Monday 30 June 2014

FindMyPast adds more Irish Petty Sessions records
The Irish Petty Sessions Order Book collection on FindMyPast just keeps growing! The latest update of more than a million records takes the total of entries in this collection alone past the 21million marker.

And that's discounting the Dog Licences collection which stems from the same court; they've been 'moved' to a distinct record set within the online database and comprise 1.8million records.

The Petty Session Courts included in this latest update are as follows:

CountyCourt NameDates now available
  Cavan   Ballinagh   1852–1914
  Cavan   Ballyjamesduff   1858-61, 1865-72, 1877-84, 1887-1914
  Cavan   Kilnaleck   1857-62, 1865-66, 1871-1904, 1911-14
  Cavan   Mountnugent   1876-79, 1895-1914
  Cavan   Mullagh   1861–1914
  Cavan   Virginia   1830-31, 1834-57, 1863-1914
  Clare   Ennis   1851–1913
  Clare   Ennistymon   1851–1914
  Clare   Kilkee   1872–1914
  Cork   Castlemartyr   1853, 1872–1914
  Cork   Kildorrery   1854-55, 1858-59, 1875-77, 1881-83, 1887-1908
  Cork   Rathcormack   1851-1913
  Cork   Youghal   1851–1914
  Donegal   Milford   1857–61; 1865–1913
  Dublin   Balbriggan   1851–87, 1894–1914
  Dublin   Blanchardstown   1840–1912
  Galway   Ardrahan   1851–1914
  Galway   Arran   1859–61, 1870–1914
  Galway   Athenry   1851–1914
  Galway   Castletown   1860–1863, 1866–1913
  Galway   Cleggan   1892, 1902–1912, 1914
  Galway   Clifden   1857–1914
  Galway   Derrynea   1864-66, 1891-92, 1900-12
  Galway   Galway   1836, 1839, 1851–1914
  Galway   Garrafin   1902–14
  Galway   Moycullen   1876–87, 1891–95, 1908–14
  Galway   Oranmore   1861–1914
  Galway   Oughterard   1851–1914
  Kildare   Naas   1866–67, 1874–77, 1881–1914
  Kildare   Newbridge Town   1869–70, 1886–1914
  Kilkenny   Johnstown   1853, 1856–1914
  Kilkenny   Kilkenny   1854–1914
  Kilkenny   Stoneyford   1851–54, 1857–67, 1883–85, 1892–1913
  Kilkenny   Thomastown   1851–60, 1876–77, 1886–1914
  Laois   Maryborough   1853–1914
  Laois   Timahoe   1851–86
  Leitrim   Carrick-on-Shannon   1838–44, 1851–1913
  Mayo   Newport   1854-55, 1859-70, 1873-96, 1900-07, 1910-14
  Mayo   Westport   1851–1914
  Meath   Kells   1851–1914
  Meath   Moynalty   1896–1914
  Offaly   Edendeery   1851–1913
  Roscommon   Roscommon   1872–1914
  Sligo   Ballymote   1854–1914
  Tipperary   Nenagh   1837–41, 1846–1913
  Tipperary   Templemore   1851–1913
  Waterford   Waterford City   1851–1914
  Westmeath   Glasson   1843–58, 1867–1913
  Westmeath   Moate   1828–61, 1866, 1869–1913
  Wexford   Duncormick   1896–1914
  Wexford   New Ross   1851, 1853–1913
  Wicklow   Enniskerry   1859–1914
  Wicklow   Rathdrum   1851–1913

Find out more about the Irish Petty Sessions Court on Irish Genealogy Toolkit.

Irish genealogy and history events, 30 June – 5 July

Tuesday 1 July: Silver and gold – Viking hoards from Tipperary, with John Sheehan. Cashel Summer Lecture Series. Venue: Cashel Library, Friar St, Cashel, Co Tipperary. 7:30pm. Free.

Tuesday 1 July: Launch of Historic Belfast and Christian Heritage Belfast architectural trails 2014. Host: Ulster Scots Agency. Venue: Members Room, Linen Hall Library, Belfast. Reception at 5pm. email:

Thursday 3 July to Saturday 5 July:
A Malady of Migration, a theatrical examination of diaspora, displacement and mental disorders in the 19th century. Venue: The New Theatre, Temple Bar, Dublin (Connolly's bookshop). 1pm (8€/4€) and 7:30pm (10€/5€) each day. Thursday evening show followed by expert panel discussion and reception; Saturday lunchtime show followed by post show discussion. Box Office: +353 (0)1 670 3361.

Thursday 3 July: Using genetic genealogy to break down the brick walls of traditional genealogy, with Dr Gerard Corcoran. Host: Eneclann. Venue: Room 4050A on level 4, in the Arts Block, Trinity College Dublin. 3pm. Free but spaces limited so you need to book. Email to reserve your place.

Thursday 3 July: The Great Belfast Tea Fraud, with Dr Pamela Emerson. Host: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 12:30pm to 1:30pm. Admission is free but you need to book your place. 1pm - 2pm, Tel: 028 90 534800

Friday 4 July: Turning stone into bread: the Millstone Quarries of the Mourne Mountains, with Niall Colfer. Host: Monuments and Buildings Record. Venue: Pat Collins Reading Room, Waterman House, 5-33 Hill St, Belfast BT1 2LA. All welcome. Free. Details: 028 9054 3159.

Saturday 5 July: Connecting the Irish Diaspora using genetic genealogy, with Dr Gerard Corcoran. Host: Eneclann. Venue: Trustee's Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin 2. 2pm. Free but spaces limited so you need to book. Email to reserve your place.

FindMyPast releases interesting RAF collections has launched a collection of British Royal Air Force records. It comprises two record sets, the Royal Air Force (110,000 airmen recorded) and the Royal Flying Corps (nearly 343,000 records online for the first time). The majority of RFC records date from 1912 to 1939.

I wasn't expecting to find many from Ireland, but it seems the airforce was rather more cosmopolitan than I imagine. More than 30 countries are represented in the RFC set alone, and there are many Irishmen. It's definitely worth checking out because the details recorded are quite comprehensive, and you may not find the same in-depth info elsewhere.

To give you a flavour, here are a couple of examples I came across:

John Doyle, a 20-year-old Roman Catholic waiter born in Dublin's 'Marlborough Street parish', signed up in 1918. His physical description suggests he'd been involved in some pretty awful accident earlier in his life as he had 'extensive scars on his chest, abdomen, left buttock and groin'. His brother, J Doyle, of 20 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin, was given Next of Kin status. John doesn't seem to have particularly enjoyed life in the forces. He was detained and had his pay docked for failing to turn turn up for duties on several occasions in March 1919, and was locked up for two weeks after going AWOL, not complying with an order and failing to salute an officer while on sentry duty just one month later. His short military career ended at the end of that year when he was transferred to the Reserve.

