Monday, 31 October 2011

A quiet job - gravedigging at Glasnevin

Since it's Halloween, here's a treat podcast about gravedigging at Glasnevin. It records a recent interview with Marie-Louise O'Donnell on the Today with Pat Kenny show.

Lovely detail about collapsing graves, maggots, the skill of lowering the coffin, and strange behaviour at the graveside. Would have loved more about the priest who stepped backwards and fell in with the recently departed!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Glasnevin launches fresh appeal for veteran's families

Some 39 new headstones have been erected at Glasnevin Cemetery on the previously unmarked graves of Irish men and women who served in the Commonwealth forces in World Wars One and Two. Their military and burial records were released yesterday for the first time.

This group of headstones brings to 85 the number erected as part of a special project run by Glasnevin Trust and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), which started two years ago.

A further 104 graves of servicemen and women have been identified and Glasnevin Trust has launched an appeal for their family members to make contact.

Those who are unsure about their family's links to the deceased servicemen are advised to contact the Trust's historian, Shane MacThomais, or use the online genealogical search facility (which contains full burial records of every grave, unmarked or otherwise, at Glasnevin) at www.glasnevintrust.ie/genealogy.

This year's commemmoration service at Glasnevin (at 3pm on 11 November) will see the rededication of two war memorials which have been moved near to the cemetery’s main Finglas Road entrance. These memorials record the names of all 208 men and women who died and are buried in Glasnevin as a result of the two wars.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Ancestral connections: Titanic

Tonight's Find My Past programme on the Yesterday TV channel features three people with connections to the Titanic.

They are all connected to the story via Lifeboat 14 which went back to rescue people from the sea as the great ship sank. There is a relative of a lady who was lucky enough to be in a lifeboat to begin with and the relative of a steward who was rescued from the freezing water. The third contributor is related to a Marconi wireless operator who stayed on board doing his job until the water entered the cabin; without the tireless wireless signalling that continued long after the ship hit the iceberg there would have been no survivors at all.

Here's a teaser clip for tonight's show:



The show will be broadcast on Yesterday at 9pm. This channel is on Sky (537), TalkTalk TV (115) and Virgin Media (203) and Freeview (12).

Dublin 100 years ago

Just published by the Royal Irish Academy is Dublin 1911, a lavishly illustrated book edited by Catriona Crowe, who spearheaded the National Archives of Ireland's project to digitise the 1901 and 1911 census.

The book begins in January 1911 and works through the year's headline events, month by month. This was a Dublin still unaware of the dramatic decade that lay ahead: the First World War, the Easter Rising, Independence, Civil War.

But some of its major news stories were not dissimilar to those we have witnessed in 2011: emigration, traffic problems, a rubbish summer, overpaid officials, a royal visit...

Each chapter starts with contemporary newspaper cuttings before exploring themes such as law and order, education, religion, transport, literary life and migration, among others, in a series of essays (Paul Rouse, Mark Duncan and William Murphy were contributors).

Dublin 1911 is available in all good bookshops or online from www.ria.ie.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Trace your ancestors in World War One

There's a very special day of talks and events planned for next month that will be of particular interest to anyone who has ancestors who fought in World War One.

It's to be held on 12 November at the National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7.

There will be help available to help trace Great War relatives, as well as an interesting line-up of sessions in the Lecture Theatre, including:

Snow and mosquitoes – the Connaught Rangers on the Salonika Front 1915-1917
Letters from the Front – a soldier writes home about his experiences during World War One

There will also be a re-enactment depicting how soldiers joined up, demonstrations of the equipment carried and used by them after enlistment, and an advice desk manned by members of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association.

While there are no certain statistics, it is thought that about 210,000 Irish men fought in World War 1; some 49,400 of them were killed in action and are commemmorated at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, Dublin.

For more information, contact the National Museum Education Section: Tel +353 1 6777444 of see www.museum.ie.

The truth of the stereotype within the Irish prison registers

FindMyPast.ie's CEO Brian Donovan was interviewed today on Australian's 4BC Brisbane Morning Show about the launch of the Irish prison registers.

