Thursday 31 January 2013

Another 2m Irish Petty Sessions records on

Another big tranche of records from the Irish Petty Sessions Court order books has been uploaded to FindMyPast Ireland.

More than two million new records have been added to the online collection, which already stood at about 8million, and this upload sees 25 courts – from counties Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kilkenny, Louth, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Waterford – making an appearance for the first time.

In addition, updates have been made to more than 50 of the courts who already featured in the collection, and many now include cases dating up to 1912.

More about the Petty Sessions Court Order Books
– the areas covered by this collection, the type of records within, and their value as a resource for Irish genealogy.

Remember Skibbereen: the movie (genre: tragedy)

The West Cork town of Skibbereen is to feature on TG4 this Sunday evening at 7:15pm.

The Great Irish Famine: Remember Skibbereen
was made by local film-maker Pat Collins of Harvest Films and looks at how the Famine impacted the town and its population. It was commissioned by Skibbereen Heritage Centre a few years ago and has been broadcast before, but if you haven't seen it, make a note in your diary. Should you miss it on Sunday, you can catch it again on Tuesday 5 February at midnight.

If you can't view it live or on the 'player', you might like to purchase a dvd of the 55-minute documentary.

It's available from Skibbereen Heritage Centre (and includes a 2-hour feature on the 2009 National Famine Commemoration Week, which was held in the town) here for €23. Be sure to specify that you want the US/Canada version if that's where you intend to play it.

Exciting new resources for Cavan genealogy

The Local Studies Department of Cavan County Council's Library Service has been on a bit of an acquisition spree and has some terrific new resources for researchers with ancestors from the area.

The Bellamont Estate Rental
Described by the Library as 'our most exciting purchase', the Bellamont Estate Rental is a single document that originated from Bellamont House, Cootehill, one of the finest 18th-century Palladian houses in Ireland. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Earls of Bellamont held extensive estates in Cavan and Monaghan, and this rental, which dates from May 1782 to November 1782, lists 339 properties from townlands in both counties.

The list names the tenants in these properties and records the rents each was obliged to pay. For some properties, notes were added, principally about the type or quality of the land. The document is described as 'very legible', so it's easy for researchers to use, despite its age. It may be sent for re-binding in due course, but is currently available for study. See 'Online in six months' below.

The Farrell Loans Ledger
Won at a public auction for €520, the Farrell Loans Ledger lists 6,626 entries for people from Bailieborough and surrounding areas who obtained interest free loans from the Bailieborough Charitable Trust. The trust was established by the Farrell family who resided for many years in Gigginstown House, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, now the home of Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary.

Dating from 1839 to 1841, the ledger lists the loans granted (typically for amounts of between £1 and £5) with the names of individual borrowers, their addresses, and the agreed repayment period (usually five months). Many people emigrated from Cavan to the United States during this period of the 19th century, so money borrowed may have paid for the passage abroad, and been repaid later.

The ledger also lists others including minor landlords and business people who received loans, but these were not interest free.

Although it can be accessed by researchers through the archive service, the ledger requires some restoration work. See 'Online in six months' below.

Online in six months

These resources have not yet been added to the published list of family history records available on- and offline at Cavan Library's Local Studies Department.

They will, however, soon be available for viewing online. The Local Studies Department intends these two new items to be scanned and uploaded as pdfs during the next six months.

Wednesday 30 January 2013

IMC strengthens regional genealogy services

To strengthen regional genealogy services during and beyond this year's The Gathering, the Irish Manuscripts Commission has donated copies of five of its publications to 16 regional archive services across the island.

The publications are:
  • The Convert Rolls — the calendar of the Convert Rolls, 1703–1838, 2nd edition, edited by Eileen O’Byrne and Anne Chamney with Fr Wallace Clare’s annotated list of converts 1703–78
  • The census of Elphin, 1749, edited by Marie-Louise Legg
  • A Census of Ireland circa 1659 with essential materials from the Poll Money Ordinances, 1660–1661, edited by Séamus Pender with a new introduction by William J. Smyth
  • Court of Claims: Submissions and Evidence, 1663, edited by Geraldine Tallon
  • The Irish Commission of 1622. An investigation of the Irish Administration, 1615–22, and its consequences, 1623–24, edited by Victor Treadwell
You can find out more about this donation, the receiving archives and each of the publications here.

Maritime history talks continue with pirates, ooh arhh

Pirates of the Irish Seas may not have hit the big time like Johnny Depp and his mates from the Caribbean, but their lives were none the less fascinating, as will be revealed in the next talk of the 'Below the Surface' series of Maritime Lectures on Wednesday 6 February.

The lecture Piracy and Predation in early 17th century Ireland, will be presented by underwater archaeologist Connie Kelleher, and tells the story of a society of ruthless privateers operating along the Dublin and Southwest coasts of Ireland during the 17th Century. Connie has uncovered a community linked to the legendary buccaneers of Cornwall and Devon who moved to Ireland during the reign of James I and reveals a self-governing society with their own code of honour and hierarchy, and a status for prostitutes unparalleled outside the pirate world.

This is the fourth talk of the Below the Surface lectures, which are held on board the Jeannie Johnston tall ship and famine museum on Custom House Quay, Dublin 1. Doors open at 7:15pm and tickets cost €15. For bookings and to find out about the lecture series, see the Jeannie Johnston website.

Ancestral connections to the 1913 Dublin Lockout?

Jim Larkin statue. O'Connell St
A new TV documentary is looking for participants whose ancestors were involved in the Dublin Lockout of 1913.

The programme is being produced by the same team that successfully created My Civil War, which screened last autumn, and the new programme will follow a similar template.

Blending history and genealogy, the programme will follow two or three members of the public who believe they have a connection to the Lockout as they search the archives and retrace their ancestor's steps.

RTÉ Researcher Rhenda Sheedy explained: "We're looking for people who want to discover the truth behind their family story. Perhaps their ancestor was engaged in some pivotal event of the Lock Out; or perhaps they were one of the many caught up in the dispute in some low-profile role. We're particularly interested in contacting the descendents of those who worked at the Jacobs Biscuit Factory and went on strike during the Lockout."

If you fit the bill and would like to research your ancestor further, please contact Rhenda at: +353 1 208 2944 or email her at with “1913 Lock Out” in the Subject line.

Monday 28 January 2013

Irish Army Census 1922: Phase 3 'soon'

The Military Archives has announced that it will shortly release phase three of the Irish Army Census 1922 collection.

This update will allow the researcher to search by forename and/or surname. Entries that match the search details will be returned with a link to the Census Record. In addition, the 33,000+ personnel included in the database will be searchable on a county basis. 

Phase 1 and 2 of the Irish Army Census project have been available, with free access, on since mid-November. These phases saw the ten volumes of Census Returns digitised and searchable by army post.

Friday 25 January 2013

January ends with week of stimulating events

There's a terrific line-up of history and genealogy events to see out the 'dark month' and welcome the new one.

