Friday, 22 February 2019

MyHeritage DNA: Flash Sale! Up to 25% off this weekend

MyHeritage is holding a flash sale on its DNA kits this weekend. It's for researchers based in the US, the UK & Ireland. It may be available elsewhere, too, but I haven't been informed of where.

US-based researchers can take advantage of a 25% discount, while Irish and British researchers can benefit from a 20% discount. Both offers come with an extra saving – if you buy two or more kits, you'll get free shipping.

To take advantage of the offer, click the most appropriate flag below, and order your kit(s) before the close of Monday 25 February, when the discount will expire.
Researchers in Ireland and UK – 20% discount reduces kit price from £75 to £59.

US-based researchers – 25% discount reduces kit price from $79 to $59.

Ulster Historical Foundation's USA Lecture Tour 2019

The Ulster Historical Foundation's annual USA Lecture Tour starts in just a couple of weeks (9–26 March), with Gillian Hunt and Fintan Mullan gearing up for another round of Irish and Scots-Irish family history workshops, talks and consultations.

Programmes vary to suit the local audiences but typically aim to help the researcher discover how to get the most out of Irish resources and records, gain strategies for breaking down brick walls, and grasp important historical context that may help fill in gaps in your research.

A summary of the itinerary is shown below. Click on the links to find our more from the organisers in each location. If you're stuck, click the link above.

Saturday 9 March: Concord, New Hampshire.
Program title: The Scots-Irish in New England. Host: New Hampshire Historical Society. 9am-4:30pm. Fee. Details.

Sunday 10 March: Trevose-Feasterville, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Program title: Researching Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors. Host: The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. 8:30am-4:30pm. Fee. Details.

Monday 11 March: Chicago, Illinois

Program title: Researching Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors. Host: Hosts: Irish American Heritage Center. 9am–5pm. Free. Details.

Tuesday 12 March: Madison, Wisconsin
Program title: Irish Genealogy. Host: The Wisconsin Historical Society. 9am-5pm. Fee. Details.

Wednesday 13 March: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Program title: Researching your Irish ancestors. Host: Brown County Library. 9am–3:30pm. Free. Details.

Thursday and Friday 14–15 March: Salt Lake city, Utah.

Program title: 'An Irish Gatherin': Researching Irish and Scots-Irish Roots. Host: Heritage Consulting LLC. Fee. Format and contacts.

Saturday 16 March: Denver, Colorado
Program title: Irish Research seminar. Host: Wales Ireland Scotland England Family History Society. Fee. 9am–4:30pm. Details.

Monday 18 March: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Program title: Irish Genealogy Workshop. Hosts: Heinz History Center and the Westmoreland County Historical Society. 9am-4:30pm. Fee. Details.

Tuesday 19 March: Louisville, Kentucky

Program title: Irish and Scots-Irish Family History Research Workshop. Host: The Filson Historical Society. 9am–1pm. Free to members. $20 to non-members. Details.

Wednesday 20 March: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Program title: Irish & Scots-Irish Research Seminar. Host: Family Hunger, PLLC and Jan Clizer—Painting Scotland. 1pm–8:30pm. Fee. Details.

Friday 22 March: Valparaiso, Indiana

Program title: Researching Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors. Host: Irish American Heritage Center. 9am–4pm. Free. Details.

Saturday 23 March: Tampa, Florida
Program title: Irish Genealogy Seminar. Hosts: Florida Genealogical Society, Pinellas Genealogical Society, Genealogical Society of Sarasota, Manatee Genealogical Society, The Villages Genealogical Society, Lakewood Ranch Genealogy Club. 8:30am–4pm. Fee. Details.

Sunday 24 March: Fairfield, Connecticut
Program title: Irish Genealogy Seminar/Workshop. Hosts: Gaelic American Club. 9am–4:30pm. Fee. Details.

Monday 25 March: New York City
Program title: Ancestors, Ireland and Emigration: Irish and Scots-Irish Genealogy. Hosts: Ulster Historical Foundation, Tourism Ireland and The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. 10am–4pm. Fee. Registration essential.

Tuesday 26 March: New York City
Program Title: Distant Ireland - Migrations to the New World. Hosts: American Irish Historical Society and Ulster Historical Foundation. 10:30am-1:30pm. Fee. Details.

FindMyPast adds more 'open' records to 1939 Register

FindMyPast has added more than 287,000 additional 'open' records to its 1939 National Register collection. This database, which is produced in partnership with The National Archives of the UK and covers England and Wales only, now holds more than 34.2million searchable records.
Each 'open' record includes name, address, date of birth, marital status and occupation, and the database can be searched by name or address.

'Open' records are those where either the individual would now be over 100 years old or where proof of death has been obtained for an individual born less than 100 years ago.

'Closed' records are those that have been redacted.

