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Friday, 30 January 2015

Discounts, tutorials & free lecture recordings from ULF

The Ulster Historical Foundation has been very busy in the last few weeks, and not only in response to a 50% discount offer on its 1.7m birth, marriage and death records (see my blogpost for more details). Note that the sale has been extended to 9 February.

In addition to the half-price sale promotion, the organisation has been creating video tutorials to help its Guild members and visitors to the site to get the very best from their searches of its databases. Videos on Getting Started and using the Baptism and Marriage databases have been joined today by a tutorial on using the Graveyard Inscription database. They can all be viewed here.

Another development is the digitisation of audio recordings from some of the Guild's past conferences. The ‘Voices from the past’ lecture series is available only to members of the Guild and presents a rare opportunity to enjoy some very distinguished academics and archivists, some of whom are no longer with us, giving advice on using historical sources in Ireland. This week’s additions include:

Valuation records: A valuable resource for Genealogists,
with Trevor Parkhill
New Light at the Cape of Good Hope, with Prof. Leslie McCracken
Family Research in the Registry of Deeds, with Dr Katharine Brown
Sources in PRONI relating to education, with Dr Roger Strong

To launch the Voices from the Past series of recordings, the ULF has made Dr Katherine Brown's lecture on Family Research in the Registry of Deeds freely available to all on the ULF's homepage.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

More new Irish titles join British Newspaper Archive

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=5947&awinaffid=123532&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.findmypast.ie%2Fsearch%2Firish-newspapers
Another three Irish titles (see below) have joined the line-up in the British Newspaper Archive's online database. In addition, a good number of the newspapers already in the Irish collection have been topped up with additional editions, particularly the Athlone Sentinel, Dulin Evening Post, Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent, Dublin Morning Register, Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier, Tipperary Free Press and Waterford Mail.

The new titles are:

Belfast Protestant Journal: 1844 to July 1850
Current Prices of Grain at Dublin Cork Exchange: Oct 1860 to mid-Feb 1861
Tipperary Vindicator: 1859 and 1864

As with all uploads to the British Newspaper Archive database, the new titles and all the additional editions have simultaneously been added to the FindMyPast Irish newspaper collection, available via the Ireland and World packages.





AncestryDNA arrives in Ireland and the UK

My AncestryDNA kit, pre-dribble
AncestryDNA has today officially launched its genetic family history DNA test on this side of the Atlantic. Having launched in the US more than two years ago, it is now available in Ireland and the UK, and will launch to other international countries later this year. It has more than 700,000 people in its database at this point.

The company is a subsidiary of Ancestry, the world's largest online genealogy research, and uses advanced DNA technology to reveal genetic ethnicity. Its test examines a person's entire genome at over 700,000 genetic locations, and allows you to 'discover distant relatives you never knew you had, as well as revealing your ethnic mix from the past 500-1000 years or more.'

The size of the international (so far, about 99% American) database will be of benefit to those of Irish heritage in both Ireland and the UK as it will allow us to connect with the descendants of our emigrant ancestors. The company predicts that the vast majority of Irish and UK customers will connect with 3rd or 4th cousins immediately. As well as furthering our own research, taking the test has the added potential to help Irish-American family historians pinpoint their ancestor's place of origin in Ireland, which is so often the biggest challenge in their research.

I shall let the official press release tell you more: 'The AncestryDNA test uses microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, which surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations via a simple saliva sample. Analysis of the DNA data provides a prediction of the locations of ancestors from 26 separate world-wide populations including Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and South and North Africa.

'In contrast to Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, which only test one line of your family and generally provide information about ancestry several thousand years ago, the AncestryDNA autosomal test targets the last few hundred or thousand years. This enables people to learn more about their more immediate family history.

'AncestryDNA can also help people identify relationships with unknown relatives through a list of possible DNA member matches. These results are a great starting point for additional research, collaboration, or to help people expand their family trees.

'Ancestry subscribers in the UK and Ireland will also have the opportunity to use new online interface tools to link their DNA results with their existing family trees and research. With millions of family trees online at Ancestry, more people than ever before will now be able to connect with new relatives and share their results.'

Costing £99 plus shipping, AncestryDNA kits are dispatched within six days of an order, with the test results taking from 6-8 weeks to be delivered. Tests are available for purchase at www.ancestrydna.co.uk.

Ancestry kindly sent me a complimentary kit, which arrived in a neat and well-designed box yesterday (see pic of contents above).

Now, I've already had Y-DNA and Family Finder tests done, both through Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), and both requiring only that I swab my mouth for 60 seconds.

The AncestryDNA test is different, but hardly onerous. You can't eat, drink, smoke or chew gum (!) for half an hour before the test, so I decided it was a 'first thing in the morning' task. According to the instructions, you have to spit saliva into the sample tube. Now, I'm a girl, so I don't spit (I remember two of my brothers trying to teach me how to spit when I was about seven... I failed), but I can dribble. Especially when my porridge is overdue. So I dribbled away for a few minutes until I'd provided the required amount, then followed the rest of the instructions and packaged up the sample for its return journey.

It's on its way. It will be interesting to see how the test results from AncestryDNA compare with the FTDNA results.

NLI invites tenders for its summer Genealogy Service

The National Library of Ireland has issued a Request For Tenders (RFT) for a supplier of genealogy services from 18 March to 31 October.

The Library runs a free Genealogy Service all-year round; it is available without appointment, Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:45pm, and is provided by the Library's own small genealogy team.

During the main tourist and visitor season, however, the Library team is complemented by a contracted team of professional genealogists and the days of operation are extended to include Saturday mornings (9:15 to 12:45).

As you'd expect, the RFT sets out the duties required of the contractor team, and there's nothing unusual in the description provided. But I just wanted to share this element:

    • Assist users with online resources, including the NLI’s parish register website, microfilm
      and printing.

My red. Don't the words look good!

Closing date for receipt of tenders: 20 February (Noon).

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

NLI Reading Rooms: late opening Thursday 5 Feb

The Reading Rooms at the National Library of Ireland will be closed on the morning of Thursday 5 February (staff meeting, apparently).  So, too, will the Genealogy Service.

The cafe and exhibitions will be open as usual.

The Reading Rooms and Genealogy Service will reopen to the public at 1:30pm.






Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Back To Our Past: 2015 dates announced

Ireland's only major annual conference and exhibition – Back To Our Past – has announced its dates for 2015. They are:

Friday 16 October – 12pm to 6pm
Saturday 17 October – 11am to 6pm
Sunday 18 October – 11am to 6pm

This will be the sixth consecutive year of BTOP, which brings together a significant proportion of the genealogy and related industries to exhibit their wares and services as well as offering three full days of family history, heritage and dna lectures.

Once again, the show will be held in the Industries Hall at the RDS in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Details of the lecture programme won't be published for some months; for now, just get the dates in your diaries.

Exhibitors should contact the organisers on 00 353 1 496 9028.

Irish Emigration in the 19th century: seminar

On Friday 13 February, Edenderry Historical Society is to host an evening seminar exploring Irish Emigration in the 19th century.

Here's the line-up of lectures:
  • The Irish in South Africa: a miscellany, with Dr Ciaran Reilly
  • 'We are all well and fat': the Tuke Irish in Minnesota, 1880-1930, with Dr Regina Donlon
  • In seach of Irish emigrants in the American Civil War, with Damian Shiels
  • Fleeing famine: assisted emigration from Earl Fitzwilliam's Co Wicklow estate, with Fidelma Byrne
  • Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore Irish Famine refugee, superstar of American music, but today, unknown, with Jarlath McNamara
Venue: Edenderry Town Hall, O'Connell Square, Edenderry, Co Offaly.  
Time: 7pm start. Ends c10pm.  
Admission: €10  
All welcome.

Monday, 26 January 2015

BBC documentary, Ireland's Great War, starts 1 Feb

A two-part TV documentary, Ireland's Great War, begins on Sunday 1 February at 6pm on BBC One Northern Ireland. It's part of the BBC's World War One Season.