Monday 28 January: Dublin 1707: a year in the life of the city, with Brendan Twomey. Clondalkin Historical Society. Áras Chrónáin, Watery Lane, Clondalkin, Co Dublin. 8pm. All welcome.

Monday 28 January:
AGM at 8pm followed by lecture: Civil War surgery, with Chris Browne. Kill History Group, Parish Meeting Room, Parochial House, Kill, Naas, Co Kildare. 8.30pm.

Tuesday 29 January: A historical journey, a lecture tracing local development from the Vikings, through the Plantation era and United Irish campaign to the modern era. Maghera Library, 1 Church Street, Maghera, Co Derry. Free. 7.30pm. Details: 028 7964 2578.

Tuesday 29 January
: The Connaught Rangers Mutiny in India in 1920, with Oliver Hawes. Kilrush & District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 7:30pm. €5 for non members.

Tuesday 29 January: An Introduction to Researching Family History, with Karel Kiely. Castledermot Historical Society. Castledermot Community Centre, Castledermot, Co Kildare. 8pm.

Wednesday 30 January: Flowers of the flock: child migration schemes to Australia, with Ann McVeigh. Organised by PRONI. Venue: LinenHall Library, Belfast. 1pm. Free.

Wednesday 30 January: Jim Larkin – 65th anniversary. The General President of SIPTU, Jack O’Connor, will lay a wreath at the grave of Jim Larkin, founder of the Irish Transport and General Workers, in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, at 4.30pm. Followed by commemorative event in the Glasnevin Museum at 5pm. A vintage tram from the National Transport Museum from the era of the 1913 Lockout will also be on display. Contact Padraig Yeates, 1913 Committee, 087 260 5297

Thursday 31 January: An introduction to family history resources online. Donaghdee Library, Donaghadee, Co Down. Basic computer skills needed. 11am to 12.30pm. Free. Booking essential: 028 9188 2507.

Thursday 31 January: Law, Order and Violence, with Barry Sheehan. Part of PRONI/OU lecture series 'Exploring Urban History'. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. 6:30pm. Free.

Thursday 31 January: Holocaust Memorial Day Conference/Jewish Community in the North of Ireland, an afternoon seminar. Four speakers will present talks: Dr Leon Litvack (QUB), Stuart Rosenblatt of, and Dr Bethany Sinclair of PRONI and Pamela Linden (QUB). Venue: PRONI, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. 2:00-4:45pm. Free. Booking advised: email or phone (+44) 028 90 534800.

Friday 1 February: Airs and graces – music from the Big House, with Dr Karon Mullaney-Digham, part of the NUI Maynooth History Forum programme. 8pm. Rhetoric House, South Campus, NUI Maynooth. Enquiries.

Thursday 24 January 2013

'No search - no fee' for all bmd 'research' copies

Following yesterday's unwelcome news that Ireland's General Register Office/Civil Registration Service will be charging a whopping £20 for birth, marriage and death certificates with immediate effect, here's some good news.

Previously if you wanted a civil registration certificate in Ireland you had two options:
  1. Cough up the full cost of a certified certificate
  2. Buy a much cheaper uncertified 'research' photocopy of the certificate.
Option 2 was understandably more popular with Irish genealogy researchers.

Via the GRO (Roscommon or Dublin), the research copy cost €4 a shot, plus €2 if you couldn't provide the full reference number (found in the civil registration indexes).

Via the Republic's local registration offices, however, the research copy was charged at €6, ie including the search fee, whether or not the researcher was able to provide the reference number.

This inequity has been brought to the attention of the Civil Registration Service many times by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO), and their campaign has finally paid off.

As of today, local registration offices have been told not to charge the search fee unless it has been earned!

CIGO's Executive Liaison Officer Steven Smyrl explains: 'CIGO pointed out that if a researcher requested an uncertified (research) copy after identifying an entry in either the hardcopy indexes or online indexes, there was no searching required by the staff at the local registration office. The member of staff could go directly to the required certificate without any searching. As such, there was no need to charge €2.

'They have finally recognised this, and local offices have been advised to charge only the €4 fee when the reference is provided.'

View Irish bmd records free of charge

To coincide with FindMyPast's recent release of 21million Irish birth, marriage and death records, today is Irish Family History Day.

As such, the new collection is being made available free of charge. You'll need the Coupon Code to gain free access. It's this:


Go to FindMyPast Ireland, click 'Redeem Coupon' on the Home Page, enter the above Coupon Code and register. You'll then receive 50 credits. (These credits can be used on any records, and they're also up for grabs on the international sites – FindMyPastUS, and FindMyPast Australia & NZ. Just go through the same procedure and use the same code. The credits remain valid for up to 30 days.)

Note: FindMyPast UK doesn't appear to be offering any free credits to support this promotion.

For details of the new collection, which is predominantly made up of the Irish Civil Registration Indexes, see my earlier post.

Today, 14:00 to 15:00 Dublin (GMT) Time: will be holding a Twitter Chat to answer questions you may have. Use #IFHD.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Good grief! BMD certificates double in price

Long-form copies of birth, marriage and death certificates via both the GRO in Roscommon and the online facility at have doubled in price to €20 with immediate effect.

Until yesterday, all certificates cost €8, with a €2 fee for searching.

These certificates are the 'long-form, full copy of the registered entry' and can be used for most legal purposes. They are not to be confused with the 'research' photocopies that most researchers prefer to buy from the GRO* and cost only €4, with a €2 fee for searching. (The photocopy is generally all that's required for most research, but in the absence of an online facility via the GRO, many overseas researchers have been buying the full certificate via when possible.)

Long-form certificates available via are these:
  • Births: 1864–1921 Northern Ireland and RoI; 1922–present RoI
  • Marriages: 1920–1921 Northern Ireland and RoI; 1922–present RoI
  • Deaths: 1924–present RoI
Long-form certificates by post from GRO Roscommon are these:
  • Births: 1864–1921 Northern Ireland and RoI; 1922–present RoI
  • Marriages: 1845–1921 Northern Ireland and RoI; 1922–present RoI
  • Deaths: 1864–1921 Northern Ireland and Ro1; 1922–present RoI
*By post to GRO Roscommon (see or in person at the Research Room, 3rd Floor, Irish Life Building, Dublin.

(This page was updated 24 January as more information emerged from the HSE/GRO about the extent of the revision of their fees and services. See also some good news about a reduction in price of the fees payable at local registration offices for 'research copies'.)

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Migration-themed lectures for Ontario conference

Conveying its theme of migration, Pulling up Stakes – Putting Down Roots is the name of this year's conference organised by the Ontario Genealogical Society.

It'll be taking place in Oshawa, on the Durham College/UOIT campus, from Friday 31 May to Sunday 2 June, and there's a terrific line-up of lectures to help researchers understand hows and whys of their ancestors leaving their homelands.

