Tuesday 29 April 2014

Guide to Galway's rural councils' archives published

Available in hard copy and now in pdf
As part of the Decade of Commemorations, Galway County Council Archives has published a guide to its Rural District Council archive holdings.

Called For the Record, The Archives of Galway's Rural District Councils, it's a high-quality A4 publication, very well laid-out and produced in hard copy, and it's now been made available in pdf format, too.

The guide includes an introductory essay which examines the achievements and attitudes of Galway’s Councils as a whole. It includes detailed descriptive lists, or finding aids, for the Ballinasloe No. 1 and No. 2 Councils (the latter was under the jurisdiction of Roscommon County Council), Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam.

These collections date from 1899 to 1925 and detail the functions and achievements of our predecessors in early local government, dealing with, among other things, the provision of labourers’ cottages, water pumps and burial grounds, and also the maintenance of local roads.

Mainly made up of minutes, the records chart the development of political thought in the first quarter of the 20th century, from the support for Home Rule in the early 1900s to the demand for Independence by 1920 and recognition of the underground Dáil Éireann.

By their nature, minutes don't often record names or other genealogical details (although the occasional name of locals does crop up from time to time, especially when they were receiving payment as contractors or suppliers). However, if you have ancestors from these areas, you can discover a lot about the way they lived and the issues affecting their lives from these records. Here are some random examples:

Report from Dr O'Kelly, Medical Officer of Health, stating that he finds 'the people of Mount Bellew the slowest in cleaning their houses etc, and some of them are loudest in talking and laying down the law. I recommend that prompt measures (be taken) to make the people observe even common decency. There are very few privies, and the demesne around Mount Bellew is a network of human excrement'.

'It was ordered that Pat Killilea of Bohill, who was wounded by gun-fire, be removed to a Dublin Hospital, as recommended by Dr Callaghan.' (14 Dec 1920)

Letter from Dr Loftus, Medical Health Officer of Spiddal Dispensary District, calling attention to the appearance of 35 cases of influenza, with chest infections, in his District within a few days. 'Probable source of infection, introduction of the disease by some Teachers who had been visiting in Tuam...'

'Submitted final notice of application by Michael Corless, Kinvara, for £80 compensation for the malicious burning of three stacks of oats at Kinvara on 29 January 1911.'

Copies of the book are available in local libraries or by contacting archivist@galwaycoco.ie. You can download the pdf version (4.8Mb) from the Council's Publications' page.

UPDATE, Thursday 1 May:
Cllr. Liam Carroll, Mayor of Galway County, is to launch For the Record, The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, a Guide to the Collections tonight at 5.30 pm. Dr Mary Clancy, historian and author attached to NUI Galway, will also give a talk on the role, functions and attitudes of the Rural District Councils.

All are welcome to this event.

Soldiers' Wills online collection completed

While the pre-1901 census fragments and the census search forms have received bundles of attention in the run-up and final release on the NAI's Genealogy website yesterday (see blogpost), the digitisation of a collection of soldiers' wills has quietly been completed and uploaded to the same site.

This collection holds the wills of Irishmen who served in the British army in the 19th and early 20th century. These wills were made by non-commissioned soldiers who were encouraged by the army to make a will before leaving for active service. A small number of these wills relate to men who went to the South African (Boer) Wars of 1898-1902. However, the majority of the collection dates from the First World War.

With the entire collection now online, free, researchers can search and view digitised images of all the surviving original wills.

Monday 28 April 2014

Pre-1901 Irish census records & substitutes launch

Now that's what I call a census fragment!
The National Archives of Ireland's collections of pre-1901 census fragments and census search forms (a total of around 600,000 records) have been uploaded to the NAI's free Genealogy site, along with explanatory contextual images and text.

The database will also be available, free of charge, at FindMyPast and Family Search.

The 19th-century census fragments are surviving returns from the censuses taken in Ireland in 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851. There are considerably more entries than I expected to see, but some don't have locations, ages, relationships to household etc, ie all the important geneaogical stuff. But even those incomplete entries may help some researchers.
Search the census fragments and substitutes (select year in drop down menu)

The Census Search Forms were the documents completed by those wishing to 'prove' their age to support an application for a state pension, following its introduction in 1908. A search was made of the paper returns for the 1841 and 1851 censuses (which had not been destroyed at this time) to see if the applicant could be identified. Whether 'found' or not, these search forms often hold terrific genealogical information, as information they provided about their parents and siblings was often noted on the form. They're often erroneously referred to as Irish pension records. Again, these forms will knock down some brickwalls.

Search the census search forms.

Time to play!

You also might like to listen to Brian Donovan of FindMyPast.ie who was interviewed on the John Murray RTE show this morning. He talks about the relevance of these records and the information contained within them (ie 1841 & 1851 censuses asked who had died since the previous census or who was temporarily absent from the household). While he describes census records as the 'goldbar' of genealogical data, he says FMP will be digitising some 80million records for the National Archives alone over the next two years. He also gives some examples of entries. You can listen here. Shuffle along to 49minutes 53secs.

Limerick Mt St Lawrence cemetery Phase II launches

Tobin headstones marked on Mt St Lawrence map
A new website holding photographs, transcriptions and an interactive map of one of Ireland's largest cemeteries was launched on Friday night at the Beyond the Grave conference in Limerick.

At http://mountsaintlawrence.limerick.ie/ researchers can search and view images of 7,000+ gravemarkers in Mount Saint Lawrence cemetery and find the exact location of individual burial plots on an efficient interactive map.

In addition, headstones in the cemetery's Sections A-H have been transcribed and can be searched by an individual's name and year of death.

There are more than 12,000 individuals recorded in this database.

The map will only identify graves with headstones or markers; you will not find a grave without a headstone. If you believe your ancestor was buried here but you can't find them in the database, check out the  Burial Register Transcriptions. Transcribing the registers formed Phase I of the Mount Saint Lawrence Project, which was completed about 18 months ago.

The project was carried out in a partnership between Limerick City Archives and the staff and students of the History and Geography Departments of Mary Immaculate College.  Phase II was carried out over the past two years by more than 350 volunteers who photographed and transcribed grave markers throughout the 18-acre site.

Irish genealogy and history events, 29 April to 2 May

Monday 28 April: Citizen soldiers: Irish political militarism in the Atlantic World 1778-1914, witih Dr Christopher Loughlin. Host: Institute of Irish Studies. Venue: First floor, IIS, QUB, 8 Fitzwilliam Street, Belfast. 1–2pm. Free.

Tuesday 29 April: The Brian Boru Harp and its musical legacy, with Dr Janet Harbison. 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 29 April:
The Irish census, including the newly launched fragments and search forms, with Catriona Crowe. Host: Kilrush and District Historical Society. Venue: Teach Ceoil, Grace Street, Kilrush, Co Clare. 8pm.

Wednesday 30 April: Using DNA to help research your Northern Irish Family Tree, with Dr Maurice Gleeson. 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.

Wednesday 30 April: Reaching Out Together information session, with Reaching Out and Ancestry.com. Learn about reverse genealogy and using Ancestry's databases. Venue: Moylough Community Centre, Co Galway. 8pm. Free and open to the public. Register for the event by contacting the Ireland XO office on 091 842013 or roadshow@irelandxo.com.