He discussed the prevalence of arrest and punishment for drunkeness, which rather suggests the stereotype of the inebriated Irish has some foundation, but adds that tax evasion was also a very commonplace crime in Ireland.

It's a brief (4-minutes) interview, and worth listening to here.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Science and genealogy unite in the Irish DNA Atlas

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the Irish Genealogy Society have come together to find the Irish DNA code.

Officially launched this weekend as the Irish DNA Atlas project, the aim is to analyse genetic variation in the island's population and pick out the genetic differences between people whose ancestors lived in, say, Dungarvan and those who lived in Letterkenny.

Inevitably, the selection criterion is tight. Participants have to be able to trace all of their eight great-grandparents to one localised area, preferably to within a clearly defined community of about 30km radius. They will then contribute a DNA sample (taken by a mouth swab – nothing complicated), which will be sequenced and added to the database. As the latter grows, the project team will develop a picture for what constitutes a 'typical' Irish person.

The project has two main aims: to further our knowledge of the population history of Ireland and its connections with others in Europe, and to learn more about how genes influence health in Ireland, particularly in relation to heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The scientific aspects of the Irish DNA Atlas project will be directed by Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri of the RCSI.

If you wish to take part in the project, and meet the qualification that your 8 great grandparents were born in one locality (even if this straddles a county boundary), you should be aware that participation is on a pro bono basis providing information for the analysis of the samples by the RCSI. There is no payment and there are no costs, other than the return postage of the DNA sample and accompanying questionnaires.

You can request an Irish DNA Atlas project pack from IrishDNA@familyhistory.ie.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Back To Our Past - Round Two!

Despite having had a full and busy Friday at the Back To Our Past show, there were still plenty of exhibitors that I hadn't been able to chat to – mainly because their stands were surrounded by visitors most of the day. So I was back again this morning for Round Two.

First stop was Ask About Ireland, where Anne-Marie Dwyer ran me through recent developments on the site. Most Irish family historians know this Library Council site for its searchable access to Griffiths Valuation, but it also holds a huge volume of material on Irish social history and heritage in the Reading Room section.

It's seen some widening out recently, with videos on traditional crafts (under History and Heritage) and traditional cooking (under Life and Society), and Irish Talking Books which tell stories and legends in both Irish and English, and in simple and advanced learning styles.

The most recent development is the addition of O'Donovan Name Books and Letters which will be uploaded, county by county, over the coming months, to build into an extremely useful resource for those seeking placenames guidance and historical observation at a county level.

Developers are also working on the recording of old songs, half in Irish, half in English, and a major indepth article on the island's traditions and customs.

Over on the Irish Genealogical Research Society's stand, I had a brief chat with Chairman Steven Smyrl about how visitors to this year's show differed to those who attended in 2010.

"I've recognised some of the people I've spoken to from last year when they were asking quite 'innocent' questions," he said. "You can tell they've done their research in the intervening 12 months. Now, they're coming with much more incisive questions, and it's obvious they've learned how to search the records."

Alan Robertson of PRONI was witnessing the same phenomenon. "At the first show visitors had a name and a rough location and were asking what information we might have that could be useful.

"This time round, they want much more specific information. They've traced their family back further, too. They're not after bmds. They've shifted back almost a whole century, into the 18th century and early 19th."

Sticking with the North, I called in on the Northern Ireland Family History Society where Rosemary Sibbett showed me new publications in the Researching your ancestors in the North of Ireland series. In 2010 the NIFHS published two booklets: A Research Guide and A List of Websites.

These have now been joined by Locating Church Records and A Beginners Guide, all of which can be purchased at www.nifhs.org.

So, too, can a wonderful series of historic maps, most of them dating from the first decade of the 20th century, and not restricted to Northern Ireland. I love maps rather more than is considered healthy and these black and white, beautifully drawn and detailed maps do nothing to bring my passion within the 'normal' scale. I'm already looking forward to spending (too) many hours learning every inch of my new map collection.

Old newspapers come a pretty close second on my list of obsessive interests so I was delighted to hear from Jonathan of www.irishnewsarchive.com of imminent developments.

