Monday 30 August 2021

Book launch: Wicklow and the War of independence

A new book, Wicklow and the War of Independence, has been published by Wicklow County Archives. It is the product of a Wicklow County Council Decade of Centenaries project, which was supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Art, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. 

        Click to view the ebook

The book brings together a collection of essays and images by 12 of the county’s historians who have researched the revolutionary era in their respective localities from a variety of perspectives. The result is a series of interwoven studies that bring the complex tapestry of this significant part of Wicklow history into new and sharper focus.

The 254-page ebook version is already available online, which the hard-copy of the book will launch, with an exhibition of the same name, at the imminent official opening of the new Wicklow Library & Archives. 

In his foreword, Wicklow County Council’s Chief Executive, Frank Curran says: “The Wicklow Decade of Centenaries Programme supports the development of initiatives at county and community level to re-examine and commemorate significant events, individuals and groups during the revolutionary years (1913–23) in County Wicklow.

"I believe that as part of this project, this publication Wicklow and the War of Independence, which is focused on Wicklow’s experience of the War of Independence (1919–­21), contributes to this goal by combining local stories and experiences with local research and scholarship via access to local archives. In doing so, it promotes a greater understanding to authentic local archival access to digitised local archives such as those available on the Wicklow County Council portal"

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum in Connecticut will not reopen

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University (QU) in Connecticut has closed. It was opened in 2013 by Leo Varadkar but was, along with most museums, galleries and similar visitor venues, forced to close its doors due to Covid last year. 

By this time its future funding was being reassessed by the University's Board of Trustees who have now taken the decision that it will not reopen. 

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac
University will not reopen

Plans are now underway to find a new home for the Museum's artworks, which are mostly paintings and sculptures by noted contemporary Irish and Irish-American artists, with a number of period paintings by some of Ireland's most important 19th-century artists. 

Together they form what is probably the world's largest collection of art related to the Irish Famine. 

The Museum was part of QU's Ireland's Great Hunger Institute, a scholarly resource devoted to disseminating information about the Famine, its causes and consequences, through a programme of lectures, conferences and courses, and a series of publications called Famine Folios which explored specific topics about this period.

The Institute will maintain its research programme on the Great Hunger.

Friday 27 August 2021

FindMyPast adds 180,000 Irish Poor Law Union records

Some 158,000 records from the Poor Law Unions of Kilmacthomas and Dungarvan have been added to FindMyPast's exclusive County Waterford Board of Guardians Minute Books collection. 

Tap to search FindMyPast's Irish Poor Law Union collection

They join records from Lismore and Waterford (City) unions that have been online since Spring 2020. The newest additions date from 1845-1921 and chronicle the day-to-day running of the Union's workhouse, mentioning staff, inmates, suppliers and more.

Another upload saw additions to FindMyPast's County Clare Poor Law Union record collection. More than 21,000 records from Kilrush Union have been added covering Board of Guardians' meetings between 1848 and 1870.

These Poor Law Union records join the database's collections from Dublin, Donegal, Galway and Sligo. In total, FindMyPast's Workhouse and Poor Law collection holds 3,889,588 records.

Some of the above content contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you buy via these links. This does not affect the price you pay as a consumer, but it does contribute to keeping Irish Genealogy News online. See Advertising Disclosure tab above.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Five titles in Maynooth Studies in Local History series 2021

Five new volumes in the well-respected Maynooth Studies in Local History series have been published by the Dublin-based Four Courts Press. Each volume runs to 64 pages, is illustrated and is currently on offer from the publishers at €8.95 (standard price €9.95).

Titles and authors are as follows:

  • Denis Brenan Bullen (1802-66), Inspector of Anatomy for the Province of Munster – The controversial career of a Cork surgeon, by Michael Hanna.
    ISBN: 978-1-84682-969-7. More information.
  • Peadar Cowan (1903-62), Westmeath GAA administrator and political maverick, by Tom Hunt.
    ISBN: 978-1-84682-970-3. More information.
  • Rural tensions in nineteenth-century Knock, County Mayo, by Frank Mayes. ISBN: 978-1-84682-971-0. More information.
  • The Dublin Cattle Market's decline, 1955-73, by Declan O'Brien.
    ISBN: 978-1-84682-972-2. More information.
  • The impact of the Great Famine on Sir William Palmer's estates in Mayo, 1840-69, by David Byrne. ISBN: 978-1-84682-973-4. More information.

