Tuesday 28 February 2012

Disruption at National Archives until May

The National Archives is continuing with a major upgrade of its storage facility in the Four Courts. The storage building is on the site of the former Public Records Office, which was destroyed in 1922, and dates from shortly after that catastrophic event. Nearly 90 years later, it badly needs refurbishment to bring it up to the standards of a modern repository.

While researchers do not visit the storage facility, they are likely to be impacted because many record collections will have to be removed elsewhere for the duration of the improvement works and will be temporarily unavailable to the public.

An index of the records closed until May can be found on the NAI website. The bulk are Crown and Peace Office, Circuit Court and High Court records, but there are others of a different nature so it's as well to check the index before setting out for a day's researching in Bishop Street.

Saturday 25 February 2012

WDYTYA? No place for Smoothies!

WDYTYA? kicked off yesterday morning in the way it always does: with a long queue of visitors stretching from Olympia almost all the way to Hammersmith. And that was just those who'd bought advance tickets!

Friday is traditionally the quietest day of the three-day show but it's still very busy, even if it took half an hour or so for visitors to wend their way over to the Irish section at the back of the hall. Soon enough, the Irish contingent were busy answering questions, offering advice and guidance, and letting folk sample their wares.

Roots Ireland were certainly busy in no time at all, showing off their online databases of (predominantly) baptisms, marriages and burials from parish registers that cover most, but not all, counties of the island. I managed to collar Karel Kiely for a brief chat and she told me that the IFHF-led site is to shortly undergo major changes.

Chief among these is the switch over to what Karel describes as the 'Scotland's People' model ie researchers purchase credits and then choose to spend them on either searches or viewing images: 'This model encourages the researcher to enter all the information they have about their ancestor before they search, she said. 'They are then more likely to discover the record they are looking for, and it should cost them less.

'This major shift is expected to take place by the end of March.'

Before then, the first of the long-promised Wexford records will join the available line-up. Two Roman Catholic and one Church of Ireland parishes will be uploaded in about a fortnight and will start to bring in an income that will fund further Wexford transcription projects. 'The reality is that transcribing records costs money,' says Karel. 'That work brings jobs to Irish people. It doesn't go abroad; it stays in Ireland.'

Following the first Wexford records online will be additional records for Monaghan, Galway East, and St Patrick's Belfast (these are already online at the Ulster Historical Foundation's site but with slightly different search features). Quarter of a million gravestone inscriptions from Tyrone and Fermanagh will also become available. This flurry of activity from Roots Ireland should be completed by May, says Karel.

Tourism Ireland sponsored a sizable stand where family historians could pose questions about tracing ancestors and visiting the areas where they once lived. Tourism experts were on hand along with The Clare Heritage Centre, Ordnance Survey of Ireland and the Titanic Story together with genealogist Helen Kelly. John Hancock of Ancestor Network was there, too, and said he'd been pretty much non-stop throughout the day.

Same story on PRONI's stand, where staff were helping researchers to appreciate the wide range of records they have available at their state-of-the-art Belfast offices.

The Certificate of Irish Heritage were also at the show, fresh from delivering Lord Seb Coe with his ancestral certificate just a couple of days earlier. The Certificate scheme is Government-backed and launched last October.

'WDYTYA? Live is the first exhibition we've attended,' said product manager Karl Elliston. 'And what a response!'

'People are very interested in learning more about their Irish ancestry, and we've been listening to their stories.

'The reaction to the Certificate has been very positive, and we're looking forward to the next couple of days!'

I caught up with Steven Smyrl, chairman of the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS), between his stints on the Ask The Experts bench and the Association of Professional Genealogists of Ireland stand. He said the IGRS stand was fielding a lot of questions that show people are doing a lot of research on the Internet, but were cutting corners in the process.

'It's amazing how many people haven't done even the basic research in England. For example, if they've come across a Patrick Kennedy recorded in the 1901 English census as 'born in Ireland', they haven't thought to obtain his marriage certificate to find out the name and occupation of his father. But if they're looking for a Patrick Kennedy in Ireland whose father was Richard and a carpenter, they've got a lot more chance of finding out more about him.'

