Monday 31 March 2014

GRONI bmd search facility is LIVE online!

Those cheeky people in Belfast told us that the new online bmd search facility would be launching only in the GRONI Search Room, but they've bitten the bullet and launched the entire shebang onto the Internet this morning.

You can find out how the service works here.

You can start searching and register here.

Don't break it, now!!

RootsIreland adds Church of Ireland baptisms, the website of the Irish Family History Foundation, has uploaded a lovely bunch of records, one that's going to make a lot of researchers very happy indeed.

This latest update features Church of Ireland Baptisms for ten parishes in Co Down and four parishes in Co Antrim, as follows:

Church of Ireland Baptisms, DOWN

Parish Dates

Church of Ireland Baptisms, ANTRIM

Parish Dates

Irish genealogy and history events, 31 March – 6 April

Monday 31 March: The Shamrock Fund in the First World War, with Brian White. Host: Clondalkin History Society. Venue: Áras Chrónáin, Watery Lane, Clondalkin. 8pm.

Tuesday 1 April: That field of glory – Historical and antiquarian perspectives on the Battle of Clontarf, with Dr Colm Lennon. Host: Dublin City Library & Archive. Venue: Council Chamber, Dublin City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2. 1:10pm to 1:50pm. Free. All welcome. No booking required.

Tuesday 1 April: Cootehill and the Great War, with Hugh O'Brien. The second of three lectures about the local area's response to WW1. Venue: Cootehill Library, Bridge St, Cootehill, Co Cavan. 7pm. Free, but booking advised as places are limited. Tel: (0)49 555 9873.

Tuesday 1 April: The craft guilds system, with Dermot Cranny. Host: Kilmacanogue History Society. Venue: Glenview Hotel, Glen of the Downs, Co Wicklow. 8:30pm. Entry €2 members; €3 non-members. All welcome.

Wednesday 2 April: Ulster and Irish voices from the American Civil War, with Brett Irwin. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Time: 1–2pm. Admission is FREE but booking is essential. Email to reserve your place.

Wednesday 2 April: Cumann na mBan - A Centenary Commemoration, with Cal McCarthy. Venue: Council Chambers, Cork County Council, County Hall, Cork. 3–4pm. All welcome. Free.

Wednesday 2 April: In the steps of St Finbarre: Journeys along the River Lee, with Kieran McCarthy. Host: Cork South Parish Historical Society. Venue: St John's College, Sawmill Street, Cork. 7:30pm. All welcome. €2 to non-members.

Wednesday 2 April: Massacre in West Cork - the Dunmanway and Ballygroman Killings, with Barry Keane. Final lecture of the Kilmurry Historical & Archaeological Association's Spring lecture series. Venue: Kilmurry School, Kilmurry, Lissarda, Co. Cork. 8pm.

Thursday 3 April: ' nothing has moved her in living memory': mourning and burying Michael Collins, with Dr Anne Dolan. Host: TCD. Venue: Milestone Gallery, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Dublin. 7pm. Tickets €10. Tel: +353 (0)1 882 6550.

Friday 4 April to Saturday 5 April: Women’s History Association of Ireland annual conference. This year's theme is the history of Cumann na mBan. Venue: National Museum of Ireland, Collins’ Barracks, Dublin. Programme. Free but pre-registration advised.

Friday 4 April: The Cork IRA and the Irish Revolution 1916–1923, with Andy Bielenberg of UCC. Host: Keough Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. Venue: University of Notre Dame, 422 Flanner Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA. 3pm. Details.

Saturday 5 April: Irish Family History Society's Spring Meeting & AGM. Lecture 2:15pm – Poverty to Posterity: James Hack Tuke and the Family Assisted Emigration Schemes to North America in the 1880s, with Dr. Gerard Moran. 3:15pm – Postcards from the edge of war, with Carmel Gilbride. Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse St, Dublin 2. AGM at 11am, open to members only. Lectures free and open to all.

Sunday 6 April: 'Thou shalt not kill'. Murder in pre-famine Ireland: the case of Robert Rickerby 1817, with Fidelma Byrne. Host Strokestown Lecture Series. Venue: Strokestown Park House, Co Roscommon. Free. 3pm. Enquiries, tel: 353 (0)71 9633013.

Friday 28 March 2014

Battle of Clontarf Heritage Trail opens in Clontarf

The Battle of Clontarf Heritage Trail was officially launched yesterday by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD. The Heritage Trail will form a key part of the 2014 Commemoration at Easter and will also continue to be an attraction for Clontarf in the future. 

The trail comprises of six information panels on the Clontarf Promenade approximately every 0.5km between the Alfie Byrne Road and the Wooden Bridge.

The six boards will outline the story of the Vikings, Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf in word (Irish and English), map and illustration.

The Heritage Trail, which is the culmination of over a year’s work for the Clontarf Historical Society and the Raheny Heritage Society, will create a focal point for the “Battle of Clontarf” that didn't previously exist in Clontarf. The Heritage Trail marks the site of this seminal battle in European history and also forms part of a National Brian Boru Trail between Killaloe, Cashel, Clontarf and Armagh.

Launching the Trail, Minister Deenihan said: “These panels, which are magnificent in their own right, outlining as they do, the story of the Vikings, Brian Ború and of course the Battle of Clontarf, also now form part of the National Brian Ború Trail. It is exciting that this Heritage Trail will create a focal point that currently doesn’t exist, for the ‘Battle of Clontarf’ in Clontarf.  I have to praise everyone involved in this programme of events as it has been assembled by community and voluntary organisations working alongside the local authorities.” 

Daily (2:30pm) guided tours of the Heritage Trail will take place during the two weeks of Easter from the 13th – 27th April 2014. Details on

More C19th titles added to newspaper collections

The British Newspaper Archive has added more Irish newspapers to its database:

Dublin Evening Mail
– All editions for 1827 and 1828
Belfast Morning News – All editions for 1858

FindMyPast subscribers please note: These editions have been added to the newspaper collection.

Irish Family History Society AGM & lectures

On Saturday 5 April, the Irish Family History Society will hold its AGM.

This will be open only to Society members and starts at 11am in the Dublin City Library & Archive, 138/144 Pearse St., Dublin 2.

The AGM will be followed by the two talks detailed below. The afternoon is open to members of the public and is free to attend.

2:00pm     Registration.

2:15pm     Poverty to Posterity: James Hack Tuke and the Family Assisted Emigration Schemes
               to North America in the 1880s
, with Dr Gerard Moran

3:15pm     Postcards from the edge of war, with Carmel Gilbride

Thursday 27 March 2014

IGRS wins prestigious FFHS Best Website award

What lovely news! An Irish society has won a Best Website award from the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS).

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has learned that its one-year-old website,, had won the FFHS Geoff Riggs Award 2013 for Best Website in the Medium-Sized Society category.

Now, I have to confess a personal interest in this news, as will become apparent when you read the IGRS's official announcement, so I'll simply direct you to the award-winning site for the full story...

See IGRS wins prestigious Federation of Family History Societies Website Award

FindMyPast and TNA to digitise 1939 National Register

FindMyPast and The National Archives in Kew announced a joint project this morning that will see the 1939 National Register digitised and made available online within a two-year period.