Glamorgan (Wales) PLU Workhouse records, 1850-1920, join Ancestry

Ancestry has added the Glamorgan (Wales), Workhouse Records collection held by Glamorgan Archives. The records date from 1850-1920 and are from Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff and Pontypridd.

Merthyr Tydfil Workhouse, 1868 - Click for enlarged view
It joins a similar, but slightly earlier, collection for Swansea and surrounding areas (1836-1916).

The reason I'm mentioning this new Welsh resource is because I've been surprised at how many Irish surnames I've found in it. There are even a couple of hundred Santrys, albeit a good third of them relate to a widow called Louise Santry who seems to have popped in for a grotty meal and cold bath on a regular basis over a couple of decades.

So check it out if some of your Irish ancestors escaped the on-going Famine by catching the boat to southern Wales. I've identified a couple of Santry families that must have used Cardiff as a stepping stone to the US, because I know they crossed the Atlantic later. Maybe yours did the same. These collections could fill in gaps.

The images I've looked at in the Glamorgan collection are highly legible, either typed or in neat writing, so not as hard on the eye as some PLU records I've come across before.

Note: 27 August. This collection joined Ancestry on 24 August and had been given the name 'Cardiff (Wales) Poor Law Workhouse records'. The collection has now been changed to Glamorgan, Wales, Workhouse Registers, which more correctly describes the contents and geographical area they cover. The above post has been altered in line with this amendment.

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Scheduled maintenance for, Wednesday 25 August has announced that it will undergo scheduled maintenance tomorrow, Wednesday 25 August, from 12am EDT.

Whether this impacts access to or any of the other 'territory' websites, I don't know for sure, but it's being flagged up on the UK site, too, so it probably will.

So, if you find some portions of the website are unavailable in the morning (and possibly for some time), you'll know what's likely to be causing the problem.

US$20 saving offered on range of AmericanAncestors memberships

In my regular summaries of new and updated US genealogy collections from the major databases, I always include the latest record-sets joining, the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, which is based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is an important site for genealogists researching Irish ancestors who emigrated from Ireland and settled in the United States (it is, for example, the only online source for Boston's Catholic records, which have been – digitised at some pace over the last year).

But it also gives you access to a total of 1.4 billion records spanning twenty-two countries covering the United States, Britain and Ireland, Europe and beyond, including one of the most extensive online collections of early American genealogical records.

I've found the site extremely useful for locating my family emigrants and their descendents, many of whom settled in Massachusetts, and it's been wonderful for my Santry one-name study. I don't have a continual or rolling subscription, but I pick up a three-month sub every now and again when I plan an 'extended-family blitz'.

The site is currently offering a (rare) discount on membership. It's not huge, but it's worthwhile. The US$20 saving will remain on offer until the end of the month and you can claim it off a range of membership options by quoting the discount code 08AUG2021.

Check out the range of memberships available by clicking the sunny image above. You'll find there's a lot more included than access to the database.

1821 Irish Census: all surviving Co. Cavan records re-indexed has uploaded a new presentation on the 1821 census in the county. It provides access to 80,000 complete census records which survive for 17 of the county's parishes in 1821. Click the map, below right, to find out more.

Click map to visit and search
Michael McShane, one of the site's founders, spoke to IrishGenealogyNews about the work behind the new resource. "We have corrected the numerous indexation and transcription errors which plague the National Archives of Ireland's Genealogy website and the full content is now searchable by filter and predictive text.

"We believe this provides access to about 95% of the records, compared to less than 50% on the NAI site."

He recommends that any records be verified by cross-checking with the images on the NAI site.

Cavan researchers will remember the launch of back in April (see blogpost).

It's good to see the development of the site going well, with regular updates and new material being added, as well as the creation of new analysis based on re-imagined data- and record-sets.

What a difference a fresh approach and a new pair of eyes (or two pairs on eyes in this husband-and-wife partnership) can bring!

Saturday 21 August 2021

Fix identified for IrishNewspaperArchive technical problem

The Dublin-based IrishNewsArchive is suffering from a search engine fault. I'm not aware of all the details, but I haven't been able to get past the search page this morning.

A fix has been identified according to a tweet posted by the family-run firm. However, it won't be a quickie. The company hopes service will be back to normal by Tuesday 24 August.