Wednesday 30 April: Christianising Mayo, with Chris Corlett. Host: The Mayo Historical & Archaeological Society in association with the Heritage Studies Dept., GMIT. Venue: GMIT Campus, Castlebar, Co Mayo. 8pm. All welcome.

30 April 2014: The arts and the archives, with Ann McVeigh. Host: PRONI. Venue: Linenhall Library, Belfast. Free. Booking is essential. 1pm

Wednesday 30 April: The River Bann: a view from the archives, with Lorraine Burke. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Time: 1–2pm. Admission is FREE but booking is essential. Email proni@dcalni.gov.uk to reserve your place.

Thursday 1 May to Sunday 11 May: Castleton Lanterns exhibition. Last year a box of 100-year-old glass lantern slides were discovered in the organ loft of Alexandra Presbyterian Church. The 77 slides were images of 137 men from the Castleton congregation who served in WW1. Some 31 of these men are known to have been killed in action. Can you help identify some of the other men? Venue: War Memorial Gallery, 21 Talbot St, Belfast, Co Antrim BT1 2LD. The images are also online at castletonlanterns.co.uk.

Friday 25 April 2014

FindMyPast responds to criticism of its new engine

You'd have had to have been living under a rock at the top of the most remote Connemara hill to have got through the last few weeks without being deafened by the criticisms and complaints against the new version search engine recently launched by FindMyPast.

The racket hasn't been as loud from Ireland as it has from elsewhere, especially the UK. I suspect this is because FindMyPast Ireland and Australia/NZ (and possibly the USA, which I've never tried out) have being using a localised or similar version of this new engine since their launches, so we might be finding the leap somewhat narrower than others. That doesn't mean we're happy bunnies, of course. I've always preferred to use the UK site when searching FMP's Ireland collection; that option is no longer available because all the FindMyPast sites have moved to the new engine.

FindMyPast has responded to the criticisms with a couple of videos. The first is an interview with the editor of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine where the company replies to some of the criticisms; below it is a how-to tutorial which may make the jump a little easier. Both can be viewed below.

Galway Archives releases Irish Volunteers material

An online exhibition commemorating the Irish Voluteers, Galway City Corps, has been published by Galway County Council Archives as part of the Council's Decade of Commemorations strategy.

It includes original source material recording the development of the Volunteers in Galway City in 1914 and includes records documenting the split in the organisation following the outbreak of World War I. There's also correspondence between the Galway branch and the Volunteers’ Headquarters in Dublin, such as an order for rifles (17 Sept 1914, GS13/02), some of which is signed and / or initially by Liam Mellows. Of more immediate interest to Irish family historians are the documents which record names of members of the Galway City Corps and details of the subscriptions they paid.

The exhibition is primarily comprised of items from two collections held in the Archives: Minutes of the Irish Volunteers, Galway City Corps dating from 4 May to 20 September 1914, (GS01/03), (a 6Mb pdf) and a City Corps file of correspondence dating from 25 July to 5 October 1914, (GS13/02), a 7.2Mb pdf.

Available for free download in pdf format, the two collections contain a wealth of rarely accessed material.

Be sure to also check out the growing list of digital archives being made available by Galway Council Archives.

Major Irish genealogy conference in Waltham, MA

15-16 August 2014
A two-day conference – Celtic Connections, The Leaving of Home: Migration, Motivation and Myth – will be held in August in Waltham, Massachussets, and will witness a gathering of many of Irish genealogy's best-known presenters from both sides of the Atlantic.

Celtic Connections has been organised by The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) and the Irish Genealogical Society International (IGSI), and will include more than 20 lectures and 26 presentations covering genealogy, literature, music, history, language and more.

Among the Irish genealogy experts taking part are John Grenham, Eileen and Sean Ó Dúill, Brian Donovan, Kyle Betit, Dwight Radford, Donna Moughty and Bill Budde.

Take a good look at the comprehensive programme and an overview of each lecture's content on the Sessions page.

Belfast-based initiative to explore living legacy of WW1

A new initiative is underway to explore the contemporary resonances of WW1.

http://livinglegacies1914-18.ac.uk/Based in Belfast, where the conflict had such a long lasting and complex effect, The Living Legacies 1914–1918 Engagement Centre will be a focal point for academics and community researchers looking at how WW1 lives on in the modern world, and aims to work with community-led research projects across the UK to help achieve greater levels of outreach and engagement beyond their immediate localities.

The Centre will be able to support such projects with research, developing networks, access to resources and training, information about relevant events and other related projects, such as:
  • telling and sharing local storie
  • rediscovering the forgotten First World War heritage in our landscapes
  • finding out why and where people moved as a result of the war
  • expressing stories about the conflict through drama and theatre.
The Living Legacies Engagement Centre is based at Queen's University Belfast and will be publicly launched at 6pm on Monday 19 May at the Conor Lecture Theatre, University of Ulster Belfast campus, York Street, which is in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. The launch will include a lecture by Professor Richard Grayson, author of Belfast Boys, as well as a short performance from Brenda Winter’s new play The Medal in in the Drawer.

Thursday 24 April 2014

National Library releases 10,500 digital images

The National Library of Ireland has released more than 10,500 images following a digitisation project that's taken some seven years to complete.

The collections included in this latest release are:

The James P O'Dea, 1910–1992 photographic collection:
This will bring a happy glow to the faces of railway enthusiasts everywhere! Most of the photographs are of trains and stations, and with a mere 5340 of them, your favourite anorak should be smiling for some time. There are also 125 photos of railway employees, so worth taking a look if you've family who worked on the railways.

Thomas Holmes Mason, 1877-1958 photographic collection:
Dating primarily from the early 1900s to the 1940s, these photos are particularly strong on scenes of Irish industry in the first years of the 20th century. Country themes are also included.

Prints and Drawings: Most of this huge upload of some 3,000 images feature portraits and drawings of more than one thousand famous and infamous figures from Irish history, mostly 19th century.

Genealogical Office Manuscripts Collection: A technicolour collection of images. Really, the colours in some of the older arms are just beautiful.

Tom Clarke & Kathleen Clarke Papers, 1890 -1972 collection:
A photographic album of the revolutionary family.

Speaking at the launch of the new additions to NLI’s digital resources today, Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, said, “The National Library of Ireland holds collections that are of great national significance. The newly digitised collections chart the story of Ireland and are a wonderful piece of our cultural and literary heritage which will now be preserved for and made accessible to the people of Ireland for generations. Furthermore, it showcases once again Ireland’s growing reputation as a centre for the innovative use of digital technology.”

Pull up a chair and dig deep into the library's catalogue here. (Enter a search term ie 'dea', tick the 'digitised only' box and click Find. On the next screen, use the filters on the right to home in on your particular interests.)

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Volunteer-led heritage centre needs help to help genies

Dunmanway Heritage Centre will be relocating this summer to bigger, brighter and better premises in the West Cork town's long-unused Methodist Church. The church is just along the High Street from the current centre, which is not part of the Irish Family History Foundation's network and was set up and is still run by unpaid volunteers from Dunmanway Historical Association.

