Friday 29 March 2013

Free Easter access to 1901 & 1911 censuses: Ancestry

The 1911 and 1901 Censuses of England & Wales are available to search and view free of charge this Easter at The 1901 Scotland census is also included.

To take advantage of this offer, you'll need to register with your name and address at Ancestry, but you don't have to give credit card details.

The offer lasts until midnight (GMT) on Monday 1 April.

Incidentally, Ancestry has added a search function into the Northern Ireland Will's Index. This Index is already free to search and view on PRONI, along with 93,338 images of actual wills 1858-1900.

Thursday 28 March 2013

Origins opens up its Irish Directories for Easter

Origins is offering free access to its very useful Irish Directories collection over the Easter Weekend, starting tomorrow, Friday 29 March until midnight (GMT) on Monday 1 April

You need to login or register, and can then select from 69 Directories covering 1824 to 1900. They're held in two separate collections: the Dublin Directories and the Directories of Ireland collection.

The Dublin Directories collection contains:
  • Bassett’s County Directories 1881, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1888
  • Pigot's Commercial Directory of Ireland 1824
  • Slater's Directories of Ireland 1846, 1870, 1881, 1894
  • Henderson's Ulster Directory 1856
  • Henry & Coughlan's General Directory of Cork & Munster 1867

The Directories of Ireland collection contains the following:
  • Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory 1845-1900

A further 20 Directories (none of them Thom's) will be joining the Dublin Directories line-up shortly.

FindMyPast UK offers 10% discount on subs

FindMyPast UK is offering a 10% discount on both its British Full subscription and its World subscription. Six-month and one-year options are available.

Just enter this promotional code when you subscribe to claim your 10% discount: SUB10.

In the last few weeks, FindMyPast UK has added 3 million London records, 2 million records from East Kent and more than 650,000 new pages to their collection of local British newspapers. The latter, which now totals 6.5 million pages spanning 1710 to 1963, does not appear to include any Irish publications.

The company says it is also intending to add a cool 15 million Yorkshire parish baptism, marriage and burial records 'shortly'. It says these records have never been online before and this development is due to an association with the Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium, which comprises six Yorkshire archives.

Spanning the years from 1538 into the 20th century, these records will cover parish church registers and bishops' transcripts from most of Yorkshire and will include images of the registers, as well as transcripts.

DiscoverEverAfter asks for feedback on graveyard site

DiscoverEverAfter, the County Antrim-based website that has brought family historians nearly 100,000 graveyard records since it launched 18 months ago, wants to enlist the help of genealogists to guide the site's future direction.

Director Leona McAllister told Irish Genealogy News that while the company is continuing to add the results of its graveyard surveys, it needs to get opinions from users on what is currently available on the website.

'We have a number of ideas for the future development of the site,' she said. 'But we need input from family historians to help us decide which options to follow up. We also need to know what is working well, what is not so useful, and generally get feedback on what we're doing and how helpful it is to their research.'

The survey is a mix of 'quick score' items, and slightly more demanding questions, but nothing that any family historian should find too tricky.

Since we've been benefitting from free access to this wonderful resource of gravestone and memorial inscriptions, photos and maps, it seems only fair to give something back for free. If you can find a few minutes to help the DiscoverEverAfter team, please complete the questionnaire here.

Genealogy Roadshow at Derry rescheduled to 20 April

One of the many casualties of the recent spate of appalling weather in Northern Ireland was RTE's Genealogy Roadshow in Derry. With the closure of the Glenshane Pass on the main road between Derry and Belfast it was decided to reschedule last Saturday's filming for the safety of the public travelling to and from the Lumen Christi venue.

The rescheduled filming will take place on Saturday 20 April at the same venue. Everyone who was already on the guest list will automatically be transferred to the new date.

Heading south, the Genealogy Roadshow will be filming at University College, Cork, on Saturday 13 April.

The Roadshow’s crack historical and genealogical team, which is headed by Turtle Bunbury, John Grenham and Susan Chadwick, will be in the College all afternoon helping people find extraordinary stories in their family, as well as giving free advice on how to track down a family history.

The stories planned for the day are connected to Ned Kelly, Henry Ford, and the Doneraile Conspiracy.

Admission is free and you can attend for the whole event of for just one of the (timed) filming segments. Either way, you should register your intention to attend by contacting Ciara on 048 308 34046 or email.

Easter events at Glasnevin

There are some great events on at Glasnevin Cemetery over Easter. Here's a quick run-down:

Easter 1916 Rebellion Tours of the Necropolis, with Shane MacThomais at 2:30pm daily, Good Friday to Easter Monday inclusive. Booking is essential.

Tour and re-enactment of the surrender of the 1916 Rising, based on Nurse Elizabeth Farrell's account, at 3:30pm daily, Good Friday to Easter Monday inclusive. Booking is essential.

Raising of the Tri-Colour at the Sigerson Memorial, a monument to all those who fell during Easter Week 1916, to honour the originators of the National Flag, Edward Hollywood and Peader Kearney. 9:30am.

For more details and bookings, contact Glasnevin Museum on (0)1 882 6550, or email.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

FindMyPast adds more than 2m records from Kent

FindMyPast has added another huge collection of UK records to its database. This update includes almost 900,000 baptisms, 100,000 banns, 500,000 marriages and 700,000 burials from the Canterbury area of Kent, some of them dating back to 1538.

One register, for the parish of St Alphege Seasalter, includes odd and sometimes cutting entries about the parishioners by the vicar, Thomas Patten; for example, a note about the marriage in 1744 between John Housden “a young gape-mouthed lazy fellow” and Hannah Matthews “an old toothless wriggling hagg.”

The Canterbury Collection is available on all of findmypast’s international sites as part of a World Subscription.

14-graveyard survey project in Duhallow completes

Click to see for word cloud for Tullylease
The Historic Graves team has just completed a five-month project with local communities in the Duhallow, North Cork area. It started with a six-week lecture series in the care and conservation of historic graveyards and was followed by an extensive survey of twenty graveyards.

Fourteen of the latter were fully surveyed by the local groups and the resulting inscription information and geolocated photographs of the memorial stones have been published online. The graveyards involved are:

  • Castlecor Demesne, Kilbrin
  • Castlemagner
  • Clonfert
  • Kilgobnet/Abbeyswell
  • Clonmeen North
  • Ballyhoolahan West, Kilmeen
  • Knawhill
  • Newberry (Kilshannig), Drommahane
  • Newmarket CoI
  • Nohoval Lower
  • Old Cullen, Mallaghroe North, Cullen
  • Drishane Castle, Old Millstreet
  • St Columba's, Bweeng
  • Tullylease

While the genealogical information collected is of huge value to anyone with ancestors from the region, the benefit to the local communities goes beyond the surveys.  Locals were encouraged to engage with the history of their immediate environment and to publish stories about the people and the locality. These stories can be found on Historic

In addition, rubbings of the iconography from the headstones were produced, aerial photographs of the graveyards were commissioned, and 'word clouds' for each graveyard were created based on the inscribed family names. The more frequent the name, the larger the representation of the name in the word cloud. The example above is for the graveyard at Tullylease. Click on the image to see all the names.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

IrishGenealogy relaunches as portal to free records

Go to new-style site
The state-funded has today received a very thorough makeover, and not only in looks!

Having established itself as one of the most popular sites for searching church records in counties Dublin, Cork, Carlow and Kerry (the records are free and unavailable anywhere else online), it has now been completely redesigned with a much wider remit and the inclusion of a new search functionality that tries to locate records in other databases.

The best way to describe how it works is to give an example....

