Monday, 9 December 2019

Accredited Genealogists Ireland welcomes new Affiliate

At its Annual General Meeting last week, Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI) welcomed Gillian Johnson as the organisation's newest Affiliate.

Gill has been working for the past four years as a genealogist for the highly regarded genealogy and historical research company, Timeline, which is based in Dublin. She holds a degree in Local Studies from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, has completed University College Dublin's Genealogy course led by Sean Murphy MA, and has a keen interest in social history.

Gill is the 16th person to be admitted as an AGI Affiliate since the Affiliate Programme was introduced seven years ago. Eight of her predecessors have already successfully progressed to gaining credentials as Members of Accredited Genealogists Ireland (MAGIs).

All Affiliates are reputatble genealogists in the early stages of their transition to professional research who have not yet applied for accreditation. They are, however, bound by AGI’s Code of Practice.

You can find out more about Gill and the Affiliate Programme at

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Beyond 2022: Ireland uses technology of the future to restore seven centuries of its lost history

This morning, an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD formally launched the Beyond 2022: Ireland's Virtual Record Treasury research project with a capital grant funding allocation of €2.5m from the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltact.

The all-island scheme aims to restore the lost history that resulted from the devastating fire at the Four Courts during the Irish Civil War in 1922. The fire destroyed the Public Record Office of Ireland, and with it seven centuries of historical, genealogical and administrative records.

Through virtual reality, the new flagship project seeks to re-imagine and recreate these archival collections.

Beyond 2022, Ireland's Virtual Record Treasury is a collaborative project led by Trinity College Dublin in partnership with the National Archives of Ireland, the National Archives UK, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Irish Manuscripts Commission.

Speaking at the official launch, which was held in Dublin Castle, Director of Beyond 2022 said: "The scale of copies and duplicates we have identified in other archives is astounding. We are already working with over 35 libraries and archives in Ireland, the UK and US. And this is only the beginning."

The first phase of the research project identified over 200 volumes of transcripts suitable for enhanced digitisation, now scattered between archives in the United States, the United Kingdom and archives on the island of Ireland. These handwritten records contain more than 25 million words from documents destroyed in 1922.

With funding now secured, the project will create a Virtual Record Treasury and reunite for the first time in a century, thousands of stories of life, law, land and loss in Ireland’s history.

The primary outcome from Phase II will be a fully immersive, three-dimensional, virtual reality model of the digitally reconstructed Public Record Office of Ireland, which will be launched in June 2022 to mark the centenary of the fire. This model will be used as an interactive tool for engagement and research, whereby visitors will be able to browse the virtual shelves and link to substitute or salvaged records held by archives and libraries around the world.

See Trinity College Dublin's news story, which carries more details of the project and a video, here.

Irish Roots Magazine, winter edition published

The winter edition of Irish Roots, Ireland's only independent genealogy magazine, has been published. and is now on sale in bookshops and newsagents (print) and online (digital copies).

To find out more, and download a sample of
the current edition, click/tap the front cover
As always, it's got a good mix of articles, columns and news that any family historian with Irish connections will enjoy reading and learning from.

Features in the new edition include:

– What was lost in 1922 and what survived?

– Tracing your County Antrim ancestors

– Dating family photographs: 1870s to 1890s

– A letter from Queen Victoria inspires award winning trilogy

– RCB Library acquisitions—a source for local/family history

– Is DNA a substitute for genealogy research?

– Irish-Australians as patrons of the fine arts

– Researching the family recorded on a broken gravestone

Additionally, there’s a What’s New? Review by Yours Truly noting recent developments in Irish genealogy; Steven Smyrl discusses The Dreaded Genealogical Virus; the Dawsons of Queensland set off on a DNA mystery tour to Ireland; and Nicola Morris MAGI answers readers’ questions. As always, there are Letters to the Editor, details of new book launches and news from local, national and international Irish family history societies.

To order a digital or print copy, or to subscribe to Irish Roots magazine, go to IrishRootsMedia.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Latest online releases to British genealogy collections

Please see below the new and updated records and collections from England, Scotland and Wales that were released by major genealogy databases in the second half of November through to 2 December. (The previous listing was on 15 November. See blogpost).

