Thursday, 10 October 2019

North of Ireland Family History Society to mark its 40th year with a busy programme of celebratory events

Earlier this week, the North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) launched its Ballycarry DNA Project in the County Antrim town. The project is a community initiative that will explore the relationships between people with ancestral connections to Ballycarry and identify if the families living side-by-side in the past were related to each other.

It's an ambitious project, bringing together traditional genealogical and local history research and the science of genetic genealogy to provide the local community and people with familial links to it, with a clearer picture of the small town's history.

Click image for more about the NIFHS 40th Anniversary plans
The launch was the first of a series of events that will be taking place during the next year to celebrate the organisation's 40th anniversary. And they deserve to celebrate, for those forty years have seen the Society develop from a family history group formed in Bangor in 1979 with 51 members to an organisation with a dozen other branches in the North of Ireland, and well over a thousand members, many of them overseas.

The next scheduled event in the 40th programme is a talk by US-based professional genealogist Donna Moughty, who is well known in Ireland for organising family history tours to Dublin and Belfast for US researchers.

On this occasion, however, Donna will be presenting Finding Your American Cousins, exploring both the information you need before you 'cross the pond' to find your emigrant ancestors as well as looking at the type of records available in the US, especially those that are online.

The event will be held at the Templepatrick Hilton Golf and Country Club (Castle Upton Suite) on Sunday 20 October at 2:30pm. There's an admission fee of £5, payable at the door, and there's no need to book. You'll find more details here.

Next summer, the NIFHS will be back at this location to enjoy a special 40th Anniversary Reception. The day will begin at 10am with light refreshments and followed by a number of guest speakers, some entertainments, a hot fork buffet lunch, and plenty of time for guests to socialise with other members, families and friends of the Society before wrapping up what is sure to be an interesting and fun day. There will be special accommodation rates and packages for guests wishing to stay overnight. More details, including costs, will be available in due course.

While some resources and elements of the anniversary programme are being organised centrally, branches will play an important role with a series of local events at libraries, market stalls, fairs and so on (these will be in addition to the monthly talks and workshops run by each of the branches) as well as marking the year with other activities. For example, Lisburn branch has prepared a guide for those researching their ancestors in Lisburn and the parish of Blaris. The 48-page booklet contains details of resources to help those who are beginning family history research as well as more experienced researchers. It includes details of collections dating from the early 17th century to the 20th century and costs just £6. Click image, left, for details.

It's going to be a hectic but enjoyable year for members of the Society, and IrishGenealogyNews will keep you up to date with news along the way.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Renaissance Galway explores pictorial c1650 City map

The Royal Irish Academy has published the latest ancillary publication from the Irish Historic Towns Atlas: Renaissance Galway – Delineating the Seventeenth-Century City, by Paul Walsh.

Click image to order the 100-page paperback (€15/£12/$20)
The subject of the book is the remarkable ‘pictorial map’ of Galway, which was produced in the mid-seventeenth century. It offers a bird’s eye view of Galway city at this time and presents insights into the cultural, sociopolitical and religious outlook of the local ruling elite — the so-called ‘tribes’ of Galway. Originally intended as a wall hanging, it was produced to impress and remains a centrepiece of Galway’s visual history.

Only two copies of the original printed map are known to survive. One is held by the Hardiman Library while the other is held by Trinity College Dublin. It is the latter map that is reproduced in Renaissance Galway.

Following the format of previous map-guides from the Irish Historic Towns Atlas, the book presents carefully selected extracts from the pictorial map, each accompanied by a commentary. These range from descriptions of particular buildings or areas, to aspects of everyday life that are revealed in the map. In an introductory essay, the author ponders the many mysteries that continue to surround the pictorial map of Galway — its origins, compilers and purpose.

Together the map extracts and accompanying texts offer a new perspective — a window into the culture and mindset of Galway’s mid-seventeenth century ruling Catholic elite. The modern viewer is invited to inhabit the world of ‘Renaissance Galway’.

The Irish Historic Towns Atlas is a research project of the Royal Irish Academy and is part of a wider European scheme. Renaissance Galway is produced with support from Galway City Council.