Made by 360 Production, the film charts Ireland's role in the First World War. At the outset of the Great War, Ireland was still part of the British Empire, but was on the verge of a civil war between Nationalists and Unionists. When Britain declared war on Germany, both sides joined up and three Irish Divisions were formed, with the first seeing action during the disastrous Gallipoli campaign. While Irish soldiers fought and died abroad, a little-known Republican minority sparked Dublin's Easter Rising, forcing Britain to allocate much-needed troops to Ireland.

Re-examining the full story of Ireland and the Great War are Diarmaid Ferriter of University College Dublin, Richard Grayson from University of London and Timothy Bowman from the University of Kent.

Following its broadcast, the one-hour episode will be available on the BBC iPlayer. I'm not sure what access limitation will be imposed.

Irish genealogy and history events, 26 Jan to 7 Feb

Monday 26 January: The Sabbath Disturbed: The Curragh Mutiny Recalled, with Liam Kenny and James Durney. Host: Clondalkin History Society. Venue: , Arás Chronáin Irish Cultural Centre, Watery Lane, Clondalkin, Co Dublin. 8pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 27 January: After the Workhouse: Providing shelter and relief in Kilrush 1921–1939, with Rita McCarthy. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm. Free for members. €5 for non-members.

Tuesday 27 January: Violence, law and migration in modern Irish history, with Dr Richard McMahon. Followed by Q&A session. First of the 2015 Slattery Lectures 'Migration: Ireland, Europe and Beyond'. Hosts: Trinity College Carlow and Carlow College. Venue: Cobden Hall, Carlow College, College Street, Carlow. 5–7pm. Free. All welcome. Enquiries.

Wednesday 28 January: The Medical Front, with Dr Robert Whan. Host and Venue: Newry & Mourne Museum, Bagenal's Castle , Castle Street/1A Bank Parade, Newry BT34 2BY. Starts at 7:30pm. Light refreshments served. Free but need to book by phone to 028 3031 3173 or email

Thursday 29 January: Researching WW1 Servicemen – Suggested sources, with Nigel Henderson. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Ballymena Branch. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Baid Arts Centre, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena. 7:15pm.

Friday 30 January: 16 Dead Men, The Easter Rising Executions, with Anne-Marie Ryan. Host: Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. €5. Non-members welcome.

Friday 30 January: Irish society and identity in Victorian Melbourne, with Sophie Cooper, and Writing from the Congested Districts: J.M. Synge and the Modernisation of the West of Ireland, with Seán Hewitt. Host: IES Irish Studies. Venue: Room G22 (Ground Floor), Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. 6-8pm

Sunday 1 February: Cobh Lusitania Centenary 2015. A recital on the 49 bells of the cathedral commences at 5 pm, followed by the Cobh Confraternity Band in the Promenade and a short ceremony where the 1,198 victims of the wartime tragedy will be remembered. At 6 pm schoolchildren will read the names of the 169 victims buried in the Old Church Cemetery in Cobh as the Irish Coastguard launch flares from the quayside in Cobh and from the ramparts of Fort Mitchel on Spike Island. Details.

Monday 2 February: History of Derry through the River Foyle, with Roy Hamilton. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Foyle Branch. Venue: City's Central Library, 35 Foyle Street, Derry, Co LondonDerry BT48 6AL. 7pm. All welcome.

Monday 2 February: Family and Business Memories of Killyleagh – T M Martin and Sons, with John Martin. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Killyleagh Branch. Venue: Killyleagh Masonic Hall, 50 High Street, Killyleagh, BT30 9QF, Co Down. 8pm. All welcome.

Monday 2 February to Friday 27 February: Londonderry Papers Exhibition. The exhibition focuses on the ‘Ark’ club set up by Edith, Lady Londonderry, in 1915 and immortalised in the Dodo Terrace at her gardens at Mountstewart. Members of the Ark club read like a roll call of the great and the good in British and Irish society at the time. Members were given a nickname, based on an animal or a mythical creature. Venue: Comber Library, Newtownards Road, Comber, Co Down BT23 5AU. Telephone for more details: 028 9187 2610.

Tuesday 3 February: Hidden pages from WW1, a seminar exploring previously unknown archival sources on soldiers and civilians, recounted by the curators who recovered them. Five short presentations (from 7:30pm), a Q&A session, private viewing of the cathedral's Lives Remembered exhibition and wine reception at 7pm. Chaired by Bryan Dobson. Hosts: Irish Society for Archives and St Patrick's Cathedral. Venue: The Lady Chapel, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. Open to the public, free and no need to book.  Details.

Tuesday 3 February: The Digital Mapping of Ireland’s Eighteenth-Century Built Military Heritage: Or, Rambles in Rural Armagh, with Ivar McGrath. Host: School of History and Archives Research Forum. Venue: Room K114, University College Dublin. 4 p.m. Free admission. All welcome. Details.

Tuesday 3 February: From the Plum to the Pau France, with Claire McElhinney. Host: North of Ireland Family HistorySociety, Omagh Branch.  Venue: Omagh Library, 1 Spillers Place, Omagh, Co Tyrone BT78 1HL. 7:15pm. All welcome.

Wednesday 4 February: Military Antiques Roadshow. Bring along your WW1 artefacts to have them viewed and catalogued by experts, watch the documentary The Boys from East Belfast, and attend two talks at 2pm and 3pm. Host: Living Legacies 1914–1918. Venue: St. Mark's Parochial Hall: Heyn Hall, 2 Sydenham Avenue. Belfast BT4 2DR. 1–4pm. Free.

Wednesday 4 February: Seeking Refuge: Germany to Ireland in the 1930's, a half-day Conference. To mark Holocause Memorial Day, this event will examine the impact of the rise of the Nazi regime on Jewish communities in germany and Northern Ireland. Venue: PRONI, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, BT3 9HQ (Lecture Theatre). Starts 2pm. Three speakers. Free but need to reserve your place by email proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone: 028 90 534800.

Wednesday 4 February: Charity during the Great Famine in Connaught, with Ciaran McCabe. Host: Strokestown Park Winter Spring Lectureseries. Venue: Strokestown House, Co Roscommon. 8pm. Admission €5.

Wednesday 4 February: The victualling trade in Cork during the American War of Independence, with Joe Varley. Host: Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. Venue: Crawford Art Gallery, Emmett Place, Cork.

Wednesday 4 February: The Home Front: Newry and Mourne in the Great War, with Dr Robert Whan. Host and Venue: Newry & Mourne Museum, Bagenal's Castle , Castle Street, 1A Bank Parade, Newry BT34 2BY. Time: 7:30pm. Light refreshments served. Free but need to book by phone to 028 3031 3173 or email.

Thursday 5 February:
Famine times in Blarney and district, wtih Michael Murphy. Host: Blarney and District Historical Society. Venue: Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney, Co Cork. 8pm. Everyone welcome.

Thursday 5 February: The Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland and its resources, with Valerie Adams. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Belfast Branch. Venue: Holywood Arches Library, Holywood Road, Belfast BT4 1NT. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Saturday 7 February: Photography and other pastimes, with Pat Holland. Part of The Big House lecture series. 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 7 February: Migration and the First World War, with Professor Keith Jeffery. The 14th Annual Irish Migration Studies Lecture. Host and Venue: Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park, 2 Mellon Road, Omagh, Co Tyrone BT78 5QY. 11am to 2pm. Tea/coffee registion from 10:30pm. Admission £12 (conc £10), includes morning tea/coffee, lecture and finger buffet lunch. Booking advised, by email or tel: 028 8225 6315.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Source information for Ancestry's new Death Indexes

I reported yesterday on the latest release from Ancestry: the Scotland and Northern Ireland Death Index, 1989–2013. I described it as a strange collection, and the lack of detail about its source didn't make it any less strange.