If I search for my Gt Grandfather, Patrick Santry, born in Clonakilty, Co Cork, in 1854, the site not only finds the record of his 1854 baptism and his 1877 marriage as it would have done in its previous format, it also allows me to head off direct to other sites to try to locate records. Working through the list of sites searched, here are the returns received:
  • Church records (as previously, both baptism and marriage are found.)
  • 1901/1911 Census records – He, and eight other Patrick Santrys are located in Cork in both censuses.
  • Tithe Applotments – Just one Patrick Santry is found (but the records pre-date him).
  • Griffith’s Valuation – Three Patrick Santrys are found (but these records pre-date him).
  • Soldiers Will – No records found.
  • Military Archives – No records found.
  • Ireland - Australia Transportation database – No records found.
  • Ellis Island – Three records are found (I know none is him)
  • Castle Gardens/Clinton – One record found (I know it's not him)
  • National Photographic Archive/NLI – No records found in catalogue.
  • Ireland-Australia Transportation Database – No records found.
  • NAI's Women in 20th Century Ireland – No records found!
  • DHO Discovery – No records found.
As you search each collection, you are taken to the appropriate website to see the search results, so you don't have to keep typing in the website addresses. This obviously saves a bit of time, but for the beginner who doesn't know which record sets to search, this will be an incredibly popular helping hand.

Now, some of the collections listed above were clearly not appropriate for the search of a man born in 1854. It seems a bit nit-picky to mention it, but I just wonder how a raw beginner is going to understand why they can't find someone born in the late 1890s in the tithe applotment books, for example.

Of course, if they explore each of the websites they're visiting, they'll soon find out why. I just wonder if some kind of pop up, giving the absolute basics of each collection as it is searched, wouldn't help.

Elsewhere on the site, there are, indeed, some useful details about Irish websites and how to start researching, and it's an easy site to move around. I think, despite a couple of quite minor criticisms, it delivers what many have wanted to see: a portal where researchers can dip into all the free records. And for that, I'll give a round of applause.

Announcing the launch of the upgraded site, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, TD, said that the site would provide an infrmation point for people starting to research their ancestors.

'My Department and I are conscious of the importance of genealogy as an important way of connecting with those abroad who wish to trace their roots and, also permitting those here in Ireland to establish their family history.

'At present, the genealogy landscape can seem confusing so, my Department has concentrated on the development of some additional search functionality for by way of providing a portal or search facility for digital genealogy records.

'This enhanced search facility will help by highlighting the potential sources of information that are available on-line.

'Visitors will be able to search records from a number of on-line sources including the Church Records already available on, and others such as the 1901 and 1911 Census and Soldiers wills, to name but a few.'

As an aside: If you're still wondering what's happening to the Monaghan (Diocese of Clogher) records, there's a wee note, almost lost in the Church Records page, saying that work is still progressing on their delivery to the site. How long can it take??

Ancestry Ireland adds St Josephs baptisms

AncestryIreland has added the baptismal records of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Belfast from 1899 to 1929 to its database.

This upload comprises of 3,300 entries transcribed from the parish registers. In many cases, the baptismal entries include details of the individual's later marriage.

Marriages for this parish up to 1930 are currently being transcribed and should be added to the database in due course.

National Famine Commemoration programme published

A full ten-day programme of events leading up to the National Famine Commemoration will begin on Friday 3 May in Kilrush, Co Clare, including a series of lectures, walks, tours, re-enactments, theatre, music, exhibitions and local commemoration ceremonies, all recalling the impact of the Great Famine on the people and the landscape of the Kilrush Poor Law Union.

The full programme is now available to download, free, here. There will be no cover charge for any of the events listed but donation boxes for charities currently fighting famine around the world will be located at some venues.

The programme ends with the 2013 National Famine Commemoration on Frances Street, Kilrush, on Sunday 12 May at 2:30pm, with President Michael D Higgins leading the official representation.

Emerald Ancestors adds 1831 Presbyterian records

Emerald Ancestors has uploaded more than 1000 new records  to its Church Census Collection. These relate to members of the 1831 Templepatrick Presbyterian Church Congregation in Co Antrim.

The records typically list all members within a household, including children, and identify the townland in which the family resided. Most also include the mother’s maiden name.

In many instances other children – ones who are not living at home – are also recorded, with various notes such as “married ...” or “in America”. Several later annotations indicate where the family has moved to another townland or parish.

Emerald Ancestors say they are currently working on a later census (c.1857) for the same church. This will be released in about six weeks.

More records for the Church Census Collection will follow later in the Spring and Summer.

If you're already a member of Emerald Ancestors, you'll be pleased to know that an Easter Sale will start on Good Friday (29 April). It will last for two weeks and will offer members a 25% discount on the Look-Up Service.

Strumpet City's April programme is launched

Dublin City Council today announced a packed programme of events to celebrate this year’s Dublin: One City One Book initiative. James Plunkett’s Strumpet City, this year’s choice, also commemorates the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout.

Many of the events in the programme are free and include music, drama, readings, history, tours, exhibitions and family events.

They take place at venues around Dublin from 1-30 April and the programme is now confirmed on a dedicated website:

A special edition of the book published by Gill & Macmillan can be borrowed from all branches of Dublin City Libraries or bought in bookshops. From today, you can also follow ongoing conversations on Twitter between two of the book’s main characters – Rashers Tierney (@RashersTierney1) and Fr. O’Connor (@FrOConnor1).

Dublin's Deputy Lord Mayor Clare Byrne officially launched the programme today in Liberty Hall, the location of my scenes in the book. 'Dublin: One City One Book is now in its eighth year and is one of the most popular literary festivals in the city. The programme has something to interest everyone whether you are a local or a visitor to Dublin. It’s also a great opportunity to read James Plunkett’s Strumpet City – it's an epic both of the 1913 Lockout and of the city itself,' she said.

Dublin: One City One Book encourages everyone to read a book connected with Dublin during April. The initiative is led by Dublin City Libraries as part of its UNESCO City of Literature Programme. It is supported by publishers Gill & MacMillan, Dept. of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the 1913 Commemoration Committee, Dublin City BID and venues and booksellers all over the city.

The public will shortly be able to download the first chapter of Strumpet City for free via QR code at 12 Dublin City Council Traffic Light boxes. More details on this will be available during April.

Griffiths Valuation Revision Books for NI are live!

Go to home page of collection
PRONI has just launched its Griffiths Valuation Revision Books collection for the six counties of Northern Ireland!

It's free to search, and the images are of the highest quality. An outstanding achievement.

Go Play!

Find out more about the Revision Books and Griffiths Valuation.

Last call for Clare Conference

With just over one week to go before the start of the fringe events to the Clare Roots Society Genealogy and Family History Conference, it's time to get in booking mode if you're planning on visiting one of this year's major genealogy events in Ireland.

The Conference itself will take place at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis, Co.Clare, and there's a terrific line-up of lectures (see below, together with costs and booking details).

But in the days leading up to the Conference there's a string of fringe events, some of which attract a €5 charge. You can download the full brochure here.

I'm told that while there should be no problem accommodating all-comers to most of the fringe events, it's essential to book for one of the few remaining places on the Clare County Library tours (Wednesday 4pm, Thursday 4pm and Friday at 3pm). The tours last about one hour, and provide a useful level of familiarity with an exceptionally strong Local Studies and genealogy library.

Similarly, numbers are restricted for the tour of Ennis Friary, and places on the ever-popular Meet the Genealogist sessions need to be booked. While both are free, you need to pre-book by email.

The Conference itelf has its official opening and a first lecture on Friday evening. A full-day seminar is held on Saturday 6 April and the fee is €30. If you want to stay to the Gala Dinner, the inclusive price is €70. You can book here.

Here the line-up of lectures:

Pre 1800 Records, with Fiona Fitzsimons

Finding Cousins in the USA, with Eileen Ó Dúill

The Irish Workhouse and Workhouses in County Clare
, with Peter Higginbotham

"Dead Money" – Probate Genealogy
, with Steven Smyrl

Forthcoming online sources for geneaology at the National Archives, with Catriona Crowe

English records for Irish Families, with Michael Gandy.

