Monday 30 September 2013

10% discount offer from FindMyPast UK

FindMyPast UK is offering a discount of 10% on the price of any of its subscription packages: Britain, Ireland & Britain, and World.

To claim the discount (which can't be used in conjunction with any other current offer), enter this promotional code when you subscribe: SUB10

GRO Research Room reopens in Werburgh Street

The General Register Office's Research Room has reopened at its new location in Werburgh Street, Dublin.

Hours of operation are exactly as previously -- 9:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.

I'm told the relocation has gone according to plan, so today's visitors shouldn't encounter any particular problems.

If my back holds up (and it may not), I'll drop by tomorrow and write a report about the new venue.

(Oisín from AncestryMadeEasy was there this morning and says it's better inside than out, and gives the new office a six out of ten!)

History and genealogy events into first week of October

Tuesday 1 October: Jacob's Biscuit Factory and the 1913 Lock Out, with Dr Séamus O Maitiú. First in the Dublin Anniversaries series of City Hall lunchtime lectures. 13:10–13:50pm, plus 10 minutes Q&A. Free. No booking required. First come, first served.

Tuesday 1 October: What's Not Online: Researching Family History Using the Original Records, National Archives at Boston, 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA. USA. Crew Lists of vessels, criminal and civil case court cases, bankruptcy records, etc. 2pm. Free, but need to register, tel (866) 406-237.

Tuesday 1 October: Wicklow's Gold Rush, with Peadar McArdle. Host: Kilmacanogue History Society. Venue: Glenview Hotel, Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow. 8.30pm. Entry €3 (members €2). Details.

Tuesday 1 October: Ireland, as distinct from her people, is nothing to me’. Theo Dorgan talks on James Connolly. Second of the 'History to Blame' series of free lectures. 7:30pm. Cork City Library.

Wednesday 2 October: Family history for beginners, with Ann Robinson from the North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS). Venue: Lisburn City Library, 23 Linenhall Street, Lisburn. Co Antrim BT28 1FJ 7pm. Free. Telephone 028 9263 3350 to book. Cancelled.

Wednesday 2 October: Bureau of Military History Statements, with Eve Morrison. Finglas Library, Main Shopping Centre, Jamestown Road, Finglas, Dublin 11. Time 6:30pm. Free. Tel: 353 (0)1 8344906.

Thursday 3 October: Women, children and food provision in the 1913 Lockout, with Ann Matthews. Charleville Mall Library, North Strand, Dublin 1. Time: 11.00am. Free. Tel: 353 (0)1 8749619.

Thursday 3 October: What’s happening at GRONI, with Alistair Butler. Host: North of Ireland FHS, Belfast Branch. Venue: Upstairs room of the Holywood Arches Library, Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 1NT. 7:30pm–9:30pm. Enquiries.

Thursday 3 October: The proofs of Irish villainy’: the 1641 Rebellion and the 1641 Depositions, with John Gibney. Venue: Rathmines Library, 157 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6. 3.30pm. Free. Tel: 353 (0)1 4973539. Part of the Dublin Festival of History.

Thursday 3 October: Farmers and Labourers, first in the new Exploring Family History series, with Dr Janice Holmes. Host: Open University in Ireland/PRONI. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 6:30pm. Free.

Friday 4 October: Kerry Genealogy Roadshow at the Dingle Food Festival. Details.

Saturday 5 October: Local History Day at Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. 10:00am–4:00pm. Programme. Free. No booking required. All welcome on a first come first served basis

Saturday 5 October: Kerry Genealogy Roadshow at the Kenmare Lace Festival. Details.

Saturday 5 October: Irish Family History Workshop, with Dr Irene O’Brien. Mitchell Library, North Street Glasgow G3 7DN. An introduction to Irish family history. 10:00am - 1:00pm. Fee £20. Book early as spaces are limited. Tel +44 (0)141 287 2999 or email.

Saturday 5 October: The Grangegorman Depot and the transportation of Irish convict women to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) 1840-1852. Host: Stoneybatter & Smithfield People's History Project. Venue: The Cobblestone, 77 North King Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7. Time: 5pm.

Sunday 6 October: Kerry Genealogy Roadshow at the Portmagee Sea Shanty Festival. Details.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Ancestry's price testing may mean big increases in 2014

Alerted by the recent Lost Cousins Newsletter, I've checked out the reason new (higher) subscription rates are/were showing up at Ancestry UK/Ireland.

Ancestry say they are currently 'price testing'. This means that when you visit the Ancestry Home Page and click the Subscribe button (rather than 'your account') you may, temporarily, find the following prices quoted for these packages:
  • Premium subscription: Monthly £14.99; 6-monthly £79
  • Worldwide subscription: Monthly £19.99; 6-monthly £99
There was also a price for the Essentials package, but I didn't note it and the 'test' price list no longer shows up when I visit the page.

Ancestry tells me that price testing is a regular feature of their business strategy and any test price doesn't affect existing members. I've checked on my current Ancestry account details and, sure enough, I can still renew my subscription at the lower existing rates of:
  • Essentials subscription: Monthly £10.95; 12-monthly £83.40
  • Premium subscription: Monthly £12.95; 12 monthly £107.40
  • Worldwide subscription: Monthly £18.95; 12-monthly £155.40
Ancestry has confirmed the following: 'The price you’re seeing on the home page of the site is part of a current test that will not affect our existing members, and we would not change prices without letting our members know first. Any changes will not take place until 2014. After a change, new customers visiting the site will see the new pricing immediately and existing Ancestry customers would then see a pricing change the next time their subscription renews.'

So it seems some rate increases may be on the way. And they are significant increases, too – more than 27% – if they go ahead. But then again, the current test might reveal that such a hike is more than customers are prepared to pay.

Moving on from the always unwelcome issue of price increases, you might like to check out a new collection that's been added to the Ancestry database yesterday: UK, Foreign and Overseas Registers of British Subjects, 1627-1965. I haven't had a chance to check this one out (because I haven't yet renewed my sub!), but it's described as a diverse collection of 160,370 birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial records from more than 30 countries and territories around the world, so if you've got any globe-trotting Irish ancestors, it's possible they'll turn up in this record set.

Donegal connections? This is the book for you!

If you've got connections with County Donegal, you'll love this mighty tome from Cork University Press!

The Atlas of County Donegal is crammed full of knowledge about the county's history, landscapes and people. Its content list (downloadable here) gives a snapshot of what's inside its 638 richly illustrated pages with articles about eagles and whales, the Flight of the Earls, Presbyterians, the Hiring Fair System, the Scottish connection, lace schools, music traditions, railways, farming and vernacular boats, and much more to learn about the lives of our ancestors and the communities they lived in. It isn't all geographical, political and social history, though.

It comes right up to date with articles about modern agricultural methods, architecture and migration, and even a feature about Rory Gallagher! It's breadth is phenomenol.

Edited by Jim MacLaughlin and Sean Beattie, the 90-odd articles have been written by about 50 contributors to provide a real insight into the historical and cultural make up of Donegal and its landscape. Its RRP – €59 – doesn't really reflect the value within its pages, and if I had family connections to Donegal, this would definitely be on my you-know-what* wish-list.

You can buy it from Cork University Press, but it's also available in shops and the usual online booksellers (often at a lower price).

*A December date not allowed to be mentioned until October, at the earliest.

Dublin's two-week Festival of History starts today

The Dublin Festival of History gets underway today. There's a great line-up of events happening across the city over the next two weeks, so if you haven't done so already, take a look through the 28-page programme.

Bookings so far reflect a great appetite for history. All the Guided Walks were booked up within a few days of the programme being published, and tickets have also been sold or fully allocated for both the Writing Historical Fiction Workshop and Simon Schama's Story of the Jews lecture tonight.

Tickets for the remaining Dublin Castle events can be booked quickly at There's no charge, but you won't get in without a ticket.

