Tuesday, 2 March 2021

English, Scottish & Welsh genealogy collection 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 three weeks (for the previous summary, see 12 February blogpost).

This 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 some FindMyPast subscriptions)






Free BMD

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Monday, 1 March 2021

IrishNewsArchive.com redevelops website and database

The family-owned Irish Newspaper Archive has redeveloped its website and database. The process hasn't been without some difficulties over the last week or so, but the transfer to the new platform is now completed.

The redesigned platform offer a more user-friendly experience to customers, with much more precise information about each newspaper, including which editions are available in the archive. It will also provide a more secure website, as well as additional self-service online features.

The archive consists of over six million pages of newspaper content from titles North and South of the Irish border. Collectively, these papers span more than 279 years of publication. You can see the full list of titles here; Green text indicates titles accessible online, while Black text identifies those titles searchable only in public libraries and other partnered sites.

To help existing subscribers and new customers become acquainted with the new version of the site, some how-to videos are being created. The first, introductory, video can be viewed below or on YouTube.

Irish genealogy, history & culture events, March 2021

Monday 1 March: Denis Burkitt: His Life’s Work in your Bowels, with Dr Hubert Curran. Host: Killyleagh Branch, North of Ireland Family History Society. Free, but need to register. 8pm. All welcome. See Facebook. Email Killyleagh@nifhs.org for zoom link.

Tuesday 2 March: Key Sources for Genealogy - Title Deeds and the PRONI Land Registry Archive. Host: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. 2pm-3pm. Free but need to register.

Tuesday 2 March: Boundaries, Borders and Map-making, with Dr Liam Campbell. Host: Heritage from Home series, Libraries NI. 1-2pm. Free. Online. For details, email heritage.talks@librariesni.org.uk.

Tuesday 2 March: Traditional Irish Cottages and Folk Customs, with Marion McGarry. Host: Ulster Architectural Heritage. 7pm. Free. Need to book.

Wednesday 3 March: 5 Top Tips for Analysing your DNA, with Anne Johnston. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society. This class will run from 7pm to 8pm. You need to book before 7pm on Tuesday 2 March. Cost: £10. Open to members and non-members. Details.

Friday 5 March: The Ballykinlar History Hut Project at Down County Museum, with Mike King. Host: Heritage from Home series, Libraries NI. 1-2pm. Free. Email to book your place and to receive zoom details: heritage.talks@librariesni.org.uk. All welcome.

Friday 5 March: Family Tree Maker Basics and Benefits, with Imelda McVeigh. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society. This class will be held from 2pm to 3pm. You need to book before 7pm on Thursday 4 March. Cost: £10. Open to members and non-members. Details.

Saturday, 6 March: The Advantages of MT-DNA, with Martin McDowell. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society. This class will be held from 11am to Noon. You need to book before 7pm on Friday 5 March. Cost: £10. Open to members and non-members. Details.

Monday, 8 March: DNA Family Matching Tool, with Martin McDowell. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society. This class will be held from 11am to 1pm. You need to book before 7pm on Friday 5 March. Cost: £10. Open to members and non-members. Details.

Monday, 8 March: In Her Words - International Women's Day Event. Host: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. 7pm to 8pm. Free. All welcome. Register.

Monday 8 March: Dating your Family Photographs, an online workshop with Jayne Shrimpton. Host: Heritage from Home series, Libraries NI. All welcome, but you need to book your place by email to heritage.talks@librariesni.org.uk. 1-2pm. Free.

Tuesday 9 March: Key Sources for Genealogy - The World of the Street Directory. Host: PRONI. 2pm-3pm. Free but need to register

Tuesday 9 March: An Archive for Everyone: PRONI Information Session. Host: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. 7pm to 8pm. Free, online. Details and registration.

Wednesday 10 March: German combat motivation on the Eastern Front during the Second World War, with Dr Tom Thorpe. Hosts: Antrim and Down Branch of the Western Front Association and PRONI. 8pm to 9pm. Free. All welcome. Need to register

Wednesday 10 March: To leave or to remain? Southern Irish Protestants and the partition of Ireland, with Dr Marie Coleman. Host: Libraries NI. 2:30pm to 3:30pm. All welcome. Free, but you need to book by email to heritage.talks@librariesni.org.uk.