Friday 20 August 2021

14-day summary: English, Scottish and Welsh genealogy updates

Below is a summary of new and updated family history record collections for England, Scotland and Wales released by the major genealogy databases over the last 14 days (see previous summary, 6 August).

My regular summary of releases and updates relating to British collections is designed to help family historians whose Irish ancestors migrated, temporarily or permanently, to England, Scotland or Wales.

By default, it will also be useful to anyone carrying out research in those three nations, regardless of the origin of their ancestors.

The figures in parenthesis in the New Collections section are the numbers of records/images in the new record set.

Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parenthesis in the Updated Collections section reflect the number of records added to the collection in the recent update. In some instances, the supplier has not made this figure available. Where two figures are given, the first is the number of additions, the second is the new total.

Please note that I don't usually include updates of fewer than 1,000 records.



BritishNewspaperArchive (and shared with sister company, FindMyPast)
  • New titles in main collection ($£€)

Liverpool Journal of Commerce Forest of Dean Examiner

Dewsbury Chronicle and West Riding Advertiser Preston Pilot

Stretford and Urmston Examiner Cannock Chase Examiner

Lancaster Herald and Town and County Advertiser Stalybridge Examiner

Swansea and Glamorgan Herald Glasgow Chronicle

Manchester Examiner Nuneaton Times

South Staffordshire Examiner British Miner and General Newsman

Commercial Chronicle London City Chronicle

Fleming's British Farmers'Chronicle London Mercury 1847

Sainsbury's Weekly Register and Advertising Journal London Mercury 1828

Newmarket Journal British Army Despatch

Thacker's Overland News for India and the Colonies

Stockton Examiner and South Durham and North Yorkshire Herald
  • 158 titles in new Free-to-view collection (see blogpost)







National Library of Scotland

  • Tithe Maps added to Map Explorer: counties Cornwall, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Worcestershire (article)

Some of the above content contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you buy via these links. This does not affect the price you pay as a consumer, but it does contribute to keeping Irish Genealogy News online. See Advertising Disclosure tab above.

Wednesday 18 August 2021

FamilySearch adds 4million Irish Merchant Navy and Crime records has added two Irish collections to its free database, as follows:

1. Ireland, Merchant Navy Crew Lists, 1857-1922
This collection holds a good index to 832,770 records held by the National Archives of Ireland. You can see an example of the index entry, right, from one of my fishermen ancestors, who was born in Scilly, at Kinsale harbour in 1799. Don't you wish all indexes gave you this much information!

The full imaged collection is online, free at NAI's Genealogy website, and some of the individual records contain great details about pay, apprenticeships, voyages around the globe, skill levels and promotions and more. William Santry's record, for example, consists of five documents.

2. Ireland, Prison Registers, 1798-1928
This is another NAI collection, but unlike the Merchant Navy lists above, this one is not available via the NAI Genealogy website. Instead, it is available on Ancestry and FindMyPast, for a fee.

FamilySearch's collection is an index of 3,127,594 records. Unfortunately, the index information is not particularly informative. A search for Hannah Santry returned the following details: Place of imprisonment: Ireland, age 23, birthplace BallinaCarriger Dunmanway (sic), but in most entries, even those for this Hannah, no birthplace is recorded. Images can be viewed when you are researching at a Family History Center.

Two weeks of new and updated US collections from major databases

Below is a summary of US family history collections that have been released or updated by the major genealogy databases in the last two weeks. (The previous summary list was published on 30 July, see blogpost).

My regular summaries are designed to help family historians whose Irish ancestors emigrated, temporarily or permanently, to the United States.

By default, they should also be useful to anyone carrying out research in the US, regardless of the origin of their ancestors.

The figures in parenthesis in the New Collections section are the numbers of records/images in each new record set, if provided by the database.

Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parenthesis in the Updated Collections section reflect the number of records added to the collection in the recent update, if a number has been clearly noted by the supplier. I do not include updates of fewer than 1,000 records.


  • Narragansett Historical Register, 1882-1891, “a magazine devoted to the Antiquities, Genealogy and Historical Matter illustrating the history of the Narragansett Country, or Southern Rhode Island" (5,500 records and names)







Some of the above content contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you buy via these links. This does not affect the price you pay as a consumer, but it does contribute to keeping Irish Genealogy News online. See Advertising Disclosure tab above.

One-year Certificate in Local History course starts September

The Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna will again be hosting the University of Limerick's Certificate in Local History course, which starts in September and runs over two terms.

