Friday 30 November 2012

10% discount for FindMyPast UK subs

With an early seasonal offer, Find My Past has discounted its three subscriptions packages (Britain Foundation, Britain Full, and World) by 10%.

To take advantage of the offer, you need to enter this promotional code in the relevant box when you subscribe: SUB10.

This news comes with the announcement that the database provider has added more than half a million parish baptism, burial and cemetery records for Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

(Seasonal offer links removed on expiry of promotion.)

FindMyPast Ireland adds RC Registers 1836 & 1837

FindMyPast Ireland has added the Complete Roman Catholic Directories 1836 & 1837 to its database.

These directories list all members of the clergy and parishes in Ireland for each of the years as well as much of the Roman Catholic hierarchy throughout the world.

More than 5000 Irish Catholic clergymen are included in these two volumes, which are now fully indexed and searchable.

The directories – full titles: A Complete Catholic Registry, Directory and Almanack, Vol 1, 1836 and A Complete Catholic Registry, Directory and Almanack, Vol 2, 1837 – are a useful addition for anyone with early 19th-century clergy ancestors as the directories follow a tour of the island diocese by diocese, detailing the curates and priests, but researchers can also gain insights into which parishes were operational at this early 19th-century period.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Ancestry launches Newspapers-only archive has launched a brand-new sister site called

This new database has introduced itself with a mega package of 25million pages from 820 newspapers published across the USA covering the late 1700s to the early days of our own century.

Searching can be done by both date and location.

To test it out, I made a search for newspapers in Massachusetts and found two options: The Lowell Sun, with 4,328 pages across 1893-1938, and The North Adams Transcript, with 13,301 pages from 1930 -1976.

I also took a look at the New York Times collection and found it covered the years 1852-1923 with 378,581 pages.

With its wide selection of publications across the cities and regions of the United States, a site like this can produce outstanding genealogical surprises, and there's a 7-day free trial on offer to entice researchers. To sign up, you have to register and provide credit card details (you can cancel online before the trial ends). If you opt for a subscription, there are monthly and annual options available, and the costs seem quite reasonable.

There's more from Ancestry here, or just go straight to the new site.

Genealogy is the reason for most visits to PRONI

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has published some interesting statistics on the year just past.

Here are some of the findings:

Overall visitor numbers have been maintained above the 17,000 mark and some 5,700 of those that visited were making their first trip to PRONI.

Visitors came from England, Scotland, Wales, the USA and as far afield Australia and New Zealand. 61% were from Northern Ireland. Just 6% were from the Republic

By an easy majority (73%), the majority of visitors were researching family history and genealogy.

The most accessed documents were:
  • Graveyard inscriptions - Presbyterian Church, Ballyclare, County Antrim, c.1755-1865; Shankill Road cemetery, Belfast, c.1707-1949; Jewish cemetery, Belfast, c.1874-1954; Holy Trinity cemetery, Lisburn, c.1875-1955
  • Note books giving marriages, births and deaths of various families of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church.
  • Passenger book - Londonderry to Philadelphia, New Orleans, Quebec and St. John [277 pages].
  • First Newtownards, Presbyterian - Index to Baptisms (1831-1921) and Marriages (1833-1921).
  • Three documents comprising Register of Baptisms of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church, 1708-1800
  • Valuation Records, Annual Revision Lists - Electoral Division of Banbridge.
  • Register of baptisms, 1830-1874 and of marriages, 1830-1845, of 1st Ballymoney Presbyterian Church
  • Register of baptisms, 1812-18, and marriages, 1813-17, of Killinchy Presbyterian Church, Co Down
  • Indexed note book giving marriages, births and deaths of various families of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church
  • Register of baptisms and marriages of Killinchy Presbyterian Church.
In 2011/12, there were 42,318 documents produced.

You can download the full digest of statistics here.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Ten more directories added to Irish Origins database

Ten more directories – the 1871 to 1880 (inclusive) editions of Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory – have been added to the Origins database.

They join the line up released last month (see report here), all Thom's, and bring the total number of Dublin Directories now available through the database to 35 with a further 141 still to come.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

More records from the petty sessions courts released

FindMyPast Ireland has added another huge tranche of records to its Irish Petty Sessions Court Order Books collection. It brings the total number of these records now online through the FMP database to around nine million.

This latest upload consists of 2.4million entries covering the counties of Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow. Details are below.

If you haven't previously delved into this collection, you really must! If you find an ancestor within, you're quite likely to get some great additional information about them, or at least a bit of colour or insight into his or her personality or life. And right now is a really good time to make that move, because is currently offering a free trial and, if you opt for the Worldwide or Britain&Ireland collection, there's also a 15% discount on subsequent subscriptions. Click the image and follow the tab to the 14-day free trial for more details.

These are the courts and relevant years to which the latest batch of Petty Sessions records relate.

County Cavan
BAWNBOY 1851-1911
COOTEHILL 1852-71, 1887-95
SWANLINBAR 1866-1911

County Clare
BROADFORD 1898-1911
ENNISTYMON 1854-58, 1905-11
KILLALOE 1910-11
KILRUSH 1861-63, 1909-11

County Cork
BALLYMARTLE 1863-70, 1889-1911
DONERAILE 1862-1911
FERMOY 1891-1920

County Donegal
ARDARA 1851-1911
BALLINTRA 1852-1911
DONEGAL 1895-1901
DUNFANAGHY 1877-1907
FALCARRAGH 1879-1911
KILLYBEGS 1851-1910
LETTERKENNY 1858-59, 1871-72, 1878-79

County Dublin
BALBRIGGAN 1871-87, 1894-96, 1906-11
CABINTEELY 1859-1899, 1905-11
LUCAN 1861-76, 1892-1900

County Galway
AHASCRAGH 1851-73, 1887-1911
BALLYMOE 1862-1911
EYRECOURT 1851-59, 1882
GURTEEN 1851-1911
SPIDDAL 1868-90

County Kerry
COOLMAGORT 1851-66, 1872-78
KILLARNEY 1853-1911
KILLORGLIN 1869-1911
MILLTOWN 1851-1911

County Kildare

County Kilkenny
BALLYRAGGET 1858-62, 1885, 1892-1910
LIMETREE 1851-55

County Laois
BALLYLINAN 1851-1911

County Leitrim
KINLOUGH 1889-1911

County Limerick
BRUFF 1858-1911
LIMERICK CITY (POLICE COURT) 1863-65, 1869-70, 1876-1904

County Louth
DUNDALK 1853-62, 1874-1906

County Mayo
BALLINA 1852-1911
BALLINROBE 1854-1911
CONG 1851-1911
FOXFORD 1858-67, 1874-1911
HOLLYMOUNT 1851-79, 1885-1911
KILLALA 1861-94, 1904-1911
KILMAINE 1860-62, 1874-86, 1893-1911
LOWPARK 1859-1911

County Monaghan
BALLYBAY 1851-1911
CASTLEBLAYNEY 1851-57, 1879-1900

County Offaly

County Roscommon
ATHLONE 1851-78, 1883-1900

County Tipperary
CAHIR 1897-1901
FETHARD 1851-95, 1899-1905, 1910-11

County Westmeath

County Wexford
NEWTOWNBARRY 1881-86, 1894-1902
OULART 1852-53, 1863-1911

County Wicklow
BRAY 1850-70, 1873-1911
NEWTOWNMOUNTKENNEDY 1851-59, 1864-77, 1883, 1896-1911

Have fun.

