Friday, 30 July 2021

Two-week summary of new and updated US genealogy collections

Below is a summary of US family history collections that have been released or updated by the major genealogy databases in the last two weeks. (The previous summary list was published on 12 July, 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, if provided by the database.

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. I do not include updates of fewer than 1,000 records.


NEW COLLECTIONS


AmericanAncestors
  • Narragansett Historical Register, 1882-1891, “a magazine devoted to the Antiquities, Genealogy and Historical Matter illustrating the history of the Narragansett Country, or Southern Rhode Island" (5,500 records and names)

Ancestry

FamilySearch

Fold3

UPDATED COLLECTIONS


AmericanAncestors

Ancestry

FamilySearch

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Thursday, 29 July 2021

BritishNewspaperArchive database races past 44m-page milestone

The BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk, the online version of the British Library's Newspaper Collection, passed the 44million-page milestone yesterday evening with a raft of debut titles joining the database. Today it stands at 44,073,418 pages.
From The Umpire, 29 July 1888

With most of the mainstream dailies and weeklies published in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland already available in the database at this stage of the digitisation project – it started in 2013 – it's not a big surprise to see several niche or short-lived titles in this latest eclectic batch of additions.

Among them are The Tailor and Cutter, an advertisement brochure which also carried news and educational features for the tailoring industry 1867-1918); The Standard of Freedom and The Public Cause, which took their politics, social views and themselves very seriously indeed; The True Sun, whose owner, printer and publisher were imprisioned for encouraging resistence to payment of a new tax, The Englishman, printed in Calcutta and sending colonial news back to the mother country; and, out of Manchester, The Umpire, which brought a truly bizarre style of journalism to newstands for a couple of decades over the turn of the 19th/20th centuries (see image, right).

You can see the latest additions here. No Irish titles in the latest crop, unfortunately.

Titles in the BritishNewspaperArchive database are shared with some FindMyPast subscription packages.


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.


NEHGS: Catholic cemeteries collection (MA) grows to 675k records

In its third instalment of burial and cemetery records administered by the CCA in eastern Massachusetts (for details of the launch, see February blogpost), AmericanAncestors.org* has added a further 96,400 searchable records to its Massachusetts Catholic Cemetery Association collection.

The records are primarily lot sales and interments, and may include information about lot owners, date of burial and location of burial. Some of the people represented in these written records may not have purchased a grave marker or their marker may have eroded with time, making this collection essential for research into Catholic burials in this region.

Given the location of the burial grounds, it is also a major collection for Irish family historians looking for details of ancestors who emigrated to North America.

This latest upload adds records from three new cemeteries and completes one other, making a current total of 675,300 available searchable records from 16 burial grounds.

These cemeteries are: Calvary (Winchester), Catholic Mount Auburn (Watertown), St. Patrick (Stoneham), St. Paul (Arlington), Malden (Holy Cross) Calvary (Waltham), Sacred Heart (Andover), St George (Framingham), St James (Haverhill), St Joseph (Haverhill), St Jean Baptiste (Lynn), St Mary (Beverley), St Mary (Malden), Immaculate Conception (Marlborough), St. Francis de Sales (Charlestown) and St. Joseph (Lynn).

Records from just four CCA cemeteries remain outstanding: Cambridge (North Cambridge), St Mary (Lynn), St Mary (Salem), St Patrick (Watertown). These are expected to be available by the end of the year.

In addition to the searchable database, maps of each cemetery are being made available to help locate burial plots. They have been uploaded for ten of the grounds already. Where possible, maps include sections, ranges and in some cases narrative description of how headstones are arranged by row and lot number. Also included are points of interest such as entrances, exits, flag poles, monuments, offices and spigots. Special sections for the burials of infants, priests and religious are also noted.

* Subscription required

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

RootsIreland adds more than 20,000 Catholic records for Co. Kerry

RootsIreland.ie has had another update (see yesterday's blogpost for new Laois and Offaly additions), this time for its County Kerry collection.

The new records have been transcribed from 20,893 entries in the Roman Catholic registers of the following two parishes:

  • Causeway baptisms, 1783-1900 (19,617 records)
  • Abbeydorney marriages, 1836-1900 (1276 records)

Transcriptions of records dated up to 1880/1 link to images of the relevant pages in the National Library of Ireland's RC registers' site.

To login and search these records, click the logo above.

