Friday, 31 August 2012

Back To Our Past - half price entry voucher

Six weeks from today, the doors will open on another Back To Our Past show at the RDS in Dublin.

My Gearing up to BTOP report nearly two weeks ago gave a bit of a taster. All the main commercial suppliers of records will be exhibiting. So will the non-commercial providers and all the most important repositories and societies. In addition, there are always great show-only promotions on offer on books, magazines, memberships and so on.

And then there's the lecture programme, which is guaranteed to be the best line up of Irish genealogy talks you'll come across anywhere (details will be available here shortly). The event really should be on every Irish family historians 'must-do' list.

With that in mind, I've re-negotiated last year's special entry deal for readers of Irish Genealogy News. Rather than paying €10 on the day, you'll be able to get half-price admission for up to two people if you print off and present my voucher at the door (link removed post-event).

No time like the present!

European Heritage Open Day at PRONI

PRONI will be opening its doors to visitors on Saturday 8 September, from 10am until 4pm, as part of European Heritage Open Day. There will be introductory talks and tours of PRONI's exhibition and building, offering visitors a behind the scenes look at what goes on within the repository. Newcomers to PRONI will be given a real flavour of the records held, which range from government files to private archives such as church registers.

At noon, visitors will have the chance to meet Lord Carson, as actor, Paddy Scully, puts on a one-man performance in the building, a must see for drama and history enthusiasts.

Here's the programme for the day:
There are no costs associated with visiting and enjoying any of these events. However, visitors are asked to bring photographic ID with them when they attend. Due to availability, visitors wishing to see the 'Meet Lord Carson' performance, are advised to email PRONI in advance.

PRONI is located in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast. 

FindMyPast Ireland adds Passenger Lists 1890-1960

FindMyPast Ireland has added 24 million records to its Immigration & Travel records.

The Passenger Lists (of people leaving the UK 1890-1960)  make a useful record collection for anyone whose ancestors left Ireland for pastures new in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Most records in this collection contain information on the passenger's year of birth, the departure and destination ports, and details of any other family members on the same voyage.

The main ports of interest to Irish genealogy researchers are Londonderry, Queenstown and Dublin, but all Irish ports up to 1921 are included in this collection. From 1922, only Northern Ireland ports are included.

There's a very thorough description of these records and some context on the database provider's website here.

Don't forget that FMPie is also offering a 10% discount on all subscriptions taken out before 14 September.



Click to take up the offer before 14 September

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Ulster Covenant: September talks at PRONI

Next month, PRONI will be hosting an exciting series of lectures on the 1912-1922 period of Irish history as part of the 100 year commemorations of the Ulster Covenant. The name of the series is Change, Conflict and Transformation, 1912-1922, and all lectures will take place on Thursdays during September.

Talks will be delivered by the following speakers:

6th September: Raiders of the Lost Archives: Covenant records at PRONI, with Stephen Scarth

13th September: Nationalism 1900-1922, with Dr Eamon Phoenix

20th Spetember: The Ulster Covenant and Ulster Unionist resistance to Home Rule, 1912-1914, with Dr Tim Bowman

27th September: The Story Arc Of The Covenant: from signature to screen, with William Crawley and Brian Henry Martin.

Venue: PRONI Building, Titanic Quarter, Belfast.
Time: Thursdays 6.30pm.
Cost: Free.

For more information, contact PRONI.


Ancestry's US Census collection free until Monday


Ancestry is offering free access to its entire US census record collection of more than 713 million U.S. Census records, spanning from 1790-1940. The free access runs through the Labor Day holiday weekend, ending at midnight on September 3rd.

It seems the reason for this generosity is to promote the new Ancestry Time Machine experience, which allows users to virtually travel back to the 1940s with the click of a mouse.

Ancestry describes the process: After answering a few multiple choice questions and uploading a photograph, the viewer will be presented with a video profile of their life as it would have been in the 1940s based on gender, location, profession and personal interests. The Time Machine is an experiential way to explore US history, allowing the user to visualize living as their family members may have more than 70 years ago. Users can also share their Ancestry Time Machine experience with friends and family through their social networks.

Researchers can view Ancestry.com’s US Census Collection, or become a time traveller here.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

One-day Manchester conference examines 1912-1922

Click for full programme
The Irish World Heritage Centre in Manchester will be hosting a one-day conference on Saturday 29 September.

The theme – A Terrible Beauty Is Born 1912-1922, a decade of anniversaries – will explore this eventful decade of Irish history. It will provide an opportunity to ask critical and ethical questions about revolution, revivals and the violence of the past, the ongoing process of justice, peace and reconciliation in the context of the present day and the vision of a shared future.

Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm
Cost: £15 (£12 conc) which includes lunch and refreshments

If you wish to register for this event, contact Margot Power on 0161 202 1200 or email.

The conference brochure can be downloaded from the IWHC website.


Atlas of the Great Irish Famine: book published

A new book – The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine – has been published by Cork University Press. Edited by John Crowley, William J. Smyth and Mike Murphy from the University's Geography Department, it comprises more than 50 chapters to provide readers with a broad range of perspectives into this pivotal event in Ireland's history.

The book seeks to understand and remember where and why thousands and thousands of Irish people died. It also aims to represent and understand the conditions and experiences of the hundreds of thousands who emigrated from Ireland in those desperate years. Included are case studies of famine emigrants in cities such as Liverpool, Glasgow, New York and Toronto.

A central concern of the Atlas is to try to understand why a famine of this scale should have occurred in 19th century Europe and to reveal, in detail, the spread and consequence across the island.

Apart from presenting an overall island-wide picture, Famine experiences and patterns are presented separately for the four provinces. These provincial explorations are accompanied by intimate case studies of conditions in particular counties, parishes and townlands across the provinces.

The Atlas holds contributions from a wide range of scholars who are experts in their fields – from the arts, archaeology, geography, folklore, history, Archaeology, Irish and English languages and literatures, and several of the authors are well-known in Irish genealogy circles. The Preface is by Mary McAleese (President of Ireland, 1997–2011).

The 728-page book costs €59.00, and is a very likely candidate for my library shelves!



Waterford's Medieval Museum opens

Waterford's Medieval Museum has finally opened its doors to the public. As the name suggests, it tells the story of life in the city during the era and incorporates several preserved medieval structures within its walls, not least the beautiful Chorister's Hall.

Among the exhibits on display are the 4m-long Great Charter Roll dating from 1372, which was viewed by Queen Elizabeth II during her historic visit to Ireland last year, and the 15th century cloth-of-gold vestments – Ireland’s finest late medieval treasures.

The new museum makes up one-third of the Waterford Museum of Treasures. The two other elements are Reginald's Tower, which covers Waterford’s Viking beginnings in 850 up to the Norman invasion, and the Bishop's Palace, which tells the city's story from 1700 to 1970.

The Medieval Museum will be open Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm, and Sunday 11am to 5pm. Enquiries.

Here's a taster of what's within:


Medieval Museum Waterford from Nemeton Leiritheoiri Teilifise on Vimeo.





