:30pm: Enniskillen at the beginning of the 20th century, with Catherine Scott of Fermanagh
               County Museum
1:15pm :  'From Tattenbar to Thiepval': a soldier's story, with Mervyn Hazlett Hall, Fermanagh FHS
2:00pm :  Researching Innikilling Soldiers from the First World War, with Inniskillings Museum
3:00pm :  The First World War and its impact in West Ulster, with Richard Doherty, Military

The event is free to attend and booking is not required. Hours are 11am to 4pm.

Venue: Lisgoole Suite, Killyhevlin Hotel, Dublin Road, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh BT74 6RW.

Tracing your Limerick Ancestors: new updated edition

A new and fully updated edition of Tracing your Limerick Ancestors has been published by Flyleaf Press.

The 160-page book, written by Margaret Franklin, sets out the records available and where they can be obtained. It offers general advice on conducting Irish genealogical research, and is well illustrated with maps, samples of the records and other relevant material.

With Limerick's year in the spotlight as Ireland's City of Culture 2014 just around the corner, this is a timely second edition for those with ancestors from the county.

Retail price in Ireland: €13.00 (Airmail US$22; CAN$23; GB£13.90; AUD25) from Flyleaf Press.

Monday, 11 November 2013

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collection launches

The 1916 Rising Oral History Collection will be formally launched on Wednesday 13 November at Dublin Castle by Minister Jimmy Deenihan TD, whose Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht commissioned Maurice and Jane O'Keefe of Irish Life and Lore to compile the recordings.

Maurice and Jane recorded 99 people – the children, grandchildren and other close relatives of the revolutionaries of 1916 – to create the collection of 111 recordings.

Valuable historical and personal information can now be accessed through the collection. Not only are personal experiences of Easter Week 1916 described in detail, explanations of the reasons for participation are also provided. Also heard are personal views on the sacrifice involved, the pain endured and the post-traumatic stress suffered, in some cases.

Other subjects explored are the revolutionaries' relative silence in later years on their involvement, and the sense of responsibility felt by their descendants towards their historical legacy.

The voices heard in the collection include:
  • Fr. Joseph Mallin, son of Michael Mallin. Fr. Mallin is the last surviving child of an executed leader of 1916, and he was recorded in Hong Kong;
  • Count Eoghan and Seóirse Plunkett, nephews of Joseph Mary Plunkett;
  • Harry Boland and Eileen Barrington, children of Gerald Boland and nephew and niece of Harry Boland;
  • Risteárd Mulcahy, son of Richard Mulcahy;
  • Fr. Éanna Henderson, son of Frank Henderson;
  • Sr. Íde Woulfe, niece of Con Colbert;
  • Sr. Kevin O'Higgins, daughter of Kevin O'Higgins;
  • Eileen Quinn, niece of Tomás Ashe;
  • Attracta Maher and Sr. Joanna Brennan-Whitmore, daughters of William J. Brennan-Whitmore;
  • Sr. Philomena O'Daly, daughter of Paddy O'Daly;
  • Camilla Mitchell, daughter of Bulmer Hobson;
  • Maureen Haughey, daughter of Seán Lemass;
  • Proinsias Ó Rathaille, grandson of The O'Rahilly;
  • Dorothea Findlater, daughter of Captain Henry de Courcy-Wheeler who took the surrender of many of the leaders of the Rising in Dublin.
Also included are some earlier recordings compiled with central figures in the Rising. These recordings were donated to the project by their families, who also generously contributed many historical documents and photographs.

The 1916 Oral History Collection consists of 111 recordings, involving over 150 hours of edited and tracked audio material. It is accompanied by an indexed and illustrated catalogue, which provides a brief synopsis of the content of each track in every recording.

"It was a wonderful project to work on," Jane O'Keefe told Irish Genealogy News. "The people who participated in the recording process were, without exception, generous, patient and enthusiastic. It should also be remembered that without the foresight and support of the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DAHG), and the support of South Dublin Libraries, the project would never have come to fruition."

The Collection will be available in many county and college libraries throughout Ireland, but recordings can also be puchased individually as mp3s (€2.99 or €15 on disk) via Irish Life and Lore's online shop or by phone: 353 (0)66 7121991.

In addition to the Oral History Collection, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has commissioned a book on the 1916 Rising. To Speak of Easter Week, written by Dr Helene O'Keefe, will be published by Mercier Press in Autumn 2015.

