Wednesday 31 October 2012

Threat of amalgamation lifted from NAI

The long-mooted merging of the National Archives of Ireland with the National Library of Ireland is not going to happen. It's official. Common sense, not always to be relied upon when a cash-strapped government sets out on a money-saving reform review, has prevailed.

In a four-page outline of the reforms that will now be progressed for the 12 organisations funded by the Department for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, there is no mention that the proposal to merge the organisations (with others) was ever proposed. But the good cheer comes with this statement:

"The National Archives of Ireland to continue to operate, as currently, with a statutorily independent Director, within the ambit of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and with a reduced Advisory Council serving pro bono."

Just as criticism of the proposed merger was loud, so are the sighs of relief.

Steven Smyrl, Chairman of the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) and Executive Liaison Officer of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO), said: "The threat of merger has been hanging over the NAI for years and it is indeed excellent news that this ill-conceived proposal is finally thrown out.

"It means that the state will continue to have direct control of the state's records – as it should! It was never going to be a wise move to distance that control, yet that is what would have happened if the planned merger had gone ahead. Now, at last, the NAI can start to operate again without the draining uncertainty of the last few years. And that is good news for all Irish genealogists."

The Plantation: Myths, Reality and Legacy

A six-week course gets underway next week on the Planation of Ulster. Here's the detail:

Too often history has been viewed in black and white terms. This is especially true of the Plantation period of the early 17th century. For some, this was an era in which pioneering Presbyterian settlers from Scotland brought civilisation and enlightenment to a backward province. For others the Plantation was an invasion by oppressors who displaced the native Irish from their homes and drove them to the hills. Such views remain strong in popular understandings of early 17th-century Ulster.

This course will look at what actually happened in the Plantation, including the settlement of Scots and English, the impact of the Plantation on the native Irish, the development of a market economy and urban network, and role of religion and the churches. It will also consider how Northern Ireland today has been shaped by events 400 years ago.

Tutor: Dr William Roulston
Time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
Session: Friday, 6 weeks
Start date: 9th November - 14th December 2012
Cost: £45 (concessions £35)

For further information please contact Stranmillis University College: or 028 9038 4345.

Directories and discounts from Origins

You may remember from my BTOP Review (1) that a bunch of Dublin Directories is being prepared, courtesy of Dublin City Library & Archives, for upload to The collection mentioned at one of the lectures I attended included the 1890 to 1900 directories and these were expected to be online by the end of the year.

Well, lo and behold, has just released a cracking collection of 25 Dublin directories, specifically Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory for the year 1844 to 1870 inclusive. So not those that were promised, but who's complaining?

A further 151 directories, covering the years 1636 to 1900, are being prepared for upload in the coming months. Aside of the 1890 to 1900 editions of Thom's that we already know are in the pipe, the additional directories will mostly be more from Thom's or The Treble Almanacks (The Gentleman and Citizen's Almanack (Watson's) and The English Registry and Wilson's Dublin Directory). See this comprehensive listing.

Not content with this terrific Halloween gift, the database is also offering a very welcome and not-at-all spooky 20% discount on all subscriptions from today until 7 November.

To take advantage of this offer, enter the code Hall2012 in the promotional box on the checkout or sign up pages once you have chosen your subscription package.

Making Ireland English: lecture report

The Autumn Lecture of the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) took place yesterday evening at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin.

The lecture – Making Ireland English: The Irish Aristocracy in the 17th century – was presented by Jane Ohlmeyer of Trinity College Dublin. This report by genealogist Claire Bradley.

Prof Ohlmeyer has recently published a book of the same title, – the result of some 20 years of research – and her knowledge and passion for the subject was evident throughout the talk. She began by explaining that the 17th century was one of the most tumultuous centuries in Irish history; it was a time when English aristocrats were literally tasked with the Anglicisation and 'civilisation' of Ireland.

She noted that while work on the aristocracy had been done to high degree on European and British peerages, very little had been done for Ireland. James I dramatically increased the number of Irish peers in the early part of the 17th century - a cash-for-titles scheme leading to some 60-70 peers in Ireland. Roughly half were Catholic and half were Protestant but over the course of the century, it became more Protestant. Many of these new peers were self-made men, like the Earl of Cork, and still more were already of some form of noble birth. The ultimate prize for these men was the continuation of their lines, usually achieved by marrying an English heiress.

Despite best efforts, several lineages were extinct within a few generations.

Prof. Ohlmeyer spent a good portion of her talk discussing the sources for this period. They include The Complete Peerage by GE Cokayne and John Lodge's Peerage in Ireland, both written with the aid of records later destroyed in the 1922 fire at the Four Courts. Substantional estate records and personal archives survive for the period and are spread across the main repositories of the UK and Ireland.

Other records, such as the Boyles of Cork archive, ended up in Chatsworth, Derbyshire, after the entire Boyle fortune was subsumed into the Duke of Devonshire's property when Charlotte Boyle married the 4th Duke in 1831.

Estate records for approximately one third of all peers remain mostly in PRONI and the National Library of Ireland. The Genealogical Office manuscripts are also a detailed source for the 17th century.

Prof. Ohlmeyer also talked about her involvement with the 1641 depositions project and the plans to link it up with the Irish Statute Staple, the books of survey and distribution and Sir William Petty's maps. When these go online, they will show a very complete picture of land and status in Ireland in the 17th century.

This was a very informative and interesting talk which left the audience wanting more. I have no doubt that many people are heading out to buy her book!

(Many thanks to Claire Bradley.)

Monday 29 October 2012

The Genealogy Event - The Review

Joe Buggy reports.

This past Friday and Saturday saw the return of a genealogy exhibition to New York City for the first time in a number of years. The Genealogy Event was organized by Bridget Bray, who has been a keen genealogy enthusiast for the last number of years and has traced her Irish ancestors to Castleconnell, Co. Limerick.

The event was held at the Metropolitan Pavillion in Manhattan and saw a range of exhibitors providing information, services, products and advice to patrons.

There was a heavy Irish presence in the form of the Irish Ancestry Research Centre from University of Limerick, Ireland Reaching Out, the New York Irish Center and the Long Island based Irish Family History Forum. All four organizations had their tables in the same area and that section of the exhibition hall was heavily traversed on both days, as people wanted to know more about their Irish ancestry.

Many of the main players in American genealogy were there including Ancestry, Family Tree Magazine, Find My Past US, the National Genealogical Society and the Association of Professional Genealogists.

The exhibition also saw a range of regionally- and nationally-known speakers participate in 30-minute 'power speaking sessions' covering topics from The ABCs of DNA to Don’t Forget the Ladies: An Introduction to Researching Female Ancestors. The Irish Ancestry Research Centre gave two talks: Planning a Genealogy Trip to Ireland and An Introduction to Irish Based Resources. Both talks were attended by over 100 people. Attendees could also avail of a free 15-minute help session with a professional genealogist.

