Friday, 13 December 2019

Upload your raw DNA data file to receive free forever access to all MyHeritageDNA features: offer ends 18 Dec.
Until 11:59pm on Wednesday 18 December, researchers who have taken an autosomal DNA test with a testing service other than MyHeritage (see supported files below), can upload their raw DNA data file to MyHeritage and receive all advanced DNA features for free, forever.

This option will save researchers the usual $29 'unlock' fee per kit.

MyHeritageDNA's basic features include receiving, exporting and contacting DNA Matches (there are more than 3.5million people in the database now), and viewing shared ancestral surnames. The Advanced features are these:
  • Ethnicity Estimate
  • Chromosome Browser
  • View family trees and pedigree charts of your DNA Matches
  • Shared DNA Matches
  • Shared ethnicities
  • Shared ancestral places
  • AutoClusters
  • Theory of Family Relativity [™]
If you upload your DNA data in the next five days you'll have free access to ALL of the above not just for one week, but permanently.

MyHeritage supports DNA files from AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder, 23andMe (all versions, including v5).

You can find instructions for exporting your data from another service and uploading it to MyHeritage on MyHeritage's DNA upload page.

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 since 3 December. As you can see, it's been a pretty busy time. (The previous listing was on 2 December, 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. By default, it will also be useful to anyone carrying out research in those three nations, regardless of the origin of their ancestors.

The figures in parenthesis in the New Collections section are the numbers of records/images in the new 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.








British Newspaper Archive (and FindMyPast's British Newspaper Collection) New titles

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Registry of Deeds Digitisation Project seeks Archivist

It's good to see the Registry of Deeds Digitisation Project moving forward!

An advertisement for a Digitisation Archivist has been published today on It confirms the Property Registration Authority 'is now embarking on a long-term project to digitise its collections', which we have known since June when the the Registry of Deeds Digitisation Stategy Advisory Group was set up. The recruitment of a professionally qualified archivist with experience in the areas of cataloguing and digitisatiion will be a major step along the long road. Interviews are expected to take place in February 2020.

A note in the detailed job description booklet reminded me of the intention to merge the Property Registration Authority, the Valuation Office and Ordnance Survey Ireland. This merger of the three state agencies has been progressing sluggishly – I think it must now be at least a year behind the original timetable. Let's hope this isn't a taste of what's to come with the digitisation project..

When established, the new organisation – to be known as Tailte √Čireann (TE) – will be responsible for providing the authoritative property registration system, national mapping and surveying infrastructure and property valuation service for the State. As such, it will be the primary national source of property information and geo-spatial data and will be a leader in the development and delivery of land information services.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Steven Smyrl elected Fellow of Society of Genealogists

Dublin-based genealogist Steven Smyrl has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists (SoG).

The London-based organisation is one of the oldest and most prestigious bodies dedicated to ancestral research and it is a great and rare honour to be awarded Fellowship. His election comes in due recognition of many years of distinguished service to the field of Irish genealogy.

Steven’s most significant contribution to the wider genealogical community, and to society at large, relates to civil registration in Ireland. He was the driving force behind a successful campaign which achieved fundamental change on both sides of the border.

Steven Smyrl
He argued that to bring integrity to the civil registration system there was an overriding need to improve the calibre of death registrations through broadening the data recorded. While there had been some helpful changes in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s, the system had remained completely unchanged in the Republic of Ireland since registration of deaths
first began in 1864.

Steven’s tireless advocacy ensured that since 2005 the Republic’s death registrations began recording each deceased person’s date and place of birth and their parents’ names. He followed this by securing the Northern Ireland Assembly’s backing in 2009 to begin recording parents’ names in all Northern Ireland death registrations.

Subsequently, his achievement was described in The Irish Times as ‘spectacular’.

He is a highly respected professional genealogist, holding credentials since 1991 as a Member of Accredited Genealogists Ireland, the island's regulating body for professional genealogists.

As well as specialising in legal and probate research, Steven is an authority on sources for Irish Dissenting Protestants.  His most significant published work is the Dictionary of Dublin Dissent – Dublin’s Protestant Dissenting Meetinghouses: 1660-1920, published in 2009.

Television viewers will know Steven from the IFTA-nominated RTE TV series Dead Money, which was based exclusively on probate research undertaken by his firm, Massey and King. Readers of Ireland’s only independent family history magazine, Irish Roots, will also be familiar with Steven’s regular column ‘And another thing …’ through which his knowledge, expertise and his wit are given a regular public airing.

Steven is well-known for his contributions to the world of Irish genealogy in a voluntary capacity.  He has served terms as both Hon. Secretary and later President of Accredited Genealogists Irelan. He was twice Chairman of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations and since 2010 he has been Chairman of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

In addition, Steven has compiled comprehensive manuscript catalogues to surviving records in the Republic for both the Methodist Church in Ireland and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. In many cases his work uncovered records long thought to be lost.

On a personal note, I would like to add that Steven is extremely generous with his genealogical knowledge. He has helped me on many many occasions with specialist background information that I've needed either for this blog, my website or when I was writing my book. There be treasures in his head about Irish record collections and I'm not alone in being grateful for his kind sharing of them, so I am delighted he has received this well deserved recognition from SoG.

The Fellowship of SoG is the second such honour granted to Steven.  Twelve years ago in 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 adds Workhouses and PLU data

Riding in just a few weeks after the addition of  data from of fully surveyed burial grounds across Ireland (see blogpost), has added map data of the island's Workhouses and Poor Law Unions.
Ireland's workhouses mapped
It is based on the data and research work of Peter Higginsbotham, the well-known expert on workhouses in the geographical British Isles, and the new maps provide details on each Irish Workhouse and associated Poor Law Union area and provide links to excellent external resources. It is definitely worth exploring. You'll find the Workhouses map under the Architecture 'layer'.

The workhouse maps display the locations of each workhouse and additional data provides information about the structures, and whether the building survives and has been adapted for alternative use. (There are remains of more than 80 workhouses and some are still used as working institutions.)

To create the HeritageMaps dataset, information has been provided by Peter Higginsbotham, Mike Murphy of University College Cork and the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine.

Below is a screengrab of data provided for Dunmanway Workhouse in South West County Cork.


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.





The Genealogist

Some of the above content contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you buy via these links. This does not affect the price you pay as a consumer, but it does contribute to keeping Irish Genealogy News online. See Advertising Disclosure tab above.

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)