Friday 8 December 2023

Book launch: Christmas and the Irish: A Miscellany

A timely launch if ever there was: Christmas and the Irish – A Miscellany covers the festive season in Ireland from the seventh century to the present day. In 75 articles, ranging from the serious to the light-hearted, writers from a range of academic disciplines and professions reflect on what Christmas has meant to the island's people.

Topics covered in this volume include: the theme of light in early Irish texts; festive feasting and fighting in the Middle Ages; the Kilmore carols of County Wexford; the history of Irish Christmas food through the centuries; crimes of Christmas past; Christmas on the Blasket Islands; the claim that 'Santa's Grave' is in County Kilkenny; why Irish missionaries in Zimbabwe regularly missed out on their Christmas dinner; the origins and early life of the Late Late Toy Show; the Wren Boys; 'Women's Christmas'; Irish links to popular Christmas carols; and the curious custom of reciting 4,000 Hail Marys in the lead up to the big day.

Edited by Professor Salvador Ryan, and following the success of his three-volume series on Birth, Marriage and Death and the Irish (2016-2021), this anthology will prove a fascinating read for all who are interested in the social, cultural, and religious history of Ireland.

The launch will be hosted by Tipperary Studies at The Source Library in Thurles, County Tipperary, on Thursday 12 December from 7pm. Copies of the 388-page paperback will be available to purchase on the night, but if you can't attend, you can purchase online via Wordwell (the publisher), Barnes and Noble, O'Mahony's, or visit other good bookstores.

FindMyPast improves its Irish RC parish marriages collection

Today's FindMyPast Friday announcement brings news that its Irish Roman Catholic parish marriages collection, which remains free to access, has been improved.

This important collection, which holds more than three million records dating to 1880/1 and is one of the key resources for family historians with connections to Ireland, offers transcriptions of register images hosted online by the National Library of Ireland at

A precise description of the improvement process has not been provided by FindMyPast. Instead, the company says that transcripts have been improved and some names previously not transcribed have now been included, which should mean there are now more individuals available to search.

It says significant improvements have been made to 19,000 records in the collection.

You'll find a list of RC parishes covered by this collection here. It includes the maximum time-span of records for each parish and there may be gaps within them.

FindMyPast also has indexes to both the NLI-sourced baptisms and burials. Whether these will be subjected to similar quality control efforts in the future, I don't know.

Thursday 7 December 2023

Free interactive digital atlas of historical Cork City launched

A free online interactive map of Cork City was launched today. The Digital Atlas of Cork/Corcaigh invites visitors to discover the city of Cork in a new way by exploring early maps of different dates and detailed historical information for 6,245 sites dating from AD623 to 1900. It includes descriptions of more than 800 streets, including their names in Irish and English, as well as historical varients.

Screengrab from the Digital Atlas of Cork/Corcaigh.
Click image to learn more.

Additional map layers will be released over the coming months, providing access for the first time to digitised town plans by the Ordnance Survey (1842) and Valuation Office (1852–64).

The digital atlas is based on research carried out for Irish Historic Towns Atlas, no. 31, Cork/Corcaigh by H.B. Clarke and Máire Ní Laoi, which will be published in print by the Royal Irish Academy in May 2024.

The Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) was established in 1981. The aim of the programme is to record the topographical development of a selection of Irish towns both large and small.

Each town is published separately as a fascicle or folder and includes a series of maps complemented by a detailed text section. The IHTA is part of a wider European scheme, with towns atlases containing broadly similar information available for a number of countries, allowing Irish towns to be studied in their European context.

See the Lord Mayor of Cork's brief video introduction to the publication below.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

November additions to Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives

Please see below the new and updated records and photos donated and uploaded to Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives during November.

If you have any records or headstone photographs to contribute to this growing free database, check out the website at

Entrance to St Mary's Graveyard, Ballyneale, Co. Tipperary
Photo courtesy Joanne Jacobsen Davin and IGPArchives.

CAVAN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Loch Gowna R.C. Cemetery Pt 1, Loch Gowna
Our Lady of Lourdes, Ballyconnell - Additional

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives - Church Records
St Johnston Presbyterian Marriages - 1845-1921

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Christus Rex Cemetery, Mooncoin Part 2

TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives - Headstones
St Mary R.C. Graveyard, Ballyneale Part 1
St John the Baptist, Powerstown (Partial)

TYRONE Genealogy Archives - Church Records
Clady Presbyterian Marriages 1845-1921
Donemana Presbyterian Marriages 1845-1921

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Ishartmon Graveyard, near Butlerstown

Monday 4 December 2023

National Archives of Ireland closed this week for Media Preview

Reading Room of the National Archives of Ireland
Photo courtesy of NAI

A quickie reminder that the National Archives of Ireland will be closed to researchers throughout this week. Normal opening hours will resume on Monday 11 December.

The closure is to facilitate the annual Media Preview, when the reading room is taken over by newspaper and press agency journalists exploring documents and other material from government departments that will be released to the public in the New Year.

Most of the material relates to the year 1993 and will be released to the public for consultation in the Reading Room on Tuesday 2 January 2024.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Two-week listing of English, Scottish & Welsh genealogy releases

Below is an overview of newly-released and updated genealogy collections for England, Scotland and Wales from the major family history database providers. (For previous list, see 14 November blogpost.)