Steven said the IGRS, which is enjoying something of a revival following its 75th anniversary in 2011 and has seen a surge in membership numbers this year, is in a unique position to offer advice on how to carry out research properly. 'It has a more academic approach to genealogical research and its experts here on the stand can help guide and steer those who are not so experienced in how to get results.'

I also called in on the Find My Past stand, centrally placed under Olympia's glass roof and suffering/enjoying the greenhouse effect of unseasonably warm February weather.

With banks of computers lined up for visitors to search for free, it was rather like trying to get served on a Friday night in a busy bar so I left Ross, from the .ie arm of FMP, to it after a quick hello. Love the green 'Irish Expert' sash, Ross!

The National Archives of Ireland trio – Aideen Ireland, Catriona Crowe and Paul Gorry – hardly came up for air all day, and had the added problem during the afternoon of having to fight against the sound levels from the neighbouring lecture halls.

At Paul's own lecture on online Irish records in the morning, the sound equipment was not working at optimum levels and the organisers had replaced it by lunchtime with one that was booming out. As if that weren't enough to contend with, every time the nearby CRUSH outlet mixed up a Smoothie, the sound of the mixing machine sent the sound equipment into crackling mode!

Hope they solve that problem for the remaining two days, both for those attending the lectures, and the long-suffering NAI team.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Nothing petty about FMP's latest huge collection

FindMyPast Ireland has released 1.2million records from the Irish Petty Sessions Order Books.

They've never been online before, and mark the first tranche of a huge collection of records dating from 1850-1910. The remaining 15million records will be released during the year.

This first batch is particularly useful for areas of the country that are known to have sparse family history records: Donegal and the five counties of Connaught, but there is also sizable coverage for each of Cavan, Cork, Kilkenny, Monaghan, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath and Wicklow.

Petty Sessions Courts were the forerunner of today's District Courts. They covered the bulk of legal cases, including all types of fairly minor crimes and civil offences, and were presided over by the local Justice of the Peace (JP).

JPs heard a vast variety of cases, with drunkenness the most regular cause for an offender being brought before the Bench. The top five offences tried were:
  • Drunkenness – 33%
  • Revenue/tax offences – 21%
  • Assault – 16%
  • Local acts of nuisance – 5%
  • Destruction of property – 4%
The records are full of minor incidents such as the 1908 assault in Cloonakilla that resulted in 'malicious injury to a bicycle' belonging to Pat Curley (see illustration above), or the 1910 case of Michael Downey who was charged at Athlone with being drunk in charge of an ass and cart. Wonderful stuff. Real life is played out in these records.

Brian Donovan, Find My Past Ireland's director, said: 'These court records open up a unique window into Irish society in the 19th century. Most families interacted with the law in one way or another, being perpetrators or victims of petty crime, resolving civil disputes, to applying for a dog licence. The records are full of the trauma and tragedy of local life, as family members squabbled, shop keepers recovered debt, and the police imposed order. These records help fulfil our mission to provide more than just names and dates, to get to the stories of our ancestors' lives.'

 More about Irish Petty Sessions Books.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Historic Graves Roadshow planned

A number of local authorities in Dublin, Laois, Kilkenny and Cork have combined to organise an Historic Graveyards Roadshow which will start in March 2012.

Funded by the Department of the Environment and the Local Authorities, this roadshow will combine training in heritage conservation, archaeology, local history and genealogy for community groups and schools in a number of communities.

Communities will learn new techniques for surveying historic graveyards and for publishing their own heritage to a broad audience on the internet, combining headstone photographs with audio and video stories of people and place. Local heritage groups, national schools and secondary schools will be involved in the project.

Thanks to the Historic Graves blog for this info.

Monday 20 February 2012

Find My Past Ireland releases Ardagh Wills 1690-1857

FindMyPast Ireland has launched a small collection called the Ardagh Wills 1690-1857.

This index of wills will be of special interest to researchers with ancestors from counties Longford and Leitrim, but those with connections in Sligo, Roscommon, Cavan and Westmeath should also give it a look because parts of the Ardagh diocese extended into these areas.