This is a highly-regarded part-time evening course offering a qualification to individuals already active in this area of study and to those interested in historical research for their own personal development or as a possible path to further study.

The modules are:

  • Introduction to local history: approaches, definitions and presentation
  • Introduction to documentary primary and secondary sources
  • Non-documentary sources for local history
  • History research seminar

Each student will be required to complete a 3,000-word project based on research into primary source material relevant to an understanding of a particular topic in local history.

This year the course will run at the Irish Workhouse Centre on Wednesday nights, 6:30pm–9:20pm and classes will begin on Wednesday 30 September 2020

Click the image for more information about the scope of the course, its admission requirements, fee, and how to apply, or contact John Joe for more information on 087-2963803 or email

Tuesday 17 August 2021

NIFHS DNA Summer School (virtual) to return in September

The North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) will be hosting another DNA Summer School this September, from Monday 6th to Friday 10th.  All classes will be held online, allowing researchers from around the world to attend, participate and learn. 

The school's focus is to enhance knowledge of DNA research, and to offer practical advice to facilitate understanding of the main concepts. All four types of DNA will be covered – X, Y, Mitochondrial and Autosomal. 

Each class will consist of a one-hour talk and will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A session. You can choose to attend all 10 virtual class over the week (£80) or pick and choose your own selection of classes at £10 each. 

These are the topics of each class:

  • The Advantages of Y-DNA
  • The Advantages of MT-DNA 
  • The Leeds Method 
  • Using X Matches in your DNA Research 
  • The DNA Family Matching Tool
  • Achieving Success with DNA
  • Stories from Ballycarry and Islandmagee DNA Projects
  • Using the Chromosome Browser effectively 
  • Ethnicity Estimates 
  • Using DNA Painter

  For more information about each class and to place your booking, please click/tap the image above.

Monday 16 August 2021

Heritage Week delivers new Irish family and local history sources

This year's Heritage Week in Ireland was themed around the creation and completion of heritage projects. As a result, some heritage groups developed projects focussed on the transcription, digitisation or release of records, publications and headstones. I haven't gone through the entire database of events/projects, but here are six such projects I found that will be of obvious benefit to Irish family historians:

Digitisation of County Roscommon Historical and Archaeological Journal

Fourteen volumes of the County Roscommon Historical and Archaeological Society's Journal, published 1986 to 2019, have been digitised by Roscommon County Library Service in collaboration with the CRHAS. More than 200 articles and images, plus an index, have been digitised and placed online through Roscommon County Council’s Local History Ditital Files platform. They are free to view and download (some files are large) here.

Who's Been Living in my House?

Clarecastle & Ballyea Heritage & Wildlife Group in County Clare took up the Heritage Week challenge with an in-depth study of the occupiers and owners of some of Clarecastle's oldest properties, many of them built more than 200 years ago. Using the Cancelled, or Revision Books held by the Valuation Office in Dublin, the Group's members took on the task of transcribing ten Books spanning 1855 to the 1970s, recording all the ink changes (denoting the year of change) in colour. The transcriptions were recorded into ten spreadsheets, capturing some 3,000 entries. This research is now on the Clarecastle Ballyea Hetitage and Wildlife website where it can be explored throughout Heritage Week.

Conservation of Drogheda Merchant Ledgers

Nearly 30 hours of professional conservation treatment has been carried out on three merchant ledgers held by County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society. Two of the ledgers (1788-92 and 1802-09) detail business transactions at the Brodigans’ grocery and tobacco shop in West Street and name many customers from Louth and counties Dublin, Kilkenny and Tyrone. The third ledger gives information on imports and exports of ships that docked in Drogheda from 1723-31. Following the conservation project, researchers can consult the ledgers under supervision in the research room of the County Archives. A special archival exhibition of the ledgers will be free to visit this Friday, 20 August, from 10am to 1pm. No need to book. Details.

Ennis Friary memorial transciptions

Ennis Friary is in the care of the Office of Public Works. It's original inhabitants were forced to leave in the mid-1500s and the site was repurposed as a parish church. It was a multi-denominational burial ground from the late 1600s to 1871, which is when most of its surviving gravestones and memorials date. The site receives a lot of visitors and enquiries from researchers, so the OPW team took on the task of remapping and transcribing all of the burials and memorials within the site. Project details can be found at The transcriptions, arranged under their location in the site ie chancel, cloister, nave, graveyard etc) are downloadable in pdf format here.

