Monday 31 December 2012

Impressive 2012 finale from IGP-Archives

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives has this month finished transcribing the 1854 Irish Constabulary records. For a change of pace the archivists have added the Killinick Vestry Book and several ship records. In addition, some great old photos of headstones from St.Begnet's Cemetery, Dalkey, Co Dublin have been uploaded.

GENERAL IRELAND Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – 1854 Irish Constabulary with no Irish County stated
EmigrationShip Diana 18 May 1803; Ship Active 6 May 1803; Ship Wilmington 9 July 1803

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Dalkey; St.Begnet's Cemetery

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives – Church
Garvery; Baptisms, Marriages and Burials (3 large files)

MAYO Genealogy Archives – Local History
Toughanane, Mayo

TYRONE Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Irish Constabulary men

WATERFORD Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Irish Constabulary men

WESTMEATH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Irish Constabulary men

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – 1854 Irish Constabulary men
EmigrationShip Margaret 12 July 1803
Cemetery – Old Ross Memorials
Church – Killinick Vestry Book

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary – 1854 Irish Constabulary men
Arklow Parish Church Records
Cemetery: Arklow; St. Gabriels, Arklow & Barinsky Gravestone Inscriptions

Irish Genealogy Toolkit is the Research Help partner of Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives.

Wednesday 26 December 2012 kicks off Start Your Family Tree Week

FindMyPast Ireland is celebrating Start Your Family Tree Week (starts today and runs until 1 January 2013) with a social media only competition.

It involves searching the FindMyPast Ireland website to find the answers to six daily questions which are posted on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Most of the answers are in the Family History News section of the website.

The team will also be providing advice and tips for successful Irish genealogy research.

If you follow the competition, you'll have six answers by 1 January and you'll then have a further two days to send them in the judges (at The lucky winner will be selected from all the correct answers on Friday 4 January.

The top prizes are a Blackberry Tablet and a 12-month World Subscription!

(All promo links were removed on expiry of the offer.)

Winter sale means Irish research bargains

Eneclann has today launched its Winter Sale and is offering 50% off nearly all its titles.

There are some real bargains to be had, especially if you're happy to buy a downloadable version of their publications. The company has been busy this year converting many of its titles to pdf format, thereby reducing production costs. These savings are passed on to the purchaser, who also avoids post and packing charges. Here are some examples:

  • Statistical Survey of the County Leitrim, 1802 , €3.85
  • Round about the County of Limerick, 1896, by Rev James Dowd, €10.08
  • Index to the Marriage Licence Bonds of the Diocese of Cloyne 1630-1800, 1899-1900, T George H Green, €6.56
CD format:
  • The Tithe Defaulters, €18.77 +postage
  • 1851 Dublin Census, €21.83 +postage
  • Parish Register Society of Dublin, Marriage Entries in the Registers of the
  • Parishes of S. Marie, S. Luke, S. Catherine and S. Werburgh, 1627-1800
  • . €7.57 +postage

All the above figures include 20% VAT. If you are from outside the EU, you do not have to pay VAT and your costs will be reduced accordingly.

The sale continues until 13 January 2013.

20% discount from FindMyPast UK

A great fat 20% discount is on offer for all new Find My Past UK subscriptions. All you have to do is enter BRANDYBUTTER in the promotional code box to the left on the 'subscribe' page, click 'Apply' and choose which subscription you want.

The discount means you pay just £87.96 for a 12-month Britain Full subscription instead of £109.95, while the annual World subscription (which includes all the Ireland collections as well as those for the US, Australia and New Zealand) comes in at £127.97 instead of £159.95.

You haven't got to rush into a decision! Take your time and see which subscription suits your genealogy research best, but make sure you decide before midnight on 13 January 2013.

The database provider is also promising huge additions during 2013. These include millions more newspaper pages, a new collection of crime, courts and convicts records in partnership with The National Archives, electoral rolls 1832-1928, India Office records in partnership with the British Library, and thousands of new parish records every month.

(All links have been removed as this offer has expired.)

Saturday 22 December 2012

RootsIreland and others add resources

Some additional resources of potential value to Irish genealogy researchers have been made available by a few of the major online databases:

  • has added 239,000 Census Substitute records for Counties Antrim, Cavan, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone.
  • The official announcement doesn't provide any helpful breakdown of the sources per county.

  • Genes Reunited has published over 25 million Scottish Census records. They cover 1841 to 1901 inclusive.
  • This collection, which includes transcribed records but no images, is now available to GenesReunited's Platinum members and to those who view on a pay to view basis.

  • FamilySearch has added 1,223,754 birth, marriage and burial records from (London) Westminster parish registers. The collection is sourced from 51 Church of England parish, chapel or district church registers dating from 1538-1912. This represents 45% of the total registers of the parish.
  • A search of these records provides only basic information (name, year and place of event). To view the images (which may or may not provide addtional genealogical data) you have two options. You can either visit a Family History Center, where they are free, or you can pay to view them online via Find My Past.

  • Family Search has also updated its 1871 England and Wales Census collection. This now holds 5,573,190 transcribed records (it's therefore 81% complete).
  • Although only transcribed, nearly all the details provided on the census form are provided in the search results. To view the images you need to visit a Family History Center, where they are free. Alternatively you can pay to view them online via Find My Past.

Friday 21 December 2012

GRONI presented with CIGO's Excellence Award

The presentation of CIGO's 2012 Award for Excellence in Genealogy was made yesterday to Northern Ireland’s General Registrar, Dr Norman Caven. The formalities were conducted by Finance Minister Sammy Wilson.

The Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO) gives out an annual award which recognises significant achievements in, and relating to, Irish Genealogy. Recipients of this award must excel in a number of categories including provision of physical facilities, preservation of archives and innovation in access to genealogical records and data.