Were your Irish ancestors evicted during the C19th?

Were any of your ancestors evicted from their home during the Famine or during the Land War? If so, the producers of a new RTE television series would be interested to hear from you.

The new programme – The Lost Village – is a four-part bi-lingual series that will be broadcast over Seachtain na Gaeilge in March 2013. Its producers are Big Mountain Productions (known for The Tenements documentary on TV3 and The Genealogy Roadshow on RTE 1) who are looking for a family to take part. The family, preferrably across three generations, would have to be prepared to live the life of their ancestors for a few days, thereby telling the story of evictions in Ireland. This would involve staying in a traditional house for three nights in January and undertaking the type of work carried out in the 19th century.

By the nature of the programme, the family would have to be able to speak Irish at least fairly fluently. All participants must also be over the age of 12.

Genealogists will carry out detailed family history research for the participants.

If you and other members of your family fit the bill and are interested, contact the producers by email, or telephone Seán on 0044 (0)28 308 34046 (or 048 308 34046 from the Republic).

Monday 26 November 2012

Transcription of the Great Parchment Book begins

One of the most exciting items of news last month came from Derry Genealogy Centre with an announcement that the Great Parchment Book of 1639 was, following its conservation, being prepared for digitisation and online searching.

The project has been managed by the London Metropolitan Archives and its dedicated blog has confirmed today that the transcription is now underway. You can find out more about this latest development, and follow the challenges faced by the project team, here.

The Great Parchment Book was a survey of all the lands in County Derry/Londonderry seized by the Crown and includes names, placenames and details of rentals and contracts. It has been described as the Domesday Book of Derry. All 165 parchment pages were badly damaged in a fire at the London Guildhall back in 1786, so they have never before been studied. This project, which has carefully conserved the fragile pages, will greatly enhance our understanding of the Plantation of Ulster.

Military Archives reading room to close 11 Dec to 7 Jan

The reading room of the Military Archives at Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin 6, will close to researchers on 11 December and will not re-open until 7 January 2013.

Last month, reading room appointment arrangements were altered to accomodate extra researchers (see report), so this is a bit of a blow, especially when the 1922 Free State Army Census has just been released. The closure is to enable the annual file audit to be carried out before Christmas.

The next available appointment after Christmas will be on Tuesday the 8th January 2012.

Friday 23 November 2012

Genealogy and history events, end Nov-early Dec

Saturday 24 November: Irish Family History Society Morning Meeting at Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse St., Dublin 2. From 10am to 1pm. Open to non members. Admission free. No booking required. Lectures: Using Valuation Office records to trace your family, with Carmel Gilbride and Researching Stoker families, with Douglas Appleyard.

Sunday 25 November: Walk down Memory Lane. An opportunity for people to dig out their treasure trove of old memorabilia. Highlights include photographs, school roll-books for Tullyholvin and Carrickbeg and Boho items from Fermanagh County Museum. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own pieces of Boho memorabilia. 2pm to 5pm at Community Centre, Boho, Co Fermanagh. All welcome.

Tuesday 27 November: Sources for studying Ulster families in the 17th century, with Dr William Roulston. Host: Coleraine Family History Society, Coleraine Guide Hall, Terrace Row. 8pm. £3 for non-members.

Tuesday 27 November: The Road to War & Partition. Digital Film Archive lunchtime presentation, narrated by David Bridges. Newry City Library, 79 Hill Street, Newry BT34 1DG. Free but booking advised. 028 9263 3350.

Wednesday, 28 November: The Ulster Covenant 1912: an exercise in mass-democracy or reaction? A History Ireland Hedge School. A roundtable discussion with historians and well-known personalities at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 7pm. Free. No booking.

Thursday 29 November: The history of Cotton Mills in Bandon 1802-26 and a general overview of the textile trade in the 1790s with Paddy O'Sullivan. Host: Skibbereen & District Historical Society. Venue: West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen, Co Cork. 8:30pm. Small contribution requested.

Thursday 29 November:
Dig down and discover your ancestors. An introduction to online resources, at Castlederg Library, 1A Hospital Road, Castlederg, Co Tyrone. 2:15pm. Free, but booking advised. 028 8167 1419.

Friday 30 November: Family history for Beginners online. Castlewellan Library, 4 Upper Square, Castlewellan, Co Down BT31 9DA. 11am to 12:30pm. Some basic computer skills required. Free but booking essential: 028 4377 8433.

Monday 3 December:
'The sick are left to the mercy of the winds and the waves'; Dispensing medical care in 19th-century Ireland, with Dr Catherine Cox. Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (Helen Roe theatre), 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. 7.30pm. Details.

Tuesday 4 December: Auld Lammas Fair, an illustrated talk by Alastair McCook, author of Auld Lammas Fair Photographs. Portrush Library, 12 Causeway Street, Portrush, Co Antrim. 6:30-7:30pm. Free. No booking.

Atlas of the Great Irish Famine wins Irish book award

Click to visit publisher's website
The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine last night won the Best Irish Published Book of the Year Award.

This outstanding work is edited by John Crowley, William J. Smyth and Mike Murphy from the Geography Department, University College Cork.

Despite its geographical signposting and marvellous maps, it isn't really an atlas at all. It's a serious academic study of a historical event – arguably THE most pivotal historical event in Ireland's history – beautifully put together and engagingly presented.

With its 728 pages, 200 maps and 400 illustrations (not to mention 60 contributors), it's a mighty tome, both literally and figuratively, and has been picking up excellent reviews. Here's just one:

This Atlas offers a powerful, unflinching and coherent understanding of the Irish Famine as the defining event in Irish history. It balances sweeping survey with minute details, while always attending to the surprising diversity of this small island in the mid nineteenth century. Its unparalleled assemblage of new maps, old images and extensive documentation offers a brilliant teaching aid for the history of Ireland and of the Irish diaspora. Firmly rooted in recent research, saturated in meticulous scholarship, and interdisciplinary in the best sense, it is unafraid to draw the necessary trenchant conclusions. Its broad synthesis offers the best overview we have ever had of this traumatic and defining episode. Professor Kevin Whelan, Keough Naughton Notre Dame Centre, Dublin.

The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards celebrate Irish writing. The full name of the award won by The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine was International Education Services Best Irish Published Book of the Year. Full list of winners.

Published by Cork University Press, The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine costs €59.00. Click image above to visit Cork University Press online shop.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Thanksgiving offer from

To mark Thanksgiving in the USA, is making available two of its Middlesex & City of London Indexes free of charge until Saturday.

The indexes include:

  • Some 140,000 baptism records from 1538-1882. In addition to the father’s name and date of baptism, other useful information was sometimes recorded in the register. This can include mother’s forename and surname, parish, actual address and date of birth.
  • More than 169,100 burial records from 1560-1909. The indexes contains surname and forename, age where given in the register, year of burial, parish and additional info, which may include addresses, parents names and other personal details.
To take advantage of this offer you'll need to register or log in here.

