Friday, 23 July 2021

Half a million Irish recorded in New York Almshouses ledgers index

Ancestry has come up with another (see yesterday's blogpost) not-so-obvious collection of potential value to Irish family historians. It's an index to the New York, U.S. Almshouse Ledgers, 1758-1952 and, if the index is counting records correctly, holds very nearly half a million records of Irish-born individuals.

The official total of entries in the collection is 1,113,040. The Irish-born contingent of 486,894 make up the largest single group – more than the USA-born total.

The term 'almshouses' covers a number of institution types that provided aid to the poor and the sick. They included workhouses, barracks, infirmaries, prisons and asylums, and typically gave help to immigrants fleeing famine and persecution.

The ledgers transcribed for this collection detail admissions (voluntary or otherwise), discharges, deaths, and census information for the various types of almshouse and may include the following information:

That's a mighty number of candles required for the cake!

  • Person’s name
  • Birth date or year
  • Date of admission
  • Date of discharge
  • Date of death
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Names of relatives

When exploring the records, you'll need to be aware that the stated ages of individuals are frequently way out. In a casual glance through some of those born in Ireland you'd be forgiven for thinking some of the inmates of these institutions were living to extraordinary ages.

Take Lizzie Ward who was admitted in 1898 aged 65; according to the transcribed record, she died aged 147 in 1980. Call me a cynic, but I doubt it! I think a discharge date of 1880 or even 1890 is more likely.

Following a similar mistake pattern, widowed labourer James Sullivan was 58 when he went into the almshouse in 1900 and was probably discharged some (considerable) time before the 1968 recorded in the index. You have been warned!

Ancestry's description of the collection is worth reading and points researchers who want to search for more details of an almshouse inmate to its New York State Records Collection.


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Thursday, 22 July 2021

Plenty of potential for Irish genealogists in UK Criminal collection

Back in January, Ancestry released a multi-source crime record-set they've called the UK, Registers of Habitual Criminals and Police Gazettes, 1834-1934 collection. Usually, when I see a new UK-laberlled collection arrive in a major database, I check out its potential value for Irish family historians, but it seems that I didn't get around to it on this occasion. Having had it brought to my attention*, I've now had a chance to explore, and I think it will of interest to those with ancestors who migrated to Britain or went AWOL from the British military forces.

Click image to see enlarged sample from Ancestry's UK, Registers of
Habitual Criminals and Police Gazettes, 1834-1934 collection

There are just under 260,000 records in this collection in total. Some 10,900-odd are noted as being born in Ireland, but there may also be many second-generation Irish recorded, too. The really good news is that a county of birth is noted for about half the Irish-born, and some even include a town name. I've seen a Drogheda, Louth; Olla, Limerick; Newry, Down; Cloone, Leitrim; and several more examples, just on one page of 'absent from the militia' notices. Although some of the spellings of placenames might require a bit of unravelling (see Logainm), this collection could provide that vital nugget of an ancestor's place of origin in Ireland.

In addition, the details in each entry provides some terrific personal detail, even if you might have mixed feelings on discovering your ancestor was a violent criminal, living on illegal earnings, or responsible for some deeply unpleasant acts against others. In most cases, the descriptions of the individuals include their tattoos, scars, amputations, moles, vaccination scars and other disfigurements, in addition to the more frequently recorded hair and eye colour, as well as other readily recognisable characteristics or peculiarities.

Sources in the collection include: 

  • Habitual Criminal Register 
  • Habitual Drunkards: Portraits and Descriptions 
  • Misc papers relating to institution of Criminal Registers 
  • Police Gazette 
  • Police Gazette or Hue and Cry
  • Police Gazette Supplement A 
  • Police Information
  • Prevention of Crime - Habitual Criminals Booklet 

* Many thanks to Dublin-based genie Claire Bradley

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Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland: Free online talks, Aug-Oct

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland will be hosting some free online talks over the next few months and they include topics sure to be of interest to family and general historians.

The repository's lectures and workshops are often over-subscribed, so I'm listing the upcoming ones while spaces are still available, rather than wait until my regular events summaries when there may be no places left.

Each of the talks listed below will be presented online and, while free, booking is essential. 


August

Wednesday 11 August: PRONI’s Maritime Connection Archives, with Stephen Scarth, who will explore the many records held by PRONI relating to the maritime history of Belfast and the development of the harbour around which the city has grown. his illustrated talk will showcase maps, photographs, journals, letters, and official files relating to the development of shipbuilding on the River Lagan. It will include examples from the collections of Harland & Wolff, the Belfast Harbour Commissioners and the Ministry of Transport.