Graveyard survey – Corrandulla Cemetery

Members of Annaghdown Heritage Society in County Galway have carried out a survey of Corrandulla Cemetery (18km north of Galway City), complete with a map of the burial ground, transcription of all extant tombstone inscriptions and a surname index. The findings have been published in a booklet that is now available to purchase for €5 plus the applicable postage rate. Details and links, here.

Selection of family and local history booklets

See also Steve Dolan's range of booklets produced for this year's Heritage Week. Most of the topics relate to County Galway, but those with connections to County Cork or the town of Athlone should also take a look. I blogged about them last week. See blogpost.

Friday 13 August 2021

A selection of Heritage Week events for family and local historians

Heritage Week 2021 launches tomorrow and runs to Sunday 22 August. Each year, Heriage Week kicks off on the third weekend of August and sees a wide range of heritage events hosted by national and local community organisations across the country.

Most events are free; where there is a charge to attend, it usually involves only a very small contribution to costs.

This year there are more than 740 events (some are still being added this afternoon) exploring natural, cultural or built heritage. Some 160 are virtual events. The remainder involve your physical presence and covid precautions will be in place.

The site allows you to filter through these events by location and topic category, and whether online or in-person events. You can also search by keyword. Dig in. You're sure to find something of interest.

My selection of events below gives a flavour of the events available, and I've chosen those I feel would be of interest to fellow genealogists and lovers of history. There are quite a few opportunities to explore graveyards, sit in on online lectures, visit offline exhibitions, take in a historically themed walking tour, get fit on a more-than-a-stroll educational hike, or enjoy the more relaxing option of a boat tour.

Multi-day events during Heritage Week:

  • Exhibition of the National Folklore Collection focusing on Roscommon schools. A digital exhibition will be display in Roscommon County Library everyday during National Heritage Week. Normal opening hours. Details.
  • From Conflict To Division': Donegal, 1919-1925, an exhibition at Donegal County Museum. Venue: High Rd, Ballyboe Glencar, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Masks mandatory.Details. Monday to Saturday during museum's normal working hours.
  • Tuesday 17 August – Thursday 19 August: Aspects of East Galway heritage, three online talks. Host: East Galway Family History Society. Tuesdays's talk 2pm–3pm. Wednsday and Thursday talks at 7pm–8pm. Free, but you need to register. Details

One-day events during Heritage Week

Saturday 14 August: Archival footage and guided tours of historic and heritage buildings in Cork. More than 60 subtitled videos in the following categories: Live Events, Interviews, Language and Customs, Documentaries and Exhibitions(current), Natural Heritage, Tours, Photography, and Archives & Tutorials. All free. More.

Monday 16 August: 30-minute genealogy consultation, with Terri Kearney, at Skibbereen Heritage Centre. Booking essential. 3pm–5:30pm. Free. Telephone for appointment 028-40900. Details.

Monday 16 August: The Nightwatchman's tour of Galway, a walking tour, with Cul Stories. 7pm. Follow the Nightwatchman by torchlight as he makes his nightly rounds and discover what life was like within the walls of Medieval Galway. Donation required. Book at Eventbrite.

Tuesday 17 August: Irish Women and the Great War, an online lecture with Dr Fionnuala Walsh discussing the impact of the Great War on the lives of women in Ireland and of their vital but often overlooked involvement in the war effort. Host: Louth Library Service. Free. 7.30pm. Register here.

Tuesday 17 August: The Poor Law Union and the Workhouse at Cootehill, with Jonathan Smyth. Host: Cootehill Library, Co. Cavan. Video lecture premieres on YouTube at 7:30pm. Free.

Wednesday 18 August: St Fintan's Cemetery in Sutton, with Fingal Libraries Archivist Karen de Lacey exploring the history of the cemetery and stories of some of those buried there. 7pm. Online. Register by email to

Wednesday 18 August: Bere Island and its links to Argentina, an online discussion with members of the Bere Island Argentine community. Host: Bere Island Projects Group. 8.00pm. Free. Details.

Wednesday 18 August: Researching your family history, an online tutorial with Joanne Rothwell, Waterford City and County Council Archivist. 12:30pm – 1:30pm. Free. Booking required. Eventbrite.

Thursday 19 August: Where to start on your Irish family history? an online class with Bernie Walsh of Daulten Quaile Genealogy. 11am to Noon. Free. Need to book. Details.

