Saturday 23 April 2011

Easter offer from Origins is offering a 20% Discount on all new subscriptions until 30th April.

The dedicated Irish-records subscription from Origins includes access to Military records, the best online version of Griffiths Valuation, Tithe Defaulters, Memorials of the Dead inscriptions, Passenger lists and Wills indexes.

If some of your ancestors emigrated to the UK you might find the Total Access option worthwhile.

Subscriptions are available for 72-hour, monthly and annual access.

Simply enter the code: Easterwedding11 in the Promotional Code box on the Sign Up or Checkout page once you have chosen your subscription.

Thursday 21 April 2011

What part did your family play in Ireland's history?

So you thought you had to be wealthy and famous to be on a TV genealogy programme? Not anymore. A brand-new show – The Genealogy Roadshow – will be broadcast on RTE1 this summer, and takes a refreshing new approach to family history. Out go the celebrities. In come the tales of ‘ordinary’ families whose ancestors were caught up in extraordinary historical events or circumstances. Their story, and with it the rich story of Ireland, will be told through the eyes of their descendents.

It’s a fabulous notion and, as someone who has never got to grips with the modern culture of celebrity worship, I was intrigued to find out how family historians can play their part in the new show. As Assistant Producer Frank Agnew of Big Mountain Productions explained to me, there’s plenty we can do – whatever stage our research has reached.

“We’re targetting two groups of people. The first group is made up of people who don’t know where to start their research or perhaps those who’ve hit an early brickwall. If these people come along to one of the four Roadshows, our team of genealogists may be able to help them get started, advise them on how to widen their search or maybe suggest ways to redirect their research focus.”

The second group targetted by The Genealogy Roadshow (see recording dates and venues below) are those whose ancestors played a role in our island’s history. This may have been a major role in a major historical milestone, or it may have been a minor part in a less-well known but significant episode. Frank says it doesn’t really matter, so long as the event helps to tell the story of Ireland.

“To give you a few examples, we’ve been contacted by the descendent of a man who was part of the Fingal Battalion 1916 that mobilized in Swords and took the RIC Barracks there, and by another whose ancestor defended the Constabulary in Limerick during the Fenian Uprising of 1867. These families already knew of their ancestral connections, and we’ll be using such personalised stories as a way of conveying these historical events.”

The 1798 Rebellion is another story the production team is researching for broadcast. They have four good potential candidates, each one having played a part but none of them household names. “They’re not famous,” says Frank. “But they were involved. So, you see, you don’t have to be related to Wolfe Tone to have your family’s story told, but you do need to be related to someone who was ‘there’ and has a story of their own.”

It might come as a surprise that Big Mountain Productions are not really seeking out family historians who’ve already ‘completed’ their genealogical research and who know all there is to know about their ancestors, famous or otherwise.

“We’re not really looking for people who’ve got all the answers. It suits us if they don’t, because we want to find the answers for them. We’ve asked everyone who’s already contacted us to stop their research straightaway. We’d like them to stop, and let us find the story.”

So anyone who has reason to believe they may be related to someone famous, or whose (unproven) family lore tells of great daring-do or adventures or achievement, would be perfect candidates for the TV company’s team of genealogists and history researchers and might end up having their entire family history put together by experts.

Frank emphasises the word ‘might’. “I don’t want to guarantee that everyone who contacts us is going to get their whole family history done. We’ll only be able to focus on the stories that lead somewhere or that we can research and prepare for broadcast in a very tight timeframe.

“We’ve got only five weeks before the first show is filmed so if a genealogy is going to take four or five months to unravel, it won’t be feasible. But there’s always the chance we could hold onto the story for series two or for a later programme in this series. Obviously, if it’s a really interesting story, we’d pursue it – good material makes good television.”

Anyone with an interest in family history is welcome to come along to any of the Roadshow recordings. You don't need to book -- just turn up and join in. There will be plenty of interest.

In addition to the production team there will be stands run by genealogical organisations and lots of regional and county groups and societies. It could provide just the motivation needed to finally get your research started, or help solve a particular problem that’s stopped your research in its tracks.

For those with a family story to tell or a mystery that needs unraveling, the production team would love to hear from you – sooner rather than later. Just pick up the phone and speak to Frank or one of his colleagues, or email them with some details. Or complete the online assessment form. All the contact details are below. Don’t hang back.