FindMyPast says it has 'opened' more than four million records since the Register was launched, so if you've unsuccessfully searched for a missing Irish ancestor before, it may be worth taking another look.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

National Irish Studies Conference, Manchester, 9 March

Manchester Irish Education Group
The Manchester Irish Education Group (MIEG) will be hosting this year's National Irish Studies Conference on Saturday 9 March at the Irish World Heritage Centre.

The event will run from 9am to 4:30pm. Lunch and refreshments are included in the ticket cost – £25 in advance or £30 on the day at the door. For more details and to book, click logo, right.

The conference will feature:

The Victorian Convict Prison on Spike Island, Cork Harbour, 1847-1883, with Barra Ó Donnabháin
Waves of Tory: Patsy Dan Rodgers, King of Tory Island, with Jim Hunter

Charles O Neill, Victorian polymath and Irish Nationalist, with Francis Ó Neill
The Orange Order in the Northwest of England 1807-1939, with Mervyn Busteed

Original paintings by Patsy Dan Rodgers, King of Tory

Irish Book Stall

Venue details: Irish World Heritage Centre, 1 Irish Town Way (off Queens Road), Cheetham, Manchester M8 0AE, UK. The modern building is next to Queens Road Metrolink Station on the Bury Line.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Accredited Genealogists Ireland elects three Emeritus members

At Belfast's Back To Our Past family history event last weekend, Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI) elected three former members of the organisation to the status of Emeritus Members.

All three former members were delighted to be recognised for their contribution over many years to the world of Irish genealogy, particularly in relation to Ulster.

They played no small part in the early development of what is now known as Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI). Hazel Ervine, Joan Petticrew and Marie Wilson were founder members of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland, which was established in Belfast in 1986. The group changed its name to Accredited Genealogists Ireland in 2015.

L-R: Hazel Ervine, Joan Petticrew and Marie Wilson receiving their certificates recording their election as
Emeritus Members of Accredited Genealogists Ireland. (Photo © North of Ireland Family History Society)

Until their retirement, each of the three women provided family history research services predominantly for those with Ulster ancestors. Much of their careers were spent in the pre-Internet era, when research was a hands-on experience requiring visits to archives and libraries and long hours browsing manuscript sources or trawling through microfilm.

Announcing their election as Emeritus Members, AGI President Joan Sharkey said: “Hazel, Joan and Marie are most deserving of this small act of recognition by AGI. They spent many years at the coal face of Irish genealogy and over their careers brought joy to thousands through their dedication and expertise.

“As working members of AGI, each made a serious and committed contribution to the promotion of Irish genealogy and to the setting of high standards among professional genealogists across the island of Ireland.”

Irish genealogy & history events, 18 Feb to 3 March

Monday 18 February: 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. Due to a staff meeting, all other services/exhibitons/cafe, including Genealogy Advisory Service, will open at 11am.

Monday 18 February: DNA Workshop, with Martin McDowell. Host: NIFHS, Larne Branch. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112-120 Glenarm Road, Larne, BT40 1DZ. Free. 7:30pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 19 February: 6-week Beginners Genealogy course starts, with Cavan Monaghan Education and Training board. Host and venue: Cootehill Library, Bridge St, Drumaveil North, Cootehill, Co Cavan. 6.30pm-8.30pm. Free. Booking is essential at 049 5559873.

Wednesday 20 February: Irish family history, with Chris Paton. Host: Garnock Valley Family History Group. Venue: Beith Townhouse, 2 Strand, Beith, Ayrshire KA15 1DT, Scotland. 7:30pm. Free for members; small charge for non-members. All welcome.

Wednesday 20 February: Maurice Meade, British/German WW1 soldier and legendary Irish freedom fighter, with Michael O Sullivan. Host: Emly Historical Society. Venue: St Ailbe's Hall, just off Main Street, Emly. Co Tipperary. 8pm. All welcome.

Wednesday 20 February: NI War Memorial Museum, with Alan Freeburn. 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.

Thursday 21 February: Soft power and subterfuge: the women of Tyrone's Rebellion, 1593-1603, with Dr James O'Neill. Hosts: Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies and PRONI. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 7pm to 8:30pm. Free, but you need to book.

Thursday 21 February: Eamon De Valera – a personal perspective, with Nora Owen. Host: Skehana & District Heritage Group and Screenes. Venue: Screenes Bar, Guilka, Co. Galway. 8:30pm. All welcome. Free entry. Complementary finger food.

Friday 22 February: Access restrictions at the RCB Library. No access to the Archives and Manuscripts Collections on Fridays (on-going). Access to Printed collection not affected. RCB Library, Braemor Park, Churchtown, Dublin 14. Details.

Friday 22 February: 1847 in Achill: the effects of the Famine, the struggle for survival, and the tragic drownings which afflicted the island, with Vincent English. Host: Achill Historical and Archaeological Society. Venue: Ted's Bar, Cashel, Achill Island, Co Mayo. 8pm. Admission €5. All welcome.