William Driscoll was a 19-year-old labourer from St Francis parish, Cork, when he signed up in 1917. His married sister who lived in Cork City was recorded as Next of Kin. He was just 5' 2". He suffered two bouts of Scabies during his time in the RAF and also received treatment for Dermatitis. He was in France for a full year, from August 1918 to August 1919 and was awarded an RAF medal in 1926. He was discharged from the service in January 1920 having re-enlisted in the Royal Munster Fusiliers.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Genetic genealogy workshops in Dublin, 3 & 5 July

Two more workshops have been announced in the Expert Workshop series organised by Eneclann. Both will be presented by Dr Gerard Corcoran, the Irish representative for the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, as follows:

Thursday 3 July:
Using genetic genealogy to break down the brick walls of traditional genealogy. Venue: Room 4050A on level 4, in the Arts Block, Trinity College Dublin. 3pm.

Saturday 5 July: Connecting the Irish Diaspora using genetic genealogy. Venue: Trustee's Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin 2. 2pm.

Both workshops are free, but spaces are limited so places must be reserved (seats assigned on a first-come basis). Email to reserve your place, stating which of the workshops you wish to attend.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Celebrate Canada Day with free access to celebrate Canada Day, is giving free access to its database of 235million Canadian records. These records include census and voters' lists, BMD and military collections, as well as a diverse bundle of immigration and school records and directories.

If you're not already registered with you will need to register using just your name and an email address. You won't be asked for credit card details for this promotion. will then send you a username and password.

The free access will expire at 11.59pm ET on Tuesday 1 July.

The Genealogy Event: two-month countdown

22-23 August 2014 in Limerick
The Genealogy Event in Limerick will be getting underway in less than two months and the line-up is now taking on its final shape.

The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) have joined the event and will be providing free one-on-one consultations for all ticketed attendees.

This a terrific opportunity for all researchers, whether they they're just starting out or have hit a tricky spot or need some advice on future direction, to receive advice from the real experts.

A new conference session has also been added to the Saturday programme. It's in partnership with the USA's National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and will be of great interest to those Irish-based researchers looking for more information on their ancestors who emigrated to the USA. Dorothy Dougherty is the Program Director for The National Archives at New York City and will be speaking about US naturalization records, Irish famine records and other key resources available through NARA. (The programme also includes two other lectures geared to research outside Ireland: Emigrants from Ireland, with Paddy Waldron, and Researching in North America, with Jane Halloran Ryan.)

For more about The Genealogy Event, see my interview with the organiser, Bridget Bray, here.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

British Newspaper Archive: £1 for one month

The British Newspaper Archive is running a promotion until Monday 30 June, offering a month's subscription to its 8.2million-page database for just £1.

To take advantage of this price reduction, visit the subscription page and type SECRET into the code box. You have to register. If you don't want to continue your membership after the month is up, you can cancel at any time from the "My Account" section of the website.

The British Newspaper Archive holds a growing number of Irish titles including Belfast Newsletter, Dublin Evening Mail, Cork Examiner, and Sligo Champion.

UPDATE, 26 June:
The original expiry date of this promotion was Friday 27 June but the BNA has extended it until the end of the month. The post above has been amended accordingly.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Latest Ancestry additions include many Irish

Ancestry has uploaded a couple of collection that Irish genealogists, especially those in North America, may find worthy of more than a casual glance.

As we all know, Irish-Americans have long had a significant presence in public service, so you may find some of your ancestors recorded in the newly released Official Register of the USA 1863-1959.

In 1816, Congress authorized the publication of a list of all federal employees every two years. It appeared in book form under the title Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States. This collection includes 77 volumes of registers for years ranging from 1863 to 1959 (with gaps).

Registers include the name of each government employee, office held, where employed, where born, when appointed, and pay received, as well as information regarding the Navy, such as names and conditions of all ships and vessels belonging to the United States and when and where they were built. These registers are organized by department and thereunder by agency, bureau, or office. The collection holds nearly 4million entries. Of these, some 166,000 are recorded as having been born in Ireland.

The second new release of interest is the Oregon, Early Oregonians Database Index, 1800-1860. While not one of the major destinations for immigrants from Ireland (most of the early settlers had some capital with which to buy land, unlike the labourers who stayed in East Coast cities), its rich farmland attracted a good number; their descendants make up some 12% of the state's population claims Irish heritage.

This early database 102,546 entries in total. Some 1,516 are recorded as having been born in Ireland, and counties are provided in a minority of cases.

The index was compiled by the Oregon State Archives from initial data provided by the 1850 and 1860 censuses, but with additional information extracted from other censuses, probates, and vital records. As such, the details provided varies, but you may find names, aliases, birth dates and places, death dates and places, and burial locations.

Here are some examples from the search results:
  • Edward Mulholland, born Co. Wicklow; died 1858, buried Lane, Oregon
  • John Anthony Whitaker, born King's County; died 1900, buried Multnomah, Oregon
  • John Quinn, born in Ireland; died 1873, buried in Nevada, USA
  • Daniel Murphy, born Co. Wexford, Ireland; died 1866, buried Marion, Oregon

Ulster History & Genealogy Autumn School, 14-20 Sept is the
website of the UHF
The Ulster Historical Foundation has announced details of the next Ulster History & Genealogy Autumn School, which will take place Sunday 14 September to Sunday 20 September 2014.

These well-regarded Schools allow delegates to learn about the history of Ulster and discover more about their ancestors' lives and migration experiences.

As well as lectures from top specialists, the course includes assisted research at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland and the Mellow Centre for Emigration Studies, and excursions to some of Ulster's most historic sites.

Busy stimulating days are par for the course, with evenings spent relaxing and enjoying entertaining talks and discussions. There's even some spare time thrown in!

See the full programme here.

Costs start at £620 per person.

Belfast's Féile an Phobal includes WW1 lectures

To mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, an exhibition and a series of lectures have been organised as part of the Féile an Phobal in Belfast.

The lecture series begins on Monday 4 August. Each lecture will be preceded by a ten-minute talk by staff from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) on individual experiences of soldiers and civilians during the First World War. Each talk will cover one individual including men and women at both the Home Front and overseas and will showcase some of the archival resources held by PRONI.

The lectures will be chaired by Claire Hackett, project director of the cross-community ‘Pieces of the Past’ oral history, and will take place in Falls Road Library, 49 Falls Road, Belfast, Co Antrim BT12 4PD.

Féile an Phobail is based in West Belfast and is a registered charity/company limited by guarantee. It provides a programme of arts, cultural and community-based activities throughout the year with its flagship festival, the August Féile being the highlight of Ireland’s festival calendar.

Here's the programme:

Monday 4 August: Rediscovering the Belfast Nationalists who fought in World War One. Launch of exhibition with Siobhan Brennan Deane of the 6th Connaught Ranger Exhibition research group. All welcome! 1pm. Phone for details: 028 9050 9212.

Monday 4 August:
Remembering, Forgetting and Commemorating Ireland’s Great War: Issues for Belfast, with
Richard Grayson, Goldsmiths College, University of London. This talk will examine how the war has been remembered, forgotten and commemorated in Belfast, reflecting on how this relates to wider issues in Irish (and British) commemoration of the war). It will draw closely on local stories of the war. All welcome! 7pm. Phone for details: 028 9050 9212.

