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.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Irish genealogy, history & heritage events, 13-26 May

Monday 13 May: NLI closures: All services/exhibitons/cafe, including Genealogy Advisory Service, will be closed until 11am to facilitate a staff meeting. Main Reading Room and Manuscript Room remain closed all day to facilitate the Library's continuing redevelopment of the premises. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Monday 13 May: Artefacts evening and AGM. Host: NIFHS, Newtownabbey branch. Venue: North of Ireland Family History Society, Newtownabbey branch. Venue: Drama Theatre, Glengormley High School, 134 Ballyclare Road, Newtownabbey, BT36 5HP. Free. 7pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 14 May: The Mills around Lisburn, with Sebastian Graham. Host: NIFHS, Lisburn branch. Bridge Community Centre, 50 Railway Street, Lisburn, BT 28 1XP. Free. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Wednesday 15 May: Show and Tell, with branch members, plus AGM. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, North Armagh Branch. Venue: Bleary Community Centre, 1 Deans Road, Bleary, Craigavon, Co Armagh, BT66 7AS. Free. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Wednesday 15 May: Finding the Source: A survey of Irish genealogical websites and databases, a genealogy workshop for intermediate researchers, with Miles Davenport. Host and venue: McClelland Library (Norton Room), Irish Cultural Centre, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Costs: $15 for Library/ICC members / $20 for non-members. 11am to 1:30pm. Details and registration.

Wednesday 15 May: Researching Cemeteries, with Tom Hartley. Host and venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1pm. Need to book. All welcome. Free.

Wednesday 15 May: Ireland in a Revolutionary World 1918-1923, with Maurice Walsh. 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 15 May: We are the survivors: Boyle workhouse and emigration in Famine times, with Barry Feely. Host: Carrick on Shannon & District Historical Society. Venue: Bush Hotel, Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim. €5. Members free. All welcome. 8:30pm.

Thursday 16 May: Symposium on the Pursuit and Practice of Local History. with Professor Raymond Gillespie and Dr Olwen Purdue. Hosts: The Irish Committee of Historical Sciences and the Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies. Venue: PRONI, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 6pm-8:30pm. Free. Details.

Thursday 16 May: History Scoops. Three short talks: The experience of women furing the Irish War of Independence, with Prof Linda Connolly; Political elections during the War of Independence, with Dr Martin O'Donaghue; Heroes and villains - Commemorating the War, with Kieran Doyle. Host: Michael Collins House. Venue: De Barras, 55 Pearse St, Scartagh, Clonakilty, Co Cork. 8pm. Free. No booking required but seats available on a first come first served basis.

Thursday 16 May: Creative Rebellion: Art, Literature and Politics in the Revolutionary Years, with Angus Mitchell & Caoilfhionn Ní Bheacháin. Host: Fethard Historical Society. Venue: Fethard Abymill Theatre, Abbeyville, Moneypark, Co. Tipperary. 8pm. Admission: Members €3/Non-members €6.

Friday 17 May: 2019 IHTA seminar: Seascapes and Townscapes – Ports and the nineteenth-century city. Hosts: RIA and Dublin Port Company. Venue: Academy House, RIA, Dawson Street, Dublin 2. 10am to 6pm. Free to attend. Need to book. Registration and details.

Friday 17 to Sunday 19 May: Emigration - voluntary or forced – a genealogy conference. Host: Armagh Ancestry. Venue: Navan Centre & Fort, 81 Killylea Road, Armagh, BT60 4LD. Speakers include Feargal O'Donnell of Armagh Ancestry, Brian Mitchell, Dr William Roulston, Dr Brendan Scott, plus many more. Friday 6-9pm. Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 9:30am–6pm. Two days £20/Three days £30. Details.

Saturday 18 May: IGRS Ireland Branch – Open Day. Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. 9:30am - 5:00pm. Lectures include: A pile of stones, a living memory, a family member: Bowen's Court, Elizabeth Bowen, and imagining the Irish gentry, with Dr Ian D'Alton at 10:30am; 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; and Publishing research in The Irish Genealogist, with David Butler. Free. All welcome to attend. Details.

Saturday 18 May: AGM followed by visit to Drumragh Old Graveyard. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Tyrone Branch. Venue: Committee Room, Omagh Library, 1 Spillars Place, Omagh, Co Tyrone. 10am. Free. All welcome.

Saturday 18 May: A tour of the Irish Historic Towns Atlas of Drogheda, with its author, Ned McHugh. Host: Louth County Council. Venue: Highlanes Gallery, 36 St Laurence St, Lagavooren, Drogheda, Co. Louth. Free. 3pm. Booking advised. Details.

Sunday 19 May: Emigration - voluntary or forced – a genealogy conference, final day. Host: Armagh Ancestry. Venue: Navan Centre & Fort, 81 Killylea Road, Armagh, BT60 4LD. 9:30am to 6pm. Details

Sunday 19 May: Guided tour of Bully's Acre, Dublin's oldest cemetery, with Paul O'Brien. 2pm. Free, but numbers limited, so booking essential. Email Paul at

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.