Genealogy and history events to 16 November 2013

Monday 11 November: Gone Before, but not forgotten – the archaeology of Louth's past generations, with Victor Buckley. Venue: Louth County Museum, Dundalk, Carroll Centre, Roden Place, Jocelyn St, Dundalk. 7:30pm. Free. Part of the National Monuments Service lecture series for The Gathering.

Monday 11 November: Genealogy Workshop, with Erica Fay in Central Library, Waterford. Admission is free, and all are welcome. Details: tel: 051 849975 or email.

Monday 11 November: Charles Johnston and Ireland, with Daniel Roberts, School of English and Fellow in the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities, QUB. Host: Institute of Irish Studies. Venue: Room 03/006B, Peter Froggatt Centre, QUB. 1:00pm–2:00pm.

Monday 11 November: The Irish Famine in Ulster, with Clive Scoular. Host: Carryduff Historical Society. Venue: Committee Room, Lough Moss Centre, Hillsborough Road, Carryduff Co Down. Time: 8pm. Cost: £2 non-members.

Monday 11 November: Sources for Migration History, with Dr Patrick Fitzgerald. North of Ireland FHS, Foyle Branch. Venue: Central Library at 35 Foyle Street, Derry-Londonderry, BT48 6AL. 7pm.

Tuesday 12 November to Saturday 23 November: The Third Home Rule Crisis, The Unionist Response, an exhibition. Glasnevin Museum, Dublin. Details.

Tuesday 12 November: Children in care – records of pre-1952 adoptions, with Fiona Fitzsimons. Host: Genealogical Society of Ireland. Venue: Dún Laoghaire College of FE, Cumberland Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 8pm.

Tuesday 12 November: The Coronation of Lambert Simnel, with Sparky Booker. Milestones of Medieval Dublin lunchtime lectures series. Wood Quay Venue, Civic Offices, Dublin 8. 1:05pm to 1:45pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 12 November: Introduction to CorkPastandPresent, at City Library, Grand Parade, Cork. 1:30pm. Free.

Tuesday 12 November: The Speaker Connolly, with Michael Keyes. Tallaght Historical Society. Venue: County Library, Tallaght. 7pm. Free.

Tuesday 12 November: Life on a Landed Estate: The Longfields and their Neighbours, with Jane Haytor Hames. Host: Cloyne Literary & Historical Society. Venue: Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry, Co Cork 8pm. Light refreshments served. Admission €8 to members and non-members. Pay on door; no booking required. More info: tel Caitriona 087-2254164.

Tuesday 12 November: The Great War including the Battle of the Somme, with David Gourley. Host: North of Ireland FHS, Lisburn Branch. The Bridge Community Centre, Railway Street, Lisburn. 7:30pm. Details.

Wednesday 13 November: The Midlands and the American Civil War, with Damien Shiels. Host: Old Athlone Society. Venue: Prince of Wales Hotel, Athlone, Co Westmeath. 8pm.

Wednesday 13 November: William Martin Murphy and the Lockout, with Thomas J Morrisey. Host: Knocklyon Historical Society. Venue: Iona Ceentre, Knocklyon, Co Dublin. 7:45pm. €4.

Wednesday 13 November: The 18th-century headstones of Co. Wicklow, with Christian Corlett. Venue: Court House, Avoca, Co. Wicklow. 8pm.

Thursday 14 November: Mount Stewart and the Wider World: Exploring the Londonderry Family Papers. PRONI, Belfast. A workshop to highlight the potential of the collection for family and local historians, academics, authors and film makers. Free. 1.30-4.30pm. Booking. If travelling by car, be aware that parking will not be available at the Odyssey Arena; use Titanic, Metropolitan College or Queen's Road car parks.

Thursday 14 November: Using Ancestry, A workshop with the North of Ireland Family History Society, Belfast Branch. Venue: Holywood Arches Library, Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 1NT. 7:30pm. Details.

Thursday 14 November: Irishness in Glasgow, 1848-61: ‘Catholic’ public elites and Ribbonism, with Dr Terry McBridge. Part of the 5th Annual Irish in Britain Seminar Series. Venue: Room TM1-38, London Metropolitan University, Tower Building, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB. Free to all, but booking required. 6.30-8pm.

Thursday 14 November: Irish Heritage Panel Discussion: A practitioner’s perspective, with Brigid Barry, Pat Cooke, Sarah Gearty, Liam Mannix, and Dr. Pauline Garvey. Dept of Geography Seminar Series. Venue: Rocque Lab, Rhetoric, South Campus, NUI Maynooth, Co Kildare. 4:15 - 5:30pm.