There are also five Irish-themed lectures, as follows:
  • The Scots-Irish, with Dick Doherty: Will cover origins and reasons for emigration, and 17th and 18th century research sources.
  • Developments in Irish online research, with Dick Doherty: Will explore free and fee websites with an emphasis on those with searchable databases, digital images or original records, or speciality sites.
  • Misconceptions and pitfalls, with Dick Doherty: Will dispel the myths and educate researchers about pitfalls of ten Irish record sets.
  • Free migration to Canada, with Roger Kershaw.: Will examine the push-pull factors for free migrants using sources at the UK National Archives.
  • Irish Palatine loyalists and later arrivals, with Carolyn Heard: Will explore the migration experiences of Irish Palatines from Germany to Ireland to North America.
These are just five lectures of the jam-packed scheduled. As well as workshops focussing on migration from places other than Ireland, the programme includes lectures dealing with migration across Canada and North America, with methodology, skills building, record analysis and problem solving.

Definitely a must-attend conference for Canadian researchers. You can find the full programme and details of how to enrol here. It's worth mentioning that there's an Early Bird discount for those who register before 31 March.

Monaghan Roots course : Invitation to tender

Clogher Historical Society (CHS) has issued an invitation to tender for the development, delivery and evaluation of two training courses for roots tourists. The course programme – County Monaghan - Home to the Little Hills – is expected to attract at least 150 participants and will be part of the County Monaghan Gathering.

The project will run from March to December 2013, with the training courses taking place in North Monaghan and Carrickmacross in September or October (Monday to Thursday) but promotional materials will be issued in mid-March so the full-course timetable needs to be finalised by then.

If you are interested in applying for the contract, see the official details on and follow the Attached Information - Documents link to view the full description of the project.

The CHS aims to promote the study of local history in the diocese of Clogher and to promote the area’s historical links with other places. As the diocese straddles the border, the CHS has a strong a cross-border and cross-community ethos. The project is subject to successful approval for funding through Cavan-Monaghan LEADER.

The deadline for receipt of tenders is 12 noon on Monday 11 February 2013.

Limerick genealogy day: Saturday 16 March

A genealogy and family history day will take place on Saturday 16 March in Christchurch Limerick as part of the church's 200-year anniversary.

The church, on O'Connell Street, became a United Presbyterian and Methodist church some 40 years ago (it was previously a Methodist church), and will be bringing together local family history records not only from its own combined churches, but also from the area's Church of Ireland parishes. The organisers plan to have the following records available on the day:
  • Limerick Methodist Registers from 1842
  • Limerick Presbyterian Registers from 1829
  • Christ Church Limerick Minute Books
  • Adare/ Ballingrane registers
  • Limerick Church of Ireland registers
  • Limerick Baptist Church registers
  • St. Michael’s National School Roll books
  • Villiers School roll books
It is hoped that some RC registers will also be available for review, too.

To help beginners start their family research, volunteers will be on hand with online access to the main genealogy databases.

Michael Wheeler will also be presenting a talk – Silver Bells of Memory – which focuses on his family research and on Irish history from a Protestant perspective.

Email for further details.

Monday 21 January 2013

NLI publishes introduction to Irish family history

The National Library of Ireland has produced a neat introduction to Irish genealogy research in the form of a free to download pdf.

The 24-page document covers all the main areas of research that are of interest to beginner family historians and provides details of the Library's own most genealogy-relevant collections eg microfilms of all surviving RC parish registers, occupational records  and newspapers (the NLI holds the largest collection of national and regional newspapers in Ireland, covering over 1,770 individual titles from the seventeenth century to the present day, plus titles of Irish interest published abroad.)

It's a very handy, not to mention very well-presented, resource for beginners.

You can download the booklet here.

Flyleaf invites details of privately published family histories for new edition

Flyleaf Press is working on a new edition of Sources for Irish Family History and has put out a call for privately published family histories.

The new edition will list all published sources on Irish families including books monographs, periodical articles, major manuscripts and other items.

If you have published a family history and your work is accessible to other researchers via libraries or, in book/article format, online, contact Flyleaf direct.

(Please note that while Flyleaf recognises that many individual family history websites contain useful information, they will not be included in the new book unless the family history is presented in book or article format.)

Flyleaf Press publishes a series of guides to genealogy research in different counties of Ireland. This year the company plans to add guides for Counties Clare, Tipperary, Cavan, Wexford and Kildare to the list.

RootsIreland adds North Tipperary records

RootsIreland has added 109,082 Roman Catholic Baptisms and Marriages and 116,700 new Census Substitute Records from the North Tipperary Genealogy Centre to its database.

The new additions to the church records collection are for the following parishes:
  • Drom–Inch: baptisms 1809–1900; marriages 1807–1880
  • Holycross–Ballycahill: baptisms and marriages 1835–1900
  • Moycarkey–Two-Mile-Borris: (with gaps) baptisms 1793–1900; marriages 1793–1899
  • Templemore–Clonmore: baptisms and marriages 1807–1900 (marriages with gaps)
  • Upperchurch–Drombane: baptisms and marriages 1829–1900

The new census substitutes are as follows:
  • 19,410 records from the Tithe Applotment Books, 1820 to 1840
  • 76,942 records from the Poor Law Rate Books for Nenagh and Thurles, 1842–1858
  • 7,454 entries from the Hearth Money Rolls, 1665.
  • 12,897 records from North Tipperary Street Directories, collection from 1846–1919

Congrats to North Tipp genealogy centre for making the updates so clear to identify on their sources list! A welcome improvement.

More Dublin Evening Mail editions on BNA

The British Newspaper Archive has added more editions of the Dublin Evening Mail to its ever growing database.
  • Some 117 editions from 1854 of the three-times weekly paper have now joined the 1855 collection. This leaves some gaps for 1854, but there are copies from every week of the year.
  • All editions of the newspaper from July to December 1871 have also been added. By this time the paper was published daily, Monday to Saturday.
The BNA is currently* offering a 10% discount on its 12-month subscription to UK researchers. If you're UK-based and want to take advantage of the offer, go to the BNA website, click through to the Purchase page, select the 12-month package and enter the promo code fHmTenYtR. Hit 'Apply Code' and you'll see the discount automatically applied and bringing the price down to £71.96. For this you receive 365 days of unlimited searching of the growing database.

As of this morning, there are 6,281,750 pages available to view. In addition to the Dublin Evening Mail, the Irish newspaper line-up is Belfast Morning News, Belfast Newsletter, Cork Examiner, Freeman's Journal and The Sligo Champion. You can check out the editions covered on the BNA homepage.

*The offer will expire on 31 January 2013.

Saturday 19 January 2013

BBC visits NAI to view WW1 soldier's will

BBC Newsline, the TV news programme for Northern Ireland, carried a feature last night about the Irish Soldiers' Wills that were released online last November by the National Archives of Ireland (NAI).

It followed James White to the Dublin repository to view the original will of his great grandfather, James Delaney, a father of five who went off to fight in WW1 and died in December 1916.