A similar collection, the England and Wales Death Index, 2007–2013, was released on the same day and it didn't reveal any insightful information about its source, either.

So, I contacted Ancestry and have the following details to pass on.
  • The source of both collections is GreyPower Deceased Data, compiled by Wilmington Millennium, a business that facilitates the prevention/detection of deceased identity fraud. (If you're really keen, you can Google the company name and get a clearer idea of what they do.)
  • The data is compiled from funeral directors' records and obituary notices.
  • The Scotland and Northern Ireland Index is estimated to include some 45% of deaths during the 25-year period.
  • The England and Wales Index is estimated to represent 55% of deaths during the seven-year period.
Knowing the level of coverage will help to explain why so many of you (thanks for the emails!) can't find people you know to have died during these time frames.

UPDATE, Saturday 24 Jan: Ancestry has now added some of the above to the search page 'Source Information' for each index.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Irish Family History Day: FindMyPast adds 7m records

FindMyPast has declared Friday 23 January to be Irish Family History Day – the company's annual celebration of Irish heritage – and it comes with quite a splash!

Nearly 7m records have been added to the database, including, for the first time online, the Irish Poverty Relief Loan records and Clare Electoral Registers. A free webinar, followed by a Q&A session, will be held and there's a money-off offer for new subscribers, too.

New Records

Irish Poverty Loan Records, 1821–1874
This collection comes from the National Archives in Kew, London, and relates to the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund, a privately funded micro credit scheme set up in 1824 to provide small loads to the 'industrious poor' ie those most affected by poverty and famine. It's a gem for those with ancestors from some of the poorest parts of the island (see map below) and it's the first time it's been available in full online. (I know the transcriptions for Skibbereen have been available for some time on the Skibbereen Heritage Centre's website (http://goo.gl/uIi5yJ) because I'd already downloaded the records for my own family, but I've never seen the images of the loan fund's pages before. They're interesting as they show the weekly/monthly instalments being paid, as well as any defaults on repayments and other details)

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2114&awinaffid=123532&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.findmypast.ie%2F2015%2F01%2F23%2Fhow-to-use-our-new-poverty-relief-loans-to-find-your-ancestors%2F
Click map for more details about these records
This collection of almost 700,000 records, which span the period of the Irish Famine, provides unique insight into the lives of those living in Ireland during one of the darkest periods in its history. The handwritten ledgers and account books reveal the changing fortunes of Irish ancestors and their subsequent movements in Ireland and across the world.

Many of the records are loan application forms, which include the name of the borrower and two names of guarantors, who were often close family members or neighbours. Other details recorded include occupation, notes of health, family circumstances and whether the borrower emigrated.

These are often the only official records of people who died during the Famine or who emigrated during those awful years.

Announcing this latest addition to the Irish collection, Brian Donovan, Head of Irish Data and Business Development for Findmypast, said: “These incredibly important records provide an exceptional insight into the lives of the poor across the west of Ireland from Sligo down to Cork. The people recorded are precisely those who were most likely to suffer the worst of the Famine or be forced to emigrate. These remarkable records allow us to chart what happened to 690,000 people like this from the 1820s to the 1850s, giving a glimpse of their often heart-breaking accounts of survival and destitution, misery and starvation. We are very lucky to be able to tell their stories.”

Find out more about the Irish Poverty Loan Records.

Clare Electoral Registers
These 311,080 records are also making their debut online. The collection shows who owned or leased property worth at least £10 between 1860 and 1910. Male owners or leaseholders of property worth at least £12 a year were entitled to vote in parliamentary elections, while female property holders of the same value could vote in local elections. You can find both in this record set.

Each record contains an image and a transcript of the original document. The amount of information varies depending on the kind of document featured but you can find out the following about your ancestor: Name, address, barony, registration unit and polling unit.

The image will often show further details including whether the vote was objected to on the grounds that the voter did not meet the qualifying criteria and the nature of the qualification (usually the type of ownership or lease). In the case of someone who qualified because of the property they were renting, details of their landlord are usually given.

Find out more about the Clare Electoral Registers collection

Irish Census 1911 plus Census fragments 1821–1851 and Census Search Forms 1841 & 1851
These three record sets are available, free of charge, at the Genealogy website of the National Archives of Ireland (NAI); on FindMyPast's site, the Census 1911 database links through to the NAI site to display images of the census returns.

However, there's an interesting advantage to using this database when searching the 1911 Census because FindMyPast's search engine allows researchers to search for more than one family member at the same time, helping to narrow down results, and by birth year and by spelling variations of a name. These options are not available at the NAI site and will certainly make some searches a lot easier.

Transcriptions and images for the Census fragments and Census Search Forms databases are held entirely on the FindMyPast site. As family historians quickly become aware, having alternative search engines can be useful; one engine may identify a record that the other cannot find.

Just as at the NAI website, these three records sets are free at FindMyPast. To view them at FindMyPast, you need to register but you need neither a subscription nor Pay-As-You-Go credits.

More about the Ireland Census 1911, the Census Fragments, and the Census Search Forms.

Irish Marriages 1619-1898
This record set of 852,000 names has been available for some years on Family Search.org, the huge site managed by the Church of Latter Day Saints. I've looked into this collection before and found it to be rather curious lucky-dip collection of transcriptions made by LDS members from civil registration records, parish and other records.

It is certainly not comprehensive, either geographically or across the time frame. Some localities are not included. Some have a random collection of entries covering a wide time span; others have a more systematic collection of records from a short time frame. Most seem to have a bit of a mix of source material. Others do not. County Carlow, for example, has 4,046 entries, all transcribed from civil registration entries ie the marriage certificate, while County Offaly has no civil registration entries.

For all its random and often imprecise collection methods, this is a useful record set, worth checking as part of a thorough search. Just bear in mind its limitations.

Find out more about the Irish Marriages record set.


Webinar

As part of Irish Family History Day, Findmypast will be running an online webinar and Q&A session hosted by Irish family history expert, Brian Donovan. The webinar will cover getting started with Irish family history, as well as hints and tips on getting further with your research.

The webinar will be held at 5pm GMT on Friday 23 January. Brian will be on hand to answer questions after the webinar. For more information, and to register interest, visit http://bit.ly/irishlive.

Exclusive offer

Another feature of the Day is a special offer for new and lapsed subscribers only.

Researchers in Ireland can join for just €1 for their first month using the discount code IFHD15. Subscribe here.

Researchers outside of Ireland can sign up for a World subscription, granting access to over 2 billion records, for just £5/$5 for their first month using the code IRISH15. Select from FindMyPast Britain, FindMyPast North America or FindMyPast Australia.

These offers expire at midnight on Tuesday 27 January. Expired.

Enjoy Irish Family History Day!

Did your Clare ancestor serve in the American Civil War?

Clare County Library has added another fabulously useful record set to its free online materials: Claremen who served in the American Civil War, 1861–1865.

The collection has been donated by Sharon Carberry who has transcribed data on 381 individual soldiers recorded in obituaries, pension records, official muster rolls, biographies etc. Some of the entries are quite detailed, including personal descriptions, occupation, place and date of enlistment (and, often, age at that date), date and method of discharge.

This is a 'must-check' collection for those with ancestors from County Clare.

Ancestry adds Scotland & N Ireland Deaths 1989-2013

Ancestry has uploaded a strange new database called Scotland and Northern Ireland Death Indexes, 1989–2013. I say strange because there's limited information about the source of the data – 'British Death Indexes. Various sources' is as much as the website will give away.

It provides transcribed death details for people who died in Scotland and Northern Ireland, including their name and title, town and postcode of last place of residence, date of birth or age at death, and date of death. The lack of GRO References suggests these entries did not come from official sources.

The entries showing Scottish towns as a last place of residence dramatically outnumber those recording Northern Ireland towns, even when searching for more obviously Irish names such as Doyle, Tierney and Murphy.