Thursday 11 March: Lost Potential? The Rejection of the 1923 Education Act, with Noel Lindsay. Host: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. 2pm free register

Friday 12 March: W B Yeats: Folklore and Fairy Tales. Host: National Library of Ireland. Online at 2pm. Booking required, but event is free and everyone is welcome. Booking.

Friday 12 March to Thursday 18 March: St Patrick's Festival. As St. Patrick’s Day cannot be celebrated together this year, Festival organisers have set up a dedicated TV channel, accessible globally, at www.stpatricksfestival.ie where more than 100 events can be streamed in real time. The events include a virtual parade, walking tours, archive tours, musical performances, dance, storytelling, poetry, comedy, and much more. Programme here.

Friday 19 March: Emigration to Australia and New Zealand, with Mike McKeag. Host: North of Ireland Family History Society. This class will be held from 2pm to 3pm. You need to book before 7pm on Thursday 18 March. Cost: £10. Open to members and non-members. Details.

Friday 19 March: W B Yeats: Folklore and Fairy Tales. Host: National Library of Ireland. Online at 2pm. Booking required, but event is free and everyone is welcome. Booking.

Saturday 20 March: OUTing the Past - Festival of LGBT History. Host: PRONI. 2pm to 4pm. Free but need to register

Wednesday 24 March: Getting Started Workshop - Using Online Resources. Host: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Free. Fully booked.

Thursday 25 March: The evolution and character of 'Irishtowns' and 'Irishstreets' in the urban communities of medieval Ireland, with Dr Sparky Booker. Hosts: The Ulster Society of Irish Historical Studies (USIHS) and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Free. 7pm. All welcome but you need to register.

Friday, 26 February 2021

West Cork Graveyards database adds 17,000 records

More than 17,000 additional burial records from the greater West Cork area have been uploaded to Skibbereen Heritage Centre's free West Cork Graveyards Database. This upload more than doubles the number of records – all digitised from the original registers – in this exclusive collection.

The additional burial registers covered in this latest upload include Abbeymahon, Timoleague; Ardagh Rosscarbery; Ballaghboy Castletownbere; Bantry Abbey; Bere Island; Cape Clear; Clogagh Timoleague; St Mary's and Darrara Clonakilty; Drimoleague and Drinagh old graveyards; St Finbarr's Dunmanway; Droum, Castletownbere; Durrus; Eyeries; Foildarrig, Castletownbere; Glandore; Glengarriffe; Kilcaskan, Adrigole; Kilcatherine Ardgroom; Kilcrohane Old and New; Kilmeen, Rossmore; Kilmocomage; Lislee, Timoleague; Milltown and Rathbarry; Rossmore; St Mogla; and Timoleague Abbey.

Click to view larger and interactive map

Click the image, right, to view an interactive map indicating the location of the 57 burial grounds included in the database.

Announcing the latest upload, Skibbereen Heritage Centre's Manager, Kerri Kearney, told Irish Genealogy News: "We're delighted to bring these 32,000 records into the public domain and we are very grateful to Cork County Council for its support of this project."

"With so many people around the world confined to their homes and with time on their hands, Skibbereen Heritage Centre's genealogy service has been inundated with online queries and there is sure to be a big interest in these records.

"We are also getting a fantastic response from all over the world to our series of graveyard video tours. As well as enabling the Diaspora to connect with their ancestors' burial places, these video tours mean a lot to local people, too, and we've had many, many messages of support and appreciation for our West Cork Graveyards Project."

The video tours give a brief history of each graveyard alongside some of the stories of those buried there as well as a 'virtual tour' of the monuments. The graveyard video tours to date cover burial grounds in Caheragh, Drimoleague, Aughadown, Abbeystrowry and Abbeymahon in Skibbereen, cillíní (children's burial grounds) in West Cork as well as one on the burial sites at Schull and Skibbereen Workhouses.