You can see a full menu of the Co. Kerry record sets in the RootsIreland database here.

Monday, 26 July 2021

RootsIreland adds trade directory records from Laois and Offaly

The records of nearly 18,000 traders working in Counties Laois and Offaly between 1788 and 1894 have been added to the RootsIreland database. 

These 'census substitute' records have been transcribed from the following trade directories:

County Laois:

  • Lucas's Directory, 1788 (79 records) 
  • Pigot's Directory, 1824 (559 records) 
  • Porter's Directory, 1908 (330 records) 
  • Slater's Directory, 1846-1894 (7744 records) 

County Offaly:

  • Birr Directory 1889 (324 records) 
  • Pigot's Directory 1824 (530 records) 
  • Porter's Directory 1908 (246 records) 
  • Slater's Directory 1846-1894 (7475 records)

To search these records, go to the County Laois or County Offaly search page and choose "Census Substitutes". Select an entry from the "Source" drop-down-list, if required. 

To login or subscribe, click the logos above.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

British genealogy collections: updates & releases, 10-day summary

Below is a summary of new and updated family history record collections for England, Scotland and Wales released by the major genealogy databases over the last ten days (see previous summary, 16 July).

This regular summary of releases and updates relating to British collections is designed to help family historians whose Irish ancestors migrated, 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. In some instances, the supplier has not made this figure available. Where two figures are given, the first is the number of additions, the second is the new total.

Please note that I don't usually include updates of fewer than 1,000 records.


NEW COLLECTIONS


BritishNewspaperArchive



UPDATED COLLECTIONS


Ancestry

FamilySearch

FindMyPast

National Library of Scotland
  • Scottish maps Town plans: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, plus special series maps

TheGenealogist

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Friday, 23 July 2021

Half a million Irish recorded in New York Almshouses ledgers index

Ancestry has come up with another (see yesterday's blogpost) not-so-obvious collection of potential value to Irish family historians. It's an index to the New York, U.S. Almshouse Ledgers, 1758-1952 and, if the index is counting records correctly, holds very nearly half a million records of Irish-born individuals.

The official total of entries in the collection is 1,113,040. The Irish-born contingent of 486,894 make up the largest single group – more than the USA-born total.

The term 'almshouses' covers a number of institution types that provided aid to the poor and the sick. They included workhouses, barracks, infirmaries, prisons and asylums, and typically gave help to immigrants fleeing famine and persecution.

The ledgers transcribed for this collection detail admissions (voluntary or otherwise), discharges, deaths, and census information for the various types of almshouse and may include the following information:

That's a mighty number of candles required for the cake!

  • Person’s name
  • Birth date or year
  • Date of admission
  • Date of discharge
  • Date of death
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Names of relatives

When exploring the records, you'll need to be aware that the stated ages of individuals are frequently way out. In a casual glance through some of those born in Ireland you'd be forgiven for thinking some of the inmates of these institutions were living to extraordinary ages.

Take Lizzie Ward who was admitted in 1898 aged 65; according to the transcribed record, she died aged 147 in 1980. Call me a cynic, but I doubt it! I think a discharge date of 1880 or even 1890 is more likely.

Following a similar mistake pattern, widowed labourer James Sullivan was 58 when he went into the almshouse in 1900 and was probably discharged some (considerable) time before the 1968 recorded in the index. You have been warned!

Ancestry's description of the collection is worth reading and points researchers who want to search for more details of an almshouse inmate to its New York State Records Collection.


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Thursday, 22 July 2021

Plenty of potential for Irish genealogists in UK Criminal collection

Back in January, Ancestry released a multi-source crime record-set they've called the UK, Registers of Habitual Criminals and Police Gazettes, 1834-1934 collection. Usually, when I see a new UK-laberlled collection arrive in a major database, I check out its potential value for Irish family historians, but it seems that I didn't get around to it on this occasion. Having had it brought to my attention*, I've now had a chance to explore, and I think it will of interest to those with ancestors who migrated to Britain or went AWOL from the British military forces.