UPDATE: Ancestry provided me with source information after I contacted them. See blogpost.

Pharos Tutors: next Irish genealogy course starts March

Online course provider Pharos has a 5-week course called Ireland – A Practical Approach to Family History (103)– starting on St Patrick's Day, 17 March.

The focus of this assisted-study course, which is taught by Sherry Irvine, one of the founders of the tutoring company, is on Ireland's available records, the context of the student's own Irish family history study and the creation of practical research strategies. It covers:
  • Then and Now: The context of your search. Use of the Internet
  • Civil registration, directories and schools
  • Land valuations of the 1800s. Censuses and lists
  • Church records and probate
  • In or Out of Work: Occupations and Poor Relief
Each lesson includes exercises and activities, and a minimum of one hour-long chat session per week. The cost is £45.99. See the course overview here or check out this a detailed explanation of how the course works.

Being online, these courses are available to all Irish family historians, no matter where in the world they live.

Pharos has a second, more advanced course: Irish Family History and the Use of Land Records (333). This is a three-week course and will next be held in September. The exact start date has yet to be confirmed.

The Genealogy Radio show: Series II gets underway

http://rcb.ie/shows/thegenealogyradioshow
Lorna Moloney's Genealogy Radio Show will return for its second series today on Raidió Corca Baiscinn, a community radio station based in County Clare .

The new series was due to start last Thursday but the weather in County Clare had other ideas. Gales, rain, snow... everything a winter Atlantic depression could rustle up... resulted in the radio station losing power for some time, and it was decided to broadcast a recording of Lorna's very first show rather than attempt a live broadcast.

So, series two kicks off today with Lorna exploring trade directories (their value to Irish family history research and where to access them) and advanced family tree software. You can listen in at 4pm this afternoon on 92.5 & 94.8FM or over the Internet at www.rcb.ie. Alternatively, you can download a free podcast from the website on Friday; a recording of each episode is uploaded to the Raidió Corca Baiscinn's website the day after its broadcast so that those who can't listen live can still hear the programme in full.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Irish DNA Atlas project enters analysis phase

Having secured funding from Science Foundation Ireland towards the end of 2014, the Irish DNA Atlas project is now moving into the genetic analysis stage of the study. Initial findings may be about a year away.

The academic project, a collaboration between the Genealogical Society of Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) aims to create a detailed picture of genetic structure in Ireland, and pick out the genetic characteristics of people whose ancestors came from specific geographical areas. To do this, it has gathered, and is still recruiting, participants whose eight great grandparents were born within around 30km of one another. It doesn't matter if the locality straddles country boundaries.

"It's difficult to find participants who fit this tight criterion," Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, who leads the project at the RCSI, told Irish Genealogy News. "But the logic behind it is to make an individual's genetic signature representative of a particular part of Ireland. It takes us back to what the genetic structure might have looked like in the 1850s, when people tended to be born, marry and die within restricted geographical boundaries."

Despite the tight qualification for eight great grandparents from one locality, the project has recruited sufficient numbers of participants, both men and women, for the project to move into the first scientific phase of analysis. Nonetheless, more participants are needed, especially from people with ancestry in the following areas:
  • Mid-Ulster
  • North-East coastal areas ie Louth and environs
  • North or East Midlands
  • County Limerick
  • North Cork
  • Waterford
  • Connemara
  • Any of the islands
Back at the lab, a PhD student, Edmund Gilbert, started work on the project last week. "The genetic work proper starts now," said Dr Cavalleri. "In the coming weeks and months we'll be analysing the samples and should, hopefully, be in a position to publish initial results in around 12 months."

Once it has created a detailed picture of genetic structure in Ireland, the Irish DNA Atlas project will compare it to similar projects in the UK and mainland Europe. In so doing, it will gain insight into historical migrations to and from the island. Detailing genetic structure in Ireland may also help efforts to describe genes influencing disease in the Irish (and other) populations.

Participation in the Irish DNA Atlas study is on a pro bono basis with each person supplying genealogical data (which is rigorously checked) and a DNA sample. The DNA kit is supplied by the project. Individual results are not supplied to participants, nor will the data be made publicly available.

If you're interested in taking part, you can request an Irish DNA Atlas project pack from the Genealogical Society of Ireland at Irish.DNA@familyhistory.ie.

Two Irish-themed workshops at SOG, London, in Feb

The Society of Genealogists (SOG) in London will host two Saturday morning sessions next month aimed at family historians with Irish ancestors.

Both run from 10:30am to 1:00pm and will be held at the SOG's offices at 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA. There's a fee of £20 for each workshop.

These sessions tend to be popular, so don't delay booking your place.

7 February: Place of Birth Ireland - How can I Find out More? with Maggie Loughran
It is estimated that there are over one million people of Irish birth in Britain today, plus numerous second, third or fourth generation Irish. Their major genealogical challenge is to determine their Irish ancestor's actual place of birth; without this it is nigh-on impossible to undertake any research within Ireland, even when researching a fairly uncommon surname. Details and booking.

28 February: The Irish in Victorian London, with Else Churchill and Michael Gandy.
According to census returns, the numbers of Irish-born immigrants living in England and Wales almost doubled between 1841 and 1851 to over 520, 000. Some 109,000 lived in London where they were perceived as a strain on the resources of the Poor Law and charity. This course looks at where they lived and where they came from and the efforts made to return many to that place. Details and booking.

Monday, 19 January 2015

PRONI adds more Explore the Archives workshops

PRONI's two Explore the Archives workshops scheduled for 21 January and 18 February are fully booked. Such has been the demand that PRONI have added two more dates: Wednesday 11 March and Wednesday 22 April and each workshop runs to a similar programme:

– Explore Archives Online, 2pm

– Using the Documents (searching for, ordering and viewing original documents), 3pm

– Behind-the-scenes tour, 4pm to 4:30pm.

Both dates coincide with lunchtime lectures (at 1pm) in the Your Family Tree series, so you might want to book a talk and a workshop for the same day. Either way, be sure to book quickly because spaces are limited and there is likely to be a high level of interest.

You can book by email to proni@dcalni.gov.uk or call 028 90 534800.

UPDATE: Within one week, the 11 March workshop was fully booked. Be sure to book promptly for the April workshop, or you'll be disappointed.
UPDATE, 3 February: And another week later, the April workshop was fully booked, too. In view of the high level of demand for these workshops, PRONI have said they will run some more later in the year.

PRONI to host 10-week family history lecture series

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is to run a 10-week lunchtime lecture series – Your Family History – exploring some of the key archival sources used in family history.

You can book the lectures individually to suit your own research needs and interests, or you can reserve a place at all of them.

The lectures will take place on Wednesdays at 1pm and will be held at PRONI in Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, as follows:

11th March: Getting Started, with Janet Hancock

18th March: Using Street Directories, with Des McCabe

25th March: Church Records, with Valerie Adams

1st April: World War One Ancestors, with Ian Montgomery

8th April: Education Records, with Valerie Adams

15th April: Board of Guardian Records, with Janet Hancock

22nd April:
Valuation Records, with William McAfee

29th April: Landed Estate Records, with Stephen Scarth

6th May:
Courts, Prisons and Coroners records, with Wesley Geddis

13th May: GRONI, with Emma Elliott.

To book, send an email to proni@dcalni.gov.uk or call 028 90 534800.

British Newspaper Archive latest: 61 Irish titles

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?s=460839&v=5895&q=222375&r=123532
Four more Irish titles have been added to the British Newspaper Archive this weekend.

They are:
  • Dublin Courier: 1766 only
  • Skibbereen & West Carbery Eagle/South Western Advertiser: 1867–March 1870
  • Waterford News: Sept 1848–Dec 1849
  • Weekly Vindicator: 1848 only.
My calculator tells me that these additions mean there are now 61 Irish newspaper titles in the database with a combined total of just under 120,000 editions available to search.