New York City has seen countless immigrants come to the United States and as a result millions of Americans have ancestors who live in or came through the city. A major genealogy exhibition has been greatly needed and hopefully this was the first of many annual events to come.

Joe Buggy, originally from Kilkenny, is a professional genealogist based in New York City. He also works as a research associate with the Irish Ancestry Research Centre (IARC), located at University of Limerick. You can find more information about Joe on his website Townland of Origin and follow him on Twitter at @townlandorigin. You can learn about the work of the IARC at

Centenary events continue at Belfast City Hall

The latest in a series of special events to mark a `Decade of Centenaries` takes place at City Hall on Wednesday 31 October.

John Killen, librarian of the Linen Hall Library, will use contemporary political cartoons and postcards to look at the events that shaped the island of Ireland in the early 20th century. He will address the war of political ideologies brought about by the third Home Rule Bill, and draw parallels in political thinking and activity based on the years between 1912 and 1922.

The final City Hall event takes place on Tuesday 6 November with a talk by broadcaster Fergal Keane on the subject of `Commemoration`. This will be followed by a panel discussion featuring historian and author John Bew, former Police Ombudsman Nuala O`Loan, Irish Times columnist Fintan O`Toole and author Glenn Patterson.

Both events start at 7.15pm. Admission is free but tickets must be booked in advance from the Belfast Welcome Centre in Donegall Place, or by telephoning 028 9024 6609.

The hugely popular `Shared History – Different Allegiances` exhibition continues at City Hall until the end of February.

Full details.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Events list for IE and NI for next ten days

Monday 29 October: The archaeology of witchcraft and superstition in Ireland, with Roisin O'Reilly. Ulster Archaeological Society, Lecture Theatre, School of Geography, Archaeology and Paleoecology, QUB, Elmwood Building, Elmwood Avenue, Belfast. 8pm. 

Tuesday 30 October: A Coleraine Man's War 1939-1945, with Diana Kirkpatrick. Coleraine FHS. Coleraine Guide Hall, Terrace Row (behind Terrace Row Church). 8pm. Tea/coffee and biscuits after lecture.  All welcome. £3.00 for non-members. 

Tuesday 30 October:  Making Ireland English: How the Aristocracy shaped 17th-Century Ireland, with Professor Jane Ohlemeyer. Host: Irish Genealogical Research Society. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Start time 7pm. All Welcome. Admission Free. 

Tuesday 30 October: 'Taken from this place' — Crime and punishment in County Waterford, with Joanne Rothwell. Cappoquin Community Centre. 7.30pm. Details. €5.  

Wednesday 31 October : Irish emigration, pre-Inquisition (Spanish), with  Dr. Thomas O Connor. Host: Wexford Historical Society. 8pm.  Details.

Wednesday 31 October:  Raiders of the Lost Archive – Ulster Covenant Records at PRONI, with Stephen Scarth identifying items from the 1912 Ulster Covenant collection held in the Record Office’s archives. 1pm. Linen Hall Library, Belfast. Free. Details: 028 9032 1707.

Thursday 1 November: Organising a Reunion, with Bill Shaw, plus Family History Resources, with Catherine Morrow. Host: Northern Ireland FHS, Belfast Branch. Venue: Holywood Arches Library, Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 1NT. 7.30-9.30pm.

Thursday 1 November: Slumland Dublin. Speakers are Chris Corlett (National Monuments Service) on Darkest Dublin, and Catriona Crowe (National Archives) on The 1911 Census.  The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin 1. 6pm. Bookings: + 353 (0)1 222 5455.

Friday 2 November: The signing of the Ulster Covenant. Documents, stills and film archive footage recording the events surrounding the signing. Saintfield Library, Ballynahinch Road, Co Down. 1:30pm. Free, but booking advised. Tel: +44 (0)28 9751 0550.

Friday 2 November: Vanishing Ireland, with Turtle Bunbury. Irish Ancestry Research Centre (IARC), Tierney Building, University of Limerick. 11am. Tel: +353 61 518355. Email.

Saturday 3 November: Irish Family History Society All-day seminar at Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse St., Dublin 2. From 10am to 5pm.  Four lectures (great line-up!). Details.

Monday 5 November, World War One Family History Roadshow, organised by the National Library. Venue: Hunt Museum, Limerick. From 10am to 5pm. Bookings essential. Details.  

Monday 5 November:Castles, Scottish mercenaries and lost towns of late medieval North Ulster, with Dr Colin Breen.  Venue: Helen Roe theatre, Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 at 7.30pm. Tel: +353 1 676 1749.  

Monday 5 November: Aungier Street Historical Walking Tour, organised by Dublin City Council Architects Department and PIVOT Dublin. 45-minute duration. Start at Noon. Booking is necessary. Tel: +353 (0)1-2223688 or email

Tuesday 6 November: Ancestry Workshop. Draperstown Library, High St, Draperstown, Co Derry. Free, but booking essential. 6.30pm. Tel: +44 (0)28 7962 8249.  

Tuesday 6 November: Local Place Names, with Neil Comer. Host: Ballinascreen Historical Society. Venue: St. Colm's High School, Draperstown, Co Derry. 8pm.

Tuesday 6 November: The Lockout and the Monto. Chaired by Dr Lisa Godson (NCAD/GradCam), with Padraig Yeats discussing The Assault on Corporation Buildings and Terry Fagan presenting Oral Histories of the Lockout. The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin 1. 6pm. Bookings: + 353 (0)1 222 5455.

Tuesday 6 November: The River Blackwater and County Waterford, with Joanne Rothwell. Cappoquin Community Centre. 7.30pm. Details. €5.  

Friday 26 October 2012

October Bank Holiday arrangements

As we wind down into the long weekend, here's a brief note of bank holiday arrangements for places of interest to Irish genealogy researchers.

The National Archives of Ireland, RCBL, General Register Office Research Room, Valuation Office, Registry of Deeds etc will be closed on Monday 29 October, reopening on Tuesday 30th. (See my updated earlier post advising forward closure dates for the National Archives.)

The National Libary of Ireland works its standard Saturday and Sunday hours. On Monday, while the Reading Rooms and Joly Cafe are closed, exhibitions open from noon to 5pm. All return to normal hours on Tuesday 30 October.

Most local libraries in Ireland (including Dublin City Library & Archive) will be closed tomorrow as well as on Monday 29th. There may be exceptions to this arrangement, so check before you set out.

There is no bank holiday in Northern Ireland, so all libraries and institutions should be open as normal.

If this weekend is an opportunity to immerse yourself in some serious research, don't forget to take advantage of one or more of the following special offers and discounts:

    National Library to pilot self service newspaper access

    The National Library of Ireland has announced that it intends to trial a self-service system for newspaper researchers using the Main Reading Room at Kildare Street.