Tuesday 5 August: The Soul of the Nation: Irish republicans, war and rebellion, with Fearghal McGarry, QUB. The lecture will explore republican responses to the First World War, particularly how that wider conflict shaped the Easter Rising of 1916. All welcome! 1pm. Phone for details: 028 9050 9212.

Wednesday 6 August: The Great War and Unionist Memory, with Philip Orr, who will seek to assess why the war continues to feature so much in popular Unionist culture. All welcome! 1pm. Phone for details: 028 9050 9212.

Thursday 7 August: Belfast Women and the Great War. Margaret Ward and Lynda Walker will be presenting a visual account of the impact of war in Belfast, looking at how women mobilised to support the war effort; the impact of war on work and social life and also on women's political organisations. All welcome! 1pm. Phone for details: 028 9050 9212.

Friday 7 August: The formation and history of the three Irish Divisions, with Jimmy McDermott. The lecture will examine the politics that drove the formation of the three Irish Divisions. All welcome! 1pm. Phone for details: 028 9050 9212.

Monday 23 June 2014

Irish genealogy and history events, 23 – 29 June

Until 28 September: News From the Past, an exhibition commemorating the people of Sligo’s Involvement in World War 1. It presents newspapers from the period, photos, letters, medals and other memorabilia and, for the first time, the names of all the Sligo people who died in the war, including their address, rank, unit, place and date of death will be displayed. A book of condolence to their memory will also be opened, giving members of the public an opportunity to pay tribute to them. Venue: Sligo County Museum, Stephen St, Sligo.

Monday 23 June: Slanty Dan and the Danes: the Ardclough man who caused the Battle of Clontarf, with Eoghan Corry. Host: Kill History Group, Venue: Parish Meeting Room, Kill, co Kildare. 8:30pm.

Tuesday 24 June: History of the Jameson family, with Ian Robertson & Lorcan Blake. Host: Howth Peninsula Heritage Society. Venue: Howth Angling Centre, Howth, Co Dublin. 8pm.

Tuesday 24 June: Finding Your Irish Townland of Origin: Research in the U.S. and Ireland, with Joe Buggy. Host: Morris Area Genealogy Society. Venue: Bernards Township Library, 32 South Maple Ave, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA. 6:30pm to 8:45pm. Free. No booking required. Email for more info, if required.

Thursday 26 June: Book launch – Ireland in the Virginian Sea: Colonialism in the British Atlantic, by Audrey Horning. Host and Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast. 6:30pm. Admission is FREE, please contact PRONI to reserve your place.

Thursday 26 June: The launch of A Lost Irish Manuscript Found: The Genealogy of the House of O'Reilly, The Genealogy of the Very Ancient and Illustrious House of O'Reilly, formerly Princes and Dynasts of Brefny O'Reilly, now called the County of Cavan in the Kingdom of Ireland. Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North, Belfast BT1 5GB. Information: email or telephone (028) 90321707.

Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 June: Contacts, Contests, and Contributions: Ulster-Americans in War and Society, The 20th Biennial Ulster-American Heritage Symposium. Venue: University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA. The symposium will explore the transatlantic emigration, settlement, and continued experience of people from the north of Ireland. Three-days $110. Details.

Friday 27–Sunday 29 June: The Great War, the 20th Byrne/Perry Summer School. Venue: Gorey Library & Adult Learning Centre at the Civic Square,The Avenue, Gorey, Co Wexford. Details. Costs: €130 includes all lectures, dinner, entertainment and field trip. Students and Seniors €80.

Friday 27 to Sunday 29 June: Understanding Ireland's Great Famine: New Perspectives, a weekend conference. Venue: Carlton Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Field trips on Sunday (limited availability).  Programme and costs (pdf).

Sunday 29 June: Guided tour of Old Cobh Cemetery, with Jack Gilmartin. Venue: Old Cobh Cemetery, Cobh, Co Cork. Free. No booking. Meet at the main gate of the cemetery at 2:30pm.

FindMyPast/DCTFH buys Mocavo

Findmypast/DC Thompson Family History is continuing its spending spree with the purchase of Mocavo, an online business that set out to bring all the world's historical information online for free.

I have to admit that Mocavo, which was established in 2011, didn't make much of an impression on my consciousness. It seemed very USA-centric and I didn't note that its database held any exclusive Irish genealogical records. All in all, I couldn't quite grasp the company's general purpose or Unique Selling Point.

I guess that others felt the same, and Mocavo presumably found that free didn't result in profit.

The press release announcing today's move says that Mocavo offers more than 8million yearbooks, 500million military records and a ton of other datasets including, from today, the US Census from 1790 to 1940, absolutely free. It will become a fully-owned subsidiary of Findmypast, alongside and GenesReunited.

Whether this purchase results in any advantages for Irish research remains to be seen.

The timing of the announcement is a tad unfortunate, given that FindMyPast has lost a lot of credibility after its disastrous database 'upgrade', and many customers are still highly critical. I think many family historians will think the company should be concentrating on putting its own house in order before adding-in the complication of assimilating other businesses.

The Mocavo press announcement can be read here.
The FindMyPast/DCTFH announcement can be read here.

MAJOR NEWS: Enhanced GRO Indexes launch 3 July

It's the news all Irish genealogists have been waiting for! The 'enhanced' civil registration indexes of births, marriages and deaths – the versions that have long been used by GRO staff – are scheduled to launch on on Thursday 3 July.

Invitations have been issued to the formal launch event that evening, so this date is unlikely to shift.

All I can tell you for sure right now is that the indexes will be searchable in the same way as the Church Records are currently available on the site, but without images. This is not going to be as super-dooper as the GRONI family history site launched at the end of March, which is a full-blown search-and-view-the-certificate facility, but it is expected to be a huge improvement on the existing online indexes databases.

I don't think any other details are going to be forthcoming prior to the collection's arrival online, so we'll have to wait and see what we get.

As with all records on, the site run by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the GRO Indexes will be free.

More about Irish civil registration records.

Centenary invitation issued to Easter 1916 descendants

Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has issued an invitation to the descendants and relatives of 1916 personnel to attend and participate in commemorative events.

"Throughout the development of the Centenary programme, in all of the consultation meetings on different issues, I have been impressed with the interest and commitment of the family members and their wish to be closely involved in the upcoming commemorations," he said.

"I believe that our acknowledgement of the service, sacrifice and achievement of the truly remarkable men and women involved in the Easter Rising, should include a special consideration and their descendants and relatives should be involved.

"Our ongoing preparations would be greatly assisted if relatives who are interested in being represented in the Centenary arrangements would contact the Department. I would be grateful to receive all such expressions of interest in relation to the commemorations in 2016 from families along with information on their familial connection to the Rising."

Families and relatives are invited to make contact in writing to:-

Commemorations Unit
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
or by e-mail to

PRONI gets down to business

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is to hold a special full-day public workshop to explore the world of business archives. Entitled 'By air, sea and land – transport and mobility through the archives', it will be held on Monday 8 September. Here's the description from PRONI:

'Many voluntary groups across the UK and Ireland specialise in preserving, interpreting and celebrating business heritage collections and archives. Often however, these groups find it difficult to get their voices heard and encounter barriers when attempting to collaborate with academics, archivists and museum professionals working in this field.

