Friday, 27 April 2012

From Clare to Dublin

Dr Patrick Waldron, Chair of CIGO and member of Clare Roots Society, will present a talk on Monday 30 April, as follows:

Lecture theme: From the Talty Farthing to the Talty Millions - Tracing your Clare family to Dublin and beyond.

Venue: Wynn's Hotel, 35-39 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1.

Time: 8pm

It's a free talk, and everyone with an interest in ancestors from Clare is welcome.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Nuggets among the guns and bayonets at DIPPAM

Reader William Prendergast has contacted me from Oregan, USA, to pass on a resource that helped him to knock down a long-term brickwall in his Irish genealogy research.

It's the EPPI collection – Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland. It's held on the DIPPAM website, which is a fascinating but not sufficiently well-known resource. And it released the nugget that William had been searching for.

In his email, William explained that he'd discovered a message to his great grandfather in the Boston Pilot, the newspaper where friends and family of Irish emigrants posted requests for information if they lost touch. His grandfather had emigrated from Clare in 1851, and William thought he'd hit gold when he found the name of his ancestor's townland and parish in a book collating many of these messages.

But it wasn't to be so straightforward and for five years William was looking – in vain – for a trace of his family in that East Clare parish.

His breakthrough came when he discovered the online EPPI archive. Here he found his great grandfather's father and grandfather, in a townland of the same name but in a West Clare parish.

'It was an enormous break for me,' says William. 'Armed with the correct location, I immediately went to work and, of course, found my ancestors in the 1821 Freeholders' List (as tenants), the 1838 Tithe Applotment and the 1855 Griffiths Valuation, all on the same land.

'I have also made contact, through the wonderful new 'Reaching Out Ireland' project, with several folks who are helping me track down more information about this particular land and the family that lived on it well into the 20th century.

'But I've never seen this EPPI database appear in any list of resources, so I wanted to share it in the hope that it benefits other Irish genealogy researchers.'

The specific document that opened up his research was the Return of Persons Licensed to Keep Firearms by Their Local Magistrates, 1832. I have to say I've never heard of this, either. It's not an insignificant find. It covers all 32 counties and is 102 pages long. With an average of 60 names per page, that a document of 6,000 names! And all from 1832.

It's typed, so there's no great distress to your eyes, but the attempt to alphabetise by surname within each county is not always successful, so take care when scanning for your family names. Here's an example, to prove the point.

Many thanks to William for sharing this interesting resource.





Save your Wednesdays for 1916

Starting next Wednesday evening is an eight-week lecture series on the 1916 Rising. Dr Miriam Moffitt of the Department of History, NUI Maynooth, will be presenting the free lectures at the County Library, Tallaght, Co Dublin, and they are open to all.

It isn't necessary to attend the full series and you don't have to book in advance. Each Wednesday lecture will start at 7pm, from 2 May to 20 June.

Here's the line-up of themes:
  • Wednesday 2 May: the Growth of Irish-Ireland
  • Wednesday 9 May: The Irish Volunteers and the Ulster Volunteers
  • Wednesday 16 May: Planning the Rising, Part 1
  • Wednesday 23 May: Planning the Rising, Part 2
  • Wednesday 30 May: The Rising in Dublin
  • Wednesday 6 June: The Rising in the Provinces
  • Wednesday 13 June: The Surrender
  • Wednesday 20 June: The Aftermath
Contact the library for more details: +353 (0)1 462 0073

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Finding Irish relatives in America - lecture

Details just in of an interesting lecture scheduled for next Wednesday (2 May) evening at the Local Studies Room, Waterford City Central Library, Lady Lane, Waterford.

The topic is Finding Irish relatives in America, and the speaker Judith E Wight. She intends to discuss some research strategies and present free websites that can be used in addition to those that the Library already subscribes to.

Time: 6:30pm. Admission free.

A bounty of specialised Irish books

Having been trading online for some 19 years (longer than Kennys and Amazon, as he likes to point out), Louis Hemmings will be well known to many genealogists and historians, but probably not to everyone who could benefit from or enjoy a browse through his specialised cyber bookshelf. So this post aims to introduce you to him as an outstanding source of pre-loved reference, biographical and all-things-Irish books.

According to last month's 56-page email sale catalogue, Louis Hemmings specialises in Antiquarian and Religious Books. This is a good stab at a mop-up description but it doesn't let people in on a secret – that there are hundreds of books on the list that don't fit into the theological category and which would be incredibly useful to anyone with an interest in Irish history, local history, family history, Irish culture, Celtic culture and Irish language.

Genealogists with no particular interest in ecclesiastical or doctrinal development are very well catered for, with a good range of localised and pertinent studies, as well as first person travelogues, often dating back to the 19th century. Many of the most targeted books were published by family history societies.

So if you're looking beyond the names and dates of your ancestors, and want to learn more about the world they inhabited, get yourself onto Louis's circulation list. More than 1,700 subscribers can't be wrong! He sends it monthly between September and May, and he's prepared to tailor make a list to very particular criteria, if requested.

When it comes to ordering books, you can deal directly with him via louis@samovarbooks.com (he accepts payment by Euro, AUS$ cash, US$ cash and cheques, UK£ cash and cheques, and PayPal) and he charges An Post book rates for mailing. Alternatively, you can order from him through Abebooks.com (where you'll also find his current list detailed), or you could even pop into Carraig Books in Blackrock, where he is sometimes to be found behind the desk.







Tuesday, 24 April 2012

More Irish Petty Sessions records on the way

FindMyPast Ireland has announced that some three million more records from the Irish Petty Sessions Court will be released next month.

The first tranche of the 15 million record set, which relates only to courts in the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland, was released back in February (see report). That release consisted of 1.2million records, and was hugely enjoyed by Irish genealogists for the colour it added to their research.

So it is great to hear that another batch is on the way, with the remaining 10 million or so records to follow during the course of the year.

Find out more about the value of this huge resource, which covers 1858-1924, on my website's Irish Petty Sessions Courts page.



Do you have any civil war connections?

Do you have any ancestral connections to the Irish Civil War? If so, you might be able to help Professor Gavin Foster to develop an oral history project called The Afterlife of Ireland's Civil War: Memories & Silences at Home and in Exile. He explains:

"I am looking for people in Ireland and among the Irish Diaspora with family connections to the Irish Civil War (1922-23) to be interviewed for an oral history on how families, communities, and later generations remember this important conflict.