Thursday 19 August: Collaborative conservation at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, with Justyna Chmielewska and Sophie Coulthard. A live virtual presentation. Free. 1:10pm.Details.

Friday 20 August: The Valley of Thieves in the Dublin Mountains, a unique 19km hike with Ben Shorten. Previous hiking experience preferable but not essential, however, you'll good level of fitness. See full description. 9:30am to 4:30pm. Donation required. Book via Eventbrite.

Friday 20 August: World War II soldiers of County Longford, an online lecture with Hugh Farrell. Host: Longford Heritage Office. Free, on Microsoft Teams. 7:30pm. See details.

Friday 20 August: Three Drogheda Merchant Ledgers on display at Louth County Archives Service, Ardee Road, Dundalk. 10am to 1pm. Free. No need to book or register. Visitors required to wear mask and adhere to covid regulations. Details.

Friday 20 August: Tracing Your Irish Military Ancestors, a lunchtime seminar with genealogist David Ryan. Host & venue: St Peter's Cork, 87A North Main Street, Cork City. Free. 1pm. Need to register.

Saturday 21 August: Turret Lodge, Kilrush, Open Day, a tour of the newly-restored lodge with members of Kilrush & District Historical Society. Each tour takes c15minutes and numbers will be limited on eacy tour. Booking is not necessary. 2pm–5pm. Masks essential.

Saturday 21 August: Tour of the newly restored Naul Graveyard, with Ian Lennon, followed by a talk on Local Traditions in Early Eighteenth-Century Commemorations, with Fionnuala Parnell. Noon–1:30pm. Free, but need to book. Details.

Saturday 21 August: Douglas Street, Cork at the time of the 1911 Census, a walking tour with David Ryan. Meeting at Nano Nagle Place at Noon, this free one-hour tour will explore Douglas Street and surroundings in 1911. Learn who lived along the street and what the census tells us about life in Cork over a century ago. Numbers limited. Booking essential.

Sunday 22 August: History and heritage boat tours of Grand Canal Dock, hosted by the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) Dublin branch. Book a 45-minute tour of the 25-acre GCD site, which dates from 1796. 11am, 12pm, 4pm. Free. Details.

Sunday 22 August: Treasures of the Strokestown Famine Archive, the launch of this new virtual exhibit from the National Famine Museum in Strokestown Park, Co Roscommon makes publically accessible some of the most important archival records from the Great Hungar for the first time. 7pm. Free. For joining details for Zoom meeting see details.

Sunday 22 August: The Sources of Local History, with Stephen Dolan, a free outdoor event at Ballyglunin Station, Co Galway at 1:30pm. Limited numbers. Details.

Sunday 22 August: Tales of a Graveyard, at St Mary's Medieval Mile Museum, 2 High Street, Kilkenny. 10am start. Free but need to book at Eventbrite.

Sunday 22 August: Lackeen to Lorrha Historic Walk, with James Heenan and David Broderick. Host: Lorrha & Dorrha Historical Society. A three-mile guided tour and walk taking in a tour of Lackeen Castle, home of the O'Kennedy Chieftains, visiting the Stolen railway and Curragha Bog and other historic landmarks on the way. €7 (€5 per student). Details.

Wednesday 11 August 2021

Limited edition local history booklets published for Heritage Week

With Heritage Week coming around again - it starts this coming Saturday, 14 August and runs to Sunday 22nd – Steve Dolan has once again researched, written and published a series of booklets on a variety of topics of interest to local and family historians, especially those with a connection to county Galway.

Steve, a former lecturer for the University of Limericks's Certificate in Local History and, until September 2019, general manager of the Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna, is now CEO of Galway Rural Development.

This year, his booklet titles are:

  • Camogie Pioneers: Galway newspaper reports, 1906-1932 
  • Eighteenth Century Newspaper reports from Athlone 
  • Loughrea 1846: County Galway’s major town in the mid-nineteenth century,
  • Slater’s Castleblakeney, 1846 
  • Slater’s Dunmore, 1846 
  • The Herald Reports: Tuam Herald reports on club football, 1889-1914 
  • The Monuments of Kilconieron – Clostoken parish 
  • The Workhouses of County Cork

As in previous years, Steve has produced the booklets to raise as much money as possible for local community groups from publication sales. The charities to benefit in 2021 will be Galway Hospice, Castleblakeney Heritage Centre, Loughrea Community Radio, Tuam Mall Theatre, Kilconieron Camogie Club, Ballyglunin Station, Gateway Youth Project, and IRD Duhallow.