This workshop at PRONI aims to address this problem by bringing practitioners and volunteers together to encourage dialogue and learning; and to enhance understanding of current and future events and initiatives. The workshop will also act as an excellent forum for members of the public to get to grips with this part of our collective history, as well as provide inspiration for future research and development.

Belfast has long been noted as a centre of transport ingenuity; from ship building and aviation; to pneumatic tyres and sports cars. As the main repository for business archives in Belfast, and Northern Ireland as a whole, PRONI represents a perfect location to host this event.

The workshop is organised by A2SN, the Archives and Artefacts Study Network. It is being supported by The Historical Model Railway Society; the Business Archives Council; and the Postal History Society. This will be the fourth such workshop arranged by these groups, which to date have led to many fruitful collaborations, creating a stronger, more unified voice for promoting business heritage.'

Download the full programme for the day (pdf 2.39MB).

The event will be held at PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast from 9:30am to 4:30pm, with a Workshop Networking event on board the SS Nomadic taking place from 5pm.

Fee: £20 per person, including refreshments and lunch at PRONI. It's payable to A2SN. An additional £3, again payable to A2SN, will be charged for those attending the SS Nomadic event. Payment is due on booking.

Friday 20 June 2014

Back to School with PRONI's next online record set

Some interesting news from this morning's PRONI User Forum meeting has been passed on to me by Gillian Hunt of the Ulster Historical Foundation.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has begun digitising school grant-aid applications. Typically, these applications were for funds to meet the salary of an assistant teacher or for improvements to the school building fabric and facilities. Researchers with ancestors in the teaching profession will find these records particularly interesting, but those whose ancestors attended the school will also discover a lot of detail about their school years.

This record collection will be placed online in due course.

Another collection of future interest, although not in the digitisation pipe, comes from Belfast's Blackstaff Mill and includes records of mills in Doagh and Lurgan. This newly acquired material has yet to be catgalogued, so it's not currently available to researchers.

And finally, a date for your diary: PRONI will open on European Heritage Weekend, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September. On the Saturday, a full document service will be provided, which will be excellent news for those family historians unable to visit during normal Monday to Friday opening hours.

Many thanks to Gillian for sharing the information with Irish Genealogy News.

Waterford Archives: amalgamation and closures

Waterford City Archives and Waterford County Archives have been amalgamated. This happened a couple of weeks ago, I'm told. Joanne Rothwell, previously the County Archivist based at Dungarvan, will now be working across the two repositories.

Both archives will be closed for the next couple of weeks, at least, but email and telephone queries will be dealt with by part-time staff. Email addresses are and

Like all archives services, Waterford's holds many terrific collections but is seriously understaffed and under resourced. Sadly, much of this useful material languishes in cardboard boxes and can't be made available to researchers until it has been professionally conserved and catalogued. Read my interview with Joanne to find out more about Waterford's County holdings. It's a couple of years old now, but gives you a good flavour both of the role of an archivist and of Waterford's archival treasures.

Incidentally, Waterford City is celebrating it's 1,100th birthday this weekend. There's lots of activities on offer, starting today. See the programme.

British Library WW1 exhibition focusses on endurance

The British Library in London has launched its exhibition Enduring War: Grief, Grit and Humour. Located in the Folio Society Gallery, it forms a major part of the institution's contribution to the First World War centenary, and will run until 12 October. Admission is free.

The exhibition examines how people coped with life during the war: from moments of patriotic fervour to periods of anxious inactivity, shock and despair. Through posters, poetry, books and pamphlets from the period, it considers attempts to boost morale at home and in the field, as well as presenting individual responses to the conflict, such as letters from Indian soldiers on the Western Front, schoolboys' descriptions of Zeppelin raids over London and examples of the black humour expressed in trench journals.

The Library's work for Europeana 1914-1918 is also showcased in the exhibition. This is a major pan-European project to digitise more than 400,000 items from World War One through an audiovisual art installation.

The Library will also be hosting a panel discussion on Wednesday 16 July on the theme of Forgotton Soldiers ie those 1million+ non-white people who died in the conflict. Many from Britain’s colonies were mobilised for service, while black Americans and men from the Caribbean, Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other parts of the globe joined Western armies in both combat and non-combat roles.

Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga, presenter of the BBC documentary The World’s War, will be joined by distinguished historians to explore the legacy of these often forgotten soldiers.

The event will take place in the Terrace Restaurant from 6:30pm to 8pm. Cost: £8, (£6 Over 60s) and £5. Book here.

Thursday 19 June 2014

National Archives – vacancies & appointments

The National Archives of Ireland intends to set up a panel of archivists from which it can appoint temporary seasonal work over the next two years.

The archival work will be on departmental and court archives, and the preparation of them for the annual release of records, as well as for digitisation and consultation by the public. Working a five-day week, the salary is €29,085. Full details can be downloaded here, and the deadline for applications is Tuesday 8 July.


With the imminent retirement of Frances McGee, a new Director of the National Archives of Ireland is also sought. The Director is the Chief Executive of the institution, and reports to the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The post-holder has responsibility for the day to day management of the organisation and for leading, developing and overseeing policy formulation and implementation in the modern information and digital age.

The full job description can be downloaded here. The deadline for applications is Thursday 3 July.

Keeper of the Records

Tom Quinlan has been appointed Keeper, Collection Care and Customer Service, and Helen Hewson has been appointed Keeper, Records Acquisition and Service Development. As far as I'm aware, this is the first occasion (in modern times, at least) that the Keeper role has been split/shared.

Early Ulster Church of Ireland records to be released

AncestryIreland, the database arm of the Ulster Historical Foundation, has advised that it has more than 27,000 Church of Ireland burial and marriage records 'nearly' ready to go online. Some of these date right back to the 1660s (Blaris, Lisburn) and the 1680s (Comber).

In addition, this batch of records, all transcribed by Emeritus Research Director Dr Trainor, includes entries from the 1700s from Ardkeen, Carrickfergus, Donaghadee, Down, Dromore, Glenavy and Magheralin parishes. Records will also be added from the parishes of Aghalee, Ballinderry, Ballyclug, Ballyculter, Ballyhalbert, Ballymacarrett, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Ballyphilip, Bangor, Drumballyroney, Finvoy, Larne, Kilkeel and Kilmore.

Many of the burial records include the name of the father or husband of the deceased as well as, sometimes, their age at death and cause of death, particularly if it was unusual. Thomas Lawson, for example, a soldier with the Fife Fencibles was recorded in the burial register as having 'lost his life by intoxication'.

These records will join the nearly 2million-strong AncestryIreland database. It includes almost all pre-1900 Roman Catholic records for parishes in Counties Antrim and Down and more than 50,000 gravestone inscriptions for all six counties in Northern Ireland.