As with all uploads to the newspaper database, the new titles have simultaneously been added to the FindMyPast Irish newspaper collection, available via the Ireland and World packages.

Here's the up-to-date list of all 61 titles (those added in the last month are shown in bold type):

Advocate, The or the Irish Industrial Journal
Allnut's Irish Land Schedule
Athlone Sentinel
Belfast Mercury
Belfast Mercantile Register and Weekly Advertiser
Belfast Morning News
Belfast News-Letter
Catholic Telegraph
Clonmel Herald
Connaught Watchman
Cork/Irish Examiner
Downshire Protestant, The
Drogheda Conservative Journal
Drogheda Journal, or Meath & Louth Advertiser
Drogheda News Letter
Dublin Builder
Dublin Courier
Dublin Evening Mail
Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent
Dublin Evening Post
Dublin Medical Press
Dublin Mercantile Advertiser and Weekly Price Current
Dublin Monitor
Dublin Morning Register
Dublin Observer
Dublin Weekly Herald
Dublin Weekly Register
Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet
Farmer’s Gazette & Journal of Practical Horticulture
Freeman's Journal
Galway Mercury and Connaught Weekly Advertiser
Galway Patriot
Galway Vindicator, and Connaught Advertiser
Hibernian Journal; or, Chronicle of Liberty
Irish Racing Book and Sheet Calendar
The Journal of the Chemico-Agricultural Society of Ulster and Record of Agriculture and Industry
Kerry Examiner and Munster General Observer
Limerick and Clare Examiner
Limerick Evening Post
Limerick Reporter
Newry Examiner and Louth Advertiser
Northern Whig
Pue's Occurrences
Roscommon Journal and Western Impartial Reporter
Roscommon Messenger
Skibbereen & West Carbery Eagle/South Western Advertiser
Sligo Champion
Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier
Statesman and Dublin Christian Record
Tipperary Free Press
Tralee Chronicle
Ulster General Advertiser/Herald of Business and General Information
Ulsterman, The
Vindicator
Waterford Chronicle
Waterford Mail
Waterford News
Weekly Vindicator
Westmeath Journal
Wexford Conservative
Wexford Independent

National Archives of Ireland website is offline

The National Archives of Ireland's website at nationalarchives.ie is offline at the moment. Not sure why... the landing page is completely blank... but the techies are on to it and hope to restore the site quickly.

The NAI's Genealogy website at genealogy.nationalarchives.ie, where you can search the 1901 and 1911 Census and much more, is unaffected.

UPDATE: 15:20pm – It's working as normal again.

Irish Genealogy News blog gains place in Top 100

www.genealogyintime.com/articles/top-100-genealogy-websites-of-2015-page01.html
GenealogyInTime Magazine has published its annual list of the top 100 genealogy websites and I'm really chuffed to see that Irish Genealogy News has made the grade. It's previously received honorable mentions for being just outside the top 100 but this time it's managed to crawl onto the main stage.

I'd like to thank all my regular readers (and, indeed, all occasional readers) for helping push IGN into the spotlight. I'll do my best to keep you coming back for more throughout 2015.

While Irish Genealogy News is at the other end of the Top 100 list to most of the Ancestrys, FindMyPasts and MyHeritages of this world, it is, nonetheless, in good company.  The Irish Family History Foundation's RootsIreland.ie is the top Irish site at #61; FindMyPast.ie, part of the global DC Thompson Family History stable, is at #75, and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht's IrishGenealogy.ie is at #90.

This here one-(wo)man band is at #99 – waving from the back, you might say. (I'm told my website, Irish Genealogy Toolkit.com, ranked at #102.)

Only a handful of other blogs cut the mustard this year. Dick Eastman's Newsletter plays with the big boys at #28; The Legal Genealogist is at #86; Gould Genealogy at #87; Geneabloggers at #89 and John D Reid's Anglo-Celtic Connections is at #97.

The 'GenealogyInTime Top 100' is the definitive ranking list in genealogy. While the logo might say 'Top 100 most popular websites', the list isn't the result of a popularity contest in the usual sense. Instead, it is based on estimates of each site's internet traffic, as measured by Alexa, an independent company that produces statistics about the number of visitors and level of interaction each website receives. The result is a Top 100 list that is objective and comprehensive.

In addition to the ranking list, GenealogyInTime's report identifies the rising stars of the industry and the areas of greatest growth, and discusses the big three firms and their dominance of family history. It's an interesting report: Genealogy In Time's Top 100 genealogy websites of 2015.

Published in Ottawa, Canada, GenealogyInTime.com is itself a Top 100 site. It ranked at #26 this year, making it the most popular online genealogy magazine, but it has more than free in-depth articles. It also provides a number of free tools and resources for family historians and runs the largest free genealogy Search Engine. Check it out.


Irish genealogy & history events, 19–31 January

Monday 19 January: WW1, with David McNeill. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Larne Branch. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112 Glenarm Road, Larne BT40 1DZ. 7:30pm. More details: larne@nifhs.org.

Monday 19 January: Massacre in West Cork: What happened in Ballygroman, Ovens and in and around Dunmanway in 1922? with Barry Keane. Host: Muskerry Local History Society. Venue: Ballincollig Rugby Club Hall, Ballincollig, Co Cork. €3 for non-members. 8pm.

Tuesday 20 January: The 1911 Census, with Catriona Crowe. Host: Foxrock Local History Club. Venue: Foxrock Pastoral Centre, at rear of church, Foxrock, Co Dublin. 8pm. €5 for non-members,

Wednesday 21 January: Explore Archives Online. Practical workshops and behind the scenes tours. Host and Venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 2—4:30pm. Free. Book by email at proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone to 028 90 534800.

Wednesday 21 January: 1914 – Sleepwalking into war, with Julian Walton. Host: Waterford County Museum. Venue: Town Hall Theatre, Friary St, Dungarvan, Co Waterford. 8pm. €5 at door.

Wednesday 21 January: The Sinking of the RMS Lusitania – Grief for a Galway Family, with Michael Martin. Also AGM. Host: Western Family History Association. Venue: Lackagh Parish Centre, Lackagh, Co Galway. 8:15pm. Details.

Wednesday 21 January: Dublin and the Crimean War, with Paul Huddie. Host: Ballsbridge, Donnybrook and Sandymount Historical Society. Venue: Pembroke Library, Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. 1pm. Book via Library on (01)668 9575 or pembrokelibrary@dublincity.ie.

Wednesday 21 January: Cork and the Great War, 1914–1918, with Gerry White. Host: Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage. Venue: Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Co Cork. 8pm. All welcome. For more details, tel 087 764 2465.

Wednesday 21 January: Irish soldiers in the battles of the First World War, with Philip Orr. Host and Venue: Newry & Mourne Museum, Bagenal's Castle , Castle Street, 1A Bank Parade, Newry BT34 2BY. 7:30pm. Light refreshments served. Free but need to book by phone to 028 3031 3173 or email.

Wednesday 21 January: War and enlistment in Carlow, 1914, with Paul McGuire. Host: Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society. Venue: Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow. 8pm. Free. All welcome.

Thursday 22 January: Living Legacies 1914-18: WW1 and You. Venue: Belfast Central Library. 12.30-4.30 pm. Free. Workshops and scanning/recording of WW1 memorabilia (bring your own family treasures).

Thursday 22 January: The story of Preban Graveyard, with Yvonne Whitty. Host: Greystones Archaeological & Historical Society. Venue: Holy Rosary Family Centre, Greystones, Co Wicklow. Admission €2. All welcome. 8:30pm.

Thursday 22 January: War of Independence: Secret landscape of Knockraha, with Damian Sheils and Jim Fitzgerald. Host: Knockraha Historical and Heritage Society. Venue: Knockraha Community Centre, Knockraha, Co Cork. 8pm. €5.