Monday 25 March 2013

Lots of goodies coming soon from FindMyPast Ireland

At the St Patrick's Festival Irish Family History Centre in Dublin the weekend before last, Brian Donovan, CEO of FindMyPast Ireland, gave me an update on the digitisation work the company has been doing and what we can expect on the subscription site in the not-too-distant future.

To backtrack to last November, you may remember reading on Irish Genealogy News about the exciting programme of releases planned by the National Archives of Ireland (news story here)... Well, FindMyPast Ireland (FMPI) has been busy carrying out the digitisation and indexing of five of those collections and they will be released, as each project finishes, over the course of the next six months.

In the past, FMPI has digitised and indexed collections for the National Archives of Ireland (NAI) under an arrangement that allows the commercial organisation to put them online and charge a fee for a five-year period. In a shift from that traditional digitise-and-charge structure, FMPI will be releasing these five collections on FMPI with free access. They will also be freely available on the NAI's Genealogy website.

The five collections are as follows:

  • All extant 19th-century census returns/fragments
  • Prerogative Courts: Will and Grant indexes and marriage licence bonds pre-1858
  • Diocesan Courts: Will and Grant indexes and marriage licence bonds pre-1858
  • Census Search Forms: These relate to searches made in the early 20th-century of the 1841-1851 census returns to establish the age of persons applying for Old Age Pensions
  • Pre-Griffiths Valuation books: These are the 'initial' survey books – the field and house books prepared before the Household survey was carried out.
These are not the only new collections that FMPI are working on, however. The company has a total of 40million records scheduled for release over the next 18 months. Of these, ten collections will be going online on the same 'fee charged' terms as FMPI subscribers are accustomed to.

Here's a taster of some of these:  

School Registers: These are the surviving pupil registers held by the NAI. There are around 1,000 of them and the majority date from the period 1860 to the 1920s.

Catholic Qualification Rolls: These 18th-century rolls include details of about 50,000 people vetted by the authorities who wanted to engage in certain activities ie trades or occupations. As Roman Catholics they had to be 'approved' in advance.  

Kiltallagh Burial Registers: Transcribed Baptism and Marriage records for this Roman Catholic parish in Co Roscommon were added to last month. The transcribed Burial registers will complete the site's line-up for this parish and its catchment area, which includes some townlands in Co Mayo.  

Records from the North West: Transcriptions of parish registers from the North West of Ireland (plus many other types of records), the work of David Elliott.  

Church records from Annaclone parish: Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland and Presbyterian registers from the parish of Annaclone in Co Down are being digitally imaged and indexed. While the indexes will also be published on the website of a local group, only will have the index AND images.

Seems we've got plenty to look forward to!! adds Ireland's first medical directory

FindMyPast Ireland has added the Medical Directory of Ireland 1852 to its database. This publication was the first full medical directory of Ireland ever published.

All doctors and other medical practitioners who had a qualification are listed in the 1852 Directory, including apothecaries (pharmacist) or medical doctors throughout Ireland.

You can also find out some interesting details about 19th-century medicine on Find My Past Ireland's blog.

Derry's archive and genealogy collections: talks

This Thursday will see the first in a series of talks which will examine Derry's historical archive and genealogy collections. The lunchtime lectures, hosted by Derry City Council's Heritage & Museum Service, will feature guest speakers, each presenting a topic which promotes greater awareness of the history and cultural heritage of the Derry City Council area. Each lecture will be followed by an opportunity for discussion and light refreshments will be available.

Lecture details are as follow:

Thursday 28 March: All at Sea, with Dr Anne McVeigh. A look at the wide range of sea-related sources, including photographs and documents, held by the Public Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). Time: 12:30pm.

Thursday 25 April: Sources for studying the Ulster Plantation, with Dr William Roulston. The talk will identify some of the documents that can be used to explore early seventeenth-century Ulster, and will highlight and explain records including port books, muster rolls, estate papers, plantation surveys and maps.

Thursday 30 May: Genealogical collections in the Linen Hall Library, with John Killen. The talk will explain the uniqueness of the Linen Hall Library (founded 1778) while focusing on its genealogical collection and its Derry connections.

Speaking ahead of the lectures, Bernadette Walsh, Archivist with the Heritage & Museum Service said, “This lecture series presents a fascinating insight into how our archive and genealogy service in Northern Ireland is achieved by collecting, recording, conserving and curating evidence from the past, and will explain how these unique collections are made available to the public. We hope the talks will help to maintain the legacy of Derry's year as the City of Culture and we would love to see the series develop into a regular feature in Derry’s cultural calendar. The talks vary in content and subject, so they should appeal to a wide audience.”

All lectures in the series will take place in the Tower Museum. Register by phone on 028 7137 2411 or email.

Ireland XO achieves all-island coverage

Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) has achieved a significant milestone: it is now offering its volunteer 'reverse genealogy' service in all 32 counties of the island of Ireland.

The national programme was launched a year go (by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, on 14 March 2012, to be precise) and recently signed up its 2000th volunteer. Spread across the Republic and Northern Ireland, there are now more than 800 parishes involved.

Ireland XO is based on a simple idea: instead of waiting for Irish-Americans and their global counterparts to come back to Ireland to trace their roots, the community programme works in the opposite direction.  Volunteers trained in local history and heritage identify those who left the area, trace them and their descendants worldwide and invite living descendants to become part of an extended “virtual” parish community with their place of origin. They also welcome returning members of the local parish Diaspora to their area, showing them where their people came from, and introducing them, where possible, to living relatives.

Commenting on the group's achievement, An Taoiseach said: "The expansion of the programme is evidence that it is offering the Irish Diaspora a chance to engage in a way that is really valuable to them. Like the Gathering 2013 initiative, Ireland XO is a great opportunity to reach out to the Irish Diaspora around the world, allow them to reconnect with their heritage and tap into the potential it represents for local communities around Ireland."

Any parishes across Ireland who are not yet involved in Ireland XO or the Gathering 2013 initiative are encouraged to contact the Ireland XO HQ in Loughrea, Co Galway. Anyone with an interest in their community, its history, tourism, business or genealogy, is encouraged to get involved and learn more about the programme.

Friday 22 March 2013

Tracing Huguenot ancestors: lecture

On Wednesday 27 March, Bethany Sinclair of PRONI will present the latest talk in the Linen Hall Lecture series. Detail as follows:

Lecture: Tracing Huguenot Footsteps through the archive: the Delacherois archive
Venue: Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North, Belfast BT1 5GB
Time: 1:00pm
Cost: Free

Easter arrangements for major institutions

Just a week to go until the next round of Bank Holidays, so here's a note of opening and closing arrangements for the major institutions over the Easter period.

National Library of Ireland
The Reading Rooms will close at 4.45pm on Thursday 28 March and will reopen at 9.30am on Tuesday 2 April. Library exhibitions in both Kildare Street and the NPA sites will be open from 12pm–5pm on Saturday 30 March, Sunday 31 March and Easter Monday 1 April, otherwise normal hours.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland will be open from 9:00am to 4:45pm on Good Friday 29 March but will be closed on both Monday 1 April and Tuesday 2 April. It will reopen on Wednesday 3 April at 9:00am.

National Archives of Ireland
The Reading Room will close on Thursday 28 March at 5pm. Closed Good Friday 29 March and Easter Monday 1 April. Reopening Tuesday 2 April at 10:00am.

Dublin City Library and Archives
The main DCL&A on Pearse Street, along with all Dublin City's public libraries, will be closed on Good Friday 29 March until Monday 1 April inclusive. All libraries will return to normal hours on Tuesday 2 April.

The Reading Room of the Representative Church Body Library will be closed on Good Friday 29 March and Easter Monday 1 April. Reopens at 9:30 on Tuesday 2 April.