November will see the Donegal News going under the scanner (in a five-month project), followed by the Belfast Newsletter. This will be a mammoth task (the Newsletter is the world's oldest English language general daily paper still in publication, having first been printed in 1737) but Jonathan says it should be digitised and available online by the end of 2012. The Donegal Democrat will then go through the same process.

I managed to collar Brian Donovan, CEO of Eneclann and Director of FindMyPast.ie, again to ask him why the Prison Registers collection released yesterday doesn't include records from gaols in the North.

It's a simple explanation. "The collection we've released is from the National Archives of Ireland so it covers only the prisons of the Republic. Records for the North are in the care of PRONI and we're in discussion with that institution to see if we can get their records digitised, too."

During the course of the day I also had a natter with Julie Phibbs of Irish Roots magazine, had a quick hello with Bob Blatchford whose Irish Family and Local History Handbook was selling like hot cakes, and called in on another family business, www.irishgathering.ie, where the Whelans (Joe, Margaret and son Damien) have established a new site where family historians can upload their trees, and much more besides, all for free.

It's been a great couple of days. Highly informative, for sure, but also very satisfying to see just how far Irish genealogy has come in the last few years. What is clear from the success of BTOP is the strength of energy behind the current momentum, which can only mean continued progress.



See also my report from Day One for news of more developments.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Back To Our Past - what an opening!

The 3-day Back To Our Past show got off to a lively start at noon when it opened its doors to a good humoured queue waiting outside Hall 4 of the RDS. Within no time at all, the atmosphere inside was buzzing and exhibitors were doing brisk business.

Among the busiest were those with a dual offer of immediate access to records and professional know-how. Both Helen Kelly on the Association of Professional Genealogists of Ireland's stand, and Aideen Ireland of the National Archives of Ireland must be hoarse tonight after many hours providing one-to-one advice and direction.

RootsIreland and FindMyPast also seemed swamped throughout most of the day. At the latter, I got a chance to speak to the ever cheerful and enthusiastic Amy Sell, Find My Past's marketing executive, about the imminent launch of 19th- and 20th-century newspapers from the UK and Ireland.

'Some 4million pages of the British Library's newspaper collection will be searchable when the new site launches later this year,' she explained. 'It's possible to register now and take part in a survey giving you a say in which newspapers get digitised after the launch. The partnership agreement will see the digitisation of 400million pages over the next ten years, so we'll be scanning and uploading every day and we need to know which papers our customers want most.'

Across the aisle was Eneclann, FMP's joint venture partner in the Irish version of FindMyPast. The .ie company officially launched the Irish Prison Registers collection this morning. Drawing on details contained in the collection's 3.5million records, Eneclann's CEO Brian Donovan gave a fascinating presentation on the subject of Murderers, Rebels and Drunkards: Your ancestors and the Law.

He also mentioned that some 15million Petty Sessions Court records would be released by June 2012.

Without mentioning any deadlines, Steven Smyrl, Chairman of the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) also suggested more outstanding records could soon be available online. 'A society such as the IGRS, being a fairly academic society, has a lot of material that other newer societies wouldn't have – in particular we have the terrific contents of our library in London,' he said.

'We're hoping to start putting some of this outstanding collection on the Internet quite soon.'

These records will be available only to members of the Society so the canniest visitors were taking up the special show membership offers. They could choose from a discounted traditional membership package (Library access, Journal and newsletters) for 20Euros or a special membership package of 60Euros which additionally includes a subscription to Irish Roots Magazine (an independent newsstand publication) and a cd containing all the IGRS Journals back to 1937. Excellent value.

There were, of course, many special show offers and promos available today. Among the best was one from History Ireland, a magazine that I criticise only for being bi-monthly rather than monthly. I love this publication. And today I eagerly signed up for a subscription that carried the added bonus of free access to JSTOR's Ireland Collection of 75 journals and 200 monographs. Oh Happiness!

While the Prison Registers took the 'launch of the day' crown, there were others of note. These included the first Irish Family and Local History Handbook (224 pages containing 60 articles and a huge listing section of libraries, genealogical centres, family history societies, cemetaries, professional genealogists and more) from Robert Blatchford Publishing, and the Irish DNA Atlas project by the Genealogical Society of Ireland.