Thursday 22 January: Peter Galligan 1793-1860: Schoolmaster, Collector and Scribe, with Declan Cooney. Hosts: Cavan County Museum and Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne. Vanue: Cavan County Museum, Virginia Road, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan. 8pm. Phone: 049 854 4070.

Saturday 24 January:  Getting Started with Irish Genealogy Research, with Miles Davenport, 10am–Noon, followed by 19th Century Irish Genealogy Research: What’s Available and How to Use It, also with Miles Davenport, from 1–3 pm. Host and Venue: Irish Cultural Center/McClelland Irish Library, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Fee $15 for Irish Library/ICC members and $20 for non-members. Details. To register, call 602-864-2351.

Sunday 25 January: Dublin City Book Fair. Venue: Tara Towers Hotel, Merrion Road, Dublin 4. 11am-5.00pm.

Monday 26 January: The Sabbath Disturbed: The Curragh Mutiny Recalled, with Liam Kenny and James Durney. Host: Clondalkin History Society. Venue: Arás Chronáin Irish Cultural Centre, Watery Lane, Clondalkin, Co Dublin. 8pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 27 January: After the Workhouse: Providing shelter and relief in Kilrush 1921–1939, with Rita McCarthy. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm. Free for members. €5 for non-members.

Wednesday 28 January: The Medical Front, with Dr Robert Whan. Host and Venue: Newry & Mourne Museum, Bagenal's Castle , Castle Street, 1A Bank Parade, Newry BT34 2BY. Starts at 7:30pm. Light refreshments served. Free but need to book by phone to 028 3031 3173 or email.

Thursday 29 January: Researching WW1 Servicemen – Suggested sources, with Nigel Henderson. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Ballymena Branch. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Baid Arts Centre, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena. 7:15pm.

Thursday 29 January: Prehistoric Rock Art of Cork and Kerry, with Finola Finlay and Robert Harris. Host: Skibbereen & District Historical Society. Venue: West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen, Co Cork. 8:30pm. All welcome. (Small charge for non-members.)

Friday 30 January: 16 Dead Men, The Easter Rising Executions, with Anne-Marie Ryan. Host: Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. Venue: TBC. 8pm. €5 non-members. All welcome.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Half price sale on BMD records for Antrim & Down

AncestryIreland.com, the website of the Ulster Historical Foundation, is having a New Year Sale and is offering access to all its birth, marriage and death records at 50% of normal cost.

The site operates on a pay-to-view system with advance purchase of credits. Bulk-buying significantly reduces the cost of each credit, and becoming a member of the UHF's Guild brings even more savings. The big January discount makes the costs even more attractive still!

The database holds around 1.73million bmds, including:

Roman Catholic records: Almost all surviving 19th-century Roman Catholic baptism, marriage and burial registers for parishes in Counties Antrim and Down.

Church of Ireland and Presbyterian records: A large number of Church of Ireland and Presbyterian christening registers for parishes in Counties Antrim and Down, plus the City of Belfast. In addition, a good number of Church of Ireland and Presbyterian marriage register records for mid, south and west County Down, and, for burial records, a sizeable collection of Church of Ireland and Presbyterian records for the City of Belfast.

Civil records: All marriage records for Counties Antrim and Down up to 1900, plus many birth records for Belfast.

The half price sale has started this afternoon and will continue until 31 January.

UPDATE, 30 Jan: This promotion has been extended until 9 February.


Ancestry's latest army release helps ID soldier's family

Patrick's four siblings received an equal share
Ancestry has added the British Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929, to its military collection. To be honest, I didn't expect much from this database, but curiosity got the better of me. And lo and behold, it has delivered some vital details that has helped me identify one of the few Santrys who died in World War One.

Towards the end of last year, I contributed two quilt squares to the WW1 Centenary Quilt project (see blogpost). As none of my immediate family was killed in that war, I chose instead to commemmorate two Santrys, David and Patrick, who died in 1916 and 1918 respectively. I had already identified David's family from Bandon; research suggests we are related some generations back (early 1800s) but the paper trail runs out before I can make the link.

Patrick, however, was proving difficult to identify (there are more Patrick Santrys in County Cork than you might imagine!) and mainstream Army records held no date or place of birth for him.

http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=60506
The new record set, which comes from the National Army Museum and comprises 872,395 entries, doesn't provide details of birth, either. Instead, it details the sums owed to soldiers who died in service in 1901–29.

But it's the inclusion of next of kin that makes these records particularly valuable to family historians; with this information researchers can often take a family back another generation or distinguish between soldiers with the same name. Early records in this set also list a soldier’s trade before enlistment. Payments went first to widows, or, if the soldier wasn’t married, to a parent (often a mother) or siblings.

In Patrick's case, four siblings are noted – three brothers and a sister (her married name is recorded, too, which will prove useful for later research). They received an equal share of the money due and 'war gratuity', which totalled £56 (around £2,184 in today's money, according to the Bank of England).

Unable to resist, I've spent this morning working through my Santry One-Name Study spreadsheets and identified the family. Patrick, Cornelius, Timothy, John and Annie were the children of farmer Timothy Santry and Catherine Connolly of Lislee, near Courtmacsherry, in Co Cork. Born in 1884, Patrick was the third of the boys and the only one who did not head for Boston.

I've been in touch with his older brother John's great grandson for several years. I shall have to contact him this weekend to tell him about Patrick.

Three early C19th Irish newspapers join BNA

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?s=460839&v=5895&q=222375&r=123532
The British Newspaper Archive has added three more Irish titles to its online database, and they're all pre-Famine. They are:

– Dublin Observer: 1832 January to May editions only
– Dublin Weekly Herald: November 1838 to May 1842
– Galway Patriot: January 1836 to October 1839

These titles have simultaneously been added to the FindMyPast Irish newspaper collection, available via the Ireland and World packages.

Tracing your Irish & Scots-Irish ancestors: 6–12 Sept

Click for full details and price
Tracing your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors is a brand-new family history conference programme from the Ulster Historical Foundation to be held 6–12 September.

The combination of assisted research in the archives, talks by experts and escorted tours is designed to create a memorable and intellectually stimulating experience.

The programme is intended to suit both those who wish to carry out ancestral research in the archives and those who would prefer to spend more time visiting the land of their ancestors.

Locations included in the conference
Both the novice and experienced researcher will find it useful, and especially those who have not previously visited Northern Ireland or the archives.

Assisted research sessions will be held at the National Archives of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland and the Registry of Deeds (all in Dublin) as well as at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast, where the conference is based, and the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies.

The excursion list is varied and includes Newgrange, the Giant's Causeway, Titanic Belfast, stately homes, the wonderful walled city of Derry and the Grainan of Aileach stone ring fort, once the seat of the O’Neills in County Donegal.

For full details of the daily programme, as well as costs, see the website.

First update of the New Year from IGP Archives

The volunteer team from Ireland Genealogy Projects have quickly got back to the important work of gathering records and making them freely available to other Irish family historians. Here are the records added to the online archive in the first two weeks of the year.

Donnelly headstone in Cappagh graveyard,
Co Limerick. Click for larger image.
Photo courtesy of Janice Hunt.
CAVAN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Croghan, Presbyterian Church Cemetery
St Augustine's, Swanlinbar, Church of Ireland graveyard

CLARE Genealogy Archives – Memorial Cards
Additional memorial cards

CORK Genealogy Archives – Memorial Cards
Additional memorial cards

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Deansgrange Cem. St. Patrick's Section, pt 20
Deansgrange Cem. St. Brigids Section, pt 10

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives – Memorial Cards
Additional memorial cards

LIMERICK Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Cappagh Graveyard (near Askeaton)

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Kilteevan Cemetery Additions (McCANNS)

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives – Memorial Cards
Additional memorial cards

PRONI & WFA to host Ireland and Gallipoli conference

Here's one for the diary. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Antrim and Down Western Front Association branch are to host a day-conference on Ireland and Gallipoli on 30 April.