Ancestry adds Poor Law removals/Vagrant passes

Ancestry UK has added an interesting collection that could easily be overlooked by Irish genealogists. It's billed as 'Lancashire, Vagrant Passes, 1801-1835', which is understandable because the 'vagrant passes' were issued from Liverpool and Manchester in England's north-west county of Lancashire, but it's not wonderfully descriptive.

It's an Irish collection, through and through. It consists of registers created to record details of people being returned as vagrants to their home parish in Ireland. They were making the return journey as a result of the Poor Law Acts which allowed parishes in England to return anyone who was unable to support themselves and/or their family ie a vagrant, back to their parish of settlement.

The term 'vagrant' was pretty fluid back then. It could include unlicensed peddlers, prostitutes, beggars, fortune-tellers, the homeless, gamblers, and criminals. Pretty much any immigrant without steady employment or private income could be passed along, and many were taken back to the port of Liverpool where the majority had arrived.

Many Irish soldiers were among them; after returning from expeditions abroad, they would often find themselves being returned to Ireland along with their families. This collection holds a good number of such cases.

The records are not likely to bring instant genealogical satisfaction to many researchers. The registers recorded the date of departure, name, a note of wife and children if travelling as a group, the number of days they had been in 'process', the costs involved in providing sustenance and sea passage, and, in some cases, the name of the vessel on which they crossed the Irish Sea. Some entries record which parish had instigated the return to Ireland; a significant number got no further than Lancashire or the larger north-west towns. Some had made it to Plymouth, Chelmsford and London.

Unfortunately, the parish of settlement in Ireland was not recorded.

Here are some examples:

5 July 1801: John Doyle, a soldier, was transported on the Ponsonby.
1 November 1833: Dominick Cassidy, with his wife and three children, were being returned as vagrants from St Mary Whitechapel (East End of London). The cost, 17/6.
27 December 1833: Ann Efferton, Sick. Sent to the hospital.

If you find an entry of interest that shows the name of the parish from which the individual or family were returned, you should establish whether or not that parish's Poor Law records survive. The date of departure will give you some guidance in your subsequent research. 

WDYTYA?Live in Glasgow: tickets offer
It may still be more than two months off yet, but if you want to pick up a couple of bargain tickets to WDYTYA? Live in Scotland, make a note of this coupon code: LNL2424.

To take advantage of this discount, go to the Buy Tickets page, choose the day you plan to attend and then enter the code. You'll see the price for two Adults drop to £12 each.

The show will be held from Friday 29 August to Sunday 31 August at the SECC in Glasgow. An extensive workshop programme has been organised, so be sure to check out all that's on offer while you're on the site, and start to plan your visit.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

National Archives of Ireland early closing today

Rather late notice on this!

If you were planning on spending this afternoon at the National Archives of Ireland's Reading Room in Bishop's Street, Dublin, please note that you'll be shown the door at 4pm, instead of the usual 5pm.

Apparently, this is to facilitate a retirement party.

The Reading Room will reopen at 9:15am (normal time) tomorrow.

Last call for Ancestral Connections Summer School
University College Cork's Genealogy Summer School – Ancestral Connections - Names, Places and Spaces – will get underway in just 11 days time, so if you were thinking about attending, now is the time to stop procrastinating and grab one of the remaining spaces.

The seven-day 'school' covers all aspects of Irish family history research, with in-depth tutoring from some of Ireland's best-known genealogists, historians and experts. It gets underway on the evening of Sunday 29 June and ends on Saturday/Sunday 5/6 July.

While classes take place over five days, it's not all work. A number of field trips and excursions are included to locations in Cork's Kinsale, Youghal and the City itself, plus Dungarvan in Co. Waterford.

You can view the full timetable, and book, here.

Residential bookings have now closed but there are still some spaces left for non-residential delegates, who can book either the full course (€575/€488.75 concessions*) or opt to attend on days of their choice (€95/€80.75 concessions*).

I'm told by UCC's co-ordinating team that while all campus residential bookings are now closed, they can help you locate good local accommodation at sensible rates.

*Concessions = History and culture groups, students, Over 55s, retired.

SOG to host two Irish genealogy courses this summer

The Society of Genealogists (SOG) will be hosting two half-day courses with Irish genealogy topics during the summer, as follows:

Saturday 19 July:

Scottish & Irish immigration, with Maggie Loughran. An afternoon session (2pm to 5pm). Book here.

Saturday 16 August:

Irish rentals (landlords' records) and census records, with Dr Jim Ryan of Flyleaf Press. An afternoon session (2pm to 5pm). Book here.

Each of the courses costs £20.

Classes are held at the SOG, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA, UK.

If you're booking for one or both of these courses, why not arrive a little early and pop into the Irish Genealogical Research Society's Library at its temporary home in the SOG building. It opens at 1:30pm on Saturdays (more).

Tuesday 17 June 2014

FindMyPast buys

FindMyPast UK has bought, one of the early pioneers of online records, and a company with some jolly useful Irish records within its database!

Its founder, Ian Galbraith, will continue to work with Findmypast on collection development and the extensive record sets from Origins will transfer into Findmypast over the next few months. The Origins website will continue to run as usual in the meantime.

The Irish collection on Origins (Irish Origins) holds an eclectic mix of records including 77 directories from 1824 to 1900, Dublin City Census 1851, Tithe Defaulters 1831, Memorials of the Dead, Wills Records, Millitia Attestation Index and several other excellent record sets, many of them not duplicated elsewhere, as well as a highly-regarded Griffith's Valuation database.

This entire collection will, in due course, make its way to the FindMyPast World package and to the FindMyPast Ireland package. Similarly, the records from British Origins and Scots Origins will take up residence in the World and Britain packages.

Elaine Collins, Partnership Director of Findmypast said: “We are delighted to bring Origins and its founder, Ian Galbraith, into the Findmypast group of family history brands. By joining together, we are able to offer customers the most comprehensive collection of British and Irish online records. This rich collection will help descendants of early North American settlers to bridge the gap to the old country, as well as anyone with UK ancestry looking to delve beyond 19th and 20th century records.”

Finding your townland of origin: Lecture in New Jersey

If you're in the US and within travelling distance of New Jersey next Tuesday, 24 June, here's a lecture you won't want to miss!

Joe Buggy, a genealogist from Kilkenny now living in the USA, will be presenting Finding Your Irish Townland of Origin: Research in the U.S. and Ireland. The event is jointly hosted by Bernards Township Library Family History Interest Group and Morris Area Genealogy Society and will be held from 6:30pm to 8:45pm at Bernards Township Library, 32 South Maple Ave., Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA.

It is free and no booking is required. Just turn up, learn and enjoy. If you need more information, please email.

Joe is the author of Researching your Irish Ancestors in New York and runs the Townland of Origin blog.

New book explores Irish links to Chesapeake Bay the late-16th century, Ulster and the Chesapeake Bay area became subject to British colonial experimentation.  Traditionally, it has been accepted that the Ulster Plantation scheme had set a template for the American venture but Professor Audrey Horning, Head of the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s University Belfast, challenges this historical understanding of the nature of plantation in her new book: Ireland in the Virginian Sea, Colonialism in the British Atlantic. 