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: 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.

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.

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.

Friday, 10 May 2019

County Monaghan's War of Independence files released

A launch reception last night in Monaghan County Museum saw the release of a free online archive of War of Independence files, many including personal recollections of former members of the Old IRA who were active in County Monaghan during the War of Independence.

The statements in the files were collected to produce a book published in 1966 for the County's commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the state. They were gathered from veterans by members of the clergy and include handwritten and typewritten documents, letters and copy books.

View the Monaghan War of Independence Files
Many of the statements are in the person's own handwriting, accompanied by a covering letter.

The files contain personal names (often in lists of the writer's comrades in arms), place names and business names making them an excellent resource for local or family history research.

This unique archive of more than 500 pages provides a clear insight into what it was like to live in Monaghan one hundred years ago during the War of Independence.

To view the files, click the image to reach the Monaghan County Museum website. You'll find two short videos that are worth watching. One provides an introduction to the archive, the other shows you how to search the online database. I'd recommend the latter, even though I was unable to find acommpanying audio.

IGRS London Open Day, Saturday 11 May

Tomorrow, Saturday 11 May, the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) will be hosting its Open Day & AGM in London.

The event will follow its popular format of two talks in the morning, followed by a finger buffet lunch and a chance to chat to other Irish family historians, followed by the AGM in the afternoon. I've attended several IGRS Open Days and can guarantee you a relaxed, informal but informative event where everyone is welcomed, whether members or not.

Just a small handful of places remain as of this morning, so be sure to book quickly if you want to attend.

Here's the programme:

10:15   Registration, coffee and biscuits

10.45   Mining for Treasure in the IGRS Collections, with Jill Williams, FIGRS

11.45   Freed felons, Land Hungry Migrants and Imperial Infantry: The Biographical Database of Australia as a Source for Genealogists, with Michael Flynn

13:00   Lunch

14:15   IGRS AGM (All welcome, but only members may vote)

15:30   Close

Venue: The Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BU. Close to St James's Park and Westminster tube stations.

Cost: The charge for attending the morning lectures, which includes lunch, is £25 members/ £30 for non-members. The AGM is free.

Details and booking.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

New edition of Sean Murphy's Primer in Irish Genealogy

Genealogist and tutor Sean Murphy has published a 2019 edition of his Primer in Irish Genealogy. The free e-book can be downloaded here (last item on page).

2019 edition published
Sean says his Primer continues to serve as a textbook for his ongoing lectures in the National Library of Ireland and elsewhere, as well as being of assistance to those in Ireland and abroad who wish to trace their Irish ancestors.

The e-book commences with an outline of genealogy, research methods, computers and the Internet, provides a lesson on placenames, forenames and surnames, goes on to introduce census, vital, valuation, church and other core records, and provides a case study of Sean's ancestors, the Murphys of Ballylusky, Co. Kerry. The work concludes with sample copy pedigrees and documents, select lists of publications and online resources.

There's even a quiz! You can test your knowledge in a 10-question test on page 56 of the Primer (the answers are on the following page).

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Drogheda gets the Irish Historic Towns Atlas treatment

The first addition in three years to the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) series – No 29 - Drogheda, by Ned McHugh – will be published this month.
Published by Royal Irish Academy
Drogheda has a rich and varied history that has been carefully compiled by McHugh, a retired secondary school teacher with a long association with the County Louth town and port. He completed a Masters in Local History and published Drogheda before the Famine: urban poverty in the shadow of privilege 1826–45 (Dublin, 1998) as part of the Maynooth Local History Series. He has also written articles on various aspects of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Drogheda.

In preparing the Drogheda Atlas, he has trawled hundreds of sources to generate histories of thousands of topographic sites in the town. The publication (ISBN: 9781908997746; €35) will be available in large format with many historical and modern maps and illustrations in loose sheets to accompany the detailed text section.

A launch event will take place on Saturday 18 May at 3pm at the Highlanes Gallery in Drogheda, where the author will present a talk about the work. Sponsored by Louth County Council, the event is free to attend but you need to book a place via Eventbrite.

The IHTA series, a project of the Royal Irish Academy, was established in 1981. It's aim is to record the topographical development of a selection of Irish towns both large and small, and each town is published individually and includes a number of maps and detailed text. It is part of a wider European scheme, with towns atlases containing broadly similar information available for a number of countries. This allows Irish towns to be studied in their European context. You can find out more about the IHTA here.

Forthcoming titles for the series are Ballyshannon, Cahir, Carlow, Cashel, Cavan, Clonmel, Cork, Dungarvan, Loughrea, Naas, Newry, Roscommon, Tralee, Tullamore, Waterford and Westport.