Events at the City's libraries are also free and most have not yet been fully booked, but I'd recommend that you act quickly to reserve a seat if there's something you're particularly keen on. Some of these events don't require booking, but make sure. You can see the up to date library listing here. Bookings for the library events can be made by phone or by email.

The two Monday events at the Irish Film Institute (afternoon of 30 September and evening of 7 October) can be booked by phoning the Irish Film Institute Box Office on 01-6793477.

Admission to the two remaining events at City Hall (two Tuesday lectures, one on 1st October, the other on the 8th) is on a first come, first served basis, so you only need put those in your diaries.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Is Autumn calling you Home to the Little Hills?

Back in May, I advised of two four-day training courses taking place in Monaghan in October (blogpost here). Since October is now just around the corner, it's time for any shilly-shalliers to get themselves booked in. The courses start on Monday 14 October in Monaghan Town and Monday 21 October in Carrickmacross.

They both cover pretty much the same ground, as you'd expect, although to a different schedule and with different field trips to reflect the distinct locations. But both promise to provide a grounding in family history research via some of Ireland's top genealogy experts, historians and archivists.

Both 4-day programmes run from 9am to 4pm each day with two evening sessions from 7pm to 9pm. In addition to the lectures, one-to-one tutorials and field trips, there's also some cultural entertainment thrown in. Remarkably, all this is on offer for just €50 per delegate.

You can download the detailed programmes below, or book direct on the Monaghan Genealogy website.

Garage Theatre, Monaghan Town, 14–17 October
Carrickmacross Workhouse, 21–24 October.

Kilkenny education – history and heritage: seminar

An interesting one-day seminar concentrating on education in Ireland through the centuries is to take place in Kilkenny on Saturday 19 October. Hosted by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society and Rothe House Trust, the seminar will be held in the newly-restored Chapter House at St Mary’s Cathedral.

Here's the programme:

09:45 : Welcome from Peter McQuillan, President, Kilkenny Archaeological Society
10:00 : Early Bardic Schools, with Dr Colman Etchingham
10:40 : St John’s College, Kilkenny, with Councillor Paul Cuddihy
11:30 : Coffee
11:35 : St Kieran’s College, with Dr Fergus O’Farrell
12:10 : Women’s Education, with Maureen Hegarty
13:00 : Lunch (included)
14:15 : Christian Brothers Schools – an educational force, with Sean Breathnach
14:50 : The VEC role and system, with Brendan Conway
15:30 : The Rising Star of the Gaelscoil, with Councillor Sean O’hArgáin

Cost, inclusive of refreshments and lunch: €25.00 (€20 for members of Kilkenny Archaeological Society). Booking by email or telephone: (0)56 7722893. €10 non refundable deposit to Rothe House & Garden, Parliament Street, Kilkenny.

More directories added to Cork Past and Present

The excellent Cork Past and Present site, run by Cork City Libraries, has added a few more directories since the last significant upload only last month (see blogpost).

The new publications – the 1910, 1930 and 1940 editions of Guy's City and County Almanac and Directory – are available as both flip-page on-screen copies and downloadable pdfs. The latter are very large at 83mb, 67mb and 69mb respectively.

You'll find the full selection of directories, dating from 1753 to 1945 here.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

APGI offers free consultations at Back to our Past

The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) is offering bookable free consultations over the three-days of Back To Our Past, Ireland's very own family history event.

Each 20-minute consultation will be with a professional accredited genealogist (MAPGI) and can be booked using the form on the APGI website.

Back to our Past will be held in the Industries Hall at the RDS Dublin from Friday 18 October to Sunday 20 October.  APGI has organised a great programme of lectures, which includes topics of interest for all levels of family history researcher.

Monday 23 September 2013

Genealogy and history events 23–29 September

Well, Culture Night may have been and gone for another year, but there's still plenty happening in the week ahead. Saturday, in particular, looks good, with interesting sessions in Ireland, Northern Ireland, USA and GB.

Monday 23 September: Planting Liberties and Undertakers: The Ulster Scheme, with Dr Glynn Kelso of PRONI. Venue: Lisburn City Library, 23 Linenhall Street, Lisburn, Co Antrim BT28 1FJ. 12:30pm. Free. Booking advised. Details: tel 028 9263 3350.

Tuesday 24 September: The Dublin Lockout with Padraig Yeates. National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. No booking. Free. First come, first served. 7pm.

Tuesday 24 September: Townlands, What Townlands?, with Roy Hamilton. Shantallow Library, 92 Racecourse Road, Shantallow, Derry BT48 8DA. 6:30pm. Free. Details: tel 028 7135 4185.

Wednesday 25 September: The Bureau of Military History Collection 1913-1921, with Cmmdt Padraic Kennedy of the Military Archives. Venue: Waterford Central Library, Lady Lane, Waterford. 6pm. Tel: 051 849975.

26 September: Kilmainham, Islandbridge and Beyond - New Light on Irish Viking Graves, with Dr. Stephen Harrison. Host: Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Venue: Helen Roe Theatre, RSA, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. 7.30p. Free.

Thursday 26 September: Volunteering and women, with Dr Timothy Bowman. Last of the Volunteering in Ireland 1912–1916 lecture series at PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 6:30pm. Free, but booking required.

Thursday 26 September: Dublin Festival of History launches. Click logo below to visit website and programme. All walks are already fully booked, but tickets remain for many other events.

Friday 27 September: Plantation Families: People, records and resources, two-centre conference. PRONI, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. 9:30am–4:00pm. Refreshments provided. Free, but booking essential. Tel: +44 (0)28 9066 1988. See also Saturday 28 September.

Friday 27 September: The Famine: a series of unfortunate events or genocide? A HistoryIreland Hedge School with Kevin Whelan, Meredith Meagher, Willie Smyth, Tim Pat Coogan. Part of the Dublin Festival of History (see banner below).  Pearse Street Library, Dublin. 7pm.

Friday 27 September: The Home Rule crisis 1912-1914, with Hugh McShane. Comber Library, Newtownards Road, Co Down BT23 5AU. Free. 12:30pm. Booking advised. Details: Tel 028 9187 2610.

Friday 27 September: 'Suck-hole Rascals'? or, NorthWest Ulster Presbyterians, from Republicanism to Loyalty, 1798–1823, with Brendán Mac Suibhe. Tower Museum, Union Place, Derry-Londonderry. 3pm. Free.

Saturday 28 September: Irish Volunteers' Exhibition. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Irish Volunteers, who were instrumental in the rebellion of 1916 and in the Irish War of Independence 1919-1921. Wynn’s Hotel, 35, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin. 11am–5pm. Details.

Saturday 28 September: Synods, Sessions and Supplications (how Presbyterian Church history in colonial America can help identify Scots-Irish migration, communication and kinship networks), with Patrice Stark. Host: WISE Family History Society. Venue: Central Denver Public Library, 10 West Fourteenth Avenue Parkway, 7th floor Training Room. Denver, USA. Details.

Saturday 28 September: Top Tens of Genealogy, a session aimed at breaking down Irish genealogy research into bite-sized top tens. With Bridget Bray. Venue: New York Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Avenue, LIC (Queens) NY 11101. USA. 2.00pm - 5.00pm. Free. Places are limited so booking essential. Tel: 00 (0)1 718-482-0909, or email

Saturday 28 September: Changing Skies, a one-day conference looking at migratin themes. Irish World Heritage Centre, 1 Irish Town Way, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 0AE, UK. 9:30am–6:30pm Details and booking.

Saturday 28 September: Plantation Families: People, records and resources, two-centre conference. Venue: Derry's Tower Museum, Derry-Londonderry. 9:30am–4:00pm. Refreshments provided. Free, but booking essential. Tel: +44 (0)28 9066 1988. See also Friday 27 September.

Sunday 29 September: Bully's Acre Graveyard, tour, with Paul O’Brien. Venue: Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin. Booking is essential as places are limited. Details. Email or telephone +353 (0)87-6759934.