Dunmanway Heritage Centre works with local schools
to stimulate interest in local history
I dropped by three years ago and was impressed by the dedication of the volunteers to engage local children and their families in the history of their home town, and their continuing efforts to amass an interesting collection of books and genealogy records. They also give a tremendous amount of time and knowledge to visiting family historians and have helped many find the exact spot of their ancestral home. I wrote a feature about the Centre for my website, Irish Genealogy Toolkit, which mentions that the long-term future of the Centre was in doubt as they couldn't stay where they were for too much longer.

They've clung on, and Good Fortune has stepped in to help them. A local couple, whose ancestors ran flour mills and shops in Dunmanway, wanted to leave something to the town in memory of their family. So they bought the redundant church and have paid for its restoration and refurbishment. It will become a community centre for the town. And the Dunmanway Heritage Centre has been given an annexe as a permanent home.

This annexe is three or four times larger than their current premises, which means the Centre can now display more of its collection and bring its extensive library of books and other publication out of storage.

As you can imagine, all the members and volunteers of Dunmanway Historical Association are delighted with this turn of events, but there is one wee problem: the Centre needs to furnish the town's new Heritage Centre with bookshelves, display cabinets, research spaces, computers and so on. It's digging deep into its own reserves, but there's going to be a shortfall.

Can you help? Are you one of the many who've been helped by the Centre in the past who could dig into your pockets? Do you have connections to Dunmanway and want to support this worthwhile local endeavour to prosper? Or could you simply spare a few bob to help these volunteers get the new Centre ship-shape and ready to help other genealogists in time for the big move in June?

If you can, please make a donation via the Dunmanway Historical Association's website (bottom right of landing page). You can do this via credit/debit card and Paypal. Every little helps and will be spent wisely to assist both local people and wandering family historians who want to know more about their heritage.

Early closing at National Archives of Ireland: 28 April

For researchers who might have been planning a long day at Bishop Street next Monday, 28 April, please note that the Reading Room at the National Archives of Ireland will close early.

Rather than the usual 5pm, the Reading Room will be closing at 4:30pm.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Irish ancestors who fought in the US Civil War?

As part of its newly launched 100 in 100 project (see blogpost), which aims to release one hundred record sets in one hundred days, FindMypast has released a bundle of collections focussing on the US Civil War.

You can be sure there are plenty of Irish men and women, on both sides of the conflict, recorded in these sets. Damian Shiels, author of the acclaimed The Irish in the American Civil War*, estimates there were at least 150,000 Irish-born fighting for the Union (anti-slavery), 20,000 for the Confederacy. They even formed their own specific Irish regiments, among them the 69th New York State Volunteers and the Charleston Irish Volunteers:

The four record sets released today are:
  • American Civil War Soldiers 1861–1865
  • Civil War prisoners 1861–1865
  • Civil War sailors 1861–1865
  • Civil War Medal of Honour 1861–1865
You can find more details of these record sets by clicking the 100 in 100 logo above.

* The book, published in 2013, will be available in the US from 1 May. You might also like to explore Damian's excellent blog, IrishAmericanCivilWar.com.

John Grenham updates Irish Ancestors listing

John Grenham, the well-known genealogist and author, mentioned in his Irish Roots newspaper column yesterday that he'd updated a section of the Irish Times/Irish Ancestors website with a listing of sources.

And what a comprehensive listing it is, too. Go take a look here.

You can also search by county for additional or specific records.

This is a terrific resource. Be sure to bookmark it!

All about Irish workhouses – weekend conference, May

A two-day conference – The Irish Workhouse – Past & Present – will take place on the weekend of 17 and18 May in Portumna, Co. Galway.

Keynote speaker is Peter Higginbotham, whose depth of knowledge about workhouses in both the UK and Ireland can be seen on his incredibly detailed website: www.workhouses.org.uk. He will be delivering two lectures, the first on workhouses in Ireland, the second on poorhouses in Scotland.

Both days of the conference close with a guided tour of the Irish Workhouse Centre (IWC), the former Portumna Workhouse, where the event is being held. The IWC has organised the event in partnership wtih the Heritage Office of Galway County Council.

Attendance fees, which include lunch and refreshments, are €60 for the two days, or €35 for one day (space permitting).

You can download the conference brochure (pdf) here for full details of the lectures, programme and booking information.

Irish genealogy/history lectures & events, 22–27 April

Tuesday 22 April: Commemorating Clontarf in 1914: The Clancy Chain and the Irish Arts and Crafts Movement, with Dr Nicola Gordon Bowe. 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 22 April: Dual Lecture - Kerry Famine Girls, with Kay Caball, and Mapping the Great Famine in Kerry, with Michael Murphy. Host: Kerry Archaeological & Historical Society. Venue: Tralee Library. 7:30pm. All are welcome. http://www.kerryhistory.ie/

Wednesday 23 April: Radical Metropolis, Dublin Before the Revolution, with Roy Foster profiling the generation of 1890–1920. Little Museum of Dublin, St Stephen's Green, Dublin. Book €. 7pm

Wednesday 23 April: Good Friday 1014: researching the facts a millennium later, with Dr Darren McGettigan. Part of the Battle of Clontarf commemoration series of lectures hosted by Clontarf Historical Society and Raheny Family & Heritage Society. Venue: Clasac Theatre, Alfie Byrne Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3. 8:15pm. Members free, non-members €5. Tea and coffee after lecture. Details: Kay Lonergan, +353 1-8338711.

Wednesday 23 April: Experiences of the Poor and Excluded, with Glynn Kelso. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. Time: 1–2pm. Admission is free but booking is essential.

Thursday 24 April: Sir William Wilde, Dublin Surgeon and father of Oscar, with Dr Fergus O'Connor. First of a new season of Irish history talks at the IWHC. Venue: Irish World Heritage Centre, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, UK. 7:30pm–9pm. £5. Buy tickets.

Thursday 24 April: Emigration of Irish women and girls to Australia in the 1830s and 1840s, with Dr Liz Rushen and Dr Perry McIntyre. Host: Keith Cameron Chair of Australian History at UCD. Venue: Boston College Ireland, 42 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2. 6pm. All welcome. No need to book. Free.

Thursday 24 April: Washington's Irish, a performance of music and stories of the Irish men and women who took part in America's Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Venue: Linen Hall Library, Belfast. 6pm. £8. Tickets.

Friday April 25: The Battle of Clontarf 1014, with Dr Darren McGettigan. Host: Military History Society of Ireland. Venue: Griffith College, South Circular Road, Dublin 8. Time: 8pm. Non-members very welcome.

Friday 25 to Sunday 27 April: Beyond the Grave, a three-day conference eploring the social and physical acts surrounding death and burials in both modern and ancient Ireland. A Limerick 2014 City of Culture event. Booking essential.

Saturday 26 April:To Crown a King, a Brian Boru Commemorative Event. Day of lectures, €25, optional dinner €30. Venue: Brú Ború Cultural Centre, Cashel. Lecture programme.

Saturday 26 April: The 100th anniversary of Cumann na mBan, with Dr Mary McAuliffe. Host: Stonybatter & Smithfield People's History Project. Venue: Cobblestone Pub, Smithfield, Dublin. 4:30pm. Free.