By examining material culture and archival sources, including the Drapers' Company Papers (D3632) and Salters' Company Papers (T853) held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Professor Horning also considers the experiences of the native Gaelic Irish and Algonquian experiences in this book as well as the lack of a determining vision in such colonial projects.

Published by University of North Carolina Press, the 408-page book will be launched at PRONI on the evening of Thursday 26 June (6:30pm to 8:00pm) by Professor Sean Connolly, also of QUB.

If you'd like to attend this free event, please contact PRONI to reserve your place. Email or telephone +44 (0)28 905 34800.

ISBN  978-1-4696-1072-6 

Monday 16 June 2014

WDYTYA?Live moves to Birmingham in 2015

With its traditional home at London's Olympia no longer an option, next year's Who Do You Think You Are Live? (WDYTYA?Live) show will be held at the National Exhibition Centre (the NEC), a stone throw from Birmingham Airport.

Even the traditional dates have moved! Rather than a February date, the show has moved along a couple of months. The dates for your diary are: Thursday 16 April to Saturday 18 April 2015.

Between now and then, of course, WDYTYA?Live will be making its debut in Glasgow, Scotland, 29-31 August. Details.

FindMyPast: £1 World Cup promo for UK records that not everyone is football crazy and spending every waking moment either working, shirking or glued to the TV watching the World Cup, FindMyPast UK is offering a one-month sub to its Britain collection for a measly £1.

Yep, £1.

You'll find a list of the records included in the Britain Collection here. No specific Irish records, but still a ton of useful material for those of Irish heritage.

The promotion ends on 30 June, taking you the way through to the Quarter Finals!

Valuation Office to digitise Cancelled/Revision Books

The Valuation Office (VO) is inviting tenders to kick-start a project to digitise its collection of Griffith's Valuation's Cancelled Land Books (aka Revision Books).

Regular readers of Irish Genealogy News will remember that the VO has been trialling a computer-based viewing system at its offices in the Irish Life Building, Dublin, since the turn of the year (read the blogpost here), with the Cancelled Books for counties Mayo, Kerry and Tipperary, plus those for both Dublin City and County, searchable on a lone computer terminal.

The books for counties Cork and Limerick are in the process of being scanned and will join the viewing line-up in due course. I'm told more computers may be forthcoming, too.

Welcome though the office-based database is, it is limited. It is available only to personal visitors, for a start, and it's essentially a browse facility.

The proposed digitisation project, which would result in fully indexed, public access to this important collection, would be a HUGE leap forward.

It's early days yet. The tender invitation talks of a maximum four-year project to be completed in four parts, subject to the availability of funding, and will involve the scanning of 'approximately 4,700 volumes of the records of those counties not yet digitised' and an estimated 1.6million images.

The tender deadline is tomorrow (etender ID S14-20).

NOTE: The Cancelled/Revision Books for the six Northern Ireland counties are already digitised and online (at PRONI).

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives: mid-June update

GENERAL IRELAND Genealogy Archives – Unidentified Photos
Winners 1911 Minor League Football, County Clare

CLARE Genealogy Archives – Obituaries
Assorted Obituaries from the NZ Tablet

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives – Church Records
Ballyshannon Marriages (Kilbarron) C.of I. 1785-1848
Ballyshannon Burials (Kilbarron) C.of I. 1785-1849

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Deansgrange Cemetery West Part 6
Mt Jerome, Dublin - Parts 80 & 81

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Text File added for St. Comgall, Galloon (CoI)

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives – Military & Constabulary
1849 Irish Constabulary (R.I.C.) Enlistees

SLIGO Genealogy Archives – Land
Valuation of Ardconnell ca. 1884–1891

Irish genealogy and history events, 16–23 June

Continues to 4 July: The Fifth Province: County Societies in Irish America, an exhibition dedicated to the men and women who tried to establish a bit of ‘home’ in the United States by joining county societies. Venue: Linen Hall Library, Vertical Gallery. 17 Donegall Square North, Belfast BT1 5GB. Free.

Tuesday 17 June: The Honourable The Irish Society and the Great Parchment, a talk at Draperstown Library, 50 High Street, Draperstown, Londonderry BT45 7AD. 7pm. Free. Telephone for details: 028 7962 824

Wednesday 18 June: Fairies, Witches and folk magic in Ireland and Australia, with Dr Marion Dowd and Dr Ian Evans. Host: IT Sligo Applied Archaeology Venue: Room A0006 at Institute of Technology, Sligo (inside main reception). This is a two-hour session that includes Q&A/discussion. 7:30pm–9:30pm. Free. All welcome.

Wednesday 18 June: The hidden history of Protestants and the Irish language, with Linda Ervine. Venue: Carrickfergus Library, 2 Joymount Court, Carrickfergus, co Antrim BT38 7DQ. 6:45pm–7:45pm. Free. No need to book. Telephone for more details if required: 028 9336 2261.

Friday 20 June: Launch: Decade of Centenaries Timeline, with Dr Eamon Phoenix. Venue: PRONI, Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, BT3 9HQ. Host: Digital Key. 2pm–4:30pm. Free, but booking required by 16 June. Email

Friday 20 June: Launch of 10th Skibbereen and District Historical Society Journal. Venue: West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen, co Cork. All welcome. 8:30pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday 21 June: Protestant republicans & Catholic royalists: legacies of the Glorious Revolution, a HistoryIreland Hedge School with Sylvie Kleinman, Breandán MacSuibhne, Ian McBride, Hiram Morgan. Venue: Verbal Arts Centre, Bishop Street Within, Derry. Free. 7:30pm. Booking advised to ensure a place:

Saturday 21 June: Irish genealogy help session with Kathleen McGee at 10am. Ancient Irish genealogies, with Jerry Kelly at 11am. Host: Irish Family History Forum. Venue: Bethpage Library, 47 Powell Avenue, Bethpage, NY, 11714.

Saturday 21 June: Crime and revolt in medieval Dublin, with Fin Dwyer. Host: Stoneybatter & Smithfield Peoples' History Project. Venue: The Cobblestone Pub, 77 North King Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7. 4:30pm. For more details, email

'The greatest WW1 contribution of any unfree nation'

The document of the month from is a pamphlet, written by Willard De Lue, chief of the Information Section of the Irish National Bureau in Washington.  Written in late 1919, De Lue sets out to debunk the notion that Ireland made little contribution to the Allied cause in World War One.

In the three pages of text, De Lue sets out calculations, drawn from British sources, that show 5.3% of Ireland's total population enlisted under the British flag. By comparison, he says under 4% of the USA population made up the US army and navy.

He also argues against received British wisdom that Ulster Unionists made up the bulk of Irish recruits. He says that of the 123,585 men recruited in Ireland, 'at least 90,000 were not supporters of Sir Edward Carson', and adds that while 1.36% of the population of Unionist Antrim and Down signed up, Republican Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and Tipperary recorded 1.70%.

It's an interesting diatribe based on contemporary statistics. The pamphlet is part of the Bureau Of Military History's Contemporary Documents collection. It can be downloaded here.