Sunday 29 September:1913 and all that... The Irish working class – a forgotten history? The 19th Annual Joh Boyle O'Reilly Autumn School. Host: Old Drogheda Society and Drogheda Museum. Venue: Drogheda Museum Conference Centre, Millmount, Drogheda, Co Louth. 10am to 5:30pm. Conference fee including 3-course lunch €30 or conference lectures only €10. Booking essential: +353 (0)41 9833097.

Friday 20 September 2013

Culture Night comes but once a year

The island of Ireland will go culture bonkers this evening when Culture Night takes hold. There are hundreds of fabulous opportunities to learn and to stimulate the old grey cells, so no excuses!

Below are just a few of the events taking place. I've selected the most obvious genealogy happenings, North and South, and added in a few others that appealed to me, but your best plan is to look through the programmes (links below).

Have fun! It's only once a year.

Athy, Co Kildare: Battle your way through the History of Athy. Irish History Live travels from Stone Age to modern times. Inter-active hands-on display suitable for all ages. Athy Library, Emily Square. 5pm to 7pm. Tel: 059 8631144. Details.

Belfast: An evening of talks, with North of Ireland FHS at the National. 4pm – 9pm.

Belfast: PRONI, events and tours at Titanic Boulevard, and two talks in City Centre.

Cavan: Accessing the Sources with Cavan Genealogy. 1st Flr, Farnham Centre. 6pm - 8pm.

Dublin: Genealogy Service at National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street. 5pm – 10pm.

Dublin: Family History Night at Dublin City Library & Archive. 6pm to 9pm. Talk to experts, try out sources, look at exhibitions, get new ideas! Advice and suggestions offered throughout the evening, and first-time researchers are particularly welcome.

Dublin: Chance to see Gaelic Irish family manuscripts, the Irish Historic Towns Atlas display and the 18th century house. Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. 5pm to 9pm. Tours.

Galway: War and Revolution in Galway 1913-1923. Twelve notable historians will give short illustrated presentations. Galway City Museum, Spanish Parade. 6pm to 8pm. Tel: 091 532460.

City Archives on display, including many artifacts normally kept under lock and key. Council Chamber, City Hall. 5pm to 7:30pm.

Guided tours of the Russell Library, home to a unique collection of manuscripts, archives and early printed works and a fine example of Pugin architecture. Hourly tours from 3pm. Last tour 6pm. First-come, first-served. NUI Maynooth.

Belfast programme of events.
Dublin programme of events .
Regional programme of events.

Strokestown Park Winter lecture series starts October

The Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses & Estates (NUI Maynooth) will be presenting its annual lecture series at Strokestown Park House in Co Rosccommon. The programme is as follows:

Sunday, 20 October: The Fall of the House of Conolly: Social networking of the power elites in Ireland, 1850-1880, with Suzanne Pegley. 3pm.

Sunday, 24 November: Hyde and his work need money: Douglas Hyde in North America 1905-06, with Sinéad Byrne, 3pm.

Sunday, 9 February: The Leitrim Famine Rentals: A Case Study, with Dr Mel Farrell. 3pm.

Sunday, 9 March: History repeats itself: Was the Incumbered Estates Court the 'NAMA' of the 1850s?, with Jacqueline Crowley. 3pm.

Sunday, 6 April: Thou shalt not kill: murder in pre-famine Ireland: the case of Robert Rickerby, 1817, with Fidelma Byrne. 3pm.

All enquiries via Strokestown House only – Email or telephone 00 353 (0)71- 9633013.

Thursday 19 September 2013

Registry of Deeds Index Project latest: 120,000 records

The Registry of Deeds Index Project has ticked off another milestone today with more than 120,000 records available, absolutely free of charge, on the website. These records come from 14,843 memorial deeds.

Launched by Nick Reddan FIGRS back in 2007, the indexing is carried out by volunteer contributors. Some, like Nick, Roz McCutcheon, Anne Chamney, Mike from Vancouver, Shirley Walsh and Maureen O'Sullivan have contributed many thousands of indexed records while others have generously contributed the records they've located in their own family history research. Take a look at the names of all the contributors here, and give them a virtual round of applause.

Every entry record is valuable to the project, and more contributors are always very very welcome.

To see how you can help the project continue to grow, see submission details.

GRO Research Room – move to go ahead next week

The relocation of the General Register Office's Research Room may, finally, be going ahead next week. I say 'may' because we've been here a few times over the last six weeks, and the office hasn't shifted an inch. However, GRO staff seem pretty confident that they're spending their last Thursday in the Irish Life Centre.

So, the plan is that they will remain where they are until 4:30pm Tuesday 24 September. The Research Room will then be closed 25th–29th, reopening in its new office in Werburgh Street, Dublin 2, on Monday 30 September at 9:30am.

The new building has no name. It is located about 150 yards from Werburgh Street's junction with Castle Street, and there's a bus-stop right outside.

Notices about the move are expected to start appearing in the National papers this weekend.

UPDATE: Saturday 21 September: And sure enough, the adverts have been published. See below.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Where's Merrill? On Amazon

Where's Merrill is the first full-length genealogy-inspired novel of professional genealogist and author Gearóid O’Neary (aka Gerard Neary) who is based in County Sligo.

The book closely follows the factual research process used to identify a "missing" ancestor in a client's family tree. The most intriguing part of this particular research project was that the ancestor in question, the client's grandfather, had no death record or known burial place.

'The action centres around Midwest America, but all the research was carried out or managed from Ireland,' Gerard told Irish Genealogy News. 'My next fictionalized novel, which is in progress will be based on real-life events which took place in Kilkenny and London. This time, my inspiration was the uncovering of a tragic and thankfully rare case of filicide during yet another commissioned ancestry research project. And then I plan to write at least one full-length novel per year, based on my most memorable research findings.'

Where's Merrill?
is currently available as a self-published ebook via Amazon and Smashwords (where you can read a 20% sample, free, in some formats). Gerard says that despite minimal publicity, sales have exceeded 500 copies in the space of 6 months since release.

See also the Where's Merrill? website.

Whopping 40% discount on offer at is offering a 40% discount on all records* until Sunday 13 October.

The database, which boasts more than 20million records, including transcriptions of many parish registers not available elsewhere, is run by the Irish Family History Foundation who is sponsoring the main Genealogy & Heritage lecture programmes at next month's Back To Our Past exhibition in Dublin.

The discount isn't mentioned on the Home Page, but is highlighted when you register/login in the normal way and reach the search page.

*I've received confirmation from RootsIreland that, having purchased your credits, the discount is applied when you 'spend' those credits to buy/view records. (It is not a 40% discount on the bulk purchase of credits.)

Culture Night of talks for North of Ireland FHS

The North of Ireland Family History Society will be holding a series of short talks aimed at beginner family historians on Friday 20 September as part of Culture Night.

The evening programme starts at 4pm and continues into the evening, as follows:

5pm    Beginning Your Research

6pm    On-line Records

7pm    Beginning Your Research

8pm    Hatches, Matches and Dispatches (Introduction to civil, church and burial records.)

9pm    On-line Records

Venue: National Building, 62-68 High St, Belfast. See map below.


View Larger Map

Tuesday 17 September 2013

17th-century bones found in Derry church dig

Archaeological excavations beside St Augustine's church in Derry City have unearthed what is believed to be three sets of human remains dating to the 17th Century.

The dig, organised by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Derry City Council: Museum and Heritage Service and the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork, Queen’s University Belfast, is uncovering evidence of Derry’s development from the post-medieval period and possibly earlier.

The work is being undertaken at a car park adjacent to the City Walls and St Augustine’s Church.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: 'Today’s find of three sets of human remains will hopefully shed a light on what existed at this important site many centuries ago.

'Archaeological excavations are an important way of shaping our understanding of the past and give a valuable insight into our fascinating history for locals and tourists alike.

'I look forward to hearing of the history of this find in addition to other hidden gems which will be uncovered in the remaining weeks of the dig.'