Remember, you don’t have to be related (or think you’re related) to a household name, just to someone who was important in terms of the history of the island of Ireland.

The Genealogy Roadshow will be broadcast on RTE1 on 31 July and the following three Sundays.

Recordings dates and venues:
  • Carton House, Maynooth, Kildare: Sunday 29th May
  • Adare Manor, Limerick: Sunday 19th June
  • Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Galway: Sunday 26th June
  • Venue To Be Confirmed: Saturday 8th July

Contact details:
  • Tel: 048 308 34049 (from Republic) 028 308 34049 (from N.Ireland), or 086 237 5499
  • Email:

Friday 15 April 2011

100 years ago today....

A single column of General News from the Nenagh Guardian, 15 April 1911:

County Court Judge Drummond, at the Carrick-on-Shannon Quarter Sessions, was presented with white gloves by Mr Vaugh, sub-sheriff, in the absence of criminal business.

A committee of Nationalists of Waterford has been formed to make arrangements to hold a public meeting to protest against the proposed presentation by the Corporation of an address to the King and Queen on the occasion of their forthcoming visit to Ireland.

John McKenna, an old-age pensioner and a cripple, of Kilbrone, co Monaghan, was found drowned in a roadside drain this week. In his pockets were 18 shillings and an empty bottle.

James Moncks, labourer, was at Carlow on Friday, sent for trial to the Assizes, charged with the wilful murder of this wife on the night of march 25th in a lodging house. It was deposed that the woman received 40 external bruises, and that seven of her ribs and the breastbone were fractured.

Bonfires were lighted and a public meeting held in Enniscorthy last week to celebrate the action of the Dublin Corporation in declining to present an address to the King.

A weather vane on Lurgan parish church having failed to work, it was examined by a steeplejack, who found it was blocked by myriads of dead midgets.

The number of dogs licensed in Templemore in 1910 was 1,095; in 1911, 1,133.

A serious outbreak of fire occurred in the house of Mrs Brasil, Athlone, on Saturday, owing to a box of matches in the pocket of a coat, drying before the fire, having been ignited.

Mr J Henehan, Claremorris, has been served with a writ seeking an injunction in the High Courts for the possession of his business establishment. Mr Henehan was evicted in July last year from these premises, and the following day re-entered and has since been in possession.

Monaghan RC records added to Roots Ireland, the online research service of the Irish Family History Foundation, has added 32,000 Roman Catholic baptism records from County Monaghan to its searchable database. They include the parishes of Carrickmacross, Donaghmoyne, Drummully-Currin, Ematris, Errigal Trough, Inishkeen, Magheross, Monaghan and Tydavnet.

These are the first records from Monaghan to appear on the pay-to-view site and more will follow 'soon', according to the press release.

The announcement took family historians by surprise because they'd been alerted a few weeks ago that the state-funded website would shortly be releasing RC records for Monaghan, free.

Seems RootsIreland has pipped IrishGenealogy to the post.

IrishGenealogy is not presently prepared to say which Monaghan records it will be releasing. I've no idea why they have to be so secretive about it! Nor will they say when they will be released (even though the 'few weeks' they stated on 23 March has pretty much expired).

Researchers with Monaghan roots will, therefore, have to make a decision: whether to fork out good money to view records on RootsIreland now or wait to see if those same records will shortly be available free on IrishGenealogy.

Mid-April update from Ireland Genealogy Projects

Ireland Genealogy Projects have uploaded the following records and photos to their Archives site in the last two weeks:

Antrim Genealogy Archives
Newspaper Photos - Joseph Cassells, James Cassells, Isaac Cassells

Armagh Genealogy Archives
Vital Records - 2 Marriages

Cavan Genealogy Archives
Headstones - Cootehill Graveyard (CoI) partial

Clare Genealogy Archives
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1846

Cork Genealogy Archives
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Cork Jan 1853-Nov 1853

Dublin Genealogy Archives
Photos - Deansgrange Cemetery, St. Brigids Section

Fermanagh Genealogy Archives
Galloon Church Register, Diocese of Clogher Burials, (CoI) 1830-1844

Kildare Genealogy Archives
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Kildare Jan 1853-Nov 1853

Leitrim Genealogy Archives
Headstones - Newtowngore, St. Patrick's, Church of Ireland (10 images incl church)
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Leitrim Jan 1853-Nov 1853

Longford Genealogy Archives
Photos - St. Patric R.C. Church, Killashee
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Longford July 1853 - Oct 1853

Louth Genealogy Archives
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Louth Jan 1853-Nov 1853

Mayo Genealogy Archives
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Mayo Jan 1853-Nov 1853

Monaghan Genealogy Archives
Headstones - Saint Salvatore's, Donagh. New Additions and new transcription.