Incidentally, the Military Archives intends to redesign the Home Page of its website and is asking for users of the site to make contact with Cathal Brugha Barracks if they have any ideas for improving access and navigation.

Friday 13 June 2014

Ancestry starts WAP to index Belfast NewsLetter BMDs  /wiki/index.php?title=World_Archives_Project:_Belfast,_Northern_Ireland,_The_Belfast_Newsletter,_1738-1925
Ancestry has launched a new World Archives Project to index nearly 190-years worth of Birth, Marriage and Death announcements from The Belfast Newsletter.

The newspaper, which claims to the oldest English language daily title, dates back to 1737. It was originally produced twice a week before switching to daily publication in 1855. This project would see all editions up to 1925 indexed and searchable by name (they are currently browseable-only on Ancestry).

Importantly for genealogists, the paper's news, adverts and bmd announcements were not limited to the Belfast area; the Newsletter was distributed island-wide prior to Partition, and covered national and international news.

WAP volunteers will extract all birth, death and marriage notices, as well as engagements, obituaries and memoriams. These will be lifted only from notices that were published specifically to announce the event, not from regular news articles.

The Ancestry team have graded this keying project as of Average difficulty and they're looking for volunteers.

If you fancy giving some of your time to this worthwhile project (World Archive Projects result in free records being made available on Ancestry) you can find out more here.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Irish and Northern Irish census 2011: highlights

Okay, it's nothing to do with our ancestors or finding them, but a special census report published today entitled Census 2011 Ireland and Northern Ireland will be of interest to some researchers. It allows us an interesting analysis of the lifestyles of the populations of both jurisdictions at a single point in time (the two censuses were taken just two-weeks apart).

The report, which looked at a range of topics in areas such as demographics, households, place of birth, religion, health, housing and travel, has brought together statistical services teams on both sides of the border – the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in Dublin and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) in Belfast.

Here are some of the highlights:

The total population of the island of Ireland in 2011 stood at 6.4million. This was made up of 4.6million persons in Ireland (72%) and 1.8m in Northern Ireland (28%). Since 2002, the population in Ireland has grown by 17%, two and a half times the rate of growth in Northern Ireland of 6.9%. While the overall population density for the island as a whole stood at 78 persons per square kilometre, the population density of Northern Ireland was 134 persons per square kilometre – double that of Ireland at 67.

In Ireland, the median age of the population was 34, the lowest of any EU Member State. The median age in Northern Ireland, while 3 years higher at 37, was also considerably lower than the EU average of 41. Reflecting the older age structure, persons aged 65 and over made up 15 per cent of Northern Ireland’s population, compared with 12 per cent of that of Ireland. Data on this and a range of other statistics are presented in thematic maps in the report to illustrate the differences in the populations in different geographic areas across the island.

Marriage and divorce
Northern Ireland has seen an increase of 20% in the number of single people since the 2001 census, nearly double that of population growth among all persons aged 15 and over (11%), while in Ireland the increase in single people since the 2002 census, at 15%, has been lower than population growth (17%).

In 2011, there were 56,900 separated and 78,000 divorced persons in Northern Ireland, representing 9.3% of those aged 15 and over, while the comparable figures for Ireland were 87,800 persons divorced and 116,200 separated, which together accounted for 5.7%.

The dominant type of households in both jurisdictions comprised married couples with children (of any age), accounting for 32% of households in Ireland and 28% of those in Northern Ireland. Cohabiting couples were more prevalent in Ireland, accounting for 7.7 % of households, compared with 5.5% of those in Northern Ireland.


Catholics represented 41% of the population of Northern Ireland, while Protestants and other Christian denominations accounted for 42%, with the remainder made up mainly of those with no religion (10%) or not stated (6.8%). In Ireland, the Catholic religion dominated, with 84% of the population, while those with no religion made up 5.9%.

Place of birth
In Northern Ireland, 202,000 people, representing 11% of usual residents, were born outside the jurisdiction; 37,900 were born in Ireland, representing almost 1 in 5 of the total. In Ireland, in contrast, the 58,500 people born in Northern Ireland accounted for around 8% of the total 766,800 persons born outside Ireland, who in turn represented 17% of the population.

The Wholesale and Retail sector employed the highest proportion of persons of all sectors in both Northern Ireland and Ireland, although rates in Northern Ireland (18 per cent) exceeded those in Ireland (15 per cent). Human health and social work was the second most important sector, with 14 per cent of persons in Northern Ireland and 11 per cent in Ireland, followed by manufacturing, which accounted for 10 and 11 per cent respectively.

Terraced housing accounted for 25 per cent of dwellings in Northern Ireland, compared with 17 per cent in Ireland, while the most striking difference between both jurisdictions was for non-private or social rented accommodation, which accounted for 15 per cent of dwellings in Northern Ireland, compared with 8.7 per cent in Ireland. The vacancy rate in Ireland was 15 per cent, compared with 6.0 per cent in Northern Ireland.

For the first time, in the 2011 censuses, the place of work or study for persons who travelled from Ireland to Northern Ireland or from Northern Ireland to Ireland was coded to fine geographic level. The results show that a total of 14,800 persons regularly commuted between the two jurisdictions for work or study, with 6,500 travelling to Ireland from Northern Ireland and 8,300 travelling in the other direction.

The report is available online via CSO and NISRA, and in hard-back from both organisations.

Armagh Rail Disaster, 1889 – sculpture unveiled

A bronze sculpture commemorating the Armagh Railway Disaster, which occurred 125 years ago today, has been unveiled by Transport Minister Danny Kennedy opposite the Gaol on The Mall, Armagh City.

The Armagh Rail Disaster 125 years ago today
The rail disaster was the worst in Europe at that time and resulted in the deaths of 89 people and injuries to 260 people, one-third of them children. The excursion train was crowded with a Methodist Sunday School outing to Warrenpoint, Co Down, when it stalled on a steep incline near Portadown Road.

The train crew divided the train and took forward the front portion. Unfortunately, the rear carriages were inadequately braked and ran back down the hill, colliding with a following train.

Sixty-four people were pronounced dead immediately and over time the death toll grew to nearly 90 (download names and ages here).

Hardly a single household in Armagh escaped death or injury and the effects of the tragedy were felt for decades.

Although there's a memorial listing all those who died in the Abbey Street Methodist Church (every member of its choir either died or was injured), there has never been an official public memorial in the City before. The newly installed figurative sculpture, raised on a limestone plinth, is by artist Rory Breslin from County Mayo. It was commissioned for £25,000 and takes the life-size form of a young girl (aged 10/11 years) in Victorian dress and barefoot, carrying a bucket and spade as she sets off on the excursion.

The commemorative event was a joint project between Armagh City & District Council and Portadown Armagh Railway Partnership (PARS) and supported by the Department for Regional Development. Many sections of the community were also involved in the day’s commemoration, including a schools' poetry competition. Guests of the memorial were treated to a recital of some of the winning schools’ work.

At his morning's ceremony, the Minister said: “The great tragedy of the Armagh railway disaster led directly to various safety measures becoming legal requirements for railways in the United Kingdom, and encouraged a move towards direct state intervention in such matters."