Book sale at Ulster Historical Foundation

For a limited period, the Ulster Historical Foundation (UHF) is offering a selection of books at seriously reduced prices, as follows:

  • Stormont: The House on the Hill - RRP: £25 | Now £5!
  • Creating Belfast: Technical Education and the Formation of a Great Industrial City 1801-1921 - £18.99 | Now £7.99!
  • Titanic Port: An illustrated history of Belfast Harbour - RRP: £25 | Now £15!
  • People's Champion (bio of Belfast Labour politician Alexander Bowman) - RRP: £9.99 | Now £2.99!
  • Early Belfast - RRP: £9.99 | £4.99 when purchased with Portrait of an Industrial City, use voucher code "belfast".

Go to BooksIreland for further details and to purchase. The Foundation's online Library catalogue can be searched title or by author. It includes more than 3500 titles, and the UHF plans to categorise the books by theme in the near future.




Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Irish emigration to Canada: the film

This post comes courtesy of US blogger Dick Eastman who has stumbled across a two-part documentary made by Ontario-based Ballinran Entertainment three years ago.

Death or Canada: Fleeing the Irish Famine is a 95-minute film that describes the Irish immigration to Canada during 1847, at the height of the Great Hunger.

The film's been shown on RTE previously, and elsewhere on a couple of History channels but it can now be viewed freely anywhere here. You can choose to watch it online, download it for later viewing on your screen, or burn it to dvd.

See a two-minute trailer below:



Monday, 27 August 2012

Extra tours continue at Glasnevin to end September

Additional daily tours were added to the schedule at Glasnevin Cemetery for the month of August but they've been such a success that they're going to continue until the end of September.

The Historical Walking Tours take place at 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm, seven days a week. Each tour lasts just over one hour and gives a valuable insight to this unique burial place and into the final resting place of those who have helped shaped Ireland's past and present.

The re-enactment of Patrick Pearse’s oration at the graveside of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa will also continue until the end of September. This takes place at 2.30pm, every day.

For bookings, please call 01-8826550 or email booking@glasnevintrust.ie.

Irish Family History Workshop in Toronto, 17 Nov

Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Canadiana Department of the North York Central Library will be hosting an Irish Family History Workship on Saturday 17 November.

The preliminary schedule is as follows:

9:15–10:00am
Registration and coffee

10:00–11:15am (Plenary): Welcome, Introduction, and Session A.
Session A:
Advances in Irish Research (developments over the last 5 years), with Kyle J. Betit.

11:15-12:15
Concurrent Sessions B&C
Session B
Understanding Religion and Politics in Ireland, with David R. Elliott.
Session C
Irish Research at Toronto Repositories – Part I, with James F.S. Thomson.

12:30-1:00
Session D

Around the Brick Wall: Tracing Back through Collateral Lines, with Linda Reid.

1:15-2:15
Concurrent Sessions E&F
Session E
Irish Church Records; Catholic and Protestant, with Kyle J. Betit.
Session F
Irish Research at Toronto Repositories – Part II, with James F.S. Thomson.

2:30-3:30 Concurrent Sessions G&H
Session G
Making the Most of Irish Sources Online, with Marian Press.
Session H
Irish Estate Records, with Kyle J. Betit.

3:45:4:45
Concurrent Sessions I&J
Session I
A Practical Tour of various Irish Archives and Record Repositories, with David R. Elliott.
Session J
Irish Sources you may never have considered, with Kyle J. Betit.

REGISTRATION FEES:
For bookings made by Friday October 26: $40 OGS members, $55 non-members.
Later bookings, space permitting: $50 Members, $65 non-members.

North York Central Library Auditorium
5120 Yonge Street, Toronto
(North York Centre subway station)

More details.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

This week sees final three 20x20 talks at the NLI

The 20x20 series of talks co-ordinated by Eneclann, Ancestor Network and the NLI will take place this week at the National Library, as below. Each of the talks is free, lasts about 20 minutes, and is followed by a Q & A session:

Monday 27 August: A thousand years of Irish genealogy: how to use Gaelic pedigrees and family trees in your research, with Prof. Nollaig O Muraile, NUIG.

Tuesday 28 August: The Registry of Deeds – records to trace your family history, with Mary Beglan, genealogist.

Wednesday 29 August: Records for children in Care (pre-1952 adoptions), with Fiona Fitzsimons, Eneclann.

No booking is required. Seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Venue: Seminar Room, National Library, Kildare Street, Dublin.

For biographies of the presenters, see Eneclann.


Friday, 24 August 2012

Big savings on DNA tests - don't delay

Save $90 on your test
Family Tree DNA, one of the largest DNA testing companies, is having a short promotion on two of its packages, as follows:

Family Finder + yDNA12 (available to men only)
Family Finder + mtDNA (for all)

In both cases, the normal price of the test is $339, while the discounted price is $249 (about €270/£213 and €198/£157 respectively).

If you were considering looking into Genetic Genealogy, this could be a good time. But get your skates on. The promotion ends on Saturday night.

Free access to worldwide travel docs from Ancestry

Enjoy free access for two days

Ancestry is offering free access to its worldwide immigration and naturalisation collections for just a couple of days.

The collections released free include the US Immigration & Naturalisation Collection, 1790-1974; the Australia, National Immigration Collection, 1792-1957; passenger lists; convict transportation lists; and several smaller packages.

From today until 23.59hrs on Saturday 25 August, you can search and view records from the UK, North America, Australia, Europe and several other popular destinations – absolutely free. If you're not already registered, you'll have to register with your name and email address.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Irish Roots magazine: Autumn issue now on sale

The Autumn issue of Irish Roots magazine is now available in the shops and online.

This issue contains the usual high-standard mix of authoritative genealogy advice, comment and news (including my own What's New column). Among its gems are a piece by APGI member Nicola Morris about using online sources and another on finding Irish relatives in America, with Judith E Wright. A feature that I'm particularly looking forward to getting stuck into is Joseph O'Neill's 'File KV5 - British Security Service files on those who fought in the Spanish Civil War'.

You can buy the print magazine in Easons and other good outlets in Ireland, buy this issue by post for €7, or download a digital copy for $5.



Temporary contracts for archivists available at NAI

The National Archives of Ireland is offering temporary seasonal placement work for archivists. Contracts will be awarded for three or six months and will start in September. You need an appropriate history-based degree and a university postgraduate qualification in archival studies, as well as the more obvious fluency in English and citizenship of an EU/EAA country.

Full person and job spec can be downloaded here and you'll need to get your application in by 10am next Wednesday (29 August).

Dunbullogue cemetery registers added to Cork's digital archives

Cork City and County Archives (CCCA) has released the burial registers of Dunbullogue Cemetery. The parish, near Carrignavar, is about 10km north of Cork City and the registers cover the years 1896 to 1988. They can be downloaded in pdf format from the Digital Archive page of the CCCA site.

While Dunbullogue is the newcomer to Cork's digital archive, it's worth mentioning that two other sets of cemetery registers are also available. The registers for Cobh (Queenstown) Cemetery from 1879 to 1907 contains records of both Protestant and Catholic burials from the Cobh area and from adjacent areas such as Spike Island and Haulbowline Naval Base. In addition to the usual details, these registers sometimes include the occupation and place of birth of the deceased.

Rathcooney (new) Cemetery Records 1896-1941 complete the line up from CCCA. This cemetery is located in Glanmire, about 7km east of the Cork City.

New £5.5m RUC museum gets green light

A new museum telling the story of policing in Ireland is to be built in east Belfast.

Having secured funding from Westminster, the new two-storey building will be constructed in the grounds of the existing police headquarters in Knock, and will cost £5.5million.