"If you had family (perhaps a grandparent) involved in the conflict on either side, I would be very interested in meeting you. What was the impact of the civil war on your family? How is it remembered? Have any stories been passed down? In Ireland, I am especially interested in civil war memories in and about Counties Kerry, Cork, Clare, and Limerick, among other places.

"Beyond Ireland, I am eager to interview Irish-Americans and Irish-Canadians related to IRA veterans who emigrated in the aftermath of the conflict.

"Interviews will be recorded to audio or video or written down, according to your wishes. You will be given a copy of the interview recording. The project has been approved by Concordia University's Human Research Ethics Committee, and all interviewees will be informed in advance about conditions and options of participation."

For more information please contact: Professor Gavin Foster, School of Canadian Irish Studies, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve W., H-1001, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3G 1M8; tel. 514 848-2424 x 5117; email: gfoster@alcor.concordia.ca




More Boer War records on FindMyPast UK

Find My Past UK has updated its Boer War collection with almost 10,000 new records.

The major inclusions in this update are:
  • The complete Queen's South Africa medal roll for the Coldstream Guards, Irish Guards, 1st battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and Rundles Scouts
  • The Wepener clasp rolls for Royal Scots, Royal Engineers, Cape Mounted Rifles, Driscoll's Scouts and the Kaffrarian Rifles
A huge contingent of Irishmen played a role in the Boer War, including my Grandad Santry, who signed up using his mother's maiden name, Driscoll, to prevent any potential repercussions for the family in southwest Cork. I have his medals, showing he fought at the Relief of Ladysmith, among other famous battles, showing his alias.

The FindMyPast Boer War records can tell you vast amounts of crucial information about your military ancestors, including the unit in which they served, where they became a casualty, which war memorial they appear on and the honours and awards they received.

This update brings the total number of Boer War records on FindMyPast.co.uk to 269,425. They come from more than 470 sources, some of which are extremely rare and others are out of print; this particular addition to the online database provider was supplied by Meurig Jones.

Don't forget that FindMyPast UK has a 10% discount offer available until 6 May. All you have to do is click the button to the right, register and sign up for a subscription, making sure to enter the Promotional Code of APRSUB10 in the left hand column.

PRONI's Urban History lecture now on YouTube

If you couldn't get along to PRONI/OUI's most recent Exploring Local History lecture at the end of March, it's now available on YouTube in a series of six videos. The subject was Urban History and the lectures were presented by Dr Olwyn Purdue:
The final lecture in the series will be delivered by Dr Janice Holmes this Thursday, 26 April. The presentation is entitled ‘Families’ and will take place in PRONI at 6:30 on 26 April 2012.

As usual, Dr Ann McVeigh will demonstrate examples of original material from within the PRONI archives. It will subsequently be made available on PRONIonline channel on YouTube, as are all the earlier lectures.

Admission is FREE and open to all, but booking essential. Please contact PRONI on +44 (0)28 90 534800  or email PRONI to secure your place.

Monday, 23 April 2012

IGRS lecture illustrates value of LEC records

Family commitments prevented me from attending the Irish Genealogical Research Society's Lecture at the Dublin City Library & Archives on Saturday, but local genealogist Claire Bradley was kind enough to send in the following report:

Lecturer Aideen Ireland is Senior Archivist at the National Archives of Ireland (NAI), and she delivered her talk about the Landed Estates Court Rentals (LECs), also known as the Encumbered Estates Court Rentals. These are now digitised and available to subscribers on FindMyPast.ie.

I admit that, even with a UCD Certificate in Genealogy under my belt, I knew remarkably little about these records before the lecture and it was great to hear someone so knowledgable explain them.

The LECs date from 1849 and are essentially a product of the Famine because, in its aftermath, the State needed a way to dispose of estates and other properties belonging to bankrupts. In that sense, the Landed Estate Court was a bit like NAMA*, except that, in many cases, tenants got to purchase the land they had been working.

The records are what we'd today call sales brochures. They feature details of the properties, maps and engravings, the latter often made to look prettier than the reality! The maps and engravings have proven particularly important because they show details no longer present. For example, Mount Heaton, now the Cistercian College in Roscrea, once had an aviary and hothouses. The original 'brochures' are in colour, but they're in black and white on FMP because they were digitised from microfilm.

Aideen went through some examples relating to a gentleman called William Perry, on whom she has done particular research. She found references to him in several places. She read out what she admitted was some very dull legalese because she wanted to show how many references to past leases were included in this 'sale brochure'. Much like today, details had to be provided of sitting tenants, how they were entitled to their leased land and for how long.

Armed with this sort of information, you might be able to go into the Registry of Deeds and reference the original lease.

Aideen highlighted one specific LEC record that referred to a lease that had started in 1749 (some 111 years prior to the sale of the property), and names were given. If these names related to your ancestors, you might immediately have leapt back a generation or more. Of course, you'd have to use these records in conjunction with the Registry of Deeds and the parish registers to be sure.

One of the most important things I learnt from Aideen's talk is that the digitised collection is the O'Brien set of records. Some background: a master set of records for the LEC rentals does not exist. Even the NAI is not clear that it ever existed; if it did, it didn't survive the dreaded 1922 fire.

The full NAI collection includes a number of accessions donated by individuals who were in some way involved with the LEC. Octavius O'Brien, a solicitor who sat on the board, donated the largest set. Several other sets of records were donated by Mr Justice Liam Price and Hamilton Craig, including the Quit Rent Office records. These records are not necessarily all the same but duplicates may exist.

Collections of LEC rentals have also turned up in the National Library and PRONI. To date, no attempt to correlate these collections has been made. Apart from the O'Brien set, all the other collections can be accessed on manuscript in their various locations. Aideen is not aware of any plans to digitise the others.

She referenced a couple of books that have been written about these records, including Encumbered Estates Ireland, 1850-1905 by Mary Cecilia Lyons, 1993, which includes many beautiful engravings of properties reproduced from the originals.

During the question session at the end of the talk Steven Smyrl mentioned that the FMP collection cannot be searched by place. It is necessary to search by surname or at least by the first letter of the surname, plus asterisk.

(Thanks, Claire. You're a star.)

*NAMA is the National Asset Management Agency, set up by the Irish Government in 2009 to take over assets held in negative equity by their owners. This is a simplified explanation. No letters, please!

