Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Ancestry's DNA network reaches 15 million test samples

Continuing its role as the world's largest consumer DNA network, Ancestry has announced that its DNA database now holds more than 15 million completed test samples. company says that each AncestryDNA customer receives an average of 50,000 total matches; this number grows by 2-5% each month as more people join the network.

“Ancestry is honored to play a role in empowering the journeys of personal discovery for 15 million people around the world,” said Cathy Ball, Chief Scientific Officer, Ancestry. “The size of this community is a true sign of how deeply important it is for people to connect and learn about their past. As the network continues to grow, we can deliver even more value to our members, including more granular insights about heritage, and provide compelling new paths to learn about ourselves using genetics.”

For more information on Ancestry’s growing DNA network and innovative research tools, click the logo above.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

More Co. Wexford RC parish records join

RootsIreland has added more than 2,600 Roman Catholic records to its County Wexford database. All are from the Adamstown Parish registers, as follows:

Adamstown Baptisms: 1837-1865 (2,591 records)
Adamstown Marriages: 1841-1845 (71 records)

They join Roman Catholic records from 15 other parishes in the county. All pre-1881 transcriptions include links to the National Library of Ireland's images of the register pages.

To search the new records, go to and select Adamstown from the ‘Parish / District’ drop down list. Login and Subscribe if required.

You can view a full list of the Co. Wexford records on RootsIreland

Registry of Deeds Index Project: May update

The latest update to the Registry of Deeds Index Project shows there are now 313,514 entries in the online database. These index records have been noted from 34,157 memorials of deeds.

In addition, the Townlands and Grantor indexes have been updated with more entries, as you can see from the image, right.

All of these indexed entries are now available for free searching on the Project website, while images of the original documents can usually be found in FamilySearch's free image-only collection of RoD records.

The Index Project is managed entirely by volunteers. If you would like to help other researchers (and yourself!) to explore the vast and rich Registry of Deeds collection, consider becoming a contributor. You'll find step by step details on the Project site.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Irish genealogy and heritage events: 20 May to 3 June

Monday 20 May: : NLI Reading Room and Manuscript Room closed all day to facilitate the Library's continuing redevelopment of the premises. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. All other services/exhibitons/cafe, including Genealogy Advisory Service, operate as normal.

Monday 20 May: Court records at PRONI, with Wesley Geddis. Also AGM. Host: NIFHS, Larne branch. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112-120 Glenarm Road, Larne, BT40 1DZ. 7:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Monday 20 May: Warrior Queens – Four women who defied the authorities to publicly mark the first anniversary of James Connolly's execution. With Liz Gillis, Brigid Davis, James Curry and Jennie Shanahan. Introduction by Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring. Host: Dublin City Council. Venue: City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2. 12:45pm to 2pm. Admission free. All welcome. First come first served.

Monday 20 May: Irish Family History Research Assistance. Experienced helpers in the library to offer advice on your Irish research. 10am to 4pm. Host: Genealogical Society of Victoria. Venue: GSV, Level 6, 85 Queen St, Melbourne 3000, Australia. Free for members/$20 non-members. To book a one-hour appointment with a research consultant, or for more information, see GSV.

Tuesday 21 May: Family History Day, with the North of Ireland Family History Society, Newtownabbey Branch; Ballyclare District Historical Society; Eddie's Extracts; Ballyclare Library; and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland: all celebrating the 262nd anniversary of the Ballyclare May Fair. Venue: Ballyclare Town Hall, The Square, Ballyclare, Co Antrim. Free. All welcome. 10am to 5pm. Details.

Wednesday 22 May: "Men lived as if they dreaded each other”: Hugh Dorian (1834–1914) and the Grey Zone of the Great Famine, with Breandán Mac Suibhne, who will tell the story of the Great Famine and its consequences from the perspective of Hugh Dorian’s extraordinary first-hand account of his experiences. Host & venue: National Library of Ireland, 7-8 Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Free admission. 7pm. All welcome. Booking not required.