    The pilot run will see the Irish Independent from 1891 to 2011 on open access. Researchers will simply help themselves, one reel at a time, to microfilms in the Microfilm Reading Room.

    If the system is successful and proves popular, more of the most widely-used newspapers will be added to the self-service arrangements.

    Before the trial starts, however, microfilms of the Irish Independent have to relocate to their new residence. To facilitate a speedy migration, they will be unavailable on Friday 2 November and Saturday 3 November. The paper will still be available via Irish Newspaper Archive (free at the NLI) on those days.

    Further details at the NLI website.

    Thursday 25 October 2012

    Ancestry to add Boston Pilot's Missing Irish ads

    Ancestry is going to add the Boston, Missing Irish Immigrants 1831-1920 collection to its database as one of its World Archives Projects (WAPs).

    The collection is an important one for the descendants of Irish immigrants to the United States. It features 40,594 advertisements placed in the Boston Pilot newspaper's Missing Friends column through which families and friends who had lost touch with one another could attempt to make contact. Frequently, these advertisements mention the person's townland of origin in Ireland.

    As with all WAPs, these records will be made available for free on Ancestry when they have been indexed.

    Presumably they will also be accompanied by images. This would then distinguish the collection from that already available free on the fully searchable Information Wanted database run by Boston College. While the latter has no images it is free to search and view.

    However, from details on the WAP page, I suspect that any images making their way to the Ancestry database will not be from the original newespapers but from The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot, an eight-volume work edited by Ruth-Ann M. Harris, Donald M. Jacobs, Dominique M. Pickett, and B. Emer O’Keeff (published by England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, 1989-1993), which contains transcripts of these advertisements.

    If you fancy offering your time to help index this collection, click here. Being a small project, it is expected to be keyed quickly, so act soon if you wish to be involved.

    Wednesday 24 October 2012

    The Gathering - Homeward Bound: Tadhg Kennelly

    The fourth episode of the series The Gathering – Homeward Bound aired last night on RTE 1.

    It featured Kerry GAA and Aussie Rules football star Tadhg Kennelly as he returned to his hometown of Listowel to see his friends, family, teammates and old neighbours and set out some very good reasons and events to entice Kerry's diaspora to come home for The Gathering in 2013.

    You can view the programme on RTE's Player, or find out more about The Gathering 2013 here.

    Exhibition: Tenement life and the 1913 lockout

    Digging the Monto: An archeology of tenement life and the 1913 lockout is an exhibition and residency by Dr Thomas Kador with support from the Heritage Council. It features collections from Terry Fagan and Martin Coffey, and runs from tomorrow until 10 November.

    The exhibition will be open daily (except Sundays) from 10am to 5pm in the ground and first floor galleries of The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin 1.

    The programme of events at the same location:

    Thursday 25 October: From the Lockout to the Rising and the Treaty – (How) Should we commemorate? This discussion will be chaired by Charles Duggan of Dublin City Council. Speakers are Padraig Yeates (Lockout Historian), Pat Cooke (UCD), Mary Muldowney (Centre for Contemporary Irish History, TCD), Roisin Higgins (Boston College) and Helen Carey (Limerick City Gallery). 6pm.

    Thursday 1 November: Slumland Dublin. Speakers are Chris Corlett (National Monuments Service) on Darkest Dublin, and Catriona Crowe (National Archives) on The 1911 Census. 6pm

    Tuesday 6 November: The Lockout and the Monto. Chaired by Dr Lisa Godson (NCAD/GradCam), with Padraig Yeats discussing The Assault on Corporation Buildings and Terry Fagan presenting Oral Histories of the Lockout. 6pm.

    Saturday 10 November: Monto Walking Tour. Terry Fagan at 11am followed by the Closing Celebration with Charles Duggan, Heritage Officer, Dublin City Council at 1pm.

    Contact The LAB on 00 353 (0)1 222 5455 for booking details.

    PRONI talk: How to research WW1 soldiers

    PRONI is to host an interesting lunchtime talk on Friday 9 November.

    Buried at Canada Farm: tracing First World War soldiers will be presented by Ian Montgomery. It takes as its starting point the 'Burial Return' of five soldiers from 16th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (2nd County Down Volunteers) who were killed on 17 April 1918 and buried at Canada Farm Cemetery, near Elzendammestraat in Belgium.

    Those who attend the talk will be able to pick up hints on how to research and obtain more information on men who served in the First World War.

    Time: 1pm
    Venue: PRONI, Titanic Quarter, Belfast.
    Cost: Free

    Tuesday 23 October 2012

    Tales of Medieval Dublin: the videos

    The first three of the current series of Tales of Medieval Dublin lunchtime lectures – The Miller's Tale, with Claire Walsh; The Duibh Linn(ers') Tale, with Edmond O'Donovan; and The Slave's Tale, with Poul Holm – can be viewed on video below.

    The Miller's Tale by Claire Walsh

    The Duibh Linn(ers') Tale by Edmond O'Donovan

    The Slave's Tale by Poul Holm

    The Tales of Medieval Dublin series is presented by the Friends of Medieval Dublin and Dublin City Council. A lecture is held each month (always on a Tuesday) at Wood Quay Venue in the Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, from 1.15pm to 1.45pm. Admission is free, and no booking is required. Details.

    Family historian wins honour for WW1 soldier

    The research of a Cork family historian into her father's uncle (last documented in the 1911 Census in Kilkenny) has resulted in an official 'soldier's homecoming', 94 years after his death.

    It's a great tale of persistence! Read it in the Kilkenny People here.

    Ancestry updates London Poor Law records set

    120x60: I’m, your NanAncestry has updated its London Poor Law Records 1430-1973 collection. (UPDATE 30 October: According to a tweet today, some 300,000 records were added to the online collection.) As is standard for these 'updates', there's no information about quite what the update entails, but I've taken the announcement as a timely opportunity to mention the usefulness of English Poor Law records for Irish genealogy research.

    Poor Law Records contain many, many Irish people. And not just in the most obvious collection sets such as the workhouse and infirmary records, or registers of apprentices.

    On arrival from Ireland, many found their lives no less precarious than back home. If they fell sick or were injured, they may well have applied for temporary relief from the local parish.

    New to the parish, and without the professional or family means to support him/herself, such an individual would not have the formal status of 'settlement' in the parish; as such, while it might extend funds to the struggling Irish migrant, it would try to claim a refund from the 'home' parish, back in Ireland.

    So Poor Law records can be a rich source of information if your ancestors either settled in England or migrated there on a temporary or seasonal basis.

    The London collection on Ancestry is extensive, with 2.8million records available. They have not been indexed, however, so you have to identify which documents your ancestors may appear in and browse accordingly. The records include:
    • Admission and discharge books of workhouses
    • Registers of individuals in the infirmary
    • Creed registers
    • School registers
    • Registers of children boarded out or sent to various other institutions
    • Registers of apprentices
    • Registers of lunatics
    • Registers of servants
    • Registers of children
    • Registers of relief to wives and children
    • Registers of inmates
    • Registers of indoor poor
    • Registers of deserted children
    The exact information you can find about your ancestors varies according to what type of record you’re looking at.