Closed records at NAI in next few weeks

A major upgrade of the National Archives of Ireland's storage facility in the Four Courts continues. The works are designed to bring the facility up to modern repository standards, and they have now reached the centre sections of the basements. This necessitates a period when access to the records held in this area will be unavailable.

From Friday 23 November to Friday 7 December inclusive, the following series of archives will be closed:
  • Probate Office, Schedule of Assets 1924-56
  • Crown & Peace, pre-1922
  • Circuit Court
  • National School Teachers' Salary Books (ED/4)
  • Business Record Collections
  • Ordnance Survey Consent and Levelling Registers
Check the detailed summary of the records that won't be available during the closure period here.

Winter issue of Irish Roots magazine published

Click image for preview
The Winter 2012 issue of Irish Roots magazine has been published.

This issue's research advice features – as always, written by experts – look at how to trace your ancestors online, how to use military records and gravestone inscriptions, and how to get the best historical and genealogical value from the Petty Sessions Order Books.

There are also articles about preserving old photos and news of a reconstruction of medieval documents that burned in the 1922 fire, plus a look at some of County Tipperary's eccentric attractions.

My own What's New? review of the last three months is also included, as are the regular features about researching Irish roots from North America and Australia.

You can pick up Irish Roots in Eason's or Barnes & Noble outlets, or subscribe (print + digital) here for €23 Ireland or €25 Rest of World, incl postage. A free digital preview of this issue can be found here.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

More burial records for Northern Ireland

You'll remember that back in mid-September a new website was launched to hold all the burial/gravestone details of graveyards controlled by Magherafelt District Council in Northern Ireland. (See original report.)

The team who created the website have been hard at work since then. REALLY hard at work.

They have added burial details from nine more council areas, making more than 45,000 records available in total. The 'new' graveyards surveyed include burial grounds in:
  • Moyle District Council
  • Ballymena Borough Council
  • Larne Borough Council
  • Coleraine Borough Council
  • Omagh District Council
  • Limavady Borough Council
  • Fermanagh District Council
  • Craigavon District Council
  • Derry City Council
You can view the full list of graveyards now included here.

Another 20,000 records will shortly be added from graveyards where surveying work is in progress. (See news item 3 December for update.)

This site is certainly starting to fulfil its promise!

Video: How DNA can aid Irish genealogy research

Among the lectures delivered at last month's Back To Our Past show in Dublin (was it really only last month?), was a very well-received presentation by Maurice Gleeson on how DNA can help Irish genealogy research.

Maurice has created a slightly extended video version of his lecture and it's now available to view via his Spearin Surname Project website. He explains how, after considerable traditional research, he had hit a brick wall with 14 of his 32 great great great grandparents, and turned to DNA to see if he could make any more progress. His quest was successful.

Using his own experiences of DNA testing, as well as the stories of historical characters, he explains how the various types of DNA test (Y-DNA, MT-DNA, and Autosomal DNA) can be useful for family research.

Broken into four 15-minute segments, the video presents the DNA argument very clearly using specific real-life examples rather than just theory. I recommend it to anyone who is still rather baffled by DNA technology and it's place in the genealogy arsenal.

3 November 2023: Video removed.

Belfast Morning News 1880 added to BNA

The British Newspaper Archive has added the Belfast Morning News for 1880 to the line up of publications available on its subscription database. This joins editions for the same newspaper for 1879, which were added in September.

If you're not sure about paying for a full subscription, you might like to register with the website anyway and receive 15 free credits. This allows you to view up to three pages from your chosen newspaper.

Ancestry's Merchant Seamen collection grows

Ancestry UK has updated its collection of Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927. This record set, released on the subscription database in September, contains certificates issued to merchant seamen by the British Board of Trade. A sizeable proportion of these seamen are Irish.

Now with nearly 282,000 records, today's update has grown the collection by some 30-odd thousand entries.

The certificates were issued to those seamen who qualified as masters or mates aboard merchant ships. The documents include certificates of competency, certificates of service, examination applications, and other miscellaneous forms. Collectively, they may include some or all of the following details:
  • name
  • certificate number
  • birth date
  • birthplace
  • issue port
  • issue date
  • address
  • examination date
  • history of service (dates, vessels, occupations, years in service)
Ancestry gives this advice for examining this record set: 'Some of the information is included on the back of the certificates, and some documents in a seaman’s folder have not been indexed, so when you find a record, use the arrows to browse surrounding documents to make sure you see all the records available. You may want to browse through an entire roll since the original folders were sometimes filed in random order.'

Tuesday 20 November 2012

PRONI: Reduced services and Xmas closures

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has advised of disruptions to services from Monday 10 December to Tuessday 1 January inclusive as follows:

To facilitate the media preview of the Annual Release of files from 1982, the Reading Room service will be unavailable from 10-14 December inclusive.

Other services in the Public Search Room, self-service microfilm, exhibition etc will remain open to visitors.

The usual Thursday late-night opening will not operate on 20 and 27 December. On these dates, service will cease at 4:45pm.

PRONI will be closed on Monday 24 December, Tuesday 25 December, Wednesday 26 December and Tuesday 1 January 2013.

Synopses of the summer 20x20 lectures now available

Regular readers of Irish Genealogy News will recall the 20x20 series of lunchtime family history talks held during August at the National Library of Ireland (NLI). Organised by Eneclann and Ancestor Network, who together provided the Genealogy Advisory Service at the NLI throughout the summer (and continue to provide the service at the National Archives of Ireland), the series consisted of twenty 20-minute lectures, held Monday to Friday throughout the month.

When the series was first announced, I admit to having been rather sceptical about the value of such a short lecture, even though the line-up included an impressive roll-call of experts. But having attended a few of the talks, I was quickly won over by the format. (You can read my report on two of the talks here.)

Each speaker presented their talk for the agreed 20-minutes, putting over all the relevant facts and figures and their relevance for genealogy research. This focus meant a huge amount of information could be presented as the minutes ticked away. But it was the Q&A sessions after each talk that added the unexpected bonus because it gave everyone in the audience an opportunity to quiz the speaker, seek additional detail or clarify a point. For me, this element of the format was as informative as the formal presentation. And it lasted longer! I'd estimate that each 20-minute talk was followed by nearly 30 minutes of questions.

The American Irish and Abraham Lincoln: lecture

The following public lecture will take place at Glucksman Ireland House in New York on Thursday 6 December:

Abraham Lincoln and the American Irish, with Kevin Kenny, Professor of History, Boston College.

Professor Kenny will examine what Abraham Lincoln thought about the American Irish and what the American Irish thought about him. The lecture will consider the history of Irish immigration and anti-immigrant sentiment in the mid-nineteenth century, Lincoln's position on immigration during the political crisis of the 1850s, Irish service in the Union Army, Irish opposition to the abolition of slavery, and Lincoln's policies on immigration during the Civil War.

Time: 7pm
Address: One Washington Mews, New York
Cost: Free
Booking: RSVP to 212-998-3950 (option 3) or email.

NAI: Early closing on Wednesday 28 November

Advance notice: The National Archives of Ireland will be closed to the public on Wednesday 28 November at 15.30pm and will re-open on Thursday 29 November at 10.00am.