More than 40 civil parishes were included in the diocese. The main towns were:
  • Carrick-on-Shannon
  • Drumshambo
  • Granard
  • Mohill
  • Edgeworthstown
  • Longford.
Before 1858 wills were proved either in the Diocesan Court or in the Prerogative Court. If the deceased held property in only one diocese, his will was proved in the former. This regulation applied to both Roman Catholics and Protestants.

The original bonds were destroyed in the Public Records Office fire in 1922, so only the index survives.

Looking forward

As evidence that the annual hibernation is approaching its end, some interesting events are lining up for spring and early summer. Best get them in your diary before less important things like family days out and holidays get in the way!

Saturday 28 April: Family History Fair, Newry City Library, Co. Down.

Libraries NI is hosting a full-day (10.00am to 4.00pm) genealogy fair offering free advice and guidance from experts and experienced researchers.

Exhibitors include the PSNI Police Museum, the Public Record Office of N. Ireland, the Ulster Historical Foundation, the Federation for Ulster Local Studies, the Somme Heritage Centre, Northern Ireland Screen, ULTACH, Centre for Migration Studies Omagh, as well as local and family history organisations.

There will also be three talks:

11.00 – Whispers of the Past: A selection of archive material from the collections of BBCNI and the Ulster Folk and Transport, with Peter Carson from the Sound archive at the UFTM and Niamh McNamara from the BBCNI Community Archive. Items relating to Newry and surrounding area will be included.

12.30 – Emigration from Carlingford Lough, with Dr. Patrick Fitzgerald, The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, Ulster-American Folk Park, Omagh.

2.00 – Family History Resources available in PRONI, with Dr A.M. McVeigh, PRONI

Booking is essential as places are limited.


Saturday 12 May : Irish Genealogical Society of Ireland — London Open Day and AGM.

Following the success of the 75th Anniversary Symposium last October, the IGRS Council is planning a new format for this year's AGM. There will be two talks in the morning, followed by lunch and, at 2pm, the formal business of the AGM.

The talks will be:
  • Forensic Genealogy, with Professor Bruce Durie
  • The Irish in India, 1790-1920, with Peter Bailey.
Venue: 34 Chepstow Villas, Bayswater, London W11. (Nearest tube, Notting Hill Gate.)
Cost: For the morning and lunch: £25 members; £30 non-members. AGM: free.
Start time: 10.30 for 11.00am.
Booking: At IGRS website. Seats are limited to 50 so advance booking is recommended.


Weekend 9-10 June: History Festival of Ireland at Lisnavagh House, Co. Carlow.

The stellar line up of the inaugural festival includes Ruth Dudley Edwards, Myles Dungan, Kevin Myers, Diarmaid Ferriter, David Norris, Patrick Geoghegan, Manchán Magan, Catriona Crowe, Maura Duggan, Jeananne Crowley, Robert O’Byrne and Tommy Graham. Turtle Bunbury will be playing host.

There will be presentations by the Federation of Local History Societies of Ireland, the Ulster Federation and the people behind The Gathering Ireland 2013.

The festival is an Éigse 2012 initiative. More details.


WDYTYA? Live - what's in it for the Irish?

In just four days, the world's largest family history knees up will be underway at Olympia, London.

As you'd expect, WDYTYA? Live features most of the major online databases and general genealogy suppliers – Ancestry, Find My Past, Genes Reunited, Origins, Society of Genealogists, My Heritage – as well as a vast range of resource providers such as archives, libraries, family history societies and specialised institutes and organisations.

There are also a goodly number of exhibitors ready to sell you all manner of genealogical goodies, maps, books, training courses, magazines, software and nostalgia.

This being the show launched on the back of the eponymous TV show, there will also be a few celebrities hanging around. Other negatives are the crowds, the noise and the heat, and the shock of the £22 entrance fee if you haven't bought an advance ticket.