There is already a museum on site, but it is so small that many of its artefacts have been held in storage for years.

The replacement building won't have a space problem and will display a variety of uniforms, weapons, medals etc dating back to the early 19th Century. In addition to the main exhibition, an oral history archive will be available. It will be free to visit.

More information about the museum's plans.

You may be interested to know that a genealogy search service is available from the existing Police Museum, which holds microfilm copies of the Royal Irish Constabulary service records 1822-1922 (the originals are held at The National Archives in Kew, London.)

A £25 charge is levied to search the records for an individual's service record, which may include:

Constabulary number
Name
Age on joining (or date of birth)
Height
Religion
Date of appointment
Native County
Name of person recommending for the Constabulary
Trade or calling on joining
Places served with dates
Promotions
Awards
Punishments
Injuries
Date of marriage (if married in service)
Native County of wife

Telephone 028 9070 0222 or Email for more information about this genealogy service.

Listen up to the Hedge School masters

You can now listen to an audio recording of the Hedge School held on 21 July at the Battle of Aughrim Interpretation Centre, Aughrim, Co Galway.

The discussion From Jacobitism to Jacobinism: a reconsideration involved Billy Kelly, Éamonn Ó Cíardha, Richard Doherty and Hiram Morgan.

As always, there's plenty of stimulating debate and plenty to learn. The recording lasts for just under one and a half hours.

Click for the Aughrim Hedge School.

One week only: 10% discount on FindMyPast UK subs

FindMyPast UK wants to get in on the summer discount scene so there's a 10% reduction on offer for all subscriptions taken out from today until 30 August.

The UK site holds more than 750 million records including the most complete England, Wales & Scotland census collection online. It's also extremely strong on military records, and has a wide range of miscellaneous collections, too.

To take up the offer, follow the link above and use the Voucher Code AUGFMP10 on the sale page.

Bear in mind that the UK site doesn't yet offer the Worldwide subscription or the combined Britain and Ireland subscription that's newly available via FindMyPast Ireland. It's worth doing a bit of study and analysis of the offers on both the UK and Ireland site before deciding which offer matches your genealogy research needs best.



Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Balbriggan Town Council minutes from 1860 online

Gotta love Heritage Week!

As part of their celebrations, Balbriggan Town Council has released online the archived minutes of all official meetings since 1860.

This decision was taken to help increase awareness of the rich history that Balbriggan has been immersed in since the inception of the town as a local authority in its own right.

Speaking at the announcement of the launch, Balbriggan Town Clerk, Brian Murray said, “We have been working on the archive project for a number of years and are launching the service in conjunction with the County Council’s Archives Section of libraries. We will officially launch the archive initiative on 23 August and would welcome everyone with an interest in heritage to come along and celebrate the history of Balbriggan with us.”

The launch will take place at Balbriggan Town Hall at 6pm tomorrow with Leas Cathaoirleach of Balbriggan Town Council, Cllr Peader O’Kelly doing the honours.

The archive can be accessed here, and offers the option of searching the minutes or browsing through the images.

90 years ago today: the death of Michael Collins

Ninety years ago today, General Michael Collins was killed during an ambush with Anti-Treaty forces at Béal na mBláth, Co Cork.

This month’s featured document at Military Archives is a handwritten list of the pall bearers of his coffin, which, on 28 August 2012, was carried by gun carriage from the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin to be interred at Glasnevin cemetery. Additional details about the instructions given to the pall bearers, together with contextual information and photographs are also available.

Below is a short video of the funeral.

Full day of family history at National Print Museum tomorrow

There's a special family history research day scheduled for tomorrow, so get yourself organised if you want to go along.

Organised by Eneclann and FindMyPast Ireland, the event will kick off at the National Print Museum, Beggar's Bush Barracks (off the Haddington Road), Dublin 4 at 10am. It's free and ticketless, so no need to book. You have the opportunity to do look-ups on FindMyPast.ie, get some free advice from Eneclann's genealogy team, and take in any or all of a series of short talks as follows:

12noon: Irish Births, Marriages and Death Records for Beginners, with Eileen Ó Dúill APGI.

1pm: Using Findmypast to Trace Your Family History, with Cliona Weldon of FMP.ie.

2pm: Using Newspapers to Trace Your Family History, with Jennifer Doyle of Eneclann.

3pm: Family History Records Online, with Paul Manzor of Eneclann.

Researchers attending the event can take advantage of the venue by learning about the Irish printing craft and its history.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Enhancements to Family Tree Maker 2012 due

Find out more about Family Tree Maker 2012
Late summer/early autumn usually heralds a fanfare for Family Tree Maker' latest software, but not this year. Ancestry has nipped expectations in the bud with an early announcement that there will be no 2013 release.

Instead, they say that the team has been putting all of its resources into improving Family Tree Maker 2012 so that owners of the popular software will receive new bonus features throughout the next year. This will apply to those who have already bought the package as well as those who make a purchase over the year.

My dearly beloved upgraded me to Family Tree Maker 2012 last year and its benefited from a number of updates during the last several months. There's a list of some of the changes below, straight from the Ancestry team. Some of these I've noticed. Others I haven't, presumably because I don't use all the features available.
  • Numerous enhancements to TreeSync so syncing your tree to Ancestry.com is faster and more reliable
  • A new Family View Report that displays a person’s ancestors, spouse, and children together (similar to the Family View in the People workspace)
  • A new Undocumented Facts Report that lists people’s facts that have no source documentation
  • The ability to merge info from multiple versions of the same fact
  • New source templates for the 1940 U.S. census and improved support for city directories
  • Dozens of report enhancements including performance improvements and new options in the relationship chart, family group sheet, Individual Report, Notes Report, Data Errors Report, Outline Descendant Report, Media Item Report, photo albums, Media Usage Report, Documented Facts Report, and calendar

Monday, 20 August 2012

An evening with Gaelic Wicklow Warriors

As part of Heritage Week, Roundwood & District Historical & Folklore Society is hosting a 'living history' evening called "Wicklow Warriors". It will take place tomorrow (21 August) at the Áras an Tóchar GAA Complex, Roundwood, from 6:00pm to 9.30pm.

It will give the public an opportunity to learn more about local war and politics of medieval times and to observe the weapons, armour and sword fighting that would have been commonplace on the battlefield of 16th-century Gaelic Wicklow.

There will be a re-enactment of Gaelic Woodkern and Gallowglass warriors, sword fighting demonstrations,and a display of medieval armour, swords, shields, battle axes, muskets, helmets, and chain mail (by the living history group Claíomh).

At 7:30pm, there will be a slideshow presentation on medieval Irish military attire and weaponry, and traditional Irish music by Roundwood Comhaltas Ceoltoiri & Friends.

At 8:30pm, Historian Dr. Emmett O'Byrne will deliver a lecture entitled Terra Nova & the Irish of Wicklow.

More details.

Claiomh are working flat out throughout Heritage Week. If you can't make the Tuesday date, you can catch the group as follows:

Wed 22nd: Kerry County Museum, Tralee (c.1450-1600)
Thurs 23rd: Kerry County Museum, Tralee (c.1450-1600)
Fri 24th: Kerry County Museum, Tralee (c.1450-1600)
Sat 25th: Bishop Lucy Park, Grand Parade, Cork City (c.1150-1650)
Sat 25th (w/Bran Dubh): Barryscourt Castle, Co Cork (13thC)
Sun 26th: Fest Cluain Meala, Clonmel, Co Tipperary (Medieval)
Sun 26th (w/Galóg Chatha): Arts Centre, Wexford Town (1641-1653).

