Friday 22 December 2023

Season's Greetings from irish Genealogy News

This Christmas and New Year, I shall be on extended festive manoeuvers, so unless something really major occurs in the world of Irish genealogy, you won't be hearing from me until the second week of January 2024.

In the meantime, I hope all Irish Genealogy News readers enjoy a happy and safe Christmas holiday, get to spend time with family and/or ancestors, and ring in the New Year with vigour and aplomb.

See you next year!

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Deansgrange and Shanganagh burial records join FindAGrave

Regular readers of Irish Genealogy News will remember this October's now-you-see-it-now-you-don't upload of more than 700,000 records relating to burials at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

For those who may have missed the story, here's the essence: a contributor to FindAGrave uploaded some 700,000 burial records to the free database. The source of the records was not, to my knowledge, made public. The Dublin Cemeteries Trust, who manage Glasnevin Cemetery and its pay-to-view database of records, demanded the contributor remove his uploads. This was promptly done. (See IGN blogposts here and here.)

Since then, the contributer known only as '!woowoo' has uploaded two new record collections to FindAGrave, adding 150,000 burial records. They are for burials at Shanganagh Cemetery (16,700 records) and Deansgrange Cemetery (134,250 records), both in south County Dublin.

These two record sets are already available, free of charge, via the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council website. Since there is no income loss involved, I think we can safely assume there will be no issue with their upload to FindAGrave, where they will reach a larger audience and benefit more researchers.

With thanks and a bow to reader KB

Tuesday 19 December 2023

BritishNewspaperArchive ends 2023 with more than 73m pages

The BritishNewspaperArchive, the online database created in February 2014 in a partnership between the British Library and FindMyPast, is ending the year with more than 73 million pages of newsprint available to search and read.

Of these, fewer than one million (876,278 pages, to be precise) were published on the island of Ireland.

With 19 'new' titles added over the course of this year, there are now 264 Irish titles in the collection – 192 published in what is now the Republic of Ireland, and 72 published in Northern Ireland. 

The entire collection is shared with some FindMyPast subscription packages.

UPDATE: 20 December. Two Irish papers have been added to the BNA's list of free-to-view titles. They are the Dublin Hospital Gazette 1856-1862 and Freeman’s Journal 1820-1900. You need to register to view the free-to-view titles but you don't need a subscription.

Monday 18 December 2023

December updates for the Irish Registry of Deeds Index Project

The Irish Registry of Deeds Index Project has received what will probably be its last update of the year. It sees the main Index with 575,491 entries from just shy of 60,000 memorials of deeds, an increase of nearly 52 thousand and more than five thousand respectively over the course of the year.

As you can see from the counter image, right, both the townland index and the grantee databases have grown, too.

All the indexes are available to search free of charge. They are the work of volunteers – researchers, like you and me – who give up a bit of their time to help other Irish family historians.

The digitisation of the vast Registry of Deeds archive is still many years from becoming a reality. In the meantime, these volunteers are providing the only indexed access to the records. If you can help, please check out the Project's How-To Guide.

Maybe something to consider for a New Year's resolution?

Nick Reddan, the founder and manager of the Index Project, has chosen a lovely example for this month's highlighted memorial slot. It's dated 22 July 1776.

Friday 15 December 2023

Ancestry adds Irish probate collection and marriage announcements

Another PRONI-sourced index has been uploaded to the Ancestry database. It has been given the name Ireland, Wills and Admons, 1515-1858 and, like the other record sets and indexes sourced from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland this year, it is free to search.

Wills, letters of Administration Bonds and other probate related records can provide important genealogical data about your ancestors as well as clues as to their financial status. The records in this collection may include the following: name, will date, probate date, death date, court name and event type.

A couple of things to note: This is an index. Although it links to PRONI's online catalogue, there are no document images to view. Many of the records do not exist in their original state. The search result will provide a PRONI reference if the archive holds documentation relating to the entry but this is more likely to be a transcription than the original material, and you would need to visit PRONI's search room in Belfast to view it.

The Index has more than 87,000 entries and has island-wide interest. There are, for example, nearly 1,450 entries relating to County Cork, 175 for County Leitrim, and 1,520 for County Dublin, so don't overlook this collection just because it is curated in Northern Ireland.

