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Friday, 31 October 2014

Early evening closures at National Library of Ireland

From Monday 24 November until the end of the year, the main Reading Room, the Manuscripts Reading Room and the exhibition areas of the National Library of Ireland in Kildare Street will close at 5pm every weekday evening.

This is to facilitate a programme of lighting upgrades as part of an Office of Public Works plan to save energy in all government buildings.

Both Reading Rooms will be open as normal on Saturdays, from 9:30am to 12:45pm.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

PRONI gets in the spirit for Hallowe'en

To celebrate Hallowe'en, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland's document of the month for October is a set of four Spiritualist photographs taken in the 1930s.

PRONI’s Alan Robertson explains: "These photographs show 'spiritualist manifestations' surrounding people who were involved in a séance. These manifestations appear as 'faces' surrounded by white mist known as 'ectoplasm’. This was considered to be the spirit taking form in the material world.

The photographs were found within the records of Lieutenant Colonel E. J. Gordon Tucker. PRONI ref: D3122/4/4/A-L. For more details and to view the photos, see PRONI's website.



Spookitastic 20% discount on offer from FindMyPast

Offer expires Thursday 6 November
FindMyPast is keen that you should start uncovering the ghosts of your family's past this weekend, so here's a special offer for Halloween: a 20% discount on any subscription. That's a frighteningly good offer.

The discount is valid for any of the FindMyPast sites, so whether you want to have your subscription through the Ireland, UK, USA or Australia/NewZealand site, you can still take advantage of this great discount.

Just click your choice of site below to see the discounted prices on the subscription page. You can then select either the local records collection or the World collection and decide whether you want the 12-month or 1-month option.

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This offer has now expired.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Clann newsletter presents RootsIreland search tutorial

https://flipflashpages.uniflip.com/3/71043/340007/pub/html5.html
Click to download newsletter
The latest issue of Clann, the digital newsletter of the Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF) has been published.

A major focus of this edition is the move by RootsIreland, the IFHF-managed pay-to-view database of more than 20million records, to a subscription platform. This switch from a credit-based pay-per-view arrangement was sprung upon researchers last month (see blogpost) without warning* but is apparently in response to feedback from customers. As is always the case, some researchers will prefer the subscription option; others would prefer to see a pay-as-you-go facility retained. The latter group have been noticeably vocal on genealogy forums and seem to be largely made up of people who are already some way along with their research and may need to search for only one or two records a month at most. Having to pay €25/$32/£20 for that pleasure is not going down well.

Other criticisms have been levelled at the new restricted search facility, especially the withdrawal of surname-only searches and the maximum five-year plus or minus option.

So this issue of Clann devotes more than six pages to the basics of searching and getting the best results. It also includes details of activities and projects involving some of the IFHF's network of heritage centres, upcoming events, an overview of Griffith's Valuation place in history, and, rather tucked away on the penultimate page, notification that RootsIreland will be adding records for counties Waterford, Antrim & Down, North Tipperary, Derry, Armagh and Wexford during the next few months.

* My customer notification of the change arrived on 9 October, 18 days after the event!

Project to update Irish WW1 archive starts next year

A new bursary scheme to allow the updating of Irish war dead records was launched in Belgium yesterday by Heather Humpreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The scheme, which will begin next year and will run to 2018, will enable Irish students to carry out a World War 1 research project at the Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Belgium. As part of the research project, these students will aim to improve knowledge of how many Irish men were killed during the war by examining records held at the Museum, many of which need correcting and cross-checking.

Some 49,000 Irish soldiers are included in the Museum's existing digital archive which is based on records gathered in the 1920s and is known to be inaccurate and incomplete.

"This scheme will play an important part in connecting young Irish people with the realities of this awful conflict in which so many from the island of Ireland fought and died,” Ms Humpreys said.

She also launched a new Google online exhibition on Irish involvement in World War 1. This has been produced by the Flanders Fields Museum and is available on Google’s Cultural Institute.


CWGC launches free War Graves App

http://www.cwgc.org/app
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the organisation responsible for maintaining the graves of the 1.7million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars, has released a War Graves App to help researchers locate places of remembrance at more than 23,000 sites in 153 countries.

The App can be downloaded for free on Windows, Android and Apple phones and other mobile devices (tablets) from www.cwgc.org/app and allows users to:
  • Discover war graves at former battlefields across the globe
  • Find war graves close to where they live
  • Download and navigate to a chosen war grave site
CWGC spokesperson Peter Francis said: “This is an amazing app for anyone interested not just in the World Wars but history in general.
Casualties of the two world wars are commemorated by the CWGC in every corner of the globe – from the mud of the old Western Front in Europe, to the scorched deserts of North Africa, to the jungles of the Far East.

"With the new App you can find directions to cemeteries or use the ‘near me’ function to see what sites are in your vicinity – never before has it been easier to find these places of remembrance locally and internationally.”



Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Ancestry adds London Workhouse records, 1738–1930

A new collection on Ancestry could be useful to many Irish family historians, particularly those whose ancestors passed through London at some time.

The Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1738-1930 includes 3.2million records for workhouses in the parishes/Poor Law Unions of Westminster, Camden, Hillingdon, Kensington & Chelsea, Holborn, Hammersmith & Fulham, and the City of London. These are all in central or west London.

The exact information you can find about your ancestors varies according to the record but can include name, date of admission, age, date of discharge, details regarding the person's condition and care, and details of additional family members also residing in the workhouse.

Here are a few examples of entries:

  • After two nights in the workhouse, Cornelius Crowley, aged 63, was discharged on 5 January 1843 at his own request having recovered from sickness.
  • Twenty-two-year-old Caroline Doyle was destitute when admitted to the Fulham Road Workhouse in 1881. On 26 February she took leave of absence with her one-month-old baby, Florence, and did not return.
  • Catherine Sullivan, aged 59, had been admitted to Edmonton Workhouse with 15-year-old Ellen and 10-year-old Mary, on 29 October 1884. Mary was discharged to Hampstead School within a week. Her elder sister discharged herself two months later and Catherine followed her in June 1885.
  • Hannah Brown was admitted in August 1848 with a recorded age of 78. The discharge notes state she was Irish and died on 12 June 1853.
Some (but certainly not all) of the records are split over multiple images. Watch out for this as you might miss out on valuable details if you don't browse back and forth.

Ancestry says that similar records from additional areas of London will be added to this collection in due course.

British Newspaper Archive tops 9m pages


21 Irish titles are already included
and more are on the way
In uploading newly-digitised editions this morning, the total number of pages now available at the British Newspaper Archive (BNA) passed the 9million milestone (9,008,982 to be precise). More than 280 titles are represented.

The BNA is a partnership between the British Library and DC Thomson Family History (parent of FindMyPast and GenesReunited) to digitise up to 40million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection. The website launched less than three years ago with 1million pages of pre-20th century newspapers, and its rate of digitisation has speeded up dramatically during 2014.

As well as being available on the BNA website, the digitised newspaper collection is included in FindMyPast's database.

A virtual newsstand of Irish publications have made their debut in the online archive during the summer and early autumn, and I was told at a meeting with the company in London last week that many more Irish newspaper pages will be appearing shortly.

So, this seems as good a day as any to catch up on the Irish offering on the BNA.