Sammy Wilson said: 'I am pleased to be able to present the award to Dr Caven and his staff in recognition of the hard work undertaken in bringing the General Register Office of Northern Ireland through a modernisation programme of reform. The benefits of this modernisation will provide a first class service to the people of Northern Ireland when undertaking family history and genealogy research.

'As we all move forward in this digital era it is important that government services keep up to date and meet the demand and expectations of our customers. Through this modernisation programme there has been significant improvement in the research facilities available at GRONI. with a new and modern Public Search Room facilitating up to 22 researchers at any one time.

'The digitisation of eight million paper records has allowed for new and more informative indexes to be created. Together with the improved facilities those researching their family history or those researching genealogy will no longer have to endure a lengthy wait – the new computerised records will enable faster, more accurate information enabling the identification of the correct registration.'

The programme of modernisation to public records will continue with the second phase to facilitate online access to historical birth, death and marriage records.

I understand that the 'full online access' project is still on schedule for the end of 2013. Of course, draft timetables are only drafts, but there is a certain level of confidence among the project team that this can be achieved. UPDATE 13 March 2013: Completion expected by end November 2013.

This confidence was given an extra boost at the beginning of this week when legislation was passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly to allow images of the historical bmd certificates to be viewed by the public. Until now, the public were allowed to view the indexes and could order copies of certificates, but they have not been allowed to view images of the certificates. Thankfully, this issue has been resolved in good time and will not cause any last minute delay to the project's completion.

GRONI has implemented death registration upgrade

The General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) has this week implemented new regulations that require all future death registrations to note the names of the parents of each deceased person.

This has been a long time coming, and is the result of years of lobbying by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO).

Making the announcement, CIGO's press release tells the full story.

Burial records in orderly queue for New Year release

The busy team at has been commissioned to carry out surveying work at four more graveyards in Northern Ireland:

  • Magheradroll Cemetery, Ballynahinch, Co Down
  • Parish of Kilmegan, Castlewellan, Co Down
  • St Malachy's, Kilcoo, Co Down
  • St John the Baptist, Bushmills, Co Antrim

The surveys will commence in January. At the pace this team works, expect to see the results ie indexed and searchable burial records on the website within a couple of months.

Before then, several thousand additional records will have been uploaded from the nine graveyards announced at the beginning of December (these include burial grounds in Leitrim, Louth, Tyrone, Armagh and Derry – see report and list here). These freely available records will start to appear on the website early in the New Year.

GRONI raises fees and introduces four new services

The cost of birth, marriage and death certificates from the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) has increased this week.

Previously £14, individual certificates will now cost £15.

GRONI's announcement insists that the fees cover only identifiable costs, leaving no profit.

At the same time as the increase, four new services have been introduced:

  • short death certificates that exclude the cause of death (£15)
  • notification of registration events to government departments and other organisations
  • introduction of commemorative certificates (£40)
  • recording in the Northern Ireland registration records of registration events that have occurred abroad (£40).

Thursday 20 December 2012

The trouble with townlands: Great Parchment Book

The team preparing Derry's Great Parchment Book of 1639 for transcription and subsequent release online has been encountering difficulties with the place names they've found in the documents.

They've an interesting blogpost about it 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.

Great time for a free consultation with a genealogist

Here's a timely reminder that the Genealogy Advisory Service (GAS) at the National Archives of Ireland continues to operate over the Christmas period – bar the bank holidays.

The free service is provided by a consortium run by Eneclann and Ancestor Network. Genealogists are available from 10am to 1.30pm in a dedicated room just off the Reading Room, and can be consulted on a first-come, first-served basis. As any regular researchers to the NAI will know, queueing is the norm.

However, Fiona Fitzsimons of Eneclann has told Irish Genealogy News that the festive period is traditionally a particularly quiet time of year for the GAS. 'This means it can be a great opportunity for visitors to the NAI to consult the panel of professional genealogists,' she said.

'For anyone with a particularly difficult family history conundrum, this could be their chance to get the undivided attention of a genealogist to solve the problem.'

The genealogy service is available in the NAI reading room on these dates over the 'holidays':

Next week:
Thursday 27 December
Friday 28 December

Following week:
Monday 31 December
Wednesday 2 January
Thursday 4 January
Friday 5 January

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Cork Archives add burial registers & Council minutes

Cork City and County Archives (CCCA) has updated its online offer with the burial registers of St Joseph's, a large Roman Catholic cemetery that dates from the mid-19th ce3ntury and is sited on the old Botanic Gardens on Tory Top Road, Ballyphehane, on the south side of Cork City.

The registers now available date from 1 Jul 1904 to 11 Jul 1917 and can be downloaded in a series of pdfs here.

The archives also hold burial voucher books in hard copy for the same dates. These books often record additional information such as the name and address of the owner of the grave and the cause of death but you need to visit the archives to study them.

Additionally, CCCA has today uploaded descriptive lists for ALL Cork City Council Committee minutes from 1867 to 1929. More details.

Cork passport becomes a reality!

Just over a year since it was originally proposed (see my report here), a Cork passport is to become a reality.

Unlike the original tongue-in-cheek proposal, there will be no border tolls on the M8. Instead, the passport will be issued by Cork City Hall, thereby attaching that hint of 'officialdom' to the initiative, which will form part of the Cork Gathering – Rebel Week – 14-20 October 2013.

Find out more about how the Cork passport scheme will work on the Cork Gathering website. launches SYFTW competition

St Stephen's (26 December) sees the launch of this year's Start Your Family Tree Week (SYFTW). The promotion is timed to coincide with a natural spike of interest that follows all the family Xmas get-togethers and sets many budding family historians on their quest.

FindMyPast Ireland is going to celebrate SYFTW with a competition. It'll be run on social media only – Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – and will require just a little bit of light reading to discover the answers to six daily questions.