It's always great to hear of another major collection coming online, even if, as in this case, it covers only the England & Wales Register. If you have ancestors who crossed the Irish Sea to England & Wales, however, this may be a very useful new online resource. In the meantime, if you wanted to search this collection, it'd cost you £42 a shot under the current access arrangements, so you'll see these plans are likely to be splendid news for the wallet.

Those with connections to Scotland can continue to apply under Scottish arrangements to the GRO at £15 a pop. No sign of any digitisation plans, there.

Nor is there any change for those with Northern Irish family, even though it's worth mentioning that information supplied under Freedome of Information legislation via PRONI comes free of charge.

See my website, for more about the UK's 1939 national register.

Two Genealogy Research Assistant Internships offered

Two Job Bridge Internships have been announced for Genealogy Research Assistants in County Cork.

The positions will provide practical experience in Genealogical/Archival indexation and research, with the intern specifically working on the indexing of baptism, marriage and burial parish registers. The contracts are for nine months.

The Internship vacancies don't demand any prior experience of indexing is required but a third level qualification in history/heritage/genealogy or archives would be an advantage in the selection process, as would experience in genealogy research.

Full details of how to apply are on the Job Bridge site. Closing date is 11 April (Good Friday).

This is a very interesting development, indeed! Although the Job Bridge advert doesn't state where the work is to be carried out, Cork County Library has confirmed by phone that the positions are to be based at the Reference and Local Studies Department at Library HQ, Carrigrohane Road, Cork.

I have no confirmation of which registers are to be indexed. I have fingers crossed that the Roman Catholic (Cork City) North Parish of St Mary and St Anne registers may, after the best part of 20 years, be about to see the cyber light of day, but I've learned not to get too excited at every glimmer.

IGRS Early Irish Marriage Finder continues to grow

The Irish Genealogical Research Society's Early Irish Marriage Index has seen another big tranche of records uploaded. It now holds more than 40,000 entries.

Since each entry holds at least the names of the bride and groom, the number of names in the database is growing fast. This latest upload brings the current total to nearly 100,000 names. All entries pre-date 1864, when civil registration of ALL marriages in Ireland started.

The Early Irish Marriage Finder Index was launched a year ago and is unique to the IGRS. It is free to search here, but do read Roz McCutcheon's Introduction to fully appreciate how the Index works and the sources consulted.

Professional genealogy training course starts April

Enrolment for the next genealogy workshop series at the Irish Ancestry Research Centre (IARC) in Limerick is now underway.

Each lecture is a standalone topic, so researchers can attend any or all of the sessions according to interest or their particular level of experience. However, those who attend the full 10 lectures and complete the course assessment will be awarded a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Certificate in Family History from the University of Limerick.

Lecture schedule:

Session 1 — 17 April:      Introduction to Genealogy and Irish Genealogical Sources
Session 2 — 24 April:      Census 1901 and 1911
Session 3 —   1 May:      Primary (Griffith’s) Valuation and Tithe Applotment
Session 4 —   8 May:      Software for Genealogy
Session 5 — 15 May:      Irish Mapping from a Genealogical Perspective
Session 6 — 22 May:      Building your Family Tree
Session 7 — 29 May:      Introduction to 17th and 18th Century Sources
Session 8 —   6 June:     The Registry of Deeds and Parliamentary Papers
Session 9 — 13 June:      Using Newspapers for Genealogical Research
Session 10 - 20 June:      Codes and Ethics in Genealogy

Each lecture is 2.5 hours long (includes a 20-minute break) and costs €35; book for the full 10-lecture series for €290. Group discounts available.

To enrol, contact IARC on +353 61 207114 or email.

Cork's History & Archives Week runs 8– 11 April

As part of the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival, Cork City and County Archives will be holding a History & Archives Week from Tuesday 8 April to Friday 11 April.

The following lectures will be held at 2:30pm:

Tuesday 8 April: Brewing in Cork – Using the Beamish & Crawford Archive, with Diarmuid O Drisceoil

Wednesday 9 April: Archives and Source Materials for Irish Genealogy, with Paul MacCotter

Thursday 10 April: The Irish Revolution (1913-23) and Cork Archives, with John Borgonovo

Friday 11 April: Thomas Hewitt and Cork’s Distilling Story, with Alicia St Leger

Lectures are free to attend but booking is advised due to limited number of seats. You can book by phone on +353 (0)21 4505876 or by e-mail.

Venue: Seamus Murphy Building, 33a Great William O'Brien Street, Cork.

Take a look at the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival programme.

FindMyPast transition not going so smoothly
FindMyPast has been rolling out a new search platform and a uniform look-and-feel across its sites in the last couple of months, but it hasn't all been plain sailing. Here's a statement from the Annelies van den Belt, CEO of D C Thompson Family History, the parent company of FindMyPast:

"As you know, we are currently moving all our members across to the new FindMyPast site. We hope you have received our emails detailing the exciting new features on our new site, but I want to also take this opportunity to update you.

The new FindMyPast site is designed to provide you with an improved service. We did a great deal of consultation and research and have now put the technology in place to be able to provide millions more records, a more powerful and accurate search, and a better user experience. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback, but we also acknowledge that there are some fixes still to be made. We recognise that some of the features you rely on most have not transferred smoothly, and we are working hard to resolve those issues as quickly as we can.

I want to thank you for all your valuable insights and your patience. Please do continue to send your feedback to us via our Feedback Forum or by clicking on the light bulb icon on the site. All comments will be recorded and dealt with as quickly as possible.

On behalf of everyone here at FindMyPast, thank you for your expert insights and your continued support."

I'm sure they'll get it sorted in due course. 

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Cork Archives adds more free burial records

Cork Archives has added to its collection of free-to-download pdfs of the burial records from St.Joseph's Cemetery, a major graveyard at Tory Top Road, Ballyphehane, Cork City.

The recent upload of burial registers is available in a series of 58 pdfs covering the period from 2 January 1877 to 30 June 1904. This latest tranche of records joins those from 1 July 1904 to 11 July 1917, which have been available for just over a year.

Cork City & County Archives also holds a paper copy of the burial voucher books for this period. These books often hold additional information of interest to researchers such as details of the owner of the grave and the cause and location of death of the deceased.

Cumann na mBan Centenary commemorations

Handbill issued to advertise an anti-conscription
meeting held in Dublin’s Mansion House.
Image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland
As part of the Decade of Centenaries programme, a series of events will take place next week to mark the centenary of the foundation of Cumann na mBan.

Cumann na mBan was formed in Dublin on 2 April 1914 as a women's nationalist organisation which would work alongside the Irish Volunteers formed in 1913. The aims of Cumann na mBan (the Irish Women's Council), as set out at the time in membership booklets, were:
  • To advance the cause of Irish liberty
  • To organise Irishwomen in furtherance of this object
  • To assist in arming and equipping a body of Irishmen for the defence of Ireland
  • To form a fund for these purposes to be called "The Defence of Ireland Funds"
The organisation, which within six months had 60 branches across Ireland, is associated with many of the leading female figures of the time.