Time: 2pm-3pm (BST). Booking.


September

Tuesday 7 September: Using Ordnance Survey Maps, an online workshop. PRONI holds the original OS archive for the six counties of present day Northern Ireland, including manuscript maps, field sketches and name books, and a range of them is accessible in digital format using the PRONI Historical Maps Viewer. This workshop will introduce basic map reading skills and demonstrate how the Maps Viewer can be used to browse historical OS maps and modern basemaps (including aerial imagery) for all areas of Northern Ireland. A variety of tools and 'widgets' will be demonstrated so you can search, browse, compare and find.

Time: 7pm-8:15pm (BST). Booking.

Tuesday 21 September: D.A. Chart Seminar on Maps 2021 - The Down Survey of the 1650s and the transformation of Ireland, with Micheál Ó Siochrú. The Down Survey (1656-8) played a key role in the transformation of the island, establishing the Protestant Ascendancy that dominated Irish political and economic life for centuries thereafter. Teams of soldier-surveyors measured townlands throughout the country, organised by parish. The resulting cadastral maps, at a scale of 40 perches to one inch (the modern equivalent of 1:50,000), are unique for the time – nothing as systematic or on such a large scale exists anywhere else in the world.

Time: 7pm-8:15pm. Booking.


October

Wednesday 13 October: The Boer War and its Legacy, with Dr Spencer Jones. The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) was a bitter and controversial conflict that marked a watershed in the history of the British Empire. Britain had gone to war in 1899 confident of a swift victory against the outnumbered Boer irregulars. But the conflict confounded these expectations. In this talk, Dr Spence Jones will explore the course and conduct of the Boer War and consider its legacy for both Britain and her army.

Time: 8pm-9pm. Booking.


Tutor Sean Murphy returns to NLI for beginners' genealogy course

The National Library of Ireland is to host a new online Beginners level course in Genealogy Research this autumn. It will be presented by the well-known lecturer and genealogist Sean Murphy MA.

The course will take place on Wednesday afternoons (2–4pm) over an 8-week period starting on Wednesday 8 September and ending on Wednesday 27 October.

In line with current public health guidelines, the course will be held on Zoom, and places are limited. The fee is €100.

This course is usually over-subscribed, so if you want further information or wish to book your place, I suggest you contact the organiser without delay. Email Brid O Sullivan at bosullivan@nli.ie.

Friday, 16 July 2021

10-day summary of new and updated British genealogy collections

Below is a summary of new and updated family history record collections for England, Scotland and Wales released by the major genealogy databases over the last ten days (see previous summary, 5 July).

This regular summary of releases and updates relating to British collections is designed to help family historians whose Irish ancestors migrated, temporarily or permanently, to England, Scotland or Wales.

By default, it will also be useful to anyone carrying out research in those three nations, regardless of the origin of their ancestors.

The figures in parenthesis in the New Collections section are the numbers of records/images in the new record set.

Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parenthesis in the Updated Collections section reflect the number of records added to the collection in the recent update. In some instances, the supplier has not made this figure available. Where two figures are given, the first is the number of additions, the second is the new total.

Please note that I don't usually include updates of fewer than 1,000 records.


NEW COLLECTIONS


Ancestry

BritishNewspaperArchive (shared with some FindMyPast subs)

FindMyPast


UPDATED COLLECTIONS


FamilySearch

FindMyPast


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Wednesday, 14 July 2021

More records added to Boston's Provident Savings collection

AmericanAncestors.org has updated its Irish-rich Boston MA - Provident Institution for Savings, 1817–1882 collection. Three more volumes, or ledgers, have been added.

This collection launched on the New England Historic Genealogical Society's database in October 2020 and I blogged about its value to Irish family historians at the time. I'd recommend you take a quick read of my blogpost Many Irish in Boston Provident Savings Ledgers, 1817-82, which explains the contents of the ledgers and their potential usefulness to resarchers whose ancestors immigrated or settled in Boston, Massachussets.

Shortly after the arrival of the launch ledger – a Signature Book dating from 1854 to 1858 – a Waste Book was added, dating from 1821 to mid-1822. Waste Books are transaction ledgers, showing how much each named individual had deposited on the given dates. They usually record the customer's residence and, sometimes, an occupation.

This latest update means the database holds the following volumes:

  • Waste Book 1A, 1817-1820
  • Waste Book 1B, 1820
  • Waste Book 1D*, 1 Mar 1821 - 5 Jun 1822
  • Waste Book 1E, 1822-1824
  • Signature Book 10*, 17 May 1854 - 9 Jun 1858

This database is still a work in progress. When complete, it will contain a total of six Signature Books and six Waste.