Design & Deliver - Genealogy Training, Roscommon

Spotted an interesting project for a genealogy training programme in Roscommon today. You can find the details on, which has just been revamped, using the system ID 69776. Here are the details:

Roscommon LEADER Partnership invites tenders from competent organisations to design and deliver Genealogy Training three times, in three separate locations across Co. Roscommon, with the following objectives:

  • Stimulate individuals and groups to undertake genealogical research
  • Upskill participants in appropriate methods to undertake genealogical research
  • Make connections through cultural exploration between communities here and abroad with the establishment of a joint memory bank
  • Play an active role in the Ireland Reaching Out Initiative across Co. Roscommon

The course should enable people to locate family history information, gather documentation and use online and other resources.

Contact: Sheena O'Dowd on 00 353 (0)90 663 0252.
Deadline for tenders: 26 November, 10am.

Monday 19 November 2012

Genealogy Roadshow - new series for 2013

L-R: Turtle Bunbury, Nicola Morris, John Grenham
The second series of The Genealogy Roadshow will begin filming in early 2013.

It's going to follow the same format as the launch series, which aired on RTE1 in August/September 2011 and has been repeated twice. In that first series, the Roadshow’s research team – headed up by well-known genealogists John Grenham MAPGI and Nicola Morris MAPGI and historian Turtle Bunbury – helped hundreds of people trace their family’s roots and discover extraordinary stories from their past.

Examples include the Collins family from Boston who were reunited with long lost relations in Co Galway, Paul Duffy from Co Meath who sought the owner of a mysterious 1858 passport and Glen Webb from Dublin who was found to be linked to Arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton.

Essentially, the producers are looking for people with either:
  • an unproven link to a famous or infamous historical character
  • ancestors who may have played a part in a local or national event
  • just some mystery (perhaps an unexplained document or heirloom) in the family story.
If your story is selected for further research, the team will start searching for the evidence. The Genealogy Roadshow has been described as a hybrid of "The Antiques Roadshow" and "Who Do You Think You Are?" because Turtle, John and Nicola meet members of the public at roadshows across Ireland and work out whether they are related to someone famous or connected to a historical event.

I've spoken this morning to Ciara at Big Mountain Productions who tells me that the 2013 series roadshows will be held in Derry, Cork, Dublin and a fourth location, likely to be in the Midlands. Filming will start in the New Year.

Apparently, the response to early press calls in local newspapers has been 'huge' and, with the audience having had the chance to acquaint themselves with The Genealogy Roadshow format, the stories being put forward are a lot more usable and suitable for research this time round.

To find out more or to suggest your own family history mystery, contact or call 048 308 34046 (or 028 308 34046 from Northern Ireland).

Sunday 18 November 2012

IGPArchives: updates in first half of November

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives is continuing to experience technical difficulties.

Strangely, it rather depends on where you are trying to access the material from as to whether or not you will encounter any problems. Two weeks ago, I had no problem accessing the IGP web, but I know some other researchers couldn't reach the pages. Today, it's my computer saying 'No'.

The team are doing their best to identify the root cause. In the meantime, the show goes on, and here's the list of updates for the last fortnight.

ANTRIM Genealogy Archives -
Military & Constabulary – 1854 Royal Irish Constabulary
Census substitutes – Landowners 1870's

ARMAGH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary

Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary

Ireland Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Teampall Chellaigh Cemetery Headstone Photos

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Mount Jerome, Dublin - Part 53

Genealogy Archives - Miscellaneous
From the Sessional Papers 1825

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives - Headstone Photos
Corboy Presbyterian Church Cemetery

LOUTH Genealogy Archives - Census Substitutes
Landowners 1870's - Drogheda

Genealogy Archives - Land Records
List of Landowners in 1870's

Saturday 17 November 2012

Copies of original records: Armagh Ancestry

Armagh Ancestry, the genealogy centre that provides records for the county to, has introduced a service to supply copies of original records.

The centre will supply, for an undisclosed fee, scans or photocopies of Co. Armagh records purchased from its database on RootsIreland.

For further information, and to find out what the fee will be, you'll need to contact Armagh Ancestry by email.

The centre's notification of this new service adds that more records will 'soon' be uploaded to the Armagh section of the RootsIreland database.

Friday 16 November 2012

Coming Soon....

It's been a pretty exciting few weeks, one way or another, what with news of the Anglican Records Project and the string of launches over the past week: tithe applotment books, Irish Soldiers Wills and the 1922 Military Census. And the year isn't out yet.... there is more to come (although not all with free access) before New Year.... and plenty of wonderful goodies in store for 2013.

You probably noticed on the Home Page of the National Archives of Ireland's new genealogy website a list of collections that will be joining the TABs, Soldiers' Wills and 1901/1911 censuses 'over the coming years'.

Well, it seems those coming years may be sooner than you might expect for some of the records listed, as I learned when I spoke recently to Catriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects for the National Archives of Ireland (NAI).

Containing 416,000 names, the calendars of wills and administrations 1858-1920 will be the next major release to the site. The digitisation work has been completed and the data is expected to be handed to Catriona's team next week. So the likely release of the collection, possibly in stages, is early next year.

This release will be followed by the Valuation Office's field, house, tenure and quarto books from the 1840s to the 1850s.

Both of these collections are scheduled to be fully available on the NAI site by the middle of 2013.

Before the end of that year, they should have been joined by the 1821,1831,1841 and 1851 census fragments, and the 'census search forms' (useful for 1841 and 1851 census data).

Next on the list of collections destined for the NAI site are:
  • Diocesan Courts: indexes to wills, administrations and marriage licence bonds pre-1858
  • Prerogative Court: indexes to wills, administrations and marriage licence bonds pre-1858.
All of the above will be available with free access. The NAI also has a list of record classes that will be made available free after a period of 'commercial exploitation'. This means that digitisation will be carried out by a commercial firm who will then have the right to charge for access to the records on a non-NAI website for a period of five years before the collection 'returns' to a free-to-access NAI database. Three large and very successful releases have already been carried out under this arrangement: the Encumbered Estates Court/Landed Estates Court rentals 1848-1888, Petty Sessions Courts Order Books 1850-1922 and Prison Registers 1790-1922, all of which are available on the subscription site FindMyPast Ireland. Seven collections remain in the NAI's 'commercial exploitation' list:
  • Catholic qualification rolls, late-17th century
  • National Schools: roll books and registers, mid-19th century to 1900
  • Poor Law Unions (North Dublin, South Dublin, Rathdown and Balrothery): Boards of Guardians minute books and registers of admission and discharge, mid-19th century to 1900
  • Bethan, Thrift, Groves and Crossle testamentary and genealogical abstracts, refering to wills etc c1500-1850
  • Will books: containing official copies of wills, District Registries 1858-1900
  • Inland Revenue: registers of Irish wills and administrations 1828-39
  • Shipping agreements and crew lists, 1863-1921.

When we may see any of these collections online remains to be seen. It depends on the business programmes of third parties, but it's interesting to know which record sets we might be seeing in the not too distant future.

Anyone who doesn't feel a tingle of joy reading of these developments is just not serious about their Irish genealogy research!