With a Blackberry Tablet and a 12-month World Subscription up for grabs, it might be as well to restrict the sherry intake over the holidays!

Find out more about the competiton and how to enter here (link removed after expiry of promotion).

In the meantime, Find My Past Ireland is continuing to offer both a FREE 14-day trial and 15% discounts on both the World and the Britain & Ireland collections.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Origins adds maps of pre-1858 probate jurisdictions

Irish Origins has added free-to-view maps of Ireland's pre-1858 probate jurisdictions* to their collection. The maps are based on those created by Jeremy Gibson for his book Probate Jurisdictions: Where to Look for Wills.

They are helpful to researchers because Irish counties rarely line up neatly with probate jurisdictions. Click the following links to view them:

*There are similar maps for England, Scotland and Wales.

Family Search adds Landed Estate Court Rentals

FamilySearch has added the Landed Estate Court Rentals 1850-1885 to its database.

This record set makes up one of the best 'census substitute' collections available. It covers the entire island, but includes only bankrupted estates (around 8000 of them), so not everyone with tenant ancestors will find details pertinent to their research. About half a million people are recorded.

When the Landed Estate Court (LEC) took responsibility for the sale of an insolvent estate, it produced promotional information, not unlike today's pre-auction catalogues. This broke down the estate into lots and the 'catalogue' showed the names of tenants, the value of their rents and the terms of their tenancies. Maps were also produced in the 'catalogue', showing the boundaries of these lots. Where urban properties formed part of the estate, a village plan shows the location of the building.

Within these dry details are some genealogical gems. Find out more.

This collection on Family Search can be searched. Some 682,055 records are indexed and 107,598 images can be browsed. However, the images can only be accessed at LDS Family History Centers or other LDS affiliated institutions. Only limited information – name, place and date of LEC sale – is returned by the search facility.

If you find a likely candidate through the search facility, you can follow up your research through the pay-to-view site FindMyPast.

Monday 17 December 2012

NAI publishes full fee schedule for 2013

A few weeks back I mentioned that the National Archives of Ireland would be increasing their fees for copying services in the New Year. You can read that post here.

The full revised fee schedule has now been published – all eleven pages – in pdf format and can be downloaded for leisurely consumption! The revised costs come into effect when the NAI opens on 2 January 2013.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Most recent additions to IGP Archives

Listed below are the most recently added files to Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives. They've all been uploaded in the last fortnight.

IRELAND General Genealogy Archives
Assorted Irish Gleanings 1700's

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Begnet's & Saggart Cemetery, Lawn Section Cemetery,
Mount Jerome – additional headstones,
Deansgrange, St. Fintan's Section, Pt. 5

KERRY Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

KILDARE Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

LOUTH Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

LIMERICK Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

LONDONDERRY/DERRY Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

MAYO Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

MEATH Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

MONAGHAN Genealogy Archives
Military & Constabulary1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
Photos – McKenna Photos

OFFALY (KINGS) Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

SLIGO Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives – Military
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men

Genealogy Archives
Church – Delgany Baptisms HEPENSTALL/HEMPENSTALL
Headstones – Addional Dunganstown (CoI) Headstones

The final uploads for the 1854 Royal Irish Constabulary records, and possibly some others, are expected to be added before the end of the year so look out for one more update before the New Year gets properly underway.

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

Thursday 13 December 2012

Characters and place come together in Wistorical

Historian and author Turtle Bunbury, who also co-presents The Genealogy Roadshow, has launched a new project called Wistorical.

It's an initiative that aims to raise awareness of local history and of the characters that lived around and about. Interviewed on RTE Radio 1's John Murray Show on Monday, Turtle explained that he wants Wistorical to help bring local history to life and increase people's engagement with the wealth of stories around them.

He says he want people who are driving through Banagher in co Offaly to think of Charlotte Bronte, who spent her honeymoon in the town; when they are in Edwardstown, co Longford, he wants them to think of local man Henry Edgeworth, who gave King Louis XVI the last rites before he stepped up to the guillotine; and when they're in Hacketstown, co Carlow, he wants them to think of one William Presley who was beaten up by ruffians in 1775, prompting him to leave for America; his descendent was none other than Elvis Presley. He wants these and many more historical events involving or connecting historical figures to Ireland to become better known.

The project is still in its early days. It has its own facebook page, where Turtle is posting one or two stories every day, along with an illustration or portrait. You'll find the Elvis story there, along with a growing number of other fascinating snippets. It's proving popular. In less than two weeks, it has a following of more than 1,000.

Eventually, Turtle plans to create a dedicated website for the stories, and to map out the connections to the relevant places.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Banbridge in 1901: map published

Alan Godfrey Maps has released an Old Ordnance Survey Map for Banbridge, co Down, in 1901. It is the first Irish destination map to be published by the company in some time.

This detailed, double-sided map of Banbridge covers an area of about 1.5 miles x 1 mile. The main map covers the centre and west of the town. Features include Newry Street, most of Bridge Street, railway station, Edenderry Works, Workhouse, Downshire Arms Hotel, Court House, Brookfield Weaving Factory, and countryside westward to Grove Hill and Ringsend.

The map on the reverse side includes Holy Trinity church, St Patrick's Roman Catholic church, weaving factories on the Bann, Church Square and Ballydown Bleach Works.

You can check out the full list of destinations in the Old Ordnance Survey range, and buy the Banbridge map (£2.50 + p&p), here.

Emerald Ancestors' Look-Up service adds 1830s census

Members of Emerald Ancestors now have access to a census taken by the Dromore Presbyterian Church of its congregation in the 1830s.

The census is a list of more than 700 names. The church members are grouped according to household, including children (some with ages), and the townland in which they lived.