Saturday 26 April: Getting Started with Irish Genealogy Research, a workshop for beginners with Miles Davenport. Venue: McClelland Irish Library, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. 11am to 1pm. Costs $10 for members and $15 for the general public. To register, call 602-864-2351 or email info@azirishlibrary.org for more information.

Saturday 26 April: Sources for Irish family history, with Jim Ryan of Flyleaf Press at 3:10pm. Conference (£32) and Family History Fair (£2) of the Scottish Association of Family History Societies. Venue: Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline, Scotland. Flyleaf Press will also have a book-stall at the event. Conference programme.

A Terrible Beauty is available on the Player for 30 days

For those who didn't catch the broadcast of A Terrible Beauty last night on TG4, it is available on the TG4 Player (here) for 30 days. As far as I'm aware, this can be viewed around the world.

The documentary film tells the story of the men and women, both Irish and British, caught up in the Easter Rising of 1916. Using a mixture of archive footage, dramatic reconstructions and eyewitness accounts, it follows the encounter of opposing forces at the Mount Street canal bridge and the slaughter which followed.

The programme is mostly in Irish, with English subtitles.

A website – 1916film – accompanies the film and includes some short promotional videos which you may wish to view as tasters before settling down to the full film. The team behind the film will be regularly updating the site with additional material including explorations of some lesser-known stories of the Rising.

BNA adds more early C19th editions of Dublin Eve. Mail

The British Newspaper Archive has added the 1831, 1840 and 1842 editions of Dublin Evening Mail to its database:

Its holding for this title now includes all editions for 1824, 1826 to 1828, 1831, 1840-1842, 1849-1850, 1852, 1854-1855, 1861-1870 and the second half of 1871.

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

Thursday 17 April 2014

Exclusive! Countdown to pre-1901 Irish census records

We've waited patiently (or not so patiently, if truth be told) for these releases and now we can start ticking off the days.

The National Archives of Ireland's collections of 19th-century census fragments and census search forms will be uploaded to the NAI's free Genealogy website on Monday 28 April. They will be added to the databases of FindMyPast and FamilySearch at the same time.

The 19th-century census fragments are the surviving parts of the diennial censuses taken 1821 to 1851. The release of these records will, I'm sure, come with background information, but in the meantime, you can take a look at the overview on my website, Irish Genealogy Toolkit. I don't know if the release will include the surviving transcriptions of the 1861 Enniscorthy census and/or the 1871 Drumcondra & Loughbracken census (more about these on Toolkit here).

The Census Search Forms
were the documents completed by those wishing to 'prove' their age to support an application for a state pension, following its introduction in 1908. A search was made of the paper returns for the 1841 and 1851 censuses (which had not been destroyed at this time) to see if the applicant could be identified. Whether 'found' or not, these search forms often hold terrific genealogical information, as information they provided about their parents and siblings was often noted on the form. They're often referred to as Irish pension records, but as the collection becomes more readily available, they will probably become better known by their correct name of Census Search Forms in the future.

Again, I'm sure the NAI's Genealogy site will include explanatory text about the Census Search Forms, but while we're counting down, you might like to read an overview on my website here.

Not long to wait, now. Tick-tock.

UPDATE Monday 28 April: Sure enough, the pre-1901 census fragments & substitutes launched.

FindMyPast Ireland offers one-month's access for €1

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2114&awinaffid=123532&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.findmypast.ie%2Fpayments%3Fvouchercode%3DEASTER14FindMyPast Ireland is offering a one-month subscription for just €1.

This offer not only gives you access to all the Irish records held in the database, including those to be added during the course of the subscription, you'll also receive a very handy 10% discount if you renew with a 12-month subscription.

To take up this generous offer, you'll need to be quick. It's available only until tomorrow, 18 April. Just follow the link. The voucher code will have been applied automatically.

British Newspaper Archive drops price to £9.99/month

At the beginning of the month, the British Newspaper Archive introduced a SpringTime discount on its 30-day subscription.

It would seem it proved highly popular because the BNA has decided to make the discounted price the new permanent price.

So, from today, the price of a one-month subscription reduces from £29.95 to just £9.99.

The subscription allows you to search, view and print articles published in British and Irish newspapers between 1710 and 1954.

Ancestry gives free Easter access to British records

This Easter weekend, Ancestry.co.uk is offering free access to its British Military, Census and Probate collections.

The offer starts tomorrow, 18 April, and continues until 23:59 on Easter Monday, 21 April.

To gain access to the records, you'll need to register (only your name and email address required, no credit card details) and will then be sent a user name and password.

The records included in this offer are:

1901 Channel Islands Census
1901 England Census
1901 Isle of Man Census
1901 Scotland Census
1901 Wales Census

1911 Channel Islands Census
1911 Channel Islands Census Summary Books
1911 England Census
1911 England Census Summary Books
1911 Isle of Man Census
1911 Isle of Man Census Summary Books
1911 Wales Census
1911 Wales Census Summary Books Free Index

British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920
British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920

England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005
England & Wales, Death Index, 1916-2007
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837-1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837-1915
England & Wales, Marriage Index, 1916-2005

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966

AncestryIreland adds 34,000 CofI baptismal records

AncestryIreland, the online database of the Ulster Historical Foundation (UHF), has added some 34,000 Church of Ireland baptismal records for counties Antrim and Down. The parishes and years covered in this upload are as follows:

— Aghaderg, Co Down, 1814–1870 (2,692 records)
— Blaris (Lisburn), Cos. Antrim & Down, 1720–1750 and 1763–1819 (11,125 records)
— Christchurch (Belfast), Co Antrim, 1850–1870 (15,426 records)
— Dromore, Co Down, 1784–1816 and 1858–1871 (5,473 records)

The UHF has provided this additional information about the rich details held in these registers:
  • The register for Aghaderg Church of Ireland includes the first name of the mother of the child and sometimes her maiden name. The father’s occupation was recorded between 1839 and 1870. In addition, between the years 1832 and 1838, each child had at least three sponsors!
  • In 1728 the minister for Blaris Church of Ireland recorded some of the occupations of the fathers whose children were being baptised. We can see therefore that in the town of Lisburn at that time there was a shoemaker, saddler, potter, inn-holder, gardener, chandler, whipmaker, blacksmith, hatter, ‘joyner’, and glazier. If the father was a soldier, the name of his Regiment was often recorded in this register, particularly in the 1790s.
  • The register for Christchurch Church of Ireland in Belfast contains the exact street address of the family, the father’s occupation and the mother’s full name including her maiden name; much like the information contained on a civil birth record but these registers date from 14 years before the start of civil registration in 1864. The minister from 1855 to 1859 also recorded the Church where the parents were married, a most useful piece of information, particularly if they had married outside of Belfast or even Ireland. Places of marriage detailed in this register include Glasgow, Edinburgh, Falkirk and Greenock in Scotland; Liverpool, Carlisle, Sefton in Lancashire, Manchester, London and Cornwall in England as well as America and Gibraltar!
  • The register for Dromore Church of Ireland contained the name of the mother, including her maiden name. The father’s occupation was recorded from 1858.

Cork City & County Archives uploads online catalogue

Cork City & County Archives has uploaded a catalogue containing detailed descriptions of the archives and manuscripts available for research in the Reading Room at the Seamus Murphy Building, 33a Great William O'Brien Street, Cork. (Some collections have access restrictions.)

