Monday, 8 September 2014

Back To Our Past: lectures schedule announced
Click to download pdf of lecture programme
It's just over five weeks until Ireland's major genealogy fair, Back To Our Past, throws open its doors at the RDS in Dublin (17-19 October). Setting off the countdown, the schedule of lectures has been finalised.

Organised once again by APGI, the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland, the programme of 34 lectures broadly follows the successful formula of previous years. While BTOP’s main supporters are family historian, APGI always includes topics to appeal to a wider audience: topics such as military history, emigration and local history.

Oral tradition, graveyards, school records and newspapers feature as sources, while there are several lectures on emigration.Online research, London record repositories and tracing ancestors in British India also feature. Among the speakers will be familiar faces such as Else Churchill, John Grenham and Nicola Morris. Making his first appearance at BTOP will be the highly respected Sean Murphy, who in 1989 pioneered the first third-level course in genealogy in Ireland at the UCD Adult Education Centre.

Also lecturing at BTOP for the first time are the Detroit genealogist Richard M. Doherty, a frequent visitor to Kerry, Patrick Fitzgerald of the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies and the graveyard expert Jane Lyons. There will also be presentations on behalf of the major online databases Ancestry and

Lectures start shortly after the doors open (show hours are 12Noon to 7pm on Friday, and 11am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday) with two lectures starting on the half hour and running concurrently. The final two lectures of each day start at 4:30pm.

Running alongside BTOP is Genetic Genealogy Ireland, a conference organised by the International Society of Genetic Genealogists [ISOGG] and sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA. It consists of a stream of lectures on genetic genealogy running throughout the weekend and the programme can be viewed at

Although the exhibitor list is not yet published, BTOP 2014 will see around 50 exhibitors representing Irish and overseas genealogical societies, data providers, record repositories, heritage magazines and heritage sites. This is a  a chance for family, military and local history buffs to put questions to the likes of the General Register Office of Northern Ireland, the National Archives, APGI, FamilyTreeDNA, the main online database providers and Irish genealogical research societies. Visitors can also wander through the Over 50s Show in the main RDS Hall and into the neighbouring Coin & Stamp Fair.

Day tickets for BTOP are €10 on the door, but they may be purchased in advance for €7 (details on the BTOP website).