The short TV feature can be viewed online here if you're quick (view it before 6pm GMT tonight). The feature begins at 13.58minutes into the programme. There may be some viewing restrictions if you're outside the UK or Ireland, in which case, you can read a BBC News website article here.

For more details on the Irish Soldiers' Wills collection, which is free to search online, see the NAI's Genealogy website.

Friday 18 January 2013

Irish Civil Registration records live on

Further to my earlier post about FindMyPast Ireland's Irish Family History Day on 24 January, I've just discovered that the Civil Registration Indexes are already available online to ALL FindMyPast subscribers.

If you have the appropriate subscription – one that covers Ireland! – you can search the 21million new birth, marriage and death records to your heart's content on any of the FindMyPast databases: UK US,   Australia & NZ.

In Ireland, Civil Registration of non-Catholic marriages began in 1845. It was only in 1864 that ALL marriages, plus all births and deaths had to be registered.

When you identify a record in these indexes, you make a note of its volume and page number reference and you can then order copies of the full register entries from the General Register Office.

The indexes are arranged on FindMyPast as follows:
  • Ireland Births 1864–1958
  • Ireland Marriages 1845–1958
  • Ireland Deaths 1864–1958
Please be aware that bmds in Antrim, Armagh, Derry-Londonderry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone are included in this collection up to 1921 only.

I've just had a good recce and I'm pleased to see that the marriage records can be searched using the names of both spouses (unlike in the free version available at

If, however, you only know one name, you can still search the records to find likely marriage records. The transcriptions include the names of potential spouses. By potential, I mean the names of other bride/grooms on adjacent register pages. For example, if I search for Katie Santry's marriage in 1907 in Clonakilty, the transcript tells me that her spouse was one of four men: Daniel Driscoll, Lawrence Keohane, Michael Moxley, Timothy O'Regan.

To find out which one, you'd have to obtain a copy of the marriage certificate, using her name and the references provided (in this case: Clonakilty Q1 1907, Vol 5, Page 55). Since I already have her certificate, I know it was Daniel Driscoll that she married.

If you're not already a subscriber, you can try out this new collection – absolutely free – next week on Irish Family History Day. The Promotional Code to obtain free credits will be announced on that morning and will be published here on Irish Genealogy News.

Handy map of Irish Civil Registration boundaries

A useful aid for Irish family historians has been added to the FindMyPast Ireland website today: a coloured map of civil registration district boundaries across the Ireland.

Developed from the National Library of Ireland's Poor Law Union map, this handy map can be viewed here, along with information about FindMyPast's birth, marriage and death collection.

To view this collection for free, make a note in your diary of Thursday 24 January – Irish Family History Day. See previous post.

21m bmds for's Family History Day: 24 Jan

To celebrate the launch of 21million Irish birth, marriage and death records on FindMyPast, Thursday 24 January has been declared Irish Family History Day and the new collection will be made available to researchers absolutely free.

This is a terrific opportunity to kick start your Irish genealogy research!

FindMyPast Ireland's bmd collection consists of the Index to Civil Registration supplemented by an ad hoc record set that includes obituaries from newspapers and other published notices, indexes to wills, and gravestone details.

The Civil Registration Indexes are one of the most important resources for Irish family history. In Ireland, Civil Registration of non-Catholic marriages began in 1845. It was only in 1864 that ALL marriages, births and deaths had to be registered.

When you identify a record in these indexes, you make a note of its volume and page number reference and you can then order copies of the full register entries from the General Register Office.

The indexes are arranged on FindMyPast as follows:

Ireland Births 1864–1958
Ireland Marriages 1845–1958
Ireland Deaths 1864–1958

Please be aware that bmds in Antrim, Armagh, Derry-Londonderry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone are included in this collection up to 1921 only.

The marriage records can be searched using both names (if you know them) to find the correct entry. If you only know one name, the transcription will present you with up to four potential spouses (the names being those found on adjacent pages of the register). These facilities are not available in the free FamilySearch version of the marriage records.

The Supplementary record set includes about one million additional births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. These records cover the whole island of Ireland and include obituaries from newspapers and other published notices, indexes to wills, and gravestone details.

How to get free access on Irish Family History Day: It doesn't matter where you are in the world, you can take part and enjoy a day of free access to the Irish bmd collection. But you'll need a promotional code. This code will be published here on Thursday 24 January, or just go direct to FindMyPast Ireland.

Don't want to wait? The new Irish bmd collection is already available across all FindMyPast's international sites (Find My Past UK, Find My Past US, FindMyPast Australia) as part of a World subscription.

UPDATE: These records are already available to subscribers of the appropriate FindMyPast subscription. See here.

Monaghan parish records: hope springs eternal

The rumblings and mumblings, not to mention the grumblings, continue with regards to the Roman Catholic bmds for Co Monaghan (Diocese of Clogher) so long promised for the free government-sponsored IrishGenealogy database.

I am reliably informed that these are not languishing, forgotten, in some civil servant's 'pending' tray. Work to prepare them for upload is on-going and the team believe they are not far off completion. There's even talk of announcing a date, for heaven's sake.

'Not long now', seems to be the message.

(Can't help feeling we've been here before, so I'll believe it when I see it.)

Advanced Irish genealogy course in London: 26 Jan

The Society of Genealogists (SoG is running an all-day Irish seminar that's aimed at the more advanced researcher. It's to be held at the SoG's London HQ on Saturday 26 January and will be presented by three highly-respected genealogy specialists.

The My Ancestor Was Irish – Further Sources programme is as follows:

10:30 Early Irish Marriages – focus on pre-19th century sources, with Roz McCutcheon

11:45 Tea Break

12:00 The Irish Poor – historical context; Poor Law Records and availability, with Roz McCutcheon

1:15 Lunch (not provided)

2:00 Problems in Irish Research, with Michael Gandy

3:15 Tea Break

3:30 Irish Sources on the Internet, with Peter Christian

4:45 Q&A

5:00 Finish

The day costs £24 for SOG members/£30 for non-members. You can book here.

UPDATE: The above was amended on 18 January to reflect a change of running order.

10% discount on British Newspaper Archives sub

Are you a UK-based researcher? Fancy a 10% discount on a 12-month subscription to the British Newspaper Archive?

If so, go to the BNA website, click through to the Purchase page, select the 12-month package and enter the promo code fHmTenYtR. Hit 'Apply Code' and you'll see the discount automatically applied and bringing the price for 365 days of unlimited searching down to £71.96.

As of today, the BNA holds 6,248,402 pages of newspaper. On past performance, that figure will have grown considerably before this offer expires on 31 January! Although this is a UK-only discount offer, you'll have full access to ALL the newspapers in the archive.

The Irish papers in the archive include Dublin Evening Mail, Belfast Morning News
Belfast Newsletter, Cork Examiner, Freeman's Journal and The Sligo Champion. You can check out the editions covered on the BNA homepage.