Where an online digital copy of a document is available, there is a link from the description. There are also links to full descriptive lists about each collection in pdf format for download.

The landing page explains that the catalogue is a work in progress.

You can search the catalogue here.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Easter Rising ceremony arrangements: 20 April

The Easter Rising of 1916 will be commemorated by a military ceremony at the GPO, O'Connell Street, Dublin on Sunday 20 April.

The solemn ceremony, which will be led by the President, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, will involve prayers of remembrance, a reading of the Proclamation and the laying of a wreath by the President. The ceremony will conclude with a fly-past by the Air Corps.

Members of the public are invited to attend and should be in position in the public viewing area outside the General Post Office by 11:15am. Large video screens will be erected on either side of the GPO to relay the ceremony to the public.

Enjoy 24hrs FREE access to Irish Newspaper Archives

http://www.irishnewsarchive.com/For one day only, the Irish Newspaper Archives is offering free access to its huge database.

The online archive, which holds titles from the 1700s to the present day, has been undergoing a major redevelopment in the last six or seven months. While the site has been upgraded with many new features, scanning of old publications has continued. Among the most recent titles to make their debut on the site are the Dundalk Democrat and Connaught Telegraph, which arrived earlier today (see blogpost).

You can view the publications held in the database via this nifty county-by-county map.

Here are the codes to gain free access until 11am Thursday 17 April 2014:
Login User: freebie16
Password: freebie16

Enjoy yourselves!

Connaught Telegraph and Dundalk Democrat join INA

http://www.irishnewsarchive.com/The Irish Newspaper Archives (INA) has added two new titles to its database as follows:
  • The Dundalk Democrat has made an entrance with these editions: 1849–1851, 1853–1901, and 1913.
  • The Connaught Telegraph makes its debut with a full spread of editions from 1830 to 1899.
Excellent news for anyone with ancestors from these areas.

(And for the next 24 hours, you can even search these new publications for free... see blogpost for details.)

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: Mid-April update

Here's an update from IGP-Archives of the files added in the first 15 days of the month:

CARLOW Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
Additional Memorial Cards added

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Deansgrange Cemetery, St. Patrick's Section, pt 16

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Church Records
Kilskeery (CofI) Marriages 1778-1849
Deaths recorded Kilskeery C.of I. 1796-1897

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Derrylin, Kinawley Parish Church (CoI)

KILDARE Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
Additional Memorial Cards added

MAYO Genealogy Archives - Photos
OWENS family from Ballaghdereen

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
Additional Memorial Cards added

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Genes Reunited discounts subs by 20% for Easter

Genes Reunited.co.ukGenesReunited is offering a 20% discount on new Platinum or Standard subscriptions purchased between now and the end of the month. Depending on the subscription you select, the discount will save you up to £15.99

To take up the offer, go to the Genes Reunited subscriptions page, choose your preferred subscription and enter the promotion code GENES20 when confirming your puchase.

The offer expires at 23:59hrs on Wednesday 20 April.

TV channel for Irish Diaspora to launch in May

IrishTV is planning to launch a 24/7 television channel aimed at Ireland's diaspora on 1 May. The new channel will target the diaspora in Canada, the USA, Britain and Europe and will broadcast on Sky 191, Freesat400 and (in the US) PBS. It will also be online at Irishtv.ie.

Broadcasting around the clock, IrishTV will screen 50 home-produced programmes every week, with original content from 6pm to midnight every evening. Among its flagships will be Out & About and County Matters. The latter will give each of the 32 counties of Ireland a 30-minute slot covering farming, property, history, finance, culture, traditions, rural life, sport... you name it. Each county will be able to showcase its stories to an international audience in a dedicated timeslot.

Speaking to Irish Genealogy News yesterday afternoon, IrishTV's Mark Dempsey directed me to a film, viewable from the company's existing online presence, of a visit to Norrth Tipperary Genealogy & Heritage Centre, featuring genealogist Nora O'Meara, which you can see here in its short form, or here (at 46 minutes) as part of an Out &About episode based on the area.

Battle of Clontarf: an exhibition and two websites

The 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf has inevitably and quite rightly seen a flurry of lectures, conferences, festivals etc crop up in my weekly events listings. With Good Friday almost upon us, here are a couple more projects to enjoy and continue the discovery.

Emperor of the Irish Exhibition

This important medieval milestone is being celebrated in the Long Room of Trinity College Dublin in a unique exhibition that presents the only item known to have been in Brian Boru's presence: the famous 9th-century decorated manuscript known as the Book of Armagh.

The exhibition also includes some of the Library’s greatest medieval Irish treasures such as the Book of Leinster and the Brian Boru harp. Also displayed is a collection of outstanding large-scale graphics designed by Cartoon Saloon (producers of the Academy Award nominated animated film The Secret of Kells), which has been inspired by the exhibition’s themes.

In the popular imagination Clontarf was the culmination of a long war between Viking invaders/settlers and the most powerful of all Irish kings. The historical reality was not so simple, of course, and both the history and the legend of Brian are examined in the exhibition.

The exhibition has a dedicated website, Emperor of the Irish, which is arranged thematically.

Battle of Clontarf website

Created by a team of medieval historians and computer specialists at Trinity College Dublin, the Battle of Clontarf website aims to give students and the public access to historical and archaeological information and resources on one of the most emblematic battles in Irish history.

It sets the battle in its social context, exploring daily life in Viking Age Ireland, and examines the rivalries between the key players in the battle. It features dynamic interactive maps to allow investigation of Viking raids, settlement development, Brian Boru’s military campaigns and what happened on Good Friday, 23 April 1014. There's also a timeline to follow, which shows the different challenges Brian had to overcome in order to become high-king of Ireland.

An important section of this website also explores the many different ways in which Brian and the battle have been remembered in the thousand years since it occurred.

More events related to the Battle of Clontarf anniversary can be seen at the official events website.

Irish emigration to Australia: Thursday 24 April

The day after the official launch of her book, Colonial Duchesses, on Wednesday 23 April (see blogpost), the author Dr Liz Rushen (Monash University, Melbourne), together with Dr Perry McIntyre (UNSW, Sydney), will present Emigration of Irish women and girls to Australia in the 1830s and 1840s.

This will be a rare opportunity to hear two renowned experts discuss early Irish emigration to Australia.

Open to the public and with no need to book, the talk is being hosted by The Keith Cameron Chair of Australian History, University College Dublin, and will be presented at Boston College–Ireland, 42 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, at 6pm.

Want to turn professional? APGI workshop, 6 May

http://www.apgi.ieThe Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) is to hold a workshop for professional researchers and those thinking of developing a career in genealogy.

Working Towards APGI Accreditation is a free information afternoon to be held in Dublin on Tuesday 6 May (venue and booking details below). A similar event will take place in Belfast later in the year and possibly also in Cork and Limerick, if interest warrants it.

As an organisation, APGI's primary aims are to maintain high standards amongst its members and to protect the interests of clients.

To those ends it provides an accreditation process, operated by an independent Board of Assessors, for professional genealogists throughout the entire island of Ireland.