But there's plenty of plus for Irish genealogy researchers. This year the organisers have arranged the Irish exhibitors into a dedicated Irish section (top left of the hall). You'll find the majority of the following exhibitors in that section, but a handful will be on stands in the main run of the hall:
  • Association of Professional Genealogists of Ireland (APGI)
  • Certificate of Irish Heritage
  • Eneclann
  • Find My Past Ireland
  • Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS)
  • National Archives of Ireland
  • North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS)
  • Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)
  • Roots Ireland (IFHF)
  • Tourism Ireland
All these exhibitors will be on hand to offer guidance and direction to your Irish genealogy research, whatever stage you're at, but there's also a good offering of relevant workshops across the three days. I won't list them all, but here are the stand out ones, for me, on each day:
  • Friday, 10.30-11.15am: What's online for Ireland? with Paul Gorry, MAPGI
  • Saturday, 11.00-11.45am: Irish land and property records, with Helen Kelly, MAPGI
  • Sunday, 1.00-1.45pm: Early Irish Marriages, with Roz McCutcheon, IGRS.
All the workshops will be held on the first floor Gallery.

If you're going along to the show, it's worthwhile planning your day in advance. You'll find floor plans, a full list of workshops (the Irish-themed ones are identified by a shamrock) and other helpful information on the organiser's website.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Leighlin Administrations 1700-1857 released

FindMyPast Ireland has launched some more death records: The Index to Leighlin Administrations. This collection covers the period from 1700 to 1857 and should prove extremely useful for those researching their Irish family history with ancestors from counties
Carlow, Laois (Queen’s County), Wicklow and Kilkenny.

Prior to 1858, when a person died intestate, their affairs had to be settled by their next of kin or principal creditor in the Diocesan or Prerogative Courts. Before the Bishop granted the administration, the administrator was required to enter into a bond of a specified sum as security that they would justly administer the effects.

The Leighlin Diocese includes the towns of:
  • Carlow
  • Tullow
  • Abbeyleix
  • Mountrath
  • Maryborough
  • Balitinglass
  • over 90 civil parishes and smaller towns.

This Index to Leighlin Administrations includes:

  • Name and address of the deceased
  • Year in which the administration was granted
The original bonds were destroyed in the Public Record Office fire of 1922, consequently all that survives is the index.

Latest updates from IGP Archives

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives have uploaded the following files in the first half of February.

CAVAN Genealogy Archives - Census Substitutes
Cavan in the Ulster Plantation 1608-1620

CLARE Genealogy Archives - Marriages
Magazine of Magazines - Limerick Edition, 1760 (additional marriages)

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Deansgrange, St Mary's Section, Pt 2

KERRY Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary Records
1840 & 1841 Royal Irish Constabulary

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives - Military
1840 & 1841 Royal Irish Constabulary

LIMERICK Genealogy Archives - Vital Records
Bindon, Anne - Widenham, Walter; 1760 - Marriage
Brown, Anne - Hunt, Vere; 1760 - Marriage

MEATH Genealogy Archives - Cemetery
St James Church Of Ireland Cemetery, Athboy

OFFALY Genealogy Archives - Military
1840 Royal Irish Constabulary

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives - Church Records
Assorted Baptisms taken from Sacred Heart Church index, Roscommon

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Wills
Will of David COD - 1624

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

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Some snippets of interest

There's a certain 'lull before the storm' feel to the flow of Irish genealogy news just at the moment with all the main databases and repositories holding back their new collections and announcements until WDYTYA?, which kicks off in 10 days time.

In the meantime, a few snippets:

Genes Reunited.co.uk
GenesReunited.co.uk, the UK records database supplier and social genealogy site, is offering a 10% discount on ALL its membership subscriptions. This is a first for the site, as it usually offers any discounts only on its Platinum subscription.

In addition to its free family tree builder, the GR site offers searchable census records for England and Wales from 1841 to 1911 (in other words, the full set), birth, marriage and death records from 1837 to 2006, plus overseas bmds from the 18th century, passenger lists, military records and a host of other collections. Access to these records requires a subscription.

Platinum subscribers also get very healthy discounts on packages to the British Newspaper Archives.

The 10% discount now offered will be available up to and including 26 February. You need to quote the promotion code: GRFEB10.