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


  • Ireland and Britain, Transatlantic Migration from North America, 1858-1870. Of the 42,695 passengers noted in this index, sixty percent of the passengers were from the geographical British Isles: English (19%), Irish (20%), and Scottish (21%). The indexed names have been extracted from the collection held on FindMyPast where transcriptions of the papers can be viewed. (In searching this collection this morning I was unable to receive any results, even for those names I knew to be in the FMP collection. I assume this is a temporary glitch.)
  • Lincolnshire, Parish Registers, 1538-1990. 3,947,025 baptism, marriage, and burial records indexed.





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Monday, 2 December 2019

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: end Nov updates

Laurence Murphy of Marshalstown, who died in
1821 at 75 years, is buried in St. Peters (CoI)
Rossdroit, Moneytucker, Co Wexford.
Photo courtesy of Joanne Garland and IGPArchives
Click image for larger view.
During the second half of November, the Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives' team uploaded some small headstone sets and the second instalment from Balmoral Cemetery in Belfast.

Here are the links to the files, as always provided free to view online:

ANTRIM Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Balmoral Cemetery, Belfast - Part 2

CLARE Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Clonloghan Cemetery (HASTINGS & CONSIDINE).

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Malahide Cemetery (partial)

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Crosstown Cemetery, Ferrybank (BERRY, KEARNEY)
St. Carthage’s RC, Courtnacuddy (9 images)

Irish genealogy and history events in December 2019

Monday 2 December to Friday 6 December: Media Preview Week. To facilitate this annual event, when members of the press explore government records that have been closed for 30 years (this year is records from 1989), the Reading Room of the National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street, Dublin 8 will be closed to the public. The Genealogy Advisory Service will not run while the Reading Room is closed. Reopens Monday 9 December at 10am.

Monday 2 December: Genealogy chat and drinks, an informal get-together for all genealogists, amateur and professional. Host: The Irish Genealogical Research Society's Ireland Branch. Venue: The Mercantile, 28 Dame Street, Dublin 2. 6pm to 10pm. All welcome.

Monday 2 December: Members' Night - Tales and Artefacts. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Killyleagh branch. Venue: Killyleagh Masonic Hall, 50 High Street, Killyleagh, Co Down, BT30 9QF. 8pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 3 December: Finding Family History Stories, a single two-hour session workshop with Michael McKeag. Host: Host and venue: North of Ireland Family History Society, C4 Research Centre, Valley Business Centre, Church Rd, Newtownabbey, Antrim BT36 7L. All welcome. 11am–1pm. Fee £8, payable at the session. Booking and details, here.

Thursday 5 December: Tracing Relatives of the Belfast Shipyards, a class with Maureen McKinney 7.00pm-9.00pm NIFHS Venue: Honneyman Room, NIFHS Research Centre, Unit C4, Valley Business Centre, 67 Church Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim BT36 7LS. 7–9pm. £8. Fully Booked.

Thursday 5 December: The suffering of the poor and the language of charity in C19th Ireland, with Dr Ciaran McCabe. Host: Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies. Venue: Seminar Room, Institute of Irish Studies (QUB), 27 University Square, Belfast. 6:30pm. All welcome.

Friday 6 December: Online Resources workshop, an introduction to using online records for family and local history research. Host and venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. All welcome. Free. 11am to 1pm. FULLY BOOKED.

Friday 6 December: Main Reading Room of the National Library of Ireland closed. All other National Library services, including the Manuscripts Reading Room and Genealogy Advisory Service will be open as normal.

Saturday 7 December: How to get ready to search Irish records, with Kevin Cassidy. Host: Columbus Public Library. Venue: Columbus Public Library-Van Cleave Room, 3000 Macon Rd., Columbus, Georgia, USA, 10:30am. All welcome.

Monday 9 December – Friday 13 December inclusive: Preservation Week. During this annual event, PRONI's Preservation and Collections Management staff get an opportunity to dedicate some time to the vital work that goes on behind the scenes. The knock-on effect means a reduced service to researchers. Document ordering and production will be suspended throughout the week, but the Search Room and self-service microfilm facilities will be available as normal in the public search room. PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast.

Monday 9 December: A Victorian Childhood in East Antrim, with Ron Bishop. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Newtownabbey Branch. Venue: Drama Theatre, Glengormley High School, 134 Ballyclare Road, Newtownabbey, BT36 5HP. All welcome. 7pm.

Tuesday 10 December: Digital Transformation for Cemeteries, with Neil Sherrin. Host: Genealogical Society of Ireland. Venue: DFEi, Cumberland St, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. All welcome. €3. 8pm.