During the Rising, members of Cumann na mBan – who were drawn from all walks of life – risked life and limb to travel throughout Dublin delivering messages, food, and medical supplies. A number of members also took an active part in the fighting.

A range of events will take place over a four-day period from 2 April to mark the Centenary of the Foundation of Cumann na mBan.

Underpinning the commemorative programme is a commemoration ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery, led by President Micheal D. Higgins accompanied by Minister Jimmy Deenihan.

 Here's the schedule:

Wednesday 2 April
10.30am - A wreath will be laid at the grave of prominent Cumann na mBan member, Elizabeth O'Farrell, at Glasnevin Cemetery, Glasnevin, Dublin 11, by Minister Jimmy Deenihan.

11.30am - A Commemoration ceremony to mark the Centenary of the Foundation of Cumann na mBan will then take place at Glasnevin Cemetery. The ceremony, which will be led by the President, Michael D. Higgins accompanied by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, will include the laying of a wreath by the President as well as selected readings and music resonant of the historical period.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the ceremony and should be in position in the public viewing areas at Glasnevin Cemetery no later than 11am.

Following the State Commemoration - When the Presidential commemoration ceremony has concluded, invited guests will proceed to the Glasnevin Milestone Gallery at Glasnevin Museum for a brief address from President Higgins, followed by a Memorial Lecture in honour of the foundation of Cumann na mBan, delivered by Dr. Mary McAuliffe, President of the Women's History Association of Ireland (WHAI). Owing to space constraints at the venue, these proceedings will be relayed by public address system.

Thursday 3 April
7pm - A plaque will be unveiled by Minister Deenihan at Wynn’s Hotel, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1. Wynn’s Hotel was the venue for the inaugural meeting of Cumann na mBan.  

Friday 4 April and Saturday 5 April
12.00 - A major conference exploring the foundation, work and legacy of Cumann na mBan will be held by the Women’s History Association of Ireland at the National Museum, Collins Barracks, Dublin. Supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, in association with University College Dublin and the Mater Dei Institute of Education (DCU), the conference is free to attend but a place must be reserved in advance. Further details.

Book ahead for GRONI Search Room slots

Unless you've been living in a cave for the last couple of months, you'll know that the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) will be introducing its new bmd pay-to-view system to its Belfast Search Room next week (full online service a matter of weeks later).

In this transition phase, many of the existing computers in GRONI's Search Room have been upgraded to the new program but they can't be switched to operational mode until Monday 31 March. The remainder are still operating on the old program. Only this remainder – 6 computers – can be used for the rest of this week, which has resulted in significantly fewer spaces than normal being available for booking. This has caused disappointment to some researchers who've grown accustomed to booking at the last minute.

At present, all booking slots have been allocated up to and including Tuesday 1 April, so, if you have an urgent need to visit, it may be worth phoning on 0300 200 7890 so see if there's been a cancellation.

I imagine booking for the new program computers will get a bit lively next week, too!

The computers currently operating on the 'old' program will need to be transitioned from next Monday, so it may be a week or so before the full complement of computers is again available in the Search Room.

Of course, by then the program should be accessible without a need to visit Belfast!

(Thanks to Peter Kenny of Irish Family Ancestry for alerting Irish Genealogy News to the booking issue.)

UPDATE - 31 March 2014: Events have made the above somewhat superfluous. GRONI has launched the new site online today! See blogpost.

Monday 24 March 2014

Funeral of Shane MacThomáis, Wednesday 26 March

As many of you will already know, historian and author Shane MacThomáis died suddenly last Thursday in Glasnevin Cemetery where he had worked for the last fifteen years. 

Known as much for his wit and generosity of spirit as for the depth of his knowledge, Shane was a right-on idealist who brought history alive with his energy and enthusiasm. He will be hugely missed.

Details of the funeral arrangements have now been advised, as follows:

Reposing in the Crematorium Chapel, Glasnevin Cemetery on Tuesday 25 March from 4pm until 6pm. A Humanist Funeral Service will be held in the Chapel on Wednesday 26 March at 2pm, followed by burial.

As a mark of respect,  all Glasnevin Cemetery offices and departments will close at 1pm on Wednesday to allow colleagues to attend the funeral. In addition, Glasnevin Museum will close at 1:30pm. There will be no tours held on that day.

Listen Up: C17th trans-Atlantic white child slavery
Click to access BBC i-player
Interested to know about the trans-Atlantic white child slave trade at the turn of the late 17th century? Whether or not you were able to attend last week's talk by Dr Richard Hayes Phillips at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, you might like to listen in to an interview he gave Radio Ulster's Sunday Sequence programme at the weekend.

A recording of this interview, in which Dr Hayes Phillips talks about his latest book Without Indentures, Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records, is available on the BBC I-player for the next six days. It begins at around 1 hour 13 minutes 30 seconds in the recording and lasts for approximately ten minutes.

As far as I can tell, radio programmes are accessible via i-player internationally.

London talk: Prelude to the Plantation of Derry

On Friday 28 March, the Guildhall Library in the City of London will host a lecture about the prelude to the Plantation of Londonderry.

Following the English defeat of the last great Gaelic Irish Lords, King James I decided to plant the north of Ireland with English and Scots settlers. In this talk, Maureen O’Donnell will consider some of the historical steps leading to the most ambitious colonial project in Ireland since the Norman Conquest.

Time: 2-3pm

Venue: Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH

Cost: FREE, but you must book a seat

Booking online essential

If you have any queries, please contact or 020 7332 1869.

Irish genealogy & history events, 24–30 March

Monday 24 March: 1798 in Limerick, with Dr Ruan O'Donnell. Host: Thomond Archaeological Society. Venue: Room T,1.17 Tara Building, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. 8pm.

Monday 24 March: The Destruction of the Public Records Office 30 June 1922, with John M Regan. Venue: City Library, Grand Parade, Cork. 7.30pm. Admission is free.

Monday, 24 March: How the Irish travelled the continent, 1829-1914, with Raphaël Ingelbien. A Trinity College Dublin public lecture. All welcome. Venue: Trinity Long Room Hub, TCD. Dublin. 6:30pm.

Tuesday 25 March: The Northern Ireland Digital Film Archive, with Mary Bradley. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society Coleraine Branch. Venue: Guide Hall, Terrace Row, Coleraine. 8pm.

Tuesday 25 March: Cootehill and the Great War, with Hugh O'Brien. The first of three lectures about the local area's response to WW1. Venue: Cootehill Library, Bridge St, Cootehill, Co Cavan. 7pm. Free, but booking advised as places are limited. Tel: (0)49 555 9873.

Wednesday 26 March: World War 1: And the truth keeps marching on, with Ian Montgomery. Host: PRONI. Venue: Linenhall Library, Belfast. Free. Booking is essential. 1pm.

Wednesday 26 March: Growing up in Castle Leslie, with Sammy Leslie. Venue: Monaghan County Museum, Hill Street, Monaghan. 8pm. Free admission. Details, tel: 353 (0) 47 82928.

Wednesday 26 March: Bringing Home the Bride, an illustrated lecture about arranged marriage in Ireland, with Dr. Claudia Kinmonth.  Venue:  Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Co. Cork.  8:30pm.