Take in a Hedge School at the Electric Picnic

Click here for programme
The Electric Picnic takes place in Stradbally, Co. Laois in less than two weeks (Friday 31 August to Sunday 2 September) and there are two Hedge Schools scheduled for the weekend. Hedge Schools are lively round-table discussions with historians and well-known personalities, chaired by HistoryIreland editor Tommy Graham.

Saturday 1 September:
Racism and the Irish: perpetrators or victims?
Venue: Mindfield, (Leviathan tent). Time: 2:45pm
Mary Corcoran (Maynooth), Lar Joye (Nat. Museum), Angus Mitchell (Casement—life & times) and Hiram Morgan (UCC).

Sunday 2 September:
From the Liberty Boys to the Westies: gangs of Ireland
Venue: Mindfield, (Leviathan tent). Time: 2:45pm.
David Donnelly (ex-Black Catholics), Donal Fallon (UCD), John Gibney (History Ireland) and Niamh Hourigan (UCC).

Registration open for 19th Australasian Irish Studies conference

The 19th Australasian Irish Studies conference has been announced. It will be held at the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand from 6pm Wednesday 7 November to 2.30pm Saturday 10 November 2012. The theme of the conference is ‘Global Ireland’.

Several evening social events are being planned to coincide with the conference. These include a wine reception following the opening keynote lecture, an evening debate on 'An Irish identity is better than a Scottish identity' followed by a wine reception, and a conference dinner. Among the Keynote Lectures are Professor Graham Walker (Queen’s University, Belfast) and Professor Cormac Ó Gráda (University College, Dublin).

Full details of the provisional programme can be found here. Costs for the full conference (Wed-Sat) are NZ$230 (approx €150). Daily admission NZ$125 (approx €82).



Sunday, 19 August 2012

Gearing up for Back To Our Past

Back To Our Past (BTOP) will be making its third annual visit to the RDS in Dublin on the weekend of 12-14 October 2012. The show is already firmly positioned at the heart of Irish genealogy, but this year it aims to be a broader heritage experience.

As previously, exhibitors will range from international genealogical database providers and family history societies to record repositories and magazines. Two streams of lectures will run throughout the weekend, and the Industries Hall of the RDS will be alive with experts, including members of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) and Eric Knowles of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow.

This year BTOP will feature an expanded programme of lectures, with 40 talks being given over the three days. As well as presentations on behalf of Ancestry.com and FindMyPast.ie/Eneclann, there will be a varied line-up of well known speakers. These include Else Churchill of the London-based Society of Genealogists and Janis Duffy of TIARA, the active Irish family history organisation from Boston. Some of Ireland’s best known genealogists will also be lecturing. Three of them, all accredited members of APGI, are now familiar faces from Irish television: Nicola Morris and John Grenham were seen giving advice on the Genealogy Roadshow, while Steven Smyrl appeared in the more recent Dead Money.

The talks will not be confined to family history themes. This year there is a broader range of heritage topics. They include Martello Towers, the Cistercians, the Irish Landmark Trust, the Irish Community Archive Network, history at local level, and the care of books and photographs.

Two strands of lectures run throughout the event, with each presentation commencing on the half hour. Lecture Area 1 will be on the exhibition floor in the Industries Hall. Lecture Area 2 will be on the first floor, accessible by stairs and wheelchair lift. The full lecture programme isn't yet available but I'll alert you as soon as it is.

Having attended both of the previous BTOP's I can thoroughly recommend the fair to Irish genealogy researchers, whether just starting out on their quest or stuck against a determined brick wall. There's a great atmosphere, loads to learn and discover, and a host of patient experts ready to help.

Make it a date: 12-14 October. Advance tickets are just €5 (normal price on the door €10).



* Anyone wanting to researve exhibition space should contact John Low at john@slp.ie

Friday, 17 August 2012

Historic Wild Geese graveyard saved

The future of a small, overgrown and long-abandoned graveyard in Kilkenny has been secured, thanks to the research skills and tenacity of Mary Casteleyn FIGRS.

Mary is the vice-chairman of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, and one of her deep-rooted interests is the history of the Wild Geese – the Irish exiles who fled to Europe in the 18th century either in search of a better life or to fight in foreign wars. Her pursuit of one of these families, the Ryans, led her to Danganmore, co Kilkenny and, eventually, to an old tomb in a graveyard near Dunnamaggin.

Archaeologist John Tierney of HistoricGraves.ie and fellow enthusiast Bernie Kirwan of Danesfort were called upon to decipher the almost illegible letters and marks on the stone as recording the death of John Ryan who, along with his brothers James and Edmund, saw service in the French Army.

John fought against the English at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743 and Fontenoy in 1745 before, remarkably (given this was at the height of the Penal Laws in Ireland) returning to the family’s Kilkenny home where he lived out his days.

His brothers and extended family remained in Europe, leading colourful lives in aristocratic circles and prospered. Even as recently as 1999, there was a House of Ryan, wine and brandy merchants, operating in Cadiz.

Local knowledge of these significant historical connections had been lost in Danganmore but have been warmly embraced by the community. The graveyard now has a committee of neighbours and friends to care for it in the future and a plaque (see below), funded by the Heritage Office of Kilkenny County Council, was unveiled, appropriately enough by Mary, last month.



Take three: Saturday events

There are hundreds of events on over this weekend, many of them focussing on Irish genealogy, history and heritage. Here's my Take Three selection.

Galway is known as the City of the Tribes
after the fourteen merchant families who
dominated the medieval town.
The Tribes of Galway, a talk with author Adrian Martyn about the origins of the famous fourteen Galwegian families – Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, Deane, Darcy, Lynch, Joyce, Kirwan, Martin, Morris, Skerrett, Ffont and Ffrench – which dominated the social, cultural and economic life in medieval Galway. Cromwell's forces first applied the name "tribes" to the natives of the town as a term of derision, but it has since become a badge of honour.
Venue: Galway City Museum, Spanish Parade. Time: 3pm. Age 12+. Booking required. Tel: (091) 532 460. Email: museum@galwaycity.ie. Free.

Family History Workshop
, with highly regarded genealogist Paul Gorry who is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland. In this first of two workshops, Paul will explain the scope and access of Irish genealogical records, focussing primarily on civil records, census returns and church records. Venue: County Library, Tallaght, Co Dublin. Time: 2-4.30pm. Free. Booking required on Tel: (01) 462 0073. Email: localstudies@sdublincoco.ie. Paul's second workshop is on the 25th and will cover land records, OSI maps, graveyard memorials and registers, newspapers and other miscellaneous sources.

Quakers in Waterford: Organised by Waterford Quakers, both the Meeting House and nearby Burial Ground will be open to visitors from 11am to 4pm. This is the first public opening of the burial ground and guided tours will take place there at 12noon and 3pm. Venue: Newtown Road, Newton, Waterford City. Free. Car parking available. Details: 086 3170544. Email: rogerjoan5@gmail.com.