Irish emigration: comic book style

It might seem an unlikely subject for the publishers of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, but Irish emigration now has its very own comic-book style novel: Gone to Amerikay.

The 144-page book was written by Derek McCulloch, writer of the acclaimed 2006 graphic novel Stagger Lee, and illustrated by Colleen Doran, one of the very very few female artists working in mainstream US comics, and was published earlier this month.

It tells a tale of Irish emigration that spans 140 years, recounting the experiences of three characters. First up is Ciara, who sets sail for the US in 1870 believing that her husband will join her there. He doesn't. Abandoned in an unfamiliar country, she and her young daughter, Maire, have to survive in the notorious Five Points slums of New York.

Johnny McCormack is next to step off the boat. An actor and folk musician, he is drawn to express himself in the Greenwich Village scene of the 1960s.

Bringing the story up to date is Irish business tycoon Lewis Healy, flying into Manhatten on his company's jet in 2010.

Gone to Amerikay is a romance with a ghost tale and a murder mystery thrown in, and I'm told these different elements are cleverly woven together to create a story far removed from those you'd expect in what is now known as a graphic novel.

Adult themes are explored and, as if to prove that the comics genre has moved on from the prudish days when strangely hued thick-necked men wore underpants over their trousers, there's even some nudity hidden among the pages. The inevitable mutterings of distress have not carried across the Atlantic.

Gone to Amerikay is published by Vertigo, the edgy arm of DC Comics. ISBN 978 1401223519. It's available at Easons at €25.10 (that's comic books in 2012 for you!) and Amazon.

Many thanks to Planet Slade for alerting me to this publication and sending images of the preview copy.


Find My Past UK offers 10% discount

Find My Past UK is offering a very tasty 10% discount on all new subscriptions taken out from today until 6 May. So if you're looking for Irish ancestors who crossed the Irish Sea (or even if you're looking only for English, Scots or Welsh ancestors), this is a great financial incentive to sign up for a monthly, half yearly or annual subscription.

All you have to do is click the button to the right, register and sign up for a subscription, making sure to enter the Promotional Code of APRSUB10 in the left hand column.
It's that simple.

FindMyPast.co.uk offers census records for England, Wales & Scotland as well as the most complete online index for BMDs (1837-2006). Within its 750 million searchable records, there are millions of military records of Irish men who joined the British Army, as wells as collections covering seafarers and migrants, which may also hold details of your family from Ireland.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Ancestry adds IrishGenealogy burial records

The IrishGenealogy burial collection by another name
Ancestry has added a collection of 293,306 Irish burial records to its database.

This is the second Irish record set to be launched to its so-called Web Records collections, which deliver searchable indexes to online third-party databases and then refer researchers to those sites.

In this particular case, the third-party database is held on the website run by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: irishgenealogy.ie.

This method of delivering extra records to researchers is explained more fully in my post of 13 April, when the first Irish set of Web Records appeared on Ancestry. Basically, you can search for the death of an ancestor via the Ancestry site and will be provided with a results page of likely candidates; to see the detailed record you are taken to the third party site.

Ancestry has decided to call this second new data set the Ireland Burial Index 1600-1927. As is the way with Ancestry's naming patterns, the researcher needs to exercise some caution and take a look at the small print. The IrishGenealogy database covers only a tiny proportion of Ireland's burial records. It currently includes transcriptions and some images from the registers of parishes in the following areas:
  • CARLOW (COI)
  • CORK & ROSS (RC)
  • DUBLIN (COI)
  • DUBLIN (PRESBY.)
  • DUBLIN (RC)
  • KERRY (COI)
  • KERRY (RC)
For a more detailed look at the parishes included, see this page and click on the relevant area.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The immigration experience of Irish America - a day of talks in New York

Writers, public figures, and scholars will explore the experiences of the Irish and Irish-American family through a day of talks at New York University this coming Saturday.

Novelist Mary Higgins Clark (I'll Walk Alone: A Novel; Kitchen Privileges) will deliver the keynote talk about her family's experience and its influence on her life and writing, while Professors Kerby Miller (Emigrants and Exiles) and Breandán Mac Suibhne (Ed., Society and Manners in Early Nineteenth Century Ireland) will discuss changes of fortune and immigration.

Professors Maureen O. Murphy (The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930) and Janet Nolan (Servants Of The Poor: Teachers And Mobility In Ireland And Irish America), will talk about women's role in immigration and upward mobility.

In addition, Professors Linda Dowling Almeida and Miriam Nyhan, both NYU Irish and Irish-American Studies faculty members, will speak on the Glucksman Ireland House NYU Oral History of Irish America project and what is revealed about domestic economy.

Bruce Morrison, former Congressman from Connecticut, immigration lawyer, and lobbyist, will discuss current US immigration policy and its future direction.

The full programme for what looks like a busy and interesting day at Glucksman Ireland House, can be found here, together with costs and booking details.


Hedge School at Cavan County Museum tonight

A History Ireland Hedge School will be taking place this evening at Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff.

'Master' Tommy Graham will be conducting a roundtable discussion on 'The War of Independence: Four glorious years or squalid sectarian conflict? (The North)'. The speakers are Matthew Lewis and Fearghal McGarry, both of Queen's University, Belfast; Robert Lynch of Glasgow University; and Aogán Ó Fearghall, President of Ulster Council GAA.

Be on time for Register at 7.30pm. School ends at 9.30pm. For more information, call 049 854 4070 or email ccmuseum@eircom.net.

Great Houses of Ireland, second collection launches

The second collection of Great Houses of Ireland oral history interviews will be launched at 2pm this afternoon at the National Library of Ireland in Kildare Street, Dublin.

Doing the honours will be Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Recorded by Tralee-based historians Maurice and Jane O'Keeffe, this collection includes the memories of those who lived or worked in some of the great houses of Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Tipperary. (The first collection, launched early last year, covered just Cork and Kerry.) It offers intense detail and observations about daily life of the landed families.

For example, Henrietta Staples talks of Cappagh House, her education by the Quakers and early transport in side cars, traps and motor cars. Ted Newenham tells about the domestic staff and governesses at Coolmore House while Dermot Edwards discusses his mother's diaries and descriptions of social events and hobbies. Others tell of the times when The Troubles came knocking at their grand doors, and of their lives and careers beyond their landed estates.