The Gallipoli Campaign, which is known to the Turks as the Battle of Çanakkale, still remains controversial. France, allied with Britain and its dominions, planned to eliminate Turkey from the Great War by landing on the northern bank of the Dardanelles and marching on the Ottoman capital Constantinople to open the Dardanelles sea channel to Russia.

A brilliant strategic plan was marred by tactical failure and poor execution. The initial naval attack was repelled and the subsequent land campaign also failed at a cost of 250,000 allied casualties. After eight months of fighting, the invasion frorce had to be evacuated in January 1916.

The conference will examine this campaign 100 years on with a special focus on the experience and role of Ireland and Irish people.

Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast.
When: 10am to 4pm on Thursday 30 April.
Cost: Admission is free.
Booking: Essential, by email to proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone 028 9053 4800.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

'Lost' medieval town of Dunluce reveals its real age

Perched atop a rocky cliff on the Antrim Coast, Dunluce Castle
was the 15th-century fortress of the MacQuillans until they were
displaced by the MacDonalds in the mid-1500s.
A recent archaeological dig in the fields around Dunluce Castle has revealed that the area had been settled much earlier than expected. A previous excavation, carried out by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency between 2009 and 2012, uncovered the so-called 'lost' town of Dunluce and dated it to 1608, but these later discoveries move the settlement clock back to the late 15th to 16th century.

Environment Minister Mark Durkan described the recent find as "a tremendously exciting historical development".

"Traces of buildings were unearthed close to the cliffs upon which the castle was built," he said. "These buildings most likely formed a small settlement, just outside the original castle gate. They pre-date the later expansion of the castle complex and development of 17th-century Dunluce Town. We are extremely lucky to make this exciting discovery.

"Very few 15th century buildings, other than those built entirely from stone, have survived in Ulster and normally there would be few traces, if any, for archaeologists to investigate.”

A further important discovery was made in a field to the east of the castle. This area was targeted for excavation as it was expected that remains of the 17th century town survived there. The archaeologists found the remains of a stone-built structure that had a doorway at the corner, which is quite different to the 17th-century buildings revealed to date. A fireplace in the building has been scientifically dated to the late 15th century. This leads archaeologists to suspect an earlier phase of settlement.

The radiocarbon date, obtained from a fireplace on the clay floor of the structure, suggests a construction date in the late 15th century, around the time the MacQuillans were building the castle. Pottery that dates from the late medieval period was also recovered from the structure. This has significant implications for current understanding of the settlement history at Dunluce and provides new avenues for research to explore as part of future investigations at Dunluce.

The upstanding remains of Dunluce Castle are believed to have been originally built and occupied by the Irish MacQuillan family in the last decades of the 15th century. From this strong fortress they controlled a territory on the north Antrim coast known as The Route which stretched along the coast between the rivers Bann and Bush. Their Scottish neighbours in the Glens of Antrim, the MacDonnells, gradually displaced them from the Route and took over Dunluce Castle in the 1550s.

During the era of the Ulster Plantation at the beginning of the 17th century the MacDonnells embarked on their own ambitious plantation enterprise, founding the small town of Dunluce in the process. Randal MacDonnell went on to become the first earl of Antrim in 1620. The town flourished until January 1642 when it was burnt, following the outbreak of conflict in 1641. The town never successfully recovered and was effectively abandoned by the 1680s.

Plans are currently in preparation for a major project to reveal the buried remains of the town and the castle gardens to the public with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Good News Week for the Irish Newspaper Archive

It's good news all round from the Irish Newspaper Archive!

http://www.irishnewsarchive.com
First up, the Leinster Express and Wicklow Newsletter have joined the line up of titles available. The Leinster Express editions now searchable date from 1950 to 2007, while the Wicklow Newsletter can be searched from 1900 to 1926.

As I write, the site is still displaying its Christmas promotion, but Irish Newspaper Archive have confirmed to me this morning that these 50% festive reductions will now become permanent. This means the annual fee is €178 and the monthly fee is €30. No doubt the site will be updated in due course to reflect the permanent change in costs.

The day rate of €10 remains unchanged.

And finally, here's a rather good-looking list of the newspaper scheduled for upload to the site this year (or early next):

  • Carlow/Kildare/Laois Nationalist (Carlow/Kildare/Laois)
  • Clare Champion (Clare)
  • Donegal Democrat (Donegal)
  • Munster Express 1860-1907 (Waterford)
  • Northern Standard (Monaghan)
  • Sligo Champion (Sligo)
  • Strabane Chronicle (Tyrone)
  • Waterford News & Star (Waterford)
  • Western People (Mayo)
  • Wexford Echo (Wexford)


RCBL updates list of Church of Ireland registers

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-y9zX0GeoQM0/VLT0L0WRSUI/AAAAAAAAKCU/5fQD5rvAjv8/s1600/rcbl%2B740.jpg
Click for larger view of sample page
The Representative Church Body Library (RCBL) has updated its Table of Parochial Registers Throughout Ireland. This downloadable pdf document lists all historical Church of Ireland parish registers (and copies of them) – whether the originals survive or not – from both the Republic and Northern Ireland. It also provides details of where the surviving registers can be accessed either on microfilm, by hard copy or via local custodian arrangements.

This 98-page document is indispensable to researchers with Church of Ireland ancestors and was gifted to the public last July following collaboration between the RCBL and the National Archives of Ireland.

The amended and up-to-date Table is accessible via the Library's Archive of the Month archive.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Baptisms, headstones & school rolls from Clare Library

More useful family history additions to the Clare County Library website!

  • Roman Catholic Baptism Records for Kilmaley Parish: Transcribed from an LDS microfilm of the register pages and donated by Beryl Meehan, these records date from September 1828 to March 1882. The record set is not complete ie it doesn't include every entry in the register. Nonetheless, the transcription includes about 650 records.
  • Miltown Malbary National School Roll Books: The roll books for girl pupils dates from 1895 to 1925, while the book for boys dates from 1896 to 1925. Both are searchable by surname and date. The records were transcribed by Brian Doyle and Peter Beirne from the Library's Local Studies Centre.
  • Lissycasey Graveyard: These 801 records, gathered and donated by Anne Hayes, includes inscriptions and locations of all the headstones in Lissycasey Graveyard as at 1 January 2015. They date from 1862 to 2014.
These records are free to access.

UPDATE, 25 Feb: All Kilmaley baptisms 1828–1845 transcribed.

Irish Genealogy Talks at the NLI, 23–27 Feb

The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) will be presenting a series of lectures at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin to mark Aontas Adult Learners’ Festival 23–27 February.

Five lunchtime lectures will be held, each starting at 1:05pm, as well as one evening lecture (time to be confirmed). Designed as introductions to Irish family history research, the topics of the lectures will include state and church records, census returns, land records, tracing 20th century military ancestors, and online genealogical records.

The Friday lunchtime lecture will be followed by an open forum session in which attendees can discuss their research with professional genealogists.

No booking is necessary and all are welcome.

Irish genealogy and history events: 12–25 January

Monday 12 January: Emigration from Ulster, with John Bradley. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Foyle Branch. Venue: Central Library, 35 Foyle Street, LondonDerry. 7pm. Details: foyle@nifhs.org.

Monday 12 January: St Catherine's Priory at Aughrim, with Patrick Larkin. Host: Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. Venue: Harbour Hotel, Dock Road, Galway. 8pm.

Tuesday 13 January: Matchmaking and marriage customs in 19th-century Ireland, with Seán Ó Duill. Host: Genealogical Society of Ireland. Venue: Dún Laoghaire FE Institute, Cumberland Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 8pm. Admission: €3.

Tuesday 13 January: The Huguenots, with Elizabeth Bicker. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Lisburn Branch. Venue: Bridge Community Centre, 50 Railway Street, Lisburn. 7:30pm – 9:30pm. Details.