Stand-by for Griffith's Valuation Revision Books!

Right on schedule, PRONI will be releasing its collection of Griffith's Valuation Revision Books (VAL/12B) next Wednesday, 27 March.

The Revision Books are also known as the Cancelled Land Books, and essentially continue the work of Griffith's Valuation, which was carried out in the Northern counties as follows:

  • Antrim in 1861/2
  • Armagh in 1864
  • Derry in 1858/9
  • Down in 1863/4
  • Fermanagh in 1862
  • Tyrone in 1851
The books record subsequent changes of ownership and valuation of land and property, right up to the 1930s. As such, they're extremely useful for genealogy research because changes of ownership of a given piece of land or a distinct dwelling often relected significant family events such as death or emigration, or simply moving home.

The books can also be helpful if you're looking to trace living descendants of the householders listed in Griffith's Valuation.

Due to their nature, Revision Books are searchable by location rather than name, and they have been digitised and indexed for online release in the same manner. So get those townland names, with details of poor law union, parish, barony etc primed!

I'm sure this release is going to be a hugely popular addition to the online genealogy armoury of Northern Ireland. And the records will, of course, be free to search and view.  

UPDATE: Revision books are live, here.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

With love from the people of Ireland

The Royal Irish Academy, the National Museum of Ireland, and The Irish Times are collaborating with the EU Presidency, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Adobe to bring you a gift of A History of Ireland in 100 objects ‘from the people of Ireland to the people of the world’.

Beautifully presented, A History of Ireland in 100 Objects allows you to explore the story and culture of the island through objects such as the Book of Kells, golden jewellery, fashion, the Titanic, a Mesolithic fish trap, an emigrant's suitcase, documents and scrolls, and even a washing machine.

It is now available as an interactive app for most types of tablet, or can be viewed on computer, smartphone or an ereader. It will be available, free of charge, until the end of March. Find out more here, or get a taster from the video below.

15th Medieval Dublin Symposium: 25 May

The Friends of Medieval Dublin have announced details of their 15th Medieval Dublin Symposium.

It's to be held at the Robert Emmett Theatre, Room 2037 Arts Building, Trinity College, Dublin on Saturday 25 May.

It's free to attend, and there's no booking required.

Looks like a busy and absorbing day. Here's the programme:

09:30 – Registration and opening remarks, with Sean Duffy
09:40 – The importance of women in measuring the Irishness of Viking Dublin, with
             Patrick F Wallace
10:30 – Dublin and the Late Roman Comb, with Ian Riddler
11:10 – Tea and coffee
11:30 – The rocky road(s) to Dublin? with Matthew Stout
12:10 – What the Vikings really thought of Clontarf, and why we never heard it: a speculation,
            with Lenore Fischer
12:50 – Lunch
14:00 – Farm fresh: St Mary's abbey medieval food suppliers, with Geraldine Stout
14:40 – A rising tide does not lift all boats: medieval settlement in Temple Bar, with Alan Hayden
15:20 – Tea and coffee
15:40 – The church lands of the medieval diocese of Dublin, with Paul McCotter
16:20 – Life in the big city: being at home in Viking Dublin, with Rebecca Boyd

Irish genealogy and history events to end March

Tuesday 19 March: Kerry in the 17th Century, with Dr Marc Caball. Host: The Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 6:30pm. Admission free. All welcome.

Tuesday 19 March: Family history – Getting started, with Cork Genealogical Society. Venue: Hollyhill Library, Foyle Avenue, Knocknaheeny, Cork. 11am. Free.

Wednesday 20 March: DNA – Brick Wall Buster? with Dr Maurice Gleeson. Host: Irish Genealogical Research Society. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Free. 7pm. Open to members and non-members alike. Details.

Wednesday 20 March: Celebrating our Irish Roots. 1:30-4:00pm. Open to members and public. Free. Host: Quebec FHS. Venue: QFHS Heritage Centre & Library, 173 Cartier Avenue, Pointe-Claire. Details.

Thursday 21 March: WW1 Family History Roadshow. Bring your memorabilia to the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin where it can be digitised and added to the Europeana online archive, along with stories that bring these objects to life. Places limited. Book in advance only.

Thursday 21 March: Local History Fair; an information day and series of talks with history groups, PRONI, North West Digital Film Archive, Mellon Centre for Migration Studies and others. Venue: Derry Central Library, 35 Foyle Street, Derry BT48 6AL. 8:30am to 8pm. Free. Tel: +44 (0)28 7127 2310.

Thursday 21 March: Urban Landscape, a Round Table panel. Part of the PRONI/OU lecture series entitled Urban History. Venue: PRONI Lecture Theatre. Titanic Quarter, Belfast. 6:30pm. Free.

Thursday 21 March: For God and Ulster? Presbyterians and Politics in Ballymena during the Home Rule Crisis. Mr Philip Or. Host: Presbyterian Historical Society. Venue: Newtownbreda Presbyterian Church, 374-378 Ormeau Road, BT7 3HX8pm (7.15pm AGM of the Society).

Thursday 21 March: Locked out in Galway and Dublin 1913, a HistoryIreland Hedge School at the Mechanics Institute, Middle Street, Galway. 8pm. €5/€3.

Friday 22 March: Getting started with your family history, with Edward Wallace. Cork Genealogical Society. Venue: Tory Top Library, Ballyphehane, Cork. 2:15pm–3:30pm. All welcome.

Saturday 23 March: Scots-Irish Research, with John Mears. Immigration from the 1600s to the 1800s and associated research techniques. WISE FHS Denver, Colorado. Details.

Saturday 23 March: Family History Day, at Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Programme of five lectures. Free. No booking. Details.

Saturday 23 March: An introduction to Irish family history, a workshop with Dr Irene O’Brien. Venue: Family History Centre, Level 3, The Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow G3 7DN. 10am–1pm. Cost £15. Places are limited. Booking essential, tel: 0141 287 2999. FULLY BOOKED.

Saturday 23 March: Scots-Irish genealogy research seminar, with Fintan Mullan and Brian Trainor, UHF. Co-Hosted by the Genealogical Society of Marion County and The Indiana Historical Society (IHS). Venue: Basile Theater, The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. 9am start. Cost $28 IHS and GSMC members$35 non-members. Register online. Tel: (317) 232-1882 for more information.

Monday 25 March: The Buildings and landscape of the Plantation of Laois and Offaly, with Mairtin D'Alton. Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society. Venue: Bury Quay, Tullamore, Co. Offaly (beside Tullamore Dew Visitors Centre). All are welcome. Entrance €2 to members and €5 to non members. Enquiries.

Tuesday 26 March: 'We weare so fast tyed in consanguinitie, alliance and amitie'? Inter-ethnic marriage and the colonial community of Dublin, Meath, Louth and Kildare c.1400-c.1540, with Dr Sparky Booker. Host: Irish Historical Society. Venue: Centre for Irish Programmes, Boston College Dublin, 42 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2. 7pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 26 March: The Hiring Fairs: Memories of the People of the NorthWest, with Roy Hamilton. Host: Northern Ireland Family History Society, Coleraine Branch. Venue: Guide Hall, Terrace Row, Coleraine. 8-10pm.

Wednesday 27 March: Councils and Corporations: Local Government in Belfast, with Ian Montgomery. PRONI lunchtime lecture at the LinenHall Library, Belfast. Free. 1pm.

Wednesday 27 March: The Irish in London, with Finbarr Whooley. Host: Skibbereen and District Historical Society. Venue: West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen. 8:30pm. All are welcome to attend. A small contribution will be required from non-members.

Wednesday 27 March: Fusilier or Volunteer: Who to commemorate? A History Ireland Hedge School with Tommy Graham, Edward Madigan, Roisin Higgins, Shane Mac omais and Robert Ballagh. 7:30pm. Venue: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum. Dublin.