Another exhibitor that I'll be following up after the show is the Irish Ancestry Research Centre, a company based on the University of Limerick campus and sponsored by American interests. It is already running family history workshops and online certificate courses but also has a walk-in research centre. Me thinks a visit will be in order very soon.

It was an excellent opening day. Informative talks, plenty to learn, plenty to discuss, and still more to discover. Which is why I'll be returning tomorrow morning!

Best print off another of my vouchers!



See also my report from Day Two.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Prison registers are online

For the first time, Ireland's surviving prison registers are online. They're going to be officially launched by FindMyPast.ie at the Back To Our Past show tomorrow, but they are already available for searching.

And what fun they are, too! I've just spent more than two hours happily lost in them and I've already found important detail about some of my ancestors. How about this:

Daniel Santry, aged 19, was taken into custody at Cork prison on 6 March 1867. No minor crime, for Daniel. He was charged with attacking and burning the police barracks and open insurrection against HM The Queen. His home address is recorded and so are some personal details – height 5ft 7½, fresh complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, and two vaccination marks on his left arm. Surprisingly, given the crime, he was bailed after 14 days incarceration and ordered to appear at the Spring Assizes.

Or this: Jerry Santry, aged 20. Held in gaol from 2 August 1849 for stealing clothes from Skibbereen Workhouse, for which he received 1 month's hard labour after nearly one month in prison custody.

In fact there are many, many cases of 'stealing clothes from Workhouse'. And quite a few 'stealing dishes from Workhouse' or 'stealing potatoes' or 'stealing apples' in the 1849 registers. As the notes to the collection explain, the numbers of cases before the courts was very high this year when those worst affected by the famine sought refuge within the prison system. At least there was food and shelter there, no matter how hard the regime.

Perhaps it was this 'refuge' that some other young Santrys were after when they were accused of stealing sheep that summer. Margaret (7), Mary (9) and John (5) were held in custody from 17 July 1849 until 3 August when they were found not guilty and discharged. I can't help wondering if they were pleased with this verdict. I don't know who these kids 'belonged to', nor if they survived the Great Hunger.

I'm going to enjoy pouring over old newspapers to see if I can find any more details in reports of the trials in which my ancestors were involved in. And there's still plenty more to search out.

It's a fascinating collection. It dates from 1790 to 1924 and covers most of the surviving records of the 26 counties of the Republic. A total of 2.7million records are included, with information on over 3.5million names. The latter figure is higher because the collection is searchable not only for the name of prisoners but also victims.

I found one of my maternal ancestors, James Doolittle, recorded as a victim of assault by Peter Reilly, a 35-year-old bachelor labourer from Wicklow who was ordered to pay a fine or be imprisoned for seven days in January 1878.

When searching the registers by county, bear in mind that the registers are indexed according to the county where the prison was located, not where the accused resided. This tip, together with full details of the register dates for each county register, plus a summary of the prison system over the years, can be found on the notes page. It's worth reading before you get stuck in!

Excavated burial site yields more secrets about famine years

An informative piece in today's Irish Times tells of a study carried out on the remains of nearly 1,000 famine victims at a Kilkenny workhouse.

Seems there was a little more dignity shown to the dead than you might have expected. Darn sight more than was shown while they were alive, anyway.

There's no point my summarising it here. Type this link into your browser: www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sciencetoday/2011/1020/1224306123786.html

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Prison releases this week

Find My Past Ireland will be adding a very exciting new collection to their website at the Back To Our Past show.

It's the prison registers, which date from 1790 to 1924. I don't know yet exactly which collection they have digitised, but if it's the one held by the National Archives, it contains details of name, age, crime, sentence, location of conviction, marital status, literacy level, trade or occupation and number of previous convictions.

This is pretty meaty stuff, and I, for one, can't wait to get stuck in. There's a particular story concerning one of my grandmother's brothers that I'd like to follow up. Family lore says he was put on a fast boat to America in the early 1920s to escape a second long spell of porridge, but I don't know what his earlier incarceration had been about.

