Thursday, 2 April 2020

South West Cork records added to has announced the addition of 61,505 Roman Catholic baptism and marriage records from South-West County Cork have been uploaded to its database.
While the parishes concerned are in County Cork, they are in the diocese of Kerry, so the records have been added to Mallow Heritage Centre's Cork North East database. (Okay, the geography's a bit confusing if you don't know the area, but the important thing is these records are now available to search.)

The parishes and breakdown of records in this welcome update are as follows:
  • Adrigole (baptisms, 1830-1910; marriages, 1831-1910)
  • Allihies (baptisms, 1822-1913; marriages, 1823-1872)
  • Ballydesmond (baptisms, 1888-1915; marriages, 1889-1915)
  • Boherbue (baptisms, 1864-1904; marriages, 1863-1910)
  • Castletownbere (baptisms, 1820-1908; marriages, 1817-1915)
  • Eyeries (baptisms, 1860-1915; marriages, 1823-1910)
  • Millstreet (baptisms, 1854-1903; marriages, 1855-1903)

Ancestry WAP returns to the Belfast News-Letter BMDs

Ancestry's World Archive Project (WAP) team has announced new indexing projects to get stuck into. One of them is a continuation of the ongoing transcription of BMD announcements published in the Belfast News Letter.

The Belfast News-Letter, first published in 1737, is
thought to be the oldest continually published,
daily English-language newspaper.
The database's holding of this newspaper spans 1738 to 1925, with a few gaps, and is currently a browse collection. But the WAP has been running alongside this and has already indexed birth, marriage and death announcements for the years 1828-1907.

The second index project sees a return to the Surrey, England Regimental Rolls, 1914-1947 collection which holds records for the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment (Enlistment Registers and WWII Honors Indexes) and the East Surrey Regiment (Enlistment Registers, Transfers In Registers, and Nominal Rolls of Officers).

You can find out more about these WAPs on Ancestry's dedicated WAP blog and then following the links to the individual indexing projects.

The Ancestry World Archives Project sees volunteers from around the world creating searchable record indexes from digitized records. These indexes are added to Ancestry's free collections and are accessible to all researchers.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

FindMyPast UK: Easter Sale offers 20% savings

FindMyPast UK is running an Easter Sale, offering 20% off any new 12-month subscription. So far, no other FindMyPast territories have launched a similar offer.

The sale will run until Tuesday 14 April. These are the savings: package: Reduced from £79.99 to £63.99.
Plus package: Reduced from £119.99 to £95.99.
PRO package: Reduced from £159.99 to £127.99.

If you are undertaking Irish family history, I wouldn't generally recommend the Starter package, as the Irish records offered are free elsewhere*, but the Plus and the PRO subscriptions (the latter includes the entire Irish Newspaper Collection) will give you access to a huge collection of records, some of them exclusive to FindMyPast.

To take advantage of the discount, click the logo above (you should find the savings have already been applied), and select the subscription that suits your research needs best.

*See BMD records at and Census records at NAI/Genealogy

MyHeritage Stay At Home DNA sale: half price test kits
MyHeritage has launched a Stay At Home sale which cuts the price of the company's DNA test kits by 50%.

  • In the UK and Ireland, the offer reduces the cost from £79 to £39.
  • In the USA, the offer reduces the cost from $79 to $39.

There may be similar or different offers available in other countries; check by visiting your local MyHeritage site.

In all cases, if you order two kits, standard shipping is free, and the offer will be available until Thursday 30 April.

To order your half price test kit(s) or to find out more, click the image, above. 

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: latest uploads

From the 18th century to the 21st century
in four generations. Headstone in Kilmaclasser
Old Cemetery. Photo courtesy of
Bernie McCafferty and IGPArchives.
Click for larger image.
The team at Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives uploaded four more folders to its free-to-access database in the second half of March. Each one has been donated by volunteers for the benefit of other researchers.

MAYO Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Achill Sound, Polranny Cemetery Pt. 3 - L-M

MAYO Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Kilmaclasser Old Cemetery - Part 1, Clogher Lough

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives - Land
Cancelled Valuations ca 1911-1920's, Cloontogher, Cruit, Curry Derrinturk, Derrycarby, Doogarymore, Fearagh.

WATERFORD Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity (R.C.)

Handel's Messiah, Dublin, & the Gentlemen of the Choir

The RCB Library's Archive of the Month for April looks at the 200th anniversary of the first performance of Handel's Messiah which was given on 13 April 1742 in Neal’s Musick Hall, Fishamble Street, Dublin, in the shadows of Christ Church Cathedral.