Wednesday 22 May: Historic Irish maps, and how Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown is depicted on them, with Tom Conlon. Host: Spring Talks series, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Venue: Marlay House, Grange Rd, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16. 7pm. Free. Booking essential; email

Wednesday 22 May: The start of the Irish Revolution, with Jim O'Hara. Host: The Decade of Centenaries: Ireland in 1919 - Spring lecture series. Venue: Irish Cultural Centre, 5 Black's Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9DT. 7-–9pm. All welcome. Tickets £5.92, via Eventbrite.

Wednesday 22 May: Main Reading Room of National Library of Ireland to close early. Due to a State Visit the following morning, the NLI's Main Reading Room in Kildare Street, Dublin 2 will close at 5pm (normal time is 7:45pm).

Thursday 23 May: National Library of Ireland's main Kildare Street building closed until 2pm to facilitate State Visit.

Saturday 25 May: Using WikiTree, a workshop with Anne Johnston. Host: NIFHS. Venue: Honneyman Room, NIFHS Research Centre, Unit C4, Valley Business Centre, 67 Church Road, Newtownabbey, BT36 7LS. Workshop fee £8. 11am to 1pm. Open to members and non-members. To book, e-mail Details.

Saturday 25 May: Missing Boyles of Drumcrew, with Michael Carragher. How DNA matches and genetic genealogy can provide clues to solve family history riddles. Host: Irish Family History Forum. Venue: Bethpage Public Library, 47 Powell Ave, Bethpage, New York, USA. Details. Starts 10am.

Saturday 25 May: Historical Irish connections to West London, a walking tour. Meet at St. James park tube station (Piccadilly line, Petty France entrance, London SW1) at 11.45am. Walk includes Constance Marchievicz (Gore-Booth) birthplace; Eaton Square; locations where the 1921 Treaty negotiation talks held; Marble Arch/Tyburn Tree; and other places long associated with the Irish in Britain. Event is free. Hat passed around at end for guide. Details.

Saturday 25 May: Behind the Wire: Oldcastle, Internment & The Empire, a half-day seminar and exhibition. Host and venue: Oldcastle Library, Millbrook Rd, Knockmacoony, Oldcastle, Co. Meath. 2pm–5:30pm. All welcome.

Sunday 26 May The Irish and other immigrants in C17th-C19th London's East End, a walking tour. Meet outside Whitechapel Gallery, beside Aldgate East tube station, London E1 at 11:45am. Event is free. Collection for tour guide at end. Details.

Monday 27 May: NLI Reading Room and Manuscript Room closed all day to facilitate the Library's continuing redevelopment of the premises. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. All other services/exhibitons/cafe, including Genealogy Advisory Service, operate as normal

Monday 27 May: Public holiday in Northern Ireland. All archives and libraries closed, reopening to normal timetables on Tuesday. Note: The Republic of Ireland does not share this holiday and operates as normal.

Tuesday 28 May: A Bloody Dawn - The Irish at D-Day, with military historian Dan Harvey, who recently retired as Lieutenant Colonel from the Irish Defence Forces. Host and venue: Centre Culturel Irlandais, 5 rue des Irlandais, 75005 Paris, France. Presentation in English. 7pm to 9pm. Admission free. Reservation recommended.

Wednesday 29 May: A Terrible Beauty Televised: The Irish Revolution in Film, with Lance Pettit. Host: ICC's The Decade of Centenaries: Ireland in 1919 - Spring lecture series. Venue: Irish Cultural Centre, 5 Black's Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9DT. 7–9pm. All welcome. Tickets £5.92, via Eventbrite. 

Wednesday 29 May: Lead mining at Ballycorus, with Rob Goodbody. Host: Spring Talks series, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Venue: Marlay House, Marlay Park, Grange Rd, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16. 7pm. Free. Booking essential; email

Thursday 30 May: RCB Library will closed all day. Re-opening Friday 9:30am, subject to usual Friday restrictions (only printed collection accessible). RCB Library, Churchtown, Dublin 14.

