Tuesday 29 December 2015

National Folklore Collection to seek UNESCO status

I'm particularly fond of the National Folklore Collection, which is based at University College Dublin, so I'm pleased to learn that it can now seek a special UNESCO status, following Ireland's ratification of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The ratification was announced today by Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who said that the GAA, in relation to hurling, Na Píobairí Uileann and the UCD Folklore Collection have all expressed a keen interest in getting this unique UNESCO recognition.

She said: “I believe that the inclusion of hurling, believed to be the world’s oldest field game, on the UNESCO list will demonstrate how a vibrant, community-based craft practice, which is upheld by a dedicated group of people on this island, can be shared with all communities and individuals from across the world.

“Similarly, the Uilleann pipes are a unique instrument, first developed in Ireland around 300 years ago. The Uilleann Pipes have a uniquely expressive and haunting sound; the sound of Ireland. The UCD Folklore Collection, meanwhile, contains a unique array of material on Irish life, folk history and culture.

“I believe that UNESCO recognition would provide a significant opportunity to showcase the uniqueness of Hurling, Uileann Piping and the UCD Folklore Collection beyond our national boundaries. It will also help to preserve them from one generation to the next."

The ratification of the Convention means that these organisations can now set about preparing their detailed case as to why they should obtain recognition under the Convention. The organisations have until the end of March 2016 to complete and submit their applications to UNESCO.

Scientists sequence first ancient Irish human genomes

A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and archaeologists from Queens University Belfast has sequenced the first genomes from ancient Irish humans. The landmark results are published today in the international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.

The team sequenced the genome of an early farmer woman who lived in Ballynahatty, near Belfast, some 5,200 years ago, and those of three men who died on Rathlin Island in Co. Antrim around 4,000 years ago, after the introduction of metalworking.

The information discovered is already answering pivotal questions about the origins of Ireland’s people and their culture. The genomes show unequivocal evidence for mass migrations into Ireland, which are likely to have brought cultural changes including the transition to agriculture and may even have provided the origin of western Celtic language.

You can find out more in the short video below, or read the full press release from TCD here.

Monday 28 December 2015

Seasonal offers from Ancestry

Ancestry UK/IE, USA, Canada and Australia/NZ are offering free access to some of their most popular collections. You can see the list of the collections here. While none is specifically aimed at Irish family history, many will be useful for chasing down ancestors who left Ireland.

The access will expire tomorrow, 29 December. Sorry for the late notification; it seems to have been available for a couple of days but I've only just seen it promoted on Twitter.

Ancestry.com.au has two more offers:


Wednesday 23 December 2015

A Christmas feast of Irish Genealogy and history on podcasts, videos and multi-media

As usual, I'm intending to get some quiet time over the Christmas break and have been saving up some podcasts and videos to enjoy. Here's my list of goodies. You might enjoy them, too.

Fin Dwyer's Irish History: Fin is a historian who runs tours, writes books and publishes a blog. He also creates podcasts. I'm planning on listening in to two of his most recent: the
Superstitions and strange customs of medieval Ireland
and Ireland's hidden hand in history. The title of the former is self-explanatory. The latter looks at Irish people who you have never heard of but nevertheless played key roles in history. Among them are a 50-year-old Irish woman who tried to assassinate the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1920s; Eliza Lynch, a Cork woman who became the first lady of Paraguay in the 19th century; and Joseph Kavanagh, a leading figure in the French Revolution. This podcast also includes a competition and an update on Fin's book on the Black Death.

The Genealogy Radio Show: Since launching her weekly show on Raidió Corca Baiscin, Lorna Moloney has interviewed a good number of Irish genealogy's best-known names on a wide range of topics. The third series has just finished so there are thirteen informative interviews freely available on the radio station's website. They're all around 30 minutes long. See the full menu of Series 3 recordings.

Genetic Genealogy Ireland (GGI): Some 14 videos of lectures presented at the Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2015 Conference in Dublin are now available for free viewing on YouTube. Among the presenters are some of the most world's most popular and renowned genetic genealogists and the lectures are aimed at all levels. I'm still very much beginner level, but I shall be hoping to consolidate my current understanding and shift myself along with a good bit of viewing of these videos over the next couple of weeks. The GGI YouTube channel is here.

Ulster Historical Foundation (UHF): The UHF hosted a fascinating talk about five weeks ago called All roots lead to Chicago: Irish Railroad workers and canal workers in the 19th Century. Held at PRONI, it was presented by Deborah M Dudek and Tina Beard, both from Illinois. I've watched it once already, but I think it deserves a second viewing as it held a lot of information. This time round, I'll have an atlas with me. Among all the other detail learned in the first viewing, I discovered that my knowledge of North America is pretty poor.

History Ireland Hedge Schools: I haven't managed to listen in to many of this year's Hedge Schools, so I've made a selection from those now available as Hedge School podcasts here. Top of the list will be 'Policing in Ireland 1814&2014', 'The Emigrant’s Song: the impact of Irish music on American culture' and the most recent one, recorded earlier this month at the National Library of Ireland, 'From popular culture in the Great War to the Great War in popular culture'.

Websites to explore: I have a list as long as my arm of websites with which I should (probably) become acquainted. There are only so many hours, however, even over the festive season, and I don't hold out much hope of making any great dent in the list. I will, though, invest some time exploring the last few months' output on CenturyIreland. In my opinion, this site, which is produced by RTE, sets a new high for multi-media presentation of history. Only trouble is, there's so much information produced each week, I've failed to keep up. I'll also be keen to read new additions to the Letters1916 site.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Meath & Kildare graveyards: free database launches

If you have family connections to South Meath and North Kildare, you'll want to check out this new database: www.enfieldgraveyards.com. Launched at the tail end of last month, it holds details and headstone transcriptions from graveyard surveys carried out by the Baconstown Heritage Group.

This group, with help from Heritage Officers from both counties and with sponsorship from Enfield Credit Union, has been busy surveying graveyards in Enfield Common Bond Area for some years. To date, they have completed surveys of more than 30 graveyards, photographing, mapping and transcribing all the monuments, and gathering local knowledge relating to the graveyards and the people buried in them.

The area covered straddles parishes on the borders of Meath and Kildare. Some are very old burial places with no ruins visible. Others are of more recent use, complete with church. They include Agher, Ardenew, Ardkill, Ballinadrimna, Broadford, Broadford Church, Cadamstown, Castlerickard, Clonard (C of I), Clonard RC, Cloncurry, Clondalee, Croboy, Dunfierth, Gallow, Jordanstown, Jordanstown Church, Kilglass, Kill, Kilrainey, Kilshanroe New, Kilshanroe Old, Ladywell, Mylerstown, Newtown, Nurney, Rathcore, Rathmolyon, Templadooath, The Moy and TíCroghan. The results of surveys for Grange and Drumlargan will follow shortly.