My regular summary of releases and updates relating to British collections is designed to help researchers 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 parentheses in the New Collections section are the numbers of records (or images, if browse-only) in the new record set.

Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parentheses 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 so the figure is the new total. 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.



BritishNewspaperArchive and some FindMyPast subscriptions


General Register Office (GRO) UK







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Monday 27 November 2023

New edition (Q4) of Irish Roots magazine published

The final 2023 edition of Irish Roots, Ireland's only independent genealogy magazine, has been published. As always it includes helpful guidance and tips on researching Irish family connections by both traditional means and dna testing, details of specialist archives and localised resources in the island of Ireland and beyond, articles focussing on historical events and times our ancestors may have lived through, news of recent record releases and genealogy society activities, as well as comment, observations, answers to research queries, and a whole lot more.

Here are some of this issue's main features:

  • Researching Catholic Convent Archives
  • Using Autosomal DNA to break through brick walls
  • Co. Louth@ local family history resources
  • Remembering Sean Foster; the first child fatality of the 1916 Easter Rising
  • Adopt A Monument
  • In search of my Irish ancestor
  • Genealogy Tips from the IGRS
  • What’s New? The latest record releases
  • Surnames of County Louth
  • Tracing my Coffey Ancestors from Wisconsin to Westmeath
  • Irish Australian threads among the gold

Irish Roots is published quarterly and is available in digital format as single edition downloads or via one- or two-year subscriptions, and in printed format by annual subscription only. Click this edition's cover image above to find out more and get reading and learning more about Irish genealogy, history and heritage.

Friday 24 November 2023

FindMyPast adds three Church of Ireland parish register collections

FindMyPast added three Church of Ireland record-sets to its database a few weeks ago. For some reason, I missed them at the time. Apologies. Here are the details.

Each of the trio include transcriptions from the registers of six churches (see below), all in Dublin City, and were originally published by the Parish Register Society. They are:

Church of Ireland Baptisms, Dublin City. This record set consists of 23,914 images and transcriptions spanning 1619–1865. The entries provide the child's gender, the parents' names and the father's address.

Sample from a 1789-1790 marriage register

Church of Ireland Marriages, Dublin City. Details from the 23,101 images and transcriptions within this collection include the names and occupations of both spouses, their marriage date, the groom's residence, and the parish in which they were married. They span 1619–1800.

Church of Ireland Burials, Dublin City These 44,175 images and transcriptions span 1618–1800. Because the CoI was responsible for all of the City's official graveyards at the time, these registers record those of all denominations who were buried in the city in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

The records were transcribed from registers of the following churches:

  • St. Catherine, Dublin, 1636-1715
  • St. John the Evangelist Dublin, 1619-1699
  • St. Michan, Dublin, 1636 – 1700
  • St. Nicholas Without, Dublin, 1694-1739
  • St. Patrick, Dublin, 1677-1800
  • Saint Peter and Saint Kevin, Dublin, 1669-1791

While up to 80% of the city's residents would have been Church of Ireland in the late 17th century, by the 1760s that number had fallen to 40% following a huge influx of Catholics in search of work.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Military Archives releases 15th instalment from MSPC Project

The Military Archives has today published its 15th release of records from the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection (MSPC). It is the second release this year (for details of the June release, see blogpost).

The 2,200 new files relate to claims lodged by 863 individuals/veterans or their dependents. They contain new information on the War of Independence and the Civil War and provide significant insights into post-conflict lives. They include:

  • 381 applications lodged under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1934.
  • 257 applications for service pensions under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1924 (National Army applicants).
  • 10 claims for wounds lodged by women.
  • 155 claims for dependency (74 of them lodged by mothers in respect of deceased sons).
  • 1 successful application lodged by a 1916 veteran.
  • 570 applicants were successful in their claim for both War of Independence and Civil War service.

This release brings the number of individuals included in the MSPC online database to 18,235.

Taking into account all the MSPC file series, about 121,900 files have now been catalogued and approximately 80,200 are now fully digitised.

You can download a pdf list of the individuals (involved in this 15th release) who lodged claims.

Highlights of this latest release can be found on the Military Archives blog here.

Irish Distillers archives to be released on Digital Repository Ireland

Historical documents from the Irish Distillers Archive are to be digitised and released with free access in the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI). This is the first such DRI partnership with an Irish commercial company.

Irish Distillers produces some of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys. Its Archive is based in Midleton, County Cork, and is home to extensive records documenting the history and heritage of the company, including records dating back to the 18th century created by John Jameson & Son, John Power & Son and the Cork Distilleries Company before the companies merged to form Irish Distillers in 1966.

Preserved in the archive are items such as minute books documenting the workings of the historic distilleries and the companies that ran them, handwritten ledgers containing financial records, some dating from the late 1700s, as well as more modern commercial records, historic mashbills and labels from all over the world which show the global reach of Irish whiskey over 100 years ago.

Preserving these important records for the long-term will offer researchers and the public alike a unique insight into social and industrial heritage, food and drinks history, as well as design culture. I would expect that, as with the Guinness and Jameson archives (both of which have some of their archives available online), there will be a considerable amount of genealogical detail and stories to be discovered within the material.

Work has already begun on identifying suitable archives from the collection at Midleton. Once digitised, the selected materials will be uploaded to the Repository over the next 18 months.