Here's a list of the Irish titles included in both the British Newspaper Archive database and the FindMyPast Irish collection (number of editions in brackets):

Belfast Daily Mercury (2,829)
Belfast News-Letter(15,090)
Belfast Mercantile Register and Weekly Advertiser(311)
Belfast Morning News(3,160)
Cork Examiner (5,896)
Downshire Protestant, The (256)
Drogheda Journal, or Meath & Louth Advertiser (1,115)
Drogheda News Letter (1)
Dublin Builder, The (12)
Dublin Evening Mail (6,075)
Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current (52)
Dublin Monitor (803)
Freeman's Journal (20,298)
Galway Vindicator, and Connaught Advertiser (2,312)
Hibernian Journal; or, Chronicle of Liberty (1,425)
Irish Racing Book and Sheet Calendar, The (79)
Limerick Evening Post (17)
Limerick Reporter (617)
Northern Whig(1,818)
Newry Examiner and Louth Advertiser(520)
Pue's Occurrences (293)
Sligo Champion (291)
Ulsterman, The (481)
Waterford Chronicle (105)

The oldest edition is from Pue's Occurrences, which dates from 28 December 1748.

My calculator tots this up to around 63,000 editions. That's a lot of social history, and a huge mine of information about our ancestors and their communities.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Irish genealogy and history events, 28 Oct to 8 Nov

Tuesday 28 October: Family history research using the Internet, with Boyd Gray. Host: Coleraine Brance of the North of Ireland Family History Society. Venue: Guide Hall, Terrace Row Presbyterian Church, Coleraine BT52 1HF. 8pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 28 October: We are all one in the suffrage faith, with Dr Margaret Ward. Part of the Lisburn Museum Lecture Series: Ireland during the Great War. Venue: Lisburn Museum, Market Square, Lisburn, BT28 1AG. 7pm. Free but must be booked in advance – tickets available from museum reception or, for more information call 028 9266 3377.

Tuesday 28 October: The Library holdings of the IGRS, with Mary Casteleyn FIGRS. Host: The Irish Genealogical Research Society. Venue: Helen Roe Theatre, Royal Society of Antiquaries, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Starts 6:45pm. Members and non-members welcome. No booking. Free. Details.

Tuesday 28 October: The Inhabitants of Scattery Island & the Vandeleurs of Kilrush, with Senan Scanlan. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm.

Tuesday 28 October: Researching your family tree, with Raymond Cuddy. Host: Killeeshil and Clonaneese Historical Society. Venue: Killymaddy Tourist Centre, Ballygawley Road, Dungannon, Co Tyrone. 8pm. £3, includes supper. All welcome.

Wednesday 29 October: John O'Donovan's work for the Ordnance Survey, with Prof. Michael Herity. Part of the Mapping City, Town and Country lecture series. Venue: Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. 1-2pm. Free. All welcome. No need to book.

Wednesday 29 October: Methodists, from the Free State to the Republic, with Revd Dudley Levistone Cooney. Host: Old Dublin Society. Venue: Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin. 6:30pm.

Wednesday 29 October: Irish family history / GRO records, a talk with the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI). Venue: Downpatrick Library. 12:30pm–1:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Wednesday 29 October: Voices from Mountjoy Prison's unmarked graves, with Tim Carey. Host: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Free. 6:30pm. All welcome. No need to book.

Thursday 30 October: Maps and Placenames, with Dr Liam Campbell. Host: Strabane History Society. Venue: Room 5, Strabane Library, 1 Railway Street, Strabane, Co Tyrone. 7:30pm.

Thursday 30 October: Exploring family history – Doctors and patients, with Dr Janice Holmes and Dr Barry Sheehan. Part of the Open University Lunchtime Lecture Series, examining the working lives of families in the past, with examples from PRONI's collections. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Booking recommended but not essential. Free.

Thursday 30 October: How to use DNA to research your townland of origin, with Dr Tyrone Bowes. Host: Ballymena Branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena BT43 5EJ. 7:15pm. All welcome.

Thursday 30 October:
The Irish Anzacs Project, with Professor Jeff Kildea. Host: Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies. Venue: Queen's University Belfast, 14 University Square 01/007. 6:30pm–8pm. All welcome. Free.

Friday 31 October: Early medieval settlement, with Finbar McCormick. Host: Sligo Field Club. Venue: Sligo IT Education Centre. 8pm.

Friday 31 October to Saturday 1 November: Mr Tuke's Fund, a conference exploring emigration from Connemara. Host: Clifden and Connemara  Heritage Society. Venue: Station House Hotel, Clifden, Co Galway. €26.50, includes lunch and refreshments. Details (pdf).

Saturday 1 November: Landlord and estate, with Dr Wm Smyth. Venue: Tipperary County Museum, Mick Delahunty Square, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. 10am to Noon, with refreshments provided. €5 per session. Bookings: julia.walsh@tipperarycoco.ie or 076 106 5564.

Saturday 1 November: Getting started on Irish Genealogy, with Bridget Bray. Host: Irish/British Genealogy Group. Venue: New York Irish Center, 10-40 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY, USA. 12-3pm. Details.

Saturday 1 November: We serve neither King nor Kaiser, an Irish Labour History Society conference, focusing on WW1. Venue: Beggars Bush Barracks, Haddington Road, Dublin 4. 10am–5pm. €10, includes tea/coffee/sandwiches. Programme.

Saturday 1 November: Local History Day. Host and Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Five presentations. Free. 9:45am to 3:30pm. Tea/coffee provided but lunch at own expense. Open to all. No booking required. Details.

Monday 3 November
: Kith and Kin – the continuing Legacy of the Scots-Irish in America, with Alister McReynolds. Host: Killyleagh branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society. Venue: Killyleagh Masonic Hall, 50 High Street, Killyleagh, Co Down. 8pm.

Tuesday 4 November: Councils and corporations, with Ian Montgomery. Part of the Belfast Corporation lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place. 

Wednesday 5 November: From Rocque to the Ordnance Survey: mapping Dublin 1756 to 1847, with Rob Goodbody. Part of the Mapping City, Town and Country lecture series. Venue: Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. 1-2pm. Free. All welcome. No need to book.

Wednesday 5 November: History of the Irish language, with Michael O Mairtin. Part of the Irish language and culture lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place.

Thursday 6 November: Finding Great War Fatalities: War Graves in Belfast, with Nigel Henderson. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Belfast branch. Venue: Holywood Arches Library, Holywood Road, Belfast BT4 1NT. 7:30pm.

Thursday 6 November to Sunday 9 November: International Irish Famine Commemoration in New Orleans, USA. A variety of events including a symposium at Tulane University on the 7th (free, all welcome). Full details on dedicated event website.

Saturday 8 November: Getting started with your Irish genealogy, with Tom Rice 1030-1200 Tom Rice. Introduction to the key tools for finding your ancestors in Ireland: most important record types, Irish geographic terms, Irish names, key Irish genealogy web sites and books. Host: Irish Genealogical Society International. Venue: Minnesota Genealogical Society International, 1185 Concord St. N, South St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. $10.00 members/$15.00 non-members. Details.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Book launch: The Atlantic Coast of Ireland

It may come as a surprise to some family historians to know that John Grenham, the Dublin-based genealogist and author of the best-selling Tracing your Irish Ancestors (now in its fourth edition), has interests beyond genealogy.

He is putting them to good use in The Atlantic Coast of Ireland, a book to be launched this evening, in which he has written a series of short essays to accompany a collection of stunning landscape photographs taken by Jonathan Hession.

In typical Grenham style, his texts convey his wide range of knowledge as much as his characteristic wit.

He says: "I grabbed the opportunity to get out of the genealogy ghetto and unburden myself about ecology, geology, myth, Irish accents, the Gaeltacht, religion, what’s wrong with Kerry and whatever you’re having yourself. Complete editorial freedom went straight to my head."