Some of the surnames recorded in the census of this Co Tyrone parish are: Alexander, Allen, Anderson, Armstrong, Buchanan, Caldwell, Cernaghan, Cunningham, Curry, Ewing, Ferguson, Gaynne, Gay, Gilmour/Gilmore, Given/Givern, Graham, Gwynne, Guy, Guyn, Johnson, Knox, Lyttle, McAuley, McKeraghan, Moody, Moore, Park, Patterson, Rutledge, Scott, Sherrard, Simpson, Smith, Sproule, Stevenson, Wallace, Warnock, Wylie/Wylay.

Copies of the census extracts can be found at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast (microfilm reference MIC 1P/247a), but they are also now available to members of Emerald Ancestors via its Look Up facility.

Grab a WDYTYA? discount for show and magazine

If you were planning on visiting WDYTYA?Live at London's Olympia in February, this might be a deal worth looking at....

The publishers of Who Do You Think You Are magazine are offering a package of two tickets to the Exhibition for £25 PLUS five issues of the magazine for £5; the total package price of £30 represents a saving of £38.95.

You have to subscribe and fill in a direct debit mandate to take up the offer. When you have received your first five issues, payments continue at £17.95 for every six issues, a saving of 40% on the newsstand price.

Alternatively, you can just take up the ticket discount offer of two tickets for £25. Select the day you want to attend and enter the promotional code NEWS2425 when you book.

If you can't make it to Olympia but would like to take up the five magazine issues option for £5, go to this page to order.

(Promotional links removed on expiry of offer.)

APGI introduces Affiliate category

The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) – the accrediting body for professional genealogists in Ireland – has introduced a new ‘Affiliate’ category for those working towards obtaining membership. It is specifically designed for those in the early stages of a career in professional genealogy who aspire to becoming an APGI member.

This is a new departure for APGI. Since its foundation in 1986 it has provided representation and support only for those admitted to its membership by its independent Board of Assessors. The inspiration for extending representation and encouragement to those working towards membership has come from similar programmes operated by the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) and the Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (ASGRA). AGRA and ASGRA are APGI’s counterparts in Great Britain and they are organisations with which it has had close co-operation in recent years.

Those accepted as affiliates will be entitled to have their names and addresses included in the list of Affiliates issued by APGI, and to attend general meetings, professional development events and social gatherings organised by APGI. APGI hopes that close contact with its members, as well as an informal mentoring process, should prove beneficial to Affiliates in honing their skills.

Becoming an Affiliate is not a necessary part of applying for membership of APGI but the category should assist any applicant in working towards accreditation and developing their career. Affiliate status is for those who are resident in Ireland (Republic or Northern Ireland) currently conducting genealogical research in Irish records for a fee. As it is designed for people trying to develop a career in genealogy, it is not open to those currently employed at any full time occupation outside of genealogy.

Practical experience of genealogical research is the basic requirement. It is not necessary to have attended any courses in genealogy. However, while completion of a course will not count towards eventual application for membership of APGI, nonetheless such a course should be of benefit to anyone seeking to gain more knowledge of genealogical sources.

Affiliates must abide by the APGI Code of Practice and apply for membership of APGI within two years. They may retain Affiliate status for a maximum of four years, and acceptance as an Affiliate does not guarantee eventual membership of APGI. Full details of the Affiliate category may be found here.

Book launch: Belfast, the emerging city 1850-1914

A newly published book exploring Belfast's development from the mid-1800s to the start of the First World War may be of interest to researchers with ancestral connections to the city.

Belfast: The Emerging City 1850-1914 is edited by Dr Olwen Purdue and brings together 17 studies that tell the story of a huge port city of increasingly diverse culture to which people flocked in search of work. The range of topics covered in the book is also wide but all the essays focus on the people who built or governed the city, and those lived in it or worked in it, or were just passing through.

With 304 pages and illustrated in colour this is a paperback that family historians with Belfast ancestors would enjoy and learn from. It is published by Irish Academic Press and priced @ £19.99. It's available through BooksIreland and other online sellers.

You can find out more about the book in this interview with Dr Purdue from the Irish News.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Any mills or millers in your family's history?

The Ulster Historical Foundation has added the Old Mills of Ireland to its members-only database.

This listing of the old mills of Ireland has been prepared from 19th-century Valuation Office documents in Dublin and from the equivalent records in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. The information is principally from the 1830s to the 1850s and there is a separate section for each of the 32 counties. Details for each county have been listed and indexed and there are also introductory notes to the Valuation Office records themselves.

The information on each mill includes:
  • the name of the townland in which each mill was situated
  • the name of the proprietor or the miller who toiled there at this period
  • the buildings associated with each milling complex (including dimensions)
Many entries also include details of the machinery at the mill ie dimensions of the water wheel.

First published in a series of four volumes, this Guide to the Mills of Ireland was researched and created by William E Hogg of Dalkey, Co Dublin, and has obvious value to both genealogists and those interested in the technological/industrial advances of 19th-century Ireland.

The information is accessible via the Members' Area of the Ulster Historical Foundation's website, AncestryIreland. Members should login and then follow the link to the Members' Area.

Monday 10 December 2012

The Sligo Champion debuts on BNA

The British Newspaper Archive has added The Sligo Champion to its portfolio. This update to the BNA database (which, as of this morning, holds 6,072,044 pages of newspapers from across the UK and Ireland) includes all issues of the weekly newspaper from 14 April 1923.

The Sligo Champion is still going strong and celebrated its 175th anniversary last year, so there are plenty more editions that could join the line-up. Whether or not there are plans to do that, I don't know.

Either way, this seems like a good time to catch up on the Irish portfolion now available on the British Newspaper Archive database.