British Newspaper Archive

Thursday 17 January 2013

New title: My Ancestor Was Irish

The UK-based Society of Genealogists (SOG) has published another book in its well-regarded 'My Ancestor Was...' series and it covers Irish genealogy sources.

Written by Alan Stewart, My Ancestor Was Irish is a crisp and brisk listing of the resources available to family historians. While there is limited explanation about the scarcity of Irish records or about how to get the best from those that are available, a lot of ground is covered; chapters include civil registration, census and substitutes, church registers, wills and administration, the registry of deeds, military records, maps, newspapers, surnames & migration, and gravestone inscriptions.

In addition there are pure reference chapters on Irish family history societies, Irish archives and the holdings of the SOG's library.

The book doesn't set out to provide in-depth understanding of the complications of family history in Ireland. It states that it aims to fulfil a need for 'a concise and straightforward guide', and it achieves this. It's audience is also clearly defined: 'This book is intended not only for Irishmen and women but also for those outside Ireland with knowledge, perhaps of tracing English and Welse families, but seeking guidance about the differences and challenges of Irish research.'

My Ancestor Was Irish is available from the Society of Genealogists, price £8.99 + pp.

Alan Stewart is also the author of My Ancestor was Scottish and other family history titles. See his blog for more details.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Ancestry adds divorce papers, 1858 to 1911

Ancestry has launched a collection of 68,128 UK Divorce Records, 1858-1911.

The records, which originate from the National Archives in Kew, London, also include petitions for separation and for nullification of a marriage.

In most cases the files contain only minutes, pleadings and decrees, but in certain selected files, papers have been preserved in their entirety.

Some or all of the following may be found for the majority of cases: name, spouse's name, petition year, date and place of marriage, names and birth details of children and a copy of the marriage certificate.

The records also indicate who filed the petition and who the respondent was. They may also provide a short history of the marriage (including addresses), the grounds for the divorce petition with some details (such as names, times, and places associated with adultery or desertion), terms of judgment, and other details. These details can make these records both informative and very personal.

When searching a particular entry in the database, be sure to use the arrow keys to move backward and forward to see all the documents in the file.

While this collection isn't of prime relevance to Irish genealogy, I mention it because it's just brought crashing down an ancient brickwall in my own research. One of my grandad's brothers, Michael, arrived as a 23-year-old in London in 1902. In 1916, aged 35, he married an English widow called Alice.

So far so good. But when I started nosing around Alice's past, I got a shock. She had indeed married, but I could find no death for her first husband. What I could find was the two of them, living separately and alone at London addresses in the 1911 census, both claiming to have been widowed. These are definitely not cases of mistaken identity!

And now Ancestry's new collection has unravelled the story. Alice and her first husband divorced in 1910. No additional details available, but I don't really need them. I'm guessing that the stigma of divorce was still strong enough in the Edwardian period for people to prefer the 'widowed' tag.

However, it rather looks as though she lied to her new beau. Michael was a Catholic and divorce would have been a huge obstacle to overcome during their courtship. I suppose it's also possible that she told him the truth, love conquered all, and they chose to go with the 'widow' story to make it more palatable to his family. I'm never going to know (they didn't have children and no stories have been passed down to the wider family).

I think I'm just pleased that the marriage wasn't bigamous, even if it was, legally, fraudulent.

Exploring your roots exhibition at PRONI

PRONI is to host an exhibition called Exploring Your Roots from Monday 18 February to Friday 15 March.

The exhibition, which is on loan from the Mid-Antrim Museum Service, looks at the resources available for family historians in museums and at PRONI and aims to give beginners context for the items they may find at home. It also guides them to explore the world and society in which their ancestors lived, rather than concentrating only on their documentation.

The exhibition will be free to visit and is accessible during normal PRONI opening hours.

Genealogy and history event in Stillorgan 1-3 Feb

St Brigid's Church, Stillorgan, Co Dublin is celebrating its 300th anniversary with a three-day Gathering event that looks back over the history of the town.

From a genealogy and history perspective, the most interesting features of the programme are on Saturday 2 February, as follows:

  • Guided tours of Church & Graveyard
  • Exhibition of maps and old photos of Stillorgan.
  • Talks by local historians profiling residents or characters from Stillorgan.
  • Talks aimed at beginner family historians from the Genealogical Society of Ireland
  • Advice from local genealogist Tom Coughlan on how to find those missing links
  • Talks by Stillorgan & Kilmacud Historical Society, Mount Merrion Historical Society & Foxrock Historical Society

For more details of these and other events, and to book the church/churchyard tours, take a look at the full programme here.

2013 Famine Commemoration to be held in Kilrush

This year's National Famine Commemoration will take place in Kilrush, County Clare. The announcement, by Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, was made without a confirmed date, but it is likely to be in May.

The choice of Kilrush as host town for the 2013 National Famine Commemoration is particularly significant given the strength of its historic links with the Great Irish Famine. Kilrush and its environs were among the areas worst hit by famine during that tragic time. Evictions, fever and cholera reduced the population of south-west Clare to such an extent that it has never since attained its pre-famine numbers. It is estimated that Kilrush Union lost 50% of its population between 1846 and 1851. Over 20,000 were evicted in the Kilrush area and the Kilrush workhouse greatly exceeded its capacity of 800 and overflowed with skeletal, desolate and damaged people. It witnessed deprivation and death on a cataclysmic scale.

Making the announcement, Minister Deenihan said: 'The National Famine Commemoration Committee looks forward to working closely with the community in Kilrush to ensure that the 2013 National Famine Commemoration will be a fitting tribute all those who perished, suffered and emigrated.'

Minister Deenihan expressed his gratitude to the members of the National Famine Commemoration Committee (NFCC) for their commitment in ensuring that the catastrophic events of the Great Famine are appropriately remembered and that the extraordinary contributions of those who emigrated, and of their many descendents abroad, are justly celebrated.

This year's International Famine Commemoration will be held in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday 25 August.

See below the film submitted to the NFCC in support of Kilrush's application.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

First 2013 batch of updates from IGP Archives

The team at Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives has got the New Year off to a great start with this new batch of records uploaded for free viewing.

IRELAND Genealogy Archives – Emigration
"Brig Sally" to New York 5 Aug 1803   
"Brig George" to New York, 16 Aug 1803

ANTRIM Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1857 Irish Constabulary men

ARMAGH Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1857 Irish Constabulary men

CARLOW Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1857 Irish Constabulary men

CLARE Genealogy Archives
Memorial Cards – Completed Memorial Cards from Anna Ryan
Valuations – Knockloskeraun c.1863; Poulawillin c.1863 (both Union of Ennistimon)

DOWN Genealogy Archives – Cemetery
Memorial of James Bligh JOCELYN - Tullymore Park

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Deansgrange; St. Patrick's Section, Pt. 14
Cemetery – Drimnagh or the Bluebell Churchyard Memorials
Church Records – Assorted marriages from St Kevin's CofI.

