25 May 2011


     Today, I have two updates about online resources--one free, one not.  The Irish genealogy world has been buzzing about the Irish version of Find My Past that is now available (the company is known for their UK operations). I have been waiting a bit to write about it until I tried it out for myself. Using the free search and examining the record groups in the database, I did not find much that would help me in my own research. But there are some interesting records in their database that might help other researchers. Don't forget to read my last week's post "Guidelines for Being a Smart Genealogy Consumer" before you pay for online information at any database.
     The dedicated volunteers at the Irish Genealogical Projects continue in their mission to provide free records to fellow researchers. If your ancestor was in the Royal Irish Constabulary, you will want to check the IGP regularly because they have been adding RIC records at a rapid pace.
     Some of their latest additions are as follows:
General IRELAND Genealogy Archives - Education
ANTRIM Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Antrim, Sep 1852-May 1853
- Photos
Joseph Cassells, James Cassells, Isaac Cassells - Newspaper Photos
ARMAGH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Armagh 1846
CARLOW Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Carlow 1846
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Carlow Jan 1853-Oct 1853
CAVAN Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Cavan 1846
- Headstones
Cootehill Graveyard (CoI) partial
CLARE Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1846
CORK Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Cork 1846
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Cork Jan 1853-Nov 1853
DONEGAL Genealogy Archives - Wills
Last Will & Testament of John McElhinney? Died 28 April 1889
- Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Donegal 1846
DOWN Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of DOWN 1846
DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones -
Mount Jerome, Dublin - Part 22
Deansgrange Cemetery, St. Brigids Section
- Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Dublin 1846
FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary Records
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Fermanagh Jan 1853-Oct 1853
- Church
Galloon, Diocese of Clogher, Marriage Register 1830-1844
Galloon Register, Dio. of Clogher Burials, (CoI) 1830-1844
GALWAY Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Galway, Jan 1853-Jun 1853
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Galway, Jun 1853-Oct 1853
- Headstones.
Abbeygormacan (R.C.) Cemetery
KILDARE Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Kildare Jan 1853-Nov 1853
LEITRIM Genealogy Archives -Headstones
Newtowngore, St. Patrick's Church of Ireland (10 images including church)
- Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Leitrim Jan 1853-Nov 1853
LONGFORD Genealogy Archives - Church Records
Deaths in the Parishes of Templemichael and Ballymacormick 1802-1809
- Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Longford July 1853 - Oct 1853
LOUTH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Louth Jan 1853-Nov 1853
MAYO Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of MAYO Jan 1853-Nov 1853
MONAGHAN Genealogy Archives - Headstones.
Saint Salvatore's, Donagh. New Additions and new transcription.
OFFALY (KINGS) Genealogy Archives - Photos
Rice Family 1901
- Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Kings Jan 1853-Oct 1853
Tyrone Genealogy Archives - Military
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Tyrone Jan 1853-Nov 1853
WATERFORD Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Waterford Jan 1853-Nov 1853
WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Wexford Jan 1853-Nov 1853
WICKLOW Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Delgany Old Cemetery

19 May 2011


     I often find myself in a quandary when reporting on new sites and services in the world of Irish genealogy. Ireland's tourist industry, among many other genealogy entrepreneurs, discovered very early on that descendants of the diaspora would pay for online information about their ancestors. I am not against paying for information or access to it online, because I do realize that costs are involved in research, transcription, digitization, and website maintenance. I regularly pay for subscriptions and records on various genealogical web sites. Many of these companies provide a valuable service at a fair price.
     I don't mind fees or costs that I feel are fair. What I do mind are sites that charge for records that can be obtained for free, and in a fairly easy manner, elsewhere. I also don't like being treated like a fish being reeled in by broad search engines that force me to spend money rather indiscriminately to determine if a record pertains to my ancestors. I do not like having to buy records in a "bundle" in the hopes that one of them might be relevant to my research.
     So, check out my "consumer guidelines" and learn from some of the ways I, and other researchers, have wasted our money in the pursuit of online records!
1. Check the databases. Determine what databases are included. Check if the source of the individual databases are named. Then check for those databases elsewhere to see is they are available free (don't forget to check free book sites such as Google Books). Determine if those databases would be helpful to your research.
2. Read the terms and conditions! Yes, I am guilty of simply clicking the "I agree" box a few times without reading all the legalize (and me, a lawyer, shame!). But many of the genealogical online database sites have restrictions on searches and uses that might surprise you.
3. Check whether renewal is automatic, and if it is, whether you will receive notice before the renewal is made. Some sites allow you to turn off the auto renewal feature.
4. Sites that advertise free searches but charge for details of retrieved records often limit the number of free searches. I know people who have been restricted from databases for performing too many free searches without purchasing any records.
5. I have seen terms that restrict a user's purpose to personal research only. I have seen terms that restrict a user from using their subscription to perform research for anyone else, even if the user is doing it for free. I'm not quite sure how the sites police this type of use, but I have on occasion had to click a button saying that a name was on my family tree.
6. If you purchase a record, check the expiration date for viewing the record. On most sites, you are purchasing the right to view the record for a specified time only. Can you save the image to your computer? Print it out?
7. Know what you will get for your money when you pay for a record. Will you be able to view the original record online, or are you paying for a transcription of a record? If a transcription, beware of transcriber error.
8. Examine the search engine. Can you use a phonetic or soundex search or are you limited to exact spelling ? Does it have advanced search features such a geographical locations, dates, spouses, parents, occupations, and keywords? Can you exclude certain terms?