Here's a summary:
  • Belfast Morning News: Monday to Saturday paper. Complete coverage for 1879 and 1880.
  • Belfast Newsletter:BNA's collection includes 1828 to 1850 (Tuesdays and Fridays) – complete; 1851 to 1855 (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) – complete; 1856 to 1899 (Monday to Saturday) – complete except for the following missing editions: July to December 1868 inclusive, May to December 1878 inclusive, July to December 1880 inclusive, January to April 1883 inclusive.
  • Cork Examiner: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. From 30 August 1841 to end 1847 is complete. 1923 and 1926 also complete.
  • Freeman's Journal: Ireland's longest running national newspaper. 1820 and 1821 complete. 1830 to 1859 complete except for 1858 (January to June missing). July 1860 to 1870 complete except for some missing in last two weeks of August 1869. 1871 has a handful of editions missing. 1872 to 1889 is complete. 1890 is missing October and November. 1891 to September 1900 is complete.
  • The Sligo Champion: One of Ireland's top regionals. Weekly (Saturdays). From 14 April 1923 to end of year complete.
The British Newspaper Archives has a range of packages available from £6.95 (2 days/100 pages) to £79.95 (annual/unlimited pages).

None of these Irish newspapers is included in the 200-strong BNA selection of papers available via FindMyPast.

Friday 7 December 2012

RootsIreland adds 14 Co Armagh census substitutes

RootsIreland has added 41,090 census substitute records to its County Armagh database.

The new, fully indexed records come from fourteen sources dating from 1611 to 1855. They usually name only the heads of households, but often include details of townland and/or parish. They are:
  • Muster Rolls of 1611
  • Armagh Rent Rolls of 1620
  • Hearth Money Rolls of 1666
  • Drumcree Rents of 1737
  • Protestant Householders of 1740
  • Signatories for 1st Markethill Presbyterian Church of 1763
  • Religious Census of 1766
  • Census of Heads of Households for Creggan parish of 1766
  • Armagh City Census of 1770
  • County Armagh Flax Growers List of 1796
  • Forkhill Cess Lists of 1820
  • County Armagh Tithe Applotments of 1823-37
  • Census of Newtownhamilton 2nd Presbyterian Church of 1826
  • Emigrants from Derrynoose Parish 1840-1855
See the Armagh Sources List for full details.

Kilmainham Hospital records released by FindMyPast

Military record found of “Green Redcoat”
Hugh Burke shot in the Battle of New Orleans (1815)
FindMyPast Ireland has today launched a collection that contains the names and discharge documents of almost 20,000 soldiers held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham from 1783-1822.

The pension records show details of soldiers, including their height, weight, colour of hair and eyes and any distinguishing features such as a tattoo or scar, as well as where they served and their regiment.

Among them is Private Hugh Burke from Wicklow, who was pensioned from the army on 26 June 1816 after four years’ service. He was deemed unfit for further service after receiving “a gunshot wound to the left shoulder received in action near New Orleans in America on the 8th of January 1815.”

The Battle of New Orleans is famous because it was the last major battle between the British and American forces in the War of 1812 and was fought after a peace treaty had already been signed.

The Treaty of Ghent, which signalled the end of the war, came into effect at the start of February 1815 but due to slow communications the news did not reach New Orleans until two weeks later. Unfortunately for Private Hugh Burke this left him with “a mark on each side of his left shoulder” - entry and exit wounds from the bullet.

Brian Donovan, a family historian from findmypast said: 'The number of Irish men who fought in the British army was extensive and these records allow us to glimpse the lives and careers of these soldiers.

'What makes the Kilmainham series so exciting is how far in time they stretch back. There is detailed information about rank and file soldiers born before 1750, about the regiments they served with, where they travelled, and injuries received. Scanned in colour, indexed and published online for the first time, these records are a fantastic addition to the findmypast collection.'

The task of cataloguing the records took a team of 14 people from the Friends of The National Archives volunteer group just over 3 years and includes the records of 19,109 soldiers. The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the building that now houses the Irish Museum of Modern Art, was established in 1681 to house sick and veteran troops from the British Army.

William Spencer, military expert at the UK National Archives added: 'Many soldiers born in Ireland served in the British Army from the 18th-20th centuries yet the careers of these brave men have been hidden amongst some fragile and complex records. The digitisation of the Kilmainham papers in WO 119, will at last provide access to the brave men of Ireland.'

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham pension records are part of a larger collection of military discharge documents today released by findmypast including:
  • Royal Hospital, Kilmainham: pensioners’ discharge documents 1771-1821 (known as WO 119 at the National Archives)
  • Royal Hospital, Chelsea: pensioners’ discharge documents 1760-1887 (WO 121)
  • Royal Hospital, Chelsea: pensioners’ discharge documents, foreign regiments 1816-1817 (WO 122)
  • War Office: Imperial Yeomanry, soldiers’ documents, South African War 1899-1902 (WO 128)
  • Royal Hospital, Chelsea: documents of soldiers awarded deferred pensions 1838-1896 (WO 131)

This release forms part of the first major coordinated release across the findmypast family of international sites since it launched its world collection in August.

Find out more about the collection on FindMyPast Ireland (News section).

ARA Ireland Newsletter: packed with detail

The Winter issue of the Archives and Records Association's Newsletter has just been published and contains some features that I'm sure Irish genealogy researchers would find valuable.

First up is an article about the Bureau of Military History. It includes some background to the archive and the hows and whys of its creation, as well as providing some interesting statistics about how popular it has proved to be since its launch online (nearly half a million page views since August!). A selection of witness statements from the collection demonstrates how varied and detailed these papers can be.

Another recent addition to the genealogists armoury is the Soldiers' Wills collection which was launched by the National Archives of Ireland last month. The Newsletter carries two articles about this release. The first concentrates on a 'history' of the collection and its preparation for digitisation. The second is an in-depth look at the materials and techniques used to repair some of the wills, which were removed from the pocket books of the soldiers after their death.