Local History Ireland - a day programme of talks

The Federation of Ulster Local Studies (FULS) and the Federation of Local History Societies (FLHS) have got together to organise a day programme of presentations to celebrate local history and folklore on Saturday 1 December:

9:30 - 10:30am: Registration

10:30 - 11:30: Ordinary People in Ordinary Places, with Prof Raymond Gillespie, NUI Maynooth.

11:30 - 12:30: Hidden Gems and Forgotten People, the story of the less exalted in local memory, with Pat Devlin FULS and Larry Breen FLHS.

12:30-12:45: Launch of promotional leaflet by Frank McNally, Irish Times (An Irishman's Diary)

12:45 - 14:00: Lunch of soup and sandwiches, tea and coffee

14:00 - 15:00: Enriching the story of our past – a framework for researching and preserving local history and archives, with Roddy Hegarty, Director Cardinal O'Fiaich Library & Archive, Armagh

15:00 - 16:00: Oral History & Folklore – Collecting and preserving voices of the past; practical guidelines and methodologies, with Dr Ida Milne OHNI & Eamon Thornton, Millmount Museum.

16:00 - 16:15: Tea/coffee

16:15 - 16:45: Plenary Session and Discussion of Speakers

Cost, inclusive of refreshments and lunch: €20/£16

Venue: Patrick Kavanagh Centre, Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan.

Further details and booking form. (Bookings deadline 26 November.)

Sligo genealogy tour

The County Sligo Heritage & Genealogy Centre and Wild West Irish Tours  are offering an exclusive guided tour package as part of The Gathering 2013.

It's called the Emigrant Trail Tour and it will trace the steps of the Irish emigrant from the family cottage, to the workhouse, to the “American Wake” and to the very shipping channel and shores they departed from on their voyage to North America.

The Emigrant Trail Tour will run five times between May and September. Each will be a 6-day/5-night tour, except for the tour running in June, which is combined with Wild West Irish Tour’s regular 9-day tour.

For more information about dates and costs, email or phone USA: 571-236-9650 or Ireland: 85 134 9300.

Genealogy section confirmed for Harrogate's Over 50s Show

The team behind Ireland's Back To Our Past show is planning to bring its Over 50s Show to England next year.

Having been hugely successful in Ireland, the Over 50s Show will be held at Harrogate 12 and 13 April 2013. The organisers, S&L Promotions, tell me there will be a genealogy section of five or so companies among the exhibitors. Robert Batchford Publishing (The Family and Local History Handbook) and My History (genealogy supplies) are already confirmed.

More details.

Latest English record updates of use to Irish research

While pre-occupied over the last week with the bumper crop of new Irish resources, I've failed to report on some new or updated UK resources from Ancestry that could be useful for those with roots in Ireland. Here's a round-up:

Ancestry has updated its collection of Catholic records from Liverpool. One in five of the city's population was Ireland-born in 1851, so this collection clearly has huge potential for Irish genealogy research. It's an 'updated' collection; this being Ancestry, there are no details about the flavour of the update but it looks to me that the number of records now available has grown.

The collection includes:
  • Catholic Confirmations 1813–1920, 80,889 records
  • Catholic Baptisms 1802–1906, 475,547 records
  • Catholic Marriages 1754–1921, 132,996 records
  • Catholic Burials 1813–1988, 618,201 records
Ancestry has also added to its collection of English Electoral Registers. These indexes, Ancestry explains, were created using text recognition software; no human transcriber has intervened. Be warned: search results can be a bit 'at odds' (to put it politely). For example, I searched for my grandad's brother and his wife in Islington, North London, and found them both in the search results for several different years (1930s) at an address they never lived at.

Electoral registers rather fizzle out in usefulness for the majority of researchers the further back in time you go. This is because restrictive property criteria disenfranchised most of the population until the 20th century. Men over the age of 21 were allowed the vote from 1918, as were some women over the age of 30. Ten years later, the franchise was extended to all women over 21.

The only brand-new addition to Ancestry's collection of electoral registers is the Midlands 1832–1955 record set. It consists of 6.2million records for Birmingham and northern parts of Warwickshire. Notes to the collection explain that 'there are some gaps in the records in this database, and they should not be considered a comprehensive collection of voters lists for either Birmingham or Warwickshire for the period.'

 The two updated collections of Electoral Registers are for London 1832–1965, which now holds a whopping 159million records, and Dorset 1839–1922, which holds nearly 1.6million records.

234x60: I’m, your Nan

Wednesday 14 November 2012

GRONI earns CIGO's 2012 Award for Excellence

At this evening's AGM (see details below), the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations will announce that the 2012 recipient of CIGO's annual Award for Excellence in Genealogy is the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI).

In making the Award, CIGO recognised that GRONI completed its digitisation of all Births, Marriage and Death records for the six Counties of Northern Ireland last year. This allowed for new and more informative indexes to be created which can be searched on computer within the Public Search Room (PSR) in Belfast. A new PSR was then set up with 22 positions for researchers. This new computerised system is extremely user-friendly and allows for many varieties of searches of the indexes including 'wildcard' searches.

Currently, GRONI is working towards creating a new online access service to its records to start 2014, the tendering for which is under consideration.

CIGO hopes to make the presentation of the Award to GRONI later this year.

Tonight's CIGO AGM will be held in the Seminar Room of the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin at 6:30pm. It will be followed by a free lecture – Harnessing the power of reverse genealogy – with Mike Feerick, the chairman and founder of Ireland Reaching Out. This should start at 7:30pm and all are welcome to attend.

The Lost Archives of Derry Journal: in book format

Lovely new book just published. Sure to be a popular Christmas gift for people with Derry roots. Here's the publisher's blurb:

The archives of the Derry Journal – the second oldest newspaper still in existence in Ireland – include thousands of photographic images that document the extraordinary history of a community over half a century. For many years, this treasure trove of photos has been hidden away in dusty cabinets, never seeing the light of day – until now.

The images in this book, compiled by Sean McLoughlin, represent a unique pictorial record of Derry during the 1950s and 1960s.

This new photographic compilation tells the remarkable story of a place and its people in the years before the outbreak of The Troubles.

In these pages, you come face-to-face with people from the past and wonder where they came from, where they went and what their story is. Whether it’s photos of children at school, days out at the seaside or people simply going about their everyday lives, these images – many of them once feared lost forever – are a wonderful snapshot of times gone by.

The Derry Journal’s photo archive is arguably the best visual history of twentieth-century Derry in existence.

Paperback. ISBN: 9781906271527
256 pages Mono
£14.95 / €18.75
Purchase online.

FindMyPast free trial and 15% discount continues

Just in case you thought that the offer had ended, this is a timely reminder that FindMyPast Ireland is still offering two whole weeks of family tree research absolutely free with a 14-day free trial to any of its collections.

There‘s no catch and there are no hidden costs; it really is that simple. You just get 14 days of for free.