EXTRA: To celebrate the launch of Renaissance Galway, an afternoon seminar will be held tomorrow, 10 October, at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). Hosted by the Moore Institute, it's free to attend, but you need to book via Eventbrite. Details.

Budget 2020: an Irish family historian's perspective

With the risk of a no-deal Brexit still dominating Ireland's political and economic life, it was no surprise to see Budget 2020 transferring €1.5bn to Ireland's 'Rainy Day' Fund.

Disappointing, but just as unsurprising, was the absence of any funding announcement for the early release of the 1926 census*.

Speeding up the snail-like release of the outstanding gaps in the General Register Office's civil records of Marriage and Death on doesn't seem to have made the grade, either.

So, sadly, no significant national record collections appear to be in the gift pipe... at least not those in public hands.

But let's be positive, especially at a time of such uncertainty. It's good to see that an allocation of €900,000 will go to the Decade of Centenaries Programme to deliver commemorative events – including the execution of Kevin Barry on 1 November 2020 and Bloody Sunday on 21 November 2020 – and funding continues within the €460million Project Ireland 2040 programme for the renovation of National Cultural Institutions including the National Archives and National Library of Ireland.

*See the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations's petition, now with nearly 12,000 signatures, here.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide is on sale again!

I'm delighted to confirm that my book, The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide: How to trace your ancestors from Ireland, is once again readily available in bookstores in North America and online following the purchase of The Family Tree series by no less a publisher than Penguin Random House, probably the best-known name in the world of books.

ISBN: 9781440348808 / 240 pages
It's been a perplexing and frustrating few months since the original publisher, F&W Media ceased trading in March. I had no idea whether booksellers, especially those selling online, had sufficient stock to tide them over until a sale was completed, and I was pretty certain F&W Media weren't fulfilling orders from their own online site, even though it remained live. Concerned that researchers might even lose money from unfilled online orders, I decided to stop promoting the Guide and removed all mention of it from my blog and website.

Today, I can once again happily and confidently direct researchers to my Guide (see North American sellers below), which remains completely up to date save for a small but significant update to the civil registration database on (see this blogpost).

The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide was written for Irish-Americans and includes in-depth guidance on researching in US records the place/townland of origin in Ireland of your Irish immigrant ancestor. Although the book's focus is unashamedly on tracking down Irish immigrants to the USA, the research techniques suggested could be applied in other destinations and it should be easy for family historians elsewhere to find similar resources to the recommended US records in their own country.

In its 240 pages, it also provides detailed guidance on locating and using all the main Irish family history record collections – census, civil registration, land and property records, newspapers, probate and military records – as well as directing researchers to the best online resources and tools.

There's also helpful background on Irish history, geography, administrative divisions and naming patterns; how to translate latin records and carry out graveyard research, plus sample records and tips galore, plus a sizeable reference section with listings of research societies, archives and libraries, publications and websites, and county genealogy centres. Add in tips galore, and you'll find the Guide covers everything you need to uncover your Irish heritage.

If you'd like to see a sample, pop over to Google Books here.

The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide is now on sale through the following outlets in North America, either in store or via the store's online shop.

Birth name and place details are being redacted from the civil records of adoptees

Ireland's Child and Family Agency, Tusla, which holds many adoption and pre-adoption records, has been redacting pertinent details from their records, including from adoptees' birth certificates, when they release information to adoptees.

Adoption rights campaigners say that adoptees are being sent pages of documents, correspondence and records relating to their own lives, but which are almost entirely or even fully redacted.

The claim comes from the Collaborative Forum Report on Mother and Baby Homes, which is made up of former residents of Ireland's notorious Mother and Baby Homes. Its purpose is to ensure that those directly impacted can contribute to investigations into the Homes, and make recommendations for how survivors and their families can be helped in the future. A 90-page report from the Forum, which took more than a year to produce and which Children's Minister Dr Katherine Zappone has since (August 2019) refused to publish in full, is understood to have criticised several agencies, Tusla being one of them, and raised these issues about adoptees being denied information that used to be routinely released.