I don't know how many names are included in the database but I'd guess there are several thousand. It is searchable by name, by date or by graveyard. Along with a photograph, transcription and outline of an individual monument's location within the graveyard, the search return provides a graveyard description and a link to a Google map showing its location. It is also possible to download a pdf map of the graveyard showing all its monuments.

The database is free to search and view, and will be enormously helpful to family historians researching in the locality.

Many thanks to William Casey of Skibbereen Heritage Centre, who was involved in the development of the new database and site, for letting me know of its launch.

Christmas/New Year opening/closing arrangements

At the National Library of Ireland: All Reading Rooms will be closed from Thursday 24 December to Sunday 3 January 2016 inclusive. Exhibitions will be closed 24–28 December; open 10am to 4.45pm 29–31 December; closed 1–3 Jan 2016. All dates inclusive. Normal hours hours will resume on Monday 4 January 2016.

The Reading Room of the National Archives of Ireland will close at 12.30pm on Thursday 24 December and will re-open at 9.15am on Tuesday 29 December. It will be closed on Friday 1 January, re-opening at 9:15am on Monday 4 January 2016.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast, will be closed from Thursday 24 December to Monday 28 December inclusive and on Friday 1 January. Re-opens Monday 4 January 2016.

The Representative Church Body Library will close on Wednesday 23 December and re-open on Monday 4 January 2016.

Dublin City Library & Archive will be closed from Thursday 24 December to Saturday 2 January, inclusive. Re-opens Monday 4 January. (All City libraries will be closed on the same dates.)

Cork City and County Archives will be closed from 5pm on Wednesday 23 December until 9am on Monday 4 January 2016.

Outside Dublin City, most local libraries and archives in Ireland will close at 4pm on Wednesday 23 December. Re-opening dates and times have been decided locally, so check with the library before travelling.

​All public libraries in Northern Ireland will be closed from Thursday 24 December to Monday 28 December inclusive, and on Friday 1 January 2016.

Linen Hall Library, Donegall Square North, Belfast, will close at 2pm on Thursday 24 December, re-opening at 9.30am on Monday 4 January 2016.

General Register Office, Dublin: The GRO Research Room in Werburgh Street will be closed from 12:30pm on Christmas Eve, Thursday 24 December, until 9am on Monday 28 December. Normal working hours on 29 and 30 December. On Thursday 31 December, the office will be open 10:30am to Noon and from 2pm to 4:30pm. Closed Friday 1 January. Reopening with normal hours Monday 4 January 2016.

General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI), Belfast: GRONI's Search Room will be closed on Thursday 24 December to Monday 28 December inclusive. Normal hours 29-31 December. Closed Friday 1 January 2016. Re-opening at 9:30am on Monday 4 January 2016.

Monday 21 December 2015

LondonDerry Sentinel joins British Newspaper Archive

This offer expires at end of December
The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) has a new title in its database: The LondonDerry Sentinel. So far, all 104 editions published in 1851 and 1852 have been added.

In time, the BNA plans to add editions spanning 1829–1872.

When first launched, the Sentinel was published weekly, on Saturdays. Over the years it became a bi-weekly but has since reverted to weekly publication. It is now a tabloid published on Wednesdays.

If you haven't already explored the British Newspaper Archive, which now holds more than 100 historical Irish papes and a total of almost 450 English, Scottish and Welsh titles, you may like to take up a special offer: enjoy your first month of access to the entire database for just £1. This offer is valid to the end of the year.

To take advantage of this discount (the standard price is £12.95), just click/tap the image above, type the promotion code 1939TRYBNA1FOR1 in the box, and select the monthly subscription option. You'll see the cost change to £1 and can then proceed to the payment page.

At the end of your initial 1-month period your subscription will be automatically renewed at the normal price of £12.95. If you don't want the subscription to renew, un-tick the 'auto-renew my subscription’ box in the My Account section of the site.

Alternatively, full access to the database is included in all Ireland and World subscriptions to the BNA's sister company FindMyPast:

FindMyPast Ireland     FindMyPast UK     FindMyPast USA    FindMyPast Aust/NZ   

Friday 18 December 2015

FindMyPast adds Dublin Church of Ireland registers

FindMyPast's regular Friday delivery has seen a collection of early Church of Ireland parish register records, all from Dublin, added to both the Ireland and World databases.

The records come from the Parish Register Society of Dublin (RPS), a group formed in 1905 to publish some of the records in the earliest registers from the Church of Ireland's parishes, then held at the Public Record Office at the Four Courts and subsequently lost in the 1922 fire. The organisation merged with the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead. In total, the RPS published 16 volumes.

Not all of these volumes are in FindMyPast's collection. The contents of the FindMyPast's collection are:
  1. The Registers of the Church of St Michan, 1636-1700: Christening, marriage, and burial records. (RPS Volumes 2, 3 & 7, published 1909).part of the Parish Register Society of Dublin series, comprising volumes 2, 3, and 7.

  2. The Register of the Parish of St Peter and St Kevin, 1669-1761: Christening, marriage, and burial records (RPS Volume 9, published 1911)

  3. The Registers of St John the Evangelist, 1619-1699: Christening, marriage and burial records, plus entries from Churchwarden's Books, lists of local tax (cess) payers and more. (RPS Volume 1, published 1906)

  4. The Register of St Nicholas Without, 1694-1739: Christening, marriage and burial records. (RPS Volume 10, published 1912)

  5. The Registers of St Catherine, 1636-1715 and St James, 1636–1687: In addition to the parish registers, the records include extracts from the Subsidy Roll, City of Dublin, 1637 and from the Hearth Money Roll for the City of Dublin, 1666-67.(RPS Volume 5, published 1908)

  6. The Registers of St. Patrick 1677-1800: Christening and burial records. (RPS Volume 2, published 1907)

  7. Marriage Entries from the Registers of the Parishes of St Andrew, St Anne, St Audoen, & St Bride, 1632-1800 (RPS Volume 11, published 1913)

  8. Marriage Entries in the Registers of the Parishes of St Marie, 1697-1800; St Catherine, 1715-1800; St Luke, 1716-1800 and St Werburgh, 1704-1800. (RPS, published 1915)
These Church of Ireland records are also available (in nearly all cases with additional years of coverage) at the free state-managed IrishGenealogy.ie. Register sets numbered 1–5 above are also searchable (free) at FamilySearch in its Ireland Marriages 1619–1898 collections but with no images, while register sets numbered 1–4 above are also searchable (not free) at Ancestry in its parish register collection, with browseable images.