The book visits Ireland’s wild west – the Atlantic coast – heading southwards from Donegal through Sligo and Mayo to Galway before crossing into Munster to visit Clare, Kerry and Cork. In the process it tells the story of the coast's landscape, its people, its history, the bogs, emigration, superstition, and much more. Here is a sample where John writes about the weather:

"...the main feature of the weather here is not rain (despite what it sometimes feels like), the main feature is variability. More than three to four days in the future, Irish weather is completely unpredictable. It can touch 30 degrees C. in summer and minus 15 in winter. It can also go up to 15 or 16 in winter and stay down at 15 or 16 in summer. It can rain at any time of the year for an hour, a day, a week, a month. Being an Irish weather forecaster is a thankless job, and the favourite defensive euphemism of Irish forecasts is the word "unsettled". Irish weather is unsettled like the Black Death was an outbreak of acne."

The Atlantic Coast of Ireland will be formally launched this evening in Dubray Books, Grafton Street, Dublin. It's a 176-page hardback and is published by Frances Lincoln, price €25.

ISBN-10: 0711235791
ISBN-13: 978-0711235793

Irish Family History Society's Autumn meeting: 8 Nov

The Irish Family History Society will be holding its Autumn meeting on Saturday 8 November at Dublin City Library & Archives, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

It's free, open to non-members and there's no need to book. Just turn up, learn and enjoy.

Here's the lecture programme:

10:00am:  Registration

10:30am:  Where do you think they were? What older maps can tell us about local and family
               history, with Dominic Cronin

11:30am:  Finding the Irish in WW1 records, with Maeve Mullin

12:30pm:  Lunch (at own expense)

2:15pm  :  Women in the Military Service Pension Collection, with Cecile Gordon

3:25pm  :  Undertaking a graveyard project, with Christiaan Corlettt

In addition to the lectures, there will be a book stall and raffle.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

New edition of The Irish Hand published

Newly published by Cork University Press
New edition published by Cork University Press
A revised and expanded edition of The Irish Hand by Timothy O'Neill, has been publised by Cork University Press.

The original work has long been regarded as the standard text on Irish Manuscripts, written by an author and historian who is widely acknowledged as the finest calligrapher in Ireland.

This new edition incorporates high quality digital images of the works of Irish scribes through the centuries. The extraordinary stories of the survival of these volumes, which date from the sixth to the 21st century, provide a commentary on the cultural history of Ireland, its language, scholars and scribes.

Beautifully produced, The Irish Hand is arranged in two parts with the first presenting a survey of the manuscript tradition, followed by essays on thirty-one of the great books of Ireland.

The context, contents, and history of each manuscript are given, accompanied by a full-page illustration.

Part Two surveys the work of the scribes from a practical perspective, examining script and lettering in detail. Extracts are given from fifty-two manuscripts, transliterated and translated, with a commentary on the penwork.

The 148-page hardback (9781782050926) can be purchased for €39 from the publishers.

October bank holiday arrangements in ROI

The Republic of Ireland enjoys an Autumn bank holiday on Monday 27 October. Here are the opening and closing arrangements for the main repositories and institutions used for Irish family history:

Dublin City Public Libraries will be closed on Saturday 25 October and Monday 27 October, reopening for normal hours on Tuesday 28 October.

The National Archives of Ireland will be closed to the public on Monday 27 October and will re-open on Tuesday 28 October at 9:15am. (Note also that Reading Room closing early on Thursday 30 October.)

The National Library of Ireland
's Reading Room will be closed on Monday 27 October. However, exhibitions at Kildare Street (Yeats and JFK) will be open 12pm to 5pm.

The General Register Office Research Room
in Werburgh Street will be closed on Monday 27 October, reopening Tuesday 28 October at 9:30am.

Local branch libraries will be closed on Saturday 25 October and Monday 27 October, reopening for normal hours on Tuesday 28 October.

This bank holiday does not apply in Northern Ireland where repositories, libraries and commercial enterprises are open for business as normal.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Stop Press: Irish Newspaper Archive to slash prices

http://www.irishnewsarchive.com/
Here's something to cheer about!

The Irish Newspaper Archive, a privately-owned commercial database offering access to some 40 Irish titles, is gearing up to dramatically reduce the cost of its subscription packages.

The new 'individual researcher' rates are not yet set in stone, but are expected to be somewhere in the ballpark of:

One Day    : €9.99 (currently €10, so not exactly a headline grabber)
One Month : €29.99 (currently €60)
One Year   : €179.99 (currently €350)

The existing 48-hour and 7-day packages will be discountinued.

The announcement of imminent big price cuts was made by director Phillip Martin in the final lecture at Back To Our Past 2014. What a great note for the show to end on!

News of the changes hasn't reached the IrishNewsArchive website yet because the figures are not yet confirmed and the new regime will not be introduced until the tail-end of November, Phillip told Irish Genealogy News today. He also advised that new titles, all covering Mayo, have been added to the database in the last month:

Ballinrobe Chronicle 03/02/1866 - 10/09/1903
Ballina Herald 06/08/1927 - 28/04/1962
Mayo Examiner 06/07/1868 - 30/12/1876
Mayo News 07/01/1893 - 29/12/2004
Western Journal 03/06/1977 - 11/03/1983

In addition, all issues for the Leinster Express from 1831 to 1877 should be available before the end of the year, and all issues of the Sligo Champion, currently online from 1950 to 1981, should, from early 2015, be available up to the current year.

There's also another major title ready to join the Irish News Archive shortly. It's under wraps right now, but more than 100 years of this publication (the span starts pre-Famine) will be uploaded in the next couple of months. I'll bring you news of the launch in due course.

NOTE: This blogpost was edited at 17:10pm.

National Archives Reading Room closures - October

The National Archives of Ireland's Reading Room will be closed on Monday 27 October, a public holiday.

Please also note that the Reading Room will close early – at 4pm – on Thursday 29 October.

Derry Family History Fair focusses on WW1

A Family History Fair will be held at Derry Central Library on Thursday 23 October. It has a particular focus on World War 1 and invites people to bring along objects and artefacts such as photographs, letters, postcards, diaries or other memorabilia.

Researchers from Living Legacies will be on hand using their state-of-the-art scanning equipment to help individuals interpret and tell a story of these wartime items. For those who wish to share their cherished possessions, this is an opportunity to digitally record personal legacies and reminders from the Great War. The aim is to preserve and capture memories for the benefit of future generations

A range of organisations will be participating at the Fair offering free information and advice including the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI), Derry City Council Heritage & Museum Archives & Genealogy Services, and local and family history organisations.

Five sessions will be held:

10:30am–11:15am: Digitisation and WW1 Research

11:15am–12:00pm: WW1 Resources at PRONI

12:00pm–1:15pm  : Exploring WW1 through objects memories and stories

2:00pm–2:45pm    : On-line resources from GRONI

2:45pm–3:45pm    : Shared stories from WW1 led by Brian Mitchell

Visitors will also be able to access Derry Central Library’s Heritage Collection, which includes microfilmed local newspapers of the period, use Libraries NI's free on-line Ancestry Library Edition, and discover how the Living Legacies 1914-18 Engagement Centre is connecting academic and community researchers.

Venue: Derry Central Library, 35 Foyle Street, BT48 6AL.
Time: 10am to 4pm.
Cost: Free.
Details: 028 7127 2310 or derrycentral.library@librariesni.org.uk​

Genetic Genealogy Ireland lectures start going online

Recordings of the Genetic Genealogy Ireland (GGI) lectures, presented at Back To Our Past last weekend, are now starting to appear on the GGI YouTube channel.

Those already uploaded include a brief (two-minute) Introduction to the 2014 GGI conference; DNA for beginners, with Debbie Kennett (52 minutes); and Which DNA test is best for you?, with Maurice Gleeson (59 minutes).

All the lectures presented at GGI 2014 are destined for YouTube and they'll be uploaded in programme order, so if you were unable to attend the shwo, or missed a specific lecture, you'll still be able to catch up on what's happening in the world of DNA/genetic genealogy.

(Back To Our Past's traditional genealogy and heritage lectures were not recorded.)