Tusla responds to such concerns by citing Section 86 of the Adoption Act 2010 and GDPR (the much-misunderstood data protection regulations) as reasons for keeping tight control over what information it releases and what it does not.

To find out more about the latest obstacles being thrown up by the state and its agencies to thwart adoptees discovering their heritage, see this Special Report from yesterday's Irish Examiner.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Irish genealogy and history events, 7-20 October

Monday 7 October: Ballymacarrett Graveyard, with Charlotte Murtagh. Host: NIFHS, Killyleagh branch. Venue: Masonic Hall, 50 High Street, Killyleagh, Co. Down, BT30 9QF. 8pm to 10pm. Free. All welcome.

Monday 7 October: Online resources for family and local history, a practical workshop. Host and venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Each workshop will start with an orientation tour of PRONI, followed by an introduction to searching online resources. Free. Need to book. Fully Booked.

Tuesday 8 October: Lisburn, Belfast and the Growth of the Linen Industry, with Dr Ciaran Toal. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Lisburn branch. Venue: Bridge Community Centre, 50 Railway Street, Lisburn, BT 28 1XP. 7:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 8 October: Ballycarry DNA Project Launch. Hosts: North of Ireland Family History Society with Ballycarry Community Association. Venue: Ballycarry Community Centre, 48 West Street, Ballycarry, Co Antrim, BT38 9HR. Free. 7:45pm. No booking required. Details. All welcome.

Tuesday 8 October: From Tullamore to Trinidad – the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection as a genealogical source, with Robert McEvoy. Host: Genealogical Society of Ireland. Venue: Dun Laoghaire Further Education Institute, Cumberland Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 8pm. All welcome. €4.

Tuesday 8 October: Irish Records – they all went up in smoke, didn't they? with Jill Williams FIGRS. Host: North Ayrshire Family History Society. Venue: Community Room of Largs Library, Allanpark Street, Largs, Scotland. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 8 October: From Workhouse to Nursery: the Co Clare Mother & Baby Home 1922-1932, with Rita McCarthy. Host: Clare Archaeology and History Society. Venue: Old Ground Hotel, O'Connell Street, Ennis, Co Clare. 8pm. Free to members. Non-members €5. All welcome.

Wednesday 9 October: The Liffey's place in the development of Dublin, with Christopher Moriarty. Host: The Old Dublin Society. Venue: Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. All welcome. Free. 8pm.

Wednesday 9 October: Kilkenny famine experience, with Fin Dwyer. Host and venue: Home Rule Club, 3 John’s Quay, Kilkenny. Admission €5. All welcome. Tickets at the door. 8:30pm. Refreshments served.

Wednesday 9 October: A national treasure trove: using the National Archives for my research, a talk by Ryan Tubridy. Host and venue: National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street, Dublin 8. 5:30pm. All welcome. Free, but need to book.

Thursday 10 October: Willie Redmond and the Great War, with John Green. Host: Antrim and Down Branch of the Western Front Association. Venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, BT3 9HQ. 6:30pm to 8:45pm. £4 donation requested. All welcome.

Thursday 10 October: The Border and the Democratic Programme, with Berni Dwan, Padraig Yeates and Cormac Moore. Part of the Dublin in the Era of the Tan War series. Host: Near 90.3fm. Venue: Donaghmede Library, Donaghmede Post Office, Donaghmede Shopping Centre, Dublin 13. Doors open 6:15pm for 6:30pm start. Evening includes music. Free. All welcome.

Thursday 10 October: Se├ín Hogan: a troubled journey, with John Connors. Host: Fethard Historical Society. Venue: ICA Hall, Fethard, Co Tipperary. 8pm. All welcome. Admission is €5, which includes tea and coffee after the talk.

Friday 11 October: Historical Ordnance Survey Maps, a practical workshop. Host and venue: Host and venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Free. 11am–1pm. Fully booked.

Saturday 12 October: Brickwalls, with Audrey Leonard. Host: Irish Genealogical Society International. Venue: IGSI Library and Research Center, 1385 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights, MN, USA. 10:30am to Noon. All welcome. Non members fee: $20. Details and pre-registration.