I'll report here when I have more details about this new release. This may not be until the official launch at the Back To Our Past show (see voucher in right hand column for half-price entry).

News & snippets

Records in the pipe
The half million or so Waterford baptism records recently uploaded to RootsIreland.ie are the first batch of that county's church register collection on the site. Coming along shortly will be a collection of some 250,000 marriages. These will be followed by more records for county Mongahan, adding to the 32,000 RC baptisms already available, a first collection from Wexford, and some memorial inscriptions from Ulster.

Calendars at the ready
Archives, libraries and heritage centres in the Republic will be closed on Monday 31st October (a public holiday). In Northern Ireland, where there is no October Holiday, such venues should be open. Looking further ahead, the Reading Room of the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin will be closed on Wednesday 7th, Thursday 8th and Friday 9th December for the annual press preview of state documents that will become open (after the expiry of the 30-year closure rules) for public scrutiny in the new year.

Worth bookmarking
I came across a site today that I haven't visited for some years: www.irelandoldnews.com. To be honest, I'd forgotten about it, but I've now bookmarked it because, while it doesn't have any newspaper transcriptions for some counties and some years, it's got plenty enough to entice me back for a good regular rummage around.

Halloween's a-coming

Glasnevin Cemetery is gearing up for a busy Samhain. Until 7th November, the Ghastly Glasnevin exhibition will be available in the Prospect Gallery of the Museum, with pictures and stories about death and burial in 19th-century Dublin. From 26th to 31st October, the Glasnevin Gravedigger Cemetery Tour, which I'm told is suitable for all ages, will be held at 11am and 5pm. And for the truly fearless, there's a Samhain Supper & Storytelling evening on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th at a cost of 45Euros pp, which includes a meal, ghost stories from Jack Lynch, traditional harp entertainment and a torch-lit tour with Glasnevin Trust's resident historian Shane MacThomas. Bookings 01 882 6550 or email booking@glasnevintrust.ie.
Find out more about the origin of Halloween.

Back To Our Past
Just a reminder that Ireland's very own family history show, Back To Our Past, takes place this coming weekend in Dublin. Held at the RDS, it starts on Friday (Midday to 7pm) and continues over Saturday and Sunday (both days 11am to 7pm). Don't forget to download and print a discount voucher to save yourself 50% of the entrance charge.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Mid-month update from IGP

Updates from Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives so far this month:

DERRY/LONDONDERRY
Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1845 Royal Irish Constabulary records

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Glasnevin Part 7

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Church
Births at Irvinestown & Pettigoe Presbyterian Church

KERRY
Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary Records
1845 Royal Irish Constabulary records

KILDARE Genealogy Archives - Military
1845 Royal Irish Constabulary records

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives - Military
1845 Royal Irish Constabulary records

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives
Dromahaire, St. Patrick's Church of Ireland Cemetery

LIMERICK Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1845 Royal Irish Constabulary records

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1845 Royal Irish Constabulary records

MONAGHAN Genealogy Archives - Headstones.
Ballybay, 2nd Presbyterian

OFFALY
(Kings) Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1845 Royal Irish Constabulary records

Irish Genealogy Toolkit is the Research Help partner of IGP Archives.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Free seminar: Care and conservation of historic graveyards

A free seminar on the care and conservation of historic graveyards will be held next Saturday (22 October) in Maghery, co Donegal.

The aims of the seminar are to provide communities, groups and individuals with advice on the conservation of the built, cultural and natural heritage found in historic graveyards and to promote best practice in the management, care and maintenance of these graveyards. Guest speakers include representatives from the National Monuments Service, Department of the Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht; Archaeological Survey of Ireland; Dedalus Architecture and the Donegal Biodiversity Project as well as people involved in historic graveyard projects in Cooley historic graveyard (near Moville), St. Catherine's historic graveyard (in Killybegs) and Templecrone historic graveyard (in Termon, Maghery), County Donegal.