For more events, check out the Heritage Week search facility.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Archive Awareness Campaign launches

The annual Archive Awareness Campaign of Archives & Records Association Ireland (ARAI) kicks off today. An official launch takes place this evening in Newman House, 85/86 St. Stephens Green, Dublin 2, with Gerald Nash TD, Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Sub-Committee for Culture, doing the honours.

The aim of the Campaign is to encourage greater awareness of the collections held within Ireland's archives and so increase the public's use of them. As the ARAI puts it: 'We aim to show that everyone has a history and archives have a bit of yours!'

A series of events. has been lined up as part of the week-long campaign, taking place in Dublin, Carlow, Clare, Cork, Galway and Waterford. The theme is Sports, Games and the Olympics.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Origins offers 20% off all subscriptions

To mark the end of the London 2012 Olympics (and the fact we can now get away from the TV and back to our genealogy research), Origins is offering a 20% discount on all its subscriptions until 19 August.

Origins offers both British and Irish subscription packages ranging from a 72-hour access to monthly and annual recurring subscriptions.

To take advantage of the offer, simply enter the promotional code olympicend2012 on the SignUp or Checkout pages once you have chosen your subscription.

This offer is also extended to Origins's sister site, Burke's Peerage, where Burke's Landed Gentry Irish Families is now available to view online.

This book lists land-owning families of Ireland, many of which record generations stretching back many centuries.

Interestingly, many of the families recorded during the first half of the 20th Century were "formerly of", indicating they no longer held the lands to which the record referred.




PRONI: potential disruption to late evening openings

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland has issued the following warning of potential disruption to visiting researchers.

Due to the potential of industrial action by NIPSA members from 1st August 2012, PRONI visitors are advised that there may be disruption to service during late evening opening. If you are planning to visit PRONI on a Thursday evening, please contact PRONI prior to your visit for information on the availability of services.

Email PRONI at proni@dcalni.gov.uk
Telephone: (+44) 028 90 534800.

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archive - mid Aug update

A note from Christina Hunt of Ireland Genealogy Projects Archive:

I am sad to report that Don Kelly, who has managed Ireland Genealogy Projects since its inception, has passed away. He will be sorely missed. Don Kelly, R.I.P. 1934-2012.
IGP website.


---------------------------

The following files have been added to IGP Archives since August 1st.

General Ireland Genealogy Archives
- Wills
List of "Hawkins Wills"

Clare Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
Assorted Memorial Cards

Dublin Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Deansgrange Cemetery, St. Mary's Section, Pt 5

Donegal Genealogy Archives - Land
Donegal in the Plantation

Kildare Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
Assorted Memorial Cards

Laois Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1846 Royal Irish Constabulary (additional)

Leitrim Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Killargue (Church of Ireland) & Killenumery

Louth Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Drogheda; St. Peter's Parish Cemetery, Part 2, L-Y

Limerick Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
Assorted Memorial Cards

Monaghan Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1846 Royal Irish Constabulary (additional)

Meath Genealogy Archives
Headstones – Clonard Cemetery
Military & Constabulary – 1846 Royal Irish Constabulary (additional)

Roscommon Genealogy Archives - Miscellaneous
House of Commons Papers 1847


Free access to 1911 census for England & Wales

Ancestry is offering free access to the 1911 census for England and Wales, Channel Islands and Isle of Man so if you've any missing Irish relatives, it's worth seeing if they'd jumped in a boat and crossed the Irish Sea or the Channel.

The database provider has a new all-singing image viewer, which seems to be the principle reason for offering this free access. If you're interested in finding out more on that, just click here.

The free access offer will continue until 2 November.



FindMyPast Ireland relaunches with 10% discount

FindMyPast Ireland has had the expected Worldwide treatment that's being rolled out across the FMP stable since the dot com version launched in the USA.

It's now possible to take out any of the following subscriptions via the ie site:

  • Worldwide option: 6 or 12 months, normal cost €112.95 and €179.95 respectively
  • Britain and Ireland option: normal cost €94.95 for 6 months and €149.95 for a year
  • Ireland-only option: normal cost €59.95 for 12 months (no six-month option).

There is also a Pay-As-You-Go (90-day) option of 100 credits for €9.95 (same cost regardless of which collection you're using). The Worldwide subscription covers the USA, Australia and New Zealand, UK and Ireland. The Britain and Ireland option covers... er... Britain and Ireland, and I'll leave you to work out what's included in the Ireland-only option.



Click here to take up the offer before 14 September
This being a 'new thing', there's a 10% re-launch discount available across all collections until 14 September.

A loyalty discount of 10% will also be applied for all customers renewing their subscriptions. This is ongoing, and not just a short-term offer.

Bear in mind that if you're carrying out research in a professional capacity, or doing research for another person (paid or not), you must use the Pay-As-You-Go credit system. See the full terms and conditions of site use.





Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Family history talks at the NLI - report

Two thoughts struck me when the 20:20 series of family history talks (20 x 20 minute sessions) was announced for August in the National Library of Ireland in Kildare Street, Dublin.

First: Great Idea!

Second: Only 20 minutes?

Now half-way through the series, I've managed to attend two of this week's talks – yesterday's with Dr Susan Hood talking about the collections of the Representative Church Body Library, and today's with historian Turtle Bunbury on the records of the Big Houses.

I chose these two talks because I have neither Protestant nor wealthy ancestors, so these records groups are not ones I know a lot about, and I could do with the education. I just hoped both speakers would turn up. The speaker booked for last Friday's talk on the Military Archives didn't, leaving some, if not most, of the gathered audience rather cheesed off.

There were no such mishaps this week, thank goodness. Nor, I suspect, will the organisers allow such a cock-up to be repeated.

Dr Susan Hood launched an early attack on the notion that 'all the Church of Ireland records were lost in 1922' myth. As she explained, more than 1,000 birth, marriage and burial registers were destroyed, but a lot of information from them survives in one format or another. And, for those that expect the RCBLibrary to deal only with the records of Protestants, came a reminder that 'there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of non-Church of Ireland people recorded in the Anglican records'.

Having scotched the myths, she talked about the types of parish-based records held. Parish committees were responsible for ALL people in the parish, regardless of religion, and kept many records eg Poor Money collected from all households in the Dublin parish of St Werburgh 1641, street cleaning and public lighting records and the Watch (early police) registers.

She also mentioned the 1000-odd ecclesiastical manuscripts relating to clergy, educational/missionery records, the parish histories and the only indexed Church of Ireland Gazette collection which dates from 1856.

Digitisation is, of course, now being embraced by the Library. All the Library-held birth, marriage and burial registers for Dublin's city parishes, plus those for Carlow and Kerry are now available on www.irishgenealogy.ie, and the Library has recently launched an Archive of the Month feature on its website to make researchers more aware of the holdings.

Back in April, the Watchbooks of the Dublin parish of St John 1724-1785 were the featured Archive. "The impact was remarkable," said Susan. "The website had more hits in one day than it normally would in a month."

Susan talked about the Library being keen to continue its digitisation programme, but stressed that pre-1870 records are State Records, and don't belong to the Church of Ireland. As such, digitisation is not a decision the Library can take. However, post-1870 records belong to the Church, which is not in favour of allowing the LDS Church (the Mormons) to copy or scan its records, even though they would do this for free.

Today's talk by Turtle Bunbury was on the subject of Big House records. He said there were an estimated 7,000 Big Houses in Ireland in 1900; they all had land. Smaller estates were just 40-50 acres, while large estates could extend to several thousand acres. And that land generated vast amounts of paper, for deeds, rental rolls, land surveys, account books etc, not forgetting the personal correspondence of each gentrified family.