Friday 15 November: What's in a Name? The story of local place names, with Ian Wilson. Part of the St Patrick's Centre Autumn Lecture Series: 'What’s in a Name? An Exploration of Local Placenames and Family Names'. Venue: St Patrick's Centre, 53A Market Street, Downpatrick, Co. Down BT30 6LZ. Enquiries: 00 44+ (0)28 4461 9000. 7:30pm. Tea and coffee served. Free admission.

Saturday 16 November: Who do you think you were? Researching your Family History – a Guide for Beginners, with Dr William Roulston. Part of the St Patrick's Centre Autumn Lecture Series: 'What’s in a Name? An Exploration of Local Placenames and Family Names'. Venue: St Patrick's Centre, 53A Market Street, Downpatrick, Co. Down BT30 6LZ. Enquiries: 00 44+ (0)28 4461 9000. 10am–12pm. £5. Booking essential.

Saturday 16 November: Police memorabilia event. Garda Historical Society, Castle Rooms, Upper Castle Yard, Dublin Castle. 10am to 6pm. Bring historical police photos, documents, artefacts, memorabilia and any items of interest along. GHS will have facility to photograph/scan the items to ensure they are recorded and immediately returned.

Saturday 16 November: Blood, battles and burial in the Viking Age. A seminar hosted by Dublinia. Venue: Dublin City Council, Wood Quay Venue, Dublin 8. Starts at 9.30am. No booking or registration required. Free.

Saturday 16 November: Fermanagh Family History Fair. WW1 theme. Venue: Lisgoole Suite, Killyhevlin Hotel, Dublin Road, Enniskillen BT74 6RW. 11am–4pm. The First World War and its impact in West Ulster, with Richard Doherty.

Saturday 16 November: Readin’, Writin’, Aritmatick and Frackshins: Primary Education in Early 19th Century Ireland, with Dr Gillian O'Brien. Part of the Dublin Book Festival. Venue: The Gutter Bookshop, Cow's Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin. 6:30pm–8pm. Free. All Welcome.

Saturday 16 November: The Irish Citizen Army – Green Bolsheviks or Red Fenians? A seminar to mark the centenary of the founding of the Irish Citizen Army. Venue: Palatine Room, Collins Barracks, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin. 11am–4pm. Free.  Details.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Digging Up Irish Roots: Workshop in Phoenix, Arizona

On Saturday 23 November, an Irish Genealogy workshop will be held at the McClelland Irish Library, adjacent to the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Digging Up Irish Roots workshop will be presented by Peggy Magee. The morning session will cover American records before 1800, the Scots-Irish, the Irish in the American Revolution, immigration and naturalizations, and American church and vital records. The afternoon session will look at available Irish records including census records, civil registrations, Griffith’s Valuation, Tithe Applotment Books, Calendars of Wills and Administrations, and Diocesan and church records.

The workshop runs from 9am to 3pm with a one-hour break for lunch. Costs are as follows:

$25 for members of the Irish Library or Cultural Center
$35 for non-members
Optional lunch is $10


100th edition of HistoryIreland published

Having forgotten to renew my HistoryIreland subscription, I had to wait until the magazine appeared on the newstand to get my copy. It was worth the wait, of course, and came with the added surprise of discovering that this is the 100th edition. That's quite an achievement for a magazine in this genre, and a reflection of the content put together by Tommy Graham's team.

The cover feature in this new edition looks intriguing: How revolutionary were the Irish Volunteers? Peter Brown examines the conflicting narratives of the organisation that once drilled with hurleys. But I confess that my first concentrated read is going to be the article about Wolfe Tone and the culture of suicide in 18th-century Ireland. Why, asks Georgina Laragy, was Wolfe Tone's reputation among his peers not damaged by the then criminal and immoral character of his death?

Diarmuid Scully's examination of the earliest known Irish rejection of the Engish legal claims to Ireland also looks like a must-read, as does Bernard Kelly's tale of an outrageous IRA publicity stunt – the plot to kidnap Earl Jellicoe in 1930 – that could have had disastrous diplomatic consequences.

And Fiona Fitzsimons of Eneclann now gets into her stride in her second Kindred Lines column with a look at the Inquisitions Post Mortem and Inquisitions Post Attainder and their value to Irish genealogy research. Certainly something for me to learn, there.