Thursday 28 March: AGM and Lecture: Genealogical records from the 17th century, with Dr William Roulston. Host: Northern Ireland Family History Society, Ballymena Branch. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena. 7:15pm–9:15pm.

Thursday 28 March: All at Sea - Maritime records at PRONI, with Dr Anne McVeigh. Derry City Council’s Heritage and Museum Service Spring Lecture Series. Venue: Tower Museum, Union Hall Place, Derry BT48 6LU. Time: 12.30pm. Free. Book by telephone on 028 7137 2411 or email.  

More Belfast, Dublin & Sligo papers added to BNA

The British Newspaper Archive (BNA)has been busy adding more Irish papers over the last week, with the databases for the Belfast Morning News, Dublin Evening Mail and The Sligo Champion each seeing a good number of additions.

The BNA collections for each paper, which can be accessed by subscription, now stand as follows (*signifies incomplete for the period):

Dublin Evening Mail: A total of 3,112 editions are now available. The years included are 1849*, 1854, 1855, 1861-1864*, 1865-1870, and the second half of 1871.

Belfast Morning News: A total of 1,653 editions now available. The years included are 1859-1860, 1861-1871*, 1879-1880, 1881* and the first four months of 1882.

Sligo Champion: A total of 172 editions of the weekly paper now available. Coverage is from June 1836 to December 1838 and from April to December 1923.

The other Irish papers in the BNA collection are Freeman's Journal, Belfast Newsletter and Cork Examiner. Recent updates have also included a lot of Scottish publications.

Saturday 16 March 2013

First half of March updates from IGP Archives

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives have advised their latest batch of updates – just in time for St Patrick's!

CARLOW Genealogy Archives - Miscellaneous
Householder & Inhabitants of town of Carlow - 1837

CAVAN Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Irish Constabulary Men from Cavan - 1857

CORK Genealogy Archives – Memorials
Mogeely Churchyard Memorials

DERRY Genealogy Archives – Cemetery
Derry Cathedral Memorials v 7 [p583-594]

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives – Deansgrange Cemetery
Deansgrange Cemetery, South Section Part 4 (additional headstones)

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives – Cemetery
Devenish Graveyard
Drumully Cemetery
Irvinestown Tower Graveyard
Pettigo Roman Catholic Graveyard
& several other cemetery listings

GALWAY Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Rosscahill; Killannin (Old) R.C. Cemetery (additional)

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives – Baptisms
Assorted FOX Baptisms

LOUTH Genealogy Archives – Wills
Leggett, William 1879 - Will

SLIGO Genealogy Archives – Land Records
Cancelled Valuation Books, Town of Ballymote, Market Street (part) 1896-1907

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives
Land Records – Indenture 1829 with Tenants names
Churchyards – Kildavin Churchyard Memorials

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives – Church
Castlemacadam Baptisms - Assorted Names,1726-1924

St Patrick's Festival Genealogy Centre: review

The third day of the St Patrick's Festival Irish Family History Centre got underway this morning.

Being St Patrick's Eve, Dublin was thrumming by 10am and expectations were high in the Centre that more people would call in, eager to start their research or, perhaps, to get some advice or new direction to progress existing research.

I was doing a short stint on the IGRS counter, and there was certainly a good flurry of activity in the building around 11am. At one point, all eight computer stations were occupied on the FindMyPast Ireland tables, and each of the four Irish genealogy societies were busy helping people at their desk. But it then quietened down again. It wasn't dead quiet; there was a fair throughput, but it was obvious everyone was a little disappointed there weren't more visitors. The two previous days had followed a similar pattern.

As a general observation, I'd say there was an acceptance that this was a new venture, that things would be learned from it, and the tight five-week lead time had clearly not been sufficient to promote the event fully. For all that, it was doing what it said on the tin – offering free help to (mostly) beginners to generate interest in family history research. Just in rather smaller numbers than had been hoped for.

For the visitors who did come along, however, I'm sure all went away very happy indeed either with the records they uncovered on the database (records are free to view throughout the event), with information gleaned from one of the free talks, or with advice from any of the societies, Ancestor Network or the National Archives of Ireland.

The great and the good of Irish genealogy are gathered together at the venue (see below) until Monday. For anyone who has a yearning to start their research, or needs some help to get over a brickwall, there really won't be many better opportunities to get the very highest standard of advice than this weekend.

Venue: Discover Ireland Centre, St Andrews, Suffolk Street, Dublin 2.

Programme for Sunday 17 March: 11am-4pm
11:30am Matchmaking and marriage customs in 19th-century Ireland, with Sean O'Duill
12:30pm The Irish abroad: world records at, with Aoife O Connor
1:30pm Starting your family history with, with Cliona Weldon
2:30pm Introduction to Irish birth, marriage and death records, with Eileen O'Duill

Programme for Monday 18 March: 11am-3pm
11:30am Using directories to trace your family history, with Brian Donovan
12:30pm Hidden treasures: lesser know sources, with Fiona Fitzsimons
1:30pm Starting your family history with, with Cliona Weldon

Free access to directories on Irish Origins: be quick

Irish Origins is offering free access to its collection of Irish directories. Don't hang about; the offer expires at midnight (GMT) on 18 March.

To take advantage of the offer, you'll need to register (or Login if you're an existing Origins subscriber).

Directories can be an excellent resource, supplying information not readily available elsewhere; they are often the only source that actually states someone’s exact occupation. A will may describe them as a merchant, whereas the directory will identify them as an ironmonger, grocer or wine merchant etc. Precise address and parish of residence are also commonly given. The only classes absent from these directories are the most disadvantaged: small tenant-farmers, landless labourers and servants.

The directories in this collection cover the period 1845 to 1900 and contain a tremendous amount of information regarding the local day-to-day activities and services for local Ireland. These include postal and coach times, names of local government and church officers, details of festivals and fairs, state of the weather, rising and setting of the sun, time of high-water, and the distance and timings between the towns of Ireland.

Friday 15 March 2013

St Patrick's offer from FindMyPast Ireland

FindMyPast Ireland has a St Patrick's special offer of 50 free credits to use on its database. Just click the logo, follow the 'Redeem Coupon' button on the home page and use the code STPATRICK. You can then register and start searching.

Alternatively, get yourself down to the St Patrick's Festival Irish Family History Centre in central Dublin, where you can search all's records for free over the weekend. You can also get guidance from genealogical research societies, Eneclann, and others while you're about it! There are also lectures every day.

The Centre is being held this weekend only at the Discover Ireland Centre on Suffolk Street (St Andrew's) and is open today until 5pm, on Saturday from 10-5, on Sunday from 11-4, and on Monday from 11-3.

Morpeth Roll exhibition opens at NUI Maynooth

Yesterday I visited the Morpeth Roll  exhibition at NUI Maynooth, where the conservation of the 1841 document was carried out, and had an in-depth interview with Paul Hoary, the lead conservator on this project.

Once St Patrick's weekend is over, I'll be writing an equally in-depth feature about the Roll for my website,and explaining how and why this resource holds so much potential for family historians.

Even if, like me, you can't currently make any connection with the 157,000 names it holds, the Roll may yet deliver! All will become clear in my feature, and I'll let you know here when it's available.

In the meantime, you can view the video below about Lord Morpeth's Roll, it's history, its social/political value, the conservation project and it's delivery online by Ancestry. It also reveals a connection that's been made to the UK Royal Family.

Or you can get yourself along to the John Paul II Library at NUI Maynooth for the free exhibition. It's available during normal Library hours (Monday to Thursday 8.30am to midnight; Friday 8.30am to 7pm): but will also be available all this bank holiday weekend (16-18 March) between 10am and 5pm. It'll be off on tour after 12 April, and I'll bring you details of where it's heading in due course.