So where are all those papers? "Like the Anglo Irish, the records have scattered, and many are missing," said Turtle.

An 80 Big Houses were burned in the War of Independence and a further 200 were torched in the Civil War. Along with the buildings and furnishings, the archives went up in flames, too.

Of those families that left Ireland, most went to England, and that is where a good many Big House collections remain. Some are in the National Archives in Kew, London. Others may still be with the family of they had land in England. Back in Ireland, a lot of collections were handed in to the NLI or local archives. Turtle described the NLI's Department of Manuscripts as 'chock a block with estate papers', primarily for the 18th and 19th centuries, but some date further back. This, then, should be the first place to look.

If the family's estate had any northern relevance, it's also worth checking with PRONI. Turtle talked of his own family in Lisnavagh House, County Carlow. The Bunbury family had northern connections, so PRONI sorted and created a descriptive list of its archive.

Other good sources are Burke's Irish Landed Gentry, Debretts, landedestates.ie (for Connaught and Munster only) and the landed estate court rentals collection which can be searched and viewed on FindMyPast Ireland".

Turtle stressed that Big House records are not only of interest to those descended from the Anglo Irish. Family correspondence usually contains mentions of staff, estate agents may name tenants (their reliability of payment or transgressions), and skilled craftsmen are often recorded with details of a building's construction.

My feeling after the two talks is that 20 minutes is, indeed, a short talk and can only serve as an introduction to a specific area of Irish genealogy research. But both speakers were generous with their time; at least as much time again was devoted to a Q & A session after the talk, and added an extra layer to my new understanding.

I'm sure all subsequent talks will be of the same quality, and feel comfortable about recommending them. You'll find the schedule for the remaining talks detailed on my events list here.







Archives update

The Summer Newsletter of the Archives & Records Association (ARA) has been published today and includes insights into several archives collections, some of which may be of interest to family historians.

You can download the Newsletter here, so I'll just give you a taster of some of the collections highlighted in it.

The Historica Calendars Project at James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway. Following digitisation, the historic calendars 1851-1934 are now online. As well as tracking the development of the University from its foundation, and providing a rich account of the courses it held (including examination papers) the collection includes details of alumni and the strict rules and regulations for student behaviour.

Thompson Engineering, Hanover Works, Carlow: If you have family links to Carlow Town, this collection may well hold detail for your genealogy research. One of the major employers in the town, the company was founded in 1877 by Thomas Thompson, a Quaker. See also Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society's three-talk lecture evening on 22 August mentioned in yesterday's events list.

Staples Family of Lissan House, Co Tyrone: This private estate collection is held by PRONI and relates to the family that settled in the Moneymore region of Ulster and built Lissan House. The house opened to the public in April, at the same time as a new addition joined PRONI's line up of Staples family records. This contains deeds, testamentary documents, a genealogical pedigree and other miscellaneous estate records.

The ARA will be launching its annual Archive Awareness Campaign on Thursday. It runs for one week and aims to promote awareness and increase use of the island's archives. This year's campaign theme is Sport, Games and the Cultural Olympiad.



Monday, 13 August 2012

Events in the second half of August

Search for events
With Heritage Week kicking off in a few days time, there's loads and loads of events in the second half of this month. I'm not going to list all the Heritage Week events – they're simply too numerous and they're easily searchable, either by county or subject matter on the organisation's website (do separate searches for genealogy and family history as the results are slightly different).

I haven't checked the events below for inclusion in the official Heritage Week programme, although some of them may be.

Either way, it's a very busy month and there's no excuse for not learning or experiencing something new this summer.

Wednesday 15 August: Using newspapers to trace your family history, with Jennifer Doyle, Eneclann. National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.

Wednesday 15 August: The Diploma in Genealogy Studies Information Evening, with the IARC. 8pm. The Masonic Hall, Tuckey Street, Cork: Booking and information 061 518355 or email lorna.moloney@irisharc.org.

Thursday 16 August: Irish placenames – tracing where your ancestors came from, with Brian Mitchell, author of 'A Guide to Irish Parish Registers'. National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.

Friday 17 August: Irish births, marriages & deaths for beginners, with Eileen O'Duill, genealogist. National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.

Saturday 18 August: Ireland to England: Where Did They Come From? A half-day course with Michael Gandy, Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA. 2-5pm. £17.50 (Members £14). Booking.

Sunday 19 August: War in the 20th century, Carrickfergus Castle. Meet characters from both the British and American armies of WW1 and WW2 who will display their equipment and relate tales of everyday life under tough war time conditions. Demonstrations take place 1030-1700.Adults £5. Children £3. Under 4s Free. Details: Tel: (028) 9335 1273.

Sunday 19 August: Michael Collins and the Bankers, lecture with Tim Pat Coogan. Glasnevin Museum, Dublin. €10. Booking essential on 01 882 6550.

Details
Sunday 19 August: National Walled Towns Day, Athenry. Medieval re-enactments, displays, workshops. 1.30pm.

Monday 20 August: What you don’t know about FamilySearch.org, with Craig Foster. 11am. Irish Ancestry Research Centre, Tierney Building, University of Limerick. In the afternoon, individual genealogy consultations are available. The event is free but booking is essential: Tel: 061 518355 or email lorna.moloney@irisharc.org.

Monday 20 August: Using Valuation Office records to trace your family, with Carmel Gilbride, genealogist.National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.

Tuesday 21 August: The Slave’s Tale, with Poul Holm exploring the Dublin slave market. Part of the Tales of Medieval Dublin series held at Wood Quay Venue of Dublin City Council. Starts 1.05pm. Free.

Tuesday 21 August: Records of the RIC and DMP, with Jim Herlihy, author of The Royal Irish Constabulary.National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.

Tuesday 21 August: Tracing your Ancestors, with Dr. Máire Kennedy. Central Library, Ilac Shopping Centre. 1pm. Free.  Booking required: email centrallibrary@dublincity.ie Tel: 01 8734333.

Wednesday 22 August: Using FindMyPast to trace your family history, with Cliona Weldon, FindMyPast.National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.

Wednesday 22 August
: Did your ancestors work in Carlow Town? Carlow Historical & Archaeological Society presents three illustrated mini-lectures on Town industries (all now closed) where your ancestors may have worked: Governey's Boot Factory & Corcoran's Mineral Waters, with Dan Carbery; The Irish Sugar Company, with Paul Lyons; The Blade Factory & Cold Rolling Mills, with Pat O'Neill. Venue: St Patrick's College, Carlow Town. 8pm. Admission Free. All Welcome.

Thursday 23 August: Scots-Irish emigration, 17th-19th centuries, with William Roulston, Ulster Historical Foundation.National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.

Thursday 23 August: Memory Lane - Recollections of Dublin, with the digital project team of Dublin City Public Libraries. 1pm. Admission is free. Booking required: email centrallibrary@dublincity.ie Tel: 01 873433.

Friday 24 August: National Archives of Ireland, sources online, with Catriona Crowe, NAI.National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.

Details
Sunday 26 August: 17th Crawley Irish Festival, Crawley High Street, UK. Noon to 8pm. Music, dance, sport, games and workshops. All free.