Given the strong religious nature of the oratorio, it is perhaps no surprise that its first performance drew so heavily from the two cathedrals in Dublin in particular, as well as the Established Church in general. This relationship between the Church and Handel’s masterpiece was marked by a special celebration on the 200th anniversary of its first performance, on 13th April 1942.

The signatures of the members of the cathedrals' choirs
who performed in the 200th anniversary celebration of
Handel's Messiah. From RCB Library C2/9/1
George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, in Germany, in 1685 but became a naturalised British subject in 1727. In 1741, the decision was made to give a season of concerts in Dublin. These were performed in the Musick Hall, Fishamble Street, but did not feature Messiah, nor any version of the oratio.

These concerts proved phenomenally popular and Handel continued to work in Dublin during the spring of 1742.

While Handel’s Messiah originated from his time in London, it matured and was appreciated in Dublin. He wrote the music for Messiah during 1741 and continued to revise the work prior to its performance in Dublin in 1742. Handel himself was residing in a house on the corner of Abbey Street and Liffey Street, and used this premises as a residence and ticket-office.

By early March 1742, contact had been made with St Patrick’s and Christ Church cathedrals to explore the use of their choirs for the forthcoming concert.

Permission was granted to use the services of 16 men and 16 boy choristers from both cathedrals, with some of these men performing solo parts. It is a testament to the high standards associated with both choirs that so many were chosen to be part of such an eminent production.

The RCB Library holds extensive collections with regards to both cathedrals, and there are detailed important accounts relating to the choirs. One such example is RCB Library C2/9/1, which is a booklet produced in the 20th century showing the original octavo edition of Handel’s Messiah in vocal score, edited by W. T. Best (London: Novello and Company).

What makes this such a unique item is that the notice for the cathedral concerts in April 1942 is included, along with a full list of those who performed originally, as well as those performing in the 200th anniversary celebration. Also saved is a page, on Church of Ireland Printing Co Ltd paper showing the signatures of those ‘gentlemen of the choir’ who performed in 1942.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

NAI's free Genealogy Advisory Service switches to email

The National Archives of Ireland (NAI) in Dublin may have closed its doors to researchers during the COVID-19 outbreak, but that doesn't mean its free Genealogy Advisory Service has to down tools.

Under normal circumstances, the Genealogy Advisory Service, which is run on behalf of the Archives by an external panel of professional genealogists holding credentials from Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI), can be accessed by the personal visitors without charge or appointment during normal NAI hours.

With people advised to stay at home until the Reading Room reopens on 20 April, the NAI has arranged with AGI to provide an email service instead during the period of closure.

This new email service will start tomorrow, Wednesday 1 April, and will operate from 9:30am to 5pm (Irish time) on Mondays to Fridays until 17 April, excluding the long Easter holiday weekend, 9–13 April inclusive. Emails received outside those hours will be dealt with on the next day of service.

You'll find more details about this temporary service, and how to submit a query, on AGI's website, along with the email address you need to make contact.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Free access to British History Online collection

The British History Online (BH)) collection has been opened up to free access until the end of July. BHO, created in 2003 by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust, offers a digital collection of 1,280 key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, with a special focus on the period 1300 to 1800.

Under normal circumstances, some 1,000 of these sources are free for individual researchers to study while about 200 volumes – all transcribed – are accessible only with a subscription. The latter includes the Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, covering the period 1586-1606, in 13 volumes.

From today, all of the BHO content can be freely accessed. A detailed blogpost from the editorial team provides more information about the content now available.

(If you dive straight in to the search box, you might miss an important statement on the home page explaining that the "search within volume" box is currently not working properly. The BHO tech team is working on a fix.)

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Free access to MyHeritage's US census collection
To mark the 2020 Census (reference day, 1 April), MyHeritage has opened up its US census collection for free access.

In total, the collection holds 700 million records from 54 collections — 18 federal census collections and 36 state or country census collections. They date from 1790 to 1940.

To find out more about the collection and the value of census records, click the image, right.

Free access is now open at MyHeritage/research and will remain so until Sunday 5 April.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Three-week summary of new & updated US collections

Below is a summary of US family history collections that have been either newly released or updated by the major genealogy databases during the last three weeks. (The last summary list was published on 6 March, 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. Please note that I have omitted updates of fewer than 1,000 records to any one 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, if a number has been clearly noted by the supplier.




My Heritage


  • Massachusetts: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Records, 1789-1920. Additions from:
    * Immaculate Conception, Lawrence (5 volumes/32,100 records/107,900 names)
    * Sacred Heart, Brockton (3 volumes/2,900 records/11,200 names)
    * St Patrick, Brockton (6 volumes/23,700 records/93,200 names)
    * St Mary, Holliston (with St Patrick Lawrence: 8 vols/23,300 records/87,000 names)
    * St Patrick, Lawrence (see St Mary Holliston)



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