Each booklet costs €5, and has been produced in a limited edition of just 100 copies. If you would like to buy any of the Heritage Week booklets, email or send a text to 086 4070851. Booklets can also be purchased, in person, at Craughwell Post Office.

Tuesday 10 August 2021

158 titles Free To View at BritishNewspaperArchive and FindMyPast

In partnership with the British Library, both the (BNA) and FindMyPast have made more than a million newspaper pages from 158 titles completely free to search and view. They date from 1720 to 1880 and cover a diverse array of histories, locations and topics. You can view a list of the titles, and the years of coverage, in the BNA announcement, here (scroll down).

Options on the BNA site
For Irish genealogists, the range of the freebie archive does not, unfortunately, include any papers published in Ireland, but researchers whose ancestors migrated to Britain (temporarily or permanently) may well find mention of them in the British newspages.

Perhaps some Irish papers will be included in the next instalment of free titles. Exactly when this second tranche will land has not been advised, only that the freebie holding will be expanded by more than 2.7 million pages over the next four years.

In the meantime, if you want to search the existing freebies, you'll need an account (not a subscription) with either the BNA or FindMyPast. You can set up the account on either database, and should look out for the Free To View option when you start to search using your keywords.

On the BNA, this is very straightforward (see image above). It can be a little more difficult on FindMyPast, but if you look at the short video below, it'll be a cinch.

To start searching the free newspapers, use one of the links below. In each case, the landing page has already filtered to the Free To View option:

Some of the above content contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you buy via these links. This does not affect the price you pay as a consumer, but it does contribute to keeping Irish Genealogy News online. See Advertising Disclosure tab above.

Friday 6 August 2021

Ancestry DNA Summer Sale for US-based researchers

AncestryDNA's Summer Sale brings USA-based researchers a saving of US$40 on all test kits.

The discount reduces the kit price from US$99 to $59, plus tax and shipping, and brings you not only your Ethnicity Estimate and other features that provide an insight into your ancestral journey, but also Matches to other researchers in the world's largest consumer DNA network.

If you're curious to find out more about your ancestors and where they came from, you might want to spend just one additional dollar and add a 3-month subscription to Ancestry's World Explorer package. This great starter bundle for new and returning customers is yours for just US$60.

Click the image, above right, to find out more.

The Summer Sale discount will end at 11:59pm EST on Tuesday 17 August.

Some of the above content contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you buy via these links. This does not affect the price you pay as a consumer, but it does contribute to keeping Irish Genealogy News online. See Advertising Disclosure tab above.

Thursday 5 August 2021

10 days of English, Welsh & (big time!) Scottish genealogy updates

Below is a summary of new and updated family history record collections for England, Scotland and Wales released by the major genealogy databases over the last 10 days (see previous summary, 26 July).

As you'll see below, it's been an especially important time for Scottish records, with a whopping new collection, much of it making a debut online, uploaded to FindMyPast. Be sure to read the details below the main listing to find out more.

My regular summary of releases and updates relating to British collections is designed to help family historians whose Irish ancestors migrated, temporarily or permanently, to England, Scotland or Wales.

By default, it will also be useful to anyone carrying out research in those three nations, regardless of the origin of their ancestors.

The figures in parenthesis in the New Collections section are the numbers of records/images in the new record set.

Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parenthesis in the Updated Collections section reflect the number of records added to the collection in the recent update. In some instances, the supplier has not made this figure available. Where two figures are given, the first is the number of additions, the second is the new total.

Please note that I don't usually include updates of fewer than 1,000 records.



BritishNewspaperArchive (and shared with sister company, FindMyPast)








Free BMD

*  FindMyPast's publication of a 10.7m strong collection of Scottish Old Parish Registers spans 450 years of Scottish history and brings together a variety of important historical records, many of which were previously inaccessible to the public and are now fully searchable.

It includes:

  • records of non-conformist churches including the Episcopal, Free Church, United Free Church and more, fully indexed and searchable for the first time
  • newly published 20th century records (current online collections stop at 1855) that provide vital details of more recent ancestors, and
  • rare ‘Irregular Marriages’ from Kirk Sessions (those not officially recorded by the parish registers and conducted without a ceremony).