Wednesday 26 March: Researching Your Irish Ancestor Using RootsIreland with Lisa Dougherty. Venue: Irish American Heritage Museum, Broadway, Albany, NY. 6:30pm. Free.

Thursday 27 March: Chester Beatty, the collector and his collections, with Charles Horton. Host: Friends of Monaghan County Museum. Venue: Monaghan County Museum, Hill Street, Monaghan. 8pm. Free admission. Details, tel: 353 (0) 47 82928.

Thursday 27 March: Records of Emigrants and Emigration, with Dr William Roulston. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Ballymena Branch. Venue: Michelin Arts Workshop, Braid Arts Centre, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, BT43 5EJ. 7:15pm.

Thursday 27 March: A life of marvellous grit: Joseph Plunkett, youngest 1916 leader, with Honor Ní Brolchain. Host: Rathmines, Ranelagh and Rathgar Historical Society. Venue: Rathmines Town Hall. 8pm. €3.

Thursday 27 March:
Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, with Michael Murphy. The annual Arthur Griffith Lecture. Cavan County Museum, Virginia Road, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan. 8pm. Free. Details: tel +353 49 854 4070.

Friday 28 March: Before Banna: politics, society & sport in Kerry 1912–1916, a History Ireland Hedge School, with Tommy Graham and a panel of experts. Venue: The Seanchaí — Kerry Writers’ Museum, 24 The Square, Listowel, Co Kerry. 7:30pm. Free. (Rescheduled from February due to extreme weather.)

Friday 28 March: Why you can't find your ancestors even though they're there, with John Grenham. Venue: Armagh Irish and Local Studies Library, 43 Abbey St, Armagh BT61 7DY. 12:30–2:30pm. Free but need to book. Phone:028 3752 3142.

Friday 28 March: Art and patronage in Cork c1800, wiht Dr Mary Jane Boland. Host: Skibbereen and District Historical Society. Venue: West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen. 8.30pm.

Friday 28 March: Formal launch of 'Tracing your Limerick Ancestors', by Margaret Franklin, who will be signing copies of her book. Host: Flyleaf Press and Limerick City & County Libraries. Venue: Granary Branch of the Library, Michael Street, Limerick. 6:30pm. All welcome.

Friday 28 March: The Plantation, with Maureen O'Donnell considering some of the historical steps leading to the most ambitious colonial project in Ireland since the Norman Conquest. Venue: Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, City of London EC2V 7HH. 2-3pm. Free, but booking online is essential. Queries: or 020 7332 1869.

Saturday 29 March: Society of Genealogists Open Day. Library tours, lectures and research advice. Venue: SOG, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Street, London EC1M 7BA. Free but need to book. Non-members welcome.

Saturday 29 March: One-day conference – The History of Limerick. Organised by Mary Immaculate College and University of Limerick. Venue: The Hunt Museum. The Custom House, Rutland Street, Limerick. Free. All welcome. 09:30 to 17:00. Details: +353 61 312833.

Saturday 22 March 2014

Records of Irish immigrant women in NYC launched
35,000 free records and an online exhibition
An important archive of female Irish emigrants has been launched online at

This release has been in the pipe for some time but after Hurricane Sandy caused damage to the building in which the original materials were stored, there was concern the digitisation project might have stalled.

But in the last few days, without any fanfare, this significant collection has been uploaded and released free of charge.

The records originate from the Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary for the Protection of Irish Immigrant Girls. This Mission operated from 1883 to 1954 in Watson House, which overlooks New York Harbour. It was the brain-child of Charlotte Grace O'Brien, daughter of the Irish patriot William Smith O'Brien, and was set up close to Castle Garden, the depot where immigrants were landed in the mid-to-late 19th century, before Ellis Island opened.

It aimed to help young vulnerable Irish women on their arrival in New York and offered safe and free temporary accommodation, as well as assistance finding employment or tracing relatives.

Between 1883 and 1908, more than 300,000 Irish women aged from just 14 to 44 immigrated via New York port. Around one-third of them were helped in one way or another by the Mission. Their details were recorded in sets of ledgers.

Five of these ledgers have been digitised and make up the launch record set on the new site. They cover the years 1897 to 1940 and hold some 35,000 entries. The details provided are name of ship and arrival date, woman's name, age, county of origin, and follow-on or destination address. The latter usually gives the name of the person, and relationship, if any, to the immigrant.

The counties of Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry and Mayo feature proportionally higher than other places of origin, no doubt reflecting the relative poverty and higher levels of emigration from the west of Ireland.

Although the Mission concentrated on women, there seem to be a number of men recorded in the ledgers, too. A quick search found full entries for John Baldwin of Queen's, Patrick Keeley from Kings and Michael Walsh from Cork, and many others. I've no idea why these young men were receiving assistance. I shall try to find out.

In the meantime, enjoy this valuable new resource. I'd also recommend the online Exhibition, which carries a lot of well-researched material about the city the women landed in and how they were cared for by the Mission.

(Many thanks to Joe Buggy, author of Tracing your Irish Ancestors in New York, for tipping me off on the launch.)

Friday 21 March 2014

Graveyard project training starts next week in Tang

Historic Graves will be holding historic graveyard training sessions next week and the week after in Tang, Co Westmeath.

Training will be on Thursday 17 March to Saturday 29 March and Thursday 3 April to Saturday 5 April.

This grassroots heritage project, which is funded by Westmeath Community Development under the Leader programme, will see surveys and recording of headstones carried out in Templeavalley, Noughaval and Arnacraney. Everyone is welcome. You're advised to wear warm clothes and thick soled boots.

To take part in this worthwhile project, phone Tom Conlon on 086 392 3021 or Jill Stanley on 087 783 8957.

Irish Origins monthly sub offer expires on Monday

Just a reminder, in case in got lost among all last weekend's special offers, that Irish Origins's special 36% discount on its monthly subscription is still available, but you need to act in the next few days.

This special offer allows you full access to Irish Origins for one month for the price of the standard 72-hour access: £6. All you have to do is select an Irish Origins Monthly subcription, and enter the Promotional code StPatrick2014 at sign-up or checkout.

You can take up the subscription discount offer until 24 March.

Irish Origins holds nearly 6 million Irish genealogy records including censuses, wills, directories, marriage and burial records, electoral registers, passenger lists, military records and rare publications.

Family History Day in Dublin – 29 March

On Saturday 29 March, Dublin City Library & Archive will hold its annual Family History Day. It's a free event that sees a full day's presentation of lectures offering practical information and case studies suitable for beginners as well as for those who are more experienced in Irish genealogical research.

The programme is as follows:

  9:30 Registration
  9:50 Welcome
10:00 Searching First World War records, with Conor Dodd
10:45 Tea/coffee
11:15 Records for lighthouse personnel in Ireland, with Liam Dodd
12:00 A family gathering of Dublin tanners in Trim, 2012, with Ricky Shannon
12:45 Lunch (not provided)
  2:00 Using maps for family history, with Dr Jacinta Prunty
  2:40 The Military Service Pensions Collection, with Cmdt Padraic Kennedy
  3:30 Rosie Hackett: the woman behind the bridge, with James Curry
  4:15 Finish

Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

Booking is not required, but it's recommended that you arrive early to ensure you get a seat. If you have any queries, email:

Irish genealogy course starts 27 March in Phoenix

A six-week course in Irish genealogy will be starting next week at the McClelland Irish Library in Phoeniz, Arizona.