The interviews can be downloaded individually from the lovely Irish Life and Lore website.


Update: Watch a short RTE News report of the launch, here.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

50% offer from Irish Roots magazine

A very special 50% discount is on offer to new subscribers of Irish Roots magazine. This reduces the price for customers worldwide to just €12, inclusive of postage and packing, which is a terrific bargain for this quarterly publication – the only magazine dedicated to Irish genealogy.

To take up this offer, follow this link and follow these instructions:

In the Description Box, enter 'Special Offer'.
In the Payment Box, enter '12'.

You can pay by either PayPal or credit card.

This offer is valid until Monday 23 April.



Monday, 16 April 2012

Dracula was Irish - the genealogical evidence

Dracula's creator: Bram Stoker
Count Dracula, the Transylvanian nobleman, the daddy of all vampires and the cause of more childhood nightmares than I care to remember, was Irish. This is the finding of FindMyPast Ireland, the dedicated Irish genealogy database provider, whose researchers have uncovered previously unknown facts about the family history of the author Bram Stoker.

The new findings are the fruit of months of research by director Fiona Fitzsimons who last year identified Barack Obama's closest living Irish relatives.

"We have discovered that Bram Stoker could trace his own direct family line back almost 1,000 years," says Fitzsimons. "His direct ancestor, Manus 'the Magnificent' O'Donnell, once ruled much of Ireland and led a rebellion against King Henry VIII. Stoker knew of this ancestry, but the wider world did not."

And this lineage turns out to have been remarkably similar to Dracula's. "I myself am of an old family..." Dracula tells Jonathan Harker, one of the novel's narrators. He continues with expressions of pride in his noble lineage, rooted in a lost age of feudal warriors, valour and heroism.

The Landed Estate Court details that led
to the discovery. See larger image here.
Although Bram Stoker's paternal family was of humble stock, his mother, Charlotte, was descended from the Blakes, a landed Irish family. This much was already public knowledge but, using land records that are available on FindMyPast Ireland, Fitzsimons was able to trace Stoker's descent back 12 generations to Manus, who died in 1563.

"We can then trace this direct lineage back to the 11th century, because the O'Donnell lords from whom Stoker is descended have one of the oldest recorded lineages in Ireland."

Remarkably, the story goes back further because from 561AD, the O'Donnell lords were the hereditary keepers of the psalter (holy book) of St Columba, Ireland's patron saint of poets.

The psalter survives to this day. The shrine that the O'Donnells commissioned to house it is on display in the National Museum of Ireland.

These objects remained in the O'Donnell family's keeping until 1843 when they were donated to the Royal Irish Academy. Their donation received widespread press coverage. Bram Stoker’s mother knew that her own grandmother was Eliza O’Donnell of the illustrious O’Donnell family. She remained in contact with the family and cannot have failed to understand the significance of the rediscovery of the manuscript book and shrine.

“Bram himself wrote that his mother told him stories about his family history and ancestors," says Fitzsimons. But even the few literary scholars who knew this would not have understood its significance.

Young Bram was a sickly child, bed-ridden until the age of seven. “He was at home, listening to all these tales from his mother,” says Fitzsimons. “These were tales not just about Irish history but of his own ancestry. They gave him a direct link to the very pulse of Irish history. Can you imagine the impact that they would have had on a young, sickly, imaginative child?”

Indeed, Stoker himself has written of this period, "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years."

Check out the FindMyPast Ireland website for more information about Bram Stoker's family and the genealogical research that uncovered it.

This week marks the centenary of Bram Stoker's death. See previous post for events in Dublin.

Was Dracula Irish?

This week, Friday 20th to be exact, sees the centenary of the death of Bram Stoker, the Irish-born author who brought us Count Dracula. If ghoulish curiosity or love of gothic literature is your thing, you'll be interested in these events in Dublin:

A specially commissioned portrait of Stoker by artist Aidan Hickey has been unveiled at the Concourse Gallery, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Hall. It will be on view there until 29th April when it moves to a permanent home at the Writers Centre, Parnell Square.

The Gallery is open 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

This evening (16th), Clontarf Historical Society will be hosting a lecture by Dennis McIntyre who will present the argument that the inspiration for the vampire was uniquely Irish: his mother's tales of cholera in Sligo, St Michan's church, famine, landlords, suicide graveyards and religious tabboos. The event gets underway at St John's Hall, Clontarf Road at 8:15pm (finishes 9:30pm) and is open to the public. Admission €4.

The Royal Irish Academy on Dawson Street will be the venue on Thursday 19th April for a lecture by Terry Eagleton in which Dracula will be considered in the context of some traditional notions of evil, including the very different presentation of the idea of evil in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman. It will also raise the question of Stoker’s Irish Protestant background and its relevance to his fiction. The lecture starts at 6pm. Booking at www.ria.ie

Also on Thursday 19th is a book launch at the Writers Museum, 18 Parnell Square. Stoker: The Lost History by Gabriel Murray explores new research discovered by the author when writing a new screenplay on Dracula's creator. Short lectures will also be presented by Gabriel Murray and John J May. The event starts at 7:30pm.

Friday 20th
will see a dramatised reading in costume of exerpts from Stoker's Dracula at the Writers Museum, 18 Parnell Street, Dublin. This starts at 1:10pm.

Additionally, two Bram Stoker commemorative postage stamps will be released by AN Post on the 19th.


See following post: Dracula was Irish - the genealogical evidence.

Update from Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives has tweaked its search engine to facilitate easier searching of its extensive website. As a result, researchers can now make a search of a specific county from each County's Table of Contents page. It is also possible to search headstones from the Headstone Table of Contents from each county.

Additionally, either of these searches, or a full site search, can be made from a new dedicated search page.