You can search the entire Scottish Collection here or search individual record-sets via the links above.

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New online Irish genealogy course to launch end of August

Claire Bradley, a professional genealogist based in Dublin, is launching a new Irish genealogy course this autumn.

It consists of five 90-minute class sessions via Zoom, plus a 30-minute one-to-one session with Claire to address any research queries you may have and to help you plan your next research steps.

The course is designed for beginners or rusty/lapsed researchers, and covers all the main record groups, the value of DNA testing, emigration, Irish history, and all the basic background information you need to make sense of Irish genealogy, its challenges and wonders.

Claire holds the Certificate in Genealogy from University College Dublin and is an experienced genealogy teacher of adults. She has also completed two terms as Honorary Secretary of the Irish Genealogical Research Society's Ireland Branch.

To find out more about the structure of this new class, dates and times of classes, and costs, click the image above.

Wednesday 4 August 2021

Official recognition for more Irish 'Living Cultural Heritage' traditions

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, has extended the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage to give State recognition to a further 8 key practices of Ireland’s Living Cultural Heritage.

     Leahy Beekeeping, Carrowmore, Co Galway

The newly recognised traditions are as follows: 

  • Beekeeping
  • Clones Crochet Lace Making 
  • Headford Lace Making (see  video below)
  • Irish Traditional Travelling Circus and Funfair
  • Lá an Dreoilín/Wren’s Day 
  • Native Irish Cattle Breeding 
  • Spancilhill International Horse Fair 
  • Traditional Seine Boat Building
  • Fishing and Racing.

Making the announcement, Minister Martin said: “These eight living cultural heritage practices require knowledge and skill, and foster our sense of community and place. These practices thrive through the dedicated communities who sustain and pass on their skills and way of life to succeeding generations ensuring the continuance of these important traditions. 

"Official State recognition and inscription onto the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural will raise awareness of these practices and traditions.”

The development and extension of Ireland’s National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage is an integral part of the work of Minister Martin's Department under the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which requires States to recognise, protect and promote the living cultural heritage of their countries. 

There are now 38 practices on the Irish Inventory, each one included following rigorous assessment by an expert advisory committee.

Book launch: The Black & Tans, 1920-1921, by Jim Herlihy

Jim Herlihy, a retired member of the Garda Síochána, a co-founder of the Garda Síochána Historical Society, author and well-known authority on policing in Ireland, has produced another excellent reference book, this time detailing the nearly 11,000 ex-military men who formed the now infamous Black and Tans.

The three wings of this new force were formed as a temporary top up to the much-depleted Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), which had suffered huge numbers of resignations from its mainly Irish-born officers during a decade of insurgency in Ireland. Starting in January 1920, a recruitment drive began outside the island with ex-military experience riding high in the person spec.

The first group was called the RIC Special Reserve and, by July the following year, had recruited some 7,684 men. A second and separate group of 2,189 'temporary constables, followed and was attached to the motorised division of the RIC. A third group, known as the Veterans and Drivers Division, was also recruited and consisted of 1,069 recruits.

In total, 882 Irish-born men were among the recruits.

The Black & Tans, 1920-1921 – A complete alphabetical list, short history and genealogical guide is a 446-page book that delivers exactly what the title promises. The short history section, 17 pages of illustrations, and a chapter on tracing and identifying Black and Tan ancestors, make up just over 10% of the pagination, leaving 47 Appendices to spread across the remaining 390 pages. The most important are the listings of personnel recruited into each of the three distinct groups of recruits. These are in a small type size that was just on the edge of comfortable for me (I don't read glasses for reading), but since the majority of readers will be scanning these lists rather than reading every word, I don't think many will consider this a major negative.

Each individual member is listed alphabetically, with RIC registered number, birth year, native country and county, religion, the recruiting office where they enlisted, whether they had served as a soldier or as a sailor, previous occupation and whether they resigned (with the given excuses), were discharged or dismissed, pensioned or disbanded, or killed or died in the service.

Recruits born in Ireland have two entries, one in the full alphabetical listing of recruits to each group, and a second in a list of Irish-born recruits for the same group.

Published by Four Courts Press in May this year, the book is now available in both paperback and hardback from bookshops and online booksellers. ISBN: 978-1-84682-987-1.


- For quiz masters: The top five counties cited as birthplaces by Irish recruits to the three groups were: Dublin (129); Antrim (83); Galway (73); Cork (55); and Tipperary (43).