The dig will continue until Friday 27 September with an open day planned for Saturday 28th. You can follow the dig on a dedicated website: Legenderrydigs, and if you fancy volunteering, you should contact Derry City Council: Museum and Heritage Service for more information.

Monday 16 September 2013

Another Wexford/Dublin 'small source' from Flyleaf

Flyleaf Press has published another of its very useful 'Small Sources'. This one is number 6 and is a Rental of Estate of Abel Ram Esq. in the counties of Wexford and Dublin for 1826.

It includes tenants' names, location, the number of acres held and the annual rent due. The parishes covered are Liskinfere, Kilmacilloge, Kilcavan and Kilnahue in County Wexford and Finglas in County Dublin.

Details here.

Irish newspapers uploaded to FindMyPast

A lovely collection of Irish newspapers has been added to the database of FindMyPast Ireland.

They've been a long time coming (English, Scottish and Welsh papers, and even a load from around the world have been available on FindMyPast for some time) and I, for one, will be very pleased to finally get stuck into some Irish titles!

The publications included in the upload are:

Belfast Morning News: 244,591 articles, 1857–82
Belfast Newsetter: 450,369 articles published 1828 – 1900
Cork Examiner: 421,346 articles published 1841 – 1926
Dublin Evening Mail: 226,519 articles published 1849 – 1871
Freeman's Journal: 553667 articles published 1820 – 1900
Sligo Champion: 16,652 articles published 1836 – 1926

These titles are the same as those available on the British Newspaper Archives website, but are now included in an Ireland or World subscription with any of the international FindMyPast databases.

Genealogy and history events 16–22 September

Another busy week of events to keep Irish genealogists amused!

Monday 16 September: Scots-Irish DNA: Is there a reliable way of determining ancestry from DNA?, with Dr Bruce Durie. PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Free. Starts 3.30pm. Booking essential:

Monday 16 September: The Contradictions of Irish Capital Punishment, 1923-2001, with Dr David Doyle. Host: Offaly History Research Centre, Bury Quay, Tullamore. 8pm. .

Monday 16 September: The Covenant, with David Hume. Larne Branch of the North of Ireland FHS. Venue: Larne Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club, 112 Glenarm Road, BT40 1DZ. 7:30pm.

Tuesday 17 September: Online PRONI records, with Janet Hancock. Venue: Newry Library, 79 Hill Street, Newry, Co Down BT34 1DG. 12:30pm. Free. Booking advised. For more details, tel: 028 3026 4683.

Tuesday 17 September:  Ulster Presbyterianism’s First Historians, with Dr Robert Armstrong. PRONI, BelfastDetails.  2pm. Free. Booking essential.

Wednesday 18 September to Friday 20 September: Roscommon Genealogy Gathering. Venue: Roscommon County Library, Abbey Street, Roscommon Town. Three-day rate €75, includes tea/coffee, entrance fee and transport costs. Booking essential. Details.

Wednesday 18 September: Records of Irish children in care, c1840s to 1952, with Fiona Fitzsimons. Venue: Waterford Central Library, Lady Lane, Waterford. 6pm. To book, telephone 051 849975.

Wednesday 18 September: Family History Seminar/Information Day, at Linen Hall Library, Belfast. Performance Areas. Contributions from PRONI, GRONI and the Presbyterian Historical Society. Time: 12noon–5pm. Free.

Wednesday 18 September: The Home Rule crisis 1912-1914, with Hugh McShane. Rathcoole Libary, 2 Rosslea Way, Newtownabbey Co Antrim BT37 9BJ. 10:30am–11:30am. Free. Telephone: 028 9085 1157.

Thursday 19 September: Volunteering & the Labour Movement, with Dr Timothy Bowman. Part of the Volunteering in Ireland 1912–1916 lecture series at PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 6:30pm. Free, but booking required.

Thursday 19 September: Caring for your family history archives, with conservator Liz D'Arcy. Dublin City Library & Archives, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. 7:30pm. Free. No booking required.

Friday 20 September: Culture Night. Always a great line-up of events hosted by various cultural organisations including the National Library of Ireland, Dublin City Library and Archives and PRONI. Check local press.

Friday 20 September: Introduction to Heraldry, with Gerard Crotty. Part of the National Monuments Service lecture series for the Gathering. Venue: St. Mary's Collegiate Church, Youghal, Cork. Free. 7:30pm.

Friday 20 to Sunday 22 September: The 19th Annual Family History Conference hosted by the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO). Venue: Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Canada. The Focus this year is on Irish research. Details.

Saturday 21 September: Irish men and women in the French Resistance and F-section SOE, 1940–45, with David Murphy. Museum of Country Life, National Museum of Ireland, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Booking essential. Tel 00 353 (0)94 903 1751.

Saturday 21 September:
Beginners' Guide to Family History. Fermanagh Branch of the North of Ireland FHS. Venue: Enniskillen Library, Halls Lane, BT74 7DR. 2:15pm.

Saturday 21 September: The North West of Ulster in the 17th century, a mini-symposium. Three lectures from 3pm: The North West of Ulster and the coming of the Covenant, 1644–1649, with Andrew Robinson; Settler armies of West Ulster, 1641–1690, with Padraig Lenihan; and Scotland, NW Ulster and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, 1637–1691, with John R Young. Venue: Tower Museum, Union Place, Derry-Londonderry.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Ireland Genealogy Projects: Mid-September update

Click for Kilcar graveyard photos
Ireland Genealogy Projects (IGP) continues to upload records and photos to its Archives. Below are the additions from the last couple of weeks:

General IRELAND Archives - Emigration
"Serpent" 5 May 1804 - to Baltimore
"Sally" 9 May 1804 - Sworn at Newry
"Ship Jefferson" 10 May 1804 - To Newcastle & Philadelphia

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives
Churchyard of Mullaghnashee
Headstone photos
Inver Parish Church (CoI) Graveyard
Kilcar; St Matthew's Church of Ireland Graveyard
Evictions in Donegal April 1861

LAOIS/QUEEN'S Genealogy Archives - Cemetery
Queens County, Maryborough The Ridge Cemetery

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Old Cemetery - South of Manorhamilton

LIMERICK Genealogy Archives - Cemetery
St. Johns Cathedral, Limerick City - BARRY

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives
Church Burial Records
Newtowncashel Deaths & Burials 1830-1869 (sorted by date or name)
Headstone Photos
St. Columbcille RC Church, 3 Parts
Ballinakill & Clondra Cemetery - partial

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives - Land
Cancelled Books - Electoral Dist. Kilteevan ca 1911-1920's - Cloontmullen

Friday 13 September 2013

GRO Research Room: latest update

The GRO Research Room in Dublin has gained another reprieve for its proposed move to Werburgh Street.

It will remain at the Irish Life Centre, operating normal hours, until at least mid-week next week (w/c 16 September). Staff expect, but don't know, that they will spend all of next week in their current premises. No one is speculating beyond that date.

It really is a badly planned, bad plan, isn't it.

UPDATE 17 September – Research Room to remain at Irish Life Centre all this week. Nothing yet confirmed about its whereabouts from w/c 23 September.

UPDATE 19 SEPTEMBER: Looks like the move is to happen next week. See blogpost.

St Joseph's Belfast records added to RootsIreland added the baptism records of St Joseph's, Belfast to its database this week. This batch of 3,300 records dates from 1900 to 1929, and comes via the Ulster Historical Foundation (UHF).

An earlier batch of baptism records for this church, dating from 1872 to 1900, is also held by the UHF. I'm told these will shortly be added to RootsIreland (and also to AncestryIreland, the UHF membership site).

Kildare and the Great War, 9-10 November

A little ahead, but worth putting in your diaries:

On the weekend of 9 and 10 November, Athy Heritage Centre will be hosting  Kildare and the Great War. There will be two streams running over the two days:

Outdoor World War 1 -
Living history display complete with tents, vehicles, weapons.

Indoor World War 1 -
Exhibition: Recruitment Office, Military Medals, Weapon Display, Soldiers Kit and living quarters
Research Your Ancestors - A military historian will be on site to help trace ancestors
Lecture Series - Two lectures relating to the Kildare men who served in the Great War.