Choose your collection and start searching:
  • World Collection – 1.4 billion records from across the globe
  • Britain & Ireland Collection – 680 million records from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
  • Ireland Collection – 40 million Irish family history records
It's worth noting that the millions of pages of historical newspapers were added last week to the Britain & Ireland (and by extension, the Worldwide) collection. These papers span the period 1710 to 1950 and more than 200 titles are included. At the current time, the only Irish offer that I can see is the Freeman's Journal; it isn't classed as an Irish paper but it carries a lot of Irish news. All new additions to the British Newspaper Archive (a joint venture between the British Library and Brightsolid, the parent of findmypast) will automatically join the findmypast line up in future. This is a hugely valuable addition to the Britain collection.

For good measure, if you take the free 14-day trial and then decide to subscribe to either the Worldwide or the Britain & Ireland collection (not the Ireland-only collection), there's a 15% discount available. This brings the price of subscriptions down as follows:

World subscription after free trial: €152.96 for 12 months/€96.01 for 6 months.
Britain & Ireland subscription after free trial: €127.46 for 12 months/€80.71 for 6 months.

Genealogy, history & heritage events: mid-November

Continuing to Sunday 18 November:  Dublin Book Festival. Lots of wonderful literary events and new book launches. Centres on Temple Bar, Dublin. See the full programme.

Thursday 15 November: Ye Poor's Money, Presbyterian Charity in Early Ballynahinch: 1710-1734, with Horace Reid. Host: Presbyterian Historical ociety of Ireland. Venue: Edengrove Presbyterian Church, Ballynahinch, Co Down. 8pm. Details.

Thursday 15 November: Covenanters in Cullybackey, with Dr William Roulston. Host: Cullybackey and District Historical Society. Venue: Cullybackey Community Centre, Cullybackey, Ballymena, Co Antrim. 8pm. Open to non-members.

Thursday 15 November: Pioneer among the gum-trees: The Nicholson letters from Australia, with Ann Johnston. North Down & Ards Branch of the NIFHS. Venue: 1st Presbyterian Church Hall, Upper Main Street, Bangor. 7:30-9:30pm. Details.

Saturday 17 November: Irish family history workshop. Host: Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) Toronto Branch. North York Central Library Auditorium, 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto. $50 OGS Members; $65 Non-members. Programme and details.

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 November: The science behind the scenes of the museum. A day of events, talks and screenings explaining the work of the Conservation Department of the National Museum (Decorative Arts & History). Venue: Collins Barracks, Dublin. Some events require booking. Details.

Sunday 18 November: Neutrality: principled or pragmatic?, a HistoryIreland Hedge School at the Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar, Dublin. 6pm. Free. Joining 'Master' Tommy Graham will be Michael Kennedy (ed., Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, vol.VIII), Paul Bew (ed., A Yankee in de Valera’s Ireland: The Memoir of David Gray) and Neil Richardson (Dark Times, Decent Men—Stories of Irishmen in WWII).

Monday 19 November: Rag bushes, with Kate Ryan. Birr Historical Society. Dooly's Hotel, Birr. 8pm.

Tuesday 20 November: Conserving the Great Parchment Book of Derry, at the London Metropolitan Archives, Clerkenwell, London EC1. An Open Studio event. Choose 10am to noon, or 2-4pm. No booking necessary. Free. Details.

Tuesday 20 November: A visit to the Mellon Migration Studies Department, with the Omagh Branch of the NIFHS. Ulster American Folk Park, 2 Mellon Road, Castletown, Omagh. 7:15-9:15pm. Details.

Wednesday 21 November:  Women in 1970s and ‘80s Ireland: Activists, Lobbyists, Politicians, with Dr Ciara Meehan (UCD) and Claire McGing (NUIM). Part of the Bibliofiles series of lectures providing a platform for writers, academics and others who have used the NLI’s facilities to talk about the research and work they have carried out there. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin. Admission Free. All welcome. No booking required. 7pm.

CIGO: Redaction of 1926 census is not cause of delay

The Council or Irish Genealogical Organisatinos (CIGO) has released the following statement regarding the (still anticipated) early-release of the 1926 census of Ireland.

Progress on the early release of the Irish 1926 census has slowed down in recent months. However, there is no substance to recent rumours that the delay has been caused by the issue of redaction of sensitive data relating to people (alive or not) who have as yet not reached their 100th birthday.

During the visit of Ireland's President, Michael D. Higgins, to the National Archives of Ireland on Thursday, 1st November, representatives of CIGO spoke with Minister for Arts, Culture and Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD. Minister Deenihan confirmed that redaction is not an obstacle to the release of the 1926 census and that he would still like to see the project on course for release in 2016.

Mr Deenihan did, however, indicate that one of the unresolved issues – of itself not directly related to the 1926 census – relates to an ongoing court case involving the Central Statistics Office and access to census data. In the meantime the Minister said that he would be keen to find ways of funding the preservation, cataloguing and digitation of the original records. CIGO believes that might well include funding other than from the public purse.

Redaction of sensitive data in order to allow publication appears to have recently been given credence by the Irish Military Archives for the work it has undertaken on the Free State’s 1922 Military Census. The column noting each soldier’s next-of-kin initially had to be redacted given qualms that some next-of-kin may have been young relatives who might yet be still living. However, the issue looks set to be resolved and redaction not required after all.

In his recent conversation with CIGO representatives Minister Deenihan indicated that it is still his intention to bring a memo to Cabinet about the 1926 census in the near future. CIGO wishes him well with this project and looks forward to the census being made available – whether redaction is eventually required or not.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Headway made with Irish Census corrections

As anyone who has submitted corrections to the 1901/1911 Irish Census team at the National Archives of Ireland will know, no amendments have been made to the online database. The 'black hole', as the correction facility became known, was much talked about and much moaned about on online genealogy forums. When the Irish economy also took up residence in the black hole, it seemed futile to even bother mentioning the census corrections.

Some five years after the first corrections were submitted, there is some good news. Well, fingers-crossed type of good news, anyway.

While the under-resourced National Archives has not been able to fund a member of staff to deal with the amendments, it has recently been making headway with the backlog, thanks to an intern working on the JobBridge* scheme.

If all continues to go well, the Irish Census website will be rebuilt in the New Year, accommodating all those carefully submitted corrections.

(At the end of yesterday's post about the newly-released Tithe Applotment Books, I made reference to the fact that the NAI will be not be in a position to respond to corrections submitted by researchers. Just to be clear about this: the Census will be corrected first. The TABs will have to join the queue.)

*JobBridge is a National Internship Scheme that provides work experience placements for interns for a 6 or 9 month period.

Conference and sneak preview of Morpeth's Roll

An unusual conference has been organised by the Department of History, NUI Maynooth for Saturday 24 November. Entitled The Gathering: Local History, Heritage and Diaspora, it has a wide potential audience that ranges from heritage officers and people involved in local history studies and diaspora engagement to genealogists keen to hear about projects that may help Irish emigrants track their ancestors' migrant experiences.

The emphasis is on specialists showcasing their original work, highlighting the sources that they accessed, how they used them, what they were able to derive from those sources and how they would advise people to go about accessing and using those sources for other research.

As part of the event, there will be an opportunity for delegates to view the Morpeth Testimonial Roll – yes, the real thing – and to hear a presentation by Christopher Ridgway, curator of Castle Howard, the UK stately home where the Roll was discovered. As well as explaining what it is, he will be talking about its potential value as a pre-famine census substitute for Irish genealogy research.