The free seminar is organised by the County Donegal Heritage Office, Cultural Services & the Roads & Transportation Directorate, Donegal County Council in association with the Peadar O’Donnell Weekend. To book your free place, please contact John Kerrigan on (074) 917 2359 or by e-mail at hra@donegalcoco.ie

Ionad an Mhachaire, An Machaire / Maghery, County Donegal
9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Reaching out and gathering up the world's Irish

It's been a week for friendly and inviting waves to the Irish diaspora. First came proposals for what's been billed as the 'biggest tourism initiative ever staged in Ireland'. The Gathering, as it's been named, will be a year-long programme of events, festivals and fun designed to bring an extra 325,000 visitors to Ireland in 2013.

Proposed by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadker TD, The Gathering is intended to boost the tourism industry, create jobs and inject millions of euros into the economy. It will focus on a series of flagship festivals throughout the year, along with special interest spin-off events, and a community-led programme. It will showcase Irish arts, sports, food, learning, genealogy and family heritage, science and hospitality.

While The Gathering aims to stimulate interest and appeal and extends a general invitation, a separate project is taking a more direct-to-the-diaspora approach.

The Ireland Reaching Out (IRO) initiative aims to trace descendents of Irish emigrants and invite them to visit their ancestral homelands.

Piloted last summer in east Galway, this genealogy-in-reverse process saw 30 visitors from the UK, USA, New Zealand and Australia respond to invitations from local people for a 'week of welcomes' that started with a reception at Cloghan Castle in Kitchreest, co Galway, and included a tour of the region, a dedicated family history day, a real Irish wedding and a hurling match.

Following the success of the pilot, an extended IRO project was launched on Wednesday. Some 25 parishes across the country attended the event to find out how the initiative can be implemented and tailored locally. At least 10 have committed to running such a project in 2012. Next year's target is for several hundred people to enjoy a week of welcomes.

"Sending out details of a a person's Irish ancestry had an 'enormously persuasive power' in enticing them to Ireland," said Mike Feerick, the Galway-based, American-born entrepreneur who started ROI. He added that training was very important for volunteers both in how to look after guests and how to access genealogical records.

Third into this diaspora-focussed week was a new social network website, www.worldirish.com. It's live, and showing some promise with an eclectic collection of stories and videos already gathered or submitted. If you've got something deep and meaningful (or just plain playful) to say about Irishness, or just want to add something curious or interesting into the world's view of Ireland and its people, you'll want to see how this site develops.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Countdown to Back To Our Past

It's just ten days to the doors opening on Ireland's very own genealogy and family history show. Back To Our Past kicks off at the RDS in Dublin at midday on Friday 21st October and continues on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd.

The inaugural event last year was a resounding success, but the organisers say next weekend's show will be even bigger and better.

"Because 2010's event went so well, we allocated more than double the space this time," explains John Lowe of S&L Promotions.

"That's 50-odd stands, and almost all of them have been allocated to exhibitors. We have two left; if anyone is interested, they should contact me immediately."

All the major institutions, commercial companies and genealogy groups will be there, including the National Archives and National Library, PRONI, FindMyPast.ie, Roots Ireland, Ancestry, Eneclann, APGI and societies such as GOONs and the Irish Genealogical Research Society. The exhibitors' list suggests that all family historians, whether just starting out on their research or advanced, are going to find plenty of interest.

The Lecture Programme is also a major draw. This, too, has been beefed up. "Because of the huge demand for speakers to be allocated slots, we have added a second presentation area," says John.

The following examples will whet your appetite, but you can download the full programme from www.backtoourpast.com:
  • Murderers, Rebels & Drunkards: Irish ancestors & the Law (Brian Donovan, FMP)
  • Beyond the Beginner (Gerry P Cahill, Irish Family History Society)
  • The UK National Register: a new source for WW2 (Steven Smyrl, MAPGI)
  • The Irish in Argentina (Helen Kelly, MAPGI)
  • Researching Ulster Ancestors (Gillian Hunt, Irish Family History Foundation)
  • Newspapers as a source for genealogy (Nicola Morris, MAPGI)
There are bound to be a crop of special offers and launches from exhibitors. Among these will be the launch of the Irish Family History and Local History Handbook from Robert Blatchford Publishing and the arrival of a major new resource on FindMyPastIreland.