    Monday 22 October 2012

    NLI launches WW1 family history roadshow series

    Back in March, the National Library of Ireland (NLI) held a World War One Family History Roadshow to which the public was invited to bring along memorabilia belonging to family and friends who took part in World War One. (See the report in Irish Genealogy News here.)

    All items brought to the National Library were digitally photographed, so that visitors could take their precious memorabilia home with them. Once digitised and catalogued, the material was uploaded to the Europeana 1914-1918 website, where it can now be viewed by everyone.

    The first roadshow was a huge success. As a result, the NLI is now planning a series of roadshows around the country in the countdown to 2014. The first of these will take place on Monday 5 November, from 10am to 5pm, at the Hunt Museum in Limerick.

    The NLI announcement says: 'We are inviting you to bring your WWI memorabilia (anything from diaries to helmets, and from medals to postcards) to the Hunt Museum, where it will be digitised and added to the online archive, along with the stories that bring these objects to life. We are delighted that we will be joined on the day by Mr Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, whose Department has made the Irish roadshow days possible. There will also be historians and experts on hand to talk to you about the significance of your finds.'

    Places at the Roadshow are limited so advance booking is essential. Telephone 00 353 (0)1-603 0346 or email, stating whether you'd prefer to attend morning or evening.

    Byrne's Irish Times Abstracts 1859-1901 on

    Byrne's Irish Times Abstracts 1859-1901 have been added to FindMyPast Ireland's database.

    These records cover the City of Dublin and its southern suburbs from 1859 to 1901 and are based solely on data extracted from the Irish Times. They include entries for virtually every building in every street in Dublin and its Southern suburbs.

    The type of record relating to people may include birth, marriage and death announcements, accidents, employment, suicides, social activities and criminal/civil law cases. About 200,000 names are included in the collection.

    The type of record relating to property may include sales and lettings, households, lodgings, prices, sanitary conditions, and the names of occupants, both current and previous.

    The dataset does not include records of the police, the army, churches or sports.'s details of the collection says: 'Particular attention has been paid to the poor as few records were left by them. Also the deterioration of once fashionable streets with single family homes into densely crowded tenements has been given particular attention. If it was recorded in the Irish Times, it is here.'

    The data has been supplied by Peter F. Byrne, a member of the English Bar licensed to practice law in the United States (California). He was educated in Dublin and at London University. He is an enthusiastic genealogist and historian with a particular interest in the history of Dublin.

    Friday 19 October 2012

    Revised arrangements for busy Military Archives Reading Room

    Based at Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines, Military Archives has become a popular research institution for Irish genealogists and historians during the course of the last year in which it has released several fascinating collections.

    While those collections are freely available online, the greater awareness of the Military Archives has increased demand at its Reading Room, which has the capacity to accommodate eight researchers at any one time.

    Demand has now reached such a level that Military Archives has revised the Reading Room opening times to two distinct time blocks, separated by a one-hour lunch break.

    The first research block is from 10:00am to 12:30pm and the second block is from 13:30pm to 16:00pm.

    Researchers requiring both research blocks may be accommodated on request through the Duty Archivist.

    The new opening hours and its research block arrangements will be effective from 30 October and will allow the Military Archives to double the number of researchers using the reading room facilities.

    The Reading Room is open Tuesday to Thursday inclusive.

    South and East Cork historic graves project 2013

    While doing some day-job research the other day, I came across an Invitation to Tender that could be of interest to those with Cork ancestors.

    It seems South and East Cork Area Development (SECAD) is planning an Historic Graves Training Programme 2012-2013. This will follow up on pilot projects carried out in 2010 and 2011 in which local communities were trained to record information from historic graveyards in South and East Cork.

    Some of the details of the proposal:
    • The project aims to extend the heritage/genealogy/tourism potential of historic graveyards and to publicly connect people with the unique stories of the area and storytelling traditions.
    • Volunteers from communities groups will be trained to record historic graves information and use it for conservation and tourism purposes. They will be taught how to record their history, personal memories and memorial inscriptions using both conventional and electronic recording techniques.
    • It is expected that at least ten community groups, each comprised of at least two neighbouring parishes, will receive training, and each group will carry out surveys on at least two graveyards. This training will be carried out in the first six months of 2013.
    • The groups will be encouraged to engage collaboratively with the local authorities to develop tourism material, link print and online media, and link in with The Gathering 2013.
    The deadline is tight – Tuesday 22 October – for submissions from suitably qualified providers of this type of heritage training servive. See the full tender notice.

    Thursday 18 October 2012

    1911 England & Wales Census is free, free, free

    All three major database providers for UK records – Ancestry, FindMyPast UK and Genes Reunited – are currently offering free access to the 1911 England and Wales census.

    Ancestry's offer covers transcriptions and images of census returns. It has been available since the middle of August and will expire on 2 November.

    Find My Past's offer covers transcriptions only. It is new this week and will continue until 18 November. There's also currently a free 14-day trial to the entire record collection on offer.

    GenesReunited, being the sister company of FMP, has introduced the same offer to view census transcriptions this week and it, too, will continue until 18 November.

    Take your choice!

    15% discounts from FindMyPast Ireland

    As reported yesterday, FindMyPast Ireland is currently offering a 14-day free trial for access to the FMP Worldwide collection, the FMP Britain & Ireland collection and the FMP Ireland-only collection.

    What I didn't notice initially (it's only subtly highlighted on the website) is that there's also a 15% discount available when the free-trial ends to those who sign up for a Worldwide or Britain & Ireland subscription. This brings the cost of a subscription down as follows:

    World Collection:
    12 months subscription – Normal price €179.95; Reduced to €152.96 after free-trial
    6 months subscription – Normal price €112.95; Reduced to €96.01 after free-trial

    Britain & Ireland Collection:
    12 months subscription – Normal price €149.95; Reduced to €127.46 after free-trial
    6 months subscription – Normal price €94.95; Reduced to €80.71 after free-trial

    While a 14-day free-trial is available for those who want to check out the Ireland-only collection, there is no 15% discount on offer for those researchers who want the Ireland-only subscription.

    Still, a very attractive promotion for those who want the larger packages!

    Wednesday 17 October 2012

    National Archives of Ireland closure dates

    With the bank holiday weekend not far off, here's a reminder that the National Archives of Ireland (not to mention the National Library of Ireland and most other institutions in the Republic) will be closed to the public on Monday 29 October. (Full details.)

    In addition, check your calendar if you're planning to visit the National Archives on Thursday 1 November; it will not open to the public until 2pm.

    And looking further ahead, the annual media preview will close the Reading Room to the public on Wednesday 5, Thursday 6 and Friday 7 December. Only representatives of newspapers and broadcasting companies will be admitted on those dates.