APGI actively encourages those pursuing professional research to develop their skills and work towards obtaining accreditation. Being an accredited member of APGI, with entitlement to use the initials 'MAPGI', is a guarantee to clients that a genealogist is ethical, knowledgeable and experienced.

To help potential applicants, APGI has an Affiliate Programme designed to provide access to MAPGIs through mentorship, professional development events and social gatherings. Not all professional genealogists take the 'Affiliate' path; some have sufficient experience to apply for full accreditation straightaway.

Date and time: Tuesday 6 May, from 1:30pm to 4:30pm.
Venue: Helen Roe Theatre, Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.
Cost: Free
Booking is essential. Email Nicola Morris MAPGI at info@apgi.ie by Monday 28 April.

Monday 14 April 2014

Irish genealogy & history lectures/events, 14–19 April

Monday 14 April: That field of glory: historical and antiquarian perspectives on the Battle of Clontarf, with Professor Colm Lennon. Part of the Battle of Clontarf commemoration series of lectures hosted by Clontarf Historical Society and Raheny Heritage Society. Venue: Clasac Theatre, Alfie Byrne Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3. 8:15pm. Members free, non-members €5. Tea and coffee after lecture. Details: Kay Lonergan, +353 1-8338711.

Monday 14 April: Tracing your family in Limerick, with Paddy Waldron. Host: Limerick Historical Society. Venue: Room 301 Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick. 8pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 15 April:
The Riots in Marsh's Yard, Cork, by Dermot O' Donovan. Host: Muskerry Local History Society. Venue: Ballincollig Rugby Club, Ballincollig, Co. Cork. Nominal attendance fee of €3. 8:30pm.

Tuesday 15 April: The Battle of Clontarf and James Ward's Murals in Dublin's City Hall, with Dr Joseph McBrinn. 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 15 April: The structure, demise and legacy of landlordism in County Cavan, c1870–1970, with Dr Jonathan Cherry. Host: Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne. Venue: Johnston Central Library, Cavan. 7:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Tuesday 15 April: Launch of the Irish Association of Professional Historians. Venue: Academy House, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. Advise attendance by email.

Tuesday 15 April: DNA, with George Gordon. Follows AGM. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Omagh Branch. Venue: Omagh Library, Dublin Road, Omagh. 7:15pm – 9:15pm.

Tuesday 15 April: The Battle of Clontarf – Fact and Fiction, with Professor Seán Duffy. Also a short talk from Moira Laffan on William Edward Hartpole Lecky – Historian and Politician. Host: Foxrock Local History Group. Venue: Foxrock Pastoral Centre (behind Church), Dublin 18. 8pm. Admission: € 4.00

Wednesday 16 April: When the war is over: John Redmond’s Home Rule Army and the early months of World War I, with Dr James McConnel. The 3rd annual T K Daniel Lecture. Host: The School of English and History, University of Ulster. Venue: Room MD007, Magee College, L/Derry. 6:30pm. All welcome. Followed by a wine reception.

Thursday 17 April: Brian Boru – the last great high king of Ireland, with Dr Catherine Swift. Host: Clare Roots Society. Venue: Civic Rooms, Ennis Town Council, Drumbiggle Road, Ennis, Co Clare. 8pm. €5 for non-members. All welcome.

Saturday 19 April: Family history Help Session, with Mike Carragher, at 10am, followed by Fact, Fiction, or Fish Tale? with Kathleen McGee at 11am. Host: Irish Family History Forum. Venue: Bethpage Public Library, 47 Powell Avenue, Bethpage, NY, 11714. Tel: (516) 931-3907.

Monday downer

The IrishGenealogy.ie site is down. It's been offline since yesterday. Powers-that-be have been advised and are working on it.

When this happened before (can't remember when.... not that long ago), it was quickly rectified, so let's hope for the same result this time round.

UPDATE: The church records (Dublin, Carlow, Kerry and Cork) section of the site is still live, but you need to reach it via its direct url: http://churchrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/. (Thanks to Shane Wilson for this useful workaround.)

UPDATE 12:18 – Full site restored.

Saturday 12 April 2014

National Archives: some collections temporarily closed

The National Archives of Ireland has advised the temporary closure of some of its archives as a result of continuing refurbishment works. The records affected are held in the National Archives' Four Courts storage area and will be off-limits on certain dates between Wednesday 16 April and Friday 9 May.

The main series of archives affected are as follows:

16-17 April
Wills, pre-1975
Letters of Administration (Admons), pre-1975
Crown and Peace, pre-1922
Circuit Court (see Summary index for counties and years)

1-2 May
High Court, Summary summons files, 1936-62
High Court, Stateside files, 1959-62
Appeals to High Court
High Court of Justice documents, pre-1927
Landed Estates Court LEC 3
Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Companies Registration Office
Quit Rent Office
Office of Public Works

8-9 May
Crown and Peace, pre-1922 (see Summary index for counties and years)
Circuit Court (see Summary index for counties and years)
Business Survey Records
Schedules of Assets
Ordnance Survey, Content & Levelling Registers

You can download the Summary Index here (pdf 60kb). Works-notice.pdf

The National Archives plans to complete the Four Courts works in 2014.

Friday 11 April 2014

GRONI offline again

GRONI's new online service for Northern Irish births, marriages and deaths is taking its second 'Scheduled Maintenance' break in two weeks. Let's hope they're not going to make a habit of these unannounced downtime sessions.

IDEA!! If it's really 'scheduled', how's about putting a note on the site in advance? Or even better, writing a few words on the holding page saying how long the downtime is likely to be?

UPDATE: 3:55.. It's back.

Plantation book launch and talk at PRONI

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland will host a special book launch relating to the Plantation of Ulster on Monday 12 May.

Plantation: Aspects of seventeenth-century Ulster, edited by Brendan Scott and John Dooher, is a new publication from the Ulster Historical Foundation. This collection of essays explores a number of themes relating to the Plantation, described by the editors as 'an episode of critical importance in the history of Ireland, the legacy of which is still apparent today.'

The essays investigate an array of historical discoveries unearthed through recent research; from wider appreciation of the Gaelic Irish’s experiences, to the 1622 royal visitation of the Church of Ireland. The essays were penned by some of the best-regarded historians on the Plantation and collectively intend to 'challenge some preconceived notions and offer fresh thinking on aspects of this period.'

To mark the launch of this book, Dr. Brendan Scott, one of the book’s editors and contributors, will give a talk, discussing common understanding of the Plantation's historical consequences, and demonstrating how this new publication will enhance awareness of an event which changed Ulster and Ireland forever.

Admission to the event, which will be held at PRONI's Titanic Boulevard offices in Belfast, is free but booking is essential. You can reserve a place by email or by telephone on (+44) 02890 534800.

L. Corrib gives up Viking, Bronze & Iron Age secrets

An important collection of Viking artefacts, along with Bronze and Iron Age logboats, has been discovered in Lough Corrib, Co. Galway.

Twelve logboats, ranging in date from 2,500 BC to the 11th century AD, have been investigated in the course of a series of dive surveys by the National Monuments Service's Underwater Archaeology Unit. The initial discovery of the logboats was made by Mr Trevor Northage of www.anglingcharts.com, a marine surveyor, who is mapping the lake to produce up-to-date and accurate navigation charts.