Tyrone Genealogy Archives
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Tyrone Jan 1853-Nov 1853

Wexford Genealogy Archives
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Wexford Jan 1853-Nov 1853

Irish Genealogy Toolkit is the Research Help partner of IGP Archives.

Monday 11 April 2011

Great summer for Wicklow weddings

Wicklow Family History Centre kicks off Irish Genealogy Toolkit's brand new Insight series.

My interview with Catherine Wright, acting archivist and manager of the Centre, details some of the quirks of Wicklow family history, provides some useful tips for beginner genealogists and explains the approach she takes to each commission for genealogy research.

She also reveals that Wicklow's church wedding records, which have already been transcribed, will be joining the county's baptism records on the RootsIreland website during the summer.

If your ancestors lived in Wicklow, don't miss the interview, see Welcome to the Garden's Centre.

Toolkit's Insight series takes an indepth look at Ireland’s individual genealogy centres, county archives and specialised repositories. More features are in the pipe and will be announced shortly.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Census Day Tales from 1911: Forgetful parents?

Excerpt from Southern Star, April 8, 1911:


The filling up of the census forms took place on last Sunday, and, if one could witness the operation being individually performed it certainly would afford some amusement. Parents of children were possible we believe in many cases in difficulties as to the ages and number of their children which they had practically forgotten, and many amusing incidents must have occurred.

The bulk of the work of preparing the census fell on the police who were for a long time engaged in distributing the forms, and who will be equally long collecting them, for which they will not get as much as a vote of thanks.

Census Day Tales from 1911: the Bundoran Farce

Excerpt from a letter to the Editor, Freeman's Journal, April 15th 1911:


Dear Mr Editor,

In your issue of the 4th inst. there appears under the "Census reports" a reference made to the "unique way of making up the population in certain Northern seaside resorts" for the purpose of getting Urban Councils in these places.....
For months past it was widely circulated that the people of Dundoran were co-operating with the Great Northern Railway company to bring in a large number of people for the purpose of showing an increased population in this town while the Census was being taken, and acccording to a report in the "Enniskillen Impartial Reporter" of March 16th, the people who got vouchers for free railway travelling were to have been boarded and lodged free by the people of Dundoran.

Well, the railway company kept their part of the contract, and every perosn got in free; but what a farce it turned out to be when it came to the residents of Bundoran to do their share free. Hundreds of people from Dublin, Dundalk, Clones and intermediate stations when they landed in Bundoran on Saturday night were quietly informed that they had to pay.

Now, I would ask any reader of this paper is that decent treatment to do such an act and place many respectable young men and women in such a humiliating position, many who had travelled long distances, under such bogus reports and invitations? It is about time such scandalous work as this should be put down by the strong arm of the law, and I hope some way will be devised to prevent the residents of Bundroan reaping any reward from the attendance of their victimised visitors in this town during the first three days of the present month.

I can give names and addresses of dozens of visitors, along with myself, who were trapped by these bogus reports and invitations and I will have their assistance legally in opposing any scheme for the improvement of this town until the people who went there are compensated for their trouble and expense.....

I am, dear Mr Editor,


Census Day Tales from 1911: Suffragette Tactics

Excerpt from Freeman's Journal, April 3 1911.



"No Vote, No Census"

Were it not for the fact that the Suffragettes, by which title the Militant Suffragists have come to be known, have announced their intention of refusing to comply with the Census regulations, or of evading compliance with them, the happenings of Census Night and the succeeding days would be of the most prosaic character. Heads of households and officials of public institutions would simply fill in the forms which enumerators had supplied them with; the enumerators would call for them in due course, would make such inquiries as they might be advised, and fill in the special form supplied to themselves for that purpose, and the papers would be forwarded to Charlemont House to be dealt with there, in preparation for the reports of which they will form the basis. 