While Skibbereen Heritage Centre is currently closed to the public, its staff are working hard to digitise even more burial records, which will be added to its website in due course. New video tours of Chapel Lane and Creagh graveyards are also in production.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Western Front Association releases Project Alias list

An unusual resource has been released by the Western Front Association that may help those struggling to find details of Irish and British ancestors who enlisted in the British Army and died during the First World War.

It is the product of a project to identify soldiers who enlisted and served under an 'alias' surname. Often such individuals ended up with two sets of records – one under their real family name, another under a different name. Researchers who are not aware their ancestor used an alternative name may be unable to find all his official military records.

My own family has an 'alias' case. In the dying years of the 19th century, an 18-year-old ancestor took the train to Dublin and enlisted in the Royal Irish Fusiliers using his mother's maiden name. He later told his son that he'd wanted to ensure his enlistment in the British Army didn't cause his family in southwest Cork facing prejudice.

He served for three years in the Boer Wars and was promoted to serjeant. He received the South Africa Medals, complete with his alias cut into the outer edging. He settled in London. By the time WW1 came round, his real name was known to the Army and all of his records updated. I've no idea how that came about, but his WW1 medals have his real surname on them.

While my ancestor survived WW1 and his records under both names had been 'married up', the same was not true for many other soldiers. The Commonwealth War Graves Committee identified about 3,500 men whose headstone inscriptions now include 'Served as' plus their alias.

Early last year, the Western Front Association set up Project ALIAS to identify more cases in the 'Soldiers Who Died' category of the Pension Records Cards collection. Some 150 WFA members have been involved in adding the soldiers' names to the index. The list they've produced carries approximately 20,000 names, and with names such as Doyle, Farrell, Sullivan, Murphy and Kelly scattered throughout it, you can be sure many of them are Irishmen.

The resource is now available to WFA members and non-members alike in pdf format. You can download the pdf, and find out more about the project in an interesting feature on the WFA site by clicking the logo above.

A future project is planned to add the aliases for ‘Soldiers Who Survived’. Maybe my ancestor will be listed in it.

Galway's Irish Historic Towns Atlas (digital ed.) online

A digital edition of the Irish Historical Towns Atlas (IHTA) no 28 Galway/Gaillimh by Jacinta Prunty and Paul Walsh is now available to download from the Royal Irish Academy.

The IHTA is a research project of the Academy and is part of a wider European scheme.

Like the hardback edition, the digital version traces the growth and development of the city of Galway from its origins as an Anglo-Norman borough and seaport. It includes an explanatory essay and a historical gazetteer with more than 2,500 entries on features of the townscape such as streets, schools, town walls, mills etc.

The major difference between the two editions is in the number of maps each offers. The printed version comes with more than 30 loose, large-format pages reproducing old maps, plans and views, alongside reconstructions and thematic maps to help tell the story of Galway in a visual way. For copyright reasons, only seven maps (they span more than a century of development) are included in the digital edition, which is free.

To find out more and to download the publication, click here.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Irish-American with links to Massachusetts? Check out AmericanAncestors.org's new Catholic cemetery records

A new collection of Catholic cemetery/burial registers has been launched today that has huge potential for Irish-Americans seeking genealogical and townland of origin information on their immigrant ancestors who settled in Massachusetts.

It has been created by AmericanAncestor.org in partnership with the RC Archdiocese of Boston's Archives Department and the Catholic Cemetery Association (CCA) of the Archdiocese of Boston.

The registers contain records of sales and interments, and include information about lot owners, date of burial and location of burial. Some of the people represented in these written records may not have purchased a grave marker or their marker may have eroded with time, making this collection essential for research into Catholic burials in this region.

Named the Massachusetts: Catholic Cemetery Association Records, 1833-1940, the database will feature 20 cemeteries administered by the CCA in eastern Massachusetts.

The first instalment to the live database releases 31 volumes from nine cemeteries: Calvary, Waltham; Sacred Heart, Andover; St George, Framingham; St James, Haverhill; St Joseph, Haverhill; St Jean Baptiste, Lynn; St Mary, Beverley; St Mary, Malden; and Holy Cross, Malden, which is not yet completely digitised. This means the database already holds more than 354,500 records and gives researchers access to 355,500 searchable names.