You may find PRONI's article about pre-1858 probate records helpful, too.

This week has also seen an update to Ancestry's UK and Ireland,™ Marriage Index, 1800s-current collection.

Having added more than 183,500 entries this month, this index holds just under 9million names from marriage announcements that were published in the UK and Ireland or mention some connection with the UK or Ireland, especially places of birth of the bride and groom. Details provided by the index search results are sometimes generous but you'd need a subscription to to view the full announcement or report of the event.

The source publications for Ireland are in Belfast and Dublin only.

Unfortunately for Irish genealogists, the number of entries in the index that relate to Ireland is small, possibly fewer than 19,000. Nonetheless, worth checking, even if deciphering the computer-generated spellings can be tiresome.

Two-weeks of new genealogy records for England, Scotland & Wales

Below is an overview of newly-released and updated genealogy collections for England, Scotland and Wales from the major family history database providers. (For previous list, see 4 December blogpost.)

My regular summary of releases and updates relating to British collections is designed to help researchers 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 parentheses in the New Collections section are the numbers of records (or images, if browse-only) in the new record set.

Unless otherwise stated, the figures in parentheses 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 so the figure is the new total. 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 some FindMyPast subscriptions

National Library of Scotland







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Thursday 14 December 2023

NLS adds historical maps of Ireland to interactive viewer

The National Library of Scotland has been busy over the last few weeks adding more material to its online collection of maps covering the island of Ireland. Dating from 1859 to 1942, one bundle of 1,400-odd additions comes from the one-inch-to-the-mile scale and include towns and villages and land-use. By comparing map editions, you can readily see changes over time.

A second bundle dates from 1962–1971 and covers Northern Ireland.

Here's a bit more detail of the additions:

Engraved topographic maps - 1859–1917: Ordnance Survey's one-inch-to-the-mile engraved maps of Ireland total 1,069 sheets. These were the earliest maps at this scale covering all of Ireland, laid out in 204 sheets from north to south. For most areas, there were three main editions, as well as different styles of maps, sometimes showing relief with contours, or with hachures. The multiple editions of the series are particularly useful in providing an overview of significant landscape changes relating to villages and towns, the development of roads and railways, and changing patterns of woods and estate parkland.

Administrative maps - 1898–1902: A set of administrative maps at one-inch-to-the-mile scale, covering all of Ireland. These show the boundaries of Urban Districts, Rural Districts, County Boroughs, and County Boundaries, as defined by the Local Government (Ireland) Act of 1898. This upload covers 202 sheets.

Coloured topographic military maps - 1940–1942: From the War Office, this military map series was rapidly compiled during the Second World War from the latest available Ordnance Survey one-inch and half-inch to the mile mapping. It provides a useful overview of the landscape, with some sheets revised to show the latest road information, whilst others carry an overprint showing bogs, and relief in layer-colours.

Northern Ireland Grid Series, 1962–1972: Mapped at 1:10,560 / 1:10,000, the Grid Series is the largest topographic mapping covering all areas in Northern Ireland from the 1960s to the present day. These 285 sheets provide a clear, detailed view of the landscape, including roads, buildings, fields, administrative boundaries, water features and vegetation.

View these maps on the Library's interactive map of Ireland,

Wednesday 13 December 2023

RootsIreland adds RC records for Clerihan parish, Co. Tipperary has added some more County Tipperary records to its database.

These latest uploads are 1,539 baptism and 362 marriage transcriptions spanning 1852–1900 from the Roman Catholic parish of Clerihan, which is located to the north of Clonmel and is in the Diocese of Cashel and Emly.

Those dating to 1881/82 are linked to the National Library of Ireland's online parish register images.

For an up to date list of sources for South Tipperary and to search these records, click the logo, above, and login or subscribe as required.

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Tipperary Studies adds two more digital postcard collections, the local history department of Tipperary Libraries, has added two new collections to its free digital archive.

Colorised photo of the Clonlea National Schools, Co Waterford.
From the Cash Postcards Collection. Click for larger image.

The first is the John James Quinn (1873-1944) Collection. It contains photographs, postcards and personal letters created and collected by Irish photographer John James Quinn of Ballypatrick, Clonmel and consists of 421 items dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The material has been digitised and made available online through the generosity of Quinn’s granddaughter, Carol Hennessy.