LondonDerry's War Memorial records launch online

Derry's War Memorial portrays Peace
holding the laurel wreath of Victory aloft
Records of soldiers from Derry-Londonderry who fought and died during the First World War have been uploaded to  PRONI's website today. The official launch, by Carál Ní Chuilín, the Minister of Culture, will take place at the Tower Museum, Derry, on Thursday 19 June at 2:30pm.

Bernadette Walsh, Archivist from Derry City Council, gives some background to the Derry War Memorial Records: "For this project, four volumes have been digitised, providing additional information about the soldiers whose names appear on the memorial. The original volumes, which date from 1926, remain with the Derry City Council Archive collection.

“The volumes contain forms which were sent out by the Secretary of the City of Derry War Memorial Committee to the next of kin of the fallen soldiers. The forms were then returned to the Committee prior to the names being included on the War Memorial itself.

"The forms contain details about each soldier, including their rank, regimental number, any military honours they received, and the name and address of their next of kin”.

Next of kin could also provide details of the nature  and date of the soldier's death, their 'native place' if not originally from LondonDerry and any other information they wished to include.

The War Memorial Records are in the LondonDerry Corporation Records section of PRONI online. Researchers can view a series of pdfs ordered alphabetically by surname of soldier.  

Derry's War Memorial was erected in 1927 and stands in the Diamond, at the centre of the old walled city. Designed by Vernon March of Kent, England, it consists of a central column surmounted by a graceful female figure of Peace, holding aloft the laurel wreath of Victory. The central column is flanked by lower columns – one contains a soldier in the act of taking a trench and a sailor on the deck of a ship. Four panels contain the names of those who died.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

National Archives of Ireland adds Wood's Guide

The National Archives of Ireland has added Herbert Wood's Guide to the records deposited in the Public Record Office of Ireland to its website. Wood was the former Assistant Deputy Keeper of the Public Records and his guide was published in 1919. It records the collections held by the PROI at that time, many of which were subsequently lost in the Civil War in 1922.

For genealogists, this is going to be hard reading. I think I'll wait until a three-Shredded-Wheat day. For those with braver hearts than mine, here's the link to the 178-page Guide (pdf).

RCBLibrary's catalogue hits 40,000 items

It's another milestone – this time for 40,000 items – for the Representative Church Body Library's project to convert the card catalogue of printed books to a computerized catalogue. The latter is available via the Church of Ireland website here.

Records for all the modern book stock are now available on–line, as are many for the older (pre-1851) printed books.

It's a pretty straightforward and uncomplicated interface but not necessarily the fastest search engine; the relatively slow reaction might, of course, be due to overload since the news was released, so my criticism may be unfair. However, the search can certainly pull out some interesting options to match the search term, so it'll be useful for those looking to extend their research beyond the obvious.

The project will now continue with cataloguing the rest of the old books which will increase the size of the catalogue by 50%.

Ireland & the Great War – 100 years, at Cavan Library
Cavan County Library has announced details of a two-day programme to commemorate the First World War.

It will be held on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 August at Johnston Central Library in Farnham Street, Cavan, and features a line up of poets, novelists, playwrights, historians and musicians in a stimulating and entertaining mix.

You can download the programme here.

Booking is necessary as places are limited. To book, email or phone +353 (0)49 436 1094.

Life and death in medieval Dublin: new lecture series

The first of a new lecture series presented by the Friends of Medieval Dublin gets underway today at the Wood Quay venue of Dublin City Council.

Living in eleventh-century Dublin will be presented by Emer Purcell, starting at 1:05pm. The lecture is free and open to the public.

As we're in the year of commemoration for the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf (23 April 1014), the new lecture series will focus on the daily life of eleventh-century Dublin, how every-day Dubliners lived, worked, prayed, fought and died.

The full programme of lectures is not yet available, but I'll add details here as soon as they've been finalised and published.

Trinity's first free online course explores 1912-1923

Trinity College Dublin has launched its first free online course, and I suspect a lot of family historians will be interested in it.

Called  Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland’s History 1912-1923, the six-week MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) has been created in partnership with FutureLearn.

The course invites learners to explore the lives of men, women and children living through war and revolution and examines the political and social changes that made modern Ireland. By engaging with original sources, textual, visual and aural, and encountering contradictory viewpoints, participants will also learn about the contested nature of all history, and the challenges facing historians.

Professor Ciaran Brady, Dr Anne Dolan and Dr Ciarán Wallace from Trinity’s School of Histories and Humanities will lead the course, which will start on 1 September and is accessible via FutureLearn to anyone with internet access across multiple devices – computers, mobile phones or tablets.

This collaboration will provide access to Trinity's quality education to students worldwide.

You can register on the course here.

There's more about the course in the short video (just over 3 mins) below.

NAI's June document highlights 1950s health campaign

Click to visit NAI site
and view larger image
The Document of the Month for June from the National Archives of Ireland is a 1950s Department of Health poster. It was originally published as part of a nationwide campaign against tuberculosis.

Immunisation and the arrival of antibiotics in that decade finally brought the TB epidemic to an end. Having spread from North East Ulster, Belfast and the linen mill towns of the north, it had spread like wildfire across the island in the second half of the 19th century and there won't be many Irish family historians without a death certificate recording the death of an ancestor from tuberculosis, consumption, phthisis or P. Pulmonalis (or similar) in the Cause of Death section of the registration document.

The epidemic peaked in 1904, but TB remained a major cause of death in Ireland, then one of the poorest countries in Europe, as late as the 1940s, when around 4,000 people succumbed each year.

A diagnosis was pretty much a death sentence. The lucky ones were those who survived years, and often surgery, in the TB sanatorium. There was a terrible stigma attached to the disease; I remember my Nana making up a nonsense story when I enquired about the death of her youngest brother, Jim, and his wife, both aged around 40, who had died on the same day in 1954; 50 years later, copies of their death certificates revealed what I'd long suspected... they had died of TB. Ever the snob, my gran could not cope with the infection's association with poverty and slum living conditions.

Even by the 1950s, when this poster was published, there were around 7,000 cases of TB notified every year; by this time, however, many of those who became ill could be saved.

Monday 9 June 2014

IGRS Marriage Finder includes some real peculiarities

The Early Marriage Finder Index, a unique and free resource available through the Irish Genealogical Research Society, has been updated and now includes references to 50,020 marriages.

All the marriages pre-date the introduction of civil registration in Ireland. Some have been extracted from newspapers and diocesan marriage bonds. Other have been extracted from records held at the Registry of Deeds.

Some new sources appear in the most recent update, too, as Roz McCutchon FIGRS, the founder and manager of the Marriage Finder Index, explained to Irish Genealogy News. "In this latest update, I have included a curious collection of 58 marriage licence bonds issued not by a diocese, but by the Lismore Peculiar Jurisdiction in Co Waterford. In addition, my sister has sent me gleanings from the lettings diary kept by the agent to the Devonshire Estate in West Cork in the mid 1800s. The diary was saved from oblivion by our late father."

You can search the Early Marriage Finder Index here.