THE MORPETH ROLL - A Long Goodbye from NUI Maynooth Morpeth Roll on Vimeo.

St Patrick's weekend news and offers from UHF

The Ulster Historical Foundation has some news and special offers St.Patrick's weekend.

New records
The baptismal records of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Belfast from 1899 to 1929 are now available on AncestryIreland, adding more than 3,300 entries to the existing database of 2m+ genealogical records. Many of these baptismal entries also include details of the individual's later marriage.

Special offer on database access
From Sunday 17 March to Sunday 24 March inclusive, the cost of accessing individual records on AncestryIreland will be reduced by 50% for Guild members and 25% for non-members.

New publications
A recent addition to the BooksIreland catalogue is Gelvin: The Home Place, a local history of the rural Gelvin area, just north of Dungiven. It's just £5.00. And two books due for publication very soon are Handed Down - Country Fiddling and Dancing in County Down, and A Directory of Ulster Doctors. The latter is a reference work on doctors who qualified before 1901.

Book titles on special offer
The following books are available with discounts as shown:
  • Down: History and Guide – Was £14.99, now £7.00
  • Armagh and the Great War - Was £21.99, now £10.00
  • George Sigerson: Poet, Patriot, Scientist and Scholar - Was £16.99, now £10.00
  • The Corporal and the Celestials – Now £13.99, now £7.00
  • A Very Independent County: Parliamentary elections and politics in County Armagh, 1750-1800 - Was £24.99, now £15.00

Recent developments in Irish Genealogy: lecture

Sean Murphy, the long-time lecturer of the UCD course in Irish Genealogy, will be presenting a lecture at the National Library of Ireland entitled Recent developments in Irish Genealogy. The talk is being promoted as of interest to both professional and amateur family historians, and will take place on Saturday 27 April at 11am.

It is open to all, and is free of charge. However, a contribution to Cystic Fibrosis Hopesource Foundation is requested.

You can book you spot by email.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

IGRS launches IrishAncestors with great new records

Some terrific records are making their online debut today at, the new website of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

Among the free-to-view goodies are:
  • A database of Early (mainly 17th & 18th century) Irish marriages
  • A transcription of the 1871 census fragment for the County Meath parish of Drumcondra & Loughbrackan
  • Details of named Irish in Spanish archives
As a source of guidance, IrishAncestors also has a public section to help beginners (Start Your Research) and, in the Members-Only area, a wiki (Expert Tips) for the more seasoned family historian.

Speaking at the launch of the website, just in time for St Patrick’s Day, IGRS chairman Steven Smyrl said: “With the launch of, access to many of the IGRS's indexes and finding aids will be just a click of a mouse away. We've got a fabulously exciting collection at our disposal, much of which was copied down before the great fire of 1922.

“We've got information from church records, marriage licences, conformity rolls; deeds, mortgages and leases; wills, administrations; chancery and exchequer court bills, pleas, answers and decrees; newspaper birth, death & marriage notices; 17th-century herald's visitation's pedigrees and extensive family histories. We've notes on policeman, customs & excise officers, migrants, clergymen, religious converts, military men, merchants, shopkeepers, farmers, Ulster families, and the Irish in Canada, the West Indies, Spain, South America. And much, much more...”

The IGRS – the "Great Granddaddy of all Irish family history societies" – has been continuously building up these archives since it was founded in 1936. The collection runs to many thousand items, tens of thousands of manuscript pages, and several hundred thousand names.

“Over the coming months, visitors to will see information appear about literally hundreds of thousands of our Irish ancestors,” said Smyrl. “Some of this information will be publicly available. Much more will be for members only, so there really has never been a better time to join the Irish Genealogical Research Society!”

Monday 11 March 2013

St Patrick's Holiday half price sale from Eneclann

With St Patrick's Bank Holiday weekend fast approaching, Eneclann has announced a half price sale for most of its CD and downloadable titles.

You can take advantage of this whopping 50% reduction until Tuesday 19 March. While existing special offers are excluded from the promotion, there's a terrific range of publications available at the discounted price. Many of them are titles that, in their new downloadable format (Eneclann is gradually converting all its titles to downloadable), are already considerably cheaper than when purchased on CD. So this timely discount represents great savings.

Use the link above to find the downloadable titles sales page.

Discover Ever After adds five more burial grounds

Discover Ever After, the online burial record site, has uploaded details for each of the following cemeteries and graveyards.
  • Our Lady of Lourdes/St Peter's, Drogheda, Co Louth
  • St Coleman's Cemetery, Lurgan, Co Armagh
  • Dougher graveyard, Lurgan, Co Armagh
  • Killeenan graveyard, Kildress, Co Tyrone
  • Dunamore graveyard, Kildress, Co Tyrone
With the addition of these records, there are now more than 94,000 burial records on the website, and they're all free to view.

More editions of Belfast Morning News join BNA

The British Newspaper Archives has added more copies of the Belfast Morning News to its online database.

It already held issues for 1879 and 1880 for this newspaper (a complete run for both years, as far as I can make out) and has now added 207 issues published in 1860. In addition, this most recent upload includes one edition for 1863 (23 June) and two editions for 1867 (30 January and 15 May).

As of this morning, the BNA has passed through the 6.5million page milestone, which means that quarter of a million pages have been added since mid-January.

Included in this vast database, in addition to the Belfast Morning News, are the following Irish newspapers: Freeman's Journal, Cork Examiner, Sligo Champion, Dublin Evening Mail and Belfast Newsletter.

UPDATE, 12 March: A few more editions of the Belfast Morning News were added after I posted. They are – two more editions from 1863 (making three), one 1864 edition, and 28 editions from 1859.

Free credits on offer from Roots Ireland

For a limited period, RootsIreland is offering 100 free search credits to all users of its database.

This doesn't mean you can view individual records for free. It means you can view search result pages for free. Important distinction. If you then wish to view the full available details of a particular record, you need to purchase credits.

RootsIreland urges those who have not been able to locate relevant records on the site to revisit it, as more than a million records have been added in the last year or so.

To find out more about the credit system click here.

Friday 8 March 2013

Genealogy and history events to St Patrick's Day +

Sunday 10 March: On the Seventh Day She Rested, a Glasnevin Cemetery tour of the graves of Women Activists, to mark International Women's Weekend, with Shane Mac Thomais. Glasnevin, Co Dublin. 2:30pm. €3.

Tuesday 12 March: Family History for beginners. Dromore Library, 38 Market Sq, Town Hall, Dromore BT25 1AW. Co Down. 11am to 12:30pm. Free. Booking advised, on 028 926 92280.

Tuesday 12 March: The loss of the Dún Laoghaire Lifeboat off Bray in 1876, with James Scannell. Lecture follows AGM at about 8:30pm. Host: GSI. Venue: Dún Laoghaire College of Further Education, Cumberland St, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Thursday 14 March: The Quest for Annie Moore, with Megan Smolenyak. Venue: Glucksman Ireland House @ New York University. 7pm. Tel: 212 998 3950 or email to confirm attendance.

Thursday 14 March: The People of the Lough Shore, with Dr David Hume talking about life around Larne 1790-1950. Larne Library, 36 Pound Street, Larne, Co Antrim. 6:30pm. Free.

Thursday 14 March:  St Patrick's Festival Genealogy Centre. Venue: Discover Ireland Centre, Suffolk Street, Dublin 2. Drop-in family history advice centre aimed at beginners and tourists. Lectures, exhibitors and free hands on genealogy guidance. 10am-5pm. Details.

Friday 15 March: Walking in the footsteps of your ancestors. A one-day immersion course. Learn how to research your family history. National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Cost €45.00 Fully booked.