John James Quinn was an avid photographer who documented his life in both Ireland and abroad through images. Between 1906-1914, he worked in Derby, England and Ipswich, Australia, photographing local people and places. The collection includes images from his voyages along with scenes of daily life in rural Ballypatrick, Ireland where Quinn farmed after returning to Ireland sometime before 1920.

The second batch of material is the Cash Postcards Collection, created by Cash Printers of Carrick on Suir. It's a small collection of just 35 postcards featuring buildings, places and people from South Tipperary, Waterford and Kilkenny from around the turn of the 20th century. A handful are colorised but the majority are in black and white.

Monday 11 December 2023

MilitaryArchives publishes A Very Hard Struggle: Lives in the MSPC

     Click image for free pdf download link from

In addition to making its 15th release from the Military Service Pensions Collection (MSPC) a couple of weeks ago (see blogpost), the Military Archives has launched another milestone publication through which we can hear the voices of those who lived through the nation's struggle for independence.

A Very Hard Struggle - Lives in the Military Service Pensions Collection comes with a Foreward by Tánaiste and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin, TD, an excellent must-read Introduction by Anne Dolan, and a series of essays (see below) that examine the social, economic and political issues of this bleak period and how individuals and families responded to the trauma and difficulties they faced.

The book's editors are Anne Dolan, Associate Professor in Modern Irish History and a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, and Catriona Crowe, historian and former Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland.

These are the titles of the 17 essays:

  • ‘A lump sum would be altogether undoing her…’ Dependency claims: an overview of the army pensions legislation, by Cécile Chemin
  • ‘It was not a question of dropping out’: the MSPC, personal circumstances, and the limits on participation in the Irish revolution, by Brian Hughes
  • Experiencing the Irish revolution: pension records and the sensory and emotional impact of armed conflict, by Marie Coleman
  • Republican policing and the Irish revolution, by Brian Hanley
  • ‘This strike … was of the utmost importance, and met with the approval of the IRA Executive’: the munitions strike of 1920, by Pádraig Yeates
  • Logistics, everyday life, and the Kilmichael ambush, by Eve Morrison
  • Civilians in the MSPC, by Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid
  • Éire saor agus Gaelach? TheMSPC and the Irish language, by Síobhra Aiken
  • ‘Alas, how I have been let down’: prison, ill-health, entitlement, and the army pensions legislation, by William Murphy
  • To whom it may concern … : the case of Christina Brooks, by Susan Byrne
  • Welfare, widowhood, and the state: an exploration of the dependant’s allowances in the MSPC, by Fionnuala Walsh
  • ‘Applicant is a spinster’: aspects of the cosmos of the everyday life of single women, by Leeann Lane
  • ‘Please say who are the dependents in this case?’ Female vulnerability, the male-breadwinner model, and the MSPC, by Lindsey Earner-Byrne
  • Illuminating the tragedies of Kerry: the MSPC and the Civil War in Kerry, by Daithí Ó Corráin
  • Using the MSPC to uncover a revolutionary youth and its aftermath, by Marnie Hay
  • ‘A hard price to pay’: the burden of revolutionary inheritance, by Fearghal McGarry
  • Keepers of the Flame: bringing the MSPC archive to screen, A conversation between Diarmaid Ferriter and Nuala O’Connor

Friday 8 December 2023

Book launch: Christmas and the Irish: A Miscellany

A timely launch if ever there was: Christmas and the Irish – A Miscellany covers the festive season in Ireland from the seventh century to the present day. In 75 articles, ranging from the serious to the light-hearted, writers from a range of academic disciplines and professions reflect on what Christmas has meant to the island's people.

Topics covered in this volume include: the theme of light in early Irish texts; festive feasting and fighting in the Middle Ages; the Kilmore carols of County Wexford; the history of Irish Christmas food through the centuries; crimes of Christmas past; Christmas on the Blasket Islands; the claim that 'Santa's Grave' is in County Kilkenny; why Irish missionaries in Zimbabwe regularly missed out on their Christmas dinner; the origins and early life of the Late Late Toy Show; the Wren Boys; 'Women's Christmas'; Irish links to popular Christmas carols; and the curious custom of reciting 4,000 Hail Marys in the lead up to the big day.