Led by local genealogist Robert Wilbanks, this in-depth series of classes will concentrate on tracing family history through U.S. records back to the Irish immigrant. It covers online and traditional research, and organizational techniques using census, land, naturalization and church records.

The classes will be held on Thursdays, 6:30–8:30pm, from 27 March to 1 May.

Cost: $70 for members/$80 for non-members.

Venue: McClelland Irish Library, 1106 North Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix, adjacent to the Irish Cultural Center, in the Margaret T. Hance Park


Thursday 20 March 2014

We're down to weeks, rather than months

Here's an update and round-up of the much anticipated record collections working their way onto the online environment in the next month or so.

General Register Office of Northern Ireland's bmd facility:
No change to previous advice (see blogpost) that GRONI's new pay-to-view system will be 'soft launched' on Monday 31 March to researchers using GRONI's public search room in Belfast. All being well, the new system will hit the Internet a couple of weeks later.

National Archives of Ireland's Census Fragments and Census Search Forms
: The test site is now operating but is still being tweaked. Catriona Crowe is writing the explanatory text and expects these two collections to be live on the free NAI Genealogy site in a matter of weeks. My impression is that these record sets could see an Easter delivery, but that's me talking, nothing official. These records will also be available free of charge on NAI's Genealogy site, FindMyPast and FamilySearch.

National Archives of Ireland's Griffith's Valuation House and Field books: Progress came to an abrupt halt when it was discovered that the catalogue listing of this collection was, shall we say, a bit pear-shaped. For example, when a House Book was being 'called up', you might find you've received a Field Book. So while this record set is still in the pipe, it's nowhere near the far end yet. A new list will have to be created and the database completely reworked. The good news is that the books have all been scanned, so it's not right back to the start.

National Archives of Ireland's Wills and testamentary collections:
Still billed for later in the year.

General Register Office's civil registration records on Still no date for launch of the so-called 'enhanced' version of Ireland's civil registration indexes. Although it's still being talked about as if it's imminent, I wouldn't be surprised if this addition to the website is not completed in April.

Additions of maps to Griffith's Valuation database on AskAboutIreland: The upload (see previous blogpost) is now 'very close', I'm told. It's taken a bit longer than originally expected because many thousands of the maps crossed county borders and needed to be 'geographically' cropped. The final steps are now being taken and the upload will begin shortly. The upload process has not yet been confirmed but it seems likely it will be done county-by-county.

Argentinian censuses record 19th-century Irish

Ancestry has uploaded the 1865 census of Argentina and the 1895 census of Argentina to its database. The 1865 census was the first national census taken in the country and it holds returns for 1,799,773 individuals including a small Irish community mostly centred on Buenos Aires. The 1895 census was the second national census and holds 3.9m records.

Recent research suggests around 50,000 Irish emigrated to Argentina in the 19th century, so it's no surprise to find Doyles, Carthys and Driscolls among the entries in these record sets.

The original census records are held at the Archivo General de la Nación in Buenos Aires. They're written in Spanish but it's easy enough to translate the categories and responses if that's not a language with which you're familiar. The information provided includes name, age, nationality, marital status, occupation, literacy and residence. Unfortunately, only if born in Argentina are details provided of the individual's birthplace.

Potentially more helpful is the 1855 Buenos Aires census, also new to Ancestry. This census of the capital holds details of 132,000 people,including a couple of hundred Irish. Many of the entries include a place of birth. We're not talking townland level, but some indication of locality is provided. Below are a few examples:
  • Maria Kelly, a 22 year old, married domestic servant was born in Mullingar and had lived in Buenos Aires for six years
  • Daniel Carthy, a 21-year-old single labourer who'd been in Buenos Aires for just one year, came from Cork.
  • Tomas Higgins, a 20-year-old batchelor cook was born in Westmeath* and had lived in Argentina capital for 8 years

*As with many of the early Irish migrants to Argentina, Tomas was recorded as of English nationality but his place of birth shows this to be incorrect.

All three of these record sets are also available free of charge, with images, on FamilySearch.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Minister launches Inspiring Ireland in USA
Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has launched Inspiring Ireland at Stanford University, California.

Inspiring Ireland is an ambitious online project designed to bring Ireland's renowned national collections to a global audience.

Some of the country's most treasured cultural assets from national museums, libraries, galleries, archives and theatre have been digitised and photographed to a very high standard and can now be viewed free of charge at a new interactive website called, you guessed it,

The project is a collaboration between the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Digital Repository of Ireland, the National Library, the National Museum, the National Gallery, the National Archives, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Crawford Art Gallery, the Chester Beatty Library and the Abbey Theatre.

The launch site features a core exhibition – A Sense of Place – accompanied by two further exhibitions: A Sense of Freedom, and A Sense of Identity. These three exhibitions are populated with more than 100 fully searchable objects, including digitised paintings, letters, sculpture, historical objects, photography, letters and documents, and ephemera.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Deenihan commented: "It gives me great pride to launch Inspiring Ireland. Ireland’s national cultural institutions hold collections that are of great international significance. They chart the story of Ireland, from pre-Christian and medieval times to the modern day. And they hold as part of their collections treasures of international importance drawn from the across the globe.

"Inspiring Ireland will also support the digitisation and preservation of Ireland's digital cultural heritage for future generations, showcasing once again Ireland's growing reputation as a centre for the innovative use of digital technology."

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Irish genealogy and history events 18–22 March 2014

Tuesday 18 March: The Irish genealogies – Irish history’s poor relation? Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle will present the Breandán O’Buachalla Memorial Lecture. Host: Irish Texts Society. Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Free, no booking required. 6:30pm.

Tuesday 18 March: Visual imagery of the Great War, with Marie Bourke. Venue: Lecture Theature, National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square West, Dublin 2. 10:30am. Free.

Tuesday 18 March: The Battle of Clontarf story in 18th and 19th-century Irish manuscripts, with Meidhbhin Ni Urdail. Part of the RIA's lunchtime lecture series Spring 2014. Venue: Meeting Room, RIA, 19 Dawson St, Dublin 2. 1–2pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 18 March to 4 July: Exhibition: The Fifth Province: County Societies in Irish America. This exhibition is dedicated to the many men and women who tried to establish a bit of ‘home’ in the United States by joining county societies, most notably the United Irish Counties Association which was set up as an umbrella body in 1904. Free admission. All welcome. Linenhall Library, Belfast. Details.

Wednesday 19 March: The road to revolution and partition 1885–1925, with Dr Eamon Phoenix, and The Protestant Churches and the Third Home Rule Crisis, 1912-14, with Professor Laurence Kirkpatrick. Venue: Iveagh Cinema, Banbridge, Co Down. Free. 8pm.