Thursday 31 May: The O’Haras of Crebilly, with Brian O’Hara, plus AGM. Host: NIFHS, Ballymena Branch. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, BT43 5EJ. 7:15pm. Free. All welcome.

Monday 3 June: June bank holiday in Republic of Ireland. All archives and libraries closed, except exhibitions at the National Library of Ireland which are open 12-noon to 5pm. Note: Northern Ireland does not share this holiday and operates as normal.

National Famine Commemoration held in Sligo

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD officiated at the National Famine Commemoration in Sligo, yesterday. He will be accompanied by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D.

The formal State ceremony, which is held annually in one of Ireland's four provinces on a rotating basis, included military honours and a wreath laying ceremony by Ambassadors to Ireland in remembrance of all those who suffered or perished during the Famine.

The community programme included performances by local musicians and the sixty-voice Sligo Famine Choir, which was formed specially for the national event.

The Commemoration also saw the re-launch of a booklet produced by the County Sligo Famine Commemoration Committee in 1997 to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Famine. It has been reprinted and copies will be distributed to local schools.

Following the formal ceremony, the Model Arts Centre hosted a preview of the trailer for Lost Children of The Carricks, written and directed by Professor Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin.

Speaking at the event An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD said:

“The Famine was the single most traumatic event in Irish history. Every county has its own famine story, and the story in Sligo was terrible and tragic. There were 162 sailings from the Port of Sligo, between 1847 and 1851, the majority of them to Canada and the United States. Some 13,000 people left in Black ‘47 alone. 440 people set off from here in the ‘Bark Larch’ to Quebec. Many of these died without ever setting foot on shore. The few who did land on Grosse Ile received comfort from Fr. Bernard McGauran, himself from Sligo.

“I believe the best way we can honour those who suffered and died during the Great Famine is by showing empathy with those who are experiencing similar problems today, whether through natural disaster or oppression. Our country has a longstanding commitment to working for the eradication of poverty and hunger in the world. We were refugees once and we recall the great compassion and the open doors shown around the world. It is seared on our collective memories as we work to assist today’s refugees.”

Friday, 17 May 2019

IGRS Genealogy Open Day, Dublin on Saturday 18 May

The Irish Genealogical Research Society's Ireland branch will be hosting its Open Day tomorrow, Saturday 18 May, and has a great programme of lectures lined up.

As always, the annual Dublin Open Day is open to everyone, members and non-members alike, and the Society looks forward to welcoming family historians of all levels. Whether professional or amateur, beginner or highly experienced, you're sure to learn something new and get into friendly chat with other researchers.

You might even win yourself some genealogical goodies in the Society's popular Silent Raffle.

As usual, this popular annual event will be held in the conference room at Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. It is free to attend and you don't need to book.

The Open Day starts with registration at 10am. After a brief Welcome from the Chairperson, the following lectures will be presented:
  • A pile of stones, a living memory, a family member: Bowen’s Court, Elizabeth Bowen, and imagining the Irish gentry, with Ian d'Alton
  • Some families of interest in the Raheny area, with Joan Sharkey
  • Banished beyond the seas: NAI records of convict transportation to Australia, 1788-1868, with Joan Kavanagh
  • Publishing research in The Irish Genealogist, with Dr David Butler
There's a break for lunch after the first two lectures; this isn't provided by the Society but you'll be able to grab yourself a drink and something to eat in one of the local venues or The Cafe on the first floor of the building (it's open 10am to 3pm). The afternoon session gets underway at 1:45pm, and ends at 4:30pm.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

UHF's Irish genealogy conferences & courses, 2019-20

Assisted research at the Public Record Office of NI
The Ulster Historical Foundation (UHF) has advised that its 5-day Assisted Research Conference in October is now full. However, there are still spaces available in the June and September programmes, both of which allow the researcher a choice of researching in the archives with the UHF team of genealogists or spending time touring famous historic sites.

Now also open for booking are two winter Irish Genealogy Essentials courses.