Back To Our Past forms a distinctive element of The Over 50s Show. "A major advantage of our event is that visitors can avail of all the features of both shows as part of their entrance fee," says John. "Overall, there are nearly 300 exhibitors and, with advance ticket sales up by more than 40% on last year, we are expecting total attendence to top 25,000 over the three days."

If you're planning to come along, make sure to take advantage of a 50% discount kindly offered by the organisers to readers of Irish Genealogy News.

Click here to download and print a voucher that entitles you to reduced admission of just €5. Up to two people per voucher can claim the discount, and it's valid for any of the three days.


Note: Link to voucher is no longer active.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Genealogist receives Canada's highest civilian award

A senior member of the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) was recently invested with the Order of Canada for his services to genealogy.

Dr Terrence Punch has written several books about genealogical research in Canada, including Genealogist’s Handbook for Atlantic Canada Research, Genealogical Research in Nova Scotia, and Erin’s Sons: Irish Arrivals in Atlantic Canada (a multi volume series of books), and is also a regular broadcaster on CBC Radio’s Maritime Noon where he answers callers questions and queries about genealogy. He is a Fellow of the IGRS, and is a regular and knowledgable contributer to the Society's Newsletter and Journal.

The official photo below was taken during the investiture ceremony in Ottawa with Terry third from the right, in the second from back row. "I thought that our being beneath the portrait of Victoria Regina was a propos, since it was in her reign my great grandfather came from Cork to Nova Scotia," he said.

The Order of Canada is Canada's highest civilian award.

Plantation of Ulster exhibition opens

A fascinating and informative exhibition opens today at the Linen Hall Library, Belfast. The Plantation of Ulster examines this turbulent period of the northern province's history, including the Nine Years' War, the Flight of the Earls and the legacy of the English and Scottish planters who arrived in the 17th century.

It also marks the donation to the Library of new material by the late R J Hunter, a Plantation expert.

The exhibition runs until the very end of the year and admission is free.

Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North, Belfast, County Antrim BT1 5GB
Tel: 028 9032 1707.
Open Weekdays 9:30am-5:30am; Sat 9:30am-4pm. Closed on Sundays.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Roots Ireland adds Waterford baptisms

Roots Ireland, the country's largest database of family history records, has today added 534,075 Waterford baptisms/births to its online search engine.

Some 20,000 Monaghan records are next 'in the pipe' and should be available shortly.

These will be followed by a collection from Wexford parish registers and a number of gravestone inscriptions from Northern Ireland.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Waterford baptisms are delayed for a further week

County Waterford baptisms, which were due for upload to the RootsIreland.ie database by 30 September, have been delayed, according to the website.

The IFHF say they will arrive online by Monday 10 October.

EDIT: They were uploaded on Friday 7th October and are now live.

18th-century workhouse register published

A register of some 2747 people admitted to the Limerick House of Industry 1774-1793 has been published.

It is the only known admission register of its time to have survived. It contains information on the age, sex, place of origin, religion and medical condition of named inmates, together with details of their admission (whether voluntary or not) and discharge. The latter might include observations such as 'his friends bought his coffin', 'promised to return home', or 'security given not to beg'.

Most of the inmates came from Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Cork.

Pauper Limerick, The Register of the Limerick House of Industry, 1774-1793, edited by historians Dr David Fleming and Dr John Logan of the University of Limerick, is published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission. €45. More details: www.irishmanuscripts.ie.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

New look for IrishGenealogy

www.irishgenealogy.ie, the state-funded database holding a range of church records for Carlow, Cork, Dublin and Kerry, has a new image this afternoon.

In addition to a few general tweeks in page layout, there's now a rolling banner of other major repositories and state/church-funded institutions running along the bottom.

The most recent update to the database occurred over the weekend (see last Sunday's post) but has received its official stamp of approval from Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, at a launch event this afternoon. (For some reason, this update is dated 31st August on the website. Edit: has been corrected.)

Sadly, there's no mention of the RC records for Monaghan (Diocese of Clogher), which keep being promised but never materialise in the database.