Friday 15 March:  St Patrick's Festival Genealogy Centre. Venue: Discover Ireland Centre, Suffolk Street, Dublin 2. Drop-in family history advice centre aimed at beginners and tourists. Lectures, exhibitors and free hands on genealogy guidance. 10am-5pm. Free. Details.

Saturday 15 March:  St Patrick's Festival Genealogy Centre. Venue: Discover Ireland Centre, Suffolk Street, Dublin 2. Drop-in family history advice centre aimed at beginners and tourists. Lectures, exhibitors and free hands on genealogy guidance. 10am-5pm.Details.

Sunday 17 March (and repeated Monday 18 March): Irish Genealogy Seminar at the Irish Cultural Center, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Choose your preferred date. More details.

Sunday 17 March: St Patrick's Festival Genealogy Centre. Venue: Discover Ireland Centre, Suffolk Street, Dublin 2. Drop-in family history advice centre aimed at beginners and tourists. Lectures, exhibitors and free hands on genealogy guidance. 11am-4pm. Free. Details.

Sunday 17 March (and repeated Monday 18 March): An American Wake, a re-enactment of the ritual of departure experienced by thousands of emigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Performances, with music and songs, will be held at 1pm and 3pm on both days. Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co Tyrone. Booking not necessary. Admission charges apply. Details.

Monday 18 March: St Patrick's Festival Genealogy Centre. Venue: Discover Ireland Centre, Suffolk Street, Dublin 2. Drop-in family history advice centre aimed at beginners and tourists. Lectures, exhibitors and free hands on genealogy guidance. 11am-3pm. Free. Details.

Monday 18 March: How to start your family history, with Gillian Hunt of the UHF. Venue: Belfast City Hall, 11am.

Irish State Papers now at PRONI

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is now a subscriber to the Irish State Papers online.

This will allow researchers visiting PRONI's Search Room to search and browse through digitised copies of records held by the National Archives at Kew, London.

The Irish State Papers are the official archives of the Secretaries of State from the reign of Henry VIII to c1782.

Mainly letters from both officials and private individuals, the collection includes reports and memoranda, proposals and treatises, working papers and private papers, accounts of royal revenues and possessions; they cover almost every aspect of government.

They are of unique significance for Irish history as most records of the Dublin Castle administration before 1790 were destroyed in the burning of the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1922.

Family Search updates Irish BMD Indexes collection

FamilySearch has updated its Irish Civil Registration Index Collection. As is their way, they haven't chosen to enlighten us to the reason for the update or the origin of the nearly two million extra records that appear to have appeared!

The database says there are now 23,023,320 records within the collection (up from 21,090,790 records), so it might be worth taking another look in there if you've an ancestor that's proving elusive.

The indexes date from 1845 for marriages and from 1864 for births and deaths. They run to 1921 for all the island, but the records for 1922 to 1958 are for bmds in the Republic only.

Live on Ancestry: Lord Morpeth's 1841 Roll

Lord Morpeth's Testimonial Roll 1841 is now available for searching and viewing on Ancestry. You can search either by name or browse by page.

Rather disappointingly, only a very small proportion of the pages or signatures give any indication of location, so it will be difficult for most researchers to pinpoint an ancestor with any certainly, even if the names match.

But in any case, beyond the thrill of finding a potential ancestor's signature in the document, such a discovery isn't, of itself, going to instantly progress your genealogy research.

However, the Morpeth Roll project's aim is to learn more about the document and the group of people who signed it. Very little is currently known, other than the document's intent as a fond farewell to a well-regarded statesman.

It'll become more useful as more is learned about the people who signed it.

Lord Morpeth Testimonial Scroll is a 412metre-long document made up of pages of paper gathered from across Ireland. Each page holds a number of signatures from supporters of Lord Morpeth who was leaving political office. It begins: 'To The Right Honourable Lord Viscount Morpeth: The Address of the Nobility, Gentry, Clergy, Merchants, Traders & People of Ireland.' It was originally estimated to hold some 250,000 names, but the indexing project has produced only (!) 158,000.

The Roll has been conserved and digitised in a collaborative project between NUI Maynooth and Ancestry.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Belfast 400 Forum has plenty to discuss

Click image to download large version
More details now available about the Belfast 400 Forum mentioned here last week.

The event is being staged at the Belfast Waterfront on Saturday March 16th as part of the ongoing `Belfast 400` commemorations, which mark the granting of the city`s first Royal Charter by King James I in April 1613.

The history forum will bring together a panel of distinguished academics, historians and other experts to look at aspects of Belfast`s story in the four centuries between then and now.

The panelists will be:

• Raymond Gillespie, Belfast-born Professor in History at NUI Maynooth
• Ian Montgomery, archivist with the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland
• Dr Brid McGrath, Research Associate in the School of Social Work and Social Policy at TCD
• Sean Connolly, Professor of Irish History at QUB; editor Belfast 400: People, Place and History
• Audrey Horning, Professor of Archaeology at QUB
• Jonathan Wright, Research Fellow, School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeontology,QUB.

As well as examining the relevance of the charter`s history in the 21st Century, subjects discussed will include how Belfast repeatedly re-imagined itself in the first 150 years after the granting of the charter; local government and the role of record-keeping in an emerging city; the incorporation of boroughs in Ireland during King James` reign; historical amnesia and how history is defined by forgetting as well as remembering; the Plantation of Ireland and comparisons with the colonisation of America; and the industrial expansion of Belfast in the first half of the 19th Century. There also will be a link up to Virginia, to get a native American perspective on our parallel histories of plantation.

Admission to the forum, which runs from 9.30am until 2pm, is free but you need to book either by email or telephone +44 (0)28 9050 0512. Everyone attending will be entered into a free draw for copies of `Belfast 400`.

Archive and library closures: St Patrick's Day

With the St Patrick's Bank Holiday Weekend fast approaching, it's time for a round up of the closing and opening arrangements of the island's major institutions and archives.

The National Archives of Ireland
Closes 5pm Friday 15 March. Reopens Tuesday 19 March at 10am.

Dublin City Library & Archive
Closes 5pm Friday 15 March. Reopens Tuesday 19 March at 10am.

Closes 4:45pm Friday 15 March. ReopensTuesday 19 March at 9am.

National Library of Ireland
Reading Rooms: Open Saturday 16 March 9:30pm -12:45pm; closed Sunday 17 and Monday 18 March. Reopening Tuesday 19 March at 9:30am.
Kildare Street Exhibitions: Open Saturday 16 March 9:30am-4:30pm and on Sunday 17 and Monday 18 March 12pm-5pm.
Temple Bar Exhibitions: Open Saturday 16 March 10am-4:45pm and on Sunday 17 and Monday 18 March 12pm-4.45pm.

Don't forget that the Irish Family History Centre will be open all over St Patrick's weekend at the Discover Ireland Centre on Suffolk Street, Dublin 2. It's a great opportunity to start or progress your genealogy research. There's a great line-up of exhibitors on hand to help and guide you, as well as a full programme of lectures each day. It's free and promises to be a fun event. Details.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Fancy spending 24 hours in the Workhouse?

Most of us who've researched the lives of our Irish ancestors have probably given some thought to what living in a Workhouse was like. For the majority, just thinking about it is enough, but perhaps you're curious enough to experience it for yourself....?

Carrick-on-Shannon & District Historical Society and the Carrick-on-Shannon Heritage Group have come up with a fascinating living history opportunity for 30 people to spend 24 hours as a Great Hunger victim in one of the few remaining Workhouses in Ireland.

The Workhouse Attic in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, has not been occupied since famine times. So this historic event will connect the present to the past. Participants will experience the daily ordeal our desperate ancestors endured. They will also assist in the creation of 'The Survivors Cairn' – a monument containing a time capsule to include message from the participants and other community members with historical information for the people of the distant future. Concluding the event a celebratory Society of Friends (Quakers) themed supper will be held.