The following files have been added in the first half of this month:

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives – Births
Assorted McElhinney Births

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Mount Jerome, Dublin - Parts 41 - 44

MEATH Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Ardbracken/Ardbraccan Graveyard (Catholic & CoI burials)
Ashbourne, Immaculate Conception (R.C.) Churchyard
Athboy, St James (Church of Ireland) Cemetery
Athboy, St James (Old)
Athboy, St James (R.C.) - Plaques
Laracor, St. Peter's Church Graveyard
Summerhill, Agher Cemetery, Co. Meath

MEATH Genealogy Archives - Cemetery Records
Galtrim Headstones
St, James Church Of Ireland Cemetery, Athboy (completed)
St. Lawrence Cemetery [RC] Rathmore, Athboy, Co. Meath (partial)

MONAGHAN
Genealogy Archives - Headstones.
Ballinode Church - Tydavnet Parish, St Dympna's (updated)

MONAGHAN Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1840-1841 Royal Irish Constabulary

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1840-41 Royal Irish Constabulary

TIPPERARY
Genealogy Archives - Land
List of Claims - Forfeited Estates - Tipperary 1700 Pt. 3

TYRONE
Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Desertcreat Church of Ireland (4 headstones & sign)

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Land
Records Claims - 1700 (pdf) 27K Apr 2012 Mary Heaphy Wexford Archives

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Photos
United Irishmen Commemoration Stone - Gorey

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives
List of Claims - 1700 (pdf)


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


Sunday, 15 April 2012

More Monaghan records on RootsIreland

RootsIreland.ie has uploaded some more church and civil records to its database for County Monaghan.

The note on the site doesn't give much away, merely mentioning which parishes are included in the update. However, with many thanks to Bonnie Malmat, who held a screengrab from the last update and was able to distinguish the latest additions from those that were already online, here's a list of the new records:

Roman Catholic additions:
  • Clones baptisms 1844 and 1848-1880
  • Clontibret baptisms 1860-1881
  • Donagh baptisms 1837-1878; marriages 1836-1882
  • Donaghmoyne marriages 1840-1860
  • Errigal Truagh baptisms 1867; marriages 1837-1849, 1862-1890
COI Additions:
  • Clones baptisms 1682-1704
  • Drum deaths 1842 and 1876-1987
  • Ematris baptisms 1753-1791
  • Muckno Castleblayney deaths 1810-1870
  • Newbliss deaths 1837-1983
  • Tyholland baptisms 1837-1983
Civil Marriages:
  • Dawsongrove 1864-1908
You can view the full listing of what is now available on this page.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Some snippets of news

A collection of shorts for the mid-month weekend:

Stamping out the letters: In all the RMS Titanic hoo-hah of the last two weeks, has anyone mentioned that RMS stood for Royal Mail Ship? Well, it was news to me.

And it's appropriate that An Post has launched a set of stamps commemorating the sinking in which five postal clerks drowned.

Apparently, the clerks tried to carry the 200-odd heavy sacks of letters from the mail room to what they thought was the safety of the upper decks. They died in the process, and the keys to the RMS Titanic mailroom was found on a chain on one of their bodies.

_________________________________________


Waterford ancestors?:
Waterford County Archives, which is housed in Dungarvan's Central Libary, is closed until 6 May. The closure is indicative of just how understaffed Ireland's local authority funded archives service has become – the Waterford County Archives is a one-person show, and she's taking annual leave. That's what you call trimmed to the bone.

_________________________________________


GSI website hacked: The website of the Genealogical Society of Ireland (www.familyhistory.ie) has been hacked. It happened just before Easter and the web url directs you to a gobbledegook message from the hacker.

The GSI's facebook page is operating normally.

UPDATE 14 April: The GSI hope the website will be repaired over the weekend.

_________________________________________


Carlow County Museum reopens:
After being closed for some 18 months, Carlow County Museum has reopened in the newly restored former Presentation Convent on College Street, Carlow.

The Museum is the last piece of the Cultural Quarter ( Library, Tourist Office, Visual and George Bernard Shaw Theatre, Carlow Cathedral, Carlow College, Carlow Tourism, Eigse, Glor Ceatharlach and Carlow Court House ). It is also one of only twelve county museums in the 26 counties of Ireland.

Hopefully the home page of the Museum's website will catch up with events soon!

_________________________________________


Kerry Burials - Ancestry's first Web Records non-NA

Earlier this week, database giant Ancestry added a collection of County Kerry Burial Records 1898-2010 to its online search capability. Nothing so odd about that, I hear you say. Except that this collection is the one created last September (see report) and provided absolutely free of charge at www.kerrylaburials.ie. So what's it doing on Ancestry, I wondered.

From further investigation reveals that Ancestry has started adding records or indexes 'belonging' to third-party online publishers. (This isn't anything very new – Mocavo has built its following on just this technique and now claims to have six billion records indexed.)

Ancestry started adding third-party indexes in May last year but initially restricted the sites it crawled to the USA; a quick glance at the list suggests they are all either death or obituary records. Since then, there's been a Canadian collection added but County Kerry Burial Records 1898-2010 seems to be the first third-party collection added from outside North America.

To distinguish the third-party, free indexes from the pay-per-view/subscription collections, Ancestry is calling the former 'Web Records'.

The Kerry burials remain free, of course. Ancestry is simply using its search engine to direct researchers to the collection. For example, if I search Ancestry Kerry Burials Web Records database for my relative Sarah Cahill, who I know died before 1920, I am offered a results display with a few options. Clicking the most likely one, I'm able to see the correct townland and I'm then directed to www.kerrylaburials.ie.

Irritatingly, I have to re-enter my search criteria but I'm then rewarded with an image of the burial register showing that 33-year-old Sarah died in 1913 of TB and is buried in Churchill cemetery.

If you already know of the Kerry burials site, the Ancestry route isn't necessary and simply adds another layer of searching. But if you were a researcher who didn't know of it, this third party search system would be most welcome.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Half price sale of Irish Graveyards books

There's a sale on at Kabristan Archives, the independent small publisher specialising in books related to Irish and Indian graveyards and cemeteries. With 50% off list price, this is a great time to investigate the booklist.

To take advantage of this terrific discount offer, contact sales@kabristan.org.uk.

OLD IRISH GRAVEYARDS County LEITRIM – 2976 records.
Parts I to IV reduced from £4 to £2 per part, plus postage at cost.

OLD IRISH GRAVEYARDS County CAVAN – 4478 records.
Parts I to V reduced from £4 to £2 per part, postage at cost.

OLD IRISH GRAVEYARDS County MONAGHAN – 3720 records.
Parts I to IV reduced from £4 to £2 per part, plus postage at cost.

OLD IRISH GRAVEYARDS County SLIGO – 4423 records.
Parts I to V reduced from £5 to £2.50 per part, plus postage at cost.

SLIGO CEMETERY Old Section – 1300 records.
Reduced from £5 to £2.50, plus postage at cost.