Latest updates from Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives added the following files during the last two weeks of September:

CLARE Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Dysart Cemetery, Co. Clare

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1845 Royal Irish Constabulary

DONEGAL
Genealogy Archives - Methodist Circuit church records
Births Recorded in Ballyshannon Methodist Circuit Churches at Ballyshannon, Pettigoe, Bundoran & Ballintra 1835-1932
Ballyshannon Methodist Circuit Churches Marriages at Ballyshannon, Pettigoe, Bundoran & Ballintra 1872-1930

DOWN Genealogy Archives - Military and Constabulary
1845 Royal Irish Constabulary

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Military
1845 Royal Irish Constabulary

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Deansgrange Cemetery, St. Nessan's Part 3

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Carrickbrennan Cemetery, Monkstown, Co.Dublin

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Military Records
Fermanagh 1845 Royal Irisn Constabulary

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Aghadrumsee, St. Mark's, Church of Ireland

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Church
Burials recorded in St. Marys Church, Ardess, - 1767-1858
Marriages recorded at St. Mary's Church, Ardess Magheraculmoney, 1767-1845 (PDF)

GALWAY Genealogy Archives - Land records
Encumbered Estate Property of Walter Lawrence, Esq.(Milltown, Drim,Carnageehy, Clonee, Largan) 1851
Encumbered Estate Property of Walter Lawrence, Esq. (Bellview, Ohillmore, Cooleny, Craughwell) 1851

LEITRIM Genealogy Archives - Graveyards
Kiltoghert Graveyard (R.C.), County Leitrim, Ireland (partial)
Fenagh (R.C.) Graveyard (partial only)

LIMERICK
Genealogy Archives - Directories
Directory of 1769 - 15 Corporations

MAYO Genealogy Archives - Land Records
Encumbered Estate Property of Walter Lawrence, Esq., Cloonbanaum North, Middle & South. 1851

MONAGHAN Genealogy Archives - Church
Smyth, William Burial record

MONAGHAN
Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Ballyabany Presbyterian Church Graveyard

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Kilteevan (R.C.) Cemetery (partial)

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives - Land
Encumbered Estate property of Garrett O'Moore, Esq.(Cloonbigney, Castle Park & Lisbrack, Carrigaharna, Glanmore) 1852

SLIGO Genealogy Archives - Cemetery
Templeronan Cemetery (partial)

WICKLOW Genealogy Archives - Church
Methodist Baptisms, Wicklow Circuit 1820-1842 Wicklow

Irish Genealogy Toolkit is the Research Help partner of Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives.

Monday, 3 October 2011

NAI cuts Genealogy Service hours


The Genealogy Service at the National Archives of Ireland in Bishop Street will be operating a reduced service with effect from today.

The hours of this outstanding service, which is manned only by members of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI), have been cut to just 3.5 hours a day.

Operating Monday to Friday, the hours are now 10am to 13.30pm.

Provided free to genealogy researchers, this service provides one-to-one advice to all-comers, whether they are just starting out on their family history or are experienced but facing a brickwall. Its Visitor Book, which is filled with addresses from North America, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain, as well as Ireland and other, less expected countries, is proof of its popularity and recognition.

The reduction in hours is a serious blow, and seems out of step with the Government's supposed recognition of the value of genealogy tourism.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

More RC bmds for Dublin City and co Cork online

IrishGenealogy.ie, the site run by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has released more Roman Catholic records of Baptism, Marriage and Burial.

They cover Dublin City and County Cork (Diocese of Cork & Ross). These are the parishes that have been added:

Dublin (RC) Parishes/Congregations:
Harrington St.
Rathmines
St. Joseph
St. Lawrence
St. Mary's, Donnybrook
St. Mary's, Marlborough St (Pro Cathedral)
St. Nicholas

Cork (RC) Parishes:
Ardfield & Rathbarry
Aughadown
Bandon
Bantry
Caharagh
Clontead
Courcey's County or Ballinspittal
Drimoleague
Kilmacakea
Monkstown
Schull East
Schull West
Skibbereen & Rath
Timoleague & Barryroe
Tracton Abbey

The official launch is on Tuesday 4 October, but the records are already waiting! Have fun.