Monday, 20 October 2014

Irish genealogy & history events, 20 Oct to 1 Nov

Monday 20 October: Using DNA to research your Northern Ireland family tree, with Brian O'Hara and Maggie Lyttle. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Larne Branch. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112 Glenarm Road, Larne, BT40 1DZ. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 21 October: Building the City Hall, with Robert Corbett. Part of the Belfast Corporation lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place.

Tuesday 21 October: Out of the dark, 1914-1918, South Dubliners in the Great War, with Ken Kinsella. Host: Dublin City Library and Archive. Venue: The Council Chamber, City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2. 1:10pm to 1:50pm (doors open 12:30pm). Free. All welcome. No booking.

Wednesday 22 October: Glimpses of Ireland's past: drawings in the OS Memoirs, with Angélique Day. Part of the Mapping City, Town and Country lecture series. Venue: Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. 1-2pm. Free. All welcome. No need to book.

Wednesday 22 October: Influence of Irish on English as we speak it, with Joe O Labhrai. Part of the Irish language and culture lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place.

Thursday 23 October: 'If the nation is to be saved women must help in the saving': Women and War in Ireland, 1914–18, with Dr Senia Paseta. Part of The Road to War Lecture Series. Hosted by PRONI and National Museums Northern Ireland. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Gardens, Belfast. 7pm. Free but booking essential. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or phone 44+ 028 905 34800.

Thursday 23 October: Exploring family history – Shops and shoppers, with Dr Janice Holmes and Dr Barry Sheehan. Part of the Open University Lunchtime Lecture Series, examining the working lives of families in the past, with examples from PRONI's collections. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Booking recommended but not essential. Free. 

Thursday 23 October: Family History Fair – WW1 and You! Objects, Memories, Resources​. Host: Libraries NI and Living Legacies 1914-18. Venue: Derry Central Library. Five lectures, demonstrations, access to heritage collections, exhibitors. 10am to 4pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 28 October: Signature events at Belfast City Hall, with Robert Corbett. Part of the Belfast Corporation lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place.

Tuesday 28 October: Family history research using the Internet, with Boyd Gray. Host: Coleraine Brance of the North of Ireland Family History Society. Venue: Guide Hall, Terrace Row Presbyterian Church, Coleraine BT52 1HF. 8pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 28 October: We are all one in the suffrage faith, with Dr Margaret Ward. Part of the Lisburn Museum Lecture Series: Ireland during the Great War. Venue: Lisburn Museum, Market Square, Lisburn, BT28 1AG. 7pm. Free but must be booked in advance – tickets available from museum reception or, for more information call 028 9266 3377.

Tuesday 28 October: The Library holdings of the IGRS, with Mary Casteleyn FIGRS. Host: The Irish Genealogical Research Society. Venue: Helen Roe Theatre, Royal Society of Antiquaries, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Starts 6:45pm. Members and non-members welcome. No booking. Free. Details.

Tuesday 28 October:
The Inhabitants of Scattery Island & the Vandeleurs of Kilrush, with Senan Scanlan. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm.

Wednesday 29 October: John O'Donovan's work for the Ordnance Survey, with Prof. Michael Herity. Part of the Mapping City, Town and Country lecture series. Venue: Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. 1-2pm. Free. All welcome. No need to book

Wednesday 29 October: Methodists, from the Free State to the Republic, with Revd Dudley Levistone Cooney. Host: Old Dublin Society. Venue: Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin. 6:30pm.

Wednesday 29 October: Irish family history / GRO records, a talk with the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI). Venue: Downpatrick Library. 12:30pm–1:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Wednesday 29 October: Voices from Mountjoy Prison's unmarked graves, with Tim Carey. Host and Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Free. 6:30pm. All welcome. No booking required.

Thursday 30 October: Maps and Placenames, with Dr Liam Campbell. Host: Strabane History Society. Venue: Room 5, Strabane Library, 1 Railway Street, Strabane, Co Tyrone BT82 8EF. 7:30pm

Thursday 30 October: Exploring family history – Doctors and patients, with Dr Janice Holmes and Dr Barry Sheehan. Part of the Open University Lunchtime Lecture Series, examining the working lives of families in the past, with examples from PRONI's collections. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Booking recommended but not essential. Free.

Thursday 30 October: How to use DNA to research your townland of origin, with Dr Tyrone Bowes. Host: Ballymena Branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena BT43 5EJ. 7:15pm. All welcome.

Friday 31 October: Early medieval settlement, with Finbar McCormick. Host: Sligo Field Club. Venue: Sligo IT Education Centre. 8pm.

Friday 31 October to Saturday 1 November: Mr Tuke's Fund, a conference exploring emigration from Connemara. Host: Clifden and Connemara  Heritage Society. Venue: Station House Hotel, Clifden, Co Galway. €26.50, includes lunch and refreshments. Details (pdf).

Saturday 1 November: Landlord and estate, with Dr Wm Smyth. Venue: Tipperary County Museum, Mick Delahunty Square, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. 10am to Noon, with refreshments provided. €5 per session. Bookings: julia.walsh@tipperarycoco.ie or 076 106 5564.

Saturday 1 November: Getting started on Irish Genealogy, with Bridget Bray. Host: Irish/British Genealogy Group. Venue: New York Irish Center, 10-40 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY, USA. 2-4pm. Details.

Saturday 1 November: We serve neither King nor Kaiser, an Irish Labour History Society conference, focusing on WW1. Venue: Beggars Bush Barracks, Haddington Road, Dublin 4. 10am–5pm. €10, includes tea/coffee/sandwiches. Programme.

Saturday 1 November: Local History Day. Host and Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Five presentations. Free. 9:45am to 3:30pm. Tea/coffee provided but lunch at own expense. Open to all. No booking required. Details.



Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Irish GRO indexes fiasco – the long wait

Judging by the last couple of days at the Back To Our Past show, genealogists remain very anxious to find out when or if the Irish civil registration indexes are going to return to IrishGenealogy.ie, the free website run by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. An update therefore seems in order.

The powers-that-be had a meeting a few weeks ago and rubber-stamped a restricted return of the indexes to the site, as per my blogpost of 15 September ie Births up to 100 years ago, Marriages up to 75 years ago and Deaths up to 50 years ago. The Data Protection Commissioner's office has given it's blessing, you'll be glad to note, and there is no requirement to wait for the Civil Registration Amendment Bill that's currently making its way through the Dail to complete its journey first. The two issues are not connected.

So it really is just a matter of 'when'. As far as I'm aware, the indexes are 'good to go' and I have no idea why they've not yet reappeared on the site.

NOTE, Monday 10 November:
Three weeks later and the indexes are still nowhere to be seen. Instead, we have a report of a little spat between the powers-that-be from the Irish Times. Doesn't add anything to the story, but something to distract us from the important issues for five minutes.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Show report: Back To Our Past 2014, RDS, Dublin

Having got off to a very slow start (possibly because of confusion over what time the doors were to open), Back To Our Past 2014 came alive by lunchtime to the sound of clicking computer keyboards and the questions of the curious, and the inevitable queues were soon forming on some stands.

It's always great to see the genealogy and related heritage sectors coming together under the glass roof of the Industries Hall, and, while the marketplace is slightly smaller than in previous years in terms of the number of exhibitors, visitors would hardly notice. There are plenty of people, groups, organisations willing and able to help answer their genealogy/dna queries, look up records, offer special discounts, help them explore product ranges or discover more about their family history and, especially through the extensive lecture programmes, generally guide researchers to develop higher skills and knowledge.

The lectures – two daily strands of genealogy/heritage topics and one daily strand of genetic/dna presentations, were, as always, very well attended.