Tuesday 13 January: The Road to Blessington, with John Hussey. Host: Tallaght Historical Society. Venue: County Library, Tallaght, Co Dublin. 7pm.

Wednesday 14 January: The Irish Language and the Foundation of the Northern Ireland State, by Liam Andrews. Host and Venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, BT3 9HQ (Lecture Theatre). Free. 1pm. Need to reserve your place; email or telephone 028 90 534800.

Wednesday 14 January:
  Joining up for what? Irish recruitment in WW1, with Professor Keith Jeffery. Host and Venue: Newry & Mourne Museum, Bagenal's Castle , Castle Street, 1A Bank Parade, Newry BT34 2BY. 7:30pm. Light refreshments served. Free but need to book by phone to 028 3031 3173 or email.

Friday 15 January: Bearing all kinds of witness to war: finding violence in revolutionary Ireland, with Dr Anne Dolan. Host: Department of History, TCD. Venue: Neill Hoey Seminar Room, Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute, Trinity College Dublin. 4pm–4:45pm. Free and open to all.

Friday 16 January: Irish policing, 1814–2014, a HistoryIreland Hedge School. The panel will include Jim Herlihy, Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, John Cunningham and Dr Conor McNamara. Venue: National Museum of Ireland, Country Life, Turlough, Castlebar, Co Mayo. 7–9pm. Free. Those attending will also be able to visit the Museum's Irish policing exhibition, Preserving the Peace. Need to book.

Friday 16 January: Giant's Causeway: Frederick Douglass's Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary, with Professor Tom Chaffin. Host: Glasnevin Trust. Venue: Milestone Gallery, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Finglas Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 11. 7:15pm, following refreshments from 6:45pm. Free but places restricted to 30 general public tickets. First come, first served allocation via booking@glasnevintrust.ie.

Saturday 17 January: Pinpointing Your Irish Origins Using Commercial Ancestral DNA Testing, with Dr Tyrone Bowes. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Fermanagh Branch. Venue: Enniskillen Library in the Seminar Room upstairs. 2:15pm–4:15pm. Details.

Saturday 17 January: Irish Genealogy help session, with Kathleen McGee, at 10am; Researching at the Registry of Deeds, with Nora Galvin, at 11am. Host: Irish Family History Forum. Venue: Bethpage Public Library, 47 Powell Avenue, Bethpage, NY, 11714, USA. Details.

Saturday 17 January: The Emigrant’s Song: the impact of Irish music on American culture, a History Ireland Hedge School. Plus music. Venue: Cineplex, Bundoran, Co. Donegal. Join History Ireland editor Tommy Graham and a panel of experts at 3pm. Free. No booking required.

Monday 19 January: WW1, with David McNeill. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Larne Branch. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112 Glenarm Road, Larne BT40 1DZ. 7:30pm. More details: larne@nifhs.org.

Wednesday 21 January: Explore Archives Online. Practical workshops and behind the scenes tours. Host and Venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 2—4:30pm. Free. You need to book by email at proni@dcalni.gov.uk or telephone to 028 90 534800.

Wednesday 21 January: 1914 – Sleepwalking into war, with Julian Walton. Host: Waterford County Museum. Venue: Town Hall Theatre, Friary St, Dungarvan, Co Waterford. 8pm. €5 at the door.

Wednesday 21 January: The Sinking of the RMS Lusitania – Grief for a Galway Family, with Michael Martin. Also AGM. Host: Western Family History Association. Venue: Lackagh Parish Centre, Lackagh, Co Galway. 8:15pm. Details.

Wednesday 21 January: Dublin and the Crimean War, with Paul Huddie. Host: Ballsbridge, Donnybrook and Sandymount Historical Society. Venue: Pembroke Library, Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. 1pm. Book via Library on (01)668 9575 or pembrokelibrary@dublincity.ie.

Wednesday 21 January: Irish soldiers in the battles of the First World War, with Philip Orr. Host and Venue: Newry & Mourne Museum, Bagenal's Castle , Castle Street/1A Bank Parade, Newry BT34 2BY. 7:30pm. Light refreshments served. Free but need to book by phone to 028 3031 3173 or email

Wednesday 21 January: War and enlistment in Carlow, 1914, with Paul McGuire. Host: Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society. Venue: Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow. 8pm. Free. All welcome.

Thursday 22 January: Living Legacies 1914-18: WW1 and You. Venue: Belfast Central Library. 12.30-4.30 pm. Free. Workshops and scanning/recording of WW1 memorabilia (bring your own family treasures).

Thursday 22 January: Peter Galligan 1793-1860: Schoolmaster, Collector and Scribe, with Declan Cooney. Hosts: Cavan County Museum and Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne. Vanue: Cavan County Museum, Virginia Road, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan. 8pm. Phone: 049 854 4070.

Friday 23 January: Irish Family History Day, via FindMyPast. Details to follow.

Saturday 24 January:  Getting Started with Irish Genealogy Research, with Miles Davenport, 10am–Noon, followed by 19th Century Irish Genealogy Research: What’s Available and How to Use It, also with Miles Davenport, from 1–3 pm. Host and Venue: Irish Cultural Center/McClelland Irish Library, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Fee $15 for Irish Library/ICC members and $20 for non-members. Details. To register, call 602-864-2351.

Sunday 25 January: Dublin City Book Fair. Venue: Tara Towers Hotel, Merrion Road, Dublin 4. 11am-5.00pm.


Origins returns after a weekend AWOL

Having been offline for part or all of the weekend, Origins.net has been restored. I was notified of its disappearance by a concerned customer based in Canada who had been researching on the Irish Origins databases last Thursday but found it inaccessible on Saturday and Sunday.

An email she sent to the company also bounced back.

When I tried to raise the site yesterday, my search engine returned one of those 'This domain doesn't exist' cards. This suggests to me that there was a server failure.

Origins was bought by FindMyPast last year and its databases are in the process of moving to the latter. A note on the Origins site explains this and says the site will close down in early 2015. I don't know exactly when that will be, but it looks like 'early' doesn't mean this week!



Registry of Deeds Index updates and moves address

The Registry of Deeds Index Project has received its first update of 2015 and now holds 167,089 entries from 19,722 memorials of deeds.

The Index is free to search and is always on the lookout for volunteers to details of more records.

Canberra-based Nick Reddan, who created and manages the Index Project, has also moved the database to a brand-new host and custom url. The new address is http://irishdeedsindex.net/index.html.

The old web url (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~registryofdeeds/) will continue to operate as a standalone for a week or so but Nick will then redirect it to the new address. While that arrangement should operate seamlessly, it's best to change your bookmarks/favourites as soon as you can.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Carlow Catholics show up as Baptists in new records

If you've been searching the newly online baptism transcriptions for Co Carlow at RootsIreland.ie, you might have been distracted by your Roman Catholic ancestors' apparent conversion to the Baptist Church!

Dublin-based genealogist Claire Bradley contacted me yesterday to query the discoveries she was making. The woman she was researching was showing up in the late 1840s registers as 'Denomination: Baptist' but she knew from all subsequent records for the family (civil registration and census) that they were Roman Catholic. And the records are, of course, from the Roman Catholic Church.

Cue a call to Carlow Library where the helpful staff were able to check their physical records and confirm that the original record shows no mention of the Baptist church. The Library will be passing the word on to the IFHF, who manage RootsIreland, and presumably they will get this confusing error quickly removed.


I've had a deep search through the database myself since Claire brought the problem to my attention. I've checked a good number of marriages and they all seem to be correctly showing Roman Catholic, so the problem seems to be confined to the baptisms. However, it appears to afflict ALL the baptisms records in this Carlow collection. I've searched using a variety of names across all the parishes and each of the decades covered; all show up, as in the image above, as Baptists.

So, if you're using these records, be assured your family didn't change religion. They were Catholics.

UPDATE: The glitch has been corrected. All records now show the correct denomination.