The Testimonal Roll, which is wrapped around a gigantic bobbin, is 429m in length and holds around 250,000 signatures gathered from across the whole of Ireland in just four weeks. It has not been seen in public since it was commissioned more than 170 years ago. It will not go on public display until next year, so this conference is a great opportunity to grab an early viewing.

An important feature of the day's proceedings will be a presentation by Mario Corrigan, County Librarian for Kildare, about how local historians, geneaologists, librarians, heritage officers and others can help with the task of identifying the approximately 250,000 people whose signatures or marks are recorded on the Morpeth Testimonial Roll. The hope is to get local communities to share their knowledge of local history and local families so that the signatories can be identified.

The registration fee for the day is €25, which includes a light lunch and refreshments during the day. Bookings need to be received by 21 November (not 16 November as stated on the booking form!). You can download the full programme here.

1922 Military Census online for browsing

As promised last week, Military Archives have today released online the Irish Army Census Returns 1922. The release marks the 90th anniversary of the night the returns were compiled.

The purpose of the Census was to ascertain the exact strength of the National Forces by location for administrative, logistical and operational purposes. It covered all posts including Military hospitals and detention centres and provides a definitive list of Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and soldiers serving at midnight on the night of 12 November 1922.

The Census returns were subsequently arranged alphabetically and gathered into ten large leather-bound volumes. While previously available to researchers visiting the Military Archives in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin, they have been an under-used resource because unless a researcher knew where a particular soldier was stationed or posted on the military census night, they had to read through all the sizeable volumes.

With today's online release, one of these limitations has been overcome. The volumes are now scanned and available in pdf format for easy download to any convenient computer. Phase 2 of the project has also been completed, so the posts have been mapped. This means that if you have some idea of the post where a soldier ancestor was stationed, your search can be restricted to a certain area.

However, for random searching for family members who may have been in the Irish Army at the beginning of the 1920s, you'll have to wait a little while longer. Phase 3 of the project – the creation of a searchable index of the census returns – will be completed in the near future and should see the completed project available in early 2013.

Monday 12 November 2012

TABs: missing parishes and corrections

Last Thursday the National Archives of Ireland (NAI) launched a brand new website and two new collections: the Irish Soldier's Wills and the Tithe Applotment Books 1827-1839. The latter is particularly valuable for genealogical purposes so was greeted enthusiastically.

However, it soon became apparent that a lot of researchers were getting a 'no records found' result when searching for their ancestors in the Tithe Applotment Books. The records for Down and Antrim were quickly identified as on the missing list and some parishes in County Tyrone weren't showing up either. And then there were the inevitable examples of mis-transcriptions.


Rather than spend hours working through all the parishes of each county, I've spoken this morning to Catriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects of the National Archives of Ireland (NAI), for a full explanation, and this is it...

The NAI's Tithe Applotment Books collection covers primarily the 26 counties of the Republic. There are also some fragments from counties that are now in Northern Ireland, the reason being that some of the parishes crossed county borders and therefore straddle the new national borders.

These 'fragments' are:
  • In Armagh: Creggan, Philipstown-Nugent, Schule
  • In Down: Drumgooland, Maghera
  • In Fermanagh: Inishmacsaint, Tomregan
These border parishes are duplicated in PRONI's TAB collection, which holds all the parishes of the six counties of Northern Ireland. Only the NAI's collection was digitised in the recent NAI/LDS partnership.

This is obviously disappointing for those with ancestral connections in the North. However, there may be good news not too far off on the NAI/PRONI front. Catriona tells me that the NAI has recently entered discussions with PRONI to see if the TABs (and possibly other collections split up in 1922) could be reunited on NAI's website. Or even a shared website. I'll keep you updated on this.


I've received a few plaintive emails in the last few days about transcription errors and other spelling mistakes (obvious parish name typos, mostly) in the online TAB records. I've also heard a few moans about there being no facility on the new site through which to submit corrections.

Well, there may not have been one last week, but there is one now. You can email corrections to the address at the bottom of this page.

But don't expect either a personalised reply or an instant amendment. Clear and simple: the NAI does not have the staff or resources to make any amendments at present. All reported errors will be logged and retained for the future.

Eneclann continues cd to ebook conversion project

Eneclann has continued its project to convert its cd titles to downloadable e-books/pdfs with another release of 20 titles.

The programme of conversion means that many valuable resources are now considerably cheaper than previously, and, once downloaded, readily available on your computer.

You can find out more about each of the titles on the Eneclann site. Here's the list of the latest batch of conversions:

  • Statistical Survey of Meath, by Robert Thompson of Oatland, published 1802
  • Statistical Survey of Cavan, by Sir Charles Coote, published 1802
  • Statistical Survey of Mayo, McParlan's Survey 1802
  • Statistical Survey of King’s County, by Sir Charles Coote. Published 1801
  • Down and its Parish Church, by L.A. Pooler, published 1907
  • The Register of Derry Cathedral 1642-1703. (12,000+ bmds for Templemore parish)
  • Enniskillen Long Ago, W H Bradshaw, 1878
  • Kilkenny Grand Jury Presentments, Spring 1825 to summer 1832. Publ'd 1832
  • The Scotch-Irish, by Charles Hanna. (1200+ pgs in two volumes) Publ'd 1902
  • The Crofton Memoirs, by Henry Thomas Crofton. Published 1911
  • Pococke’s Tour in Ireland in 1752. Covers 20 counties.
  • Dalton’s Irish Army Lists, 1661-1685.
  • Ward & Lock’s Pictorial Guide to Connemara. A tourist guidebook c1890
  • The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921, by Francis Elrington Ball. Two volumes.
  • The Post-Chaise Companion, by W Wilson. 1786
  • The Annals of Derry, by Robert Simpson. Published 1847
  • Jail Journal, John Mitchel. A classic of Irish revolutionary writing. 2nd ed 1914
  • Tempest’s Jubilee Annual, 1909 (Dundalk and Louth)
  • The King’s County Directory, 1890
  • A Little Tour in Ireland, 1892 (1st publ'd 1852) Dublin-Galway-Limerick-Killarney-Cork.

Robert Emmett his life and legacy: podcast

Yesterday evening's Talking History radio show on took an interesting look at the life of Robert Emmet, widely held as one of Ireland's great republican revolutionaries.

Presenter Patrick Geoghegan was joined by a panel of experts to debunk the myths about the young, eloquent idealist and asks whether he was truly one of the greatest figures in Irish history or one of the greatest losers.

The panel of experts includes Professor Thomas Bartlett, University of Aberdeen; Dr Sylvie Kleinman, Trinity College Dublin; Professor Ruán O'Donnell, University of Limerick; Prof Marianne Elliott, Liverpool University; and Dr Ciaron O'Neill, Trinity College Dublin.

The show is now available as a podcast (around 55 minutes long). You can download or play it below. It starts at about 3:10minutes... just click ahead of the slider.

Friday 9 November 2012

WW1 remembrance - in images

Specially for Armistice Day: a free e-book (for ipads and iphones) by Dublin photographer David O'Flynn has been made available at It can also be viewed on-pc-screen in a page-turning version by clicking the image below.

Click the image
The 72-page book In Remembrance looks at how the Great War has been remembered on either side of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border.