But the campaign planned by the Suffragettes has imported an element of mild excitement into the undertaking, and there is a considerable amount of curiosity, as to the devices which they will adopt, and as to the measure of success or failure which awaits the evasion movement. So far as the Dublin Suffragettes are concerned, it is an open secret that they have been mapping out their plan of campaign for a considerable time past; but, in refutation of the popular belief that a lady cannot keep a secret, they seem to have guarded their plans very successfully. It is understood that the police have had some of the leaders under observation. 

On Saturday*, while a meeting of the Committee of the Irish Women's Franchise League was in progress in the Antient Concert Buildings, a policeman knocked at the door, and, on it being opened, he asked if they intended holding a meeting on Sunday night. He was told that the ladies did not intend to hold a meeting there, but that they had requisitioned a number of aeroplanes and submarines.

It is understood that the plan of open refusal, as well as that of evasion, will be adopted in Dublin and in other parts of the country. A certain number of ladies who are householders, instead of filling in the Census Papers will write on them "No vote, no Census", and return them to the enumerators with this concise statement of their attitude. It may be taken for granted prosecutions will follow this frank defiance.

But, in addition to the limited number who will adopt this attitude, there is a very much larger number who will seek to evade being included in the returns, and at the same time avoid incurring any penalty of fine or imprisonment, and it may be taken that an interesting contest in wits will be waged between these and the enumerators. Obviously the first step in the evasion movement was to take care not to have spent last night in any house in respect of which the head of the household intended making a return, and another obvious step was that the absentees should pass the night in the house of a lady householder who had determined to make open resistence in the manner already indicated.

We understand that this plan was adopted in Dublin, and it proved a more comfortable method of attempting evasion than night motor drives or picnicing in the Dublin Mountains. No doubt the hospitality of the houses of refuge will be continued during today.

But even if this device should succeed for the time being in baffling the enumerators, the latter have other resources to fall back upon - they can ask questions.  And in this respect, the enumerators of Ireland seem to have a distinct advantage, as compared with the officials in England who may be engaged in the task of attempting to defeat efforts at successful evasion, because it appears that, while in England it is only the occupier of the house who can be penalised for refusing to give the information which the enumerator is entitled to ask, the liability in Ireland is extended to individuals other than the occupier. Section 7 of the Census (Ireland) Act, 1910, says: -

If any person refuses to answer or wilfully gives a false answer to any question necessary for obtaining the information required to be obtained under this Act, he shall for each offence be liable on conviction under the Summary Jurisdiction (Ireland) Acts to a fine not exceeding five pounds, provided that no person shall be subject to any such penalty for refusing to state his religious profession.

The enumerator whose duty it will be to addresss questions ot the ladies who have taken up arms in the evasion movement is not exactly to be envied.

*April 2nd, the eve of Census Day 1911

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Civil Registration Index playing up again

If you've been experiencing problems in the last week using the 'old style' Irish Civil Registration Indexes on the Family Search site, you're not alone.

It's gone 'wobbly' again. If you get past the intermittently frozen screen and/or semi-permanent clock/timer, you're likely to find no filters are available for your search and finally receive a 'no results' notification. Must be the season... It went 'on the blink' in April last year, too. It took several weeks to fix it and some would argue that it's never worked as well as it used to, ever since.

Of course, there is the option of moving over to the 'new style' Indexes collection but that's not behaving itself brilliantly, either! This is, however, the route that Family Search would like us to take. They seem determined to force us to make the switch, like it or not (and there's a lot of us falling into the NOT category). The new site simply doesn't offer sufficient opportunity to refine searches, and thereby narrow down results.

Apparently engineers are trying to resolve the technical problems.

Friday 1 April 2011

Latest updates from Ireland Genealogy Projects

Updates from IGP Archives during March:

Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Clare, Sept 1852-May 1853
Photos - Castle Bunratty & Dirty Nelly's Pub, est. 1620

Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Londonderry, Sept 1852-Oct 1853

Mt. Jerome, Dublin Pt 20 & 21 (more than 3,000 gravestones)

Moylough Cemetery, County Galway

Photos -
Muckross House & Dennehy, Patrick or Coakley, Timothy
Kilbannivane Burial Ground
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Kerry, Jan 1852-Oct 1853

Church Records - Mount Mellick (R.C.) Baptisms M-O
Assorted R.C. Baptisms - Connor, Fitzpatrick, Kennedy.