Irish Family History Experience:  10–15 June 2019

Budding researchers begin this programme in the classroom, learning how to get to grips with research techniques, archives and genealogical sources in Ireland. They will also acquire the knowlegdge and skills to help them further explore their family history during the course and after.

The first three mornings are classroom-based, followed by afternoons of assisted research at PRONI. In the second half of the week, delegates can either continue their assisted research in the archives or choose guided excursions to places of  historic interest, including Bru na Boinne, Derry/Londonderry, Kilmainham Gaol and the Giant's Causeway.

Tracing your Irish Ancestors: 4-11 September 2019

This is the UHF's classic eight-day programme. It includes a mix of research in the archives in Belfast and Dublin, lectures, and tours to famous historic sites and cultural attractions.

Each day of the conference presents delegates with a choice of assisted research in the archives with the UHF's team of experienced genealogists or an excursion to an historic site or cultural attraction, including Kilmainham Gaol, Giant’s Causeway and the Knowth passage tomb at Brú na Bóinne and the picturesque town of Enniskillen situated in Co. Fermanagh's beautiful lakelands.


Irish Genealogy Essentials: 4-8 November 2019 and 10-14 February 2020

In addition to the full conference experiences above, the UHF runs 5-day family history courses – Irish Genealogy Essentials – aimed at the beginner or rusty genealogist. As well as lectures, the course includes an orientation tour and assisted research at PRONI and a one-to-one consultation with an experienced genealogist to guide your research.

Details. adds Armagh CoI Confirmation records

Records of some 9,100 Church of Ireland Confirmations have been added to's Armagh database. They are transcribed from Confirmation Lists, and can be useful for researchers trying to locate an ancestors, especially in those parishes where other church records have been lost or destroyed.

Most of these Confirmation lists start in the 1820s but they vary quite considerably in the information they hold. Some record only the individual's name, the year and the name of the church where the confirmation was held. Others record name, age and address and some have additional comments.

Some churches held Confirmations every three or four years while others held them intermittently over a span of many years.

The transcriptions have been made by Armagh Ancestry, the local heritage team in the Irish Family History Foundation's network of island-wide genealogy centres, who report that this bundle of records is the first of an ongoing computerisation project that will take some time to complete. Confirmation lists from additional Church of Ireland parishes in Armagh will be added to the online database in due course.

In the meantime, you can view details of the parishes and years of coverage or these new online sources in RootsIreland's menu of genealogical records for County Armagh here. Scroll down to Census Substitutes and then to Confirmation.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019 access disruption possible

The Ulster Historical Foundation in Belfast has advised that its website – – is in the process of being updated, which may cause some temporary problems with access to some of the site's features.

It seems to be working okay for me, right now, but if you're finding it difficult to connect to some pages, try again a bit later.

New Central Library and cultural quarter for Dublin

The development of a new cultural quarter has been approved for Dublin's Parnell Square, the oldest of the captial's Georgian squares, previously known as Rutland Square.

The re-imagined Parnell Square North and new plaza
Costing €100 million, the scheme involves the relocation of the city's Central Library, the creation of a south-facing plaza, and the restoration of one of Dublin's finest terraces of Georgian houses.

The new complex will be linked to the houses on either side of the existing Hugh Lane Gallery, but will be hidden from plaza level view. At the back of the terrace, the new Central Library building – three times larger than its existing home on the third floor of the Ilac shopping centre – will feature a dramatic great hall (see below). It is scheduled, perhaps rather optimistically, to open in 2023.

Other new-build and refurbishment elements of the project will see the creation of a 200-seat conference centre, a music centre, education facilities, a cafe and exhibition space. 

In the immediate vicinity of the square is an existing cluster of cultural venues, including the Irish Writer's Centre, Dublin Writers' Museum, the Gate Theatre, Poetry Ireland and the Garden of Remembrance. 

Dublin City Council will fund €45 million of the new quarter's development, with the balance being sought from philanthropic donations.

For more details and images of the planned development, see

Design of the new Dublin Central Library, Parnell Square.