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives – Cemetery
Monea Churchyard Memorials, Part 2

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives – Church Records
Assorted McAllister Baptisms & Granard

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives
Cemetery: Delgany Churchyard & assorted Memorials
Church Records: Williams Burials in Wicklow Parish Church; Assorted Marriages from Castlemacadam CofI 1727-1828 & 1886-1916.

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

RTE’s Dead Money rises to IFTAs shortlist

RTE’s hit show Dead Money has been shortlisted in the 2013 Irish Film & Television Awards.

(L-R) Steven and Kit Smyrl
The six-week series, produced by production company ProMedia, proved hugely popular during its initial run in March and April 2012 and has since been repeated twice.

Depicting the work of Massey & King, a probate research firm owned by brothers Kit and Steven Smyrl, each episode of Dead Money set the search for next-of-kin to an unclaimed estate in an historical and emotional context in which the located relatives discovered their entitlements to a sum of money – sometimes a small fortune!

Dead Money’s IFTA shortlist was based upon an episode which told the story of the search for the nearest relatives of the late Alan Murray, a former taxi driver living in Sligo. After searching in Ireland and overseas and tracking down various cousins, a long-lost daughter, Angela, was discovered some seven years after Alan had died. Never having known about her Irish family, viewers saw a tearful Angela finally meet the relatives she never knew existed. In a remarkably poignant scene, she also learned that her father – who she believed had abandoned her mother – had maintained contact and visits while she was still a youngster.

On hearing of the IFTA shortlist, Massey & King’s Steven Smyrl said: “Both Kit and I are thrilled by the nomination and want to thank all the team at ProMedia for their hard work in turning the idea into reality. This particular episode portrayed a difficult and heart-breaking story in a sensitive manner and demonstrated how probate research can deliver more than just money.”

Organised by the Irish Film & Television Academy, this year’s IFTAs mark the 10th Anniversary of the Awards. The event promises to be an unforgettable occasion, celebrating Ireland’s outstanding film and television productions in 2012 and reflecting upon a decade of exceptional Irish art, creativity and entertainment.

More about Dead Money.

Limerick landscape lecture series

Limerick County Council is to host a lecture series that concentrates on the region's architecture from medieval times to the present, and even the future. The programme puts forward the view that the built landscape is the result of what our ancestors created and deemed important. 'The built heritage,' it says, 'is a reflection of our society, its values, its hierarchies, its fashions and its trends.'

Most of the lectures deal with historical buildings but there is a fifth lecture that looks forward, to the Limerick of 2030.

The series begins on Tuesday 29 January and continues on a fortnightly basis until Tuesday 26 March.

Venue:  Council Chamber, County Hall, Limerick.
Time:  8pm.
Cost::  FREE. No booking required.

Tuesday 29 January:  Limerick’s Ringforts, with Dr Matthew Stout 

Tuesday 12 February: Medieval Limerick Today: The Built Heritage, with Brian Hodkinson 

Tuesday 26 February:  The Archaeology of Mills and Milling in County Limerick from an early medieval period to c. 1900, with Dr Colin Rynne

Tuesday 12 March: University of Limerick: a Technological University on the Banks of the Shannon, with Judith Hill 

Tuesday 26 March:  Limerick 2030, with Gerry Hughes.

See the brochure for more details. LimerickBH2013FP.pdf

Monday 14 January 2013

TNA beginners: Start Here

The National Archives (TNA) in Kew, London, has launched a new website section to help those who are either just starting out on their family history research or find the site's catalogue rather overwhelming.

Start Here, as the new section is called, aims to explain what information is available at TNA and where to find it. It also aims to tell researchers what is online. Importantly, Start Here also spells out what is NOT available, both online and offline.

From a brief recce, I'd say it's a very useful addition. The guidance is provided in a crystal clear format with both written and video explanations and easy to navigate lists of themes/subjects. There are also short animations explaining what archives do, and how to prepare for research in them, and the section links to relevant features, podcasts and tutorials.

It's still in development, so feedback is being requested via a link.

TNA has significant holdings of material relevant to Irish genealogy research (not least military records and maps). Even so, I know there are many Irish researchers who, like me, have never invested the time to become familiar with the vast website. Start Here may prove to be just the helping hand I need.

Friday 11 January 2013

Conference: Jewish community in north of Ireland

As mentioned in a blog post last week, PRONI is to host a conference on the Jewish community in the north of Ireland on 31 January. The afternoon conference will examine the history of the Jewish Community in the north of Ireland, with particular reference to Jewish refugees who came to Ireland in the 1930s to escape Nazi persecution.

The Conference is open to the public and details have now been finalised, as follows:

2.00 pm
Introduction and presentation of Heritage: The A-Z DNA of Belfast and Northern Irish Jewry, by the author, Stuart Rosenblatt.

2.10 pm
The gathering and the scattering: the Jewish Community in the North of Ireland, with Stuart Rosenblatt (Irish Jewish Genealogical Society).

Safe Haven at Millisle: Northern Ireland and the Kindertransport Scheme, with Dr Leon Litvack (Queen’s University Belfast)

3.10 to 3.30 pm
Coffee break

3.30 pm
The work of the Belfast Jewish Refugee Committee, 1937-1945, with Pamela Linden (Queen’s University Belfast)

4.00 pm
One Letter, One Voice, Multiple Archives: the case of Leopold Pollak, with Bethany Sinclair (PRONI)

4.30 – 4.45 pm
Questions and discussion

Admission: free of charge.

Booking: Places are limited so booking is essential. To reserve a place, email or phone (+44) 028 90 534800

Venue: PRONI, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. BT3 9HQ

Derry Quays: home of the full emigration story

In a piece published this week in the Derry Journal, genealogist Brian Mitchell puts the case for creating an emigration centre, similar to New York's Ellis Island, on Derry Quay. See the article here.

He argues that  Derry is the only town in Ireland which can legitimately tell the complete story of Irish emigration because it was a major Irish emigration port throughout all the most significant phases of emigration from Ireland.

Brian Mitchell MAPGI has written several Irish genealogy books and runs Derry Genealogy Centre at the Foyle Valley Railway Museum, Foyle Road, Derry BT48 6SQ, Northern Ireland.

PRONI overhauls Street Directories database

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has given its online Street Directories database a major overhaul.

In the new version of Street Directories, keywords which match the search criteria are highlighted on the scanned directory pages, so relevant information is immediately visible. A roll-over zoom function also greatly enhances viewing of the digitised directories on screen.

The Street Directories database, which was originally launched in 2009, holds 29 publications covering the years 1819–1900 and makes a great starting point for many areas of research. The number of individuals named in the 20,000 pages makes it a valuable resource for family historians, while those investigating local, social or economic history can research the growth and decline of towns and villages, explore the social fabric of localities and trace the development of commerce and industry.

Free to access, the revised database can be searched here.