EARLY BURIALS IN COUNTY MONAGHAN 1625-1800 – 1000 records.
Reduced from £6 to £3, plus postage at cost.

OLD IRISH GRAVEYARDS County FERMANAGH – 6981 records.
Parts I to VIII reduced from £4 to £2 per part, plus postage at cost.

DONEGAL GRAVEYARDS – 6684 records.
Parts 1 to VII reduced from £5 to £2.50, plus postage at cost.

TYRONE GRAVEYARDS – 5000 records.
Parts 1 to V reduced from £5 to £2.50, plus postage at cost.

STRABANE CEMETERIES County TYRONE – 1300 records.
Reduced from £5 to £2.50, plus postage at cost.

ACHILL BURIAL GROUNDS County MAYO – 550 records.
Reduced from £5 to £2.50, plus postage at cost.

KELLS BURIAL GROUNDS County MEATH – 900 records.
Reduced from £5 to £2.50, plus postage at cost.

THE FORGOTTEN IRISH Memorials of the Raj including many biographies of the Irish who served the British in Asia during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Reduced from £15 to £7.50, plus postage at cost.

A HANDBOOK TO IRISH WAR GRAVEYARDS IN INDIA, BURMA and beyond – 650 records.
Reduced from £7.50 to £4, plus postage at cost.


An introduction to genealogy in Co Meath

A one-day Introduction to Irish Genealogy course will take place in the beautiful setting of Annesbrook in County Meath on Saturday 28 April.

The charming historic house is to be matched with a team of acclaimed experts: Brian Donovan, Fiona Fitzsimons, both of Eneclann, Eileen O'Duill of Heirs Ireland and her husband, Sean O'Duill, a renowned Irish folklorist.

Tastebuds are also being fully catered for. The €125 fee includes light refreshments and a lunch prepared with fresh ingredients from Annesbrook's garden, and I hear there will be freshly baked scones and other treats during the two breaks. The day will start at 10am and end at 4.30pm.

Here's the programme:

Morning:
  • Introduction: Why do family history research?
  • Introduction to Irish Births, Marriages and Death rcords
  • Census 1901 and 1911 online

Luncheon talk (over dessert):

'Mrs Fancy Tart is coming to tea: making sense of family stories'

Afternoon:
  • Internet sources for Irish genealogy research: things to do at home
  • Matchmaking and marriage customs in 19th-century Ireland
  • Some success stories to inspire you
  • Where do I go from here? Question and Answer session

For more information, phone 353 (0)141 98 232 93 or email.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

South East Galway reaches out

As part of the Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) project, South East Galway has announced its Week of Welcomes programme. This is an event organised by the parishes for their own Diaspora and an opportunity for those whose ancestors left Ireland to reconnect with their place of origin.

The Week of Welcomes builds on the paper trail and helps those of Irish heritage to reconnect with the people and places of their ancestors. Visitors who take up the invitation get to speak with people from the communities and pick through local knowledge to perhaps finally discover an elusive headstone, to seek out some long-lost cousins, or to stand where the ancestral home once stood.

The Ireland XO project has been described as 'reverse genealogy' because the local community is reaching out to connect with the descendants of those who left, rather than those descendants trying to reconnect with the place.

For those with roots in South East Galway, an interesting programme has been created and organisers promise a unique, personal and intimate experience. The itinerary includes a Shannon River cruise, heritage tours, cultural events, and even a hurling match, in addition to individualised assistance to trace family roots.

The cost is €299 for the full week or €149 for a three-day booking. More information here.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

A hallucination it is not

John Grenham's response to the recent fee structure changes at RootsIreland.ie will crack you up! You can read it here.


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Database providers take the sea air


With the Titanic centenery making headlines around the world this month, there's a very nautical air about recent releases by the major database providers.

Ancestry was first to set sail with five small collections released a few days ago. These are:
  • Titanic, Outward Passenger List
  • Titanic, Crew Records
  • Titanic, Deaths at Sea
  • Halifax, Canada, Titanic Fatality Records
  • Halifax, Canada, Titanic Graves


Today, Find My Past.co.uk has published two new record sets:
  • Maritime births, marriages and deaths (includes bmds associated with seafaring occupations, not just events that took place at sea, and deaths of Titanic crew and passengers).
  • White Star Line Officers books (1,042 service records 1868-1934, including those crew lost on the Titanic).
As well as these two new collections, the FMP database includes passenger lists (ex-UK), 1880-1960 and Merchant Navy seamen records.


John Grenham's new edition: Worth the weight

The first thing that hit me when my review copy of John Grenham's Tracing Your Irish Ancestors 4th Edition arrived was its weight. I was reminded of that mighty tome 'Ancestral Trails' which, while a perfectly valid and useful book for genealogy research around the world, I've rarely used simply because I find it too heavy to handle. Well, I say 'rarely used'. It's been pressed into doorstop duty on a good few occasions.

Now, Grenham's new book isn't in the same tonnage league but it's certainly noticeably heavier than the well-thumbed 2nd edition that's been holding court on my shelves for around twelve years.

There are two reasons for the added weight. First, the 4th edition has 202 more pages than the 2nd. It's also on much nicer paper: white, bright, finer and heavier.

If you read John's Irish Roots column earlier this week you have pretty much read his preface to the new book, which he's completely revised to accommodate the huge changes in patterns of genealogy research and the greater accessibility of online Irish records in recent years.

As in the previous edition, there's a short chapter dedicated to Internet research which includes the usual sensible advice about not believing everything you find, and to exercise care when searching databases, and gives a brief overview of the main database providers (both free and paying) and listings sites under a number of categories (census, migration, police, property etc). His own creation Irish Ancestors on the Irish Times site, gets a generous number of plugs.

Generally, the book follows the same pattern as previous editions (1st ed published 1992; 2nd ed 1999; 3rd ed 2006). Some sections, for example, deeds, newspapers, directories, have exactly the same sub-headings, even if the content is updated.

Others have been expanded with addtional information. So the Property and Valuation Records chapter, for example, now covers Irish placenames and a guide to using Griffiths Valuation online; India and Mexico have made appearances in the Emigration and Irish Abroad chapter.

The County Source Lists have also been completely revised and expanded with details of relevant websites for each county.

Online Sligo. Why no IGP-web?
I was pleased to see some websites in the listings that I hadn't come across before but I was rather surprised by some inconsistencies.