Photos - Kilfinnane, St Andrews, Church of Ireland.

Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Longford, July 1852 - May 1853

Glennan Presbyterian Church Graveyard - additional photos
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Monaghan, Sept 1852-May 1853

Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Roscommon, Jun 1853-Oct 1853

Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Tipperary, Jun 1853-Oct 1853

Headstones - Bray - St Pauls Graveyard, (CoI) (partial)
Headstones - St Patrick's Enniskerry - Part 5
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Wicklow, Sept 1852-Oct 1853.

Irish Genealogy Toolkit is the Research Help partner of IGP Archives.

Dates for your Diary: April

Tuesday 5 April: Release of the 1911 Scotland Census on

Wednesday 6 April: Sources for Military History Seminar organised by Library Association of Ireland and Local Studies Group. 10-4. National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin. €30 for Library Association of Ireland members, €40 for non-members and €20 for the un-waged. Lunch not included. Booking essential:

Wednesday 6 April: Road Bowling - a way of life in Armagh, by Brian Toal. 7-8pm. Free. St Patrick's Trian, Armagh. Booking required: arlene.scully@armagh.

Thursday 7 April: Resourcing Local History in County Cork, by Richard Forrest. Dunmanway Historical Society. 8pm. Cox's Hall, Dunmanway.

Saturday 9 April: The Irish in Newfoundland, by Aiden O'Hara, 2.15pm. A Madwoman in the Attic: the Davises of Cloragh, Rathfarnhan, by Selina Guinness, 3.15pm. Irish Family History Society. Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin. Free. Open to non-members. No booking required.

Tuesday 12 April: Evening Open Meeting, Genealogical Society of Ireland. Dun Laoghaire College of Further Education, Cumberland Street. 8-10pm. €3.

Tuesday 12 April: The 1641 Depositions as an aid to the genealogist, by Jane Ohlmeyer. Genealogical Society of Ireland. 8pm. Laoghaire College of Further Education, Cumberland St., Dun Laoghaire. Open to all.

Tuesday 12 April: The Aghadoe and River Laune Crossiers, by Dr Griffin Murray. Killarney Library, Tralee. 7.30pm

Tuesday 12 April: GENEALOGY WORKSHOP - All you need to know to research your family history, using local, national, and online resources, by Rosaleen Underwood MAPGI. Cork City & County Archives, Seamus Murphy Bldg, Great William O’Brien St, Blackpool, Cork. 6-8.30pm. Free. Advance booking recommended.

Wednesday 13 April: GENEALOGY WORKSHOP - All you need to know to research your family history, using local, national, and online resources, by Rosaleen Underwood MAPGI. Cork City & County Archives, Seamus Murphy Bldg, Great William O’Brien St, Blackpool, Cork. 2.30-5pm. Free. Advance booking recommended.

Thursday 14 April: Dress in the Edwardian Era, by Alex Ward of the National Museum of Ireland. 1pm. National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin. 1pm. Free.

Tuesday 19 April: Treasures of the Linen Hall Library, by John Killen. Coleraine Historical Society. 8pm. Town Hall Coleraine.

Tuesday 19 April: Online Archives & History: the census of Ireland 1901/1911, by Catriona Crowe. National Gallery of Ireland. 10.30-11.15 Merrion Square West, Dublin 2. Free. No booking required.

Thursday 21 April: From a Photograph to a Family Genealogy - a research case study. Clare Roots Society. 8pm. Ennis Civic Rooms.

Tuesday 26 April: Treasures of the Linen Hall Library, by John Killen. National Gallery of Ireland. 10.30-11.15 Merrion Square West, Dublin 2. Free. No booking required.

Wednesday 27 April: Morning Open Meeting, Genealogical Society of Ireland. Weir's, Lower George's Street, Dun Laoghaire. 10.30-12.30. €3 inc coffee/tea.

Wednesday 27 April: Ulster Plantation, by Paul Logue. North Belfast Historical Society. 8pm Grove Centre, 120 York Road.

Thursday 28 April: Kilkenny in the 18th century, by Dr Kevin Whelan. Kilkenny Archaeological Society. 8pm Rothe House, Parliament Street, Kilkenny. €5.

1926 census release: possible 2011 release

Although it would require a change to legislation, the Minister of Heritage has signalled that releasing the 1926 census may be possible within the year.

The full story is in today's Irish Times.