There's plenty more in the 68 pages of the magazine! And all for just €7/£6 if you buy each issue in the shop. If you do as I (am about to) do and fill in a subscription form, you'll even get a discount. You can either fill in the subscription form that's been inserted inside the current issue (if you leave it lying around at home, perhaps someone will recognise it as a terrific Christmas gift), or subscribe online.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Three-quarters of PRONI's visitors are genealogists

The annual report of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has been published today and shows that genealogical research is still the main attraction for visitors to the office in Titanic Boulevard in Belfast.

In fact, the percentage of visitors citing family history as the purpose of their trip has grown slightly. In 2011/12, the figure was 73%; in 2012/13 it was up by four percentage points to 77%.

The number of first time visitors dropped slightly to 5,121, and the overall number of visitors was down a little, too, at 16,619 for the year. Of these, half (51%) were from Northern Ireland. 13% were from the USA, with the same number from England or Wales. 7% had travelled all the way from Australia or New Zealand, while only 6% had crossed the border from Ireland.

The top twelve documents produced/requested in PRONI in 2012/13 were:
  1. First Newtownards, Presbyterian Church - Index to Baptisms and Marriages (1833-1921).
  2. Three documents comprising Register of Baptisms of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church, 1708-1800; Register of Marriages of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church, 1708-1807; and A Census of Ballyeaston Congregation giving names of persons, age, occupation.
  3. Folder of typescript indexes mainly to church registers (1862-1953) of the Church of Ireland and Presbyterian churches in the Glenarm and Carnalbanagh districts, Co. Antrim.
  4. Valuation Records – Annual Revision Lists for the Electoral Division of Coleraine
  5. Indexed note book giving marriages, births and deaths of various families of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church. (1708-1917)
  6. Register of baptisms and marriages of Killinchy Presbyterian Church. (1819-1824)
  7. Volume containing a census of the population of the district of Christ Church, Belfast, belonging to the Church of Ireland. (1852)
  8. Lists of names of heads of families and their children and number of members in each family in the Rev Watson's congregation at Killinchy Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church (1841)
  9. Register of baptisms and marriages of 1st Ballymoney Presbyterian Church. (1817-1829)
  10. Names of 14,400 Protestant householders for parts of the counties of Londonderry, Donegal, Antrim, Armagh and Tyrone taken from the returns to the Irish House of Commons concerning religion (P.R.O., Dublin bundle 75 of Parliamentary religious returns). (1740)
  11. Records of Newtownards Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church. Copies of registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths. (1827-1921)
  12. Flaxseed premiums, consisting of a list of persons adjudged eligible to receive flax seed premiums from the trustees of the linen manufacture in 1796, arranged alphabetically by county.
This list is based on documents requested via e-CATNI; it doesn't include items accessed through the self-service microfilm service.

In 2012/13, 97% of documents were produced within 30 minutes. The average retrieval time per order was just below 15 minutes, which probably goes some way to explaining why 96% of visitors said they were satisfied with their visit.

Of course, it's not always necessary to visit PRONI in person. The institution's website continues to be highly successful in improving access to its collections via the Internet. In 2012/13, some 561,047 visits were made to the website to view 10,278,818 pages.

The most popular database collection on the site in 2012/13 (April to March) was the Ulster Covenant, followed by the Will Calendars.  (I understand from a chat with Stephen Scarth at last month's Back To Our Past that the Griffith's Valuation Revision Books have taken top position since their release in late March 2013.)

View the Digest of Statistics from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland 2012/13. PDF download, 2.4Mb.

Free access to Ancestry's Canadian Military collection
To mark Remembrance Day, is offering free access to more than 4.4million military records from today until Tuesday 12 November (11.59pm Eastern Time).

The collections included in this offer cover the First and Second World War, the Rebellion of 1837 and the War of 1812.

The following popular records sets are included:
  • Canada, Military Honours and Award Citation Cards, 1900-1961, containing almost 70,000 records
  • Canada, Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunteer Militia, 1857-1922, contains more than 1.6 million records
  • Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919, contains over 56,000 records from the War Grave Registers for service personnel of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) who died during the First World War in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom.
  • Canada, British Army and Canadian Militia Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1795-1850
  • Pension Applications For Widows and Family of British Military Officers, 1776-1881
You can read the full list of record sets included in the Canadian Military Collection by clicking the image above.

With the 1921 Census of Canada also available with free access (see blogpost), is certainly the place for searching this weekend if you have ancestors who emigrated from Ireland to Canada.

To view these records you will need to register for free with with your name and email address. Once you have registered, you'll be sent a user name and password to access the records.