Finally, if you weren't able to attend any of the Ulster Covenant lectures held at PRONI in September, the Newsletter contains a very useful summary of the four-week series. It also advises that a similar series of lectures will be presented next September to explore aspects of the Volunteer movements.

Well worth finding some time for a read through. You can download it from the ARAI website.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Genealogy and history events before Xmas

Thursday 6 December:  Abraham Lincoln and the American Irish, with Professor Kevin Kenny, Glucksman Ireland House, 1 Washington Mews, New York, NY. 7pm. Public/free lecture but reserve place on 212-998-3950 (option 3) or email.

Thursday 6 December: The Road to War and Partition. Digital Film Archive, narrated by David Bridges. Lunchtime presentation begins 12:30 at Lisburn City Library. Free. Booking advised. 028 9263 3350.

Thursday 6 December:  Book launch: Aspects of Medieval North Munster, Collected essays of Brian J. Hodkinson. City Art Gallery, Pery Square, Limerick at 7:30pm. Host: Thomond Archaeological & Historical Society. Official launch by Dr Patrick Wallace, Director Emeritus, National Museum of Ireland.

Thursday 6 December: Creating an urban environment 1612-13, with Brian Gurrin. Part of the OUI/PRONI Urban History series. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. 6:30pm. Free. Booking recommended. Email.

Friday 7 December:  Family History for Beginners online. Basic computer skills essential. Castlewellan library, 3 Upper Square, Castlewellan BT31 9DA. Free. Phone 028 4377 8433 to book.

Saturday December 8:  Family History Drop In – Get ready for the Gathering 2013, with the Mayo Genealogy Group. National Museum of Ireland/Country Life. Turlough, Co Mayo. 11am-1pm. Free. No booking necessary.

Tuesday 11 December:  The Poet's Tale, with Katherine Simms. Final lecture in the Tales of Medieval Dublin series. Wood Quay Venue, Civic Offfices, Dublin. 1:05–1:45pm. Free.

Tuesday 11 December:  Recent developments at the Archives of the Royal Dublin Society, with Natasha Serne. Host: Genealogical Society of Ireland. Venue: Dun Laoghaire College of FE, 17 Cumberland St, Dún Laoghaire. 8pm-10pm. All welcome. €3.00.

Wednesday 12 December: The Fire Brigade Service in Co. Carlow, with Fintan O'Neill and Paul Curran. Carlow Historical & Archaeological Society. Venue: Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow Town. 8pm. Admission Free. All Welcome.

Wednesday 12 December: Georgian Dining/Christmas in the 18th/19th centuries, with Mary Traynor at the Bishops Palace, The Mall, Waterford. 1pm. Standard entry charge. Details: (0)51 304500 / 849650.

Thursday 13 December:  Sir Charles Trevelyan and the Great Irish Famine, with Dr Enda Delaney, author of The Curse of Reason (see image). Tyneside Irish Centre, 43, Gallowgate, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 4SG. Details: 0191 261 0384.

Thursday 13 December:  Genealogy for beginners, with Paddy Waldron. Venue: Kildare Education Centre, Friary Road, Kildare. 7pm–9pm. Free but on-line booking required at

Saturday 15 December:  Who Do You Think You Are?, at Enniskillen Library. 11am to 12:30pm. Free, but booking necessary on 028 6632 2886.

Monday 17 December:  Family history for beginners, with Joan Magee. Cregagh Library, 409-413 Cregagh Road, Belfast, BT6 0LF. Starts 2.00pm. Free, but booking advisable on 028 9040 1365.

Tuesday 18 December: Georgian Dining / Christmas in the 18th/19th centuries, with Mary Traynor at the Bishops Palace, The Mall, Waterford. 1pm. Standard entry charge. Details: (0)51 304500 / 849650.

Advance notice: Gilbert lecture in January

The 16th annual Sir John T Gilbert Commemorative Lecture will be presented on Wednesday 23 January at Dublin City Public Libraries, Pearse Street, Dublin2.

Following a wine reception at 6pm, the lecture – Dublin after dark: glimpses of life in an early modern city – will be given by historian and author Dr Maighread Ní Mhurchadha.

The event is free but booking is essential. Telephone 00 353 (0)1 674 4806 or email

Irish Lives Remembered: December issue published

The December issue of Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy Magazine has been published.

Features include advice on tracing Irish immigrants in Tasmania and Irish medical practitioners in Western Australia, a history of the British (and, therefore, Irish) in India, an analysis by well-known fashion historian Jayne Shrimpton of family photographs from County Clare, and some ancestral biographies of Irish Americans from Sligo, Waterford and Clare.

This month's in-depth location focus is on County Clare.

You can download the magazine as a pdf to your computer or view it on-screen here.

NAI to increase cost of copies from January

The National Archives of Ireland has announced that, with effect from Wednesday 2 January 2013, it is to increase its charges for copying and for providing certified copies to researchers. It represents the first restructuring of prices for 25 years, so it's not surprising the rises are rather substantial.

A summary of the new charges for the most requested copying services can be found here. Regular visitors will notice that the Copy Card, which is used to photocopy text documents or to print off from microfilms, has, effectively, doubled in price.

The hike for certified copies looks likely to raise some blood pressure, too!

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Christmas party and history lecture in Offaly

The Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society will be holding its annual Christmas party and lecture at Offaly History Centre on Friday 7 December at 8pm. The guest speaker will be author, historian and university lecturer (UCD), Professor Diarmaid Ferriter.

His subject will be Old Moulds Broken? The Irish Republic in the 1970s and will consider the widespread social, cultural, economic and political upheavals of the 1970s. This was a decade when, for the first time, a majority of the population lived in urban areas. During this period economic challenges abounded, Ireland joined the EEC, an Irish feminist movement became increasingly visible, and institutions – including the Church – began to be subjected to new criticism. His lecture is based on his new book Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s.