The National Archives of the UK has launched a new blog. It looks lively and unstuffy, and seems to have a lot of promise, and it could be very useful for Irish genealogy researchers as the TNA holds many manuscripts and collections relating to Ireland pre-Independence. Plus, of course, it is the main repository of British military records, which contain details of so many Irish men and women.


The Society of Australian Genealogists have announced that full free access to FindMyPast Ireland is now available in the Library at 379 Kent Street, Sydney.


You may have heard about the new £90m Titanic Belfast attraction which is due to open in Belfast at the end of March. I understood that it was to offer some minor genealogical slant and I've now had this clarified by the operators.

It seems one of the galleries will hold four interactive databases (via touchscreens) which can be searched by visitors. The database will hold the details of all passengers and crew on the ship: their name, age, gender, port of embarkation, destination port, job and nationality and whether the individual survived or not. No other information will be available.

I believe this information is already fairly readily accessible elsewhere. It certainly is for the Irish folk on board. If you want an indepth study of the Irish men and women who set sail on her, either as passengers or crew, see Senan Malony's book 'The Irish on board Titanic', which I can personally recommend.


If you missed the PRONI/OU lecture on Religion at the end of last month, it's now available to watch on You Tube, in a series of videos. Go to PRONI online.


And, similarly, if you misssed the History Ireland Hedge School at the National Library on 12 January. The subject was 'The War of Independence: four glorious years or squalid sectarian conflict' and the debate can now be viewed online here.


In the spirit of St Valentine....

A couple of events today to celebrate Valentine's Day:

The National Gallery, Dublin: 10am-5pm. One of the Gallery's most popular watercolours, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, by Frederic William Burton (1816-1900), will be on display in Room 1. And, at 2pm, there's a  tour, A Celebration of Romance, of the Gallery's most romantic images. Admission and tour free.

The National Museum, Turlough Park, Castlebar, County Mayo: 10am-5pm. A Question of Love. This exhibition invites you to ramble down memory lane to see how love was expressed in days of old. Includes Harvest Knots or Love Tokens (traditionally made from straw and exchanged as love tokens) and wedding attire.


And now some romantic poetry. Well, not quite. The story below, from Nenagh Guardian in 1881, is a court report about how the course of true love doesn't always go smoothly. It's amusing and sad at a number of levels, and for some perverse reason, I thought it suitable for Valentine's Day!

A learned and poetic philomath

John O'Macmurtagh, a dapper little man, with deep penetrating eyes, from which erudition and deep learning came bursting forth and a solemn countenance, which showed the 'master' mind. He was charged by his wife, a fine specimen of a country woman, with assaulting and ill-treating her, and eventually deserting her. On the Philomath coming on the table, he gave a bow to the Bench, which showed that he was not unacquainted with the Terpsicorian (sic) art.

When asked by the Court what he had to say in 'self defence', he replied:

    Most Potent Sirs, with heavy sighs and tears,
    I must confess that in my younger years
    A woman's smile was sure to draw me to her,
    A magnet-like; then for a while I'd woo her,
    and constant be until some more sunny face
    Would lead me off in Cupid's chase.

    Sweet was the life I led; a wanton bee;
    Every fair flower had honeyed stores for me.
    From lovely Kiamaltha (sic) to sweet Clare Glen
    I felt the happiest of all living men.
    Thus did I live in love's bright bower, enjoying
    Life's rarest gifts that seemed to know no cloying.

    Thus did I live, but in one luckless hour
    I met with one whose charms had wondrous power.
    In twining in love's bonds my truant heart;
    So that in her I thought I'd never part.
    Besides, in widow's weeds my charmer drest.
    For her first was gone, I hope, to rest.
    When I looked upon her lofty brow and thought
    'This is the goddess which thro' life I have sought'.

    I sighed and sang, wrote sonnets half a dozen
    And popped the question. Suddenly unfrozen
    Her heart became, like to some frozen-bound brook,
    Dissolving 'neath the day &mdash god's ardent look.