Wednesday 19 March: A new perspective on the Irish Citizen Army, with Ann Matthews. Host: Old Dublin Society. Venue: Dublin City Library & Archive, 138–144, Pearse Street, Dublin. 6:30pm.

Wednesday 19 March: Kidnapped, Transported, Forgotten. White Slave Children in
Colonial America, 1660-1720
, with Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 1:00 to 2:00pm. Free but booking essential. Email PRONI to secure your place at

Wednesday 19 March: Rocky Road to Dublin: Easter Rising Reflections, with Cliff Housley. Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH. 7.30pm-9.00pm. Tickets: £3 on the door. Refreshments included. Tel: 0115 8373097.

Wednesday 19 March: Irish Genealogy 101, with Lisa Dougherty. Rescheduled from storm-hit previous Wednesday. Venue: Irish American Heritage Museum, Broadway, Albany, NY. 6:30pm. Free.

Wednesday 19 March: Portrait of an Edwardian Town, with Peter Pearson. Host: Dún Laoghaire Borough Historical Society. Venue: Kingston Hotel, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 8pm. €3.50.

Wednesday 19 March: Why you can't find your ancestors even though they're there, with John Grenham. Venue: Armagh Irish and Local Studies Library, 43 Abbey St, Armagh BT61 7DY. 12:30–2:30pm. Free but need to book. Phone:028 3752 3142.

Thursday 20 March: Impact of the Great War on Ireland with Philip Orr. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society North Down & Ards Branch. Venue: 1st Presbyterian Church Hall, Main Street, Bangor, Co Down. 7:30pm.

Thursday 20 March: 'Under the great comedian's tomb', the funeral of Parnell, with Frank Callanan. Host: TCD. Venue: Milestone Gallery, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Dublin. 7pm. Tickets: €10. Booking: +353 (0)1 882 6550.

Thursday 20 March: Offaly & the First World War, with Michael Byrne. Host: Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society. Venue: Offaly History Centre, Bury Quay, Tullamore. 8pm.

Thursday 20 March: First World War sources at PRONI, an evening of presentations. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 6:00-8:00pm. Details. Free but booking essential, here.

Friday 19 March: Women in the Irish Census of 1911: How much has changed in 100 years?, with Catriona Crowe. Venue: Newry City Library, Hill St, Newry, Down BT34 1DG. 12:45–2:30pm. Free but need to book. Phone: 028 3026 4683.

Friday 21 March: Midlands men in the American Civil War, with Damian Shiels. Host: Edenderry Historical Society. Venue: Edenderry Parish Centre (behind St Mary's RC Church). 8pm. All welcome. Admission €2.

Saturday 22 March: Commemoration of the (1914) Irish Citizen Army March. Venue: Liberty Hall, Dublin. 3-4pm, includes a performance, music and a lecture with Ann Matthews on the foundation of the ICA. Free. All welcome.

Monday 17 March 2014

Irish Genealogical Research Society competition

To celebrate St Patrick's Day, the Irish Genealogical Research Society is offering family historians the chance to win a free membership subscription.

All you have to do is send an email with details of your name and home town to be entered into a draw that will be made on Wednesday. Ten lucky people will be given a full membership to the Society for 2014.

There are more details on the Society's website,

Sunday 16 March 2014

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: latest update

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (IGP-web) have added the following files in the first two weeks of March:

CARLOW Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
New Memorial Cards added

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives - Church Records
List of Marriage Lines (Dispensations) St. Eunan's Letterkenny 1857

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives
Deansgrange Cemetery – St. Brigids Section, pt 6
Transcription Sketches of Booterstown and Donneybrook, printed 1874 (Burials)

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives – Miscellaneous
Tenants from Mullynaskea and Cavancarragh

KILDARE Genealogy Archives – Memorial Cards
New Cards Added

TYRONE Genealogy Archives
Church Records – Deaths Records at Kilskeery Church of Ireland 1796 - 1897
Headstones – Killskeery Parish Church (CoI) (partial)

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives – Church Records
Assorted Church records for MILEY

Saturday 15 March 2014

FindMyPast adds 2.3m Passenger List records has added 2,358,804 passenger records to its databases.

The new record sets are these (number of entries in brackets):

MyHeritage opens passenger records for St Patrick's

Here's one more special offer for your genealogical feasting this St Patrick's weekend.

MyHeritage will give you free access to its collection of 604,596 records of passengers who arrived in New York from 1846 to 1851 ie covering the key years of the Great Hunger. In addition to advising details of the ship they sailed on, these records provide the following information: name, age, last residence, destination, passenger arrival date and occupation. Many records contain additional detail.

Free access is available here and will continue until 23:59hrs (EST) on Monday 17 March. There's no sign-up/registration required.

Friday 14 March 2014

Final countdown to Genealogy Day in Limerick!

This time tomorrow, the doors to Christ Church on Limerick's O'Connell Street, will have opened on Genealogy Day, an absolute must-visit event for anyone who's curious about their family heritage and local history.

The venue will be full of stands, genealogists and historians, and visitors will have plenty of opportunity to interact with these specialists, to search genealogical records online and to browse through historical documents.

One of the highlights of G-Day is its collection of original church registers from Methodist, Presbyterian and Quaker parishes in and around the City. The registers for St Michael's Roman Catholic parish, which date back to 1777, will also be available, but only around the lunchtime period. This in a rare opportunity to view original baptism and marriage records (there will also be rollbooks for St Michael's National School on Pery Square), and it's being presented to the public under the guidance of Limerick Council Archivist Jacqui Hayes who has set up the systems and protocols for handling and accessibility.

Those with local connections will also want to chat to Limerick Genealogy, Clare Roots Society, Shanid Historical Society, Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society, the Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society, the Limerick International Brigades Memorial Trust and the region's two major repositories: Limerick Museum & Archives and the Local Studies department of Limerick City Library. Margaret Franklin will also be on hand to help local researchers and to talk about her recently updated edition of Tracing your Limerick Ancestors; published by Flyleaf Press, this is an essential reference tool for any researcher with family links to the county.

While there is certainly an emphasis on the local and family history of County Limerick and neighbouring County Clare, those whose ancestors came from other parts of the island will be well catered for. Teams from the Irish Ancestry Research Centre, Eneclann, and the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) will be on hand to answer queries and offer guidance to family historians, whether they are just starting their research or are further along, and you can also find out about Ancestral Connections, a one-week genealogy school to be held at University College Cork this summer.

This year's Genealogy Day will also have a special emphasis on the 100th-year anniversary of the start of the First World War, so the Royal Munster Fusiliers Association will be in attendance. The Association has its own private database of Irishmen who fought in WW1 and will be able to offer tips about searching for British military records.

Also marking Ireland's Decade of Centenaries will be a team from Trinity College Dublin's 'Letters of 1916' project, which will be set up with a projector in a dedicated room just inside the Chambers Buildings. This ground-breaking project aims to create a crowd-sourced digital collection of letters written around the time of the Easter Rising (1 November 1915 – 31 October 1916). The project will include letters held at institutions (in Ireland and abroad), alongside those in private collections and will feature letters by private individuals, soldiers, and officials, with comment about the world around them: the Easter Rising, literature and art, the Great War, politics, business, or ordinary life.