If you wish to attend please book by emailing or ringing the centre on 05793 21412. The lecture will be followed by a social evening and refreshments. Costs: €12 to members and €15 to non-members.

Offaly History Centre, Bury Quay. Tullamore.

INA adds Limerick Leader and Kilkenny People

Irish Newspaper Archives (INA) has continued its programme of new releases with the following publications now ready for searching:
  • Limerick Leader 1905–1970 and 1989–2000
  • Kilkenny People 1921–1960 and 1981–2004
The Donegal News 1940–1979 should be added to the INA line-up before the end of the year.

Next year will see more copies of the Belfast Newsletter available on the site. Editions for the years 1738–1799 (with some gaps) are already searchable and they will be joined by those for 1800–1899 during the first quarter or so of 2013.

Irish Newspaper Archives plans to have at least one newspaper per county on the site by the end of next year.

Festive season office and reading room closures

There's no set pattern to Christmas and New Year closures at the main repositories and libraries for Irish genealogical research, so make a note of these details before organising any family history trips over the festive season:

Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Belfast
PRONI will close at 4:45pm on Thursday 20 December. It will be open on Friday 21 December until 4:15pm but will then close until 10am on Thursday 27 December. There will be no late night service on that day. Otherwise, normal hours continue to end of the year. Closed Tuesday 1 January, reopening Wednesday 2 January.

General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI), Belfast
GRONI will be closed Monday 24 to Wednesday 26 December inclusive, and again on Tuesday 1 January. Otherwise operating a normal service to standard hours.

All local libraries in Northern Ireland

Closed Monday 24 to Wednesday 26 December inclusive, and again on Tuesday 1 January. Normal hours outside of these closures.

National Archives of Ireland, Dublin
The Reading Room will be closed from 12.30pm on Monday 24 December 2012 until 10am on Thursday 27 December. Normal hours 27, 28 and 31 December. It will be closed on Tuesday 1 January 2013, reopening 10am on Wednesday 2 January. Note: there will be no Genealogy Advisory Service on Christmas Eve.

National Library of Ireland
, Dublin
The National Library Reading Room will close on Friday 21 December at 4.45pm, reopening Wednesday 2 January. Exhibitions will, however, be open except 24-26 inclusive and 1 January. See details.

Representative Church Body Library, Dublin
The Library will be closed from 5pm Friday 21 December 2012 until 9.30am Wednesday 2nd January 2013.

General Register Office, Dublin
The Research Room at the Irish Life Centre in Dublin will be closed from lunchtime on Christmas Eve, 24 December, until 9:30am on Thursday 27 December. Normal working hours on 27, 28 and 31 December. Closed Tuesday 1 January. Reopening with normal hours Wednesday 2 January.

Irish Genealogical Research Society Library, London
The Library in the crypt of St Magnus the Martyr will be open 2-5pm on Saturday 22 but closed on 29 December. Normal pattern resumes Saturday 5 January 2013.

Society of Genealogists, London
The Society closes for Christmas at 4pm on Saturday 22 December and reopens at 10am on Thursday 27 December. Normal hours 27-29 December. Closed Monday 31 December to Monday 7 January inclusive for stocktaking.

The National Archives UK, London
TNA will be closed on Saturday 22 December to Wednesday 26 December inclusive. Reopens with normal hours on Thursday 27 December but closed Tuesday 1 January.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Beyond the basics: a webinar 5 December

A webinar – Researching Your Irish Ancestors: Beyond the Basics – will take place on Wednesday 5 December at 7:00 to 8:30pm Dublin and London/2:00pm to 3:30pm Eastern Standard Time. It will particularly focus on overcoming problems with names and places.

The presenter of this Legacy Family Tree Webinar will be Judith Eccles Wight, a well-known genealogist who specialises in Irish and Scottish research and writes for many publications including Irish Roots magazine.

The webinar is free. It is a live online class, or seminar, that you watch on your computer. You can also type your questions to be answered during the presentation. Register here (link removed after event).

New dvds and digitised titles released by Eneclann

Eneclann has continued its programme to digitise its back catalogue with a bumper release of 38 newly converted publications. As easy to download ebooks/pdfs, these publications are cheaper than cd format, and there are no postal charges, either.

The new list – which includes the provincial sections of Pigot’s directory for 1824, Slater’s directories for 1846, 1870 and 1894, and Huguenot titles – can be viewed here.

In addition to making existing books available digitally, the company has added some new publications. Available in a choice of cd and digital format, the Irish-interest titles are:
  • John Curry M.D. An Historical and Critical Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland, from the Reign of Queen Elizabeth to the Settlement under King William (2 Vols), 1786
  • The Fifth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records of Ireland, 1873
  • The Sixth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records of Ireland, 1874
  • The Eleventh Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland, 1879
  • The Sixteenth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records of Ireland, 1884
Two new dvd collections have also been published at special offer rates:
  • The Topographical Collection includes Samuel Lewis, Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 3 vols (1st Edition, 1837); Taylor & Skinner's Road Maps of Ireland (2nd ed. 1783); The Post Chaise Companion 1786; The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland 1846; and Handran's Townlands in Poor Law Unions. €40.57 plus VAT.
  • War of Independence Collection includes seven titles: The Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook (Irish Times 1917); The Administration of Ireland 1920; The American Commission on Conditions in Ireland, Interim and Full Reports; Report of the Labour Commission to Ireland, 1921; The Case for Ireland Re-Stated; and Dail Eireann: Minutes of the Proceedings of the First Parliament 1919-1921. €32.44 plus VAT.
You can check out the new titles here.