    The matrimonial ordeal soon was passed.
    The honeymoon scarcely a month did last;
    My wife was not the goddess that I thought her,
    She kept me always eddying in hot water.
    Ah, me! I fear that even after life
    I'll still be plagued and pestered by my wife.

    From this my statement it will be seen
    A widower I'd wish to be, like Mr G---n.

Court — You had a right to stay with your wife.


    Sooner I'd be exiled to some bleak shore,
    The hirsute inmate of some cavern hoar.
    Gazing the watery waste of ocean o'er,
    Stunned by the thunders of the tempest's roar.
    There I'd eke out the remnant of my life
    In striving to forget I ever had a wife.

Court — Mrs O'Macmurtagh appears the very reverse of what you seek to represent her. Her demeanour is calm and quiet.


    If to her lot some female errors fall,
    Look in her face, and you'll forget them all,
    So sung Dan Pope some hundred years ago;
    Had he been wed, his rhymes would different flow;
    Had he but sung in matrimonial chains
    He'd sing as I have sung, in other strains.

    If in her face unclouded calm appears,
    If her eyes sparkle like resplendent spheres,
    And if her voice is musically low,
    Soft as the tones from angels' harps that flow,
    Still doubt your senses, and believe that brows
    Oft tempest clad, and that those bright eyes glow
    with fires infernal, like the furies when
    They are sent on earth to scourge oppressive men;
    Believe that voice whose sweetness won such praises,
    Can hoarsely scream — 'confound you, go to b___'

    You'll find a woman often in extremes,
    So don't believe her always what she seems.
    Such is the experience of the greatest men,
    Such the experience of the Laureate.

The case was dismissed, and Mr John O'Macmmurtagh was recommended to go and live with his wife and treat her kindly, as he should do, and as she appeared to deserve.

Story published 15 October 1881.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

A round up of news from round and about

Olympic exhibition under starter's orders: Louth County Museum in Dundalk is researching a major exhibition highlighting the involvement of Irish athletes and officials in the Olympics from 1896 to the present. The exhibition will open this summer and will run for several months, but it needs some help to get to put it together. Curator Brian Walsh would welcome anecdotes and oral testimonies, along with items and memorabilia relating to Irish involvement in the Olympics.

New edition of the Grenham bible: Tracing your Irish Ancestors by John Grenham is widely regarded as the one absolute-must-have book on genealogical research in Ireland. Its fourth edition, which embraces online research, is scheduled for publication next month. Publisher is Gill & Macmillan. 624pgs.

From Cricklewood to Clapham Junction: The Irish Post carried an interesting article about the modern wave of emigrants to London. Seems today's young Irish are more likely to head south of the Thames than to traditional 'Irish' strongholds such as Cricklewood.

'Tis the season to update your website: Thankfully, this is not mandatory, but you could be forgiven for thinking there was some compulsion behind the recent spate of website overhauls. The National Archives of Ireland started it off, and I mentioned it a few days back. It gets top marks for a very good looking new site, but I still think the sign-posting isn't quite as kind to new visitors as it should be. Nonetheless, the searchable catalogue, which I've been playing around with this weekend, is fab. The Certificate of Irish Heritage has also had a face-lift and is looking very smart. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission site is also striding into 2012 with a new look and will be adding more enhancements shortly. These include a facility to search on the 'additional information' field of the database, which could be extremely useful for identifying one deceased soldier from another with a similar name.

Quaker death records 1849 now online: FindMyPast Ireland has released a small collection of Irish death records from the Quaker Annual Monitor 1849 which also goes by the snappy title of Obituary of the Members of the Society of Friends in Great Britain and Ireland for the year 1848. Some entries provided limited detail (typically name, age, date of death, meeting house attended and marital status) but some are accompanied by quite lengthy eulogies written by the elders of the deceased's Meeting House.

And a big thank you to Family History Monthly:
Imagine my surprise to open the February issue of Family History Monthly magazine and find this very blog under the Blog Spot light. I had no idea! Fortunately it was a glowing review! Many thanks to Jen and the FHM team.