The books themselves are freely available in many libraries, among them the Dublin City Library & Archive in Pearse Street (Reading Room), Dublin 2, and it's possible to buy reprinted copies from the Representative Church Body Library in Churchtown, Dublin 14.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Clare County Library wants to hear from you

Clare County Library is in the process of preparing a five-year Library Development Plan and is looking for opinions from its users  (and even non-users) about the development and future priorities of the service. 

Now Clare Library has a terrific Local Studies Department, led by a highly experienced and dedicated Local Studies team. Practically every month I post about new uploads being added to their website, often donated by transcribers from around the world or by co-operation with Clare Roots Society, but also frequently transcribed, collated or written by members of the Local Studies team.

Just take a look at the Genealogy & Family History section of the Clare County Library website and tell me you wouldn't wish for the same from the library of your ancestors' county! I'd declare you crackers! Family historians with Clare connections are very well served, indeed: they know it and they value it.

So how could this outstanding example of a Local Studies Department be further developed to help researchers? Since the chiefs are asking, why not let them hear your opinions? Maybe you could mull the question over between the Christmas pud and the New Year champers and then put your thoughts together in a letter or email to the County Librarian by 31 January.

Submissions should be emailed to mailbox@clarelibrary.ie or sent by post to: County Librarian, Development Plan Submission, Clare County Library HQ, Mill Road, Ennis, Co Clare.

You can find out more about this consultation process on the Library's blog.

New family history course explores the 1916 Leaders

When the New Year breaks, the 1916 centenary programme will be upon us. There will be many events and ways to mark the centenary, and here's one for those interested in how genealogy and family history can throw light on a crucial historical event.

Starting in the second full working week of the New Year, genealogist and lecturer Sean J Murphy will be presenting a new course exploring the family histories of the 1916 Leaders at University College Dublin. Here are the details:

The course will look at the Easter Rising's more prominent participants in terms of their family back grounds. Using genealogical and historical methodologies, delegates will examine the ancestral origins, social status, political affiliations, accomplishments, interactions and other aspects of the families of leading rebellon figures.

Those selected for special examination will be the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation – Pearse, Connolly, Clarke, MacDonagh, MacDermott, Plunkett, Ceannt – as well as the nine others executed – Colbert, Daly, Heuston, Kent, McBride, Mallin, O’Hanrahan, William Pearse, Casement. The backgrounds of MacNeill, de Valera, Collins, O’Rahilly, Brugha, Cosgrave, Countess Markievicz and Nurse O’Farrell will also be examined.

The course will be held at UCD Belfield on Wednesdays from 7pm to 9pm, starting on 13 January and ending on 16 March. The course fee is €190.

You can find out more at www.ucd.ie/adulted (click on 'Lifelong Learning' and scroll down to AE-GN204), or contact Sean by email.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

County Clare Library adds more RC baptism records

Transcriptions of Roman Catholic baptism records for Kilmaley Parish in County Clare now extend from 1828 to 1877 on County Clare Library's Local Studies website.

The latest update of 837 records span 1870 to 1877 and were donated by John Mayer who has been transcribing them from LDS microfilm.

All are free to view.

Literature & Revolutions lectures start in January

The School of English at Trinity College Dublin will be hosting an evening lecture series called Literature and Revolutions in the New Year.

If you're ahead of yourself enough to already have access to a 2016 diary, you might like to check over the scheduled topics and get some dates sorted.

Tues 19 January: The Novel and 1916, with Eve Patten
Tues 26 January: The Beastly Rebels of 1381, with Brendan O’Connell
Tues 2 February: Edmund Burke: Prophet of Doom, with David O’Shaughnessy
Tues 9 February: C19th scientific revolutions in HG Wells's The Time Machine, with Clare Clarke
Tues 16 February: In the wars: Irish writing, 1914–1945, with Gerald Dawe
Tues 23 February: 2016: 1968 and Writing the Troubles, with Tom Walker
Tues  1 March: Revolution, failed: The Spirit of '68 up against the wall, with Sam Slote
Tues  8 March: Literary and cinematic afterlives of the Prague Spring, with Ema Vyroubalová
Tues 15 March: You say you want a revolution? The Beatles in the 1960s, with Darryl Jones
Tues 22 March: Changed Times: 1916 and Irish Time, with Chris Morash

Time: All the lectures will start at 7pm.

Venue: Jonathan Swift Theatre, Arts Building, TCD, Dublin 2.

Cost: For the full series: €50. For individual lectures: €6. Concessions: €35/€5.

Download the programme and booking form.

Gifts for the Northern Irish genealogist in your life

The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland
were written in the 1830s
With the final date of posting for Christmas delivery looming, here are some last minute ideas for Christmas gifts for family historians with Northern Ireland connections.

BooksIreland, the Ulster Historical Foundation's online bookstore, is offering all volumes of the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Irelandcollection at half price. I love these books, and have a good few volumes on my bookshelf despite not having any family connections with the counties they cover: Antrim, Armagh, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, LondonDerry and Tyrone. An extra volume – South Ulster – covers mostly Cavan and Monaghan but also includes parishes from Sligo, Leitrim and Louth.

The surveyors who wrote these memoirs recorded details of the landscape, buildings and monuments, population, employment and local habits of dress, food and customs. Some volumes, particularly those for Antrim and LondonDerry, can contain names. They were all written in the 1830s.

Forty-one volumes are now available with a 50%  discount, bringing prices down to £5, £4.25 or £3.75

Another great gift idea from BooksIreland for your family historian (or any historian, come to that) is a dvd of An Independent People: The Story of Ulster's Presbyterians. This critically-acclaimed series was originally commissioned and broadcast by BBC Northern Ireland television with support from the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund.

The DVD is priced at £15.99.

The North of Ireland Family History Society has some ideas for gifts, too, including a Christmas bundle of three publications (one book and two CDs) related to the graveyards of Carnmoney Parish Church (Church of the Holy Evangelists) in Co. Antrim.

The publications contain gravestone inscriptions, maps, war grave memorials, a place-name index, finding aids and thousands of names and as a bundle are offered at £20.

Alternatively, what about one of the Society's handy A5  guides to genealogy research in individual counties? The Researching your ancestors in the North of Ireland range includes booklets on County Cavan, County Monaghan and, the newest, County Tyrone. Each consists of 40+ pages and costs £6.

You'll find details of these items in the Society's online shop.