Why, for example, are the Ireland Genealogy Projects sites for Longford and Meath and Waterford included but not those for Antrim, Cork or Sligo?

I was very, very pleased to see the return of parish maps in the Roman Catholic Registers section. Their omission from the last edition was much criticised. And it's good to, at last, see an index. They're a bore for the author to create but essential to the reader.

Any printed reference publication suffers from one major problem - the speed with which it becomes outdated. This was an issue for reference books long before the Internet was created, but is even more acute now. The truth is that after a six or seven year wait, Tracing your Irish Ancestors 4th edition was out of date even before it was published last Friday. It refers several times to the usefulness of the free index search facility on RootsIreland.ie, which, if you've been reading this blog in the last two weeks, you'll know has been withdrawn, much to the consternation of Irish genealogy researchers. It also advises readers that Wills calendars for the Republic are on the shelves at the NAI... they are, of course, but in the last month a sizeable proportion of them have been made freely available on the NAI's website.

This isn't a criticism of John's work. It's simply a fact of modern day publishing. It may mean, though, that the 4th edition has a shorter shelf life than the earlier editions have enjoyed.

Finely dressed in its new livery, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors will, I am sure, reaffirm the title's status as THE standard reference book for Irish genealogists, both beginners and the more experienced. Never mind that John's writing style is so readable, there is simply nothing else on the market, nor on my shelves, that comes anywhere close to it for its breadth in one volume.

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, 4th edition, is published by Gill & Macmillan. Price €22.99 but discounts available from the publisher and some other booksellers. ISBN: 9780717150243




What the kitchen scales reveal:
Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, 2nd edition: 600g
Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, 4th edition: 900g (or just a smidgen below)
(Not that I'm obsessive, or anything!)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Events for April

Until 22 April: Leaving Home: Emigration from Cobh, Circa 1920’s — Photographs from the Mount Brandon Collection. Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Co Cork.

Throughout April: 1912 Harland & Woolf Minute Book. On display in Reading Room, PRONI. Free.

Wednesday 4 April: Ireland and the First World War, with Professor Keith Jeffrey. Ulster Museum. 7:00pm to 9:00pm. 

Wednesday 4 April: Lost Voices from the Titanic, with Dr Nick Barratt. 1pm. PRONI Lecture Theatre. Booking essential. Free.

Friday, 6 April to Monday 9 April: 1916: Rebels & Revolutionary Walking Tours, Glasnevin Cemetery 2:30pm and 3:30pm daily. Adults €6, Advance booking advised.

Tuesday, 10 April: Tales from the Tenements: The Urban Folklore Project, with Dr. Cristoir MacCarthaigh. Dublin City Hall lunchtime lecture. The Council Chamber, City Hall, Dublin 2. 1:10pm to 1:50pm. Free. Details: cityarchives@dublincity.ie

Tuesday 10 April:  St Brides Church of Ireland Parish Records, with Ronnie Wallace. Genealogical Society of Ireland. Dun Laoghaire College of FE, Cumberland Street. 8pm.

Friday, 13 April: Destination America: Emigration through Queenstown/Cobh. A free public lecture with Dr. Alicia St Leger. 3:00pm. Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Co Cork.

Friday, 13 April to Saturday,14 April:
The London Irish in the Long Eighteenth Century (1680-1830). Multi-disciplinary conference. Warwick University. Details.

Saturday 14 April:
Irish and Scottish Family History Day. Lanarkshire Family History Society. David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre. 10:00am to 4:30pm. Details

Tuesday, 17 April:
Stories from Dublin’s Blitz: The North Strand Bombing, with Ellen Murphy. Dublin City Hall lunchtime lecture. The Council Chamber, City Hall, Dublin 2. 1:10pm to 1:50pm. Free. Details: cityarchives@dublincity.ie

Wednesday 18 April:
Overview of the 1916 Easter Rising, with Dr Fearghal McGarry. Drama Theatre, Stranmillis College, Belfast. 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

Wednesday 18 April: Lost Voices of the Titanic, with Dr Nick Barratt. Society of Genealogists, London. 2:00pm to 3:00pm. £4.80/£6. 

Thursday, 19 April: Titanic, Belfast's Own, with Stephen Cameron. 6.30pm. PRONI Lecture Theatre. Booking essential. Free.

Thursday, 19 April: War of Indepencence: ‘Four glorious years’ or squalid sectarian conflict?. A History Ireland Hedge School at Cavan County Museum, Virginia Rd, Ballyjamesduff. 7.30-9.30pm.

Thursday 19 April: Advanced Irish Genealogy - Delving further into Irish sources. Connectquot Public Library, Bohemia, NY. 6.30pm.

Saturday, 21 April: IGRS Ireland Branch. The Landed Estate Court Rentals: now digitised but still a much underused source, with Aideen Ireland. Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. AGM at 2.30pm (members only), Lecture at 3.15pm (all welcome). Free. 

Saturday, 21 April: Organizing Your Genealogical Clutter, with Ronald Moore. Irish Family History Forum, New York. 11:00am. Details.

Saturday, 21 April: Connect with your past. A history roadshow for all the family, with Clogher Historical Society. 10am-5pm.

Tuesday, 24 April: Heirlooms and Hand-Me-Downs: Tales from Dublin’s Liberties, with Chris Reid. Dublin City Hall lunchtime lecture. The Council Chamber, City Hall, Dublin 2. 1:10pm to 1:50pm. Free: Email: cityarchives@dublincity.ie

Tuesday, 24 April: All at Sea: Maritime records at PRONI, with Dr Ann McVeigh. 1pm. PRONI Lecture Theatre. Booking essential. Free.

Wednesday, 25 April: The Women’s Movement in Ireland 1910 – 1922, with Dr Myrtle Hill. Drama Theatre, Stranmillis College, Belfast. 7:00 to 9:00pm.

Thursday, 26 April: Local History — Families. PRONI and The Open University in Ireland (OUI). 6.30pm to 8.00pm at PRONI. Admission is FREE and open to all but booking essential.

Saturday, 28 April: Newry Family History Fair. At City Library. 10.00am—4.00pm. Dr Ann McVeigh will be delivering a talk at 2.00pm on Family History Resources available in PRONI.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Any Dublin police in your tree?