Thursday 10 January 2013

Genealogy and history events for mid-January

There's a good number of interesting events this January, despite the usual sluggish start to the month. Even so, some items may not have been publicised yet. If I pick up any additional items for this month, I'll update this list.

Friday 11 January: Carson's Army: the Ulster Volunteer Force, 1913-1914, with Dr Tim Bowman. Military History Society of Ireland. Venue: Lecture Theatre Griffith College, Dublin 8. 8pm. Non-members welcome.

Tuesday 15 January: Griffiths & Military Records, with the Omagh branch of the NIFHS. Venue: Omagh Library, Dublin Road. 7:15pm–9:15pm. Details.

Tuesday 15 January: Main lecture – Maps of South County Dublin, with Arnold Horner. Also a short talk – Deciphering Assyrian Cuneiform, The life and works of the Rev. Edward Hinck, with Neil Flanagan. Foxrock Local History Club. Pastoral Centre, Foxrock Church, Jct Kill Lane/Bray Rd. 8pm.

Tuesday 15 January: The 3rd Home Rule Bill, 1912, with Dermot Meleady, biographer of John Redmond. Inaugural lecture of the Decade of Centenaries series. Host: Asbourne Historical Society. Venue: The Library, Killegland Square, Ashbourne, Co Meath. 7pm. Map. Enquiries.

Wednesday 16 January: An evening of Ulster-Scots, a talk about Ulster-Scots culture. Waterside Library, The Workhouse, Glendermott Road, Derry. 7pm. Free. Details: 028 7134 2963.

Thursday 17 January: From Rocky Shores to the Rocky Mountains: The Irish in Montana. Launch of exhibition at the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, Butte, Montana, USA. 5-7pm. Details.

Thursday 17 January: The MacDonnell Family/treatment of tenants/resettlement in Clare, with Michael Nolan. Clare Roots Society. Venue: Civic Rooms, Ennis Town Council, Drumbiggle, Ennis. 8pm. €5 for non-members.

Friday 18 January: Protestants and the Irish language, past and present, with Gordon McCoy. Killyleagh Library, Co Down. Free. 1:15pm. Booking and details: 028 4482 8407.

Saturday 19 January: Life as it was lived in days of war: accounts of the First World War held at PRONI, with Ian Montgomery. Venue: Collins Barracks, Dublin. 2pm. Free. No booking.

Saturday 19 January: Civil Registration Records, with the Fermanagh branch of the NIFHS. 2:15pm–4:15pm. Seminar Room, The Library, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Details.

Monday 21 January: Townlands, with Linda Hooke. Larne Branch of the NIFHS. Venue: Larne Bowling & Lawn Tennis Club, 112, Glenarm Road, Larne. 7:30pm–9:30pm. Details.

Wednesday 23 January: Dublin after dark: glimpses of life in an early modern city – with Dr Maighread Ní Mhurchadha. The 16th annual Sir John T Gilbert Commemorative Lecture is preceded by a wine reception at 6pm at Dublin City Public Libraries, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Booking essential. (Update 15 January: This event FULLY BOOKED. The lecture will be recorded and I'll advise when it's made available.)

Wednesday 23 January: The Dublin Lockout cartoons of Ernest Kavanagh. James Curry discusses the illustrations of this cartoonist, who was killed in the 1916 Uprising. Part of the Bibliofiles Lecture Series at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin 2. 7pm. Free. No booking.

Saturday 26 January: Irish Family History Advice in the Crypt, with the Irish Family History Foundation. Venue: Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin. Free. 11am to 4pm. Part of the TempleBar Tradfest. Details.

Saturday 26 January: My ancestor was Irish – Further resources, a full-day course (10:30 – 5pm) with Michael Gandy, Roz McCutcheon and Peter Christian, looking at problems in Irish family history research and how to tackle them, locating early Irish marriages, the Irish Poor and what’s new online. £30 non-members £24 members. Society of Genealogists, Clerkenwell, London. Booking.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

The 1913 Lockout: February series of lectures

To mark the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout, South Dublin Libraries is hosting a series of four lectures about this hugely significant industrial dispute and its place in the history of Ireland's struggle for independence.

Dr Miriam Moffitt of NUI Maynooth will be presenting each of the lectures, which will take place every Wednesday evening in February at 7pm at the state-of-the-art County Library, Tallaght, Dublin 24. ((0)1 462 0073)

There's no charge and no need to book.

HistoryIreland Jan-Feb 2013 issue now available

The January/February issue of HistoryIreland has landed on my doormat (perfectly planned for a long train journey tomorrow) and is now in the shops.

This issue carries an eclectic mix of features, which, as a rule I prefer to the strongly-themed issues. Among them is a report by Mark Empey on the recent discovery of over 200 17th-century Irish warrants in the East Riding of Yorkshire Archives at Beverley. I'd not heard about this before, but it seems the collection is to be published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission. Other features that I'm looking forward to reading include a feature by John Gibney that investigates the 'alternative' (ie Roman Catholic) view of the 1641 Rebellion; an examination of the Rothe Collection of treasures, and how the artifacts survived; a study of the forgotten Arklow Fishery; a reminiscence about the Liberties; and an article from Cliona Rattigan about how abortion has been a 'constant, albeit hidden, facet of the lives of Irish women for decades'.

As always, there's also a good number of shorter features on architectural and museum collection themes, and reviews of tv broadcasts and new books. I've already noted a positive review of a book I've just ordered: Domestic Life In Ireland (RIA). Seems I'm in for a treat!

HistoryIreland costs €7.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

The Fighting Irish conference

A Military converence is to be held in Roscommon in May.

Theme: For Flag and Country – The Emigrant Irish in Military Service.

For over 400 years Irish emigrants have served in the military forces of their adopted countries. At a time when Ireland is recognized globally for it's Peacekeeping duties with the UN, this conference explores the history of "The Fighting Irish".

Date and time: Friday 3 May. From 9.45am to 4pm.

Venue: Gleeson's, The Square, Roscommon, Ireland.

Fee: The Conference fee is €60 which includes refreshments and a light lunch.

Places strictly limited to 100

The full programme, biographies of speakers, details of an optional add-on tour and payment instructions can be downloaded here.

Dublin Evening Mail joins BNA

The British Newspaper Archive has added The Dublin Evening News to its portfolio. This is great news because the paper is a terrific source for Dublin Protestants, particularly for death notices.

This update to the BNA database (which, as of this morning, holds 6,192,422 pages of newspapers from across the UK and Ireland) includes all issues of the three-times-a-week newspaper from Monday 1 January 1855 to Monday 31 December 1855.

Publication days were Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Dublin Evening Mail launched in 1823 and was to become Ireland's longest surviving evening newspaper. It was bought by the Irish Times and subsequently closed in 1962.

Originals and microfilm copies of nearly the full run of editions can be viewed at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

2013 gets underway for Irish Lives Remembered magazine

The January edition of Irish Lives Remembered has been published and can be downloaded here.