Saturday 12 October: Irish family history research, free help and guidance, with the Mayo Genealogy Group. Host and venue: National Museum of Ireland, Country Life, Turlough, Co Mayo. 11:30am - 1pm. All welcome. No booking required.

Saturday 12 October: Genealogy Seminar, a day seminar. Host and venue: Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum, Finglas Road, Dublin 11. 9:30am–4:30pm. Individual admission €40; two people admission €60. All welcome. Details and booking.

Monday October 14: Researching your WW1 Ancestors, with Alan Rosborough. Host: NIFHS, Newtownabbey branch. Venue: Glengormley High School, Ballyclare Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim. 7pm – 9pm.

Wednesday 16 October: Women in Dublin before the Black and Tans, with Berni Dwan, Maeve Cassidy and Mary Muldowney. Part of the Dublin in the Era of the Tan War. Host: Near 90.3fm. Venue: Raheny Library, Howth Rd, Raheny, Dublin 5. Doors open 6:15 for 6:30pm start. Evening includes music. Free. All welcome.

Thursday 17 October: Neutrals, Immigrants, Aliens, Evacuees – The Irish in Britain during WW2, with Dr Jennifer Redmond. Hosts: PRONI and the Ulster Society of Irish Historical Studies. Venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 7pm. All welcome. Free but need to book.

Thursday 17 October: The history of Belfast City Cemetery, with Tom Hartley. Host and venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Free. All welcome. Details. 1.00pm.

Friday 18 October: Pirates, slaves and shipwrecks – the maritime heritage of Waterford's coast, with Dr Connie Kelleher. Host: Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. Venue: St Patrick's Gateway Centre, Patrick St, Waterford City. 8pm. Members free; non-members €5. All welcome.

Friday and Saturday 18 and 19 October: Back To Our Past exhibition and Genetic Genealogy Ireland conference. Venue: Main Hall, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. GGI lectures in Merrion Room, above Main Hall. 10:30am–6:00pm both days. Free entry, see organiser's website.

Friday 18 to Sunday 20 October: Terence MacSwiney Weekend 2019, Revolution & Education. Host: Kilmurry Historical & Archaeological Association. Venue: Independence Museum Kilmurry, Lissarda, Co Cork. Speakers include Dr Cathal MacSwiney Brugha, Dr Sinead McCoole, Dr Neil Buttimer, Anne Twomey, Niall Murray. Opens 7:30pm Friday. Weekend tickets (€20) and programme on Eventbrite

Saturday 19 October: Irish Census Alternatives: The information was not all destroyed! with Audrey Leonard. Host: Irish Genealogical Society International. Venue: Minnesota Genealogy Center, 1385 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights, MN, USA. 10:30am to Noon. All welcome. Non members fee: $20. Details and pre-registration.

Sunday 20 October: Finding Your American Cousins, with Donna Moughty. Part of the North of Ireland Family History Society's 40th Anniversary lecture series. Venue: Castle Upton Suite, Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick, Co Antrim. Admission: £5. All welcome. 2:30pm.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

New/updated US genealogy collections: 10 Sept-2 Oct

My regular listing of new and updated United States record collections is designed primarily to help the descendants and extended family of Irish emigrants to North America.

Below are the latest United States additions to major genealogy databases between 11 September and 2 October. The previous update was on 10 September (see blogpost).


American Ancestors







American Ancestors

Family Search

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Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: end-Sept. updates

Memorials to Timothy & Ellen Regan and
descendants in St Fachtna's Abbey Graveyard,
Rosscarbery, Cork. Photo courtesy IGP Archives
and Candi McCarthy Zizeks. Click for larger pic.
The team at Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives has uploaded the files below during the last two weeks of September. They are all free to view.

They include three text-only files recording inscriptions; in each case, the headstone photos were already available to view on the IGP Archives database.