One thing that is noticeable at this year's Back To Our Past, just as at WDYTYA?Live in London in February, was the lack of BIG record releases to coincide with the show. We have, perhaps, been a bit spoiled over the last few years into believing that a never ending stream of important collections are stored up in a pipe awaiting an appropriate date for release. If that was ever the case, those days have certainly gone.

Which doesn't mean there's nothing new to report, thank goodness! I met up with Ancestry's Rhona Murray, Content Acquisitionist, and Mike Mulligan, Product Manager, who told me that the British Service Medal and Awards Rolls (WO329) would be released by the company shortly before Armistice Day (11 November). This collection of 6.5million records includes the soldier's battalion number, which is information missing from the Medal Rolls and allows researchers to seek the appropriate War Diary; the diaries, where they survive, may provide a much clearer idea of an ancestor's war experience and movements, even though he is unlikely to be named. Needless to say, this collection includes a huge number of Irish soldiers.

System development has also been ..er... developing. A new feature, Filmstrip, should ensure researchers recognise there is more than one page to a record. It's a kind of 'Please turn the page' notification, except in visual format, clearly indicating there are more pages to explore in the record. This sounds rather neat. I don't mind admitting that I have sometimes missed such extra pages; military service records and Irish census documents are examples where I have not always spotted on a first visit to a collection that additional information was available.

Those who have uploaded their family trees to Ancestry will be pleased to hear that the 'hinting' software has been improved to provide better, more pertinent results, and the placename variant recognition in the main search operation has become more intelligent. If, for example, you type in Queenstown or Kingstown, you should automatically receive relevant results that include Cobh or Dun Laoghaire respectively. In other words, the software knows that Queenstown is Cobh and Kingstown is Dun Laoghaire.

Ancestry is also expecting FindAGrave to grow dramatically over the next year. The company was brought into the Ancestry fold at the end of 2013; while its free records appear in Ancestry searches, it continues to maintain its own distinct identity and web presence. I was surprised to learn that some 200,000 of FindAGrave's records are of headstones in Ireland. That's a substantial collection, even if it's small fry compared with its 110million records of North American graves.

Anyway, what's important to its growth is a new Upload and Transcribe tool. Just introduced in Beta, this feature allows researchers to upload multiple images of headstones from a particular cemetery and choose to either transcribe the inscriptions themselves or have the FindAGrave community transcribe them. Mike Mulligan showed me some of the 1,400 photos he recently uploaded for Clar St Agatha's RC churchyard in Donegal, which, as if by magic, have already been transcribed by this community.

Back To Our Past visitors to the Ancestry stand should take note that there's a 20% discount on the UK Premium and Worldwide subscriptions available (have to sign up by Monday).

The Irish Family History Society, meanwhile, has uploaded its 1985-1994 journals to the members area of its website, ifhs.ie. Mary Beglan, newly elected as IFHS Chairman, told me she was delighted that these journals, many of which are now out of print, are available in digitised form for the benefit of members. They were digitised by Eneclann in memory of the late John Heueston, past IFHS Chairman and Treasurer.

An index is being created and a second tranche of journals will be added in February 2015.

GRONI, the General Register of Northern Ireland, are making their first trip to Back To Our Past and are keen to spread the word about their online civil registration site. Visitors can try out the site for free at their stand. Alistair Butler told me that the site, which went online at the end of March, already has more than 11,000 registered users. He said user feedback had been extremely positive, with most researchers very pleased with the options available and the pricing arrangements. Importantly, too, the site is meeting its running costs and demand has pretty much matched the levels forecast.

FindMyPast – as always, a busy stand with a near permanent but moving queue – was promoting the recent additions to its database of nine newspaper titles. I've covered these over the last few weeks in this blog (newspapers added to the British Newspaper Archive website are automatically uploaded to the FindMyPast British and Irish news collection), but I'll run through the titles for good measure: The Drogheda Journal/Meath & Louth Advertiser, Dublin Monitor, The Galway Vindicator & Connaught Advertiser, Limerick Reporter & Tipperary Vindicator, The Newry Examiner and Louth Reporter, Northern Whig, Pue’s Occurrences, Sligo Champion and The Waterford Chronicle.

I managed to collar Marketing Executive Niall Cullen towards the end of the day. He told me that the Clare Electoral Roll records (not the Electrical Records as I wrote them in my notebook!) will be next out of the pipe in the not too distant future. There's also another Irish release of interest coming along in the New Year, but that's hush hush for now.

However, researchers will soon begin to see some movement of records resulting from this year's merger of Irish Origins and FindMyPast.ie. First up will be the Griffiths Valuation maps, one of the prize jewels of Irish Origins, which will become available, searchable by name, on FindMyPast.ie within the next few weeks.

The Family Tree DNA stand was another lively stand, with a steady stream of people signing up for DNA tests. I was pleased to meet Debbie Kennett for the first time, even though she managed to get €70 out of me for a Family Finder test! One of my brothers took the Y-DNA test a couple of years ago, but I've never really got to grips with the findings and 'new matches' coming my way as a result. Now I've done this new test, I really must invest some time to understanding the data that's generated.

Over on the North of Ireland Family History Society's stand, there was an interesting blue rinse on display (step up, Maggie), a collection of the society's recently updated research booklets for sale and news of another two publications containing graveyard inscriptions from two local churches – Newmills Presbyterian and St. John's Lylo, both in Portadown. These inscriptions were originally recorded in 2005 by members of what was then the Portadown Family History Society (now North Armagh) but have been recently updated.

I also called in on the Dublin South Libraries Local Studies team. I'd urge any researcher with links in the area to do the same, either during the show or via their website southdublinlibraries.ie. It has a new historical mapping system dating from 1760 right up to 2009, a steadily growing collection of documents, photographs, books and journals, and ephemera, and oral history files relating to the Revolutionary Period.

Over a busy afternoon, I had lots of fun catching up with people I already knew as well as people with whom I may well have been in contact before but had never actually met. The chance to meet face to face is one of the great things about getting everyone together under one roof. For me, it's one of the most enjoyable features of an industry get-together. I also picked up a lot of other snippets, brochures and tips worth following up, and I'll bring news of these over the course of the next week.

In the meantime, I'm going to treat myself to a day of lectures tomorrow. What a sublime indulgence that will be!

Back To Our Past is open again on Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 7pm. Details and lecture programmes.



Thursday, 16 October 2014

One day to BTOP: focus on the exhibitors

In less than 24 hours, the doors will open on Back To Our Past (BTOP), Ireland's only major genealogy fair. As ticket holders walk into the Industries Hall at the RDS in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, they'll find themselves at the heart of a bustling marketplace, and, indeed, the heart of the show with genealogy products, services and free advice at every turn.

Click to download 50% discount on entrance ticket
The Big Boys – Ancestry and FindMyPast – will be coming out to play, of course, and they'll be opening up their databases to all visitors to their stands. Also in attendance will be all four of the island's genealogical membership groups: the Irish Genealogical Research Society, the North of Ireland Family History Society, the Irish Family History Society and the Genealogical Society of Ireland. They will be joined by the Society of Genealogists, the Federation of Local History Societies and the Guild of One Names Studies, so no excuses for not finding out how membership of such associations can help your research along.

Research advice and direction will also be on hand on the stands of the National Archives of Ireland, the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (making its first appearance at BTOP), the Ancestor Network and Eneclann consultancies and, of course, the Association of Professional Genealogists of Ireland (APGI), where free one-to-one consultations may be possible. See my Focus on the learning experience blogpost  for more.

In terms of publishers, you'll be able to meet the team from Irish Lives Remembered, the free digital bi-monthly magazine, peruse the full range of Flyleaf Press books on the Ancestor Network stand, and drop in on the Antiquarian Booksellers for a leisurely browse through their shelves. You can also buy discounted copies of the highly popular Irish Family and Local History Handbook from Robert Blatchford's stand, and take advantage of special show offers for Irish Roots magazine, the long-established quarterly print title (both back copies and subscription offers will be available, I believe).