Venue: Athy Heritage Centre & Museum, Emily Square, Athy, Co Kildare.
For more details, phone Athy Heritage Centre on 00 353 (0)59 8633075 or Email.

Irish genealogy courses starting this Autumn

Satchels at the ready! Loads of part-time study courses for genealogy/family history will be beginning in Ireland shortly as the Autumn academic year gets underway. Most have their enrolment dates within the next week or so; a few enrolment dates have already passed, but there may be spaces, so act quickly if you want to be in front of teacher for the first class.

Here's a round-up of the courses I know of, together with the most up to date details about availability. 'Spaces available' (or not), means as of this morning.

Genealogy/Trace your family history, with the Ulster Historical Foundation at Stranmillis College. A 10-week course run on Tuesday evenings starting 24 September, 7–9pm. This course is now full. Telephone 028 9038 4345 or email to add name to reserve list.

Cork – UCC
NUI Diploma in Genealogy. Part-time study on-campus at University College Cork, Western Road. Two-year course. 7–10pm. Details of course. €1,360 per academic year (€1,000 concessions).

Cork - City Centre
Genealogy: How to trace your family free, with tutor Tony McCarthy. Venue: Western Gateway Building, Room 304, University College Cork. Tuesday 7-9pm, 24 September to 26 November, 2013. Focusses on genealogical sources, methodology and historical/social context. Fee: €230. Enrol by 20 September. Details or tel: 021 490 2301.

Dublin – Belfield or Blackrock
Introduction to Genealogy and/or Certificate in Genealogy/Family History (details), with lecturer Sean Murphy. University College Dublin. Monday afternoons 2:00pm–4:30pm at Blackrock or evenings 7:00pm–9:30pm at Belfield, starting 23 September. €300. Spaces still available.

Dublin - Blackrock
Genealogy – Family History Research course, with tutor Tom Coughlan guiding students through the finding out stage and then advising on how to set out an attractive family tree.Venue: Newpark Adult Education Centre, Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock. Tel 288 4376. 8-week course held on Tuesdays 7.30-9.45pm, starting 24 September. Fee €130. Spaces still available.

Dublin - City Center
ICM Diploma in Family History, delivered in conjunction with The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) at Independent College, 60-63 Dawson St, Dublin 2. Co-ordinator Paul Gorry MAPGI. Eight lecturers, all APGI members. Tuesdays 6:30-9:30pm. 12-week course from Tuesday 8 October and to Tuesday 14 January (no classes over Christmas). €895 (payment plans available). Details. Tel: 01-6725058.

Dublin - Dundrum
Genealogy – family research for beginners, with tutor Máire Mac Conghail MAPGI, at Dundrum Adult Training and Education (D.A.T.E.), Dundrum town centre. 10-week course. Wednesdays 9.30-11am. Starts 26 September. Fee €105 (Concessions €50). Details. Telephone: 01 2964322.

Dublin - Kilternan
Genealogy for beginners, with tutor Máire Mac Conghail APGI, at Kilternan Adult Education Centre, Ballybetagh Road, Kilternan, Dublin 18. A hands-on practical course on how to research family history. 10 week course. Wednesdays 12-2pm. Starts 18 September €143. Also, Genealogy continuation course for those who have completed a beginner's course. Thursdays 12-2pm. 10 weeks. Starts 19 September. €143. Details.

Dublin – Malahide
How to research your family history, with Claire Bradley. Beginners' class. Basic computer skills required. Starts Tuesday 24th September in Malahide Community School. 10 weeks duration. €110. Enrolment night at the school on Tuesday 17 September. Details (pg 20).

Dundalk - Louth
Genealogy course over 8 weeks at O'Fiaich Institute of FE. Mondays 7:00-9:00pm. Course will concentrate on tracing your family roots throughout Ireland, north and south. Optional Guided Tours of Local and public libraries will be available in order to facilitate students which will enable them to carry out their own research. Starts Wednesday 25 September. Fee €99. Course number OFA1338. Details or tel: 042-9353967. Book by Tuesday 17 September latest.

Limerick - ULL
Certificate in the History of Family and Genealogical Methods. One-year ECTS-accredited certificate course at University of Limerick on Thursday evenings 6.30-9.30pm. €684. Details. Spaces available.

Thursday 12 September 2013

PRONI's Culture Night Programme (20 September)

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland has revealed its programme of events for Culture Night, Friday 20 September.

Not all of the events have any connection to family history, but I'll include them all so you get the full picture.

At PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, 4:30pm – 8pm.
  • Ito Yukiko and Smanra Rao demonstrate the ancient art of Japanese paper folding (Origami) and help visitors to make paper dogs, boats, frogs and cranes. You can even take their artistic endeavours home with you.
  • Victorian Victoria will tell true tales of hardship and emigration gleaned from the archives, woven into a story written specially for PRONI’s Culture Night.
  • Choral music will echo through the atrium as Edward Craig conducts the Grosvenor Choir in favourites old and new as they sing heavenly music from the first floor walkway.
  • PRONI staff will conduct tours of the building for those who haven’t been before and, for a lucky few, there will be a backstage snoop around the storage area.
  • Slideshows of images in the PRONI archives of Trains, Planes, Automobiles and Boats, and images depicting Cinema, Theatre, Dance and the Performing Arts.
  • PRONI invites visitors to wander round the artwork, or the exhibition A century of change, conflict and transformation, and see examples from the Londonderry archive.

In Belfast City Centre – Two talks.

  • All at Sea: The maritime records at PRONI, with Dr Ann McVeigh. Venue: NIEA Built Heritage building in Hill Street, Cathedral Quarter. 1pm.
  • The Arts and the Archives, with Dr Ann McVeigh, at Clements Cafe, at the corner of Royal Avenue and Wilson Street (Opposite the Belfast Telegraph), at 6.30pm.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Staff training to impact NAI and NLI opening hours

The National Library of Ireland will not open its doors until 10am on Wednesday 18 September. All the usuals – Genealogy Service, Reading Room, Cafe Joly etc – will be late opening that morning due to staff meetings.* The earliest order time for item collections will be 10am.

Over in Bishops Street the following day, Thursday 19 September, the Reading Room of the National Archives of Ireland will be closed from 1:45pm.  Dockets will be accepted for production until 12.15pm on that day. This closure is to facilitate security training of staff.

*Get your diary ready... Identical arrangements are in place for Wednesdays 17 October, 13 November and 11 December.


SOG adds 4,000 Irish will abstracts

The Society of Genealogists has added 4,000 Irish will abstracts to its online database (SoG Data Online).

The abstracts were compiled by Lorna Rosbottom and donated to the library in 1986. Although the vast majority of wills were proved in Irish courts, a few of them relate to other countries. No other information has been provided, and I haven't been able to uncover more details, except that all the searches I have made resulted in matches from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

You can search the abstracts for any names you are researching (here), but to view the abstract itself, you will be need to be a member of the Society of Genealogists.

Genetic Genealogy Ireland at BTOP: details

As you'll know from last week's annoucement about the forthcoming Back To Our Past show in Dublin (blogpost here), the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG) is running a Genetic Genealogy Ireland seminar alongside the main IFHF-sponsored genealogy and heritage lecture programme. Both lecture presentation streams run over the three days of the show at the RDS in Dublin, 18 to 20 October.

ISOGG has issued the following press release, which contains some interesting additional information about the Genetics/DNA element of the exhibition:

DNA and genealogy

More than one million people around the world have had their DNA tested as part of their family tree research and it has helped them break through "brick walls" where the paper trail of traditional records is either absent or has failed to help any further. This is particularly relevant to Irish research where there is a relative lack of documentary evidence prior to 1800. DNA testing has become increasingly affordable in recent years with basic tests available for as little as €40.

Irish DNA Research

There has been a flurry of interest in DNA in Ireland over the last ten years and some incredible work has been undertaken by passionate Irish genealogists (many working independently and voluntarily), which is changing the way we think about ourselves. Many of these enthusiasts will be speaking at the conference on their own particular projects and how it has informed not only their own family tree research but how it sheds new light on a variety of Clan histories, Irish surnames, and their origins and evolution.

The international panel of speakers will discuss topics which include a basic introduction to DNA testing, early and later migrations into Ireland (Gael, Norman, Viking, Scotch, English), connecting with the Irish in America, and individual Clan and surname projects with names that cover the entire island. As well as talks on the Tribes of Galway, and the Munster Irish, Prof Dan Bradley will discuss his unit's work relating to the genetic signature of people in northwest Ireland and the correlation with Niall of the Nine Hostages. Details are available on the dedicated website – Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013.

These DNA lectures will complement the programme of traditional genealogical presentations organised by APGI and sponsored by Rootsireland (the Irish Family History Foundation).

DNA testing at BTOP
This is the fourth year of the Back to Our Past exhibition which last year attracted 20,000 visitors and over 250 exhibitors. This year FamilyTreeDNA have a stand at the exhibition and will be offering DNA testing at discounted prices. This is the first time that DNA testing will be offered directly to the Irish public at the exhibition. There will also be some limited Free DNA tests available and further information can be found here.

So if you happen to find yourself in Dublin in October, come along and have a DNA test – it may connect you with long lost cousins you never knew you had. Entrance to the entire exhibition and conference costs only €5 if booked in advance online via the BTOP website.

Exploring the Londonderry Family Papers: PRONI

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is to hold a workshop on Thursday 14 November called Mount Stewart and the Wider World: Exploring the Londonderry Family Papers.

The papers of the Stewart family, Marquesses of Londonderry, are a major resource for the study of local and international history. From their home at Mount Stewart, members of the family have played major roles in the history of Ireland, the UK and Europe from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. They were also major landowners in counties Antrim, Down and Donegal and in the North East of England.

The Londonderry Papers held in PRONI were brought into public ownership in April this year (see Irish Genealogy News blogpost) and this workshop is intended to highlight the potential of the collection for family and local historians, academics, authors and film makers.

The speakers will be: Ian Montgomery on the Londonderry Papers in PRONI, Liz Bregazzi on the Londonderry Papers in Durham Record Office, Frances Bailey on Mount Stewart and the National Trust, Anne Casement on Researching the Family and Brian Henry Martin on Using the Archive for Television.

Admission is free and booking is essential.

Workshop times: 1:30–4:30pm.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

GRO Research Room: staying put until end of week

The imminent move of the GRO Research Room to Werburgh Street is not exactly going smoothly. And 'imminent' is getting stretched!

The last day at the Irish Life Centre was meant to be today, followed by a three-day closure while the service set up in its new home. Instead, I'm told that the Research Room is staying put until the end of this week, at least, and is operating to normal hours on each day.

(When this move will take place is anyone's guess.)

Update 13 September : Still no details. GRO Research Room will remain at Irish Life Centre into week commencing 16 September.

UPDATE 19 SEPTEMBER: Looks like the move is to happen next week. See blogpost.

Derry-Londonderry historic town maps go digital

A digital version of the Derry-Londonderry Irish Historic Towns Atlas is to be launched tomorrow as part of the 'UK City of Culture' celebrations.

The ‘Digital Atlas of Derry~Londonderry’ is an experimental web-GIS resource. It uses a selection of content from the Irish Historic Towns Atlas, no 15, by Avril Thomas, which was published in 2005 following the Royal Irish Academy's collaboration with Derry City Council's Heritage & Museum Service. Queen’s University Belfast subsequently joined the team to create a digital version.

A work in progress, the atlas is already freely available.

Mayor Cllr Martin Reilly will officially launch the digital atlas at the Tower Museum on Wednesday, 11 September at 6:30pm. Prior to the launch he welcomed the online resource as a new way of exploring and understanding the historic city of Derry. 'This is a fantastic way to view early plans and maps of key streets and areas within the walled city,' he said.

Dr Keith Lilley, Queen’s University Belfast, will demonstrate the digital atlas at the launch, which includes five early maps of Derry from 1622 overlaid on one another while Professor Attractra Ingram of the Royal Irish Academy said the new online resource makes a contribution to International scholarship: ‘The Digital atlas of Derry~Londonderry is a very useful case-study for the European historic towns atlas scheme because it presents for the first time maps and texts from the printed atlas in an interactive way,' she said.

Irish research is the theme of BIFHSGO conference

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) will be holding its annual conference Friday 20 September to Sunday 22 September at Library & Archives Canada in Ottawa. The focus this year is Ireland.

An interesting programme of lectures has been organised. There's a summary below to whet your appetite, but you can see full details on the Society's website here.

Friday, 20 September 2013 7pm–8:15pm
Official Welcome – Glenn Wright, BIFHSGO President
Don Whiteside Memorial Lecture: –These Old Walls of Ireland: Recording the Memories, with Philip Donnelly

Saturday, 21 September 2013 9am–4:30pm
SESSION 1 (Plenary)
Introduction to Irish Genealogy: Where Do I Start? with Eileen Ó Dúill
Irish Resources Available on LDS Websites, with Shirley-Ann Pyefinch
Tap Into Your Inner Private Eye: 8 Strategies for Finding Living Relatives, with Lisa Louise Cooke
Progress Report on Irish Genealogy 2013: Are Things Getting Better? with Eileen Ó Dúill
One-Name Studies Panel — Success through One-Name Studies, with Sandra Adams, Bill Arthurs, Elizabeth Kipp and John D. Reid
Around the Brick Wall: Tracing Back an Irish Family through Collateral Lines, with Linda Reid
How to Save Your Research from Destruction and Ensure Its Future Survival, with Lisa Louise Cooke

Sunday, 22 September 2013 9am–4:15pm
Irish Family Ghosts: When Personal History and Professional Research Collide, with Jane McGaughey
Genealogy on the Go with the iPad/Tablet, with Lisa Louise Cooke
Dublin, 30 June 1922: Did Everything Blow Up? with Eileen Ó Dúill
Are They Really My Ancestors? Using Autosomal DNA Tests to Confirm (or Deny) Relationships and Ancestors, with Linda Reid
The Ulster Detective, with Sher Leetooze
Genealogical Cold Cases: A Step-by-Step Process, with Lisa Louise Cooke
SESSION 8 (Closing Plenary)
Come to Ireland to Find Your Ancestors, with Eileen Ó Dúill

The Irish Brigades Abroad: book launch

Irish Brigades Abroad is a new title by Stephen McGarry.

Its 320 pages examine the complete history of the Irish regiments in France, Spain, Austria and beyond. Covering the period from King James II's reign of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1685, until the disbandment of the Irish Brigades in France and Spain, what emerges is a picture of the old-fashioned virtues of honour, chivalry, integrity and loyalty, of adventure and sacrifice in the name of a greater cause.

The paperback is published by The History Press Ireland and can be purchased from the publisher's website for €18.00

The title will be officially launched on Saturday 14 September in the National Museum, Collins Barracks, at 3.30pm, and everyone is welcome to attend.

New Wexford archives website unveiled

The Minute Books of Wexford County Council 1899–1997 have been digitised and are being uploaded to the website of Wexford County Archives. Books up to 1930 are available, as of this morning.

This new site aims to showcase the collections held by the archive, including some of the smaller items that have been deposited from private hands recently, and to highlight the range of services the archive team carries out.

Among the main core of collections are estate papers, business records, maritime archives, school records and solicitors' papers.

A number of digitisation projects are underway and will be joining the Minute Books online this Autumn. Irish genealogists with County Wexford connections will be particularly interested in the next batch of records scheduled for online release – the burial records for the eleven cemeteries in the care of Wexford County Council. These cover 1909–2003, as follows:
  • Ardamine, 1922-2003
  • Askamore, 1934-2003
  • Ballymurn, 1975-2003
  • Bunclody, 1919-2003
  • Castledockrell, 1929-2003
  • Clongeen, 1952-2003
  • Ferns, 1909-2003
  • Glenbrien, 1941-2003
  • Oulart, 1952-2003
  • Oylegate, 1922-2003
  • Rathnure, 1934-2003
Wexford Borough Council minute books, 1776–2000, will also be released before the end of the year.

Monday 9 September 2013

PRONI: Ulster Presbyterianism's First Historians

On Tuesday 17 September, PRONI will be hosting Ulster Presbyterianism’s First Historians. An overview of the lecture, by Dr Robert Armstrong, Senior History lecturer in the Dept of History, Trinity College, Dublin, is below.

How does a community understand its own past? By the 1660s there had been an organized Presbyterian presence in Ulster for over twenty years, and individuals with Presbyterian convictions for much longer. But it was now that the ministers and elders, meeting together, decided to sponsor an account of their history, drawing from their records and the memories of those who had taken part in stirring events and patient building up of their cause.

This lecture will look at the stories told by Patrick Adair, Andrew Stewart, Robert Blair and John Livingstone. It will ask what went into making the ‘Presbyterian Story’ in 17th-century Ulster. How did these men understand the events they had experienced in their own days? Or those of much earlier times? How did their version of the past challenge those told from other perspectives within Ireland? How did the stories they told shape Presbyterian memories for later generations?

The lecture will take place at 2pm. Admission is FREE but you need to book. Please contact PRONI to secure your place at and linked sites are down

If you had been planning to work on your family history this past weekend, you're probably already aware that the State-run website, which provides access to most of the major free Irish genealogy databases, is not currently providing that access. Searches are returning 504 Error messages, which is tech-speak for 'the computer says no'.

Judging by some posts I've read on forums, the problem started late on Friday or early Saturday, and has continued. Most of the databases linked to the site are affected, including the Irish census, tithes, wills and church records (they're all held on the same server).

I've spoken to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht this morning and they tell me that the tech team is working to identify the problem and hopes to restore normal operations as soon as possible. Until the fault has been diagnosed, however, they can't give any indication of timing.

(Databases that are not held on the same server ie, Ellis Island records and Griffiths Valuation are searchable as normal.)

UPDATE: The National Archives of Ireland's website has caught the bug, too. The whole site is now unavailable.

LATEST UPDATE: 7pm. and National Archives of Ireland's website and search facilities are working again. (Don't crash it, now!!)

Irish genealogy and history events this week: 9–15 Sept

A busy week of lectures and conferences ahead, as history and genealogies societies unveil their Autumn events programmes.

Monday 9 September: Northern Irish WW2 Prisoners of war, with Isabel Apsley. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Newtownabbey Branch. Venue: Drama Theatre, Glengormley High School, Ballyclare Road, Newtownabbey. All welcome 7pm.

Tuesday 10 September: Medical records of the Royal College of Physicians, with Harriet Wheelock. GSI lecture held at Dún Laoghaire College of FE, Cumberland Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 8pm.

Tuesday 10 September: Irish family history, with Chris Paton. Host: Fife Family History Society. Venue: Volunteer House (Vonef Centre), 69 Crossgate Cupar, Fife KY15 5AS. Time: 7:30pm. Non members are welcome. £2 entry, includes tea or coffee. Details.

Tuesday 10 September: The Bruce Invasion, with Seymour Philips. Milestones of Medieval Dublin lunchtime lectures series.Wood Quay Venue, Civic Offices, Dublin 8. 1:05pm to 1:45pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 10 September: Family Research for Beginners. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Lisburn Branch. Venue: Bridge Community Centre, Railway Street, Lisburn. 7.30pm.

Tuesday 10 September: Commemoration and Reconciliation: a challenge for historians, with Professor Tom Dunne. Host: Cork City Libraries. Part of the 'It seems History is to Blame' programme. Venue: City Library, Grand Parade, Cork. 7:30pm.

Wednesday 11 September: 'Every Townland Earned its Name in Song': John Hewitt’s Ulster-Scots Tradition, a talk at Cookstown Library, 13 Burn Road, Cookstown, Co Tyrone BT80 8DJ. 6:30pm. Free. Booking advised. Tel: 028 8676 3702

Wednesday 11 September: Genealogy Made Easy, with Sr. de Lourds Fahy. Western Family History Association, Lackagh Parish Centre, Lackagh, Co Galway. 7:30–9pm. Details.

Thursday 12 September: Irish Nationalist Volunteers, with Dr Timothy Bowman. Third of the Volunteering in Ireland 1912–1916 lecture series at PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 6:30pm. Free, but booking required.

Thursday 12 to Sunday 15 September: Crossing Border Conference. Venue: Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan. Will explore some features of the border counties of Cavan, Monaghan, Fermanagh, Meath and Tyrone, and their shared heritage. Field and lecture programme. Details.

Friday 13 September: How to start your family history, with Gillian Hunt of Ulster Historical Foundation. Venue: Bushmills Salmon & Whiskey Festival, Bushmills, County Antrim.

Friday 13 September: Launch of Roses from the Heart bonnet exhibition, representing the lives of women transported to Australia as convicts between 1788 and 1853. Venue: West Wing, Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin. Continues to 1 December.

Friday 13 to Saturday 14 September: The Geraldines and Medieval Ireland – The Making of a Myth. The inaugural Medieval Ireland Symposium, marking the 500th anniversary of the death of the 'Great Earl' of Kildare. Venue: Trinity College Dublin. Free. All welcome. Starts 2pm Friday. Details.

Saturday 14 September:  Genealogical Seminar. Host: Louth County Libraries. Venue: Dundalk Branch Library. Free. Details and programme.

Saturday 14 September: Kerry Genealogy Roadshow at the Dingle Tradfest/Feile Trad an Daingin. Details.

Saturday 14 September: As part of European Heritage Open Day, PRONI will be providing a series of talks and tours unlocking the secrets of the archives. Titanic Quarter, Belfast. 10am–4pm. Free. Everyone welcome.

Saturday 14 September: Mayo Genealogy Group Workshop at the National Museum of Ireland, Country Life, Turlough, Castlebar, Co Mayo. A monthly drop-in event for family history advice and chat. No booking required. Free. Details.

Sunday 15 September: Kerry Genealogy Roadshow at the Listowel Races. Details.

Friday 6 September 2013

GRO Research Room relocation arrangements

Just been told that the General Register Office's Dublin Research Room will be remaining at the Irish Life Centre this weekend, and will be open for business as usual on Monday and Tuesday (9th and 10th).

The office will then be closed on Wednesday 11th to Friday 13th, while the physical move of the index books and office furniture & equipment takes place.

The GRO Research Room will re-open at its 'new' office on Monday 16 September in Werburgh Street, Dublin. Map below.

UPDATE 13 September: Move delayed again. See Latest advice.

View Larger Map

Six weeks to Back To Our Past 2013 - programme

With today's release of the Back To Our Past Lecture Programme, the countdown to Ireland's very own genealogy exhibition begins. The three-day show (18–20 October), held at the RDS Industries Hall in Ballsbridge, Dublin, will once again see the Irish genealogy community coming together as part of the Over 50s show.

The event attracts some 20,000 visitors, ensuring plenty of 'fresh blood' to be drawn into the addictive world of family history.

The lecture programme is a major part of the appeal – not surprising when you see the wide range of heritage and genealogy themes on offer – and the talks are free to attend on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are three strands of talks on each day.

The first two strands have been organised by the Association of Professional Genealogists of Ireland (APGI) and are sponsored by the Irish Family History Foundation. To be held in Presentation Areas 1 & 2, subjects range from historical personalities to local/social studies to in-depth genealogical resources. There's quite a strong military theme, this year, too, which will go down well because so many 'missing' Irishmen can be discovered in military records, while the pure Irish genealogy subjects take in everything from 'getting started' and 'tracing Irish-American relatives' to the advanced areas of occupational records, obituaries, school records and the Registry of Deeds.