    Update (26 October 2012): The National Archives has announced another partial-day closure on Thursday 8 November. The public will not be admitted until 2.30pm; production of documents will continue until 16.00.

    90,000 Derry 'census substitutes' now online.

    Click image to go direct to the Derry database
    As was promised by Bernadette Walsh of Derry Genealogy Centre at the Back To Our Past Show last weekend (see first day report), an additional 90,000 records have been added to County Derry's presence on

    They include transcripts of a number of important 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century census returns and census substitutes for the city and county of Derry, specifically the Hearth Money Rolls of 1663, Protestant Householders Lists of 1740, Religious Census of 1766, Flax Growers Lists of 1796, Tithe Applotment Books of the 1820s and 1830s, and 1831 Census Returns. These can now be searched and results viewed.

    There is not, unfortunately, a list of all the resources, and the dates they cover, now available on the RootsIreland/Derry database. (It isn't the only county genealogy centre that doesn't disclose this information on the site.* Surely it wouldn't take a lot of effort or time to make such a customer-focussed improvement.)

    However, a press release from Derry Genealogy Centre provides some explanation:

    'Our database now contains the bulk of pre-1922 civil birth and marriage registers for the city and county of Derry, the early baptismal and marriage registers of 85 churches (the earliest dating from 1642), gravestone inscriptions from 117 graveyards, and census returns and census substitutes dating from 1901 back to 1663.

    'We, furthermore, now offer a free advice service to anyone tracing their roots in the North West. Be it a query about place names, surname origins, sources to search or record offices to visit, visitors and locals alike are encouraged to forward their queries by email to genealogist Brian Mitchell.

    The Gathering - Homeward Bound: Trevor Brennan

    The third programme in The Gathering – Homeward Bound series aired last night on RTE 1. It featured ex-rugby player Trevor Brennan returning from his new base in Toulouse to his hometown of Leixlip and setting out the reasons why Kildare's diaspora should think about coming home for The Gathering in 2013.

    You can view the film below or on RTE 1 Player, or find out more about The Gathering 2013 here.

    Conference: Irish Diaspora and Revolution 1845-1945

    The Department of History, NUI Maynooth, is to host a three-day conference examining the Irish Diaspora and Revolution 1845-1945.

    It starts on the evening of Tuesday 30 October and continues until lunchtime on Thursday 1 November in the Iontas Building and John Hume Building of North Campus, NUI Maynooth.

    Conference fees are very reasonable. Standard admission is €20. For students it is €15.

    You can download the full programme and registration form by clicking the image to the right, or contact Dr Gerard Moran by email.

    14-day free trial on offer from FindMyPast Ireland

    FindMyPast Ireland is offering a 14-day free trial on ANY of its subscription packages.

    There are no hidden costs. This really is just a straightforward free trial offering access to any of the FMP packages – Worldwide, UK & Ireland or just Ireland – of historical records and documents. You have to register to get the access and start the clock ticking, but nothing more onerous than that.

    Take full advantage while the offer lasts. Click the image to the right and then select the grey '14-day free trial' button (indicated in red on the image) on the FMP HomePage.

    Ever got lost in the NLI catalogue?

    I don't generally get on with online catalogues, and I know I'm not alone. So I'm extremely pleased to pass on that the National Library of Ireland (NLI) now has a series of YouTube videos to help those of us who typically leave online catalogues with steam coming out of our ears and precious little else.

    While the How to Search the NLI Catalogue video is the one that caught my eye, the four others may also prove useful to Irish genealogy researchers. They are:

    • How to search the NLI Photo Collection
    • How to register for an NLI Reader's Ticket
    • How to place an online order for NLI materials
    • How to find a newspaper at NLI.

    You'll find the full menu of videos here.

    The NLI describes the videos as giving 'clear, concise, easy to follow instructions and visual demonstrations accompanies by step-by-step narration and notes.' Having watched the short 'Catalogue' video, I can vouch for this. I feel rather better equipped to sometimes find what I want among the near half a million items within. You can watch it below.

    Listen up to the Ulster Covenant Hedge School

    The HistoryIreland Hedge School Remembering the Ulster Covenant took place last month at the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. An audio recording of the discussion, and some good contributions from the audience, is now available to listen to or download here.

    The knowledgeable panel on the day consisted of Brian Kennaway (Irish Association), Éamon Phoenix (Stranmillis), Margaret O’Callaghan (QUB) and Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc (Uni. of Limerick), with HistoryIreland editor Tommy Graham in the chair.

    Tuesday 16 October 2012

    Events list for the next fortnight

    The leaves may be falling and the days getting shorter, but at least Autumn can be relied upon for a busy calendar of Irish genealogy, history and heritage events! Here's a list for the next two weeks:

    Wednesday 17 October: Merchants and mariners in 16th-century Meath, with Fionnán Tuite. Lismullin Institute, Lismullin Conference Centre, Navan. 8-9pm. Details. €5.00.

    Wednesday 17 October: Home Rule: lost opportunity or sell-out? A HistoryIreland Hedge School at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin, with Stephen Collins (Irish Times), Brian Hanley (Inst of Irish Studies, Liverpool) and Margaret O'Callaghan (QUB). 7pm. Free. No booking. Likely to be a very lively debate!

    Thursday 18 October: Tracing your Irish ancestry, with Godfrey Duffy. Part of the Tyneside Irish Festival. 7-9pm. 43 Gallowgate, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, NE1 4SG. £3 on the door.

    Thursday 18 October: The Andrews Family of Comber, with Clive Scoular. Host: North Down & Ards Branch of NIFHS. Venue: First Presbyterian Church Hall, Upper Main Street, Bangor. 7.30-9.30pm.

    Thursday 18 October: Family History for Beginners, with Sandra Ardis. Downpatrick Library. Market St. 7:30pm. Free. Booking recommended.

    Thursday 18 October: Presbyteriansism in Armagh, with Rev Joe Thompson. Hosted by the Presbyterian Historical Society. Venue: The Mall Presbyterian Church, Armagh. 8pm.

    Saturday 20 to Sunday 21 October: Ireland in a Roman World. International and interdisciplinary conference. Robert Emmett Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin. Attendance both days €80/€60; Saturday €50/€40;  Sunday €40/€30. More information.

    Monday 22 October: The Obama Connection, with Henry Healy from Moneygall. Birr Historical Society. Dooly's Hotel. 8pm. All welcome.

    Monday 22 October: Naked Savages: Irish customs at the end of the Middle Ages, with Dr Hiram Morgan. Continental views of the Irish as savages. Linen Hall Library, Belfast. 6-8pm. Email or tel: 028 9032 1707.

    Monday 22 October: Charles Stewart Parnell, a talk with Donal McCartney. Roundwood & District Historical & Folklore Society, Roundwood Parish Hall, Co Wicklow. 8pm. Details.