MilitaryArchives.ie releases more records from the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection

MilitaryArchive.ie has released a third tranche of records from the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection (MSPC). It includes files relating to 882 individuals.

In total, some 2,839 files have been released, relating to applications for service pensions, claims for gratuities or awards made by dependants, claims by veterans for wounds suffered or disablement or deterioration in health due to service in the period 1916-1923 and related matters.

A list of the individuals recorded in this release can be downloaded here (pdf 531Mb). The list shows their names and full addresses. It includes the files of:
  • 106 women participants
  • Successful pension applications files relating to 89 Brigade and Battalion IRA Officers
  • Successful and unsuccessful applications lodged by the dependants of 392 War of Independence casualties
  • Successful and unsuccessful applications lodged by the dependants of 144 National Army (Civil War) casualties
  • 110 other applications relating to other cases (some rank and file), including National Army members pursuing their army career in the Defence Forces as Officers
  • The files of 42 veterans of Easter Week with recognised service
Researchers should note that many individuals have more than one file. Some have as many as seven files. This is because separate files were generated under different aspects of the legislation enacted between 1923 and 1973. To improve access, MilitaryArchives.ie has consolidated individual's files under the relevant surname.

Search the MSPC's 'Individual Applications – Pensions and Awards'.

Ireland Genealogy Projects (IGP): Mid-month updates

Doyle headstone, Greenane, Co Wicklow
Click for larger image.
Photo courtesy of Eadaoin Breslin.
Here's the mid-December batch of updates from the team of volunteers at Ireland Genealogy Projects (IGP-web). All the records are freely available in the Archives section of the site.

COUNTRYWIDE Genealogy Archives
Cemeteries – J. & C. Nichols Funerals, Dublin Ltd. 1919-1935 (Updated)

GALWAY Genealogy Archives
Memorial Cards (Updated)

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives
Headstones – St. Canice, Plaques & Grave

LAOIS Genealogy Archives
Vital Records – Marriage Bonds 1760-1840 (Delaney/Delany) Ossory, Ferns & Leighlin Diocese

MAYO Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Ballycastle (CoI)
Land Records – Revised Valuation Book, Meneen

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Asslyinn New Cemetery, Upper Side, Pt 2

SLIGO Genealogy Archives
Sligo Cemetery - New Part, Sec. B (Surnames A-J)

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Greenane, St. Columba's Church Cemetery

Tuesday 15 December 2015

FutureLearn launches free online genealogy course

Glasgow's University of Strathclyde has launched a free online genealogy course on FutureLearn, the Open University's platform for massive online open courses (MOOCs) created by top educational establishments around the world.

The Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree course is not specifically geared to Irish genealogy nor any other individual country's records. It is more generic. The course details say that it aims to 'help you develop an understanding of the basic genealogy techniques and how to communicate your family history. We will consider how to effectively find and analyse sources and explore the potential of DNA testing as applied to genealogy. We’ll help you add historical context to your family history and discuss how to record and communicate research findings in a clear fashion.

No special knowledge or previous experience of studying is required for the course, which will start on 14 March.

The main 'educator' of the course is Tahitia McCabe, a genealogist based at the University and course leader for the MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies (distance learning).

Cosmic comments from John Grenham in Irish Times

After a long day's slog, it was a wonderful surprise to turn on my computer last night and find an Inbox full of congratulations and kind words, all directing me to John Grenham's column in the Irish Times.

The subject of this week's 'Irish Roots' column was (blush) this blog, which John describes as the 'centre of the Irish family history universe'. Coming from the most renowned Irish genealogist on the planet, that's one hell of an accolade to have bestowed on Irish Genealogy News, and one that may well find its way into my future promotional materials!

He's right in saying I have no agenda. I'm a news reporter, trained to report the facts fairly and without favour, and I love this independence. Fortunately, I don't have to compromise it because I'm not trying to flog you my products or research services, I'm not beholden to any advertisers, and, unlike some genealogy blogs, newsletters and magazines, I'm not secretly in the pocket of any database owners. So on my blog you'll find news of record releases from Ancestry, RootsIreland, IrishGenealogy.ie, AncestryIreland.com, FindMyPast, National Archives of Ireland or UK, MilitaryArchives.ie, National Library of Ireland, Irish societies in the USA, UK and Ireland, local libraries and archives, IGP-web – you name it. Commercial, charity, non-profit, volunteers... I don't care who hosts the records or sells the products so long as they are of value to Irish genealogists.

It's true that if you click on an Ancestry, BNA or FindMyPast link on my blog and subsequently buy a sub, I may receive a small commission (it doesn't affect the price you pay), but I don't report releases or developments from those sites unless I recognise them as of genuine interest to Irish family historians. Unless I'm really REALLY stretched for time, I usually test-search new collections before I report on them. This brings me to something John wrote that I should correct: the blog is very much a part-time hobby that I can usually fit in around my main job; if I relied on the blog for an income, I'd rarely eat. Those who have met me will appreciate that I don't often skip meals.

To John, a heartfelt 'Thank You' for drawing attention to Irish Genealogy News and being so positive and generous in his review.

Christmas ideas for the genie in your life: 10% discount on Ancestry DNA tests – IE & UK only

Be quick. Discount has expired.
I don't know about anyone else but I held out and kept my nerve, confident that AncestryDNA would come up with a Christmas discount offer for this eastern side of the Atlantic.

And here it is: 10% off the price of a DNA testing kit. This brings the price down to £89. There's still, unfortunately, the hefty shipping charge of £20 to be added to reach the final cost, but hey, it's Christmas (dear husband).

To take advantage of the offer you need to act quickly as it expires tomorrow. I'll presume the expiry time is 23:59 GMT (it usually is, but I can't find confirmation on the Ancestry site).

I've already done one AncestryDNA test and I've been very pleased with the results, even if I haven't yet had time to follow up all of the most promising matches they revealed. Subject to finding another testing kit under the tree late next week, my plan is for my mother to take the test so that I can better identify the side of the family with which each individual match connects.

(See the USA offer here. )

UPDATE 17 Dec 2015:
The discount from AncestryDNA.co.uk has now expired.

Ireland in Rebellion, 1782–1916: a Xmas indulgence

A couple of months ago, I blogged about the start of a new and free online lecture series produced by Trinity College Dublin to explore 'Ireland in Rebellion 1782-1916' and the forces which led to the creation of the independent Irish state. The end of the 14-week series is now in sight.

I know a few people who've been following the weekly video uploads of four mini-lectures plus an interview, and all say they've learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the course so far. Their positive comments and enthusiasm had me scurrying back to the original announcement from TCD where I was delighted to find that videos of the first eleven weeks of the lecture series can be watched or downloaded (free) at leisure on Trinity's YouTube channel.