Sunday 26 August: War in the 20th century, Carrickfergus Castle. Meet characters from both the British and American armies of WW1 and WW2 who will display their equipment and relate tales of everyday life under tough war time conditions. Demonstrations take place 1030-1700.Adults £5. Children £3. Under 4s Free. Details: Tel:(028) 9335 1273.

Monday 27 August: A thousand years of Irish genealogy: how to use Gaelic pedigrees and family trees in your research, with Prof. Nollaig O Muraile, NUIG.National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.

Tuesday 28 August: The Registry of Deeds and records to trace your family history, with Mary Beglan, genealogist.National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.

Wednesday 29 August: Records for children in Care (pre-1952 adoptions), with Fiona Fitzsimons, Eneclann.National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. 1pm. Seminar Room. Free. No booking.







Burden of proof eased for Irish Heritage Certificate

Last week, Fexco, the Kerry-based company supplying the Certificate of Irish Heritage scheme on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), announced that the scheme's website had had a makeover. The overhaul wasn't entirely cosmetic, however. The reason for the redesign was that the DFA has agreed to considerably ease the burden of proof on applicants.

Documentary evidence is no longer essential. Instead, a self-declaration will now suffice. So applicants now have to provide the names of people in direct line between the recipient and the Irish-born ancestor, plus answer two out of seven questions about the ancestor. Those questions are:

  • Name of town/parish where ancestor from
  • Year of birth
  • When he/she left
  • Port of departure
  • Port of arrival
  • Where he/she settled in adopted country
  • Occupation

In other words it is now possible to receive a Certificate of Irish Heritage by saying you're descended from Patrick O'Kelly, a labourer who lived in California. No more questions asked.

The Sunday Times newspaper reported last week that the minutes of a May meeting, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that Fexco told the Irish Abroad Unit of the DFA that applicants were having difficulty finding formal ancestral documentation. 'Disappointing' sales of just 762 certificates since the launch of the scheme last September were largely attributed to the requirement for documentary proof.

The report continued:

"Fexco had previously ruled out watering down requirements for the Certificate. At a meeting in January, the DFA suggested that in cases where obtaining documents might be difficult, a statement from a genealogist saying that 'on the basis of probability this person is Irish' could suffice.

Fexco, however, noted that 'this would not be an option with the genealogy community.' Instead, it argued that helping applicants to obtain documentation should be of benefit."

It seems even that assistance hasn't helped sales to increase sufficiently.

This latest development, the option of the self-declaration, seems to be a case of 'sink or swim'. The DFA continues to publicly support the scheme, saying that it may be a few years before sales reach a satisfactory level but in reality, next year's Gathering, a tourism initiative aimed at the Diaspora, may prove crucial to the Certificate of Irish Heritage's longer term success.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Irish family history workshop in Glasgow, 6 October

Details just in of an Irish Family History Workshop at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow on Saturday 6 October.

An introduction to Irish family history
will be presented by Dr Irene O'Brien from 10am to 1pm. The cost is £15. The meeting point is the Mitchell Library's Granville Street reception, G3 7DN.

These workshops get booked up quickly, so don't delay if you want to go along.
Tel: 0141 287 2999.


Friday, 10 August 2012

Raiders of the Lost Covenant - talk at Collins Barracks

There's an interesting short talk scheduled for this Saturday at Collins Barracks, Dublin 7: Raiders of the Lost Covenant - records from the Public Record Office of
Northern Ireland.


Stephen Scarth, Head of Public Services at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), will give an illustrated talk to explore and examine material from the PRONI archives relating to the Ulster Covenant and the forthcoming Decade of Commemorations.

The talk will start at 1pm and will last about 30 minutes. It's free but booking is required. Email or tel: +353 (0) 1 6486453.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Irish Soldier - Curator's Talk at Collins Barracks

There's a free Curator's Talk tomorrow at 1pm at Collins Barracks (National Museum of Ireland: Decorative Arts & History) – The Irish Soldier in the 20th Century, from Revolutionary to Peacemaker.

Curator Lar Joye will discuss how changes in the last 100 years – from changes in warfare technology to the type of engagement in which Irish soldiers participate – are explored in the Museum's 20th Century galleries.

The talk lasts about 30 minutes and is aimed at an adult audience. Booking is required. Email or tel: +353 (0) 1 6486453.



Irish Heritage Magazine launches

 Bright, inviting and professional: Irish Heritage Magazine

A new weekly publication, Irish Heritage Magazine, has launched online this week. It aims to have wide appeal to everyone of Irish heritage, wherever they live, and will bring a mix of cultural and general news features, details of events, travel articles, recipes, business and even technology news – just the kind of broad brush you'd expect from a magazine rather than a newspaper.

It's a good looking site, built to professional standards, and the subject matter of the stories on the launch issue gives you a good idea of where it's going: National Heritage Week, Ireland's Renewable Energy Plan, a history book review, The Burren Ecotourism project, 'Irish blogs we love', Katie Taylor's remarkable Olympic journey...

Irish Heritage Magazine can be found at www.me-heritage.com. It's the brainchild of New Yorker Peter Kevin Connell who is a fifth generation Corkman on his paternal line and a third generation Kerryman on his mother's side.

'I've wanted to start this magazine for some now, at least two years,' he told Irish Genealogy News. 'I got interested in family heritage research about then and have been thinking of ways to encourage others ever since.' There were, however, some rather deeper personal reasons, which he shares in his editorial Not just another pretty (Irish) face in the magazine.

Peter also wants to reignite interest in tourism and economic development in Ireland. 'A few years ago, Ireland was an economic powerhouse. It will be that again. Some of the articles in Irish Heritage Magazine are to help steer it in that direction.'

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the magazine site will be joined by sister sites with dedicated aims. These include a business directory and genealogy/heritage forum.

I like the concept behind Irish Heritage Magazine and wish Peter every success.






Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Cheaper digital options now available from Eneclann

Eneclann has a very fine range of historical publications available on cd but they've always been a bit... how can I put this?... pricey. I know several genealogists who treat themselves to one or two titles each time there's a special discount on offer but would never consider buying at full price.

Which is a shame, because there are some really good titles in the range, ones that most researchers would love to see adorning their shelves.

Well, now there's a way to enjoy the titles for less and still have room on your shelves! Eneclann is working its way through its catalogue and selecting certain publications for conversion to an easy-to-download option. As e-book/pdf downloads, with no postage costs accruing, the titles are now considerably cheaper than the cd versions – some even work out at half price.

So check out the latest digital list on the Eneclann catalogue (scroll down one-third of the page), and see if you don't deserve a few summer treats! There are 24 of them now. Here's a selection:

Sir Arthur Vicars, Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810: Well-known to Irish genealogists, this book contains an index to over 40,000 Irish wills, most of which were destroyed in the 1922 explosion at the Public Record Office in Dublin. Digital download, €14.49 outside EU; €17.82 within EU.

Shearman's Directory of Waterford, Kilkenny & the southeast 1839: A rare book and one of the earliest local directories published in Ireland. It covers Waterford, Kilkenny, Clonmel, Carrick-on-Suir, New Ross, Carlow and Tramore. Digital download €14.49 outside EU; €17.82 within EU.

A Frenchman's Walk through Ireland 1796-1797: An important source for researchers who are interested in Irish society at the close of the eighteenth century. Contains observations on all levels of society. Digital download €6.26 outside EU; €7.70 within EU.