In addition to the searchable database, maps of each cemetery are being made available to help locate burial plots. Where possible, maps include sections, ranges and in some cases narrative description of how headstones are arranged by row and lot number. Also included are points of interest such as entrances, exits, flag poles, monuments, offices and spigots. Special sections for the burials of infants, priests and religious are also noted. Links to the cemetery maps can be found in the Database Description. Ahow-to video provides navigation instructions for both the database and the cemetery maps.

Records from the remaining 11 cemeteries administered by the CCA will be added throughout the year. They are: St. Francis de Sales, Charlestown; St Paul, Arlington; North Cambridge Catholic Cemetery; St Joseph, Lynn; St Mary, Lynn; Holy Cross, Malden (additional volumes), Immaculate Conception, Marlborough; St Mary, Salem; St Patrick, Stoneham; Catholic Mount Auburn, Watertown; St Patrick, Watertown; and Calvary, Winchester.

It is estimated that the new collection will hold one million names by December this year.

Access to the new collection requires membership subscription.

Accredited Genealogists Ireland to host free webinar on gaining credentials as a professional genealogist

Here's a date and time to get into your diary if you're either already a professional genealogist or a would-be professional genealogist with a serious desire to gain credentials in Ireland.

Accredited Genealogists Ireland logo
Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI) is the accrediting and representative body for professional genealogists on the island of Ireland (admission to membership is based on the recommendations of an independent Board of Assessors), and the organisation will be hosting a Zoom webinar on Saturday 10 April at 10:30am.

The event will provide information on credentials for professional genealogists, on the AGI Affiliate programme and on the process of seeking accreditation as a Member of AGI. It's a free event to which all interested researchers welcome. Registration is required.

See the AGI website for more information about the organisation, which was founded in 1986, and to register for the webinar.

Irishgenealogy.ie clocked up 4.6m page views last year

The state-managed IrishGenealogy.ie had a rough weekend, spending most of Sunday and yesterday morning with its databases inaccessible to most researchers. Normal service had been restored by lunchtime on Monday.

The temporary loss of the site was hard felt. It holds indexes and images of nearly all 'historical' Irish civil registrations of birth (1864-1920), marriages (1845/1864-1945) and death (1864-1970... indexes only 1864-70), and they're all free to access. It also has a limited mixed denomination church registers collection for a few counties.

No wonder this site has become one of the most important and useful to Irish genealogists. Despite its rather lumpy search and delivery functions, it is much missed on those reasonably infrequent occasions when it is offline.

So, while rooting around the site yesterday trying to identify which parts of the site were offline, I was interested to come across some details of site usage. It tells that some 1,612,008 visits were made to the site in 2020, clocking up a total of 4,689,508 page views. These figures show a 9% increase in visitors on the previous year.

Another statement reminded me that the Civil Registration Service has plans for further development of the site. It intends to add registration records for those Irish personnel killed during WW1, army registers relating to births, deaths and marriages and similar registers maintained by the consular services. Further details on this extension project will be announced in due course. Here's hoping images of the missing death records (164-1870 incl) are uploaded first.

NOTE: The IrishGenealogy.ie site holds all-island civil records up to and including 1921; from 1922, it covers only the 26 counties that now form the Republic of Ireland. For Northern Ireland records, see GENI. Both jurisdictions have chosen to translate 'historical' as meaning births up to 100 years ago, marriages up to 75 years ago, and deaths up to 50 years ago; only historical records can be made available online.

RootsIreland adds more RC baptisms from East Galway

The East Galway Family History Society, which runs the East Galway genealogy and heritage centre in Woodford, has added more than 3,700 Roman Catholic baptisms from the parish of Glenamaddy/Boyounagh to its online database at RootsIreland.ie.

The parish's northern boundary constitutes part of Galway's border with County Roscommon.

These newly transcribed records date from 1838 to 1858, so that the entire span of baptisms available to search from this parish now spans 1838-1900. (Marriages, which were already available, date from 1838-1858.)

For a full menu of collections available in RootsIreland's East Galway database, tap the logo above.

For the main RootsIreland.ie website, click here.