If you have family letters that might even possibly fit the bill, please bring tham along to Genealogy Day. If you don't have any such letters, never mind. You can still get involved in the project by helping to transcribe those that have been submitted by others. Be sure to find out more about Letters of 1916 on Saturday. It's a fascinating project.

A short talk by Brian Donovan of about online genealogical records and an informal Questions & Answers session will round up the day at about 4pm.

It's St Patrick's weekend in Ireland's City of Culture, so of course, there's a load of other events being held, but G-Day really is a very special occasion – it won't cost you a cent/penny, either – and you'll kick yourself if you miss it!

St Patrick's Day: Eneclann offers 10% discount

Another St Patrick's Day discount, this time from Eneclann.

It's a straightforward discount offer... Purchase anything you fancy from the company's online store and claim a 10% discount by typing StPat into the Coupon Code box when you get to checkout.

The offer will be available up to and including Monday 17 March.

Browse the Eneclann store.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Ancestry releases 2.4m census records for C19th MA

As if this week's brand new Irish Roman Catholic parish registers weren't enough from Ancestry (see blogpost), they've gone and delivered another couple of record sets that have huge Irish interest: the Massachusetts State Censuses, 1855 and 1865.

And I mean huge. There are 1,138,563 individuals recorded in the earlier census and 1,273,140 in the later one. And they're both practically overflowing with Irish! I've just searched the 1865 returns and found 22 Santrys, for heaven's sake, and they're not two-a-penny.

The census returns for both years recorded the following details: name, age, gender, race, occupation and birthplace. The 1865 census additionally recorded marital status. Although the individuals are grouped by household, the head of household is not indicated. Relationship between the individuals are not noted, either.

To search the collections, take your pick:

Massachusetts State Census 1855

Massachusetts State Census 1865

UPDATE 15 March
: Ancestry has also updated its collection of nearly 10million birth, marriage and death records 1840–1915 for Massachusetts.

Great St Patrick's Day offers from Origins

This St Patrick's Day, Origins is opening up access to its Index of Irish Wills, 1484–1858, and offering a whopping 36% discount on an Irish Origins monthly subscription.

Irish Wills Index
This Index spans 1484 to 1858 and contains more than 102,000 names compiled from records found at the National Archives of Ireland (NAI). It is concerned only with records that survive in more-than-index form, ie where original documents, copies, transcripts, abstracts or extracts still exist and can be examined at the NAI.

Each index entry contains the name of the person leaving a will, or being covered by a grant of probate or administration. It also contains their address, sometimes their occupation, and the place where the document was proved (ie a diocesan or the Prerogative court). About half of the entries contain the names and addresses of the executors.

Search and Access Irish Wills Index 1484-1858 FREE

There will be a 32-hour window to take advantage of this bounty, starting at 00:01hrs on Monday 17 March. This offer ends at 08:00hrs on Tuesday 18 March. (All times are GMT).

Monthly Subscription Offer

Irish Origins holds nearly 6 million Irish genealogy records including censuses, wills, directories, marriage and burial records, electoral registers, passenger lists, military records and rare publications.

This special offer allows you full access to Irish Origins for one month for the price of the standard 72-hour access: £6. All you have to do is select an Irish Origins Monthly subcription, and enter the Promotional code StPatrick2014 at sign-up or checkout.

You can take up the subscription discount offer until 24 March.

March issue of Irish Lives Remembered published
The March issue of Irish Lives Remembered magazine has been published and is now available for free download.

This month's main research focus is in double vision, with both County Limerick and New York highlighted. The 26-page Limerick section provides an overview of researching in both Limerick City and County and looks at the holdings of several repositories, including the Local Studies library, City Library and City Archives.

There's also a feature about the highly regarded Limerick's Life, by fellow blogger Sharon Slater, which anyone with an interest in the history of Limerick ought to be following, and a two-pager about this Saturday's Genealogy Day – easily the most important and interesting event happening in the City of Culture this weekend!

Moving across the Atlantic, Joe Buggy explores the need to appreciate the distinction between New York City and New York State, when searching for records in the Big Apple; there's a feature about Annie Moore, the first emigrant to pass through Ellis Island, and another about writer Mary Anne Madden Sadlier's life journey from Cootehill in County Cavan to Quebec and on to New York. And going further afield, there's a useful listing of online resources for those researching ancestors in Australia's North Territory.

There's a lot more besides, so download your copy and get reading.

Genealogy Roadshow returns to RTE in May

A second series of the Genealogy Roadshow will return to RTE One on Sunday 4 May.

In each episode, historian Turtle Bunbury teams up with professional genealogists John Grenham MAPGI and Susan Chadwick MAPGI to meet members of the public and work out the truth behind family stories of being descended from a famous historical character or connected to a historical event. The show has been described as 'Antiques Roadshow meets Who Do You Think You Are?'.

The second series was filmed at Powerscourt in Co Wicklow, University College Cork and Lumen Christi College, Derry.

Episode one, filmed at Powerscourt, will be broadcast at 7pm on 4 May, with the other two episodes screening at the same time on the following Sundays.

Produced by Big Mountain, the original series aired on RTE1 television in 2011 and has been repeated four times since. An American version was also developed last year.

UPDATE 4 May: The second series has been rescheduled to start on Sunday 11 May.

(And to those who copy my blogposts and don't credit the source.... this serves you right!!)

Ancestry gives free access to Irish collection

Since St Patrick's Day is nearly upon us, the good folks of Ancestry are opening up their Irish records collection with free access.

The offer doesn't require any registration, email addresses or credit cards, and free access will continue until 17 March, 11:59 ET, which I think is four or five hours behind GMT.

The records available include many of the essential resources – Irish civil registration records of birth, marriage and death; the 1901 and 1911 Irish census; and Griffiths Valuation – plus some other valuable collections such as the New York Emigrant Savings 1850-1883, the Lawrence Collection of photographs 1870-1910, and the Irish Canadian Emigration Records 1823-1849.

Collections of parish register records include the four exciting Roman Catholic record sets uploaded yesterday (see blogpost).

What a great opportunity to check out those new register records!

South Australian records added to FindMyPast has added a batch of South Australian records to its World collection. The 8,474 records cover the years 1835 to 2005.

While the collection is not big in numbers, it could well hold some gems for researchers with links Down Under.

These are the new record sets (number of records in brackets):
  • British Garrison Deserters In South Australia (45)
  • South Australia Cemetery Inscriptions (1,656)
  • South Australia Destitute Women 1855-1860 (294)
  • South Australia Landowners 1835-1841 (3,482)
  • South Australia Naturalisations 1849-1903 (2,958)
  • South Australian Ex-Convicts (39)

Wednesday 12 March 2014

PRONI completes upload of its will calendar collection Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has completed its upload of additional Will Calendars to its free public database.

Some 170,000 entries have been added to the site and can now be searched.

PRONI's Wesley Geddis (who will be talking at the official launch tomorrow lunchtime) told Irish Genealogy News this afternoon that the total of entries now available to search is 415,000 covering the years 1858 to 1965 inclusive.