Click image to see enlarged sample from Ancestry's UK, Registers of
Habitual Criminals and Police Gazettes, 1834-1934 collection

There are just under 260,000 records in this collection in total. Some 10,900-odd are noted as being born in Ireland, but there may also be many second-generation Irish recorded, too. The really good news is that a county of birth is noted for about half the Irish-born, and some even include a town name. I've seen a Drogheda, Louth; Olla, Limerick; Newry, Down; Cloone, Leitrim; and several more examples, just on one page of 'absent from the militia' notices. Although some of the spellings of placenames might require a bit of unravelling (see Logainm), this collection could provide that vital nugget of an ancestor's place of origin in Ireland.

In addition, the details in each entry provides some terrific personal detail, even if you might have mixed feelings on discovering your ancestor was a violent criminal, living on illegal earnings, or responsible for some deeply unpleasant acts against others. In most cases, the descriptions of the individuals include their tattoos, scars, amputations, moles, vaccination scars and other disfigurements, in addition to the more frequently recorded hair and eye colour, as well as other readily recognisable characteristics or peculiarities.

Sources in the collection include: 

  • Habitual Criminal Register 
  • Habitual Drunkards: Portraits and Descriptions 
  • Misc papers relating to institution of Criminal Registers 
  • Police Gazette 
  • Police Gazette or Hue and Cry
  • Police Gazette Supplement A 
  • Police Information
  • Prevention of Crime - Habitual Criminals Booklet 

* Many thanks to Dublin-based genie Claire Bradley

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.

 

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland: Free online talks, Aug-Oct

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland will be hosting some free online talks over the next few months and they include topics sure to be of interest to family and general historians.

The repository's lectures and workshops are often over-subscribed, so I'm listing the upcoming ones while spaces are still available, rather than wait until my regular events summaries when there may be no places left.

Each of the talks listed below will be presented online and, while free, booking is essential. 


August

Wednesday 11 August: PRONI’s Maritime Connection Archives, with Stephen Scarth, who will explore the many records held by PRONI relating to the maritime history of Belfast and the development of the harbour around which the city has grown. his illustrated talk will showcase maps, photographs, journals, letters, and official files relating to the development of shipbuilding on the River Lagan. It will include examples from the collections of Harland & Wolff, the Belfast Harbour Commissioners and the Ministry of Transport.

Time: 2pm-3pm (BST). Booking.


September

Tuesday 7 September: Using Ordnance Survey Maps, an online workshop. PRONI holds the original OS archive for the six counties of present day Northern Ireland, including manuscript maps, field sketches and name books, and a range of them is accessible in digital format using the PRONI Historical Maps Viewer. This workshop will introduce basic map reading skills and demonstrate how the Maps Viewer can be used to browse historical OS maps and modern basemaps (including aerial imagery) for all areas of Northern Ireland. A variety of tools and 'widgets' will be demonstrated so you can search, browse, compare and find.

Time: 7pm-8:15pm (BST). Booking.

Tuesday 21 September: D.A. Chart Seminar on Maps 2021 - The Down Survey of the 1650s and the transformation of Ireland, with Micheál Ó Siochrú. The Down Survey (1656-8) played a key role in the transformation of the island, establishing the Protestant Ascendancy that dominated Irish political and economic life for centuries thereafter. Teams of soldier-surveyors measured townlands throughout the country, organised by parish. The resulting cadastral maps, at a scale of 40 perches to one inch (the modern equivalent of 1:50,000), are unique for the time – nothing as systematic or on such a large scale exists anywhere else in the world.

Time: 7pm-8:15pm. Booking.


October

Wednesday 13 October: The Boer War and its Legacy, with Dr Spencer Jones. The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) was a bitter and controversial conflict that marked a watershed in the history of the British Empire. Britain had gone to war in 1899 confident of a swift victory against the outnumbered Boer irregulars. But the conflict confounded these expectations. In this talk, Dr Spence Jones will explore the course and conduct of the Boer War and consider its legacy for both Britain and her army.

Time: 8pm-9pm. Booking.


Tutor Sean Murphy returns to NLI for beginners' genealogy course

The National Library of Ireland is to host a new online Beginners level course in Genealogy Research this autumn. It will be presented by the well-known lecturer and genealogist Sean Murphy MA.

The course will take place on Wednesday afternoons (2–4pm) over an 8-week period starting on Wednesday 8 September and ending on Wednesday 27 October.

In line with current public health guidelines, the course will be held on Zoom, and places are limited. The fee is €100.

This course is usually over-subscribed, so if you want further information or wish to book your place, I suggest you contact the organiser without delay. Email Brid O Sullivan at bosullivan@nli.ie.