The imminent Christmas break will be a great opportunity to get stuck into the series... that's my plan, anyway. Call me a couch potato, it'll be my seasonal indulgence.

The introductory lecture can be viewed below:

Friday 11 December 2015

GRO – credit where credit's due

On Wednesday evening, I asked a friend with a fax machine (yep, one of those ancient-technology things that most of us deemed obsolete and chucked in the bin some years ago) to send an application for a birth certificate to the General Register Office at Roscommon.

Much to my delight, the research copy certificate plopped into my Inbox at 9:50 this morning. That's a 24-hour turnaround, give or take, and I'd call that an excellent service.

It's even more impressive when you consider that the GRO had a 10- to 14- day backlog in August.

Well done to staff at the GRO.

1708 Irish newspaper is oldest to join online BNA

The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) has added three more Irish titles to its online database.

They are:
  • The Dublin Intelligence – Only three editions have been uploaded so far but, as far as I can see, they are not only the earliest Irish newspapers in the archive, they are the earliest publications in the entire archive. They date from August and September 1708. The BNA says it will be adding editions to span 1708–12 and 1722–24.
  • Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette – Also known as the 'Monthly repertory of miscellaneous church news'. All 23 editions published in 1861 and from January to November 1866 inclusive are now available for searching and the Archive intends its holding to eventually span 1856–75.
  • Penny Despatch and Irish Weekly Newspaper – More than 300 editions of this publication dating from September 1861 to December 1869 have joined the database. Additional editions dating up to 1875 will be uploaded in due course.
Including these three additions, the online British Newspaper Archive now holds 108 historical Irish papers. The total number of newspapers in the database is 550.

If you haven't already explored this huge database, here's a special offer that will be hard to resist: enjoy your first month for just £1.

To take advantage of this discount (the standard price is £12.95), just click/tap the image above, type the promotion code 1939TRYBNA1FOR1 in the box, and select the monthly subscription option. You'll see the cost change to £1 and can then proceed to the payment page.

At the end of your initial 1-month period your subscription will be automatically renewed at the normal price of £12.95. If you don't want the subscription to renew, un-tick the 'auto-renew my subscription’ box in the My Account section of the site.

Alternatively, full access to the database is included in all Ireland and World subscriptions to the BNA's sister company FindMyPast:

FindMyPast Ireland     FindMyPast UK     FindMyPast USA    FindMyPast Aust/NZ   

The oldest newspaper edition in the online British Newspaper Archive was published in August 1708

Christmas gifts for the genealogists in your life – 4

Today's suggestion for genealogy-themed Christmas ideas isn't strictly a gift-wrapped present. Instead, it's a Christmas card with a difference.

It's a card with a blank family tree template printed on it. You 'simply' add your time and research experience by filling in the names and details of the recipient's ancestors. Voila, your gift is your loved one's family history.

Family Tree Christmas Cards (and Family Tree Birthday Cards, too) cost €3.95 each, plus p&p, and can be purchased ordered from Waterford-based Irish Genealogy Solutions.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Family history is still top draw for PRONI visitors

Click cover to download Digest
The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has published the Digest of Statistics/Annual Report 2014-15 for the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

It shows that the majority (84%) of new visitors to the archive in Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, cited family history as the main reason for their visit, down just slightly on the previous (record) year. Almost a half (48%) of these new visitors came from outside Northern Ireland, and the percentage who gave their place of origin as Canada or Australia/NewZealand (9% and 7% respectively) rose slightly.

In total, there were 20,398 visitors to PRONI in 2014/15, almost exactly the same as the year before.

The website was busy, of course, and coped with more than 11million visits, down from 14.5million in the previous year; Will Calendars remained the most popular online collection.

In second place were the Griffith's Valuation Revision/Cancelled Books.

You can find out more by downloading the Digest here (pdf 2.9Mb).

FindMyPast offers 20% discount to 1939 Register

Discount expires Sunday 20 December, 23:59 GMT
FindMyPast is offering a useful 20% discount to the recently released 1939 Register for England and Wales. Could be very handy if you have only a small number of ancestors in England and Wales at the outbreak of WW2.

The offer applies only on the 'household view'    (60 credits) package, which normally costs €9.50/ £6.95/ US$10.95/ AUD13.50.

With the 20% discount applied, the cost is reduced to €7.60 / £5.59/ US$8.76/ AUD10.80.

While this discount could be very handy if you have only a small number of ancestors in England and Wales at the outbreak of WW2, do bear in mind that a non-discounted package of five household views may be a cheaper per-view option, depending on how many household views you need to make.

To take up the individual household view (60 credits) offer, select one of the flags below and then click the 'Apply Discount' button. The discount code will be automatically applied when you reach the subsription/package page, and you'll see the reduced price showing under the Pay As You Go 60 Credits option.

The discount offer will expire on Sunday 20 December at 23:59 GMT.

1939 Register
FindMyPast Ireland
    1939 Register
FindMyPast UK
1939 Register
FindMyPast USA
    1939 Register
FindMyPast Aus/NZ

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Christmas gifts for the genealogist in your life – 3

There can be occasions in every family historian's research when some professional help wouldn't go amiss. Times when a leg-up over a brickwall is needed, or maybe a fresh direction needs to be found. Or maybe just starting is proving difficult.

This is when Timeline Genealogy Gift Vouchers could make an ideal gift for under your family tree this Christmas.

Timeline Vouchers come in differing values and can be exchanged for the following:
  • Consultation with Timeline's Nicola Morris MAGI, a professional genealogist who has worked for Who Do You Think You Are?
  • A personalised research guide, tailored to your own family history and with a step-by-step research strategy
  • Family history research packages for those who don't want to carry out their own research or who want an expert to extend their own prior research into earlier generations
Vouchers can be dispatched by post or email to the purchaser or recipient. Vouchers sent by email are pdf attachments, ideal for printing and presentation.

Clare Library adds more free C19th baptism records

The final tranche of transcriptions from the Roman Catholic Baptism Register for O'Callaghan’s Mills Parish in County Clare has been uploaded to the County Clare Library website. Dating from 1835 to 1881, the registers include 6,136 baptisms.

The transcriptions were created and donated by Sharon Carberry of Virginia, USA, who worked from images of the registers held on the National Library of Ireland's free database.

Family Tree Maker program heads into retirement

Ancestry has announced that it will be 'retiring' its popular Family Tree Maker software with immediate effect, although some level of support for existing users will continue for at least the next 12 months.

You can read the official announcement here.