ISLAND-WIDE, Genealogy Archives: Emigration
Peter Robinson immigration scheme, 1825 (Departed Cobh/Queenstown 5-5-1825)

CORK Genealogy Archives - Headstones
St. Fachtna's Abbey Graveyard, Rosscarbery
St. Finbarr Graveyard, Gougane Barra

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Mount Jerome, Dublin - Part 236

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives - Headstones
St. David's, Listerlin Parts 1 & 2 (Text files added)

MEATH Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Yellow Furze Cemetery, Beauparc (Text file added)

TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Augustinian Friary Graveyard, Fethard

TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives: Church Records
Borrisoleigh Parish Marriages (R.C.), 1849

Another instalment of records from the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection released online

The Military Archives has today released some 4,600 files from the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection (MSPC).

Just as with the seven earlier instalments from the MSPC, this release contains new and unique information on the War of Independence and the Civil War.

In this new batch of files, the second release in 2019, are claims lodged by 1,540 individuals or their dependents. They include:
  • 313 service pension applications lodged by women, most of them were members of Cumann na mBan. The files provide new information on the role played by women in the War of Independence and Civil War (intelligence, arms, violence).
  • Files relating to the Saltmills explosion in Wexford (12/10/1920).
  • Files relating to IRA activity in Derry and Belfast (1920-1922) and sectarian fighting in both cities.
  • Files relating to three Belfast Protestant IRA members including a former member of the Orange Order.
  • Files relating to the wounding of Church of Ireland Rev. Thomas Wilkinson (13/5/1920) by IRA members
  • Attempted rescue of Frank Carty from prison van in Glasgow in May 1921 (files of 18 individuals involved in the attempt)
  • Files relating to 45 members giving excellent overview of the structure and activity of the IRA and Cumann na mBan in Manchester.
  • Files relating to 9 new 1916 Rising veterans.
In total, the MSPC Project Team has processed more than 97,500 files; some 28,700 are online (these cover 9,555 individuals) while the rest are available at the Military Archives in Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines, Dublin 8.

The Collection is of such interest, the Archivists even publish a dedicated blog: MSPC – Stories from the Collection.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

New/updated British genealogy collections: 10-30 Sept

My regular listing of new and updated British record collections is designed to help Irish family historians whose ancestors emigrated, temporarily or permanently, to England, Scotland or Wales.

Below are the latest British additions to the major databases since 10 September. (The previous listing was on 9 September. See blogpost.)


Find My Past

Scotland, Forfarshire (Angus) Dundee Poor Lists 1821-1840   (2,496 records)

Scotland, Forfarshire (Angus), Dundee Militia Lists 1801  (730 records)

Scotland, Forfarshire (Angus), Dundee, D C Thomson Staff War Album 1939-1945 (318 records)

England, Cumberland Baptisms, C16th–C19th (c60,000 records. See list of 12 parishes.)

England, Cumberland Marriages, C16th–C19th (c37,000 records. See list of 13 parishes.)

England, Cumberland Burials, C16th–C19th (More than 61,000 records. See list of 13 parishes.)


England, Lancashire, Rusholme Road Cemetery 1821-1933 (67,177 records)



1939 Register
(England and Wales only) (79,000 records, currently exclusive)

Berkshire Marriages Index, 1538 to 1933 (More than 63,000 records from 16 parishes added. Total in collection now 315,000 records from 156 parishes. See parish list.)

Derbyshire Deaths and Burials (23,000 records added for 12 cemeteries. Total records in set, 626,411. See parish list.)


London, England, Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records, 1738-1926 (321,589 records)

England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (191,854,075 records) Only a few localities are included and the time period varies by locality.

UK, WW1 Pension Ledgers and Cards, 1914–1923. Upgrade of about one million 'Other Ranks' Index Cards for soldiers killed or died during the war. Total in this collection now 4,288,702 records.


England, Herefordshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1583-1898 (17 records)

England, Huntingdonshire Parish Registers (122,512 records)

Scotland's People

Presbyterian baptisms, 1752-1855, 3,000 records from 7 congregations in Ayrshire, Fife, Dundee Renfrewshire, Aberdeenshire and Midlothian.

The Genealogist

Regimental Histories: 50 British regimental histories added. Total coverage now more than 70.

School and University Registers, 1830s–1930s

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