Worthwhile discounts will also be found on the My History Supplies stall, a UK-based company with a huge catalogue of items to lift the heart of any genealogist, and you should also take a good look at the extensive range on offer from County Waterford-based Irish Genealogy Supplies. Also making the trip from Waterford will be Tony Hennessy of Great Great Great Family Trees, who will be found from time to time on the APGI stand giving consultations.

Discounts of 10–20% will also be available on the Family Tree DNA stand for those purchasing genetic tests (see yesterday's blogpost focussing on the Genetic Genealogy Ireland conference, which is an integral part of BTOP).

If you're serious about developing your family history and keen for further study, you should also pop in for a chat with the folk from the University of Limerick's Irish Ancestry Research Centre and the Univesity College Cork's Ancestral Connections Summer School.

Reflecting the inclusive heritage theme of BTOP are several exhibitors – many of them first-timers – from the island's heritage sector. They include Titanic Belfast, the Little Museum of Dublin (make sure to ask about their outstanding lecture programme for 2014-15), Glasnevin Trust, Athlone Castle Museum, and the National Irish Famine Museum at Strokestown Park House in Roscommon, while the knowledgeable guys from the Western Front Association, always such a busy stand, will do their level best to answer your military queries.

As there is no show-guide or official list of exhibitors available yet, it's perfectly possible that I've missed someone... I shall be on mea culpa duty during the show. However, there are a small handful of names that you might have expected to be at the show but are not. These include the National Library of Ireland (this is not really a surprise as they haven't attended since the first BTOP), the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (Dr Ann McVeigh will, though, be giving a lecture), and RootsIreland, Ireland's largest and most important database provider. The absence of RootsIreland is a shame. I was looking forward to discussing their recent switch to subscription-only access with them.

Never mind. There's a strong enough list of exhibitors to ensure a thoroughly enjoyable stroll around the market over the next three days. There's free advice to be had, essential goodies to buy, all manner of products and services to investigate and plenty of opportunity to carry out some research in the process.

Have fun.

(Free tickets are flying around all over the place. If you haven't managed to bag one, download a 50% discount voucher by clicking the image above. It'll cut the admission price on the door from €10 to €5.)




The Genealogy Radio Show: listen and learn

http://rcb.ie/shows/thegenealogyradioshow
Raidió Corca Baiscinn, a community radio station based in County Clare, has begun broadcasting a weekly show dedicated to Irish genealogy.

It's the brainchild of medieval historian and genealogist Lorna Moloney, who many people will know as the co-ordinator of the University College Cork's Irish Genealogy Summer School, Ancestral Connections: Names, Places & Spaces. Among the many strings balancing on her bow, Lorna is a trained radio presenter, so what more natural a development than her own show on her local radio station?

"We're now into our seventh week and we're getting into our stride," Lorna told Irish Genealogy News. "We have an exciting schedule of guests lined up for upcoming Autumn shows, with a wide range of genealogists and historians ready to explore different aspects of family history and relevant historical themes.

"Although Raidió Corca Baiscinn is a community network, it already has great coverage overseas. People don't turn the dial to listen to the radio anymore; they turn on their computer, so we have listeners tuning in live, via the website, from New Zealand, Australia, and the Americas."

The Genealogy Radio Show goes out on a Thursday, live at 4pm (Irish time), with Andy Nally at the technician's desk, Lorna at the mike and an interviewee with expert credentials at the other end of a phone. Last week's show featured Aidan Feerick, a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland and director of the Ancestor Network consultancy; as well as talking about the need for maintaining and developing professional standards in the industry, he discussed Griffiths Valuation, one of the most important tools available to those researching ancestors in Ireland. Listen and learn! He passed on some very useful details and tips in the process.

Like all the shows, a recording of the broadcast was uploaded to Raidió Corca Baiscinn's website as a free podcast the following day so that those who couldn't tune in live can still listen to the programme in full. All the podcasts can be downloaded from the Raidio Corca Baiscinn website.

This week's guest – today's, in fact – will be David Ryan of the Triskel Christchurch Centre in Cork  (check in at 4pm on 92.5 & 94.8FM or via the website), and he'll be followed seven days later by Nicholas Rynne, a descendent of Mike McTighe, the light heavyweight boxing champion of the world in 1921–23.

"We've a diverse range of topics lined up over the course of the season," says Lorna. "Subjects will include workhouse and asylum history, the genealogy of the rich and famous, and the genealogy of the dispossessed. We'll have Dr Paul McCotter talking about maps and territorial expansion, Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh, telling us about the National Folklore Collection, Dr David Butler discussing Famine research, and many more."



Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: latest updates

http://www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/wexford/photos/moore913gph.jpg
Here's the list of items uploaded to Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives in the first two weeks of this month:

DUBLIN Genealogy Archive – Headstones
Bluebell Cemetery, Pt 3
Cruagh Cemetery Pt. 4, Rockbrook
Mount Jerome parts 88 & 89

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Kinawley; St. Nailes (R.C.)

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives – Memorial Cards
Surnames A–M

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Two days to BTOP: focus on DNA/genetic genealogy

One of the highlights of this year's Back To Our Past, Ireland's major annual family history and heritage show, is the Genetic Genealogy Ireland (GGI) conference.

It returns to the RDS after last year's highly successful first outing, and sees another exciting 3-day programme of lectures lined up with presenters from Ireland, the UK, the USA and Canada.

Dr Maurice Gleeson, who organises the conference, told Irish Genealogy News that the programme is designed to appeal to the most diverse range of people possible. "There are lectures for the complete beginner; each day starts with an entry-level talk which will help researchers understand the three main types of DNA test, what they can do for your research and how they can help break through brickwalls and dead ends.

"There will also be presentations catering to the more intermediate and advanced levels, but even these are pitched in such a way that beginners will understand most of the lecture; there might be only one or two minutes which are a little bit too technical. Feedback from last year certainly shows these talks were enjoyed by many people who had no prior knowledge of DNA."

The line up of speakers shows a good balance between academia and citizen scientists, the latter being lay researchers who have set up their own DNA projects. Many of these DNA projects are of specific Irish interests and Genetic Genealogy Ireland aims to provide these researchers a platform where they can showcase the incredible work they are doing. So, for example, Paul Burns will be talking about his Byrne/Burns/Beirne surname project, and Brad Larkin will be discussing his research and how surname projects are linking back to the ancient Gaelic annals and Norman lineages.

A balance has also been struck in the lecture programme between the different types of DNA testing. Maurice says that the autosomal DNA test, which has been around for only four years or so, has eclipsed the Y-DNA test in the popularity stakes.

"It's the most relevant for those who have hit a brickwall in their family history paper trail. It connects you with cousins with whom you share a common ancestor going back over the last six or seven generations ie back to the early/mid-1700s, and that can be very useful in Ireland where so many people face a barrier around the 1800s. The more people who do the test, the more individual researchers will be able to leap over these barriers."

Three lectures are focussed on these autosomal DNA tests. On Friday, Emily Aulicino of ISOGG will present 'Who’s Your Cousin? atDNA Knows!', on Saturday, Maurice will be talking about its use in solving adoption mysteries, while on Sunday, Rob Warthen will be giving an account of his personal quest to overcome adoption barriers.

Sunday will also see Dr Tyrone Bowes delivering his lecture on 'Pinpointing your Irish Origin & beyond'. This has proved to be the most popular video from last year's conference on the Genetic Genealogy Ireland YouTube Channel. Nearly 2,500 people have watched it, and a good audience is expected when he delivers this year's presentation, too.