As someone who uses Family Tree Maker, I'm not exactly happy about this. I also have no intention of paying a monthly subscription for use of an online tree program, which is presumably the route Ancestry wants to force us to take. Like many amateur genealogists, I use my tree software far too infrequently to warrant paying an on-going sub to keep my tree in the cloud.

I shall be giving the very best nursing care to my existing program in the hope of it enjoying a very long and useful semi-retirement.

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2015: lectures go online

Videos of presentations at this year's Genetic Genealogy Ireland (GGI) conference are now starting to be uploaded to GGI's dedicated YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHnW2NAfPIA2KUipZ_PlUlw .

Over the last three years, the GGI conference has been held in conjunction with the Back To Our Past exhibition in Dublin. It's an extremely popular element of the annual show, attracting DNA enthusiasts and experts from across the globe.

It's organised by genealogist Maurice Gleeson, who was recently voted Genetic Genealogist of the Year 2015 by SurnameDNA Journal, and is sponsored by FamilyTree DNA.

The videos now available on YouTube are

An introduction to this year's DNA lectures at Genetic Genealogy Ireland, with Maurice Gleeson

Building a Family Tree with SNPs, STRs, Named People, with Maurice Gleeson

Surfing the SNP tsunami: NGS for Genetic Genealogists
, with John Cleary

Irish Clans & Irish identity
, with Dr Cathy Swift

I understand there's been some kind of technical difficulty with the videos taken this year, hence the delay in uploading them for public access. This has now been resolved and Maurice tells me the remaining videos will be added in a steady fashion.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

West Cork Graveyard Database doubles in size

Skibbereen Heritage Centre has uploaded some 2,680 burial register transcriptions for 16 West Cork graveyards (see names, locations and dates in table below) to its West Cork Graveyards Database. The information provided includes name, age and address of the deceased, dates of death and burial and, in some cases, occupation of the deceased.

The registers were made available by Cork County Council, who are now responsible for each of the graveyards, and were transcribed by a small team of Skibbereen Heritage Centre volunteers.

This upload almost doubles the size of the free-to-access database. It already held around 2,800 records collected as a result of surveys carried out in eleven local graveyards. The surveys involved photographing and transcribing the headstones, mapping the graves, and gathering any local knowledge of each graveyard and those buried within. The database holds the transcriptions and links to photos of the memorials.

A further survey has recently been undertaken at Kilcoe (new) graveyard, and these records have also been uploaded to the database.

Transcribed registers in West Cork Graveyard Database

 Abbeymahon Graveyard Skibbereen May 1900–October 1975
 Abbeystrowry Graveyard Skibbereen March 1934–Sept 1943 & Oct 1963–June 1965
 Allihies Graveyard Castletownbere June 1990–April 1992
 Ardagh Graveyard Rosscarbery May 1991–December 2009
 Ballymoney Graveyard Ballineen June 1961–June 1998
 Ballynacallagh Graveyard Dursey Island October 1935–May 1988
 Castlehaven Graveyard Castletownshend March 1934–June 1967
 Drimoleague Graveyard Drimoleague April 1963–April 1969
 Durrus Graveyard Durrus June 1989–June 1995
 Fanlobbus Graveyard Dunmanway March 1960–September 1994
 Kilbarry Graveyard Dunmanway March 1960–May 1993
 Kilcaskan Graveyard Adrigole no dates on entries
 Kilmacabea Graveyard Leap March 1934–February 1968
 Milltown Rathbarry Graveyard Ardfield September 1944–January 1947
 Tullagh Graveyard Baltimore January 1900–December 1973
 Whiddy Island Bantry Bay February 1935–October 1980

Christmas gifts for the genealogist in your life – 2

Offer for USA-based recipients only
Stuck for a gift for a US-based family historian? Here are a couple of great gift ideas that come with a discount. They're both from Ancestry.com.

AncestryDNA.com is running a 10% discount offer on orders (to US addresses only) for dna testing kits. The discount brings down the price from £99 to $89.

The offer expires on Monday 21 December at 11:59 pm ET. For Christmas delivery you need to place your order with standard shipping by Wednesday 16 December, or by expedited shipping by Monday 21 December.

US Discovery or World Explorer options only
The second offer – for a gift membership subscription – also comes with a 10% discount.

There's a choice of either the US Discovery package, which includes all US records, or the World Explorer package, which brings access to all US and international records.

The discounted priceds are shown below, and the offer ends on Christmas Day, 25 December.

Gift memberships are valid for new subscribers only and not for renewals of current subscriptions. They are available on a one-time, non-renewing membership basis, so the gift-buyer can be sure of being billed only at the time the gift is purchased.

US Discovery: 12 months' subscription – standard price $189, reduced to $169

US Discovery: 6 months' subscription – standard price $99, reduced to $89

World Explorer: 12 months' subscription – standard price $299, reduced to £269

World Explorer: 6 months' subscription – standard price $149, reduced to $134.

Diploma in Family History: pre-Xmas 10% discount

The next Diploma in Family History course will get underway in February 2016 and there's a worthwhile 10% discount on offer for those who enrol in the next week or so for either the classroom-based or the online option.

The Diploma course, which is designed and taught by renowned genealogist John Grenham MAGI and accredited by the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM), takes place on Thursdays, 6:30pm–9:30pm, over ten weeks from 11 February 2016. It aims to assist students to develop the skills necessary to use the genealogical resources available, whether those resources are online or held in libraries and archives.

John told Irish Genealogy News that the course concentrates very heavily on the Internet. "I like to show how the records got online and the quirks and peculiarities they have, and then provide some hands-on practice with a series of treasure hunts. Apart from anything else, three hours is too long for anyone to listen to me talk. And the best way to learn is always by doing."

The classes are held in the City Colleges building on South George's Street, Dublin 2. They're live-streamed and remain available via the City Colleges website until two months after the course ends. The main difference between the 'classroom' and 'online' student experiences is that there is no direct feedback for the online participants.

You can find detailed class-by-class topics on the City Colleges website, along with course fees.

To take advantage of the discount offer, you'll need to enrol by Friday 18 December. You can enrol by phoning (from Ireland) 1850 25 27 40 or (from outside Ireland) +353 1 416 0034; by applying online and paying a deposit; or by emailing info@citycolleges.ie for an application form and returning it by the deadline.

IrishGenealogy.ie currently offline for maintenance

The State-managed IrishGenealogy.ie website is currently offline. Error Codes 404 or 500 are being returned when you attempt to reach beyond the homepage to specific sections of the site.

Initially I hoped this meant there was another update (enhancement) on its way for the General Register Office's Civil Registration Indexes, but I think this is unlikely because a note posted on the online front door of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (which runs the site)
says the entire DAHG site is down for maintenance.