The logboats have been described as an outstanding find in their own right but are also accompanied by a remarkable range of high quality artefacts.

Announcing the discovery, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, speculated that one of the logboats, found near Carrowmoreknock, may have been on a raid when it sank as it contained a selection of 11th-century weapons, including three Viking style battle-axes with intact wooden handles, an iron work axe and two iron spearheads. The three battle-axes will be a centrepiece of the National Museum of Ireland’s Battle of Clontarf commemorative exhibition, due to be launched by the Minister tonight.

The Minister said that he was 'delighted' to be able to support his Department’s continuing investigations into what he termed a find of major archaeological and historical significance. 'The range of logboat discoveries, extending from the Bronze and Iron Ages up to medieval times, coupled with the associated weaponry, presents a whole selection of new evidence that will help to create a much greater understanding of life on the lake and in the wider hinterland over several thousand years,' he said. He added that the exceptional quality of the finds also meant that they provided 'a unique insight into a wide range of prehistoric and medieval activities, including raiding, hunting, wood working, boat building, trade, travel and transport.'

The National Museum of Ireland is supporting the project by taking on responsibility for care and conservation of all recovered artefacts.

Easter closures

Just a week to go until the Easter break, so here's a note of opening and closing arrangements for the major institutions and specialised libraries/research centres over the Easter period.


National Library of Ireland
The Reading Rooms will close at 4.45pm on Thursday 17 April and will reopen at 9.30am on Tuesday 22 April. Library exhibitions in both Kildare Street and the NPA sites will be open from 12pm–5pm on Saturday 19 April, Sunday 20 April and Easter Monday 21 April, otherwise normal hours.

National Archives of Ireland
The Reading Room will close on Thursday 17 April at 5pm. Closed Good Friday 18 April and Easter Monday 21 April. Reopening Tuesday 22 April at 9:15am. (And moving on one week, the NAI will close a little early, at 4:30pm, the following Monday 28 April.)

Registry of Deeds
The Registry of Deeds will close at 4:30pm on Thursday 17 April. Closed Good Friday 18 April and Easter Monday 21 April. Reopening Tuesday 22 April at 10am. 

General Register Office Research Room
The Werburgh Street office will close at 5:45pm on Thursday 17 April. Closed Good Friday 18 April and Easter Monday. Reopening Tuesday 22 April at 9:15am.

Dublin City Library and Archives
The main DCL&A on Pearse Street, along with all Dublin City's public libraries, will be closed on Good Friday 18 April until Easter Monday 21 April inclusive. All libraries will return to normal hours on Tuesday 22 April.

The Reading Room of the Representative Church Body Library will be closed on Good Friday 18 April and Easter Monday 21 April. Reopens at 9:30 on Tuesday 22 April.


The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland will be open from 9:00am to 4:45pm on Good Friday 18 April but will be closed on both Monday 21 April and Tuesday 22 April. It will reopen on Wednesday 23 April at 9:00am.

The Public Search Room of the General Register Office of Northern Ireland will be open normal hours (9:30am–4:00pm)on Good Friday 18 April. It will then be closed until Wednesday 23 April, reopening at 9:30am.

Linen Hall Library 
Open normal hours (9:30am to 5:30pm) on Good Friday 18 April. Closed Easter Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Reopening  9:30am on Wednesday 23 April.

NIFHS Research Centre
The North of Ireland Family History Society Research Centre will be closed on Wednesday 16 April and will remain closed through Easter week; re-opening on Saturday 26 April. 


IGRS Library
Closed on Saturday 19 April. Reopening Saturday 26 April.

The National Archives, Kew 
Closed from Good Friday 18 April to Easter Monday 21 April, inclusive. Otherwise, normal hours.

Irish Association of Professional Historians to launch

http://www.iaph.ieThe Irish Association of Professional Historians will launch next Tuesday, 15 April.

As it's name tell you, the association is for professional historians (those with a PhD or those who have made a significant contribution to historical studies) and graduate historians (those enrolled in a PhD programme). Membership is open to those who have trained or are working in Ireland as well as international historians and scholars with an expertise or interest in historical studies.

Among the benefits of membership are these:
  • Affiliation to an association of professional historians
  • Access to and advertisement through a personal and updateable profile page hosted on the IAPH website
  • Access to professional development training subsidised by the association
  • Access to IAPH networking events.
Membership fees are set at €50 for professional historians; €25 for 'early career' or unwaged professional historians; and €25 for graduate historians.

The official launch of the association and its website, www.iaph.ie, will take place place at Academy House, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 next Tuesday at 6pm. Prospective members can join on the night (cash only) or through the website (click logo).

Thursday 10 April 2014

FindMyPast to release 100 record sets in 100 days

Click logo to see details of today's releases
FindMypast has launched 100 in 100, a plan to release 100 record sets in the next 100 days.

This ambitious initiative will see millions of new records, many of them exclusive to FindMyPast, newly available to subscribers. Among them will be military, census, parish and civil records, and no doubt many other types of collections.

Irish records will feature in the mix.

The first upload brings nearly 50,000 records across eight British WW1 Pals Regiments collections, as follows:
  • Birmingham Pals 1914-1918
  • Birmingham Employers Roll of Honour 1914-1918
  • 1st Bradford Pals (16th West Yorkshire Regiment)
  • Edinburgh Pals (15th and 16th Royal Scots Regiment)
  • Glasgow Pals 1914-1918
  • Liverpool Pals (17th, 18th, 19th and 20th King's Liverpool Regiment)
  • Salford Pals (15th, 16th, 19th and 20th Lancashire Fusiliers)
  • Southdown Battalions (11th, 12th and 13th Royal Sussex)

Colonial Duchesses: Book launch in Dublin

Dublin launch by the Australian Ambassador
to Ireland, 23 April
A new book, Colonial Duchesses by Elizabeth Rushen, tells the story of migration of Irish women to New South Wales before the Great Famine.

In just two years, 750 young Irish women sailed from Cork to Sydney &ndash on the Duchess of Northumberland in 1834 and again in 1836, and the James Pattison in 1835. For the women who took the courageous decision to emigrate, the pain of leaving Ireland was mixed with the excitement of forging a new life in the colony of New South Wales.

This book, published by Anchor Books Australia, examines the backgrounds and lives of these young women whose experiences are representative of countless single women who migrated to Australia during the 19th-century.

It is to be launched by Dr Ruth Adler, Australian Ambassador to Ireland, at O'Connell House, Keough Naughton Notre Dame Centre, 58 Merrion Square South, Dublin 2, on Wednesday 23 April, 6pm–7:30pm. If you wish to attend, please email by 21 April.

Colonial Duchesses can be purchased from the publisher's website for AUD $34.95/€23/£16 plus postage. (Special launch price until 23 April: AUD $30/€20/£16)

ISBN: 9780992467104

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Some 1911 Census images 'temporarily unavailable'

I appreciate that the words 'census' and 'lost' must never be used carelessly in earshot of an Irish genealogist, so I'm going to tread very gently here. Please read the entire post before panicking or crying.