Title page from Watch book register, RCBL P328.3.1
Ireland's oldest surviving police records have gone online today at the Church of Ireland RCB Library, making fascinating reading for those whose ancestors may have worked in the capital's early police system or lived in St John's Parish.

The Parish Watch collection comprises nine volumes – two account books (1724-85) and seven registers (1765-80) – and provide the earliest archival evidence of a parish security system that employed constables and watchmen and was overseen by the Established Church. They chronicle the activities of the parish watch of this particular inner city parish – one of 21 parishes into which the city of Dublin was divided – in the years immediately before the Dublin Police Force was created.

As the pages of each of these volumes are turned in the digital presentation (see link below), local society in 18th–century Dublin and the activities of the parish watch system come to life. You can find the names of the constables and watchmen; their salaries and expenses; when and where they were stationed and when they patrolled within the bounds of the parish (it was always at night).
Watch schedule for the night of 5 March 1767,
showing locations of the watch stands, and the named
watchmen dispatched to each stand, RCBL P328.3.2
Click here for larger view

You can also find details of the crimes committed and the petty justice administered at the watch house, located on Wood Quay, in response.

While St John's church was closed in 1878 and demolished in 1884, its records survive and are held at the RCB Library. These include the earliest register of bmds (dating from 1619) and an even older vestry minute book.

The project to digitise and release these records was a collaboration between the Garda Museum, RCB and the Garda Síochána Historical Society.

View the watch books from St John’s parish.

Hidden Histories of the Northwest 1910-1930

The exhibition Connection & Division – the Hidden Histories of 1910-1930 opened on Friday to explore how the major events of 1910 to 1930 impacted on Ireland's North West region.

Fermanagh County Museum, The Inniskillings Museum and Derry Heritage and Museum Service have come together to tell the previously untold stories of individual people who lived through the upheavals of this period. It covers Irish Nationalism, Unionism, the partition of Ireland and, importantly, the preconceptions we have of these events today.

New acquisitions and artefacts within the museum’s collections form part of this exhibition, highlighting the historical, political, social & economic significant factors of the period 1910 – 1930.

Normal admission rates apply and the exhibition runs until 30 June.

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives - latest updates

Here's a list of the new records uploaded to Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives in the second half of March:


CLARE Genealogy Archives - Church
Assorted Memorial Cards

DUBLIN
Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin, parts 39 & 40

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Church
Trory, Deaths recorded at St. Michaels C.of I Trory  1802-1950

CAVAN Genealogy Archives - Photos
Cochrane, Robert and Sarah (nee Strong)

LAOIS (Queens) Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Abbeyleix Church of Ireland Graveyard
Coolbanaher Church of Ireland Graveyard

LEITRIM
Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Carrick on Shannon, St. George's, Church of Ireland (partial)
Drumcong Roman Catholic Church Graveyard (partial)
Kiltubrid (Old) Graveyard (McGOVERN) (old stones - one legible)

MEATH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1840-1841 Royal Irish Constabulary

MONAGHAN
Genealogy Archives -  Headstones
Transcription of St Patrick's, Part 2, Monaghan Town

SLIGO Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Ballinakill Burial Ground (partial)
Ballysumaghan Parish Church Graveyard (partial)

TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives - Land
List of Claims - Forfeited Estates - Tipperary 1700 Pt. 2

WESTMEATH Genealogy Archives - Church
Baptisms (CoI) Mullingar 1877-1900
Marriages (CoI) Mullingar 1844-1899

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1840 & 1841 Royal Irish Constabulary

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Terrific Titanic

Yesterday I visited the spanking new £77million Titanic Belfast visitor attraction. Am I showing off? Only a little. You see, I booked my opening day ticket back in January when the press office was still advising, if rather vaguely, that 'searchable genealogical records' would be available.

Although this was clarified back in February, I decided to go along anyway. Out of noseyness and architectural interest more than anything else, because I'm not a huge Titanic fan and I have no family connections with the North, let alone Belfast's shipbuilding industry.

So, wary of the hype, I went along, and I'm not in the slightest unhappy that I did so.

Externally, the aluminium-clad building is fantastically curious and photogenic, especially under a (nearly) cloudless blue sky, as it was from mid-afternoon onwards. After catching the four 'hulls' from just about every conceivable angle, I went to join my '4.20pm' queue, only to discover that entry was running 45 minutes behind schedule.

This wasn't to be the first queue I joined. A similar period was spent waiting for the 'suspended car ride through the shipyard', after a 'technical hitch' brought the cars to a standstill.

Once cranked up again, the six-minute ride was a huge anti-climax and, frankly, I felt a bit embarrassed sitting in the futuristic-looking thing.

I didn't feel this 'journey' added anything (other than more time in a queue) to the experience.

But the rest of the exhibition is outstanding. It's beautifully presented, with enormous screens showing historical film and photographs of early 20th-century Belfast and the shipworkers, and the interior of the ship itself. Touchy-feely interactive distractions abound, although I don't think many kids under seven would be entertained for long. Even with older children, parents would need to indulge their offspring with fairly continuous commentary through at least six of the nine galleries.

No detail seems to have been left out. In the Fit-Out and Maiden Voyage galleries (to me, the most interesting after the Boomtown Belfast exhibition area), there were recreations of the first, second and third class cabins, and touchable samples of the carpets, ropes, linens, furniture finish etc. 

Here I learned that there were 45,000 table napkins on board, 18,000 sheets and six pianos, and there were only two bathrooms for all the third class passengers.

I had a quick play on the so-called genealogical  database just to see what it held. Basically, you can search the details of all passengers and crew under all manner of criteria.

So I was able to find out what became of selected passengers (Jeremiah Burke, aged 19, a farm labourer who joined the ship at Queenstown, died... Patrick Canavan, a 21-year-old general labourer met a similar fate) and could search for statistics (only three of the under-14-year-old Irish girls who boarded at Queenstown survived).

You don't need or want a blow-by-blow report of every gallery so I'll keep this report short and sweet. As I was handed my 'souvenir proof of visit' on leaving, I felt that I'd learned a lot more about the Titanic and especially more about the city that built it.

I heartily recommend it, despite the queues and the silly gimmicky car ride.



Titanic update –
Ancestryhas released the following records:
  • Outward Passenger List
  • Crew Records
  • Deaths at Sea
  • Halifax, Canada, Fatality Records
  • Halifax, Canada, Titanic Graves