Monday 25 February: 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, will operate as normal.

Tuesday 26 February: Researching First World War relatives, with Alan Rosborough. Host: NIFHS, Belfast Branch. Venue: C S Lewis Room, Holywood Arches Library, 4-12 Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 1NT. 7:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 26 February: Tales from the Annals: Clare Surnames and Y-DNA, with Paddy Waldron. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm. Free to members. €5 for non-members, payable on the door. All welcome.

Tuesday 26 February: Irish family history, with Lisa Dougherty. Host and venue: Irish American Heritage Museum, 370 Broadway, Albany, New York 12207, USA. Free. 6:30pm–7:30pm. No need to register. (Rescheduled from 12 Feb.)

Tuesday 26 February: Branch workshop. Host: NIFHS, Causeway Branch. Venue: Guide Hall, Terrace Row, Coleraine BT52 1HF. Venue: Guide Hall, Terrace Row, Coleraine BT52 1HF. 8pm. All welcome. Free.

Wednesday 27 February: RCB Library closed to the public in the morning. Reopening at 2pm. RCBLibrary, Braemor Park, Churchtown, Dublin 14.

Thursday 28 February: Introduction to PRONI Online. Host: NIFHS, Ballymena Branch. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, BT43 5EJ. 7:15pm. Free. All welcome.

Thursday 28 February: Online family and local history resources, a workshop. Host and venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. This two-hour workshop includes an orientation tour of PRONI and an introduction to searching online resources. 6pm. Free. Need to book.

Thursday 28 February: Book launch: A Long Week In March: The 36th (Ulster) Division in the German Spring Offensive, March 1918, by Michael James Nugent. Host and venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 7pm. Free, but need to reserve your place.

Saturday 2 March: Genealogy Pot Luck, a day of Irish family history and DNA talks and discussion. Hosts: Irish/British Genealogy Meet Up Group and New York Irish Center. Venue: New York Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Avenue, Queens, New York, USA. 10am to 4pm. Cost: from $39, includes lunch and tea/coffee. Tickets.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: mid-Feb updates

St Joseph's cemetery, Bohola, Co Mayo. Photo
courtesy Dympna Beckett Joyce & IGP Archives.
Click image for enlarged image.
In the first couple of weeks of February, volunteers have contributed the files below to the free-to-access Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives.

The files cover five burial grounds in three west of Ireland counties, and contain headstone photos and inscriptions, as follows:

CLARE Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Ennistymon Old Cemetery - Part 1
Holy Rosary Graveyard, Doolin
Kilshanny Cemetery

MAYO Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Bohola, St. Joseph's Cemetery

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Caldra Cemetery, Elphin

Saturday, 16 February 2019 adds 18,000 Laois and Offaly records

Irish Midlands Ancestry has uploaded an interesting mix of 18,000 records for Laois (Queen’s County) and Offaly (King’s County) to its databases at

These records include:
  • Census Laois and Offaly, 1659
  • King’s County Chronicle, 1890-1895
  • King’s County Electors, 1836
  • King’s County Voters, 1829
  • Landholders, King’s County, 1824
  • Landowners, King’s County, 1876
  • Landowners, Queen’s County, 1876
  • Queen’s County Freeholders, 1758-75
  • Queen’s County Voters, 1846
  • Rateable Occupiers of Geashill Barony (King’s County), 1883-84
  • Subscribers Parsonstown Poor Relief Fund, 1855
  • Tullamore RC baptisms, 1900-1916 (these join existing records dating from 1819)
  • Tullamore RC marriages, 1900-1916 (these join existing records dating from 1801)
To view the detailed menu of records held within each database, go to Co. Laois online sources or Co.Offaly online sources.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Free access to Ancestry's Irish & UK record collections

Click image to start searching
Ancestry has opened up its UK and Ireland collection today for a long weekend of free access to all researchers. It runs until 11:59pm GMT on Monday 18 February.

You'll find a full and very long list of all the record sets featuring in the free access promotion here.

You need a registered account to view the records. If you don't already have one (you don't need a current subscription), you'll be prompted to do so when you start to search for records. It's free, quick and easy to register, and you have only to provide your name and email address.

Start searching by clicking the image, right.

FindMyPast adds 23m records to US Marriage collection

1910 Affadivit for License to Marry, New York
Click for expanded view.
FindMyPast has added a cool 23 million records to its existing United States Marriages collection. The additions include records from 46 states and span nearly 450 years dating back to 16th-century Massachusetts.

While some of these records offer only a transcript, about half provide both a transcript and an image of the original document. All kinds of record types feature in the collection, including applications, licenses, certificates, intentions to marry, registers, bonds, and affidavits, plus a small collections of banns records. As such, the information provided by each record varies, but most give date and place for both bride and groom, as well as both sets of parents.

With this top-up, FindMyPast's United States Marriages (and Divorces) collection contains more than 214 million records.