Edited by Professor Salvador Ryan, and following the success of his three-volume series on Birth, Marriage and Death and the Irish (2016-2021), this anthology will prove a fascinating read for all who are interested in the social, cultural, and religious history of Ireland.

The launch will be hosted by Tipperary Studies at The Source Library in Thurles, County Tipperary, on Thursday 12 December from 7pm. Copies of the 388-page paperback will be available to purchase on the night, but if you can't attend, you can purchase online via Wordwell (the publisher), Barnes and Noble, O'Mahony's, or visit other good bookstores.

FindMyPast improves its Irish RC parish marriages collection

Today's FindMyPast Friday announcement brings news that its Irish Roman Catholic parish marriages collection, which remains free to access, has been improved.

This important collection, which holds more than three million records dating to 1880/1 and is one of the key resources for family historians with connections to Ireland, offers transcriptions of register images hosted online by the National Library of Ireland at

A precise description of the improvement process has not been provided by FindMyPast. Instead, the company says that transcripts have been improved and some names previously not transcribed have now been included, which should mean there are now more individuals available to search.

It says significant improvements have been made to 19,000 records in the collection.

You'll find a list of RC parishes covered by this collection here. It includes the maximum time-span of records for each parish and there may be gaps within them.

FindMyPast also has indexes to both the NLI-sourced baptisms and burials. Whether these will be subjected to similar quality control efforts in the future, I don't know.

Thursday 7 December 2023

Free interactive digital atlas of historical Cork City launched

A free online interactive map of Cork City was launched today. The Digital Atlas of Cork/Corcaigh invites visitors to discover the city of Cork in a new way by exploring early maps of different dates and detailed historical information for 6,245 sites dating from AD623 to 1900. It includes descriptions of more than 800 streets, including their names in Irish and English, as well as historical varients.

Screengrab from the Digital Atlas of Cork/Corcaigh.
Click image to learn more.

Additional map layers will be released over the coming months, providing access for the first time to digitised town plans by the Ordnance Survey (1842) and Valuation Office (1852–64).

The digital atlas is based on research carried out for Irish Historic Towns Atlas, no. 31, Cork/Corcaigh by H.B. Clarke and Máire Ní Laoi, which will be published in print by the Royal Irish Academy in May 2024.

The Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA) was established in 1981. The aim of the programme is to record the topographical development of a selection of Irish towns both large and small.

Each town is published separately as a fascicle or folder and includes a series of maps complemented by a detailed text section. The IHTA is part of a wider European scheme, with towns atlases containing broadly similar information available for a number of countries, allowing Irish towns to be studied in their European context.

See the Lord Mayor of Cork's brief video introduction to the publication below.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

November additions to Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives

Please see below the new and updated records and photos donated and uploaded to Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives during November.

If you have any records or headstone photographs to contribute to this growing free database, check out the website at

Entrance to St Mary's Graveyard, Ballyneale, Co. Tipperary
Photo courtesy Joanne Jacobsen Davin and IGPArchives.

CAVAN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Loch Gowna R.C. Cemetery Pt 1, Loch Gowna
Our Lady of Lourdes, Ballyconnell - Additional

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives - Church Records
St Johnston Presbyterian Marriages - 1845-1921

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Christus Rex Cemetery, Mooncoin Part 2

TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives - Headstones
St Mary R.C. Graveyard, Ballyneale Part 1
St John the Baptist, Powerstown (Partial)

TYRONE Genealogy Archives - Church Records
Clady Presbyterian Marriages 1845-1921
Donemana Presbyterian Marriages 1845-1921

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Ishartmon Graveyard, near Butlerstown

Monday 4 December 2023

National Archives of Ireland closed this week for Media Preview

Reading Room of the National Archives of Ireland
Photo courtesy of NAI

A quickie reminder that the National Archives of Ireland will be closed to researchers throughout this week. Normal opening hours will resume on Monday 11 December.

The closure is to facilitate the annual Media Preview, when the reading room is taken over by newspaper and press agency journalists exploring documents and other material from government departments that will be released to the public in the New Year.

Most of the material relates to the year 1993 and will be released to the public for consultation in the Reading Room on Tuesday 2 January 2024.