Another important address will be from Dr Spencer Wells from the National Genographic Project. He's been scouring the world for indigenous people with deep roots in one place and asking them for samples of DNA to test, in order to piece together our "big family" genetic tree, and will providing an update on the project in his keynote speech at 3:15pm on Saturday.

Down in the exhibition area, away from the lecture room, the Family Tree DNA stand is likely to be one of the busiest in the Industries Hall over the weekend. It certainly was in 2013!

But Maurice says four times as many volunteers – some of them flying in from the UK or USA – have been rounded up for this year's show, so this should reduce waiting times for those wanting to speak to an expert to discuss the appropriateness of each test for their own family history.

Depending on surname, some lucky visitors will be able to have free DNA tests (see the list of surnames that qualify). Like all things 'free', these tests are not really free; their costs are borne by the surname project administrators.

For those whose surname doesn't win them a free test, Family Tree DNA will be offering 10–20% discounts on all three types of DNA tests during the show.

In summary, then, the GGI conference promises a fascinating and educational lectures programme, a chance to discuss the most suitable type of DNA test for your specific research, discounted or even free tests, and a lot less queueing.

Great family tree charts can bring sense of relief

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-FyC4-aiX5VQ/VD2PD0I8xMI/AAAAAAAAJkw/HkTKZYXJerY/s1600/WHELANSBRIDGE%2B1.jpg
Click image for larger view
Waterford-based Tony Hennessy, a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI), has launched a new website – www.greatgreatgreatfamilytrees.com – to promote his customised image-rich family tree charts.

The tree charts are eye-catching and dramatic representations of a family history and can include any number of ancestors to reflect the degree of research completed.

Tony told Irish Genealogy News that such charts explain a family 'at a glance'.

"They are often commissioned as presentation gifts — an example would be the tree chart presented to the Mayor of Boston, Marty J Walsh, only last month, which I created following a joint research collaboration with my APGI colleague John Grenham. There's certainly a WOW! factor when a chart is presented to a non-genealogist."

But charts are just as likely to be commissioned by a family historian who wants to put their research into a cohesive format, one that can be sent on to other family members who perhaps are not genealogists. "For many such researchers, the tree chart brings them a sense of relief that their life's work is saved in a form that others can readily understand. For many families, sharing the tree opens up a wider conversation about their ancestors and all kinds of additional details can be rediscovered, either in their memories or in their lofts."

Because each chart is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all price for these personalised family trees. As a ready reckoner for a basic chart, you can work on around €8 per name and €8 per photo. You'll find more details and some good examples of previously completed work, on the new website.

Or you can speak to the man himself, in between consultations at the APGI stand, at the Back To Our Past show at the RDS this weekend.


Emigration from Connemara – database & conference

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5-KQnqDiArgbnkxUFlHNm5BSVU/view?usp=sharing
A new online database, dedicated to the Tuke Assisted Emigration Scheme 1882-1885, has been launched with the names and known details of almost 3,000 people from the Clifden Poor Law Union who left Ireland from Galway port under that scheme.

Mr Tuke's Fund, as it was known, was set up in the 1880s to provide finance for those wishing to emigrate to Canada and the USA but were unable to afford the costs involved. All those included in this first upload, which is now live and searchable at www.clifdenheritage.org, left in 1882, the busiest year for the Fund. The database can be searched by ship or by name.

Clifden and Connemara Heritage Society will be adding more names and details in the future and hopes those whose emigrant ancestors left Connemara under this scheme will make contact via the website.

The Society will also be hosting a conference from Friday, 31 October to Saturday 1 November in Clifden. It will look at life in 19th century Connemara, the assisted passage scheme, and some of the emigrant stories. For the full programme, details of costs and a booking form, click the image above.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Five more Irish titles join British Newspaper Archives

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?s=460839&v=5895&q=222375&r=123532
It seems Irish titles have risen to top of the 'digitisation To Do' tray at the British Newspaper Archive (BNA) in recent weeks!

As well as more editions being added to some of the newly-online newspapers, five brand-new titles have joined the line-up.

Here's the low-down:

New titles:
  • Limerick Reporter: 1851–51, 1859–60
  • Waterford Chronicle: 1839
  • Belfast Mercury: 1851–53, 1860
  • Hibernian Journal/Chronicle of Liberty: 1773–1776, 1778, 1780–1783, 1805–1806
  • The Dublin Builder: 1859
Extended coverage:
  • Dublin Evening Mail: 1851, 1853, 1856–60. These additions means the BNA's coverage of this paper now includes 1824-28, 1831 and 1833, 1840–43 and a long spread from 1849 to 1870.
  • Galway Vindictor: Having made its debut last week (see blogpost) with editions from just three years, coverage now includes 1843, 1849, 1851-52, 1855, 1858–1859, 1861 and 1865–66.
These latest BNA additions will automatically be added to FindMyPast's British and Irish newspaper collections.

UPDATE, 15 October: And here's another new one today: The Newry Examiner and Louth Advertiser: 1857 and 1859.

Irish-Anzacs Project: database launch & symposium

On Friday 17 October Charles Flanagan TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Australian ambassador to Ireland, Dr Ruth Adler, will launch the Irish Anzacs Database in University College Dublin (UCD).

The Irish Anzacs Project aims to identify all of the estimated 6,000 Irish-born enlistments in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during the First World War and to compile an open-access database containing information on each of them.

The database will provide families with information on their Irish-born family members who served in the AIF during the war, as well as statistical information on the contribution of the Irish to the Australian war effort. The data has been extracted from the service records held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA), and includes the following details: name, town and county of birth, date and place of enlistment, declared age, occupation, marital status, next of kin location, previous military service, religion, and the unit to which initially posted.

Over time, additional information will be added from sources maintained by the Australian War Memorial such as the Roll of Honour, the Embarkation Roll, the Nominal Roll, the list of Honours and Decorations and the Red Cross's files relating to the wounded and missing and to prisoners of war, ultimately producing a comprehensive record for each soldier.

The project is a research undertaking of the Global Irish Studies Centre at University of New South Wales (UNSW), made possible by a grant from the Irish government’s Emigrant Support Program. The director of the project is Dr Jeff Kildea, Keith Cameron Chair of Australian History at University College Dublin.

The event, which will begin in Room K114, UCD, at 8:30am for 9am will occur simultaneously via video link with a launch event at the University of New South Wales.

A day-long symposium: Emergent nations: Australia and Ireland in the First World War – Gallipoli, Conscription and Commemoration, will follow the launch, starting at 10:30am. It aims to examine the two countries shared experience of WW1 and to explore the different ways in which the war contributed to the emergence of these two nations.

Speakers will include Prof. David Fitzpatrick (TCD), Prof. Keith Jeffery (QUB), and Dr Conor Mulvagh (UCD). Download the full programme for the symposium here.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Four days to BTOP: focus on the learning experience

Back To Our Past, Ireland's major annual genealogy get-together gets underway again this Friday at the RDS in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

It's a multi-faceted show, with something to appeal to all family historians, whether they're just starting out, have already made some headway and are ready to move up a notch, or are seasoned professionals. Some come out of curiosity, some are attracted by the opportunity to receive free face-to-face research advice (see Friday's blogpost),; others come to pick up special 'exhibition' bargains in the market place, or to talk to service providers about their research services.

Of course, most visitors come to the RDS in Ballsbridge for a healthy mix of reasons, but there's usually one common motivating factor: the desire to discover more about the life, times and culture of our ancestors. They come to learn.

With two strands of genealogy and heritage lectures running on each of the three days of the show (there's an additional strand of lectures dedicated to DNA/Genetic genealogy which I'll be highlighting later this week), there's absolutely no excuse for any visitor to leave without having learned more about Irish culture and traditions, picked up a ton of tips about which resources to plunder and how to ensure the best bounty from them, and found the confidence to try out new research methods and techniques.