I've tweeted the Department to find out how long they expect the downtime to last.

UPDATE: And in a trice, the site was restored! I'd love to think it was my tweet that prompted such speedy resolution, but I suspect it wasn't! There are no obvious updates that I can see.

Monday 7 December 2015

National Library of Ireland launches 1916 digital collections and 2016 activities & events programme

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has launched its 2016 programme this evening. It includes the release of a unique digital repository of personal papers and photographs that tell the story of the momentous events of 1916 in Ireland.

In addition to the 70,000 digital images already available through the NLI’s online catalogue, the digitised personal papers and photographs of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation - Eamonn Ceannt; James Connolly; Tom Clarke; Sean MacDiarmada; Thomas MacDonagh; Padraig Pearse; and Joseph Plunkett - will be added in the coming months. The first of these – the full collection of Ceannt's papers – went live during the launch event.

In January 2016, the NLI will issue the material related to Tom Clarke and James Connolly papers; followed by Seán MacDiarmada and Thomas MacDonagh in February, concluding with the papers of Patrick Pearse and Joseph Plunkett in March 2016. The digitised papers include diaries, postcards and photographs that tell the stories of the family and working lives of each signatory, alongside dramatic records of their activities during Easter Week 1916.

The Irish Times has a detailed article, and a video, about the digitisation of the personal papers.  

Speaking at the launch event, Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library, said: “At the heart of the National Library’s plans for 2016 is our core mission: collecting and making available Irish memory and heritage for people everywhere. Our 1916 programme is ambitious and includes digitisation, exhibitions and events, and I am delighted that we will be adding to our archive of the Irish Internet by capturing websites related to the commemorations for people to explore as a record of this momentous year.”

The NLI's 2016 programme of free events, exhibitions and activities to mark the centenary commemorations of the Easter Rising is on the Library's website: www.nli.ie.

The Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme is a national programme, co-ordinated by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, to commemorate the events of the 1916 Rising, to reflect on Ireland's achievements over the last 100 years and to look towards Ireland’s future. For more information, visit www.ireland.ie.

The Irish at Gallipoli podcast series, with Dr Jeff Kildea

If you've Irish family connections to the Gallipoli campaign, you'll want to listen to a series of podcasts recorded by Dr Jeff Kildea when he was the Keith Cameron Chair of Australian History at University College Dublin.

The series includes six podcasts in which Dr Kildea examines the part played by the Irish during the Gallipoli campaign, looking in particular at the landing on 25 April, the advance to Krithia between April and July, the August Offensive, both at Anzac Cove (when Anzacs and Irishmen fought shoulder to shoulder) and at Suvla Bay, and finally the evacuation.

The recordings date from 2014 but I'm not sure how long they've been online. They're new to me, anyway.

'The Irish at Gallipoli' series
is hosted by University College Dublin's History Hub where a summary of each episode is presented alongside each of the free podcasts.

Christmas gifts for the genealogist in your life – 1

Over the course of the next week or so, I'll be bringing you ideas for Christmas gifts that'll get you into the good books of your family's genealogist. Most are on offer all year round but are now available with either a special gift purchase conditions (such as non-renewing subscriptions) or with a worthwhile seasonal discount.

There's no law that says these treats are only for others. I'm sure you're just as deserving, yourself.

So let's get the ball rolling with a great favourite: Irish Roots magazine, Ireland's long-established and much-loved quarterly publication dedicated to Irish genealogy, heritage and traditions.

Each issue is full of informative and practical articles written by the industry's top genealogists and writers, all independent and unaligned to commercial database suppliers so the reader can be confident of receiving the very best, unbiased and most up-to-date guidance.

The editors have a couple of gift options on sale:

The Irish Roots Gift Pack contains the last three issues of the magazine, a family tree chart to get started and an overview guide on how to commence and pursue your ancestral journey. It's an ideal starter pack for any family member who's been talking about getting stuck into their genealogical research but either hasn't yet found the motivation or doesn't know quite where to start. The Gift Pack costs just €25 / £25 / USA $37 / AUD$42 / CAD $40 including post and packing. Find out more about the Gift Pack.

The Irish Roots Gift Subscription Voucher: This is the Christmas gift that lasts a whole year! A one-year subscription means your loved one will receive four issues of the magazine (usually starting with the current or next issue), direct to their mailbox. The Voucher costs just €25 / £25 / USA $37 / AUD$42 / CAD $40 including post and packing. Find out more about Gift Subscriptions.

PRONI – Preservation Week and beyond

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast
Just a reminder that it's Preservation Week at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

This means that while PRONI is still open to the public as normal, its main focus this week will be on the various aspects of a repository's work that goes on behind the scenes. As a result, there is a limited public service every day this week.

While the Public Search Room, including Self-Service Microfilm area, will be operating as normal, there will be no Document Prodution servive.

During last year's Preservation Week, PRONI published daily blogposts describing the essential work being carried out behind closed doors. I'm not sure if something similar will be published this time round. Either way, you can read last year's here.

While on the subject of PRONI, you might like to read Chris Paton's detailed report on last week's User Forum meeting which includes information about what we can expect from PRONI over the next year or so.

Accredited Genealogists Ireland elects new president

Steven Smyrl welcomes Máire Mac Conghail
At its recent Annual General Meeting, Accredited Genealogists Ireland (formerly the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland) elected Máire Mac Conghail as its new president, in place of outgoing president, Steven Smyrl.

Steven, who had completed a maximum three-year term, welcomed Máire as his successor and as the Association’s eighth president. He said: “Over its near thirty years existence, AGI can count among its members some of Ireland’s foremost genealogists. They have been involved in research uncovering the long forgotten family connections of celebrities, politicians and public figures, both in Ireland and overseas.

"Many have gone on to appear on TV and radio themselves, sharing their knowledge and expertise, becoming the instantly recognisable face of Irish genealogy. The Association itself has throughout its existence been to the fore in setting standards, bringing focus and stimulating debate in Irish genealogy; providing insight and answers to those setting government and archival policy.

“Máire, a native Irish speaker, is widely known in genealogy and many other academic circles. She has served on the Board of the National Library of Ireland and is a current member of both the National Archives Advisory Council and the Irish Manuscripts Commission. I know that she will serve AGI well in the office of president.”

At the AGM, members also elected the following officers to serve on the Council for 2016:

Vice-President: Joan Sharkey;

Honorary Secretary: Anne-Marie Smith;

Honorary Treasurer: Sandra Doble.

In addition, the following six were elected as ordinary members of Council: Robert C. Davison, Paul Gorry, John Grenham, Nicola Morris, Steven C. Smyrl and Michael Walsh.