The Boston Athenaeum holds the original record books and performed the digitization of all the images. The indexed online database is being created by NEHGS volunteers.

You'll need an Individual-level and above NEHGS membership to search or browse this collection.

Monday, 12 July 2021

One-month summary of new/updated USA genealogical collections

Below is a summary of US family history collections that have been released or updated by the major genealogy databases in the last month. (The previous summary list was published on 11 June, see blogpost).

My regular summaries are designed to help family historians whose Irish ancestors emigrated, temporarily or permanently, to the United States.

By default, they should also be useful to anyone carrying out research in the US, regardless of the origin of their ancestors.

The figures in parenthesis in the New Collections section are the numbers of records/images in each new record set, if provided by the database.

Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parenthesis in the Updated Collections section reflect the number of records added to the collection in the recent update, if a number has been clearly noted by the supplier. I do not include updates of fewer than 1,000 records.

NEW COLLECTIONS


Ancestry

FamilySearch

FindMyPast

MyHeritage

UPDATED COLLECTIONS


AmericanAncestors
  • Massachusetts: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Records, 1789-1920 (51 volumes added with 372,000 searchable names); Parishes as follows:
    St Ann in Dorchester | St Mary Star of the Sea in Beverly | St Peter in Cambridge | St Mary in Randolph | Immaculate Conception in Malden | Blessed Sacrament in Cambridge | St Patrick in Brockton | St Margaret of Scotland in Brockton | St Colman of Cloyne in Brockton | St Stephen in Framingham | St James in Haverhill | St. Margaret of Scotland in Lowell | St Patrick in Lowell | St Rita in Haverhill.

Ancestry

Family Search
  • Some 42 state or smaller collections + 4 USA-wide collections have been updated. Follow this link, then click the (bold blue) 'Last Updated' option twice for listing of recent updates.


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The Waterford Star joins the BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk

Historical editions of The Waterford Star have joined the BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk.

This weekly paper, which was distributed in County Waterford's neighbouring counties of Kilkenny, Cork, Wexford and Tipperary as well as across its home county, was first published in 1848. It was established by Cornelius Redmond and was the first newspaper to be published in Waterford.

The BNA's planned holding, which is sourced from the British Library (BL) Newspaper Collection, will span 1893 to 1917. As with all titles in the BL collection, these editions are shared with the BNA's sister company FindMyPast.

With the addition of The Waterford Star, there are now 213 Irish newspapers in these online holdings.

The newspaper is still in print. In 1959 it changed its name to The Waterford News & Star.


Some of the above content contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you buy via these links. This does not affect the price you pay as a consumer, but it does contribute to keeping Irish Genealogy News online. See Advertising Disclosure tab above.

Friday, 9 July 2021

The NLI's free RC Parish Registers site will be offline on 12 July pm

The National Library of Ireland has advised that its free RC Parish Registers database at https://registers.nli.ie will be offline on Monday 12 July while planned maintenance is carried out.

The site is expected to be offline between 1pm and 2pm.


ProGenealogists' Irish research team seeks Associate Genealogist

Ancestry ProGenealogists is looking to add a new Associate Genealogist to its Irish research team. This team has members based in both Ireland and the US, so there are two slightly different postings on the Ancestry careers pages but just one vacancy.

"Our job postings change over time to reflect the skillsets we are looking for to cater for the work we have," Irish Research Team Manager Joe Buggy told IrishGenealogyNews. "Over the last couple of years, we have typically looked for in-depth Irish expertise and proficiencies in US and/or Canadian research."

Joe has been based at Ancestry's Dublin office at Sir John Rogerson Quay, overlooking Samuel Beckett Bridge and the Diving Bell, since Ancestry ProGenealogists first expanded outside the US in 2015 (it now has 18 genealogists in Ireland, the UK and Germany). He says working for ProGenealogists provides experienced genealogists the opportunity to conduct research on a wide variety of projects, learn from some of the best experts in the industry, and discover previously unknown information and stories for its clients. "Demand for ProGenealogists' services continues to grow," he adds.

The Dublin post focuses on advanced Irish records and research and calls for proficiency in US and Canadian research, while the Salt Lake City posting demands an advanced knowledge of U.S. immigration research and methodological approaches, expertise on Irish immigration to North America, and proficiency in research in records from Ireland.

All applicants who fit the bill will need two to five years experience as a professional genealogist.

Further details of the postings can be found here: Dublin, Ireland | Salt Lake City, Utah, US, and you can find more information about the Irish Research Team here.