In short, the presentation schedule is there to ensure every visitor leaves the show a better family historian or with a more educated understanding of how their ancestors lived.

The lecture programme has been organised once again by the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI). Several members of APGI (MAPGIs) will be making presentations, but so will many other well-known historians, authors, genealogists, and research and database experts. The line-up reflects a wide range of specialities and features experts from Ireland, the UK and the USA.

I'm not going to start singling out individual lecturers – heaven forfend that I should reflect my personal interests on my own blog! – but a quick glance at the programme will convince you of the high standard of expertise on offer and the great choice of themes including military history, civil registration records, local archives, emigration, Gaelic history, the role of the Internet, gravestone inscriptions, and many more.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5-KQnqDiArgQzk5ejNtNzdFQ1E/view?usp=sharing
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You'll also see that there's a great choice of topics aimed at a wide range of experience levels.

All lectures are presented on a first-come-first-served basis, and they're free to all those attending BTOP.

With only four days until lift-off, it's time to start planning your visit around your favourite lecture topics.

You can view the full three-day lecture programme on the Back To Our Past organisers' website or, if you want your own hard copy, you can download a pdf here.

Irish genealogy & history events, 13–24 October

Monday 13 October: Fighting in 11th-century Dublin, with Christina Wade. Part of the Living and Dying in a medieval city – Dublin in the Age of Clontarf lunchtime lecture series. Host: Friends of Medieval Dublin. Venue: Wood Quay Venue, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8. Time: 1:05pm to 1:45pm. Free. No booking necessary.

Monday 13 October:
The Thompson Farm, Dunaney, with Dr Jim Bradley. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Newtownabbey Branch. Venue: Drama Theatre, Glenformley High School, 134 Ballyclare Road, Newtownabbey BT36 5HP. 7:00pm. All welcome.

Monday 13 October: How to undertake War grave research - War graves in Northern Ireland, with Nigel Henderson. (See also 13 October for narrower Belfast focus.)Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place.

Tuesday 14 October: Commonwealth war graves records for Ireland, with Patrick Lynch. Host: Genealogical Society of Ireland. Venue: Dun Laoghaire FEi, Cumberland Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 8pm. €3.

Tuesday 14 October: Serving Belfast Municipal Services, with Robert Corbett. Part of the Belfast Corporation lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place.

Wednesday 15 October: George Petrie’s “Topographical Department” (1835-42), with Paul Walsh. Part of the Mapping City, Town and Country lecture series. Venue: Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. 1-2pm. Free. All welcome. No need to book.

Wednesday 15 October: A Call to Arms – Portadown and the Great War, with Richard Edgar. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, North Armagh Branch. Venue: Town Hall, 15 Edward Street, Portadown, BT62 3LX. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Wednesday 15 October: Ulster Protestant Gaelic Tradition, with Diarmaid O Doibhlin. Part of the Irish language and culture lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place.

Wednesday 15 October: The decline and fall of the dukes of Leinster, with Professor Terence Dooley. First of the Strokestown Park/CSHIHE Lecture Series. 8pm.  Strokestown Park, Co Roscommon. Details and bookings: info@strokestownpark.ie or tel: 071- 9633013.

Thursday 16 October: Exploring family history – Churches and churchgoers, with Dr Janice Holmes and Dr Barry Sheehan. Part of the Open University Lunchtime Lecture Series, examining the working lives of families in the past, with examples from PRONI's collections. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Booking recommended but not essential. Free.

Thursday 16 October: New system at GRONI, with Emma Elliott. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, North Down & Ards Branch. Venue: 1st Presbyterian Church Hall, Upper Main Street, Bangor BT20 4AG. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Friday 17 October: Australia and Ireland in the First World War, a symposium. Plus the launch of the Irish Anzacs Database. Host: The Keith Cameron Chair of Australian History at UCD. Venue: Room K114, Newman Building, UCD. 10am to 4:15pm. Programme and details.

Friday 17 October to Sunday 19 October: Back To Our Past, Ireland's major annual genealogy exhibition and conference. Incorporates the Genetic Genealogy Ireland conference. Venue: Industries Hall, RDS, Dublin 4. 11am–7pm each day. Exhibitors, two strands of genealogy/heritage lectures, one strand of DNA talks, free APGI consultations. €5 on the door entry each day if you use 50% voucher – see blogpost for link to voucher and more details.

Friday 17 October to Sunday 19 October: The Genealogy Event, includes some Irish family history presentations. Sunday is dedicated to DNA. Venue: Fri & Sat: Alexander Hamilton US Custom House,1 Bowling Green, New York City, USA; Sunday only: India House Club, NY, NY. Details.

Saturday 18 October: Irish Genealogy, Intermediate level, with Diane Bryant and Lorraine Roberts. Venue: Dyer Memorial Library, 28 Centre Avenue, Abington, New England, USA. Workshop 1-2pm followed by guided research 2-3pm. Free.  Tel: 781-878-8480 to register.

Sunday 19 October: Charity and the Great Hunger: The extent to which people throughout the world mobilized to provide money, food and clothing to assist the starving Irish, with Professor Christine Kinealy. Venue: The Gaelic-American Club, 74 Beach Road, Fairfield, CT 06824 USA. 2-4 p.m. Open to the public. $5. Need to register.

Monday 20 October: Using DNA to research your Northern Ireland family tree, with Brian O'Hara and Maggie Lyttle. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Larne Branch. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112 Glenarm Road, Larne, BT40 1DZ. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 21 October: Building the City Hall, with Robert Corbett. Part of the Belfast Corporation lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place.

Tuesday 21 October: Out of the dark, 1914-1918, South Dubliners in the Great War, with Ken Kinsella. Host: Dublin City Library and Archive. Venue: The Council Chamber, City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2. 1:10pm to 1:50pm (doors open 12:30pm). Free. All welcome. No booking.

Wednesday 22 October: Glimpses of Ireland's past: drawings in the OS Memoirs, with Angélique Day. Part of the Mapping City, Town and Country lecture series. Venue: Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. 1-2pm. Free. All welcome. No need to book.

Wednesday 22 October: Influence of Irish on English as we speak it, with Joe O Labhrai. Part of the Irish language and culture lecture series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. 1pm to 2pm. Free, but booking required. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 90  534800 to reserve your place.

Thursday 23 October: 'If the nation is to be saved women must help in the saving': Women and War in Ireland, 1914–18, with Dr Senia Paseta. Part of The Road to War Lecture Series. Hosted by PRONI and National Museums Northern Ireland. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Gardens, Belfast. 7pm. Free but booking essential. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or phone 44+ 028 905 34800.

Thursday 23 October: Exploring family history – Shops and shoppers, with Dr Janice Holmes and Dr Barry Sheehan. Part of the Open University Lunchtime Lecture Series, examining the working lives of families in the past, with examples from PRONI's collections. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Booking recommended but not essential. Free. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Early warning: Limited PRONI service, 8-12 December

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has announced that it will run a limited service during 'Preservation Week', which will take place from 8 to 12 December.

Preservation Week sees many of PRONI's Preservation & Collections Management staff dedicating their time to the vital work that goes on behind the scenes. This includes collections management projects in the stores, emergency planning training, conservation assessment and possible digitisation of some large format items.

On the plus side, PRONI will take the opportunity to post daily articles to its website about preservation, reprographics, preventative conservation, digital preservation and emergency planning. They hope to upload lots of photos and possibly some videos to give us a flavour of what is going on behind the scenes.

The knock-on of this vital work will see some services restricted. There will be no Document Production, for example. However, the Public Search Room, including the Self-Service Microfilm area, will operate as normal.

Best mark your diaries accordingly.