Wednesday 31 March 2021

Take five*: Recent news in brief for Irish genealogists

It's been a tough month for me, one way or another, and I've been getting behind with posting news. To catch up, and give myself a bit of breathing space, I've come up with a condensing formula where I'll give you the nuts and bolts of five news stories and send you off to find out more for yourselves.

Normal service should resume shortly.

National Archives of Ireland publishes new 5-year strategy

Last week, the National Archives of Ireland launched a new strategy to set the direction for its organisation over the next 5 years.

The new strategy, set out in its document Shaping Our Future in the Information Age, identifies the priorities that will guide its work over this period. They include a new state-of-the-art archive repository, a digital transformation programme, a new framework for records management across government, a commemorations and outreach programme, and building the capacity of the National Archives as a fit for purpose, dynamic and innovative organisation.

Publication of the document (click image to download) came just days before the last tranche of archive material was transported off-site from the NAI's long-time warehouse behind Bishop Street. (The NAI's new archive repository, meeting international standards for the storage of archives, will be unveiled in 2022.)

The online British Newspaper Archive hits another milestone

The has raced through another milestone, after its overnight upload took the total number of historical newspaper pages in the database to more than 42million.

After a particularly busy March, when no less than nine new Irish titles joined the line-up, the archive holds some 210 Irish newspapers.

Some 152 of these titles were published in places now in RoI, and 58 published in counties now in Northern Ireland.

The entire database is available at the dedicated BNA site and as part of certain FindMyPast subscription packages. It is known as the Irish Newspaper Collection in the latter.

The Dictionary of Irish Biography is now free to explore

The online Dictionary of Irish Biography (DIB), a project of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), has moved to an open access model, making it free to search, view and explore.

First published in 2009, the DIB now holds almost 11,000 biographies spanning 1,500 years of Irish history. The RIA describes it as telling ‘the island’s life story through the biographies, at home and overseas, of prominent men and women born in Ireland, north and south, and the noteworthy Irish careers of those born outside Ireland.

Researchers can browse by name for individuals and contributors, or search by keywords, such as placenames, and use filters such as religions and field of recognition/career.

The dedicated site is at

2nd edition of Credentials for Genealogists published

A new edition of Credentials for Genealogists: Proof of the Professional, by Paul Gorry FIGRS, MAGI, has been published.

The 244-page paperback, by a highly-respected Member of Accredited Genealogists Ireland, was first published in 2018, and sparked much debate among those working (or aspiring to do so) in the genealogy industry into the topics of standards, experience, qualifications, and credentials for professional genealogists.

The book also explores the availability (or otherwise) of such credentials around the world.

While previously available to purchase only through an independent bookshop in Ireland, the new edition is now available for purchase through Amazon, as follows:

Amazon UK | | Amazon Australia |
Amazon Canada


The treasures of Trinity College Dublin's iconic Library are to go virtual

Virtual Trinity Library is opening up the unique and distinct collections of the Library of Trinity College Dublin, catalysing research and safeguarding the Library's treasures for generations to come. 

This ambitious, multi-year initiative aims to catalogue, conserve, digitise and research these unique collections of national importance making them accessible to a global audience, from schoolchildren to scholars.

The ambitious digitisation project is centred on the Library of Trinity College's most prized collections across nine representative categories. The nine themes are:

  • Dublin for Children's Literature: Trinity's Collections of Children's Literature
  • Europe's Diverse Heritage: From Ussher's Library to the Fagel Library
  • Global Culture: Papyrus and Objects
  • Ireland's Creative Legacy: Performance, Creative Arts and Architecture Archives
  • Ireland's Experiments & Great Discoveries: Mathematical, Scientific & Map Collections
  • Ireland's Literary Heritage: Literary Archives
  • Ireland's Medieval History: Medieval Manuscripts
  • Ireland's Religious & Political Evolution: Religious, Legal, Political & Military Collections
  • Trinity's Scholarly Contribution to the World: Trinity Icons

Click on the image above to view the website and introdutory video.

* I hear the drums.