Images of non-household returns have gone missing
It seems some images from the 1911 census on the National Archives of Ireland's Genealogy site have gone AWOL ie performed a disappearing act. We're talking here of the non-household forms ie B1 Return of House and Buildings, which recorded the condition and features of each dwelling (numbers of windows, roofing materials etc), and B2 Return of Out Offices, which recorded deails of piggeries, cow sheds etc.

They were there under 'View census images'. And now they aren't.

I'm told that the matter has been referred to the NAI's web team and a fix is awaited. So the data is not lost. The images are just temporarily unavailable.

'And breathe.'

UPDATE: 10 April 9:25am: Speedy reaction from the National Archives of Ireland's web crew... the images have been restored to their rightful place, as per below:

PRONI adds videos of workshop lectures to YouTube

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland is in the process of uploading recorded videos from its highly-regarded and popular “Exploring Your Archives in Depth” workshops that were held in PRONI in January/February of this year.

Lectures by Dr Annaleigh Margey and Valerie Adams have now been uploaded to the PRONI YouTube channel and are available by following the links below:

The 1641 Depositions, by Dr Annaleigh Margey

1641 Depositions Part 1

1641 Depositions Part 2

1641 Depositions Part 3

Using Church Records, by Valerie Adams

Using Church Records Part 1

Using Church Records Part 2

Using Church Records Part 3

Using Church Records Part 4

All other recorded talks will be uploaded to the PRONIonline channel in due course.

GRONI's new online service enjoys official celebration

Minister Hamilton launches GRONI's new online service
Picture: Matt Mackey/Presseye.com
Did you know that the very first birth registered in 1864 in what is now Northern Ireland was that of John McAnenny in Plumbridge, Co Tyrone? Did you know the first death registered was that of Mary Roorke in Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh?

Some of you clever clogs out there may have already known these facts, but I'll admit that I didn't before today. They were among the details offered up at this morning's official 'Ministerial' launch of GRONI's new online service, which went live last week.

The launch reception at Oxford House, Belfast was attended by around 50-odd people including Finance Minister Simon Hamilton and Registrar General for Northern Ireland Dr Norman Caven. The BBC TV was there and some of the interviews will, presumably, be shown on this evening's news programme.

Minister Simon Hamilton was in charge of the formalities. 'The General Register Office and District Registrars have provided and continue to provide an invaluable service to the public,' he said, 'giving individuals and families information about family history since 1864. In marking 150 years of civil registration we have progressed from hand-written records to a new online service, which facilitates searches of Northern Ireland’s historical records.

'As Finance Minister I have been promoting the need for Public Sector Reform as an essential element in the delivery of high quality public services to our citizens in the face of increasing expectations and reducing budgets. Engaging with the citizen and adopting more innovative ways of delivering services, as demonstrated through GRO’s new Family History online service, is an excellent example of this.'

Speaking to me after the formalities, GRONI's Alaistair Butler told me that thousands upon thousands of people have used the online service since it launched on 31 March and the project team has received many emails of thanks from around the world. 'Of course, there have been a few niggles – comparatively few, considering the numbers using the site – but many of them can be answered or explained in the Help text we've provided.  We'd urge people to read it. All in all, we're very happy with the way the site has been received.'

He was able to quickly answer a couple of my queries. On the subject of the 'five-year search' restriction, he says this is fixed by 40-year-old legislation* so we'll have to live with it for the foreseeable, and on the varient surname options, he says all the varients they know of were included in the program, but not all vaguely similar surnames are variants. (Here's my example of this: Santry and Sanders may be vaguely similar, but they're not varients of the same surname.)

The new online service enables searches of civil records for births over 100 years old, marriages over 75 years old and deaths over 50 years old. Researchers who visit the public search room can additionally access records right up to current. You can find out more at GRONI online.

*Different legislation applies to the online and Search Room versions of the search facility. The online version has the 5-year search restriction and includes only 'historical' records (the rolling 100/75/50 year); the Search Room version has a wider search restriction and includes all records up to current.

History Festival of Ireland ready for booking

The History Festival of Ireland will take place on the weekend of 7–8 June at Huntington Castle, Clonegal, Co. Carlow.

Now in its third year, this summer's event is being curated by Angus Mitchell and will see 50 well-regarded historians and thinkers from Ireland and the UK contributing to more than 40 discussions, interviews and performances. A dedicated stage will see an in-depth two-day exploration of World War One, there's a History Ireland Hedge School and a number of presentations specially for the Vintage Car or Motoring enthusiast.

A day-ticket costs €22.50 and provides access to all events being held that day.

Parking is free and food and refreshments can be purchased on site.

Find out more on the History Festival of Ireland website.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Minister launches site dedicated to the Irish Famine

A new online project called Heroes of the Great Irish Famine has been launched to pay tribute to the individuals and communities whose compassion and generosity sustained the lives of those who suffered during the famine when they were most in need.

Speaking at the launch, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, said: "To start this project I have submitted a piece on the work of the Quakers who did so much to help victims of the Great Irish Famine by setting up soup kitchens and distributing aid to those in some of the worst affected areas in Ireland. Many of those in receipt of this aid would otherwise have starved and we should be thankful to those brave men and women who stood up for the impoverished during this terrible time in our history.

"It is fascinating to learn that groups such as the Chocataw Indians, the Jewish Community in New York, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the Committee of Colored Citizens in Philadelphia were all affected by the plight of the Irish people during this time. I would urge members of the public to delve into this part of our history and take part in this project".

Heroes of the Great Irish Famine
will have an online life as a section of a new website – irishfamine.ie –, which the Minister also launched today. The website will provide information about the Great Irish Famine and details of events in the run up to the National and International Famine Commemorations.

The Heroes of the Great Irish Famine section will be dedicated to those who showed kindness and humanity to the Irish people in response to the Great Irish Famine. Members of the public will be invited to provide brief accounts of those individuals and communities at home and abroad who they feel should be recognised for their generosity. At each location of the National and International Famine Commemoration, local communities will be encouraged to provide accounts of local 'heroes' to coincide with the planned events. Schools will also be invited to provide information and material on people local to their area who helped those during the Great Irish Famine.

Perhaps giving an idea of how IrishFamine.ie might develop, there's a link on the site to one of Skibbereen Heritage Centre's databases: The Loan Funds. The Loan Funds were originally set up by Jonathan Swift in Dublin in the early 18th century to provide credit to the poor, and their use gradually spread across the island. In the years just before the Great Hunger, there were several Loan Funds operating in Cork. The records in this database are for the Kilmoe & Crookhaven, Schull, Durrus, Creagh, Baltimore, Castletownsend, Glandore and Ballineen funds in the far south west of Cork. (Thanks to Genealogist Joe Buggy at Townland of Origin for alerting me to this.)

British Newspaper Archive launches mobile app

The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) has launched an app called Here & Then for iphones and ipads.

Since I have neither, I haven't been able to check it out, but it sounds interesting and fun.

The BNA says the app allows you to read stories from over 200 years of historical newspapers (it remains to be seen how often Irish titles will feature).

Users will:
  • Learn what happened on this day in history
  • Discover reports reflecting today’s news
  • Enjoy interesting and amusing snippets dating back to the 1700s

The app is free to download and to use.

Click the image to visit the App Store and find out more about Here & Then.