This month's main genealogy resources focus is County Westmeath; any family historian with ancestors in this county will find plenty of helpful information to aid their research. In addition to details about resources and where to find them, there is a three-page article from Helen Kelly MAPGI on tracing Westmeath emigrants to Argentina and features from Cassie Mercer and Shauna Hicks about people from the county emigrating to Australia.

There's also a very detailed guide by John Martin to the surviving records of Railway workers (which reminds me that I must get on with my research into my Grandad's early career at Bagenalstown Station) and several other interesting features in this month's 66-page package.

Volunteers sought for genealogy trials

The Irish Ancestry Research Centre at the University of Limerick is looking for volunteers to help them trial new software and programme developments.

They want the volunteers to try out these genealogy prodects as end-users. The trials will be held at the IARC in the University's Tierney Building.

If you're interested to discover more detail, contact Lorna Moloney by phone on 062-518355 or email her.

Monday 7 January 2013

Early January news round-up

Since I still haven't kicked this wretched lurgy into touch, I'm going to be brief and simply do a quick round-up of some news items that I picked up over the last week. It may still be some days before I'm back to normal (all sympathy gratefully received) but I'll do my best to keep you up to date with any major news.

Ancestry added some important emigration records dating from 1890 to 1960. The collection is called UK Outward Passenger Lists (Ireland still being part of the UK until 1922) and, in addition to departures from the big English ports of Liverpool and Southampton, it includes details of passengers embarking from Belfast, Cobh/Queenstown, Dublin, Galway and Londonderry.

The collection, from The National Archives in Kew, London, is searchable and browseable.


Got any World War One memorabilia? If so, make a note of the date Thursday 21 March, when the National Library of Ireland in Kildare Street, Dublin 2 will be holding another WW1 Family History Roadshow. You can bring along your memorabilia to be digitised andd added to the Europeana online archive, along with your stories.

Places at the Roadshow are limited (previous events have been over-subscribed), so you need to act now to book your place. Email.


Starting tonight at 8pm on UTV, Ulster Unearthed is a new six-part archaeology and heritage series which will reveal stories of Northern Ireland’s past and its Ulster-Scots links.

Using laser technology and state-of-the-art computer imaging, a team of experts explores a variety of local sites and digs across Ulster and reveals exciting new finds. Among the sites are a 400-year-old Gaelic fort at Dunnalong on the banks of the River Foyle, Carrickfergus Castle, with its nearly 1,000 years of military history, and an Ulster-Scots settlement in Bangor.

UTV/Ulster Television broadcasts on Freeview 3 (Northern Ireland only), Freesat 103, Sky 103, UPC Ireland 110, and Virgin Media 103.


To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Ireland's Jewish community are to be the subject of an afternoon conference at PRONI at the end of the month. While times have yet to be confirmed, the event is shaping up very nicely. Four speakers will be presenting lectures – Leon Litvack, Stuart Rosenblatt, Pamela Linden and Bethany Sinclair – and a light lunch will be offered. I'll bring you further details as soon as they're available, but for the moment, keep Thursday 31 January free. Update and confirmed details here.


FlyLeaf Press is to publish a new book in its highly-regarded Tracing your Ancestors series next month. This 160-page book, written by Brian Smith and Gerry Kennedy, will be dedicated to County Clare.

Priced at €13.00, Tracing your Clare Ancestors can be ordered online from the publisher ahead of publication.

Four more books are planned for the series during 2013. They are for counties Tipperary, Cavan, Wexford and Kildare.


Find My Past TV returns after its Christmas break. The second series resumes on Tuesday 8 January at 9pm (on the Yesterday channel: Freeview channel 19, Sky 537, Virgin Media 203) with episode six – The Great Escape. The weekly schedule will then continue with Dickens's double life, Battle of Trafalgar, Scott of the Antarctic and the Abdication Crisis, so there's a chance of some Irish connections. But, regardless, it's an interesting show.

If you miss an episode, or can't view it where you are, you might like to try out the alternative: to watch it on Find My Past UK. The link to each episode will be uploaded to the site during the week after the broadcast (and will remain there for 30 days for non-subscribers, who have to register).


The Genealogy Roadshow, which is scheduled to start filming its new series, is still looking for likely candidates with family mysteries that need to be solved or with ancestral connections to historical events. See more about the show on my earlier blog post, and contact the producers at or call 048 308 34046 (or 028 308 34046 from Northern Ireland).

Some events in the next couple of days

See below for a few events taking place in the next couple of days. I'll be back mid-week with a longer listing of events for January.

Tuesday 8 January: Ballinascreen on film, an archive film screening. Host: Ballinascreen Historical Society. Venue: St Colm's High School, Draperstown, Co Derry. 8pm.

Tuesday 8 January: Irish army records, with Commdt Padraic Kennedy. Host: Genealogical Society of Ireland. Venue: Dún Laoghaire College of FE, Cumberland Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 8pm.

Wednesday 9 January: The Fitzgeralds of Ardilea House, with John Lennon, and AGM. Rathmichael Historical Society. 8pm. Rathmichael School, Stonebridge Road, Shankill, Dublin. Free to members, otherwise €4.00(includes tea/coffee/biscuits). Details.

Wednesday 9 January:
Book launch: Ulster Since 1600: Politics, Economy, and Society (Edited by Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw). Canada Room, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University, Belfast. 5:30-7:00pm. Wine and Cheese reception and Guest speaker: Sir George Bain. All are welcome.

Thursday 3 January 2013

Wexford Church of Ireland transcripts go online

Terrific news for those with Church of Ireland ancestors from Wexford!

The Representative Church Body Library has just uploaded a second tranche of transcriptions from the Anglican Record Project. The transcriptions cover the following registers from the Newtownbarry (Bunclody) Union:

Newtownbarry – St Mary’s Church
Baptisms 1799–1903
Marriages 1799–1903
Burials 1799–1903

Barragh – St Paul’s Church

Baptisms 1799–1805 and 1831–1879
Marriages 1799–1805 and 1830–1903
Burials 1799–1805 and 1838–1878

Clonegal – St Fiaac’s Church

Baptisms 1792–1903
Marriages 1792–1906
Burials 1792–1903

Kilrush – St Brigid’s Church
Baptisms 1878–1903
Marriages 1845–1903
Burials 1878–1903

You can download the transcripts free of charge here.

Now that's what I call a New Year's gift!!

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Strong sense of déjà vu here, having seen the New Year in with a filthy lurgy. At least this time I wasn't also attempting to play nurse to my post-operative mam! I'm pretty whacked out, so you'll not be getting any sense from me for another couple of days or so.

Not that there's much going on, anyway. It's always quiet until the second week of January.

So, assuming nothing unexpected or outstanding occurs in the Irish genealogical world in the next few days, normal service will resume next week.

In the meantime, if you're desperate for a bit of brain food to wean yourself off the rich stodge of the festive season, why not check out one of PRONI's excellent online exhibitions on the subject of Irish emigration. Here are the current options:

Happy New Year to one and all!