Monday 3 December 2012

Worldwide coverage on RTE for first Gathering 2013

The Gathering Ireland 2013 will get off to an exciting start on New Year's Eve when RTÉ marks the launch of the year-long event from Dublin. This launch broadcast will be available internationally on all manner of platforms including mobiles, tablets, PCs and even TVs (see below) so that those who love Ireland can join in the capital city’s New Year celebrations wherever they are.

RTÉ Television, RTÉ Radio and RTÉ.ie will ring in the New Year live from the NYE Dublin Countdown Concert in College Green, with headliner Imelda May and Bell X1 featuring at the event. Highlights from the NYE Dublin Festival including the People’s Procession of Light and the Big Bang Fireworks Spectacular will be covered, and special guests will be joining tv and radio presenters. The plan is to showcase the action and convey the atmosphere at the first official gathering of 2013.

New Year’s Eve Live – The Gathering begins on RTÉ Radio 1 at 10pm and RTÉ One television at 10.30pm, while RTÉ.ie will be the central hub for all of RTÉ’s coverage.

NYE Dublin is the first event of the Gathering Ireland 2013, a year-long calendar of Gatherings, special festivals and events organised by the people of Ireland to celebrate all that is great about our country/ancestral homeland.

Live and on-demand coverage will be truly multi-platform on the following devices:
• Mobile: RTÉ Player iPhone / iPad app (international), RTÉ News Now iPhone / iPad / Windows / Android app (international)
• Desktop: RTÉ Player (ROI & WW), RTÉ.ie/live, RTÉ.ie News
• UPC: RTÉ Player On-Demand coverage on UPC On-Demand
• Connected TV: Live and on-demand coverage on RTÉ Player Samsung Smart TV app
• Gaming Devices: Live and on-demand coverage on RTÉ Player app for PlayStation3.

See a short video of last year's NYE Dublin celebrations below.

DiscoverEverAfter heads south with burial records

The Portglenone-based company behind, the website which holds some 45,691 free-to-access burial records from more than 60 graveyards in Northern Ireland, has announced it will be adding a further 20,000 records over the next two months.

Director Leona McAllister told Irish Genealogy News that surveys are being carried out at seven more Northern Ireland burial grounds. 'These include Lurgan, which, with 2000-odd plots is the largest single site we've completed so far,' she said. 'The majority of the graveyards we've previously surveyed have been rural burial grounds with 300-400 plots.'

But the company, which launched its website only six months ago, is moving past its own milestones at quite a pace. It's also moving south. 'We're starting our first survey in the Republic,' says Leona. 'It's at Drogheda's Our Lady of Lourdes in Co Louth and it's the biggest graveyard we've worked at. Our surveyers has just gone onto the 4,000-plot site and it will take six to eight weeks to complete and get all the data uploaded to the site.'

The full list of burial grounds where surveys are being carried out or will start shortly:

  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda, Co Louth
  • Church of SS John & Trea, Moneymore, Derry/Londonderry
  • Church of St Patrick, The Loup, Derry/Londonderry
  • St Coleman's Cemetery, Lurgan, Co Armagh
  • Dougher graveyard, Lurgan, Co Armagh
  • St Brigid's, Drumkeerin, Co Leitrim
  • Killyman Parish Cemetery, Dungannon, Co Tyrone
  • Killeenan graveyard, Kildres, Co Tyrone
  • Dunamore graveyard, Kildress, Co Tyrone

PRONI and NAI media preview arrangements

Please be aware that the annual release of files to the media from the National Archives of Ireland (NAI) and PRONI impacts on the services available to genealogy researchers at the two institutions.

At the NAI, the Reading Room will be closed to the public this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (5-7 December inclusive) while journalists and broadcasters get stuck into records that have been closed for 30 years. As a result, the Genealogy Advisory Service will be unavailable on these dates.

PRONI's media preview takes place next week (10-14 December inclusive). While the Reading Room's document production service will be suspended throughout the week, other services in the Public Search Room, self-service microfilm, exhibition etc remain open to visitors.

Final recording of HistoryIreland Hedge School year

If you couldn't make it to the National Library of Ireland last Wednesday evening for the last of this year's HistoryIreland Hedge Schools, you can listen to a recording of the lively discussion here.

The subject was Ulster Covenant 1912: an exercise in democracy or reaction? Joining HistoryIreland editor Tommy Graham were Peter Collins (St Mary's Belfast), Tom Hartley (Sinn Féin), Brian Kennaway (Irish Association) and Philip Orr (New perspectives: politics, religion and conflict in mid-Antrim).

I'm reliably informed there will be another full Hedge School year in 2013.

Saturday 1 December 2012

IGP Archives: November updates

Thomas Bredin - Longford
After a frustrating month of technical problems, Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives is pleased to advise that all the IGP sites are now operating from a new server and service is back to normal.

So check out this lovely batch of new records added during the last fortnight:

CAVAN Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary – 1854

CLARE Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary – 1854

CORK Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary – 1854

DOWN Genealogy Archives – Military and Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary – 1854

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary – 1854

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives
Military: Royal Irish Constabulary – 1854
Headstones: Deansgrange Cemetery, Assorted Photos
Headstones: Glasnevin Cemetery, part 12

GALWAY Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1854

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives – Military Records
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1854

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives – Headstones
St. Ann's (CoI), Annaduff Parish,  Drumsna

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives – Photos
Thomas Bredin, Esq.

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives – Headstone Photos
Newtownforbes Old Cemetery (R.C.)

OFFALY Genealogy Archives – Headstones
St. Colmcilles Catholic Church Graveyard (Durrow)

TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives – Miscellaneous Records
Sessional Papers 1839

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Monaseed; St.Patrick's Church Cemetery (RC)

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives – Church
Dublin Marriage Licenses – Wicklow 1789-1794

Irish Genealogy Toolkit is the Research Help partner of Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives.