Thursday 21 November 2013

Morpeth Roll was signed by Ronald Reagan's ancestors

The Morpeth Roll, and the exhibition that tells the story of the 1841 document and its conservation, has returned to its research home at NUI Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Its return to the University's Library was marked by the formal launch of curator Christopher Ridgeway's book, The Morpeth Roll: Ireland identified in 1841, and the announcement of some new discoveries among the 160,000 signatures on the Roll.

The signatures of former US President Ronald Regan's great-great grandfather and great-uncle have been identified within the 412metre-long document. Both men were named Thomas Reagan, and they came from Ballyporeen in south County Tipperary

The Morpeth Roll was digitised by Ancestry, indexed as one of that company's World Archive Projects, and released in March this year (see blogpost). Eric Booth, Senior Product Managing Manager at Ancestry's International office in Dublin, has confirmed to Irish Genealogy News that the existing search and view arrangements on Ancestry will continue ie while the Index is free to search, you need a subscription to view the accompanying images. There are no plans, contrary to some reports, for this to change.

Since its release to the public, researchers at the University's History and Conservation Departments have been slowly but surely discovering more detail from the Morpeth Roll. In addition to the Reagan family's ancestors, connections have been confirmed with the British royal family, film director John Ford, the second Arthur Guinness of stout fame, and Francis B Beamish from the Cork brewery.