    Tuesday 23 October: The Ulster Covenant and the partition of Ireland, with Michael Laffan. Howth Peninsula Heritage Society. Howth Angling Centre, West Pier. 8pm.

    Tuesday 23 October: Highway Robbery — The dangers and expenses of road travel from 17th- to 19th-century Waterford, with Joanne Rothwell. Cappoquin Community Centre. 7.30pm. Details.

    Wednesday 24 October: Researching the Registry of Deeds, with Mary Beglan. Raheny Library. Howth Road, Dublin 5. Free. 6:30pm. Email.

    Wednesday 24 October: The Highland Lady and Ireland's Great Famine, with Dr Enda Delaney. Second of the Bibliofiles series of lectures. National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 7pm. Free. No booking required.

    Thursday 25 October : 400 years of Urban Growth in the North of Ireland, with Janice Holmes. First of the PRONI/Open University series of lectures on Urban History in Ulster. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. 6.30pm. Free.

    Friday 26 and Saturday 27 October: The Genealogy Event, New York's only family history event this year. Includes a dedicated lecture segment on Getting Started in Irish Genealogy. Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, New York. $15 advance ticket, $20 on the door.

    Monday 15 October 2012

    Ireland Genealogy Projects - the last four weeks

    From Killculin Cemetery, Roscommon
    Holidays and the like meant there was no update from Ireland Genealogy Projects at the end of last month. Instead, here's an update from mid-September to yesterday.

    ARMAGH Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    CARLOW Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    CLARE Genealogy Archives – Memorial Cards
    Additional Cards added

    CORK Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    DONEGAL Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    DUBLIN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
    Deansgrange Cemetery, South Section Part 3

    FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    KERRY Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    KILDARE Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    KILKENNY Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    LIMERICK Genealogy Archives – Miscellaneous
    Electors and Voters polled, Limerick 1836

    LONDONDERRY Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    OFFALY (KINGS) Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives – Headstones
    Killukin Cemetery
    Kilmore; Kilmore Graveyard

    TYRONE Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
    1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

    WEXFORD Genealogy Archives Wexford – Miscellaneous
    Electors and Voters polled, Wexford 1832-1835

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

    Back To Our Past 2012: Ancestry

    Ancestry was a name that visitors couldn't escape at the RDS in Dublin over the last three days. The company was the headline sponsor not only of Back To Our Past (BTOP) – Ireland's number one family history event – but also the much bigger Over 50s Show, which takes place at the same time, in the adjoining Main Hall and attracts in the region of 20,000 visitors.

    So the company's banners were everywhere to be seen – draped along the mezzanine gallery in the Main Hall and in prominent locations of the Industries Hall where the Irish genealogy industry was gathered.

    This financial and logistical commitment was an announcement of Ancestry's arrival in Ireland. The company opened its new international base in central Dublin in September and is now settling into its new role, primarily dealing with technical and financial admin, marketing and customer support. Whatever the future of this new hub may hold – and I'm assured that no blueprint exists – BTOP was the occasion for shouting loud and clear 'We're here!'

    In addition to the ubiquitious banners, the Ancestry stand also demanded attention. And it got it! Visitors were able to queue or book a timeslot for a one-to-one with an Ancestry expert, so the stand was continuously busy. There was also a 20% discount on offer for annual memberships.

    Despite the team being so busy on the stand, Miriam Silverman was able to find a few minutes to talk to me about the Lord Morpeth Roll project. The Roll is a document from 1841 which contains the names of some 275,000 people from all over Ireland and is held on a continuous roll of 652 pages wound around a mahogany spool.

    'It's been a very exciting project,' explains Miriam, 'not least because nobody knows exactly which names the roll holds, other than those on the front page. That's the glory of it. It's a census substitute, and yet we don't know who is included.' But we soon will.

    'The indexing project has now finished,' she says. 'It started in May and finished in September, making it one of the quickest keying projects we've done. Even the earlier scanning was fast – it took just five days, but that was because all the hard work, the conservation work, had already been completed by NUI Maynooth.'

    So the project has now gone back to the US where a Quality Assurance process will be carried out. 'We expect to have a good sense of the project by Christmas and we'll be able to decide exactly how we're going to deliver it at that point.'

    And the all important 'live' date?

    Spring 2013, says Miriam.

    But it won't end there. 'We'd like to reach out to the genealogy community in Ireland and elsewhere whose ancestors signed this document. We need contextual information. Who were these people? We know they were literate; we know they wanted to make a political statement by signing the petition; and we know some, but not all, occupations. And that's all we know. We're hoping that genealogists can help further the research and let us understand more about this document and the people who feature in it.'

    I'll be keeping in touch with Miriam, so I'll let you know how to get involved in any follow-up research after Lord Morpeth's Roll goes live on Ancestry's database.

    Incidentally, if, like me, you've felt you're losing touch with what Ancestry's growing Irish collection holds, you should have been at one of the BTOP talks that I attended! Presented by genealogist Paul Gorry, as a guest speaker on behalf of Ancestry, the talk covered the eight most useful collections for local and family history. I found his summary very helpful, so I'll get a synopsis written up by the end of the week.

    Sunday 14 October 2012

    Day Two at the Back To Our Past show

    Saturday brought a crisp and sunny mood to Dublin, and the anticipation of another full day at Back To Our Past.

    While I rather assumed that I had pretty much harvested all details of imminent new records, I was soon to discover that another crop of news awaited! I'll launch straight in...

    Ask About Ireland
    , the Library Council's site best known to Irish genealogists for its free version of Griffiths Valuation, is currently indexing the Ordnance Survey's Namebooks & Letters collection.

    I confess I'd never heard of this, so there follows a short explanation for others similarly ignorant.

    The Ordnance Survey was set up in 1824 to carry out a townland survey of Ireland and to map the entire island at a scale of six inches to one mile. The surveyors were also asked to study individual townland names, including each one's varient, and determine a standardised spelling for those which didn't already have an established English form. This information was recorded in a series of volumes known as Name Books.

    New IFHS logo. See yesterday's report.
    Other details were also recorded, such as local monuments, buildings of note, archaeological objects etc. making these books valuable for local history research, as much as providing additional information about the places in which our ancestors lived.

    Volumes of Letters comprising the correspondence between the field researchers and the Ordnance Survey office were also published. These provide further details of interest concerning the history of places countrywide.

    Importantly for Irish genealogy researchers, many of these letters also mention local individuals and families.

    Once indexed, this collection will be added to the free-to-access site with an option to either view the original page on screen or download it in pdf format, along with a map. It will be searchable only by placename.

    More good news was to be delivered at the stand of the National Archives of Ireland where Aideen Ireland and Catriona Crowe were busy, busy, busy pretty much all day. Aideen told me there was a distinct difference in the type of visitors on the first day to those on the Saturday.