13 May 2011


     While labeling photographs with my mother and aunt, I came across a studio portrait of them as children.  A cute dog was smiling for the camera along with the children. Sparky was important enough to the family to be included in the portrait, but no one thought to put his name on the back of the photograph. After asking a few questions, I found that Sparky, like most of our pets, played a big part in the family's life.
     Have you included your pets in your family tree? Labeled them in your photos? Included stories about them in your collection of family tales?
      I am finding that it is hard to include pets in the genealogy computer programs. Instead, I have begun to write essays about them to keep with the other essays I am writing for my genealogy writing class.
     One woman in my class wrote a beautiful essay about how she sits and watches the wildlife in her backyard every morning while she has her coffee. She described the birds and squirrels, and even the wild turkeys that would attack her new car. While these creatures are not family pets, they are an important part of her life, and her stories will certainly be a treasure for her descendants.
     Don't forget to ask about family pets when you question family members for information. You will be surprised how a story about Fido the dog or Fifi the cat, or even Sam the turtle, can bring alive an ancestral family and reveal much about the family itself.
     I thought I would include an essay that I wrote for my genealogy writing class about Oscar, our cat. I hope you enjoy!

     All my life, I hated cats. Hated their hair all over the furniture, hated their claws, hated how they never came when called. Then one day over Christmas break, my daughter showed up with Oscar.
     Oscar was born in an automotive shop, one of a stray litter. The tiny ball of fluff with big pointy ears was not yet weaned, not yet taught by its mother what it means to be a cat. He was placed into a house full of crazy college students, not all of whom treated him very well. When Oscar came home to visit us over Christmas break, I could tell that he was a nervous wreck. Every sight, every sound scared the little guy. He hardly slept, and when he did, it was only after a half hour of sucking my thumb.
     So, I didn’t have the heart to send Oscar back, and he stayed home with us. But his behavior worsened as he grew. He scratched. He bit. Any time any sound or sight scared him, and the claws and teeth came out.
     I began to accumulate scratches and bits on my face and nose. I used up tubes of antibiotic ointments. My doctor gave me a tetanus shot. I took Oscar to a couple of vets, and both said that Oscar could not be helped and that most people would euthanize a cat like him. I just could not do it.
     One day, Oscar crept into the bedroom while I was napping. He jumped on my face and bit my eye (I think he was aiming for my nose, he had a fixation on biting noses). My eyelid was almost bitten through. My husband decided that Oscar had to be taken to the shelter, which was a death sentence because Oscar would not be placed in another home because of his biting history.
     I cried for hours that night.
     The next day, I called vets. I called animal psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania. I finally found a new vet, who agreed to see Oscar before we made the final decision to give him to a shelter. When I walked into the office, the vet and his assistant stared at me. I had a bruised and cut eye, cuts on my nose, and long scarlet scratches down both arms and covering both hands.
     “Lady,” the vet said, “I deal with cats all day long and I don’t look anywhere as bad as you do!”
     The vet thought there was one avenue of treatment left--Prozac. Hopefully,  year or so on drugs could give Oscar the time to grow out of his adolescent cat behaviors and help him to grow into an adult cat.
     So we tried the drug therapy. There were a few more months of scratches and bites, but the incidents grew less and less. After a year, we weaned him off of the drug.
     Oscar will never be a calm cat--there is no groomer in the area who will touch him, and even the vet will not examine him unless Oscar is anesthetized. He still loves to bite, but limits himself to a playful toe nip. He gives me a reassuring lick when he bites too hard. He is my constant companion--he never leaves my side when I am in the house. He is a loving feline snuggle bunny.
     So what has Oscar taught me? This valuable lesson: just when a cat or person seems beyond redemption, that just might be the point when a life can be turned around.
     I just hope that some of Oscar's "redeemed" nine lives are spent basking in the sun on the widowsill instead of chewing on my toes!   

06 May 2011


Lots happening in the world of Irish genealogy, so today I will bring you the highlights.
CHANGES AT THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF IRELAND (NLI). Going to Ireland this spring or summer to research? Be aware that the National Library has changed its hours for the reading rooms. Beginning this week, the new reading room hours will be Monday to Wednesday 9:30 to 19:45, Thursday and Friday 9:30 to 16:45, and Saturday 9:30 to 12:45. Also, a new boon for researchers--you can now pre-order manuscripts, books, and microfilms BEFORE your visit. Your materials will be ready for you when you arrive. While at the NLI, you can also reserve items for the next day. This change is a very important time saver for family historians. When I researched the Wandesforde papers in the manuscript reading room, a good third of my time was spent filling out order forms and waiting for the runners to retrieve the files. While the runners were prompt and service was wonderful, I did lose valuable research time waiting for files. This change provides us with tons more time for research. Remember that PREPARATION is the key to a successful research trip to Ireland!
IRELAND REACHES OUT TO DESCENDANTS OF EMIGRANTS.  Thanks to my friend Rosemarie, who made me aware of a new program that is being launched in Ireland to identify and to welcome the descendants of emigrants. That's correct--not only are we searching for our ancestors, Ireland is searching for us! This summer, a family and local history celebration will be held for descendants of emigrants from southeast Galway.  If you have Galway ancestors, be sure to check out the upcoming WEEK OF WELCOMES : IRELANDXO.ORG
DICK EASTMAN ARTICLE ON IRISH PENSION RECORDS. Dick Eastman recently published a blog article about Irish pension records being made available (for a fee) online by Irish-Genealogy.com. The pension records and forms are important to many researchers because they can contain information that is lacking due to the loss of census records. However, I would urge readers to read the comment section after Dick's blog post, as the comments contain valuable information regarding the records.