Email for more details and a booking form. The event will run on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of May 2013.

St Patrick's Irish Family History Centre: full line up

The full line-up of exhibitors and lectures at the St Patrick's Festival Irish Family History Centre* is now confirmed.

In addition to, who will be providing free computer access to their database, the following groups will be available for additional advice on how to get started in Irish genealogy and how to approach other resources:
  • Irish Genealogical Research Society
  • Irish Family History Society
  • Genealogical Society of Ireland
  • Ancestor Network
  • Flyleaf Press
  • North of Ireland Family History Society
  • The Military Archives (on Thursday & Friday only)
  • Eneclann
There will be four lectures every day. Here's the programme: Thursday 14 March 11:30am Your ancestors and the law, with Brian Donovan 12:30pm Using Newspapers for genealogical research, with Jenny Doyle 1:30pm Starting your family history with, with Cliona Weldon 2:30pm The Military Archives, with Padraic Kennedy Friday 15 March 11:30am Church records,with Jim Ryan 12:30pm Online sources for Irish genealogy, with Mary Beglan 1:30pm Starting your family history with, with Cliona Weldon 2:30pm Irish genes and family history, with Gianpiero Cavalleri Saturday 16 March 11:30am How to go about tracing your ancestors, with John Hamrock 12:30pm Land and estate records, with Brian Donovan 1:30pm Starting your family history with, with Cliona Weldon 2:30pm How do you think Who Do You Think You Are is done?, with Fiona Fitzsimons Sunday 17 March 11:30am Matchmaking and marriage customs in 19th-century Ireland, with Sean O'Duill 12:30pm The Irish abroad: world records at, with Aoife O Connor 1:30pm Starting your family history with, with Cliona Weldon 2:30pm Introduction to Irish birth, marriage and death records, with Eileen O'Duill Monday 18 March 11:30am Using directories to trace your family history, with Brian Donovan
12:30pm Hidden treasures: lesser know sources, with Fiona Fitzsimons
1:30pm Starting your family history with, with Cliona Weldon

*The St Patrick's Festival Irish Family History Centre is part of The Gathering 2013 and will be held at the Discover Ireland Centre at Suffolk Street, Dublin 2. Opening hours are:
Thursday–Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 11am - 4pm
Monday: 11am - 3pm

March issue of HistoryIreland now on sale

Nice surprise this morning when a new edition of HistoryIreland landed.

After a quickie browse through the contents of the magazine, I'm particularly looking forward to reading the feature about the 'most vicious and refractory girls' at the reformatories of Ballinasloe and Monaghan, an article examining the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force and tobacco-growing in Ireland (a new one on me). There's also a 'Sources' feature looking at a collection of papers recently discovered at the National Archives which reveal how ordinary life was affected during and after the Easter Rising and I'm also keen to read the Museum Review of Ireland's Great Hunger Museum, which opened at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut last September.

As always, there's plenty more to get stuck into, with many more articles, book, tv, radio and art reviews, and news of current academic research projects.

It's in the shops, price €7/£6, or treat yourself to a subscription (you're worth it!).

Growing Westminster collection holds plenty of Irish!

FindMyPast UK has today added to its Westminster parish registers collection, making a total of nearly three million records now available in this dataset, which covers baptisms, marriages and burials from 1538 to 1945.

The records come from more than 50 Westminster churches and can be useful to researchers looking for ancestors from Ireland, as many Irish headed for the English capital in search of work. Bear in mind when searching that Westminster was classed as part of Middlesex, not London. Results can be viewed both as transcripts and scanned images.

You can view the parishes in each Westminster record set below:

Baptisms: 1,169,748 records
Marriages: 484,570 records
Burials: 1,239,529 records

These records are published on FindMyPast in association with Westminster Archives.

They will automatically join the line-up of records available in the Ireland&Britain and World subscription package on FindMyPast's International sites FindMyPast Ireland, FindMyPast USA and FindMyPast Aus/NZ.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Marriage certs 1913-1921 now available online

Following an upgrade to the Civil Registration Service computer system, researchers are now able to order electronically produced copy certificates for marriages registered between 1913 and 1921, no matter where on the island the marriage took place. They were previously available island-wide only for 1920 and 1921.

Applications for these certificates can be made at any local Civil Registration Service Office and via the online service (which has not, at the time of writing, been updated to reflect the extended availability).

Computer produced certificates for marriages from 1922 are also available via both routes, but only for marriages registered in the Republic.

These marriage certificates cost €20.

There has been no change to the availability of the much cheaper 'research photocopies' of bmd certificates dating from 1864 to 1921 (all island) and from 1922 (Republic only); see GROIreland.

Ulster Historical Foundation's US lecture tour dates

This year's Irish and Scots-Irish Genealogy Lecture Tour of the USA gets underway in less than two weeks. The Ulster Historical Foundation's Fintan Mullan and Dr Brian Trainor will be delivering a series of informative and entertaining talks at a number of venues and there may be some spaces left if you'd like to attend one of them.

Saturday 16 March: Ulster Irish Seminar
Host: Southwern California Genealogical Society. Venue: SCGS Family Research Library, 417 Irving Drive, Burbank, CA 91504. 8:30am–4:30pm. $30 for SCGS members/$35 for non-members. Details.

Sunday 17 March (repeated Monday 18 March): Irish Genealogy Seminar
Host & Venue: Irish Cultural Center, McClelland Irish Library, 1106 North Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. 9:30am–5:00pm. $30 for members/$35 for non-members. Deadline 11 March or first 100 people for each seminar. Details.

Tuesday, 19 March: Researching Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors
Host: Batesville (AR) Genealogical Society. Venue: 2005 White Drive, Batesville, AR (University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville - Nursing Building Auditorium). 6:30pm–9:30pm. $5 (includes refreshments), pay at the door.  Email for details.

Wednesday 20 March: Researching Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors
Host: Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society. Venue: NMGS Library, 412 Felix Street, St. Joseph MO 64501. 7:00pm–8:00pm. Free and open to the public. Donation requested. Email to register on a first-come basis.

Thursday 21 March: Researching your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors
Host: The Irish Center Kansas City. Venue: The Irish Center of Kansas City (Located in historic Union Station), 30 W. Pershing Road, #700, Kansas City, MO 64108. 8:30pm 4:30pm. $40/person – includes lunch. Details.

Saturday 23 March: Irish and Scots-Irish Family Research Seminar
Host: Genealogical Society of Marion County and the Indiana Historical Society. Venue: Frank and Katrina Basile Theater, Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio St., Indianapolis. 7:00pm–9:00pm. $28 for GSMC and I.H.S. members/$35 for non-members. Details.

Sunday 24 March: Tracing Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors
Host: Fairfax Genealogical Society. Venue: Vinson Hall, 6251 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22101. 1:00pm–8:00pm. $40 if pre-booked/$45 on the day. Details.

Monday 25 March: Tracing your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors
Host: Westmoreland County Historical Society. Venue: Calvin E. Pollins Library, 362 Sand Hill Road, Suite 1, Greensburg, PA. 1:00pm 3:00pm. $20 for WCHS members/$25 for non-members. Deadline 21 March. Details.

Tuesday 26 March: Tracing your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors
Host: Kanawha County Public Library, West Virginia. Venue: Dunbar Branch Library, 301 12th Street Mall, Dunbar, WV 25064. 10:00am–5:00pm. Email for details.

On the record: last month's Genealogy Hedge School

If you couldn't make it to the HistoryIreland Hedge School at the National Library last month, you can now listen in to the recording.

The theme of the discussion was Genealogy: Who Does It Think It Is? and the panel starred Brian Donovan of, Fiona Fitzsmons of Eneclann, genealogist John Grenham MAPGI and Michael Merrigan from the GSI.

The recording runs to one hour 20 minutes and can be downloaded here.