    'On Friday, most of the queries we fielded were from beginners,' she said. 'Basically, they didn't know where to start, so we helped them along the way with that. Today has been rather more mixed. Many visitors said they had hit a brickwall, but they hadn't really; they were either looking in the wrong institutions or they weren't aware of a record collection that could probably give them an answer.'

    Aideen was able to reveal two terrific pieces of news. Firstly, the Tithe Applotment Books, which have been indexed by Family Search, are expected online by the end of November, and secondly, the wills of Irish soldiers 1914-1917 will be appearing on the NAI's site within the next month. Those for 1918 will be added in the New Year.

    While on a Military topic, I'll drift over to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission stand where I had a quick chat with Steve Rogers, the project co-ordinator of the War Graves Photographic Project. He told me that there are more than 5,500 Commonwealth war dead buried or commemorated at more than 1,000 burial grounds or churchyards throughout Ireland.

    I was surprised at the numbers, but it became obvious when Steve explained. Although some of the graves (especially in the west of Ireland) are those of non-identified men who lost their lives in the many ships torpedoed and sunk by German U-boats in the early years of WW2, most are of Irish soldiers who returned home wounded and died of their injuries or were taken home for burial by their families in their local churchyard.

    It was good to hear Steve talk about the sea-change in attitude in Ireland towards the Irish who fought in the British Army. This was reflected in the numbers visiting the stand.

    Another busy stand, as you'd expect, was FindMyPast Ireland. I don't know how many times I sloped past, hoping to catch a few words with Ross, the company's marketing executive, but with a more or less continuous queue waiting to get a one-to-one with one of FMP's experts, he was hardly coming up for air. However, I did eventually collar him and he gave me the good news that another batch of records from the Petty Sessions Order Books are due to be released very very soon.

    The Petty Sessions records have been one of the stand-out collection releases of 2012. If I'm counting correctly, some 5.5million entries have been released already. This next tranche will consist of 4million records, leaving approximately 5million still in the pipe for release by the end of the year.

    Moving on from new record releases, I also talked to Pádraic Ingoldsby on the Guild Of One-Name Studies stand who told me that there are now 42 surnames registered in Ireland. The idea of One-Name Studies has been slow to take off in Ireland, but at least it is moving in the right direction.

    The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) was showing off its still-in-development new website, which it hopes to launch on a new domain by the end of November. Among many new features, this website will provide an Irish genealogy 'wiki', a never-before-online 1861 census transcript, and details of some surprising new resources. Some of these will be available to non-members.

    Those looking for access to the resources held for members-only should consider the value of the Society's membership 'bundle' for 2013; this comprises membership, a subscription to Irish Roots magazine and a cd of the IGRS's well-regarded journal – The Irish Genealogist – from 1937-1993), all for 60 Euros (a saving of 24 Euros). This offer continues after the show ends.

    Another worthwhile visit was to the stand of Flyleaf Press. If you've got ancestors in Westmeath and Sligo, you'll be interested to know that two new books for these counties have been added to the 'Tracing Your Ancestors' series. A further addition to the line up will come in time for Christmas for those researching ancestors in County Clare.

    So that was it for Day Two, and I'm taking Sunday off... There's only so much fun a girl with a knock-out dose of a filthy lurgy can take before she is, indeed, knocked out!

    But I'll leave you with something rather more tantalising than my germs. I'll be doing a third and final report of the show on Monday. It will concentrate on Ancestry, the main sponsors of this year's Back To Our Past, and I promise some exciting news.

    Friday 12 October 2012

    Back To Our Past gets underway in Dublin

    The Back To Our Past (BTOP) show opened its doors today to a good sized queue and within minutes there was a great buzz within the RDS's Industries Hall. This lasted pretty much throughout the day, only noticably reducing after the last two presentations started at 5.30pm.

    Now in its third year, BTOP has become the most eagerly awaited event in the Irish genealogy community's calendar and I'd say no one was disappointed after the first day. With special offers galore, a terrific programme of lectures organised by APGI, the Association of Professional Genealogists of Ireland, and specialist advice or records waiting to be plundered on many stands, visitors were in for a treat. There was also a great crop of news, which is what I'll concentrate on in today's report.

    First up, Phillip Martin of Irish Newspaper Archives (INA) revealed that the Belfast Newsletter for 1738-1799 is now available on the website, albeit with a few gaps. At present, there's no indication on the Home Page that this is the case, but when you get through to the search page, the paper is available.

    "It'll take another 18 months to get editions from 1800 to current online," says Phillip, "But we hope to have 1800 to 1899 ready by June next year. By then, we also hope to have editions of the Fermanagh Herald online." With a couple of additional publications following a similar course, INA should have at least one newspaper available for each county on the island by the end of 2013. That'll be quite an achievement.

    Talking of achievements, Discover Ever After, the business that carried out graveyard surveys for Magherafelt District Council and has placed the results online, free of charge, last month (here), was proudly displaying certificates from Ballymena Borough Business Excellence Awards. Only last night, the company was a finalist in the Most Promising New Business category, and it won outright the Innovation Award.

    Back to mainstream Irish genealogy news, the other big deal of the day came from archivist Bernadette Walsh of the Derry Genealogy Centre: the Great Parchment Book of 1639 will be coming to a computer near you within a couple of months.

    The Great Parchment Book was a survey of all the lands seized by the Crown and includes names, placenames and details of rentals and contracts. All 165 parchment pages were badly damaged in a fire at the London Guildhall back in 1786 but they have now been carefully conserved. (You can read fascinating details of the conservation project on a dedicated website.)

    "With the conservation project having finished in September, the digitisation process can now begin," explained Bernadette. "It will be released online, page by page, starting in December and should be completed during 2013."

    This project is sure to play its role in Derry's year as UK City of Culture. It will also provide an outstanding resource for researchers of the Plantation of Ulster.

    Bernadette also told me that some census substitutes – mainly Militia Lists – will shortly be added to the Derry database of RootsIreland.

    Moving south, family historians with Wicklow links will be interested to learn of a new website that's in development. Catherine Wright, the archivist who runs the Wicklow Family History Centre, told me that this new site is as much a local history as a family history site. It will include parish histories, details of what records are available for different locations, genealogy advice articles, and personal and family memories. It should be published early next year, and I'll bring you further news of this in due course.

    A couple of weeks ago I mentioned on this blog that the Irish Family History Society was relaunching itself. Well, here it was, sporting a very attractive and rather clever new logo. I'll try to remember to take a photo of it tomorrow! The Society has a special show offer for potential members (membership through to the end of 2013, just 20 Euros) and a bundle of eight past journals reduced to 20 Euros.

    Julie Phibbs of Irish Roots magazine also had some show offers available. For the course of the weekend, an annual subscription costs 20 Euros (this offer is not open only to show visitors... you can also claim it online), and copies of the magazine were on sale to show visitors for just 2 Euros.