There's even a HistoryIreland Hedge School – Who do the Irish think they are? – to get the blood up early on Friday evening, and a possibly more sobering panel discussion about the Easter Rising leaders to round up the weekend.

The third strand is dedicated to Genetic Genealogy ie DNA and has been organised by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) on behalf of FamilyTreeDNA. Like the main Presentation schedule, this Genetic Genealogy programme will run over the three days and operates to the same hour-by-hour timetable. There are lectures aimed at enlightening those who know little or nothing about DNA and where it fits in the family history box of tricks, but there are also presentations that will appeal to researchers with a bit more knowledge of genetics as applied to genealogy. There are also some which go way, way over my head!

So this year's Irish genealogy feast is certainly coming together. There's no exhibitor list on the BackToOurPast website yet, but  most of the usual suspects will be there. I know for sure that we'll be seeing APGI, the National Archives of Ireland, the North of Ireland FHS, Irish Roots magazine, PRONI, RootsIreland, the Irish Genealogical Research Society, FindMyPast and Ancestry, and there will be plenty of others, too. Sadly the National Library of Ireland are on the No-Show list for the second year running (seems a long time since they attended any events beyond Kildare Street), but the National Library of Wales will be attending for the first time, and you'll find them on the Lecture Programme, too.

The doors open on Friday 18th at 12pm, and there's a formal launch by Minister Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister of State for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht at 12:15pm.

On both Saturday and Sunday, opening time is 11am. And the closing time on all three days is 7pm.

Can't wait!

Thursday 5 September 2013

PRONI on video

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, PRONI, has released a short (3.23min) video about its work and its purpose. Stephen Scarth, PRONI's Head of Public Services, talks about the various services, the current popularity of family history research, and the repository's efforts to make records more accessible.

Part of the video was filmed at the recent launch of the Griffith's Valuation Revision Books.

RootsIrelands adds more Monaghan records

Great news for researchers with Monaghan ancestors. The Irish Family History Foundation's Monaghan Genealogy has added some new records to the RootsIreland database.

The record sets are:

1821 : 1821 Census Abstracts
1872–1919 : Registry Office Marriage Records for Clones
1845–1912 : Registry Office Marriage Records for Castleblaney
1872–1920 : Clones Wesleyan Methodist Church Marriages
1847–1919 : Cootehill Circuit Methodist Church Baptims (Ematris)
1868–1921 : Monaghan Wesleyan Methodist Church Marriages

(And No, before anyone asks, I don't know what's happening to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clogher bmd records that the state-run has been promising for a year and more.)

Autumn events for Irish Family History Society

The Irish Family History Society has organised its two Autumn events, as follows:

Saturday 12 October: All Day Genealogy Seminar

10:00am : Registration
10:30am : Estate Rentals, with Dr. James Ryan.
11:30am : Killester and its families: the story of the Soldiers and Sailors homes, with Margaret Bonar & Elizabeth Craven.
12:30–2pm : LUNCH (at own expense)
2:15pm : The Landed Estates Database: a resource for family and local history, with Marie Boran & Brigid Clesham.
3:15pm : Sources for tracing children in care in Ireland prior to 1952, with Fiona Fitzsimons.

Saturday 9 November: Morning meeting

10:00am : Registration
10:30am : Gathering Church of Ireland records, with Dr. Susan Hood.
11:30am : Archives of the Royal Dublin Society, with Natasha Serne.

Venue: Both events will be held at Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse St., Dublin 2.

Booking: There's no need to book for these events. They are free, and everyone is welcome to attend. IFHS website.

Another Wexford 'small source' from Flyleaf Press

And yet another of Flyleaf Press's Small Sources! (That's five in less than a month, and they're growing into a useful collection.)

This time, the 'small source' is an 1850 Workmen's account book from the Thomas Meyler Estate in the townland of Harristown, Kilcavan Parish, Co Wexford. It holds details of labourers and the payments made to them and their families. Take a look.

IGRS Marriage Finder rushes past 50,000 milestone

With more than 25,000 unions entered in the database, the Irish Genealogical Research Society's Marriage Finder has now reached 50,000 names.

The Marriage Finder is a unique resource, put together by Roz McCutcheon FIGRS, and is already becoming invaluable to those seeking references to pre-civil registration marriages of Irish brides and grooms.

It comprises information gathered from an array of unusual and under-utilised sources. Chancery bills, diaries, deeds, marriage settlements, memorial inscriptions, wills, family letters and newspaper cuttings are just a few of the many sources consulted.

The database is free to access on the Society's website,

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Kilbane headstone transcriptions and photos donated

Some 378 headstone transcriptions and photos for Kilbane graveyard have been added to the wonderful and ever-growing Clare County Library website.

The burial ground adjoins St Mary's church in Kilbane, which is situated in the Glenomera Valley between Broadford and Killaloe, Co Clare. The deaths recorded date from 1883 to 2010, with the most popular names being Vaughan, Moroney, Ryan, Gunning, Hogan, Whelan, Woods, O’Halloran and Carmody.

The transcriptions have been donated by Anne-Marie Boland and can be viewed here.

Halloween conference on Witchcraft at PRONI

To mark the publication of Dr Andrew Sneddon’s new book Possessed by the Devil: The Real History of the Islandmagee Witches & Ireland's Only Witchcraft Mass Trial (History Press Ireland, 2013), PRONI will be hosting an evening conference looking at various aspects of belief in the supernatural in Ireland before the Twentieth Century.

Date? 31 October, of course.

The evening will start with refreshments at 5:30pm, before the Conference presentations begin at 6pm.

The following lectures will be presented:
  • Portrayals of Witchcraft, Gender and Sexuality in Early Modern Imagery, with Cara Hanley
  • Mary Butters: the Carnmoney Witch, 1807-8, with John Fulton
  • Demonic Possession, Exorcism and the Roman Catholic Clergy in the Pre-famine Period, with Jodie Shevlin
  • Writing the History of Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland, with Andrew Sneddon

All four speakers are from the University of Ulster. Admission is FREE but booking is essential at UPDATE: This event was fully booked within a couple of days. A 'reserve' booking system has been set up, so email if you'd like to be added to the list. (If you've already booked but then find you can't go, be sure to email PRONI so that your seats can be offered to someone on the reserve list.)

Another 'Small Source': Quansbury Estate, Co Galway

Flyleaf Press has published another of its Small Sources ie material collated for the Tracing Your Ancestors' series that didn't quite make it to the printed books. This time, it's the turn for the Tenants of Quansbury Estate.

This estate is in the parish of Kilquain (Fahy/Quansboro), Co Galway, and the document comprises a list of estate tenants and their rents in 1777-78.

Latest issue of HistoryIreland published

The September/October edition of HistoryIreland magazine is now in the shops.

In contrast to the summer's Lockout Special, which was completely dedicated to the events of 1913, this issue has a wide spread of subjects. They include Ireland's neutrality during WW2, the engineering feat of Dún Laoghaire's harbour, a murder at a 1921 cricket match played at Trinity College, Ogham markings dating to the 9th century, and the portrayal of famine fever and infection by author William Carleton.

There's also a feature about female suicides by drowning in the Victorian era by Eleanor Fitzsimons, as well as the first of a new series by 'our own' Fiona Fitzsimons of Eneclann, who will be exploring Irish family history source material and making the case for genealogy as a branch of 'real' history.

With its usual crop of book, tv and museum reviews, it's another excellent issue from the HistoryIreland team. There's even a special offer from to accompany new subscriptions to the magazine.

Pick up your copy in store or subscribe online.

1795 Black List shows no love lost for Arthur Guinness

The Document of the Month from the National Archives of Ireland is the 1795 Black List of Members of the Corporation of Dublin who had voted against a petition to preserve Protestantism in Ireland.

Among the names is Arthur Guinness, founder of Ireland's famous brewery.

Judging by their comments (of Guinness – 'self interest is his predominant position'), the blacklisters were a tad annoyed.

See the document.