Irish genealogy and heritage events, 6-31 December

If I hear of any other pertinent events between now and the end of the year, I'll update this listing accordingly.

Monday 7 December to Friday 11 December: Preservation Week at Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. Reduced service. Self-service microfilms will be available in the search room but there will be no document production.

Monday 7 December: The Miller Family, with Jim Condren. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, Foyle Branch. Venue: Derry City’s Central Library, 35 Foyle Street, Londonderry, BT48 6AL. 7pm. All welcome.

Tuesday 8 December Family history and genealogy sessions, with Margaret Bonar and Betty Craven. Donaghmede Library, Donaghmede Shopping Centre, Grange Road, Dublin 13. All are welcome and admission is free. 2:30pm to 4pm. Booking is essential, tel: 085 1444883.

Tuesday 8 December: The establishment of the printing press, with Raymond Gillespie. Milestones of Medieval Dublin monthly lunchtime lectures series hosted by the Friends of Medieval Dublin. Venue: Wood Quay Venue, Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8. 1:05pm–1:45pm. Admission free. NO booking is necessary.

Tuesday 8 December: Guns and hoses: Dublin Fire Brigade and the Irish Revolution, 1913-23, with Las Fallon. Host: TCDSU 1916 Centenary Initiative. Venue: Jonathan Swift Theatre, Arts Block, Trinity College Dublin. 7pm. All welcome.

Wednesday 9 December: Exploring a Spanish Armada wreck in County Sligo, with Fionnbarr Moore. Hosts: Mayo Historical and Archaeological Society and The Culture and Environment Programme GMIT Mayo. Venue: Roseanne Clear Lecture Theatre (P002), GMIT, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Admission free to members; €6 to non-members. Students with valid ID €2. All welcome. 8pm.

Thursday 10 December : The Ulster Division, with Dr Timothy Bowman. Host: Western Front Association. Venue: Room G00033 in the Elmwood Building, School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queens University Belfast (Access is from Elmwood Avenue)  7pm. Free. All welcome.

Saturday 12 December: Our lives should not be sweated: Belfast women workers, 1910-1915, with Theresa Moriarty. Host: The Irish Labour History Society. Venue: Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North, Belfast. 1:30pm. Free. (Visitors may like to take the opportunity to view the Linen Hall Library's current exhibition: “Labor & Dignity: James Connolly In America”. No ticket required. Details.

Tuesday 15 December: How DNA found two more generations of my 18th century Limerick ancestors, with Paddy Waldron. Host: Limerick City Library. Venue: The Granary, Michael Street, Limerick. 8pm. Discounted DNA testing will be available after the talk.

Wednesday 16 December: Family history one to ones, with Lisa Walsh Dougherty. Host and venue: Folklife Reading Room, Folklife Center at Crandall Library, 251 Glen St, Glens Falls, NY 12801, USA. 10am–12pm. Free. No appointment required; just drop in.

Thursday 17 December: My experience of family history research, with George Busby. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society, North Down and Ards branch. Venue: 1st Bangor Presbyterian Church Hall, Main Street, Bangor BT20 4AG. 7:30pm. All welcome. Non-members £3.

Thursday 3 December 2015

Ancestry adds two new 'Web Search' collections

More than 53,500 gravestone records from around Ireland have been indexed by Ancestry as the Ireland: Graveyard Index 1600–2012 collection, one of its free to access (not even a need to register) 'Web Search' collections.

Index search results are linked to gravestone inscriptions on From-Ireland.net, a website managed by Dr Jane Lyons that's awash with Irish genealogy records and graveyard photos, all of them provided without charge.

In this particular collection, the graveyards are geographically spread over the island but by far the largest chunk are in counties Laois, Kilkenny and Kildare.

A second Web Search collection linking to From-Ireland.net is the Ireland, Trade Directory, 1931, which wil be of particular interest to those whose families were shopkeepers and merchants or provided local services. It's full of milliners, surgeons, photographers, bootmakers, publicans, hotels, brick manufacturers and so on.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Clare Library adds more Kilmurry Ibrickan baptisms

Another batch of transcriptions from the Kilmurry Ibrickan Roman Catholic baptism registers have been added to the free-to-view Clare Library website.

This set of records now spans 1839 to 1875, with only one year – 1851 – missing. As far as I'm aware, these records are not available online anywhere else.

The baptism transcriptions for this parish now number several thousand and are the work of Derry-based transcriber Marie Crowley.

See the Kilmurry Ibrickan baptism records.

The Irish in the American Civil War blog

Earlier this year, I attended an excellent lecture, hosted in London by the Irish Genealogical Research Society, by professional archaeologist and historian Damian Shiels who runs the Irish in the American Civil War blog. It was a fascinating talk, opening up a colourful and unexpected area of research for Irish family historians, and I know Damian has been well-received wherever he's presented talks on the topic.

With its steady and wide-ranging output of educational, touching, curious and always enlightening posts, the Irish in the American Civil War blog has attracted a considerable following over the last few years, and I was delighted to see that Damian's hard work earned his blog the best Arts and Culture Blog at the Irish Blog Awards in October. He saw off stiff competition, too.

I'm telling you this in case you haven't come across his blog before. And also to direct you to an outstanding new blogpost, where Damian presents some of the research he has recently carried out among the Confederate Army and pension files for Irishmen living in the state of Alabama in 1907. With heat maps and biographical notes on 54 emigrant Irish, it reveals a unique glimpse into the lives of these men and how they had fared as they aged in their adopted home.

Read it here: Mapping Confederate Irish Veterans in 20th-century Alabama.

End of November updates from IGP-web

It's headstones all the way in the latest update from Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (IGP-web). Below are the collections of images and inscriptions photographed and transcribed by volunteers and added to the free-to-access site in the last two weeks of November.

Here lieth the | body of MARY
BYRN depd | 1786 agd 65 | years
Castlemacadam Old Cemetery, Avoca, Wicklow
(Courtesy Pádraig McCarthy & Joyce Tunstead) 
CAVAN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Belturbet (CoI) Cemetery

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Deansgrange Cemetery - St Ita's - Parts 4&5
Mount Jerome Cemetery - Parts 115-118

GALWAY Genealogy Archives – Headstones
St Mary's CoI church and cemetery, Roundstone

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Kilmakerrill Cemetery, Manorhamilton

SLIGO Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Carrowntemple Slabs - Gurteen
Innismurray Island
Rathbarron (CoI), Coolaney

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives – Headstones
Castlemacadam (Old), Avoca
Old Newbridge, Avoca Parish