    Another special offer could be had at the Robert Blatchford Publishing stand where the second edition of the Irish Local and Family History Handbook was launched today. It's on sale for 12 Euros and, when you buy it, you're offered a copy of last year's handbook free, while stocks last. Alternatively, a copy of the first handbook alone costs 5 Euros.

    I picked up another couple of piece of news when I attended a talk by Maire Kennedy from the Special Collections Department of Dublin City Library and Archives (DCL&A). Firstly, a project is underway to digitise and place online the DCL&A's collection of Dublin Almanacs and Street Directories from the 17th century to 1900.

    The first tranche of the collection, from 1890 to 1900 will be available by the end of the year at

    The second collection destined for online status will be the Registers of Electors for Dublin 1937-1964 (with some gaps). Maire said that the digitisation project has been finished, but technical problems have delayed the online upload. She is hopeful that this will be remedied soon.

    So that's the main highlights of day one of BTOP 2012. I'll be doing a report of day two tomorrow, but it may not be online until Sunday.

    Thursday 11 October 2012

    Good signs for Nova Scotia's historic Irishtown

    Interpretative signage now distinguishes Irishtown
    Following a long campaign by An Cumann, the Irish Association of Nova Scotia, to recognise the contribution of Irish immigrants to the development of Halifax, interpretative signage has been installed to highlight the Irishtown district.

    Dr Terry Punch IGRS, the renowned historian and genealogist*, carried out research for the campaign team. He found that the Irish formed a recognisable group in the early foundation of Halifax and that the Irish language was regularly spoken and heard in its streets.

    They were actively engaged in the fishing industry in downtown Halifax but moved out to fishing villages such as Ketch Harbour from the 1760s.

    A second wave of Irish immigrants began to repopulate downtown Halifax in the 1830s. Between 1860 and 1890, up to 50% of residents in some parts of the district were Irish, earning the area the nickname of Irishtown.

    For the most part, this group was not part of the famine exodus.

    The Halifax Irish made significant contributions to the social life and economic prosperity of the town, especially in the port industry and commercial waterfront, so it's good to see this pubically recognised.

    * Terry's book, North America’s Maritime Funnel: The Ships that brought the Irish 1749-1852, was published last month. See report.

    HistoryIreland lecture series at Linenhall Library

    To mark its 20th year of publication, HistoryIreland magazine is inaugurating an annual series of lectures in association with the Linen Hall Library, Belfast.

    Lecture 1, Monday, 22 October: Naked Savages – Irish customs at the end of the Middle Ages. Chair, Professor Mary O’Dowd, Queen’s University Belfast.

    Lecture 2, Tuesday, 23 October: Eating and Conquering: Essex’s Ulster Account Book. Chair, Hector McDonnell, painter and writer.

    Lecture 3, Wednesday, 24 October: Utopia – the war aims of the Great O’Neill. Chair: Dr Patrick Fitzgerald, Ulster American Folk Park.

    Lecture 4, Thursday, 25 October: Francis Bacon – the moderate Englishman? Chair: Jonathan Bardon, author, A History of Ulster, A History of Ireland in 250 episodes, The Plantation of Ulster.

    Lecture 5, Friday, 26 October: Fantasy Portraits of the Irish Chiefs – 19th century nationalist visualizations? Chair: Professor Peter Gray, Queen’s University of Belfast.

    These lectures are open to all and, in true HistoryIreland style, are intended to provoke discussion. Time: 6-8pm.

    Full details of the scope of each lecture can be found on HistoryIreland's website here.

    Wednesday 10 October 2012

    Two recent Hedge School debates now online

    The History Ireland Hedge Schools have become famous for their lively debate on historical and social subjects. Two of the more recent, both recorded at the Electric Picnic during the 'summer', can now be enjoyed online or downloaded for later listening, as follows:

    Racism and the Irish: perpetrators or victims?

    From the Liberty Boys to the Westies
    (Gang violence):

    To watch The Gathering, get YouTube bound

    If you've wanted to watch the new TV series The Gathering - Homeward Bound (see preview report) but have either missed it or failed to work out the intricacies of the RTE Player, you'll be pleased to hear that you can view each episode on You Tube.

    Those clever folks at The Gathering have created their very own YouTube channel and will be posting each episode within a day of their screening.

    The first episode, with comedian Brendan Grace returning to The Liberties of Dublin, which was screened last week, is already online. Last night's show, with Niall Breslin returning to Mullingar, will be uploaded today. (Update: see below)

    The channel also includes a number of other videos explaining just what The Gathering is all about.

    Last night's episode:

    Plantation celebration: 20 October

    The Ulster Historical Foundation's R.J. Hunter Fund Committee is hosting an event on Saturday 20 October to celebrate the work of Robert John Hunter (1938-2007), historian of the Ulster Plantation.

    The event – R.J. Hunter — An Appreciation and Book Launch – will be held at the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Library & Archive and will be chaired by Dr Sam Burnside, MBE. It will mark the publication of a number of works, and preview other forthcoming resources, which draw on the work of R.J. Hunter, and which introduce some of the resources available to Plantation scholars. These include:
    • Strabane Barony during the Ulster Plantation 1607-1641
    • The Ulster Plantation in the Counties of Armagh and Cavan 1608-41, with foreword by David Edwards
    • Ulster Transformed: Essays on Plantation and Print Culture c. 1590-1641, introduced and prepared for publication by John Morrill
    • 'Men and Arms': The Ulster Settlers, c. 1630, introduced and prepared for publication by John Johnston
    • The Ulster Port Books 1612-15, introduced and prepared for publication by Brendan Scott
    • Sir Henry Docwra's Cannon Ball: A momento of the taking of O'Cahan's Enagh Castle in 1601, by B.G. Scott
    • The Plantation of Ulster: The Story of the English (folding map and pocket history), with William Roulston
    Speakers at the event will include:

    Professor John Morrill, FBA, Cambridge University; Dr David Edwards, University College Cork; Dr William Roulston, Ulster Historical Foundation; Dr Brian Scott, Sir Henry Docwra's Cannon Ball; John Johntson, The Muster Rolls; Dr Brendan Scott, the Ulster Port books; John Killen, Linen Hall Library; Ian Montgomery, PRONI; Jack Johnston, Ulster Local History Trust; Joe McLaughlin, Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Library; Roddy Hegarty, Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Library & Archive

    Booking by Friday 12 October.

    Venue: Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Library, 15 Moy Road, Armagh BT61 7LY.
    Time: 11:00 to 2:30. (A light lunch will be served)

    Tuesday 9 October 2012

    On this day – 1834: Ireland's first railway opened

    The British Newspaper Archive has an anniversary feature today about the opening of Ireland's first railway on 9 October 1834.

    It includes two news features – one from the Belfast News-Letter, the other from The Caledonian Mercury, which report on the first journeys along the track between Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) and Dublin, and the reaction of the first passengers.

    You can read it here.