Tuesday 10 December As True as I’m Standing Here: Quirky PRONI Stories, with Dr Ann McVeigh. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Lisburn Branch. Venue: Bridge Community Centre, 50 Railway Street, Lisburn, BT28 1XP. All welcome. Free. 7:30pm.

Thursday 12 December: The Butlers of Ireland and the House of Ormond, with John Kirwan. Host and Venue: Royal Society of Antiquities, Helen Roe Theatre, Society House, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. 7:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Friday 13 December:
RCB Library early closing. The Library, in Churchtown, Dublin, will close at 1pm. Reopens Monday 16 December normal hours.

Saturday 14 December: Irish Historical Walking Tour of Central London. Host: Irish Historical Walks in London. Meeting venue: German Gymnasium, 1 Kings Boulevard, London N1 (behind Kings Cross station. Tour visits areas with to 1916 rising in Dublin; Irish Ghettos such as Bloomsbury, Soho, Somerstown; places with links to Fenian rising of 1867, Young Irelanders in 1848, Micheal Collins, Constance Markievicz, and other Irish emigrants who lived, worked and studied in London. Tour is free. 11am to 1:30pm. Voluntary donation at the end.

Saturday 14 December: The National Library's History & Heritage: a guided tour. Venue: NLI, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 1pm. Admission is free and all are welcome. No need to book.

Monday 16 December: Getting Started, an introductory workshop for those interested in local and family history. Host and venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 11am to 1pm. Likely to be fully booked before date, so book quickly at eventbrite. Free, but booking essential.

Monday 16 December: Christmas through the Ages, with Su Topping. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Larne Branch. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112-120 Glenarm Road, Larne, BT40 1DZ. All welcome. Free. 7:30pm.

Tuesday 17 December: Christmas through the Ages, with Su Topping. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Belfast Branch. Venue: C. S. Lewis Room, Holywood Arches Library, 4-12 Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 1NT. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Note: In all likelihood, this year's run of genealogy and history lectures and events will dry up in the week before Christmas and won't get going again until the second week of the new year. If I hear of any others, though, I'll add them to this list.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Northern Ireland's Tithe Applotment Books go online

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has released its newly digitised collection of Tithe Applotment Books online. They've been a long time coming to a screen near you, but it's good to now have TABs for the entire island readily accessible to family historians and other researchers. Many will be able to trace their ancestors back a couple of decades or even more prior to Griffith's Valuation.
Townlands of Carran and Crew, Errigal Keerogue, Co. Tyrone.
Click/tap to open enlarged view of sample page
The books, which date from c1820 to c1840, can be viewed, free of charge, on PRONI's e-catalogue (see step by step below). They are catalogued alphabetically by parish name and can be searched at townland level within each parish pdf. They are not indexed by householder's name.

I've only had a chance to look at a couple of parishes so far, and I'm pleased to say the scanning quality is very good. The only thing you need to watch is the size of the pdf downloads. The two I opened were large: 63Mb and 121Mb, so not a lot of fun for those with a slow connection, but they're worth waiting for! Each page is large and you can zoom in and out to decipher the writing where needed.

To access the files, go to PRONI's e-catalogue page. Click the bright green 'Search the e-catalogue' button. On the next page, click Browse in the top right of the page, just below the PRONI logo. Then enter FIN/5 in the search box. From the landing page, FIN/5/A is probably the best option for most researchers, but look around the other 22 options, too, in case there's a file dedicated to your parish of interest. From FIN/5/A you'll find you have the option of 317 'digital view' files, arranged alphabetically by parish. Use the Previous and Next buttons below to select those you want to view. (These instructions are for a PC, not a mobile phone.)

For information about the Tithe Applotment Books and their value to genealogists, see my website Irish Genealogy Toolkit.

I imagine PRONI's e-catalogue will take a heavy bashing in the next few days!

Also released online today are the National Education Commissioners Grant Aid Applications collection. These files, held in ED/1, consist of 33 volumes of applications arranged by county and then by school name. They date from 1832 to 1889. They provide interesting details about the number and demographics of pupils attending local schools, and the make up and salary of teaching staff. Some teachers names are included, as are the names of the local people supporting the applications. The latter are identified as either Protestant or Roman Catholic.