Thursday 2 February 2012

IGRS launches monthly bulletin of genealogy news

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has launched a monthly e-bulletin packed with bang-up-to-date news on all manner of resources and developments in Irish genealogy.

The five-page launch issue carried an impressive round-up of stories about newly available online collections, forthcoming releases, recent book publications (with specially-arranged discounts), cultural events and lectures in Ireland, England and Scotland, and the latest news and issues concerning a selection of professional institutions, archives and libraries.

Exclusive to members of the IGRS, the new e-bulletin is the latest addition to a range of member benefits that includes a bi-annual newsletter, an annual scholarly journal, and access to a library that is internationally recognised as the largest and most impressive collection of Irish genealogy material in private hands.

The Society's website also offers a changing online programme of member-only access to a selection of manuscript materials.

Announcing the launch of IGRS Research Update, IGRS chairman Steven Smyrl said: "Last year was the 75th anniversary of the Society and we held a number of exciting events to celebrate this important milestone. But we intend 2012 to be equally exciting with a wave of new initiatives to be rolled out over the course of the year. The launch of the new members-only bulletin is the first of these, and evidence that there has never been a better time to join the Society."

1926 Census still moving in the right direction

Last November Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, indicated in the Dail that it was his intention to have the [1926] census returns digitised and made available on-line as a 1916 centenary project.

Now, in a reply to a recent Parliamentary Question, Deenihan has confirmed that he is progressing with his plans to allow access to data from the 1926 Irish census.

His written response said: “The Programme for Government contains a commitment to enable the publication of the 1926 Census. The project requires two principal components to be addressed. The first is the legal necessity to change the relevant legislation to permit publication of the Census before the expiry of the statutory 100 year period, while respecting certain rights. The second is the technical process whereby the material can be converted from the paper records to a searchable electronic database in a cost-effective fashion. Legal advice has been obtained in relation to the legislative changes and consultation with bodies involved is in progress. Possible technical approaches are also currently being considered, as are their resource implications.”

Steven Smyrl of CIGO, the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations, which has long campaigned for the early release of the census, described the Minister’s commitment to this project as 'terrific'.

"We first raised it with him a few weeks before the 2011 general election and he immediately saw the project’s potential and promised to do all he could to get it off the ground. This received a real fillip when, through CIGO’s lobbying, the project was included in the post-election Programme for Government. When Deenihan was then made Culture Minister we realised that our long campaigning was finally about to pay off!”

But just to keep the pressure on, make sure to sign CIGO's petition!

  • Follow the story by bookmarking Irish Genealogy News or following me on Twitter @Irish_Genealogy.

Latest uploads of records and photos to IGPA

A list of the new files uploaded to Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives in the last two weeks.

Genealogy Archives
Vital Records - Marriage: MORROW

CARLOW Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary - 1840-1841 Royal Irish Constabulary

CAVAN Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary - Royal Irish Constabulary 1840-41

CLARE Genealogy Archives
Marriages - Assorted Marriages from Magazine of Magazines
Military & Constabulary - 1840-1841 Royal Irish Constabulary

CORK Genealogy Archives
Headstones - Keeffe, Owen - Kilcrumper Cem. Fermoy (single photo)
Military - 1840 & 1841 Royal Irish Constabulary

Genealogy Archives
Military and Constabulary - Royal Irish Constabulary 1840-1842

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives
Headstones - Deansgrange Cemetery, St. Mary's Section, Pt. 1
Headstones - Mount Jerome, Dublin - Part 36-37
Military & Constabulary - Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Dublin 1840-1841

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives
Church - Trory, Births recorded in St. Michaels C. of I, 1779 - 1922

LIMERICK Genealogy Archives
Photos - Costello & Downes Photos
Obits - Assorted new obituaries

MAYO Genealogy Archives
Land Records - Encumbered Estate property of DOMINIC BROWNE (Curskeagh, Carrowmore & Carrowmor Upper) 1857

MEATH Genealogy Archives
Biographies - Mulvany Biographies

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives
Land - Encumbered Estate property of DOMINIC BROWNE (Cloonlough) 1857

Irish Genealogy Toolkit/Irish Genealogy News is the Research Help Partner of Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

February diary of lectures and events

Wednesday 1 February: From Dongon to Conolly: Castletown and the making of the Irish Protestant Ascendancy, with Patrick Walsh (University College London). Lecture 4 of the Castletown Winter Lecture Series. 8pm. €5, payable at the door. No booking required. Tea/coffee after lecture.