This fully searchable online database holds data from entries in the Will Calendars of wills proved in Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry District Registries. These Registries cover the six counties now in Northern Ireland, plus Counties Louth, Monaghan and Donegal, which are in the Republic of Ireland.

Most searches return a transcription of the entry in the Calendar, which is basically an annual index. As such, the returns don't include all the details of the will, only the rudiments, but they can often be very revealing, providing information about the deceased's address and occupation, together with the value of the estate and the name of the person to whom probate has been granted.

Where copies of the original will have survived, their details can provide outstanding genealogical information. See example below.

Digitised images of entries from the copy will books are available for some 100,000 wills. Images for wills proved in the Londonderry District Registry extend to 1899; those from Armagh District Registry extend to 1919; those for Belfast District Registry extend to 1909.

This is a top-rate genealogical resource, and it's very simple to use. Search the Will Calendars.

Genealogy afloat: July cruise includes Irish research

Now here's a novel way (to those of us in northern Europe, at least) to progress your Irish genealogy research: a cruise around the geographical British Isles, taking in Scottish, English and French islands, London, Normandy and Dublin.

The 10-day Unlock The Past cruise will set off on the Marco Polo from London on 19 July. It'll be the fifth genealogy cruise from the Australia-based organisers, and their first in the northern hemisphere. In addition to all the on-board relaxation and shore excursions that you'd expect of a classic ocean liner, passengers will be able to choose from a terrific programme of genealogy lectures, Research Help Zones, special-interest groups and technology-related presentations throughout the cruise.

The Marco Polo Waldorf Restaurant
Around 40 topics will be available across 25 sessions, with most of them held in the early evening to allow plenty of time for shore leave (there's only one full day at sea) and cruise entertainment.

Topics will appeal to those with British and Irish connections, and the line-up of lecturers includes many names well-known for their specialism in these areas of research. Among them are Eileen and Sean Ó Dúill who will be presenting the Irish-themed talks.

The lecture programme is still provisional but Irish lectures are likely to be as follows:

Eileen Ó Dúill:

  • Researching in Ireland: planning is the key to success – intermediate/advanced
  • Dublin, 30 June 1922: did everything blow up? – intermediate/advanced
  • Introduction to Irish genealogy: where do I start? – beginner
  • Mrs Fancy Tart is coming to tea: making sense of family stories
Sean Ó Dúill:
  • Country cures from Irish folklore
  • Death and burial: peasant Ireland in the 19th century
  • Matchmaking and marriage customs in 19th century rural Ireland
Details of the main focus of each of these talks can be found here.

In addition, the organisers may offer a genealogy-related shore tour in Dublin and possibly in one or two other ports. See the full itinerary of the cruise for details of ports of call and typical excursions available from them.

For more details about the cruise, click on the image of the Marco Polo below.

The Marco Polo (Cruise & Maritime Voyages)

Ancestry adds collection of Roman Catholic registers

Making their debut on Ancestry today are four collections of Irish Roman Catholic parish registers. They include baptism, marriage, burial and, very unusually, confirmations from a selection of parishes in the counties of Armagh, Carlow, Derry, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kildate, Laois, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Sligo, Tipperary, Westmeath and Wicklow.

Many of the entries include a high quality scanned image of the original register entry, while others return a transcript.

Baptisms: This is a big collection of more than half a million (544,651, to be precise) entries in 73 parish registers. Dates range from 1763 to 1912 (the individual registers do not each cover this span). Depending on the layout of some of the registers, you may find that you need to click through to the next page to see the names of sponsors.

Marriages: This collection covers 147,133 marriages in 62 parishes with dates ranging from 1775 to 1912 (see note above) .

Burials: This collection holds details of 15,773 burials recorded in the registers of 19 parishes from 1767 to 1912 (see note above).

Confirmations: This collection of 8,131 entries includes confirmations in just 12 parishes with dates ranging from 1775 to 1912 (see note above).

Here's a list of the parishes included in these collections. Please note the spellings are taken from the Ancestry site; some appear to be incorrect*:

Baptism Marriage Burial Confirmation
Addergoole Addergoole Armagh Ballina
Allen Allen Armagh Ballina (Kilmoremoy)
Annacarty Annacarty Ballinakill Ballon & Rathcoe
Armagh Armagh Baltinglass Baltinglass
Aughrim Aughrim Canice's (Finglas & StMargaret) Canice's (Finglas & StMargaret)
Backs Backs Carlingford Castleconnor
Ballina (Ardnaree) Ballina (Ardnaree) Carlingford & Omeath Easkey
Ballina (Kilmoremoy) Ballina (Kilmoremoy) Castleconnor Killala
Ballinakill Ballinakill Cooley Moneymore
Ballon & Rathoe Ballon & Rathoe Darver Mouthrath
Ballyadams Ballyadams Kilglass Rathvilly
Ballybricken Ballybricken Kill Tourlestrane (Kilmactigue)
Ballyconneely Ballyconneely Magherafelt
Ballyfin Ballyfin Mountrath
Baltinglass Baltinglass Portlaoise (Maryborough)
Bangor Erris Bangor Erris Rathvilly
Belmullet Caherlistrane (Donaghpatrick&Kilcooney) Skreen & Dromard
Beragh Canice's (Finglas & StMargaret)
Caherlistrane (Donaghpatrick&Kilcooney) Summerhill
Canice's (Finglas & StMargaret) Cappawhite Tinryland
Cappawhite Carlingford
Carlingford Carlingford & Omeath
Carlingford & Omeath Carnacross
Carnacross Castleconnor
Castlebar Clifden
Castleconnor Cooley
Claddaghduff (Omey & Ballindoon) Crossmolina
Clifden Darver
Coalisland Donaghmore
Cooley Easkey
Crossmolina Emly
Darver Golden & Kilpack
Donaghmore Inishboffin
Easkey Kilcommon Erris
Emly Kilcurry (Faughart)
Golden Kilglass
Golden & Kilpack Kilglass
Inishboffin Kill
Kilcloon Killala
Kilcommon Erris Killursa
Kilcurry Knockbridge
Kilcurry (Bridgeacrin) Knockmore & Rathduff
Kilcurry (Faughart) Lackagh
Kilglass Lacken
Kill Louisburgh
Killala Louisburgh (Kilgeever)
Killursa Louth
Kilmacshalgan Magherafelt
Knockmore & Rathduff Malahide
Lackagh Mountrath
Lacken Moy
Louisburgh (Kilgeever) Moy (Clonfeacle)
Louth Naas
Magherafelt Portlaoise (Maryborough)
Malahide Rathvilly
Moneymore Skreen & Dromard
Mouthrath Solohead
Moy Summerhill
Moy (Clonfeacle) Termonmaguire
Mullingar Tinryland
Naas Tourlestrane
Portlaoise (Maryborough) Tourlestrane (Kilmactigue)
Rathangan Tullow
Skreen & Dromard
Tourlestrane (Kilmactigue)
Westland Row

* According to Ancestry, Aughrim is in Co Galway; it isn't... its in Aughrim Street, Dublin. (Thanks to Stuart McGee, who's just found a relative in that parish register!)