Says the author: 'This book is about the remembrance of a sacrifice that didn't recognise or differentiate between the two different traditions in Ireland. A significant number fought for contradictory reasons; some fought to maintain Ireland's status within the Union, some fought for the promise of Home Rule for Ireland.

'Both traditions fought and died during the First World War but they are remembered differently.'

Two new members for APGI

The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI), Ireland's only accreditation body for professionals, has announced that it has two new members: Michael Walsh and Tony Hennessy (l-r in photo).

Neither lives in Dublin, thus helping the geographical spread of the association's members across the island.

Michael Walsh is based near Westport, Co. Mayo. He was born to an Irish mother from South Armagh and a second generation Irish father whose family moved from Kilrush in Co. Clare to Blackburn, Lancashire. Michael was born and brought up in Lancashire. After graduating from University College London with a degree in economics and politics, Michael enjoyed a career in information technology, working for several large British and American companies in senior project management roles. Now retired from full-time work, he has more time to devote to his passion for genealogy. His special interest lies in tracing Irish families who have settled in North America and Great Britain.

Tony Hennessy has been involved in the world of genealogy in various guises since 1986. While living in Dublin he studied genealogy in University College Dublin (1994-95) and subsequently ran a successful genealogy practice for some years under the name Irish Origins. Afterwards he returned to his native Waterford where he and his wife raised their family. In 2008 he returned to genealogy and established his new business, Waterford Origins. He also runs a very popular evening class in genealogy at Waterford College of Further Education which is now in its fourth season. Tony carries out genealogical research for all counties, but with a special interest in his home county.

APGI now has a record 31 members.

Book Launch: Linen Houses of Antrim and N Down

The launch of a new book – The Linen Houses of County Antrim and North County Down, by Dr Kathleen Rankin MBE – will be held on Wednesday 21 November in the Christchurch Library, Belfast Academical Institute, College Square East, Belfast, at 7pm.

The book provides an illustrated and informed commentary on the major linen families and their magnificent houses in County Antrim and north County Down. The images – exterior views of the actual houses, interior scenes of the stately rooms and portraits of their owners, many selected from private collections of the families themselves – present tantalising and poignant glimpses of a bygone age, when Belfast was justifiably known as ‘Linenopolis’.

The Guest Speaker at the launch will be Dr W H Crawford.

Advise the UHF if you're planning to attend.

You can order the book (£24.99) through BooksIreland.

400 years of urban Belfast - book published

A comprehensive history of Belfast has been published by Liverpool University Press, supported by Queen`s University Belfast and Belfast City Council.

Belfast 400: People, Place and History tells the story of the city`s unique urban history and has been published to mark the 400th anniversary of the granting of Belfast`s City Charter in 1613.

Beautifully produced and illustrated, Belfast 400 has been written by a team of experts on the city`s history: historians, archaeologists, geographers and social scientists from Queen`s University and NUI, Maynooth, led by Professor Sean Connolly from QUB`s School of History and Anthropology.

The project was awarded a grant of £60,000 by the Leverhulme Trust and has been three years in the writing. It explores the full range of developments in Belfast`s urban history, from its emergence as a settlement, through its rise as an industrial town, through urban decay and renewal.

The book looks at how Belfast, which began as a settlement at a waterlogged river mouth, developed into one of the world`s great centres of shipbuilding and linen manufacture - and the effects of this industrialisation and its subsequent decline on its citizens. It asks how the city of Belfast can now redefine its identity, and the still often fraught relationships that exist between different sections of its population, to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Editor of the book and Professor of Irish History at Queen`s University Belfast, Sean Connolly, said: 'This is one of those opportunities that comes along once or twice in a career. Over the past few years specialists in several fields have started to show us just how much there is to be discovered about Belfast past and present. I have been very lucky in being given the opportunity to pull the results of all that work together into an overview that should make anyone interested in Belfast look at the city in a new light.'

Belfast 400 is available in both hardback (rrp £35) and paperback (rrp £14.95), and also as a special limited edition slip-cased volume priced at £100, from Liverpool University Press, Amazon, and bookshops across Belfast and Northern Ireland.

Limerick burial registers database coming soon

Historic Graves have kindly advised me that Limerick's Mount Saint Lawrence burial registers will soon be appearing online in searchable format.

They are already available as browseable pdfs (here), but the collaborative team that's been working on the cemetery has just handed over the data to the IT folk to transfer to database.

These registers date from 1855 and contain the names, addresses at time of death, ages, position of the grave and dates of death of all those buried in the cemetery.

I'll let you know when the searchable database is uploaded.

WW1 records free at Ancestry this weekend

To mark Armistice Day, Ancestry is making its World War One records available free of charge until Monday 12 November.

The following collections are included in the offer:
  • Silver War Badge Records, 1914-1920
  • British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920
  • British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920
  • British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
  • Citations of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1914-1920

You'll need to register, with name and email address, to get the free access but you shouldn't need to give credit card details. The offer expires at 23:59 GMT on Monday.

Click here, or the image above, to be taken to the free access page.

Thursday 8 November 2012

WW1 day at Collins Barracks, Dublin

The National Museum is holding a special World War One day at Collins Barracks (Decorative Arts and History), Dublin, on Saturday, 10 November.

Kicking off at 10:30am, the event promises to bring alive some of the music composed during World War One and in its aftermath, commemorating those who were fighting in the War.

The programme includes a military band and individual musical performances, talks, historical re-enactment and a session with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association. Target audience is 14+ and adult.

No booking is required. The events finish at 3:30pm. (Leaving you plenty of time to marvel at the Asgard exhibition!)

All free.

Tithe Applotment Books now online at NAI

The National Archives of Ireland has today launched the Tithe Applotment Books 1823-1837 online.

The collection, which covers all 32* of the counties of the island of Ireland, is the first in a series of National Archives records of genealogical interest to be digitised by the Genealogical Society of Utah ie FamilySearch in partnership with the National Archives and be placed online with free access.

As with the existing 1901 and 1911 census website, the interface is clutter free and it's easy to find your way around. You can search by individual – using surname and locations – or you can browse townlands to view neighbourhoods.

When searching by location, bear in mind that the parishes used are civil or Church of Ireland parishes, not Roman Catholic parishes, which often had different names and boundaries.

Tithes were originally taxes on agricultural produce and were the main income of parish clergy. Occupiers of agricultural land were obliged to pay the tithe, regardless of their religion (and with the majority of the population being Roman Catholic, it was a particularly unpopular tax). Only rural areas were covered comprehensively and only heads of households were named.

The Tithe Applotment Books provide the earliest surviving national list of occupiers of land. The original books for the 26 counties of the Republic are held by NAI while those for the six counties of Northern Ireland are held by PRONI.

The collection can be accessed through the NAI's new genealogy portal here.

*UPDATE: Only it doesn't cover 32 counties. Antrim and Derry are missing. I've emailed the project team and will let you know the score as soon as I hear back.

*UPDATE – 9 November:
Response from the project team: 'The books for Northern Ireland are held by PRONI. We are in discussion with them regarding possibly adding them to our site and giving them a copy of the whole thing.'

UPDATE – 12 November:  Missing parishes, Northern Ireland, and corrections.