Thursday 2 February: Organising a Reunion, with Bill Shaw. Researching Ulster Doctors of the past, with Prof. R.S.J. Clarke. Belfast NIFHS, Holywood Arches Library, Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 1NT. www.nifhs.org/belfast.htm 7.30-9.30pm. Details.

Monday 6 February: Emigration to Canada, with Mickey McGuinness, local historian and author. Foyle branch NIFHS, City's Central Library. 19:00 – 21:00pm. Details.

Sunday 12 February: Ashling Comedy Benefit Night. The 14th annual charity fundraiser organised by Aisling Project patron Ardal O'Hanlon and Noel Faulkner of the Comedy Club in Shorditch. Ardal will be host for the evening. Line up includes Ed Byrne, Andrew Maxwell and Ian Stone. Bloomsbury Theatre, Euston, London. More

Monday 13 February: The Finances of Grand Juries in Ireland, with Dr Aidan Kane. Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Harbour Hotel, The Docks, Galway. 8pm. All welcome. Free. Details.

Tuesday 14 February: The Little Blue Flower (flax and linen), with Ken McElroy. Craigavon Historical Society. Civic Centre, Craigavon. 7:45pm.

Wednesday 15 February: Davy Crockett - The Ulster Scots Connection, with Belinda Mahaffy. Newbuildings & District Archaeological & Historical Society, Community Centre, 4 Duncastle Road. 7:30pm.

Thursday 16 February: Journey to the Fifth Province, London Irish Centre, 50, Camden Square, London NW1 9XB. £12 (£8 concessions) at the door. A showcase performance, in association with the Irish Embassy. A theatrical experience, a feast of story, music, poetry and humour. Wine reception at 6.30pm. Show 7.30pm. Tel: +44 020 7916 2222.

Thursday 16 February: Presbyterianism in Ulster under Threat - the Ejection of 1661, with Rev Professor Robert McCollum. 8pm. Lisburn Reformed Presbyterian Church, Nettlehill Road, Lisburn. Details.

Thursday 16 February: Irish Resources Online, with Chris Paton. Renfrewshire FHS, Paisley. Details

Thursday 16 February: The Civil War in County Waterford - Part I, with Pat McCarthy. Julian Walton's Winter Lecture series at Dunhill Multi-Education Centre, Ballyphilip, Waterford. €5 includes refreshments.

Saturday 18 February: The Famine in Fermanagh, with John B. Cunningham. Fermanagh NIFHA. The Library, Halls Lane, Enniskillen. 14:15 – 16:15pm Details.

Monday 20 February: Ulster Scots Connections, with Dr William Roulston. Larne branch NIFHS. The Board Room, ‘The Cliff’, Seacourt Road, Larne. 19:30 – 21:30pm. Details.

Tuesday 21 February: New Insights into the development of Skellig Michael World Heritage Site, with archaeologist Michael Gibbons. Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society. Tralee Library. 7.30pm. All welcome. Details.

Thursday 23 February: Exploring Local History - Crime. Dr Janice Holmes, Dr Olwen Purdue and Dr Barry Sheen from OUI examine the theme and sources. PRONI staff present examples from their collections. PRONI, Belfast. 6.30-8pm. Free, but booking required.

Thursday 23 February: Tour through Ulster's Graveyards, with Dr William Roulston. Ballymena branch of the Northern Ireland FHS. Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre, 1-29 Bridge Street. 7.15pm. Enquiries.

Friday 24 February to Sunday 26 February: WDYTYA? LIVE.Olympia, London. Full details. I'll do a show preview nearer the time.

Tuesday 28 February: Irish Migration Ships, with Dr. Brian Lambkin. Coleraine NIFHS. Coleraine Branch Library, Queen Street. 20:00-22:00pm.Details.

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