To access the files, go to PRONI's e-catalogue page. Click the bright green 'Search the e-catalogue' button. On the next page, click Browse in the top right of the page, just below the PRONI logo. Then enter ED/1 in the search box. On the landing page, you can start selecting by county and then, within your chosen file, select the school you want to view. The pdf downloads for individual schools are mostly about four to six MB.

NOTE: Other online releases from PRONI today: Hogg photographs (LA/7) and Northern Ireland Hansard (NILA/7).

Thursday, 28 November 2019

New book: The People of Derry City, 1930

Just published in the USA is The People of Derry City 1930 by author Brian Mitchell MAGI, who manages the Derry Genealogy and Heritage Centre.

The 192-page book contains names and address details extracted by Brian from The Derry Almanac and Directory, and follows on from The People of Derry city 1921, which was published in 2016.

Because the 1926 census for Northern Ireland has been destroyed, the first post-1911 census that survives for Derry City is that for 1937. Under existing legislation, this won't be released to the public until 2038, which leaves the annual editions of The Derry Almanac as the closest surviving census-type documents for the period from 1912 to 1936.

Brian has transcribed both the 1921 and 1930 Almanac using five fields: surname of head of household, first name of head of household, street address, house number, and Almanac page number of the respective listing, creating census-substitutes for the city's inhabitants for the year before Partition and again nearly one decade later.

The new book is now available through ISBN: 9780806358949. Price US$32.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Black Friday brings good deals from FindMyPast DNA

No longer such a new-kid-on-the-block, FindMyPast DNA is running another Black Friday Sale on its test kit this year.

Just as FindMyPast's huge online database is known for specialising in Irish and UK records, so it's DNA partner (Living DNA) is considered a specialist in helping people around the world connect with their Irish and British roots. Some genetic genealogists believe this DNA test provides a greater level of detail in its results, especially for those with ancestral connections to the geographical British Isles. But it's not a localised test.

You'll see results mapped across 80 global regions, including 21 from Britain and Ireland.

In addition to the dna test discount, Living DNA is offering a saving on its Deep Ancestry (y-DNA and mt-DNA) upgrade, so you can discover details of your ancestor's migration histories for less, plus, with every DNA test, researchers automatically receive 14 days of free access to Findmypast’s entire archive of more than 11 billion records and historical newspapers.

The amount of Black Friday discount varies slightly from region to region, but provide worthwhile savings. ALL the discounts expire at 11:59pm GMT on Monday 2 December.

FindMyPast Ireland
DNA kit reduced from €79 to €59 + shipping
Deep Ancestry upgrade reduced from €24.95 to €10.

FindMyPast USA/Canada 
DNA kit reduced from $89 to $59 + shipping
Deep Ancestry upgrade reduced from $29.95 to $10.

FindMyPast UK 
DNA kit reduced from £79 to £59 + shipping
Deep Ancestry upgrade reduced from £19.90 to £10.

FindMyPast Australia/NZ 
DNA kit reduced from $129 AUD to $95 AUD + shipping
Deep Ancestry upgrade reduced from $39.95 AUD to $34 AUD.

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Check out ARA Ireland's Explore Your Archive week

Today marks the middle of Explore Your Archive Week for the Archives and Records Association (ARA), Ireland, the principal professional body for archivists, archive conservators and records managers in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. addition to a brand new website at, where you'll find 'featured' collections from Tipperary Studies, RTE Archives and Loreto Archives, ARA Ireland members have organised some events to showcase their collections and demonstrate more of what archivists and librarians get up to at work.

For example, Donegal Archives has three month-long travelling exhibitions – the Traditional Boats of Ireland (The Dónal Mac Polin Collection); A Trek Throough Time: images from the county archives; and Celebrating 120 Years of the History of Irish Local Government, while Derry Genealogy and Heritage centre is holding two Open Afternoons of talks and consultations.

Social media has been a major player in the Explore Your Archives campaign, and I've noticed high levels of activity and engagement on twitter (the only sm outlet I use). A series of themed hashtags were decided in advance (see image above right), so that archivists could prepare and present their own unique take of the day's hashtag term using twitter, facebook, instagram etc.

Some of those I've seen across my twitter feed have taken an amusing or unexpected twist on the day's 'tag term' or have revealed some very strange and unusual items among their archives. It's really been quite enlightening.

To join in the fun, and find out more about the fabulously diverse range of archive collections available across Ireland, search your preferred social media using any of the tags listed. It doesn't matter if the official day for that tag has passed... a search with a hashtag should still find the posts.