August issue of Irish Lives Remembered published

The August issue of Irish Lives Remembered, the free digital-only magazine published in Dundalk, county Louth, has been published and can be viewed online here.

This issue concentrates on counties Antrim and Mayo and contains advice for tracing Huguenot and Jewish ancestors.



Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Find your witness to the Independence movement

Originally scheduled for an end of June release, the Bureau of Military History collection, which covers the Independence movement from 1913 to 1921, has at last been released online. The project was a collaboration between the National Archives of Ireland and Military Archives, and the collection has its own dedicated website: www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie.

The Bureau was established by Oscar Traynor, Minister for Defence in 1947 and gave individuals an opportunity to record their own stories and experiences of this period.

Today's release provides researchers with a fascinating collection of material relating to the Irish Volunteers from their formation in 1913 to 1921. It comprises 1773 witness statements, 334 sets of contemporary documents, a huge photographic collection, voice recordings and press cuttings.

It's going to be a real bonus to have this detailed and colourful information available online.

Busy August for Glasnevin

From now until the end of August, an extra tour (at 1pm) has been added to Glasnevin Cemetery's daily schedule.

This means that Historical Walking Tours will be taking place 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm, seven days a week. Each tour lasts just over one hour and gives a valuable insight to this unique burial place and into the final resting place of those who have helped shaped Ireland's past and present.

For this month only, there will also be a special re-enactment of Patrick Pearse’s oration at the graveside of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. This is at 2.30pm, every day.

In addition, there will be two special tours as part of Heritage Week. Shane MacThomáis, Historian to Glasnevin Trust, will give his own free tour of the cemetery at 3.30pm on Saturdays 18 and 25 August. While there is no charge for this tour, booking is essential as places are limited. Please contact the museum on 01 882 6550 to make a reservation.

Another Heritage Week event will take place on Sunday 19 August at 2.30pm when Historian Tim Pat Coogan will give a lecture on 'Michel Collins and the Bankers'. Tickets cost €10. Booking is essential and places are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

New exhibition marks 'Decade of Centenaries'

A new interactive exhibition, detailing some of the many important centenaries being marked in Belfast over the coming years, has opened at the City Hall.

Adopting the theme `Shared History – Different Allegiances`, the exhibition focuses on key events that took place in the period between 1912 and 1914. It is the first in a series of three exhibitions which will be staged as part of Belfast City Council`s Decade of Centenaries programme for the years 1912 - 1922.

This first exhibition focuses on a range of events, including the campaigns for and against Home Rule, the signing of the Ulster Covenant, the growth of the volunteer armies, gun running, the suffrage movement and the Gaelic revival.

The exhibition includes photographs, archive film footage and artefacts to give a flavour of life in Belfast in the years between 1912 and the outbreak of the First World War. It also features summary biographies of many key players from the period, such as Edward Carson, James Craig, John Redmond, James Connolly, FJ Bigger, Joe Devlin, Lord Pirrie, Thomas Sinclair, Lady Londonderry, Eoin MacNeill, Winifred Carney, James Larkin, Alice Milligan, Bulmer Hobson, Roger Casement and Norah Connolly, with listening stations affording the opportunity to hear the various personalities speak.

Visitors can also check online whether their ancestors signed the Covenant, through access to the PRONI website. The exhibition will be on display in the East foyer of the City Hall until the end of February 2013.

A full supporting programme of events will take place between the beginning of September and mid-November. This will include talks by leading experts such as Eamon Phoenix and Graham Walker, specially-commissioned dramas by Padraig Coyle, Philip Orr and Alan McGuckian, a photographic exhibition looking at how Belfast has changed over the last 100 years and a special debate chaired by Fergal Keane.

Further events are planned for early next year, examining the role of women and the campaign for female suffrage and the role of the trade unions during this period in Belfast`s history.

The `Decade of Centenaries` exhibition has been commissioned by Belfast City Council in partnership with the Linen Hall Library and PRONI.

More information.

Irish Presbyterianism 400th anniversary conference

The Ulster Historical Foundation has announced details of its Return to the Cradle of Irish Presbyterianism programme, which they describe as a family history conference with a difference. It will take place 16-21 September 2013.

It is also well timed, since next year marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Rev Edward Brice, the first Presbyterian minister to settle in Ireland. It will also be the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Irish Reformed Presbytery from which today’s Reformed Presbyterian (Covenanter) Church of Ireland descends.

For family historians with Irish Presbyterian links, the six-day conference programme offers the opportunity to learn about the history of Ulster through excursions to some of the province’s most historic sites, to receive professional assistance with their research, and to listen to talks by acknowledged experts in their field.

The fully inclusive rate for the conference is £850; non-residential is £610. Follow the link above for more details.


Friday, 3 August 2012

Temporary closure of some NAI collections

Ongoing refurbishment work at the National Archives of Ireland's storage facility at the Four Courts means that some records, mainly court records, will be unavailable to the public from today until 7 September.

A list of the records affected by this temporary closure is here.

GRO records are not state secrets - APGI

The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) has called upon the GRO to hand over a copy of its civil registers database so that the records can be uploaded to www.irishgenealogy.ie.

This follows the publication of the Ombudsman's report into restricted access to civil registration registers by the General Register Office of Ireland. My initial post about the report is here.

In essence, the two-year investigation found that under the National Archives Act 1986, the public has a right of access to any of the State's civil registers of births, deaths and marriages compiled over 30 years ago. In addition, the public has a right under the Civil Registration Act 2004 to purchase extracts from the civil registers through examining the indexes to them held centrally by the GRO.

APGI, together with CIGO, was consulted by the Ombudsman during her two-year investigation and its President, Helen Kelly, describes the findings as 'a victory for common sense.'

She explains: 'Until 2004, under the former Victorian legislation, the public’s right of access to locally held civil registers was enshrined in law. Arbitrarily, this right was stripped away under the 2004 Act and all register books – both locally and centrally held – were subsequently beyond reach.'

In theory, the Ombudsman's finding would mean the register books should now be made available to all researchers.

Unfortunately, the GRO disagrees with the interpretation of the National Archives Act and says it is relying upon advice from the Attorney General. For some reason it refuses to disclose this advice, even to the Ombudsman.

“Anyone would think that these records are state secrets,” says Ms Kelly “They are not. They are public records and always have been. The number of researchers wishing to gain direct access to locally held registers is unlikely to prove onerous.”

Researchers will recognise only too well APGI's description of the frustrating process in operation at the GRO's Research Room in Dublin where they access civil records by identifying entries in the national indexes and then purchase a photocopy of the register entries. 'The problem is that the indexes give very little information and leave researchers playing an expensive game of lucky dip! Just to add to the frustration, the GRO applies a nonsensical daily limit of only five photocopies per person! For visiting overseas researchers this is bewildering'

APGI's statement continues: 'The Ombudsman has called upon the GRO to publish the legal advice it has received from the Attorney General and APGI adds its voice to this call. The Ombudsman has also directed the GRO to enter into talks with the relevant government departments and agencies to give effect to her report’s findings. She also wants the GRO to report back to her every six months about the steps it is taking.

In this context, APGI calls upon the GRO to make available to the Department of Arts, Culture & the Gaeltacht, a copy of its database of scanned images of the civil registers so that those records can swiftly be added to the Department's website, www.irishgenealogy.ie, where many other genealogy resources are already made publicly available.'